Sunday, February 26, 2012


Here are the winners!

Mercy Come Morning: Judy

His Steadfast Love: Diana Flowers

Sunrise on the Battery: Vera

Not This Time: Susan

Check your e-mails (they will be sent shortly), if for some reason you do not get one email me at jen.whitney08(at)gmail(dot)com

Thank you all for participating and following my blog, be on the lookout for a couple more giveaways in March!

Thank you all for sharing your favorite versus! On of my favorites is Psalm 25:16-21

'Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish. Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. See how my enemies have increased and how fiercely they hate me! Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you."

This is not on of those that you always hear but once I heard it it stuck with me! I like it because it is a reminder that we all have struggles and how the world has always been against us but that in the end things will be okay because our Hope is in God.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Prize of My Heart by Lisa Norato

About the Book:

Massachusetts, 1815.
Will His Love Endure Once He Learns Her Secret?

Three years ago, Captain Brogan Talvis's late wife abandoned their son, leaving no clue as to the boy's whereabouts. After searching relentlessly, Brogan discovers his son was adopted by a New England shipbuilder. And the man's daughter, Lorena Huntley, acts as loving guardian to the child.

Lorena, who hides a dark truth, finds herself falling for the handsome captain and ex-privateer who's come to secure ownership of one of her father's ships. She's unaware of Brogan's own secret when another's deceit has her sailing toward Europe against her will.

Haunted by thoughts of Lorena in peril, Brogan is compelled to choose between the boy he longs for and the woman who has captured his heart.

My Review:

Lisa Norato sweeps you into 1815 Massachusetts with a great cast of characters including the lovable and playful Drew, the elegant and caring Lorena and the rugged and gentle spirited Brogan. Prize of my Heart captured me from the very beginning and kept me reading till the final page. When reading a book many of us tend to make a prediction to what will happen, and while I did this I was blown away that I was wrong. Lisa weaves many twists and turns into this book. Some were more disappointing than other but others were even better than I could imagine. I loved watching Brogran interact with his son and the tenderness he gives him. He played games with him, listened to his stories and loved him like a father should. This is truly a heartwarming story! 

This is a story of deceit, perseverance, determination, redemption, love and second chances and a book that will delight all who read it. Final rating 4.5 out of 5 stars.

*Thank you Bethany House and the Author for providing me with this copy in exchange for my honest review.

Words Spoken True by Ann H. Gabhart

About the Book:

One woman stands ready to defend her newspaper . . . even if it means losing out on love

Adriane Darcy was practically raised in her father's newspaper offices. With ink in her veins, she can't imagine life without the clatter of the press and the push to be first to write the news that matters. Their Tribune is the leading paper in Louisville in 1855.

When Blake Garrett, a brash young editor from the North with a controversial new style of reporting, takes over a competing newspaper, the battle for readers gets fierce. After Adriane and Blake meet at a benefit, their surprising mutual attraction is hard to ignore. Still, Blake is the enemy, and Adriane is engaged to the son of a powerful businessman who holds the keys to the Tribune's future. Blake will stop at almost nothing to get the story--and the girl.

Set against the volatile backdrop of political and civil unrest in 1850s Louisville, this exciting story of love and loyalty will hold you in its grip until the very last page.

My Review:

Words Spoken True by Ann H. Gabhart is a delightful story set in 1850's Louisville during a time of political unrest. While the story is entirely fiction the history of the time period is fairly accurate and that makes this story interesting. This book is full of a lot including dueling newspapers, an unusual engagement, the mystery of the river slasher killing young Irish girls and more. There is a ton of romantic tension with Adriane Darcy and her strange engagement to Stanley and her draw to Blake Garret who works for the rival newspaper. 

While this book had an intriguing plot, a setting that is not as commonly written in and many twists and turns I found my self having a hard time getting into the book. I found the first third of the book to move very slowly and I am the type of person that wants to be grabbed from page one. I will say I loved the setting of the story and hope to see more books written during that time period in the future. Also, the cover is spectacular!  In conclusion, this is a great story in the end and is worth sticking it with it. Final rating 3.9 out of 5.

* Thank you Revell for providing me a copy of the book in return for my honest opinion.

**Available February 2012 from Revell, a division of Baker Publishers**

Friday, February 24, 2012

Creative Slow-Cooker Meals by Cheryl Moeller

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

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

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

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

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


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

Visit the author's website.


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

Don’t worry about your dinner being reduced to a mushy stew. Each of the more than 200 recipes has been taste-tested at Cheryl’s table. Join the Moeller family as you dig into:
  • Harvest-time Halibut Chowder
  • Salmon and Gingered Carrots
  • Mediterranean Rice Pilaf
  • Indian Chicken Curry
  • Apricot-Pistachio Bread
  • Shrimp Creole
  • Rhubarb Crisp

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

Product Details:
List Price: $14.99
Spiral-bound: 272 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Spi edition (February 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736944915
ISBN-13: 978-0736944915

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

My Review:

I have been starting to cook with a slow cooker more and more and was looking forward to this cookbook in hopes to add more recipes to my collection. Unfortunately I have been disappointed with this cookbook and I am not sure how often I will try recipes from it. Some of the things that I disliked was there were no pictures, the spiral binding was not constructed well which makes it hard to turn the pages and too many recipes that did not interest me. This is not a basic meat, veggie, and potatoes cookbook and found many odd and strange combinations. Many of the recipes you really do not need to use a slow cooker for and require a lot more prep then dump a bunch of stuff in it and walk away. I am sure there are some people who will enjoy the recipes if there taste is for different. Final rating 2 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman

About the Book:

Graced with physical beauty, though shallow of heart, Charity O'Connor is a woman who knows what she wants. She sets her sights on the cantankerous Mitch Dennehy, editor at the Irish Times, who has unwittingly stolen her heart. And although the sparks are there, Mitch refuses to fan the coals of a potential relationship with his ex-fiancee's sister. But Charity has a plan to turn up the heat and she always gets what she wants--one way or another. Is revenge so sweet after all? Or will Charity get burned?

Full of intense passion, betrayal, and forgiveness, A Passion Redeemed will delight Lessman's fans and draw new ones.

My Review:

What a fantastic book! After reading A Passion Most Pure I just knew I was going to love this book, well I sure did love it and I think I loved it even more! Julie Lessman does an amazing job at weaving together this story filled with so many characters, multiple plot lines and so much depth that I started to forget that the characters were just fictional. She is an author truly blessed by God with the gift of writing and I am so grateful that I have found her books. They will remain favorites forever!

In the first book I neither liked nor disliked Charity, I just kind of found her annoying and obnoxious but in this book I came to love her so much and really wanted the best for her. She, like so many of us do, took the hard route in life before realizing that she needed to trust God with all her heart, soul and mind! It was so hard to see her getting as hurt as she did because she was choosing to live life with out God. Though I could relate to that since I too thought I could do it on my own at times and it never works. In the end Charity learns the great lesson to trust in God's perfect timing and know that He love's you and wants the best for you. In this book, I also fell in love with one of the secondary characters, Emma, who had been hurt time and time again and still has a gentle spirit and a trust in God. Wow, what a role model there!

Well, since I gave the first book in the series 10 stars out of 5, this one must get at least 11 out of 5!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Not in the Heart by Chris Fabry

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:

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (January 20, 2012)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings – The B&B Media Group – for sending me a review copy.***


As a child, Chris Fabry wrote stories, songs and poems. The creative process invigorated him. He may not have been a fast reader, but the words on the page had a deep effect. So he vowed that if he ever had the chance to write, he would take it.

After high school, Fabry attended and graduated from the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University in Huntington, WV. After graduation, Fabry and his wife felt a desire for biblical education, so his pastor suggested they check out Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. At Moody, Fabry met Jerry Jenkins who learned of his desire to write and encouraged him to pursue his dream. In 1998, Jenkins and Dr. Tim LaHaye hired him to write Left Behind: The Kids series. He wrote 35 books in that series over the next six years. He later collaborated with Jenkins on the Red Rock Mysteries series and The Wormling series, and in 2008 he worked solo on the NASCAR-based RPM series.

Since then he has published four novels for adults: Dogwood, June Bug, Almost Heaven and his newest novel, Not in the Heart. Each of his first three books was nominated for a Christy Award in the Contemporary Standalone Category, winning in 2009 for Dogwood and in 2011 for Almost Heaven. In addition to his fiction work, Fabry also collaborated on two best-selling football biographies with Ohio State’s Jim Tressel and Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints. Altogether, Fabry has published more than 70 books for children and adults.

Fabry’s other passion is broadcasting. As part of the DECCA program in high school, he worked at WNST Radio in Milton, WV. During his senior year at Marshall University, he worked for WSAZ-TV as a weekend reporter. In 1985, he began hosting Open Line, a national call-in show which he hosted until 1997. In 1993, he began a six-year stint as co-host of Mornings with Greg and Chris on WMBI in Chicago. Then in May of 2008 he began Chris Fabry Live! which received the 2008 Talk Personality of the Year Award from the National Religious Broadcasters. He can also be heard daily on Love Worth Finding, featuring the teaching of the late Dr. Adrian Rogers.

Chris and his wife of almost 30 years, Andrea, are the parents of nine children.

Visit the author's website.


Truman Wiley used to report news stories from around the world, but now the most troubling headlines are his own. He’s out of work, out of touch with his family, out of his home. But nothing dogs him more than his son’s failing heart.

With mounting hospital bills and Truman’s penchant for gambling his savings, the situation seems hopeless . . . until his estranged wife throws him a lifeline—the chance to write the story of a death row inmate, a man convicted of murder who wants to donate his heart to Truman’s son.

As the execution clock ticks down, Truman uncovers disturbing evidence that points to a different killer. For his son to live, must an innocent man die? Truman’s investigation draws him down a path that will change his life, his family, and the destinies of two men forever.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 432 pages

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (January 20, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1414348614

ISBN-13: 978-1414348612


30 days before execution

The trouble with my wife began when she needed Jesus and I
needed a cat. Life can be that way. That’s part of the reason I was on Sanibel
Island in the cottage I had always dreamed of owning and she was in Tallahassee
tending to the sick son of our youth. But it’s more complicated. There was more
troubling me than religion or people who think problems can be solved with a
leap of faith.

Said cottage was a tiny house that seems to be the rage
among those who believe we are warming the planet with each exhale. I didn’t
buy it because of that, but I recycle my Coors Light cans. My little
contribution to the cause. Lately it’s been a hefty contribution. There was one
bedroom in the back and a little bathroom, a walk-through kitchen, and a living
area that I used as an office. Murrow usually sat in the window looking out at
the beach with as much interest as I have in paying both of my mortgages. It’s
not that I don’t want to pay. I can’t.

I was on the bed, surfing news sites, fueling the ache about
my lack of direction and lack of a job. The satellite TV company disconnected
me a few months ago, so I got my news online from the unprotected network of a
neighbor who can’t encrypt his wireless router.

I could see the downsizing coming in every area of the
conglomerate media company. I knew it would hit the newsroom, but I always
thought when the music stopped, I would have a chair. What I got was severance,
a pat on the back, and a shelf full of awards I stuffed into a suitcase that
sat in the attic of a cottage I couldn’t afford.

I closed my laptop and told Murrow I’d be back, as if she
cared, and walked barefoot out the front door and down the long, wooden
stairway to the beach. I bought this cottage for these long, head-clearing
walks. The sound of the waves crashing against doubts and fears. The smell of
the ocean and its salty cycle of life and death.

A mom and a dad dressed in white strolled along the beach
with two kids who squealed every time the water came close.

I walked the other way.

The phone rang as I passed a dead seagull. Not a good omen.

“Tru, it’s me.”

The woman of my dreams. The woman of my nightmares.
Everything good and bad about my life. The “I do” that “I didn’t.”

“Ellen. What’s up?”

“How are you?” She said it with a measure of compassion, as
if she weren’t holding back years of boiling anger. As if she didn’t have
something else she wanted to ask me and wasn’t just setting the stage for the
coup de grâce.

“I’m good. Just taking a walk on the beach.”

Wish you weren’t here. Wish you
weren’t still in my head. Wish you hadn’t called. Wish the last twenty years
were something I could bury in the sand. What were you thinking marrying a guy
like me? My life is a sand castle and my days are wind and water.

“Hear anything back yet? Any offers?”

“There’s nothing plural about my job prospects. Not even
singular. I did hear from the Fox station in Des Moines yesterday. They went
with somebody with longer hair and bigger lungs.”

She spoke with a wry smile. “It’s only a matter of time; you
know that.”

“Right. It’s always been a matter of time, hasn’t it?”

She let the irony hang there between us, and I could picture
her in her wedding dress and without it. Then the first time we met in the
university newsroom, big glasses and frilly blouse. Hair that smelled like the
ocean and felt like silk. A sharp wit, infectious laugh, and the tenacity of a
bloodhound on every story she covered. I thought we were always going to be on
the same page, but somehow I kept chasing headlines and she moved to the Life

“I have something that might interest you,” she said.

“How old is she?” I’m not always a smart aleck with the
people I love. When I’m asleep, they tell me I don’t say much of anything.

“It’s not a she. It’s a he with a pretty good story. A great
story. A life changer.”

“Not into guys.”

She sighed and plowed ahead. “Have you heard of Terrelle

That was like asking a history major if she’d ever heard of
Alexis de Tocqueville. “I know he’s facing the needle.”

“Right. Next month.”

“Wonder what his last meal will be. How do they choose that
anyway? Shrimp and steak or lobster bisque? Macaroni and cheese? How can you
enjoy a meal knowing you only have hours left? Or what movie to watch? What
would you choose?”

“I know his wife, Oleta. She wants somebody to write the
story from his perspective. The whole family does.”

I laughed. “In thirty days or less.”

“They’ve scraped up some money. Not much, but it could
probably help.”

“How much is ‘probably’?”

“I don’t know exactly, but I was thinking you could call
Gina and find out if—”

“I’m not with Gina or the agency anymore. She dropped me.
Said it was a hard decision on their part. I guess they took a vote.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Just another bump in the literary highway. I don’t think writing
is my thing, anyway.” I said it halfheartedly, coaxing some kind of compliment.

“You’re a great writer,” she obliged. “You haven’t had as
many opportunities lately, but . . .”

“I haven’t had any politicians who want to be president or
sports stars who’ve been accused of steroids approach me in a few years. That’s
what you mean,” I said. “Where did you meet Olatha?”

“Oleta. I met her at church.”

Groan. How did I know that was coming?

I paused at a sand castle that had been constructed with
several five-gallon buckets. Towels and chairs had been abandoned for the
moment. Water filled the moat, and I heard laughter from a bungalow perched
like a lighthouse above. A couple in love.

“You must have some idea of how much.”

“A few thousand. We didn’t talk about that. The important
thing . . . it’s not just an opportunity for you. It’s for

“Now you’re really getting cryptic. You want to back up?”

“Terrelle’s wife is in a study group with me. She’s known
about Aiden’s condition for years. Always asks for updates. Terrelle came up
with the idea—he wants to be a donor. A second chance for Aiden.”

I should have been doing cartwheels. Our eighteen-year-old
son could get a new lease on life? Instead, I was skeptical, like any good
journalist. “Ellen, there’s no chance. Do you know how long something like that
would take?”

“It’s been in process for a while.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“You haven’t exactly been available.”

“The prison system, the authorities, they’ll never let

“The governor is taking it seriously. I’ve heard he’s
working with the legislature. It’s not a done deal, but there’s a chance.”

The governor. The hair rose on the back of my neck.

“Ellen, there’s some law firm in Tallahassee salivating at
all the appeals and counterappeals that are going to happen. This is less than
a long shot.”

“Yeah, but right now it’s looking like a pretty good long
shot.” There was emotion in her voice and for the first time I noticed noise in
the background.

“Where are you?”

She swallowed hard and I imagined her wiping away a tear. My
wife has had plenty of practice.

“At the hospital again,” she said. “ICU.”

I cursed under my breath and away from the phone. Not just
because of all the hospital bills I knew were coming my way, but also because
this was my son. I’ll be honest—the bills were the first thing I thought of,
but picturing him hooked up to tubes and needles again crushed me.

“How is he?”

“Not good. They’re monitoring him. Same story.”

“How long have you been there?”

“Since late last night. He was having trouble breathing.
Lots of pain. He asks about you.”

Guilt. She had to get that in there, didn’t she?

“Tell him to hang in there, okay?”

“Come see him. It would mean so much.”

“Yeah. I will.” I said it fast, though I knew I’d have to
launder all the cat hair from my clothes because Aiden’s deathly allergic to
cats just like I’m allergic to the inside of the death chamber.

Someone spoke over the intercom near her and the sound took
me back to those first days when I wasn’t as scared of hospitals. Back then I
could watch a movie or a TV show with a medical setting. Now I can’t even watch
the TV promos. My chest gets tight and the smell of alcohol and Betadine and
the shape of needles invades, mingling with the cries of a young child in pain
and another memory of a man on a gurney.

We discovered Aiden’s heart malady by accident. Ellen was
into natural food, natural medicine, whole-grain seaweed sandwiches and eggs
that came from free-range chickens who had bedtime stories read to them each
night before they settled into their nests. Natural childbirth with a midwife.
All that stuff. She was convinced antibiotics were the forbidden fruit, so she
didn’t run to the HMO every time our kids were sick. But something told her to
take Abby in for some chest congestion she couldn’t get rid of. Aiden was with
her, and on a lark the doctor placed the stethoscope on his chest.

Ellen cried when she tried to explain the look on the
woman’s face. They’d missed it when he was born.

That sent us on a crash course of congenital heart defects
and a series of surgeries and treatments that would change our lives. Ellen
hates hospitals as much as I do, but you do what you must for your kids.

“Terrelle has the same blood type,” Ellen said. “He’s about
the same size as Aiden, maybe a little smaller, which is good.”

“Ellen, you know this is not going to happen, right? There
are so many hoops and holes. They don’t let doctors execute people.”

“There are guidelines, but they don’t have a problem
harvesting organs from an already-deceased donor.”

“Anybody who’s pro-life will howl. I thought you were

“I am, but this is something Terrelle wants.”

“Doesn’t matter. They harvest organs from prisoners in
China, but we’re not in China.” Though you wouldn’t know it by shopping at

“I know all that. But I also know my son is going to die.
And Terrelle and his wife want something good to come out of their tragedy.
They asked if you would write his story. I got to thinking that maybe . . .”

She broke a little and hearing her cry felt like some lonely
prayer drifting away and hitting the empty shores of heaven. Not that I believe
there is one, but you know, metaphorically speaking.

“You were thinking what?” I said.

“Maybe all of this is not really for Aiden. Maybe all we’ve
been through in the last eighteen years is for somebody else. If they deny
Terrelle’s request and Aiden doesn’t make it, maybe writing this story will
make a difference for someone down the road.”

Her altruism was more than I could handle. “Look, I don’t
care about all the people with sick kids. I don’t care about prisoners who want
to make up for their crimes. I don’t care about protesters or the politicians
who’ve found a wedge issue. I just want my son to live. Is that asking too

The emotion surprised me and I noticed the family in white
had changed direction but now quickly herded their children away from me.

It was Ellen’s turn to sound collected. “Do you have time to
work on something like that in the next thirty days? It would at least pay a
few bills.”

“If they’re trying to get a stay of execution, they need to
go straight to the press. Forget a book deal, forget a magazine exposé—it’s
already too late. Get somebody at one of the local stations to pick it up and
run with it—”

“Tru, they don’t want a stay. He wants to give his heart to
Aiden. And somebody has to get the story down before it’s over. No matter how
it goes, this will make a great story.”

I was already mulling titles in my head. A Heart from Death Row. Change of Heart. Pitter-Pat. Life in
Vein. Aorta Made a Better Choice.

She continued, “They know your history. What you’ve seen.
How you’re against the death penalty and why. For all your faults, Tru, you’re
the best reporter I’ve ever known. You get to the heart of the story like
nobody else. I think you should consider it.”

The Heart of the Story. Another
good title. I could tell she was buttering me up. I love being buttered up by
lovely women. But I hate the complications of life with beautiful women.

“I don’t write evangelical tracts.”

“Why are you so stubborn?” she whisper-screamed at me. Her
voice had an echo like she had moved into the bathroom or stairwell. “Why do
you have to look at this as some kind of spiritual conspiracy against you
instead of a gift? This is being handed to you on a platter. Don’t push it
away. I don’t care if you agree with them about God. You didn’t agree with
every sports figure or politician.”

“The only way I know how to do this job is to ferret out the
truth and tell it. Flat out. The way I see it. And if you’re expecting me to
throw in the third verse of a hymn every other chapter and quote the Gospel of
Terrelle, I can’t do that. Call somebody from the Christian right.”

“Tru, it’s because of who you are and how you tell the story
that they want you. Just talk with her. Let her explain. If you don’t like the
situation, they’ll go somewhere else. But they have to act quickly.”

The sun was coming down behind me and the wind picked up off
the water. I could smell the first hint of an impending storm. Or maybe I
forgot my deodorant.

“I’ll think about it.”

I hadn’t been gone that long, but as I walked up the
stairs, I heard a vehicle pulling away from the house. The taillights had
disappeared into the distance by the time I made it to my front door.

Murrow was still in the window, looking down on me with that
superior look. Humans are such a waste of oxygen,
she seemed to say. Maybe she was right. Maybe we are a waste of oxygen and the
best thing would be for us to be wiped from the planet. But something inside
said that wasn’t true. Something inside pushed me to keep moving, like an ant
dragging a piece of grass along the sidewalk until a strong wind blows it away.
The ant picks up another and starts over. I get exhausted just watching them.

On the front door was a legal document stating that whereby
and forthwith said mortgage company had begun said process with an intent to
foreclose and otherwise vacate said occupant’s tail onto the street to wit and
wheretofore so help them God, amen. I had received several such letters in the
mail, filing them carefully, hoping the rising tide of foreclosures would save
my little cottage until I got a new job.

I ripped the notice down and used it to wipe the sand from
my feet. And then a thought struck. A horrible, no-good, bad thought. The
newspaper. They published my name with each intent to foreclose. That meant
others would know where I was. Others, as in people I owed. Bad people.

Another car passed, slowly. Tinted windows. A low rumble of
expensive metal and fuel.

I hurried to the back of the little house and pulled out
every suitcase I could find and stowed everything of value. Books. Pictures of
me with newsmakers. Cloudy memories of trips abroad, war zones, interviews with
generals and dignitaries who went on to fame or perished in motorcades that
didn’t make it through IEDs.

It was hard not to sit and absorb the memories, but the
passing car gave urgency. I jammed every journal and notebook in with the
pictures, then put one suitcase with clothes in the trunk of my car and took
the rest on my shoulder down the sandy path to the Grahams’ house. Sweet
people. He retired from the Air Force and they moved for the sun and salty air.
Both should have died long ago from arthritis and other maladies, but they were
out walking the beach every day like two faithful dogs, paw in paw.

Jack and Millie were on the front porch, and I asked if I
could borrow some space in their garage for a suitcase or two. “I need to take
a trip. Someone new will be living in my house.”

“Relatives coming?”

“No, someone from the Bank of America wants it.”

Millie struggled to get out of her rocker and stood by a
white column near the front door. “If you need help, Truman, we’d be glad to.”

Jack nodded and the gesture almost brought tears to my eyes.
“How much are you short?” he said.

“Just a spot in the garage is all I need.”

“What about your cat?” Millie said.

“Murrow’s going with me.”

“If we can do anything at all . . . ,”
Jack’s voice trailed.

“I appreciate it. I appreciate both of you. Thanks for your

“We pray for Aiden every day,” Millie said.

The garage was spotless. Everything hanging up or neatly
placed on shelves. I should have joined the Air Force. In the back I found an
empty space near some gardening tools. I shook Jack’s hand gently and gave
Millie a hug. I only turned and looked at them once as I walked back to the
house. They stood like sentinels, the fading light of the sun casting a golden
glow around them and their house.

When Murrow saw the cat carrier, she bolted under the sofa
and I threatened to sell her to the local Chinese restaurant. An open can of
StarKist and my tender, compassionate voice helped coax her into the carrier,
and we were off.

I texted my wife: Will call your
friend tomorrow. Can I use Abby’s room?

The phone buzzed in my shirt pocket as I drove along the
causeway into darkening clouds. Key under frog. No
The next text gave Oleta’s number and a short message. You were made for this story.

Maybe she was right. Maybe I was the one for this job. One
loser telling the story of his kindred spirit. I sure didn’t have anything
better to do. But with the window down and my hand out, being pushed back by
the cool air, it felt less like the start of a new chapter and more like the
end of one.

My Review:

Intriguing! Interesting! Though Provoking! These are the words that come to my mind when describing Not in the Heart by Chris Fabry. This is a book that is so different than others I have read. It is not romance, historical, or even really suspense, I am no sure what genre I would put it in. This is truly an excellent book that left me thinking. The book deals with the death penalty and an inmate who the word thinks is guilty but he know he is innocent but has accepted he is going to die and trusts God that he knows what he is doing. In the end all he wants to do is to be able to donate his heart to a young man and to tell his story. Though through all this Truman, the guy that is going to tell his story finds out he may be innocent and is caught with the decision to do the right thing. The ending in this book came at a total surprise, I thought I had an idea of how it would all turn out but not at all in the way it did. This is a story of redemption, forgiveness, right and wrong, and healing. This is a great book when you are looking for something to make you think, it is not light and fluffy but the story does flow well.

Final Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars!

*I received this book through FIRST wild card tours and B&B Media group for the purpose of this review. Thank you!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman

About the Book:

She's found the love of her life.

Unfortunately, he loves her sister.

As World War I rages across the Atlantic in 1916, a smaller war is brewing in Boston. Faith O'Connor finds herself drawn to an Irish rogue who is anything but right for her. Collin McGuire is brash, cocky, and from the wrong side of the tracks, not to mention forbidden by her father. And then there's the small matter that he is secretly courting her younger sister. But when Collin's affections shift, it threatens to tear her proper Boston family apart.

Book 1 of the Daughters of Boston series, A Passion Most Pure will carry your heart from the sophisticated streets of Boston to the green hills of Ireland as men go off to war and women long for their return. Full of passion, romance, rivalry, and betrayal, it will captivate you from the first page.

My Review:

Wow, Wow, Wow! Words can not describe how much I loved this book. From the first page to the last this book held my attention and I could not put it down. Actually I read this 480 page book within 48 hours! A Passion Most Pure made me laugh, cry, get made at the characters, and to encourage them and want the best for them. The characters feel like real people they have all had to deal with the life they have been given and respond in their own ways. I loved how I could relate to so many of the characters. I saw myself in in Faith when she was angry at God and in Marcy when she felt like everything was falling apart around her. Even more important about this book is all the lessons Julie manages to teach us throughout this book. Many Christian fiction novels weave in the message of God's love but this one goes so much deeper than that. This is a book that will always have a special place on my bookshelf and will be re read many times. Do not just consider getting this book to read, just get it you will not be disappointed! This book deserves 10 stars out of 5, its that good!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

It is time for another giveaway.

Okay, it is time for a giveaway and I am giving away not only 1 book but 4 books!!!!!!!!

Here are the books:


Here are the rules:

1. Giveaway open to those in the US only.
2. Extra entry if you are a follower or become one, let me know in a separate comment
3. You need to leave an e-mail so I can contact you if you win.
4. Ends at noon on Sunday, Feb 26, 2012
5. Let me know which books you want to win and share your favorite bible verse
6. Have fun and good luck to everyone

Not This Time by Vicki Hinz

About the Book:

Small town scandal. International terrorist attack. Who among them is the traitor?

Sara and Beth have built a multi-million dollar business together, but their once solid friendship is now strained. Beth is leery of Sara’s husband, and when he is kidnapped, authorities consider Beth their prime suspect.

Then, their small town of Seagrove Village is rocked by an act of terrorism, and Beth doesn’t know who to trust. Someone she knows is linked to the attack, but who? Is there a connection to Crossroads Crisis Center? In the midst of the confusion and fear, Beth finds herself attracted to a man from her past. She knows she shouldn’t fall in love with him, but she can’t resist or even explain their bond. As her world unravels around her, she wonders, is it possible to be beyond redemption?

My Review:

Not This Time is the third book in Vicki Hinze's Crossroad Crisis Center series but can be read completely on its own. From what I have heard a few characters carry over from the first two books but nothing that makes it hard to follow or understand. Part of me had wished I had read the others in series first just because I like to read things in order and find it harder to go back and read the first two now that I know where things would go with them. This book falls into the suspense genre and the author does a fantastic job writing it. The characters feel real, the setting is well described and you can feel every emotion. This books has something for all since it is full of suspense, murder, romance, faith, danger, and more. You can't go wrong picking up this book, the only mistake you could make is not reading the first two before it. Great job Vicki!

*I received this book through Blogging for Books for the purpose of this review.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Beauty for Ashes by Dorothy Love

About the book:

She’s a beautiful young widow. He’s a Southern gentleman with a thirst for adventure. Both need a place to call home.

After losing her husband in the Civil War, Carrie Daly is scared she will never have the family she longs for. Eligible bachelors are scarce in Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, but Carrie Daly has found love. Not the weak-in-the-knees kind, but something practical. Still, she isn't quite ready to set a wedding date with Nate Chastain.

Griff Rutledge is a former member of Charleston society, but has been estranged from his family for years. He’s determined to remain unattached, never settling in one place for too long. But when asked to train a Thoroughbred for an upcoming race in Hickory Ridge, he decides to stay awhile.

Despite objections from the townsfolk, and her fear that true happiness has eluded her, Carrie is drawn to Griff's kindness and charm. It will take a leap of faith for them to open their hearts and claim God's promise to trade beauty for ashes.

My Review:

What a sweet and fun romance story. Beauty for Ashes is Dorothy Love's second Hickok Ridge Novel but is easily read on its own. After reading it I would like to read the other one day. The book is set after the Civil war is over and the main character Carrie Daly has lost her husband to it and does not know what to do now. She has always longed for a family and that seems so hopeless now. Though there is one man that she just may be able to fall in love with, Griff. Follow in Carrie's story and watch these two fall in love in this book. The main theme of this book is that God works all things for the good and He will being beauty for ashes. What a great promise! This is a great book for anyone who enjoys a sweet, simple, historical, Christian romance. This is the kind of book I think is great to read on the beach since there is not as much depth and reminder of the real world in it.  

* I received this book through booksneeze for the purpose of this review.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins

About the book:

Amaryllis, Mississippi is a scrappy little town of strong backbone and southern hospitality. A brick-paved Main Street, a park, and a legendary ghost in the local cemetery are all part of its heritage. Everybody knows everybody in Amaryllis, and gossip wafts on the breeze. Its people are friendly, its families tight. On the surface Amaryllis seems much like the flower for which it’s named—bright and fragrant. But the Amaryllis flower is poison.

In the past three years five unsolved murders have occurred within the town. All the victims were women, and all were killed in similar fashion in their own homes. And just two nights ago—a sixth murder.

Clearly a killer lives among the good citizens of Amaryllis. And now three terrified women are sure they know who he is—someone they love. None is aware of the others’ suspicions. And each must make the heartrending choice to bring the killer down. But each woman suspects a different man.

My Review:

Wow! What a book! What an ending! When it comes to suspense look no further than this book, it won't let you down. Gone to Ground is told from three different women with there own point of view and they all think they know who the murderer is but the catch is they all suspect someone different. Brandilyn Collins does a great job writing in this style because she truly gives each character her own unique voice.   After reading each characters sections a couple of times you can tell who is who by the writing style which is something you don't always get from other books written like this. I loved Cherrie Mae in this book she was by far my favorite and really made the setting truly southern. Her accent and mannerisms were so much fun to read and I could picture her very vividly. Suspense books to me can be either very fun to read or kind of a let down. This book is not a let down by any means and when I found out who the murderer was I was completely shocked and never in a million years would have suspected that person. What I though happened was pretty much all wrong and that makes it fun. I do not want to read a suspense book and withing the first half or so be able to solve it and be right.Gone to Ground is definitely a solid 5 star novel and I will be reading more from Brandilyn Collins in the future. 

* I received this book from the publisher through PR by the book for the purpose of this review.

Book Trailer:

Protection for Hire by Camy Tang

About the book:

Tessa Lancaster’s skills first earned her a position as an enforcer in her Uncle Teruo’s Japanese Mafia gang. Then they landed her in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. Now, three months after her release, Tessa’s abilities have gained her a job as bodyguard for wealthy socialite Elizabeth St. Amant and her three-year-old son.

But there’s a problem or two … or three …. There’s Elizabeth’s abusive husband whose relentless pursuit goes deeper than mere vengeance. There’s Uncle Teruo, who doesn’t understand why Tessa’s new faith as a Christian prevents her from returning to the yakuza. And then there’s Elizabeth’s lawyer, Charles Britton, who Tessa doesn’t know is the one who ensured that she did maximum time behind bars. Now Tessa and Charles must work together in order to protect their client, while new truths emerge and circumstances spiral to a deadly fever pitch.

Factor in both Tessa’s and Charles’s families and you’ve got some wild dynamics—and an action-packed, romantic read as Tessa and Charles discover the reality of being made new in Christ.

My Review:

Protection for Hire was the first book I read from Camy Tang and it won't be the last. It was neat reading something a little different having some of the Japanese culture mixed in. This book is full of action, supsense, romance and so much more that you will just have to read it to find out. The depth and dynamics of the character will keep you wanting more all the way to the last page. This is a book full of love, God's will, family, faith and choices and includes something for everyone. This book is the beginning of a new series and I am looking forward to reading the next. Book two, A Dangerous Stage will be out sometime in 2012. Great job Camy Tang on a great book! 

*I received this book from Zondervan for the purpose of this review.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

When the Smoke Clears by Lynette Eason

About the Book:

After a brush with death due to equipment failure, smokejumper Alexia Allen is ordered to take time off while the incident is under investigation. She makes a last-minute decision to recuperate at her mother's home and attend her high school reunion. Yet trouble seems to be following her, and within hours of arriving home she is confronted with murder, arson--and a handsome detective.

But the conflicts ahead are nothing compared to the ghosts of her past. As she struggles to accept and forgive her family's past, she must also decide if the secret she's been guarding for the last ten years must finally come to light.

Chock-full of the suspense and romantic tension you've come to expect from Lynette Eason, When the Smoke Clears is the explosive first book in the Deadly Reunions series.

My Review:

Warning: this book will make you mad! Okay, mad in that you will want to read the second book right away and not have to wait till fall 2012. Now that the warning is over, I loved this book. It was such a fun adventure that kept me guessing who did, what happened to one of the characters and how things would work out. Things did not wrap up like I expected at all, and at the end I almost through the book across the room since there was a huge cliffhanger and I wanted to know what happened. I really enjoyed reading about Alexia's story and trying to find out who is wanting her dead and how the detective will fall into her life.  As much as this book is fun there is some real depth to the story as well. Forgiveness, loving others through protecting even when its hard and being honest are all things the characters need to learn as well as God's love for them. This is the first book from Lynette Eason that I have read and will be reading more in the future. I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

*I received this book from Revell for the purpose of this review.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tomorrow's Sun by Becky Melby and Giveaway

About the book:

Faith Reaches across the Centuries

Her fractures have mended, her scars faded, but Emily Foster can’t move on until she makes restitution for a past mistake. Flipping houses seems like the path to her goal. Yet, instead of finding a door to the future, the 1840s house she plans to remodel opens windows to the past.

Contractor Jake Braden hates Emily’s plan to modernize the old house, but the cost of fighting for guardianship of his late sister’s twelve-year-old twins forces him to take the job anyway. When a hidden door and faded love letters connect the house with the Underground Railroad, he and Emily embark on a mission to uncover the fate of young lovers.

As Emily and Jake unravel the long-forgotten love story, words of faith in the face of fear inspire, convict, and draw them to each other. . .but will they be prepared when faced with the greatest test yet?

My Review:

Tomorrow's Sun is Becky Melby's debut novel and the start of the Lost Sanctuary Series. Book two, Yesterday's Stardust comes out in the summer and I can not wait. This book was so good. It was a mix of contemporary and historical and it was fun watching the two stories merge together. I really enjoyed the parts of the story that deal with the twins, Adam and Lexi and them getting to know Emily. Also I find it fascinating reading about the underground railroad and how complex it was to help slaves escape. Becky Melby did a great job at weaving the two stories together with complex characters and real emotions.  If anyone has read Susan Meissner's A Sound Among the Trees then you will love this book. Personally I enjoyed this book more and give it 5 stars or more if I could.  

*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Book Trailer: 

Giveaway Time:

The author was gracious enough to send me an extra copy to giveaway and its autographed by her.

1. Only open to those in the US
2. Leave a comment and your e-mail
3. Ends Sunday, February 12, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Winner of the Kim Cash Tate Books

Congratulations to Judy you have won both Faithful and Cherished.

You should have an e-mail from me.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Injustice for All by Robin Caroll

About the book:

A federal judge lies bleeding on his office floor, betrayed by a most unlikely source—people who helped him bring criminals to justice. Now, why would someone working for the FBI need to disappear after witnessing this crime?

When Remington Wyatt sees her godfather’s murder, she recognizes the killers and knows it’s only a matter of time before they come to silence her. She must do the only thing possible to stay alive . . . run.

FBI agent Rafe Baxter is serious about his career, and solving a cold case involving a federal judge’s death puts him in line for the promotion he so desires. But the case leads him to the small town of Hopewell, Louisiana, where some secrets seem inextricably hidden deep within the bayou.

Injustice for All explores what happens when everything a person believes in is utterly destroyed. Who can you trust?

My Review:

What an adventure this book is! From the first page to last this book keeps you guessing and wondering how everything will turn out. I do not always read a lot of suspense fiction but every time I do it makes me wonder why I do not read it more. It really is such a fun genre to read. Injustice for All is Robin Caroll's new book and the beginning of the Justice Seekers series. The second in the series, To Write a Wrong, comes out in September 2012 and the final book will release in February 2013. I am greatly looking forward to reading the rest and other books by Robin down the road. Robin Caroll succeeded at weaving together a story with suspense, adventure, twists, family and characters that are so real that you think you can show up in Hopewell, Louisiana and meet up with them for lunch. This book made me think about what it would be like to feel like you have to run, hide and change your identity and how hard it would be. Remington Wyatt did just that and had to change everything about right down to what she like to drink and what kind of pet she would like. If you are looking for a page turner then look no further and pick up this great book and see if you can figure out how it will end!

*I received this book from the publisher through PR by the Book in exchange for my honest review.

Book Trailer:

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Summer of Promise by Amanda Cabot

About the book:

Though she had planned to spend the summer in Vermont, Abigail Harding cannot dismiss her concerns over her older sister. Charlotte's letters have been uncharacteristically melancholy, and her claims that nothing is wrong ring false, so Abigail heads west to Fort Laramie, Wyoming. When her stagecoach is attacked, Wyoming promises to be anything but boring. Luckily, the heroics of another passenger, Lieutenant Ethan Bowles, save the day.

Abigail plans to marry when she returns to Vermont, just as soon as she attends to her sister. As the summer passes, she finds herself drawn to this rugged land and to a certain soldier determined to persuade her to stay. When summer ends, will she go back East, or will she find her heart's true home?

My Review:

Well I want to begin with good news and bad news. The good news is that I loved, loved, loved this book and the bad news is I have to wait over a year for book 2 in the series. This is Amanda Cabot's newest book and is the beginning of the Westward Winds series. Every since I finished reading her first series, Texas Dreams I was ready to read more from her, this book did not disappoint at all and I am so blessed to have stumbled across this great author. Summer of Promise was so much fun to read it was full of twists, suspense, romance and adventure. This book kept me turning the pages and when I thought I had found a place to stop something exciting would happen. I loved Abigail the way she grew to love Wyoming, not just the people but the land. If I was in her shoes I think I would have responded the same way. Abigail is a kind and loving person that truly put others first in her life and also kept the story alive. This is a book you just have to read, it is that good. I give this book a solid 5 stars and know that it will have a place on bookshelf for years to come. Great job Amanda Cabot!!!!

*I received this book from Revell for the purpose of this review.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

It is time for a 2 book giveaway!

Hello everybody,

Over the next few weeks/months I am going to be doing some giveaways of some of the books that I have reviewed since July (when I first started reviewing books).

So to begin I will be giving away Faithful and Cherished by Kim Cash Tate, this is a two book contemporary christian romance series. I have read both but only had to review to the second one so here is my review of it from September 2011.

My Review of Cherished:

Psalm 103:12 says "as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." That verse is the theme of this book. It doesn't matter where you have been or what you have done, if you turn to Jesus and repent of your sins you are forgiven. It is that simple. In that God has forgiven you, then you must go and ask forgiveness to those you have hurt and in return accept forgiveness when offered to you.

This story picks up right after Kim Cash Tate's other book Faithful, and we continue the story of Cyd, Dana, Stephanie, Cedric and Lindell but more importantly we hear the story of Kelli London and Heather Anderson. Heather Anderson we met back in Faithful as the women who had an affair with Dana's husband, she has now found herself completely broken, after a one-night stand, and ready for God's forgiveness. Everything she has planned has begun to change and she is needing guidance. Will she receive the forgiveness she needs from Dana? Will she find the path that God has planned for her? She has alot of healing, growing and forgiving to do...but in the end she will find that she is Cherished and God has a plan for her.

Kelli London showed up at the end of Faithful for her brothers wedding and end ups moving back home. It is then when she runs into her high school sweetheart and her past is coming back again to haunt her. What is in her past that she can't move forward? What is keeping her from accepting God's forgiveness. She feels that her sins are too great to be forgiving. Will she learn that all sins are equal and to accept God's forgiveness and follow his plan.

I really enjoyed this book, and had a hard time putting it down. I just had to know what will happen. This book may be fiction but is filled with so much of God's truth that I would highly recommend any christian women to read it as well as the first book, Faithful.

Here are the rules:

1. Only open to US residents
2. Leave a comment and your e-mail address
3. Ends Sunday February 5 at Midnight