Saturday, June 30, 2012

Lucy Come Home by Dave and Neta Jackson - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Lucy Tucker has been on the streets of Chicago for 50 years. Why won’t she come home?

Fifteen-year-old Cindy worked long days beside her migrant worker family in Michigan’s sugar beet fields in the early 1940s—the “war years”—until she met a dashing young man from a traveling carnival, bringing some joy and fun into her hard-scrabble life. But a tragic twist of fate—and a dead field boss—sent the two young people on the run, leaving behind family and everything she’d ever known.

Lucy Tucker, the crotchety old bag lady from the popular Yada Yada House of Hope series, is a veteran of the Chicago streets and not about to give up her independence, even as she approaches her 80th birthday. Until, that is, a young displaced woman with her gentle ageing mother and a dog named Dandy seem to need her—unsettling the secretive Lucy, who doesn’t let anyone get too close. But just when it seems her past is catching up with her to bring her in out of the cold … Lucy disappears again.

How these two tales intersect and intertwine between past and present gradually shines light into the dark corners of Lucy’s murky past. But … why won’t Lucy come home?

My Thoughts:

I will trust in the Lord, until I die.” (p312)
Sometimes trusting the Lord is the hardest thing to do….especially when we think we’ve done something He can’t forgive.  When we don’t trust Him, and we take on the role of god in our own lives we often, and most always, suffer tragic consequences.  Lucy Tucker has almost reached her 80th birthday living on the streets of Chicago.  God is still pursuing her…He has been faithful to do that throughout her lifetime.  But Lucy has pushed God, and everyone else away, because  she feels so badly about things that happened in her past…things that haunt her memories and dreams.
God brings Gabby, and the eclectic collection of characters that inhabit Manna House into Lucy’s life, and once again, God is pursuing her through a series of circumstances and people that just want Lucy to have a place to call home.  Never, in a million years, would Lucy believe that her past can be redeemed and that she is indeed loved with an everlasting love.
Dave and Neta Jackson have taken two very different storylines and woven them into a story that will touch you deeply.  Lucy Come Home is a very real look into the human heart and the great lengths that our hearts will go to outrun the pain of our past. This is truly a brilliant story…weaving effortlessly between past and present until they are so closely knit that the ending will just take your breath away.
Seriously folks, this is a book you don’t want to miss.  If you are not thankful  to God for all of His blessings by the time you reach the final pages of this book, check to make sure your heart is beating! This is brilliant!
Read what others are saying on the tour!

About the Authors:
Dave and Neta Jackson are award-winning authors living in the Chicago area where their parallel novels from the Yada Yada House of Hope and Harry Bentley series are set.

As a husband/wife writing team, Dave and Neta Jackson are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together they are the authors or coauthors of over 100 books.

Visit for more info.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Exposed by Shannon Deitz

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:

Hopeful Heart Ministries (May 18, 2012)

***Special thanks to Rick Roberson for sending me a review copy.***


Shannon Deitz is a woman in love with God and excited about her faith. But it wasn't always that way. While still a teen, her boyfriend was tragically killed in an auto accident, and she began to question a God who would claim a young man with so much life yet to be lived. At the fragile age of seventeen, she was raped and she began to distrust a God who would allow such a thing. Again, as a freshman in college, she was raped a second time, and she began to earnestly put as much distance between herself and God as she possibly could. At the age of 27, having run from God as far as she could go, she found herself at the bottom of a life that was no longer tolerable. Having no place to go but up, she looked to Heaven. And there was God, surrounding her with His peace. It was the beginning of a love story that has grown more beautiful with each passing day.

Shortly after her love affair with God began in earnest, Deitz felt a distinct calling to begin teaching the teens at her local church. Her work with teens led to a full-time youth ministry. Within the next four years, that ministry bloomed, allowing her to witness God's amazing work in her church and her life. In 2007, her youth group was voted in the top five of EWTN's Catholic Youth Groups in the United States, and in 2008 she was invited to speak on God's unfailing love at the World Youth Day Festivities in Sydney, Australia. In 2011, she was again asked to speak at the WYD Festivities in Madrid, Spain.
Deitz has also served as a team speaker for the Franciscan University Steubenville Youth Conferences in Ohio, Louisiana, Florida, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Washington State, collectively reaching more than 40,000 teenagers. She also reaches out to her audiences through her popular blog, .

Deitz has been a 'featured columnist' on She and her husband, Neal, live in Kingwood, Texas, where they are active in their local church and community. The couple has two sons, Ryan and Seth, who provide them with endless joy and reason to continually count their blessings.

Information regarding her book and current speaking schedule may be found on the site, as well as specifics for engaging her as a speaker for an upcoming event.

Visit the author's website.


We all yearn to be loved. It is our self-imposed litmus test for worthiness-our way of confirming we are special and knowing that we matter. Acclaimed author and speaker Shannon Deitz understands that yearning well. Raped at seventeen and then again as a freshman in college, she felt completely bypassed by love. Rebelling against the violent attacks on her body and struggling to quiet the pain through self-abuse, her feelings of worthlessness eventually became so palpable she could not fathom how anyone-most especially God-could love her. This only caused her to push deeper into her own torment.

Then, at the age of 27, unable to fight the battle raging inside her any longer, she gave it all up. Face down on her bedroom floor with her life in shambles all around her, Deitz surrendered every aspect of her being to God. She gave up the self-judgment, the condemnation, the need to be better. She let it all go. And, in that moment, every fear faded away and for the first time since childhood she experienced true peace.

Now, a dozen years later, having shared her remarkable story of transformation in her critically-acclaimed and award-winning book, Exposed: Inexcusable Me...Irreplaceable Him (Pleasant Word Publishing, 2010), Deitz is taking her message to audiences across the country and abroad. Passionately sharing her own story, she unabashedly offers new hope to the hopeless and rekindles flames in coals of faith grown cold.

Product Details:
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Hopeful Heart Ministries (May 18, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0985250305
ISBN-13: 978-0985250300



Why me?

I have asked this question many times in my life. Growing up, I wondered why I felt so ugly and wanted so much attention, why my older sister told me secrets I never wanted to hear, why it felt like our family was falling apart and I couldn’t do anything to stop it, and why it felt like bad things kept happening to me and I never could catch a break.

The most common response would be that “it all happens for a reason.” Looking back, however, it is obvious to me that is not necessarily true. I cannot ignore the decisions that were made on my part, or my sister’s, friends’, family’s, or acquaintances’, and not recognize the course life took because of our decisions.

Some would argue that God is the reason. God is in the illnesses or forces of nature that strike hard and uproot your core existence, forcing your hand in strength and causing your tomorrows to change. Everything else? Well, that is due to an abuse of God’s gift of free will. I cannot look back at my life and ignore the fact that free will, on my part or the part of others in my life, led to life-altering circumstances.

What it comes down to is the reaction.

How do I respond? How do I move forward? What do I internalize? To whom do I turn?

When a stranger among the 1.2 million Catholic Young Adults that had gathered for the 2005 World Youth Day festivities in Köln, Germany called me by name, I didn’t have time to respond, react, or internalize. I only knew that I needed to go and listen.

Once I heard the message, I could no longer feel sorry for myself or throw out blame. I was called by name, and it was about time I reacted.

Why me? Why not?

The ‘Nothing’ Child

Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it (Mark 10:15)

In the beginning, under the watchful eye of an enormous thunderbird, wings outstretched, in the barren, blistering city of El Paso, outlined with white rock alongside Coronado Mountain, our family of six struggled against the clashing waves of good and evil. At the age of seven, far too young to comprehend the very real but incomprehensible battle, I was sucked into the undertow.

Perched like a vulture on the arm of the couch, with her bronze legs folded up to her chest, my thirteen year old sister Carrie smirked and said, “I’m not your sister.” My older brother, Kyle, who was only seventeen months younger than Carrie, sat beside her and laughed, “Yeah! We’re not your brother and sister!”

“Yes. You. Are!” I protested each word sharply and with great calculation. Carrie and Kyle were inclined to gang up on me, when all I longed for was to be accepted and involved in everything my siblings did and invited to every place they went.

“Nope,” Carrie said. “Daddy is not my daddy.”

My undeveloped mind could not grasp what she was trying to say. Of course Daddy was her daddy! We had the same sandy hair. My face was a little more round than theirs, but they were all I knew as family. No one was supposed to look alike anyway. In a flash of a moment, the world I knew to be predictable and safe was shaken and unrecognizable.

I ran to Mom, who was busy in the utility room sewing a dress for one of us girls, flung my arms around her waist, and wailed, “Carrie says she’s not my sister!” Carrie and Kyle, who had been running close behind me, stopped short and nearly toppled on top of us when they reached the door. My sobs were muffled in Mom’s lap, but I could still hear the disappointment in her voice.

“She is your sister, and that is not nice to say.”

My head shot up in a flash. “See! You’re lying!”

“No we’re not!” Kyle insisted. “Dad is not our dad, Mom.”

Mom sighed a long, slow, “the weight of the world had just been dumped on her shoulders” sigh. I looked into her green eyes, and for the first time I really saw her. She had jet black hair that was cropped and straight—completely the opposite of my waist-length, wavy mop– and a beautiful, small oval face with a smile that radiated warmth and love. We looked nothing alike.

Fear came alive within me. “Am I adopted?”

“No, Shannon,” she sighed again, “but your daddy did adopt Carrie and Kyle.”

“See,” Kyle said as he tapped my shoulder. “I told you so.” He and Carrie started to laugh, and I wailed louder.

Mom called for my father. “Tom!”

“What?” he shouted from the living room.

Mom pulled me up with her as she stood. “Let’s all go into the TV room. We need to have a family talk.”

Within the sanctity of my home, amidst those closest and dearest to me, who I knew to be my family, I was prematurely stripped of the honor young children have to be naïve and carefree.

Tears began to build at the corner of Mom’s serene eyes as she explained the details of her first marriage in a way that my young mind could comprehend. It wasn’t until I was in college, struggling through my own personal trials, that I finally understood the story and became privy to the rest of her secrets.

Mom’s first marriage was sad, abusive, and short-lived. It began soon after high school and ended when her husband returned home from Vietnam. The demise of her innocence, however, began much earlier.

Mom’s earliest memory goes back to when she was still in her crib, and it is the first of ten years of memories of a stolen childhood and loss of innocence. The eldest of five, she was the only one to claim the pink bow in her testosterone filled home. “Thank God,” she’d say. If her brothers had been girls, they, too, would have suffered at the perverted hands of her father.

Like many girls who suffer in silence, to the outside world my mother seemed to have it all. She was captain of the cheerleading squad, bubbly, bright, and envied by her friends. At home, she was envied by her mother. But my mother did not ask for the kind of attention she got from her father. Instead, she spent her teen years pushing every memory of him into a tiny black box in the corner of her mind, and began seeking after the love her young soul craved.

Pregnant too young and married too young, Mom entered into a new world of abuse, orchestrating a spiraling descent that eventually led her into recovery. The box was opened, and she wanted to heal, help, and forgive.

As a seven-year-old, I couldn’t help but wonder where this past marriage left me. Where did I fit in? Was this why Carrie and Kyle were always giving me a hard time, when all I wanted was to be with them?

My mind reeled as I realized the obvious gap that had formed between us as children. Carrie and Kyle were so close in age, and they were five and six years ahead of me. Morgan and I were three years apart. Morgan was the baby. She was cute and entertaining, and I felt like an annoyance. The divide between us created a festering knot of insecurity.

“I’m nothing!” I wailed, perched on Dad’s lap with my head tilted back dramatically.

Giggling, Dad mustered a serious tone. “You are too something. You’re my little girl.”

“No!” With great zeal, I shook my head and added, “Carrie’s the oldest, Kyle’s the only boy, and Morgan’s the youngest! What am I? Nothing!” For my young mind, this was the truth.

One afternoon, Carrie changed course with a simple gesture of kindness. Desperate for her acceptance, I jumped at the opportunity.

“Hey, Shannon, come here for a sec,” Carrie called as she walked past my room and into her own.

“Is this a trick?” I thought. Fueled by excitement and honor, I jumped up from the floor. She never asked me into her room, but, after hesitating, I stepped in.

“Hey, come here,” she said. “I want to show you something.” She was on her stomach with her legs fanned out on the bed.

Without hesitation, I hopped up onto her bed and sat Indian style beside her. Her profile was magnetic, and in that moment I couldn’t help but stare. As far as I knew, my time in her room and presence was limited. But the more I stared, the sadder I felt. Carrie was a classic beauty. Her eyes were a petite almond shape and tortoise green. Mine were round as quarters and mint blue. The slope of her nose finished into a defined and delicate tip, and mine formed a small but not so delicate round ball. Everything about Carrie was distinct and defined yet feminine at the same time, and, even though I was still a young girl, everything about me was unusual. I had big round eyes, full lips, and a widow’s peak that came to a dramatic point in the middle of my forehead.

She held a shiny piece of paper that looked like a small poster. I looked over her shoulder to see what held her attention. It was a list including photographs of pills in all shapes, sizes, and colors, with their names below them.

“I’ve done this one, and this one . . . and this one,” she said, smiling with a strange satisfaction as she pointed out the various medications she had taken. That was what I thought, at least—that they were just pills. Medicine. I never understood why she was pointing out pills, and giggled as she did so, but then again, I was in her room and she was paying attention to me. That was all that mattered.

Of course, I knew nothing about recreational drugs. I knew there was a big scare about not accepting stickers from strangers because there was some kind of poison called LSD on the backs of them. I knew not to talk to strangers or take anything from them. Carrie was not a stranger.

That wasn’t the last of the invites into her room. No longer was I nothing. Instead, I felt like something, because Carrie, the most beautiful, funny, and perfect girl was finally taking notice of me, her bratty half-sister.

For months I trailed behind Carrie and her new boyfriend, Jose. I sat in on their conversations and make-out sessions, being sure not to be seen but staying close enough to be there if she needed me for anything. It was fascinating to witness the same girl who would sometimes rant and practically spit bile at my parents become giddy when this boy was around, often to the point of being taken over by hysterical laughter. The medications she had pointed out in her room were never seen. I was unsure if she was taking anything. If anything, this boy was a cure for whatever had made her sad and angry.

I noticed that the more Jose was around, the more Mom and Dad would yell at night when I was supposed to be sleeping. I would hear the door to Carrie’s room slam, and I would press my ear up to the wall that separated us and listen to her muffled cries and curses. Sitting on the corner of my bed, I would pray to God, asking him to make my parents leave her alone. All I knew of God was that he was our protector and I needed him to protect her.

One night, I gathered up the courage to leave the safety of my room and enter Carrie’s without her permission. She was sitting in the corner, scratching on her desk with the tip of a ballpoint pen. “What do you want?” she grumbled.

“Are you okay?” I whispered, afraid that if my parents heard me in her room she would get in more trouble.

She shrugged her shoulders with little effort. “They don’t get it. They are so stupid.”

“Yeah,” I said in bogus agreement. I didn’t think my parents were stupid, but I was desperate for Carrie’s approval.

Her face softened when she turned to look at me, and she stopped tormenting her desk. I smiled because I knew I had said the right thing. I am not sure what she saw in me at that moment, or if she ever truly considered me a friend, but I was the only one around who was eager to listen. A sense of trust began to develop between us.

Weeks and months passed, and I became more knowledgeable about what Carrie was doing as I listened in on various conversations of her sexual prowess, hearing words that made no sense, and feeling the air around me thicken with sounds and moans that sounded as if she were being wounded. And during her last years in our home, I unintentionally witnessed these acts that were beyond my years and understanding.

When it came to Carrie, nothing ever felt right. She was like an injured animal that had lost trust in the ones who wanted to help her most. When I was sucked into this vortex, spinning uncontrollably as Carrie whirled around in the air above, battling the unfair tactics of parents and social propriety, I hadn’t even reached puberty. She was beyond reach, and although I had become so immersed in her teenage world, I was still a helpless child, looking up and desperately trying to save her.

None of us were aware. My mother’s demons had entered into my sister’s world wreaking this havoc in our family. Carrie was only six when her innocence was stolen. Mom thought she could protect us by keeping a watchful eye and she took a chance by taking us with her to attend a family reunion. Unfortunately, my grandfather’s disease was never cured. Tainted by someone she loved and trusted, my sister did not know how to create that tiny black box in the corner of her mind to block the sickness of what he did to her. Instead, she retaliated against the pain she held inside never sharing her dark secret. Like my mother, she, too, sought after love and healing, but never through healthy means or relationships.

In many ways, he hurt me, too—not physically, but through Carrie’s retaliation and through her search for the love that his disease created. All I did was love my sister. All I wanted was to see her happy and be able to witness God’s protection. I wanted to finally rest inside, because I knew she would be OK. Instead, my hope faded with each passing day.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

FIve Miles Souht of Peculiar - REVIEWED

About the Book:  (from Simon and Schuster)

If these three sisters don’t change direction, they’ll end up where they’re going.

Darlene Caldwell has spent a lifetime tending Sycamores, an estate located five miles south of a small town called Peculiar. She raised a family in the spacious home that was her grandfather’s legacy, and she enjoys being a pillar of the community. Sycamores is the kingdom where she reigns as queen . . . until her limelight-stealing twin sister unexpectedly returns.

Carlene Caldwell, veteran of the Broadway stage, is devastated when she realizes that an unsuccessful throat surgery has spelled the end of her musical career. Searching for a new purpose in life, she retreats to Sycamores, her childhood home. She may not be able to sing, but she hopes to use her knowledge and experience to fashion a new life in Peculiar, the little town she left behind.

Haunted by a tragic romance, Magnolia Caldwell is the youngest of the Caldwell girls. Nolie has never wanted to live anywhere but Sycamores. She spends her days caring for her dogs and the magnificent gardens she’s created on the estate, but when she meets a man haunted by his own tragedy, she must find the courage to either deny her heart or cut the apron strings that tie her to a dear and familiar place.

Can these sisters discover who they are meant to be when life takes an unforeseen detour? In a season of destiny, three unique women reunite and take unexpected journeys of the heart.

My Thoughts:

We have a lot of catchin’ up to do.”  (p340)

While I’m not wild about the context within which these word are couched in the story, the thought is a good summation of the situation in Peculiar, Florida.  Like any family, Darlenc, Carlene and Nolie have secret dreams, unfulfilled hopes and, in five years, a generational home that will be turned over to the county. Yes, it’s peculiar all right.

I hope you stop and stay a while with Angela Hunt as she tells this very endearing, very human, very moving story of discovery, forgiveness, and new doors of opportunity to go forward with God.  This is a story to be savored.  You will find a wealth of truth, human frailty and hidden strength among its pages. The characters have a very unexpected opportunity to step out of the past and into a new future.  Their journey of decision…well it’s a familiar path in all of our lives.  Whether we choose to follow in faith and leave the angst and bitterness behind…well, it’s a choice we must make daily.

I hope you will read this story and enjoy all of the characters in Peculiar.  I know it is a town that will call me back again and again.  This is a keeper for so many reasons! I pray you will jump into this story and find all of its treasures.

About the Author:
With nearly four million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the bestselling author of more than one hundred books, including The Tale of Three Trees, The Note, and The Nativity Story. Her nonfiction book, Don’t Bet Against Me, written with Deanna Favre, spent several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Angela frequently teaches writing workshops at schools and writers’ conferences, and she served as the keynote speaker at the 2008 American Christian Fiction Writers’ national conference. She and her husband make their home in Florida

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Doctor's Devotion by Cheryl Wyatt - Brief Review

About the Book:  (from the publisher)

When he fled Eagle Point years ago, former air force trauma surgeon Mitch Wellington left only broken dreams behind. Now he's back with a new dream—opening a trauma center in the rural area and saving lives. He hopes to hire the quick-thinking nurse who impressed him during an emergency. But Lauren Bates lost her faith and doesn't believe she deserves to help anyone. Mitch knows firsthand what loss feels like. And it'll take all his devotion to show Lauren that sometimes the best medicine is a combination of faith, community—and love.

About the Author:
Cheryl Wyatt's closest friends would never dream of the mayhem she plots during announcements at church. A Registered Nurse-turned-Stay-at-Home-Mom, joyful chaos rules her home and she delights in the stealth moments God gives her to write. She stays active in her church and in her laundry room. She's convinced that having been born on a naval base on Valentine's Day destined her to write military romance.

Her debut novels, A Soldier's Promise and A Soldier's Family release from Steeple Hill publishers in January and March 2008. Prior to publication, Cheryl was published in non-fiction and had six manuscripts place in twelve RWA contests.

My Thoughts:

“…the beauty that unleashed every time she blinked was kicking his concentration to the curb.  She had the most gorgeous green eyes.”

“…[He] watched her departure, enjoying every second of her appealing stride.”

“A handsome hunk thought she was pretty.”

I’m sorry.  I tried.  But I cannot get past the very unrealistic mush of this story.  If every man and woman on earth reacted this way around each other half the planet would die in the first eight hours of the day stumbling into moving traffic. 

I’m sure there a  terrific story in here - Cheryl is an award winning author for Pete's Sake - but right now…romance is at the bottom of my belief system, and these two…well it ain’t happenin’ for me.  Sorry.  I signed up for the wrong tour.  I’m sorry.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Director's Cut by Janice Thompson - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from Revell Publishing)

The one thing she can't direct is her heart.
Tia Morales is used to calling the shots. She's the director of the popular sitcom Stars Collide, and her life on the set is calculated and orderly. Well, most of the time. Life outside the studio is another matter. If only she could get other people to behave as well as her stars do! When she starts to have feelings for handsome cameraman Jason Harris--with whom she's been butting heads for months--it's enough to send a girl over the edge. Will she ever learn to let go and take life--and love--as it comes?
Full of the humor and crazy family dynamics Janice Thompson fans have come to love, this colorful story gives you an inside look at Hollywood and a healthy dose of romance.

If you want more of Bella, DJ, Brock Benson, and other favorite characters from Janice Thompson, you'll love the Backstage Pass series.

My Thoughts:
"I'm just saying that the show - important as it may be - isn't really what this is all about.  It's about the real world.  Real relationships.  Real stuff."  (p 78)

These words are spoken into Tia Morales' life by someone who cares a lot about her and wants her to be happy.  Happy in life, not just her job as director of an award-winning television sitcom.  But Tia has a bit of a control problem.  She likes to be in control of every situation, and when she's not....she pushes it aside and basically ignores it. That isn't working so well for her.

But God is faithful, and He places people and circumstances in her life that draw her to the One who can carry her load, and leave her with a peace that makes life a joyful journey instead of a controlled fall.

Janice Thompson is a master story-teller, and The Director's Cut is another stellar example of her skill.  Her characters are quirky, they deal with real situations with real human flawed thinking...and sometimes they make some painful mistakes.  And sometimes, they push through hard situations over which they have absolutely no control. (their is a couple in the book dealing with a very common problem...and they are so tender and supportive despite the terrible deterioration of the problem - so inspiring!) Tia begins to learn to let go of a lot of her hidden problems and share them with God and with others who care about her.  The transformation is WONDERFUL!! Just makes you love the entire cast of characters even more!!

Janice Thompson makes you love the characters in her story. You want to spend time with them! And it's hard to lay the book down.  That's a good story!!

About the Author:
Janice Thompson is a seasoned romance author and screenwriter. An expert at pulling the humor from the situations we get ourselves into, Thompson offers an inside look at TV land, drawing on her experiences as a screenwriter. She is the author of the Weddings by Bella series, Stars Collide, and Hello, Hollywood! She lives in Texas.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Search by Shelley Shepard Gray - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from Avon Inspire)
In the midst of a murder investigation in the heart of Amish country, one young policeman finds his heart led astray.

The serenity of the quiet Amish community of Marion, Kentucky, is disrupted when the body of Perry Borntrager is discovered in an abandoned well. Now the small town faces the first death by mysterious circumstances in more than twenty years, and Detective Luke Reynolds is brought in to help investigate. But before he can solve the crime, he faces unexpected feelings for Frannie, the Amish owner of the local bed-and-breakfast. Though they butt heads at first, Luke finds himself drawn to Frannie's bedside when she's injured in a kitchen accident.

Soon it becomes clear that Frannie knew Perry better than she let on . . . they'd been secretly courting when he disappeared.

Has Luke fallen for the very woman responsible for the crime?

My Thoughts:
"That's the thing about searching, Luke.  Sometimes you don't like what you find.  But you still have to deal with it." (p.235)

At the point Luke Reynolds hear's these words, I'm pretty sure he knows what he's looking for, but he's a bit skittish about pursuing it.  Like many of us, Luke if afraid to pursue his heart's dream, because he can only see impossiblities rather than solutions.  He is so busy tracking down a murder suspect that he almost misses the opportunity of a life time.

Frannie is also caught amid many uncertainties and failures.  The man she was courting has been brutally murdered, and she feels a keen sense of loss and also a sense of failure because her love was not strong enough to deter him from his dark path of addiction.  As Frannie attempts to return to her life managing a bed and breakfast, she has a guest that appears to be in the midst of the very storm she is trying to escape.  Will she ever find peace and happiness?

Shelly Shepard Gray has hit a homerun with this series folks!  She weaves a compelling mystery among threads of romance and leave many unanswered questions and endless possiblilities as you turn the last page! That is a very satisfying way to lead to the next saga in the series, is it not?  I found this book to be very pleasantly distracting and enjoyed trying to solve this mystery! Although I didn't read the first book in the series, you can bet I'll track it down and be watching for the next book in the series (Found is releasing in September!)! I am happy to recommend this series to you!

About the Author:
Shelley Shepard Gray lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. A busy wife and mother of two, she spends her days writing and keeping track of her two teenagers. Her two dogs keep her company when she writes in her basement.

Shelley enjoys writing about the Amish and visits Amish communities in Adams and Holmes counties several times a year. When not spending time with her family or writing, she serves on several committees in her church.

She also bakes a lot, loves coconut cream pie, and will hardly ever pull weeds, mow the yard, or drive in the snow.

Shelley also spends a lot of time on line! Please visit her website, to find out her latest news...or become her friend on FaceBook.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Rebel by Linda Windsor

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
David C. Cook; New edition (June 1, 2012)
Linda Windsor


Linda Windsor makes her home at a restored and "growing" late 18th century home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Above the Windsor front door hangs a sign saying "Fort Necke, assigned 1684, established 1830," which means the land grant is older than the current building. She purposely left off the ageing brought on by the restoration to her mind and body - not enough space to accommodate the number. Chronologically, she admits to celebrating another birthday, just like the rest of us, each year on July 8th -- which also happens to be the anniversary of the day the Liberty Bell cracked.

Amid the often chaotic "country inn" atmosphere, Windsor has written quite a collection of historical and contemporary romances as both Linda Windsor and Linda Covington. Windsor's historical novels are known for her distinctive voice and flair for incorporating history with romance and adventure, while her contemporary romantic comedies are guaranteed to warm the heart, lift the spirit, and tickle the funny bone. Windsor insists that nothing is more entertaining than life itself, be it past or present.

With a degree in education from her local university, one of the greatest rewards to the innate teacher in Linda was hearing from readers that her Irish Gleannmara series was approved for some middle school English book reports as well as being used in home-schooling. To Windsor, entertaining, or keeping the pages turning, while educating is as much as any historical novelist can ask for.


With Merlin dead, the succession undecided, and the Celtic church on the defensive from Rome, intrigue sweeps the court of the High King Arthur. But it’s battlefield news that consumes Queen Gwenhyfar’s young scribe, Kella O’Toole: her fiancé is dead and her father gone missing.

Determined to find him at all costs, Kella defies the queen’s orders and sets out for Pictish territory. Her foster brother Alyn, a disillusioned priest who questions his calling, agrees to help her. The journey itself is perilous. But it’s their secrets that land Kella and Alyn in a viper’s nest of treachery that threatens both their lives and the future of Albion.

Can they summon the love and faith they need to find their way not only out of danger, but into happiness? Brilliantly researched, vividly imagined, and movingly written—a memorable climax to the Brides of Alba series.

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

My Thoughts:
I'm behind in my reading folks.  I've read just enough of Rebel to be drawn to the characters and be intrigued by their challenges, but I've not yet determined how their story will end, and I don't want to rush this story.  I've had a couple of unexpected challenges in my own life this week, and I'm just behind. 

I'm a huge fan of Linda Windsor's work, and will post a complete review in the next couple of days. I appologize for this inconvenience.  But produces the most unexpected events that you just have to hang on for the ride! I'm still on the ride and anxious to get off and find some time to read and enjoy Linda's excellent story.  Bear with me.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mary Magdalene by Diana Wallis Taylor - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from Revell Publishing)
One woman desperate for hope. One Savior with the power to heal.

A beautiful girl blossoming into womanhood, Mary has high hopes for a life filled with learning, family, and young love. In one dreadful night, all of that changes. The nightmares come first, then the waking visions of unspeakable terror, until Mary hardly remembers her dreams for the future.
Can the Most High deliver her from this torment? How long must she wait for healing?

This vivid portrait of the enigmatic Mary of Magdala comes to life in the hands of an imaginative master storyteller. Diana Wallis Taylor introduces you to a Mary who is both utterly original and respectful of the biblical account, opening your eyes to a redemption that knows no bounds.

My Thoughts:

Diana Wallis Taylor is an author that can bring biblical characters to life within accurate and authentic historical detail.  She is faithful to use only the details found in Scripture when telling about an event recorded in the Bible about her character. The details she uses to create the characters and the events that take place in their life are so rich and realistic that you are completely drawn into their world.  Mary Magdalene is her latest novel, and, as always, she weaves a breathtaking tale that will deeply touch your heart.

When I first began reading about Mary Magdalene during her young childhood, I couldn’t imagine how the author would lead us to the events Mary experienced as a follower of Jesus.  Taylor effortlessly brings the entire region and its characters to vivid life!  And when Mary begins to interact with Jesus and the disciples…and all that they experience…I still get chills just thinking about it!!
Don’t miss the novel!! And if it’s your first experience with Diana Taylor’s work, you are in for a terrific treat!! I am very excited about this novel!!

About the Author:
  Diana Wallis Taylor is the author of Journey to the Well and Martha, and has published many articles, and has contributed stories to several books. Taylor lives in California. Find out more at

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Heart's Key by Marianne Evans - REVIEWED

About the Book:
A chorus of faith sung in the key of second chances.

Once the effervescent leader of the pack, Amy Maxwell should have had the perfect marriage. Instead, she escapes with nothing but the clothes on her back and her daughter, Pyper.

Once the shy teen, Tyler Brock has evolved into a powerhouse in Christian music, and when he returns to Woodland for a benefit concert, Amy can’t believe he is as faithful and tender as ever. He even manages to touch the heart of a doubtful Pyper.

But Amy can’t escape her own self-doubt, and she questions the wisdom of her heart when it comes to the charismatic musician who is so different now, yet so much the same.

Can the key to their hearts unlock a lifetime of love?
My Thoughts:
Faith is a risk.  Faith always requires trust.  Faith requires vulnerability and absolute belief that, despite everything, God leads you to goodness.”
These are words that Amy Maxwell really needs to believe and embrace with her entire heart.  She has almost been able to receive the truth of these words, but her past is holding her captive.  Rather than believe God is blessing her with second chances in many areas of her life,  the pain of her past continues to whisper lies into her present, casting doubt and shadows over relationships that will move her boldly forward in her faith and every other aspect of her life.
Tyler Brock has overcome his shyness and embraced all that God has gifted him with, and when his life intersects with Amy more than a decade after they shared a high school mission trip, he must prove the sincerity and faithfulness of his intentions toward both Amy and her precious daughter Pyper.
There are many emotional and spiritual battles to be overcome in both Amy and Tyler’s lives, and it’s a very sweet, tender journey of growth and discovery as these two become reacquainted.  All of the characters in this story will become very dear to your heart as this story develops.  Their pain and joy are very real, and your heart will be deeply touched by the time you spend together.  I’m very glad to discover that there are more books in this series!
About the Author:
Marianne Evans is an award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God's love through the stories she creates.

Her career began when Kensington Publishing purchased her book, Friends & Lovers. Her second offering, Right Hand Man, followed shortly thereafter. Her third release from Kensington, Hannah's Heart, won critical acclaim from reviewers and in the local media.

Her fourth book marked her inspirational romance debut at White Rose Publishing - with the critically acclaimed novel Hearts Crossing. Hearts Crossing led to the creation of the four-book Woodland Series. The Woodland church romances center around the lifes and loves of parishioners who worship at a lakeside church located in suburban Detroit. Evans tackles the topic of a loving marriage fallen into turmoil in her Christian fiction debut, Devotion releasing soon from Harbourlight Books.

A lifelong resident of Michigan, Marianne is an active member of Romance Writers of America. She's a long-time member of Greater Detroit RWA where she served the chapter most notably as Chapter Treasurer and two terms as Chapter President. She also belongs to the Faith Hope and Love chapter of RWA, American Christian Fiction Writers, Mid-Michigan RWA and the Michigan Literary Network.

For more information, visit her website at: or her blog at

Monday, June 18, 2012

Chameleon by Jillian Kent

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:

Realms (May 15, 2012)

***Special thanks to Althea Thompson | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***


Jillian Kent has been a member of American Christian Fiction Writers for several years. She has also been a member of Romance Writers of America for 20 years and a member of The Beau Monde, Kiss of Death, and Faith, Hope, and Love specialty chapters of RWA. With a master’s degree in social work, Jillian is employed as a counselor for nursing students, which reflects within the pages of her first novel, Secrets of the Heart, which won the 2009 Inspiration for Writers contest and was a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier; the Noble Theme; and Faith, Hope, and Love’s Touched by Love contests.

Visit the author's website.


Lady Victoria Grayson has always considered herself a keen observer of human behavior, but when she finds herself involved in a sinister plot targeting the lords of Parliament she is forced to question how much anyone can really know about another human being.

Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Realms (May 15, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616384964
ISBN-13: 978-1616384968


We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character.

London, 29 March 1818

ST. JAMES PARK loomed in front of them, shrouded in a heavy mist that created difficulty for horse and driver as the coach and four maneuvered its way into the park.
Inside the vehicle Victoria leaned toward the window, straining to see the outline of trees. "Such a disappointment," she sighed. "This is not what I expected my very first morning in London. I'd so hoped to see more on the ride through the park, something exciting to tell Devlin when we get to his home."
"Don't despair, my lady." Nora, her maid, pulled a heavy shawl tighter about her shoulders. "'Tis sure to be the same mist that abounds in Yorkshire. This nuisance will lift eventually. It always does."
Victoria patted the sleek head of her dog. "Even Lazarus grows bored." She marveled at her best friend, a behemoth of a mastiff, as he lowered his bulk to the floor of the coach with a loud groan and laid his head across her slipper-covered feet, creating a comfortable warmth. He'd been with her for years, and she couldn't leave him behind. The poor dear would cry himself to sleep every night.

Victoria allowed the clip-clop of the horses’ hooves and Nora’s penchant for humming songs to lull her into a light sleep. Nora’s humming had comforted her all those years she’d been sick at Ravensmoore. While everyone else lived their busy lives out around her, she’d done little but survive, taking comfort in the small things that brought her joy.
A sudden crash caused the coach door to vibrate. Victoria screamed and bolted upright as Lazarus pressed his nose and giant paws against the carriage window. A low growl rumbled in his throat.
She grabbed the dog by the collar. Heart pounding, she turned to
Nora. “What was that?”
“Highwaymen!” Nora’s hand crept to her neck, and fear filled her eyes.
The coachman drew the horses to a halt and opened the top hatch. “I fear I may have run someone down, my lady, but in this fog I can’t tell.”
“We must find out at once. Someone may be hurt.” Victoria threw open the door, and Lazarus bounded into the mist. “Lazarus! Find!” She called after him, but he was already well on his way. She stepped from the coach, nearly tripping in her haste.
“Wait, my lady,” Nora cried. “’Tis not safe. Come back!”
The driver’s voice echoed through the mist. “You’ll lose your way, my lady. Stop where you are.”
But the warning wasn’t necessary. Victoria could hear Lazarus snuffling the ground someplace nearby. She bit her lip and told her- self to be brave, even as her heart slammed against her chest.
At the same time Lazarus let out a warning bark, the mist shifted. Victoria’s hand clamped over her mouth.
A man lay on his side only a few feet in front of her.
She shouted back to the coach. “I’ve found him! I need help.” She dropped to her knees and touched his shoulder. He didn’t move.


She touched his arm and gently shook it. “Sir, are you conscious? Are you injured?” But before she could investigate further, strong arms lifted her and turned her away from the sight. She assumed it was Mr. Smythe, the carriage driver.
“This is not something a lady should see,” the man said.
But as he turned her from the body, she caught a glimpse of the man’s head. She gasped. There was just enough light to see streaks of blood upon one deathly pale cheek.
“We hit him,” she cried. “The coach—” She lifted her head expecting to see the kind eyes of Mr. Smythe and met the warm, brilliant, gray eyes of a stranger. “Who . . . who are you? Who is he? Did we kill him?” She buried her face in her rescuer’s shoulder to rid her mind of the sight.
“It does not appear so, my lady,” he said, his voice low and comforting.
He deposited her inside the coach. Before she could speak, Lazarus bounded in next to her, rocking the vehicle precariously. She patted his head to calm him, and when she looked up at the man again, she saw only icy gray eyes and a rigid jaw line.
She studied those eyes momentarily and heard Nora say, “You poor dear. What is it that you saw?”
“Not the sight any young woman should witness, miss,” the stranger said. “But I believe I prevented her from viewing the worst of the man’s injuries.” He hesitated, then added, “This was no fault of the driver. Take care of this young woman. I’ll get help for the gentleman. Carlton House is nearby.”
“Nonsense,” Victoria whispered. “Use the coach. Our driver will take you.”
He nodded and bowed. “You’re very kind.”
She wondered if it had been her imagination or if his eyes fre- quently switched from an icy gray coolness to a warm molten gray


in only moments.. She wondered what this meeting might have been like under different circumstances.
“Be still,” Nora said. “You’ve had a shock.”
She heard the stranger and Mr. Smythe lifting the injured man to the driver’s seat. “God have mercy,” the driver said.
“I’ll show you to Carlton House through this heavy fog. He can get the help he needs there. Who am I indebted to?”
“I’m taking Lady Victoria Grayson and her maid to the lady’s brother.”
“And that would be?” “Lord Ravensmoore, sir.”
They approached Carlton House a few minutes later. Victoria clutched the edge of the seat, attempting to recover from what had happened and what she’d witnessed. As if he understood, Lazarus licked her hand. The coach came to a halt.
The fog still lay heavy on the ground. Victoria could barely make out the two figures moving toward the door and into the palace. But even as their images faded, her thoughts returned to the stranger who’d lifted her away from the bleeding man and carried her back to the coach. The stranger with strong arms and fascinating gray eyes.
Victoria found her strength as the fog lifted and patches of sun- light appeared through the trees, dappling the ground with their shadows. London came alive. Though her curiosity remained keen, she turned her thoughts to her brother and kept her mind on the joy it would be to see him again. He’d only been absent from their home at Ravensmoore for two months, but it seemed far longer.
She stared in unabashed awe at the sea of activity that sur- rounded them as their coach merged with others, making its way through the muddy, rutted streets. The crowded sidewalks teemed with people of all classes. Women in brilliant gowns of color swirled


past street urchins and beggars, meshing into an ever-shifting tap- estry of humanity.
She’d stepped into a world bigger than York, a world she’d only dreamed about. Victoria leaned back against the banquette and sighed. “Now that I can see it properly, London is magnificent.”
“I think it best if you have your brother examine you when we arrive, my lady Victoria. You know how he worries. You know how I worry. ’Tis a blessing to have a brother who is both a lord and physician.”
Victoria turned away from the window and assessed her maid. “I am no longer an invalid, Nora, and well you know it.” She lifted her chin a notch. “I’m stronger than either you or my brother realize.” Nora met her gaze, her brow furrowed with worry. Victoria lifted her hand to dismiss the words of warning she knew were sure to come. But Nora, having been her constant companion the past eleven years and knowing her so well, caught Victoria’s hand.
“Child, you’re pale and weary from our travels and that horrid incident in the park. ’Tis a good thing we’ve made this journey, but I think your brother will agree with me that you need to rest.”
“I’ve been resting my entire life. It’s time to live and catch up on the adventures that God has in store for me. How many times did you read Jeremiah twenty-nine, eleven to me throughout the years? Did you not believe those words yourself?”
Nora nodded, keeping her lips firmly pressed together in an obvious effort to curb her tongue. A difficult feat, Victoria under- stood and appreciated.
As if sensing the tension and hoping to break up an ensuing argument, Lazarus nuzzled and nudged Victoria’s attention away from her maid and back toward the window to watch a group of young boys chasing each other down the street. He barked and strained against the coach door. Victoria couldn’t move him from his place of entertainment if she’d tried.


“Such a window hound you are, Lazarus.” Victoria rubbed her hand over his big, sleek head, ruffling his ears. “If you wanted my attention, you would more readily share your window.” She smiled and turned her gaze toward the window on the opposite side. Men and women hawked their wares and called to them in hopes of making a profit. “You can do no wrong in my eyes, Lazarus. If you hadn’t been with us earlier, that poor man might still be lying in the park.” She tried to shake off the sense of dread that seeped through her pores. She refused to allow the upset of the morning to ruin her reunion with her brother.
“I’m sorry, Nora.” She studied the dark-haired, blue-eyed woman who was eleven years her senior. Nora had always seemed more of an aunt to her than a maid and companion.
“You’re forgiven.” A smile quirked the corners of her mouth. “You really are too pretty to continue caring for me much longer.
Why is it you haven’t yet married?”
Now Nora chose to gaze out the window to escape further inquiry. “I will when the time and the suitor are right.”
Victoria ended that line of questioning, and they rode in com- panionable silence the rest of the way, each lost in thought.
The busy streets gave way to quieter and more prestigious ave- nues as they made their way to Grosvenor Square and her brother’s London townhome. The quality of the air improved as they moved farther from the central streets and into the areas of the upper crust. The coach slowed and then pulled to a halt in front of number three, Devlin’s home.
“I cannot wait another moment.” Grabbing the handle of the coach door, Victoria stepped out onto the curb. Lazarus bounded out after her and onto the street.
“Good heavens! It’s a bear,” an elderly woman said, clinging to her husband.
Victoria smothered a grin. “He’s quite harmless.”


The couple hurried away from the dog.
Nora bolted from the coach and grabbed Lazarus by the collar, holding him fast as he strained to make chase.
“Thank you, Nora. Just in time.”
Victoria gathered her blue velvet traveling skirts and ran up the five steps to the entrance. She reached for the gilded knocker, hesi- tated, and then, after adjusting her gloves, started to grab the handle instead. But the door opened before her hand reached it.
Devlin’s butler appeared. A smile lit his face when he saw Victoria. “Lady Victoria,” he said, and then executed a most noble bow. When he straightened, his pleasure at seeing her was still apparent. “Welcome to London.”
“Henry!” Victoria said. “It is good to see you. Do you mind taking Lazarus? He adores you almost as much as I do.”
“For you I would take Lazarus on a walk to the ends of the earth,”
he said with cheerful amiability.
“Who is it that you are taking for a walk, Henry?” Devlin appeared in the doorway, tall and handsome with that brotherly smile of his and assessing green-eyed gaze. “Ah, there she is. My favorite imp. What took you so long? I expected you yesterday.” He held out his arms. “Are you well?”
“I believe so. We stopped at a nearby inn last evening. The rain made travel a bit difficult.” Victoria burrowed deep into her brother’s warm, comforting embrace. “I’ve missed you, Dev,” she whispered into his chest and squeezed him tight. “I’ve missed you so much.”
“And I, you.” Devlin held her at arm’s length. “It’s good to see you. Now, come in and tell me all about your journey and how my wife is doing at home without me.” He looked up at Nora. “Has she behaved herself on this trip, Nora?”
Her companion grinned. “Nothing out of the ordinary for Lady
Victoria, yer lordship.”


“That speaks volumes.” Devlin gently pinched his sister’s cheek. “Henry, I believe Nora would love to hear about town.”
“Of course, yer lordship. Welcome to London, Nora. Would you care to accompany me? And allow me to take Lazarus off your hands.”
“Bless you for that, Henry. He wears me down too quickly.” “Come along, Lazarus.” He accepted the leash from Nora and
quickly fastened it to the dog’s collar.
Nora nodded. “It will help me find my balance again after a long, bumpy, and perilous ride in the coach. I’ll catch you up with all that’s happened back at Ravensmoore.”
Devlin started to enter the house with Victoria and then turned back to Henry. “And Henry,” he called, “don’t forget to feed the beast before you return him to Victoria.”
“Feed him, sir? And just who should be the sacrifice? Lazarus has a shine to his eyes, and I’m thinking it is for me.”
“Get creative, man. Start with Cook.”
“Now, there’s a right smart answer,” Henry said and laughed. “Mrs. Miller will faint dead away.”
Devlin grinned, a wicked glint in his green eyes. “If Cook has the nerve to faint, let Lazarus nibble at her.”
“Devlin!” Victoria feigned horror. “What an outlandish thing to say.” She covered a grin. “That would bring her around faster than smelling salts.”
She turned to watch Lazarus leading Henry and Nora down the street. Her thoughts fled to what might be happening at Carlton House. A shudder crept up her spine. She decided to wait to tell Devlin of her experience in the park. Guilt niggled, but she just wasn’t ready to divulge that bit of information. After all, her freedom was at stake. One thought of her in danger, and Devlin would ship her back to York before she got settled in. No doubt


Nora would reveal all if she didn’t stop her maid when she returned from the walk.
“Are you cold?” Devlin asked, assessing her carefully. “Come in. You must be exhausted.”
“Not really. The ride was but a couple of hours.” “No adventures during your journey, Snoop?”
She loved his pet name for her. She was more than a bit curious about everything life had to offer, and Devlin used her nickname more often than her given name. “Adventures? What could possibly happen on a two-hour ride into town?” She swallowed hard, hoping her expression didn’t give her away. She would tell him when the time was right.
“Knowing you, just about anything.”
“I promise to give you a full report.” Eventually. And as she stepped into her brother’s townhome, she wondered how she could discover more about her gray-eyed stranger and the bloodied man he’d taken to Carlton House.

Jonathon Denning, Lord Witt, nearly collided with the guard on duty while carrying Lord Stone into Carlton House.
“Send for the regent and his physician immediately,” he ordered. “There’s been an accident. I need a place where Lord Stone can be treated, and privacy is a must. Not a word of this leaves your lips. Do you understand?”
The guard nodded and headed toward one of the pages standing nearby. “You heard Lord Witt. Be off with you, and hurry, Thomas.”
Witt watched as the page fled down a long corridor.
“Follow me, Lord Witt. We’ll take him upstairs to the guest lodg- ings. Allow me to carry him.”
“I can manage,” Witt muttered. “Go, man. Lead the way, and make sure you choose a room that is not easily found.”


The guard wasted no time, and after climbing to the second floor, Witt lay Stone on a four-poster bed surrounded by green drapes. Out of breath, Witt collapsed into a chair, mentally taking stock of all that had happened in the period of a mere half hour.
The guard paled when he saw the severity of Lord Stone’s wounds. “Not a word. Remember that, or I’ll have your post. Now draw those drapes and leave. Send a decanter of brandy. I need a drink.
Better yet, send two.”
Witt sat in a chair near the bed and tried to think about what to do next, as the regent was sure to ask his opinion. He’d been a valued spy during the war, and the regent frequently asked his advice. He sat forward and rested his head in his hands. He’d simply gone out for an early morning walk before Parliament, heard the coach approaching, and scrambled to get out of the way before he was run down.
The muffled sounds of an obviously disturbed dog had fired him to action. He ran a short distance through the mist and then had come upon a well-dressed lady, her massive dog, and Lord Stone. One look at the huge dog had almost caused him to retreat, but he couldn’t leave a young woman to deal with what he’d seen of Stone’s face.
The driver had said the woman was Ravensmoore’s sister. Ironic, since he’d been keeping an eye on the “Lord Doctor” at Prinny’s request.
Prinny, as the regent was known amongst the ton, didn’t know if he liked the idea of one of his lords working as a physician. A nobleman working a trade drew suspicion. What was the point? Although Ravensmoore’s reputation had been spotless when he’d come into his title, it was anticipated that he would leave the study of medicine to manage his estate. Instead he’d pursued this obses- sion that he referred to as a calling and allowed his man of affairs


to run his estate when he was forced to be absent. Prinny wanted to know if there was more to it or if Ravensmoore was simply eccentric.
He heard the unhappy growling of the regent and his doctor as they neared the suite of rooms. Witt steeled himself.
“What in the name of all that is reasonable has caused this incon- venience?” roared Prinny when he burst through the outer sitting room. He was still steaming as he entered the bedroom with his physician in tow.
Witt stood. “Your Royal Highness.” He bowed. “Lord Stone has been attacked. I found him in the park. He needs your physician’s immediate attention.”
The overstuffed physician huffed. “I’ll decide what necessitates immediate attention, Lord Witt.”
“Then I suggest you make the determination.” Witt nodded toward the bed. The physician hesitated.
The regent said, “Get on with it. I’m busy today. For the love of good food, Parliament reconvenes this afternoon.”
The physician huffed again and went to the bed, grabbing the drapes and pulling them back. “Great heavens. What’s happened to the man?” He opened the black bag he carried with him. “I’ll need a nursemaid.”
Prinny then stepped closer to evaluate Stone’s condition himself. He sucked in a breath. “The poor devil! Get on with it, doctor. Do everything you can to save him.” The regent, visibly shaken, looked at Witt. “Tell me everything. What happened? We must find out who did this to Stone.”
“Your Majesty.” The physician turned from the bed with a bloody missive in his shaking hand. “I found this pinned to his waistcoat. A warning.”
“Who dares?” He snatched the paper away and read it. “Lord
Witt, today’s session of Parliament must be canceled.” Witt arched a brow.


Prinny handed him the blood-stained parchment.
Witt read the note aloud. “‘You have been found guilty of con- spiring with sinful men for sinful purposes. I will now handle the situation as I see fit. Stone is only the first. Repent, you lords of par- liament.’ And it’s signed, ‘Lord Talon.’”
“Curse this Lord Talon.” Prinny looked to Witt for direction. “We must decide the best course of action, and soon. No one has dared attack a member of Parliament since Bellingham assassinated our prime minister, and that was six years ago.”
Ravensmoore came to mind, but Witt faltered for just a moment. No doubt the man was the best there was, and his skills badly needed. But his sister had only just arrived in London, and this sit- uation could put her and her brother in danger. An edge of uneasi- ness rippled down his back.
“Witt,” the regent said. “What is your recommendation?”
Witt took charge. “We must proceed with caution. Tell no one about the note. Not yet. And don’t say anything to anyone about the signature of this Lord Talon. I suggest we ask Lord Ravensmoore to join us immediately. Having a physician who is a peer can prove most helpful.”
The regent paced and mumbled to himself, seemingly in a struggle to make a decision. Finally he said, “Send for him.”


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren - REVIEWED

About the Book:(from David C Cook Publishing)

The first book in the Grand Tour series, Glamorous Illusions will take readers on a pilgrimage through Europe-and straight into the soul.

It’s the summer of 1913 and Cora Kensington’s life on the family farm has taken a dark turn. After burying the only father she’s ever known, she lost her beau in a tragic accident. Then a stranger comes to call. In one fateful afternoon, Cora discovers that her birth father is a copper king-a man who invites her to tour Europe with her new family. As she travels from England to France, Cora faces the hardships as well as the privileges of assuming the family name. And though now she knows more of her true identity, she soon discovers the journey is only beginning.

My Thoughts:

With God’s help, I could conquer the seas ahead.  Whatever storms I encountered on the path before me.  I was not alone.  My God traveled with me.  What I’d learned from Mama and Papa with me still.  God makes me strong, I thought, capable.”  (p152)

I never cease to be amazed at the unexpected ways that God weaves His truth into works of fiction. He is truly the author of all of our stories, isn’t He?  Lea T. Bergren has always told a terrific tale, and Glamorous Illusions is no exception! As a matter of fact, she really surprised me with this story’s ending! I never saw that coming!  And what a way to illustrate the truth that Cora discovers by the time you reach the final page! Brilliant!

Cora Kensington…or is that her name?  Who is she? Where does she belong?  Truly, this young lady is ripped from one life and virtually painted into another.  The circumstances are completely beyond her control, and at times, everything seems very surreal.  God is faithful to place people into her path that help illuminate the way, and the journey becomes one of discovery in every sense of the word.  Cora grows emotionally and spiritually to the point that the confidence that develops in her heart is evident in her physical countenance.

Isn’t that just like God?  He breathes life into our very souls and brings such peace that everyone around us wonders what change has overcome us. Cora doesn’t turn away from these changes.  She finds the courage to embrace all of them without sacrificing the gifts that God has given her.  May I grow in grace as Cora did in this story!  Excellent in every way! Don’t miss this novel!

About the Author:
  Lisa T. Bergren is the best-selling, award-winning author of over thirty books, with more than 1.5 million copies sold. A former publishing executive, she now splits her time working as a freelance editor and business consultant and parenting her three young children with husband Tim. She lives in Colorado Springs.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Treasures of Healthy Living by Annette Reeder - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from the Publisher)
 Did you know you can find the answers to many health problems in the pages of Scripture?

Think of God's Word as a treasure map that leads straight to the healthy life you've always dreamed of. It reveals how you can move from a sickly, lackluster life to one that is full of energy and hope.

This practical Bible study will reveal the truth about the foods you eat and provide simple tools to begin improving your physical, emotional, and spiritual health. You won't believe how much your life can change when you grab hold of the treasures God has provided for you. In this Bible study, you will:
  •  Discover the basics of nutrition to build a firm foundation for your health 
  • Obtain the tools you need to evaluate and improve your health
  • Examine the harmful effects of altered food and household products 
  • Find healthy alternatives to unwholesome foods 
  •  Learn how diet, exercise, and your spiritual life go hand-in-hand
  •  Lay the groundwork for a lifetime of positive health  

My Thoughts:
Over the past several years I have learned a lot about what my body needs to be healthy and what taking care of my body means to me long term.  However, I realize that there is much I don’t know, and I was intrigued to discover what God’s Word said about the way I take care of my body.  I never dreamed that there was so much information to ponder!

Treasures of Healthy Living is arranged in daily portions (pun intended) with many opportunities to study Scripture, write it down,  and make personal application to your life.  I haven’t had time to complete the entire book, but so far I’m impressed by the fact that the author allows plenty of room for the Holy Spirit to lead the reader to truth throughout the study.  Many times the author leads the reader to Scripture and then asks you to “…consider what God is telling you.”  It’s kind of hard to NOT like that kind of learning opportunity.  While the authors will tell you what they have learned on their journey’s, they know that God will lead you to the wisdom you need to make needed changes in your own life. There is no “formula” or “potion” to make you healthy.  God’s Word contains all of the wisdom and precepts needed to live healthy in this world.

Like I said, I haven’t gone completely through the book, but I’m impressed by the amount of information contained in the book about foods of all types.  The information of common maladies like dehydration and low levels of vital nutrients is sound and practical.  There is nothing sensational about this book. Its practical, Spirit-filled pages will teach you a right way to view your body and its health through Biblical perspective!  That’s amazing!

I’m anxious to share this with others and to learn all I can from God’s Word about how to care for the body He created!  This is a fabulous book!
About the Author:   Annette Reeder, a Biblical Nutrition Consultant, is leading people all around the country on an adventure with the power of food to change lives one meal and prayer at a time. Annette is a graduate of Liberty University and Huntington College Health Sciences and the founder of Designed Healthy Living a nutrition consulting ministry.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Choose Joy by Kay Warren - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from Revell Publishing)

Everyone knows how to be joyful in the peaks of life.
I've graduated!
I'm engaged!
I've been hired!
I'm having a baby!
I'm cancer-free!

When all your fondest hopes and wildest dreams come true, and your heart nearly explodes with happiness, it's easy to feel joyful.
But what about the valleys? When nothing seems to go your way? When everything is falling apart? When God is silent, and you feel all alone?
Where does joy fit into those moments?
In Choose Joy, acclaimed author and Christian leader Kay Warren shares the path to experiencing soul-satisfying joy no matter what you're going through. Joy is deeper than happiness, lasts longer than excitement, and is more satisfying than pleasure and thrills. Joy is richer. Fuller. And it's far more accessible than you've thought.
Joy comes from God . . . and it can be yours! Today.
My Thoughts:

Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything Is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.” (p. 31)
Kay Warren uses this definition of joy throughout  this amazing book to show readers that joy – real, lasting joy, doesn’t depend on our circumstances, but rather who God is and what Christ has done to redeem us from sin and ourselves.  Using personal experiences and examples, and a very honest voice, Warren teaches some very powerful truths from God’s Word. This is, as I’ve already stated, an amazing book!
Once again, a God appointment in my life, I’ve learned some very solid truths about God, and some very unflattering things about my own spiritual condition. I’m just being honest. But there is HOPE! God is working in my heart and teaching me things – growing me in my faith – and drawing me closer to Him. I am learning what God’s definition of joy is in a very real way.
My highlighter and Bible were employed throughout this wonderful book, and I will be re-reading very soon! We serve an amazing God, folks! He can bring joy into your life that the world can never change. Praise HIM!!!

Needless to say, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!! It’s amazing! Be blessed!!
About the Author:
 Kay Warren cofounded Saddleback Church with her husband Rick Warren in Lake Forest, California. She is a passionate Bible teacher and respected advocate for those infected with and affected by HIV and AIDS, as well as orphaned and vulnerable children. She founded Saddleback's HIV/AIDS Initiative. Kay is the author of Say Yes to God and coauthor of Foundations, the popular systematic theology course used by churches worldwide. She has three children and five grandchildren.
Learn more at and follow her on Facebook (Kay Warren) and Twitter (@KayWarren1).