Monday, May 31, 2010

May Summary

May Summary 


  1. Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard - read 5/4/10
  2. Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson - read 5/5/10
  3. Fever, 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson - read 5/7/10
  4. When Lightning Strikes by Meg Cabot - read 5/8/10
  5. Scream by Mike Dellosso - read 5/9/10
  6. The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova - read 5/11/10 
  7. Think Twice by Lisa Scottoline - read 5/24/10
  8. Infinity: The Chronicles of Nick #1 by Sherrilyn Kenyon - read 5/27/10
  9. Never Let You Go by Erin Healy - read 5/30/2010 
  10. Welcome to Harmony by Jodi Thomas - read 5/30/2010 
  11. The Ark by Boyd Morrison - read 5/31/2010
  12.  
Review books:4
Library Books: 5
Books from my bookshelf:2


Progress in Challenges: 
So how was your reading month?

Book Feature: A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin

A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin (Wings of Glory, Book 1)
Publisher: Revell
Publish Date:March 2010
Paperback, 432 pages

About the Book:
Will a chance meeting in a time of war change her life forever?
Never pretty enough to please her gorgeous mother, Allie will do anything to gain her approval--even marry a man she doesn't love. While Allie has nearly resigned herself to that fate, Lt. Walter Novak--fearless in the cockpit but hopeless with women--takes his last furlough at home in California before being shipped overseas.

Walt and Allie meet and begin a correspondence that will change their lives. As letters fly between Walt's muddy bomber base in England and Allie's mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?

Book 1 in the Wings of Glory series, A Distant Melody is an exciting and tender story of love, courage, and sacrifice during World War II.

About the Author:
Sarah Sundin is the author of A Distant Melody. Her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England during WWII. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.

 

Available March 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
 
Thank you to Donna Hausler at Revell for sending me this book for review. 

Book Tour: A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer

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:

Bethany House (June 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Karen Witemeyer for sending me a review copy.***

My review will be coming later this week.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Karen Witemeyer holds a master's degree in psychology from Abilene Christian University and is a member of ACFW, RWA, and the Texas Coalition of Authors. She has published fiction in Focus on the Family's children's magazine, and has written several articles for online publications and anthologies. Tailor-Made Bride is her first novel. Karen lives in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children.


Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House (June 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764207555
ISBN-13: 978-0764207556

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Prologue

San Antonio, Texas—March 1881
“Red? Have you no shame, Auntie Vic? You can’t be buried in a scarlet gown.”

“It’s cerise, Nan.”

Hannah Richards bit back a laugh as Victoria Ashmont effectively put her nephew’s wife in her place with three little words. Trying hard to appear as if she wasn’t listening to her client’s conversation, Hannah pulled the last pin from between her lips and slid it into the hem of the controversial fabric.

“Must you flout convention to the very end?” Nan’s whine heightened to a near screech as she stomped toward the door. A delicate sniff followed by a tiny hiccup foreshadowed the coming of tears. “Sherman and I will be the ones to pay the price. You’ll make us a laughingstock among our friends. But then, you’ve never cared for anyone except yourself, have you?”

Miss Victoria pivoted with impressive speed, the cane she used for balance nearly clobbering Hannah in the head as she spun.

“You may have my nephew wrapped around your little finger, but don’t think you can manipulate me with your theatrics.” Like an angry goddess from the Greek myths, Victoria Ashmont held her chin at a regal angle and pointed her aged hand toward the woman who dared challenge her. Hannah almost expected a lightning bolt to shoot from her finger to disintegrate Nan where she stood.

“You’ve been circling like a vulture since the day Dr. Bowman declared my heart to be failing, taking over the running of my household and plotting how to spend Sherman’s inheritance. Well, you won’t be controlling me, missy. I’ll wear what I choose, when I choose, whether or not you approve. And if your friends have nothing better to do at a funeral than snicker about your great aunt’s attire, perhaps you’d do well to find some companions with a little more depth of character.”

Nan’s affronted gasp echoed through the room like the crack of a mule skinner’s whip.

“Don’t worry, dear,” Miss Victoria called out as her niece yanked open the bedchamber door. “You’ll have my money to console you. I’m sure you’ll recover from any embarrassment I cause in the blink of an eye.”

The door slammed shut, and the resulting bang appeared to knock the starch right out of Miss Victoria. She wobbled, and Hannah lurched to her feet to steady the elderly lady.

“Here, ma’am. Why don’t you rest for a minute?” Hannah gripped her client’s arm and led her to the fainting couch at the foot of the large four-poster bed that dominated the room. “Would you like me to ring for some tea?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, girl. I’m not so infirm that a verbal skirmish leaves me in want of fortification. I just need to catch my breath.”

Hannah nodded, not about to argue. She gathered her sewing box instead, collecting her shears, pins, and needle case from where they lay upon the thick tapestry carpet.

She had sewn for Miss Victoria for the last eighteen months, and it disturbed her to see the woman reduced to tremors and pallor so easily. The eccentric spinster never shied from a fight and always kept her razor-sharp tongue at the ready.

Hannah had felt the lash of that tongue herself on several occasions, but she’d developed a thick skin over the years. A woman making her own way in the world had to toughen up quickly or get squashed. Perhaps that was why she respected Victoria Ashmont enough to brave her scathing comments time after time. The woman had been living life on her own terms for years and had done well for herself in the process. True, she’d had money and the power of the Ashmont name to lend her support, but from all public reports—and a few overheard conversations—it was clear Victoria Ashmont’s fortune had steadily grown during her tenure as head of the family, not dwindled, which was more than many men could say. Hannah liked to think that, given half a chance, she’d be able to duplicate the woman’s success. At least to a modest degree.

“How long have you worked for Mrs. Granbury, Miss Richards?”

Hannah jumped at the barked question and scurried back to Miss Victoria’s side, her sewing box tucked under her arm. “Nearly two years, ma’am.”

“Hmmph.” The woman’s cane rapped three staccato beats against the leg of the couch before she continued. “I nagged that woman for years to hire some girls with gumption. I was pleased when she finally took my advice. Your predecessors failed to last more than a month or two with me. Either I didn’t approve of their workmanship, or they couldn’t stand up to my plain speaking. It’s a dratted nuisance having to explain my preferences over and over to new girls every time I need something made up. I’ve not missed that chore.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Hannah’s forehead scrunched. She couldn’t be sure, but she thought Victoria Ashmont might have just paid her a compliment.

“Have you ever thought of opening your own shop?”

Hannah’s gaze flew to her client’s face. Miss Victoria’s slate gray eyes assessed her, probing, drilling into her core, as if she meant to rip the truth from her with or without her consent.

Ducking away from the penetrating stare, Hannah fiddled with the sewing box. “Mrs. Granbury has been good to me, and I’ve been fortunate enough to set some of my earnings aside. It will be several years yet, but one day I do hope to set up my own establishment.”

“Good. Now help me get out of this dress.”

Dizzy from the abrupt starts, stops, and turns of the strange conversation, Hannah kept her mouth closed and assisted Miss Victoria. She unfastened the brightly colored silk, careful not to snag the pins on either the delicate material of the gown or on Miss Victoria’s stockings. Once the dress had been safely removed, she set it aside and helped the woman don a loose-fitting wrapper.

“I’m anxious to have these details put in order,” Miss Victoria said as she took a seat at the ladies’ writing desk along the east wall. “I will pay you a bonus if you will stay here and finish the garment for me before you leave. You may use the chair in the corner.” She gestured toward a small upholstered rocker that sat angled toward the desk.

Hannah’s throat constricted. Her mind scrambled for a polite refusal, yet she found no excuse valid enough to withstand Miss Victoria’s scrutiny. Left with no choice, she swallowed her misgivings and forced the appropriate reply past her lips.

“As you wish.”

Masking her disappointment, Hannah set her box of supplies on the floor near the chair Miss Victoria had indicated and turned to fetch the dress.

She disliked sewing in front of clients. Though her tiny boardinghouse room was dim and lacked the comforts afforded in Miss Victoria’s mansion, the solitude saved her from suffering endless questions and suggestions while she worked.

Hannah drew in a deep breath. I might as well make the best of it. No use dwelling on what couldn’t be changed. It was just a hem and few darts to compensate for her client’s recent weight loss. She could finish the task in less than an hour.

Miss Victoria proved gracious. She busied herself with papers of some kind at her desk and didn’t interfere with Hannah’s work. She did keep up a healthy stream of chatter, though.

“You probably think me morbid for finalizing all my funeral details in advance.” Miss Victoria lifted the lid of a small silver case and extracted a pair of eyeglasses. She wedged them onto her nose and began leafing through a stack of documents in a large oak box.

Hannah turned back to her stitching. “Not morbid, ma’am. Just . . . efficient.”

“Hmmph. Truth is, I know I’m dying, and I’d rather go out in a memorable fashion than slip away quietly, never to be thought of again.”

“I’m sure your nephew will remember you.” Hannah glanced up as she twisted the dress to allow her better access to the next section of hem.

“Sherman? Bah! That boy would forget his own name if given half a chance.” Miss Victoria pulled a document out of the box. She set it in front of her, then dragged her inkstand close and unscrewed the cap. “I’ve got half a mind to donate my estate to charity instead of letting it sift through my nephew’s fingers. He and that flighty wife of his will surely do nothing of value with it.” A heavy sigh escaped her. “But they are family, after all, and I suppose I’ll no longer care about how the money is spent after I’m gone.”

Hannah poked her needle up and back through the red silk in rapid succession, focused on making each stitch even and straight. It wasn’t her place to offer advice, but it burned on her tongue nonetheless. Any church or charitable organization in the city could do a great amount of good with even a fraction of the Ashmont estate. Miss Victoria could make several small donations without her nephew ever knowing the difference. Hannah pressed her lips together and continued weaving her needle in and out, keeping her unsolicited opinion to herself.

She was relieved when a soft tapping at the door saved her from having to come up with an appropriate response.

A young maid entered and bobbed a curtsy. “The post has arrived, ma’am.”

“Thank you, Millie.” Miss Victoria accepted the envelope. “You may go.”

The sound of paper ripping echoed in the quiet room as Miss Victoria slid her letter opener through the upper edge of the flap.

“Well, I must give the gentleman credit for persistence,” the older woman murmured. “This is the third letter he’s sent in two months.”

Hannah turned the dress again and bent her head a little closer to her task, hoping to escape Miss Victoria’s notice. It was not to be. The older woman’s voice only grew louder and more pointed as she continued.

“He wants to buy one of my railroad properties.”

Hannah made the mistake of looking up. Miss Victoria’s eyes, magnified by the lenses she wore, demanded a response. Yet how did a working-class seamstress participate in a conversation of a personal nature with one so above her station? She didn’t want to offend by appearing uninterested. However, showing too keen an interest might come across as presumptuous. Hannah floundered to find a suitably innocuous response and finally settled on, “Oh?”

It seemed to be enough, and Miss Victoria turned back to her correspondence as she continued her ramblings.

“When the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway out of Galveston started up construction again last year, I invested in a handful of properties along the proposed route, in towns that were already established. I’ve made a tidy profit on most, but for some reason, I find myself reluctant to part with this one.”

An expectant pause hung in the air. Keeping her eyes on her work, Hannah voiced the first thought that came to mind.

“Does the gentleman not make a fair offer?”

“No, Mr. Tucker proposes a respectable price.” Miss Victoria tapped the handle of the letter opener against the desktop in a rhythmic pattern, then seemed to become aware of what she was doing and set it aside. “Perhaps I am reticent because I do not know the man personally. He is in good standing with the bank in Coventry and by all accounts is respected in the community, yet in the past I’ve made my decision to sell after meeting with the buyer in person. Unfortunately, my health precludes that now.”

“Coventry?” Hannah seized upon the less personal topic. “I’m not familiar with that town.”

“That’s because it’s about two hundred miles north of here—and it is quite small. The surveyors tell me it’s in a pretty little spot along the North Bosque River. I had hoped to visit, but it looks as if I won’t be afforded that opportunity.”

Hannah tied off her thread and snipped the tail. She reached for her spool and unwound another long section, thankful that the discussion had finally moved in a more neutral direction. She clipped the end of the thread and held the needle up to gauge the position of the eye.

“What do you think, Miss Richards? Should I sell it to him?”

The needle slipped out of her hand.

“You’re asking me?”

“Is there another Miss Richards in the room? Of course I’m asking you.” She clicked her tongue in disappointment. “Goodness, girl. I’ve always thought you to be an intelligent sort. Have I been wrong all this time?”

That rankled. Hannah sat a little straighter and lifted her chin. “No, ma’am.”

“Good.” Miss Victoria slapped her palm against the desk. “Now, tell me what you think.”

If the woman was determined to have her speak her mind, Hannah would oblige. This was the last project she’d ever sew for the woman anyway. It couldn’t hurt. The only problem was, she’d worked so hard not to form an opinion during this exchange, that now that she was asked for one, she had none to give. Trying not to let the silence rush her into saying something that would indeed prove her lacking in intellect, she scrambled to gather her thoughts while she searched for the dropped needle.

“It seems to me,” she said, uncovering the needle along with a speck of insight, “you need to decide if you would rather have the property go to a man you know only by reputation or to the nephew you know through experience.” Hannah lifted her gaze to meet Miss Victoria’s and held firm, not allowing the woman’s critical stare to cow her. “Which scenario gives you the greatest likelihood of leaving behind the legacy you desire?”

Victoria Ashmont considered her for several moments, her eyes piercing Hannah and bringing to mind the staring contests the school boys used to challenge her to when she was still in braids. The memory triggered her competitive nature, and a stubborn determination to win rose within her.

At last, Miss Victoria nodded and turned away. “Thank you, Miss Richards. I think I have my answer.”

Exultation flashed through her for a brief second at her victory, but self-recrimination soon followed. This wasn’t a schoolyard game. It was an aging woman’s search to create meaning in her death.

“Forgive my boldness, ma’am.”

Her client turned back and wagged a bony finger at Hannah. “Boldness is exactly what you need to run your own business, girl. Boldness, skill, and a lot of hard work. When you get that shop of yours, hardships are sure to find their way to your doorstep. Confidence is the only way to combat them—confidence in yourself and in the God who equips you to overcome. Never forget that.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Feeling chastised and oddly encouraged at the same time, Hannah threaded her needle and returned to work. The scratching of pen against paper replaced the chatter of Miss Victoria’s voice as the woman gave her full attention to the documents spread across her desk. Time passed swiftly, and soon the alterations were complete.

After trying the gown on a second time to assure a proper fit and examining every seam for quality and durability, as was her custom, Victoria Ashmont ushered Hannah down to the front hall.

“My man will see you home, Miss Richards.”

“Thank you, ma’am.” Hannah collected her bonnet from the butler and tied the ribbons beneath her chin.

“I will settle my account with Mrs. Granbury by the end of the week, but here is the bonus I promised you.” She held out a plain white envelope.

Hannah accepted it and placed it carefully in her reticule. She dipped her head and made a quick curtsy. “Thank you. I have enjoyed the privilege of working for you, ma’am, and I pray that your health improves so that I might do so again.”

A strange light came into Miss Victoria’s eyes, a secretive gleam, as if she could see into the future. “You have better things to do than make outlandish red dresses for old women, Miss Richards. Don’t waste your energy worrying over my health. I’ll go when it’s my time and not a moment before.”

Hannah smiled as she stepped out the door, sure that not even the angels could drag Miss Victoria away until she was ready to go. Yet underneath the woman’s tough exterior beat a kind heart. Although Hannah didn’t fully understand how kind until she arrived home and opened her bonus envelope.

Instead of the two or three greenbacks she had assumed were tucked inside, she found a gift that stole her breath and her balance. She slumped against the boardinghouse wall and slid down its blue-papered length into a trembling heap on the floor. She blinked several times, but the writing on the paper didn’t change, only blurred as tears welled and distorted her vision.

She held in her hand the deed to her new dress shop in Coventry, Texas.




Chapter One

Coventry, Texas—September 1881
“J.T.! J.T.! I got a customer for ya.” Tom Packard lumbered down the street with his distinctive uneven gait, waving his arm in the air.

Jericho “J.T.” Tucker stepped out of the livery’s office with a sigh and waited for his right-hand man to jog past the blacksmith and bootmaker shops. He’d lost count of how many times he’d reminded Tom not to yell out his business for everyone to hear, but social niceties tended to slip the boy’s notice when he got excited.

It wasn’t his fault, though. At eighteen, Tom had the body of a man, but his mind hadn’t developed quite as far. He couldn’t read a lick and could barely pen his own name, but he had a gentle way with horses, so J.T. let him hang around the stable and paid him to help out with the chores. In gratitude, the boy did everything in his power to prove himself worthy, including trying to drum up clientele from among the railroad passengers who unloaded at the station a mile south of town. After weeks without so much as a nibble, it seemed the kid had finally managed to hook himself a fish.

J.T. leaned a shoulder against the doorframe and slid a toothpick out of his shirt pocket. He clamped the wooden sliver between his teeth and kept his face void of expression save for a single raised brow as Tom stumbled to a halt in front of him. The kid grasped his knees and gulped air for a moment, then unfolded to his full height, which was nearly as tall as his employer. His cheeks, flushed from his exertions, darkened further when he met J.T.’s eye.

“I done forgot about the yelling again, huh? Sorry.” Tom slumped, his chin bending toward his chest.

J.T. gripped the kid’s shoulder, straightened him up, and slapped him on the back. “You’ll remember next time. Now, what’s this about a customer?”

Tom brightened in an instant. “I gots us a good one. She’s right purty and has more boxes and gewgaws than I ever did see. I ’spect there’s enough to fill up the General.”

“The General, huh?” J.T. rubbed his jaw and used the motion to cover his grin.

Tom had names for all the wagons. Fancy Pants was the fringed surrey J.T. kept on hand for family outings or courting couples; the buggy’s name was Doc after the man who rented it out most frequently; the buckboard was just plain Buck; and his freight wagon was affectionately dubbed The General. The kid’s monikers inspired a heap of good-natured ribbing amongst the men who gathered at the livery to swap stories and escape their womenfolk, but over time the names stuck. Just last week, Alistair Smythe plopped down a silver dollar and demanded he be allowed to take Fancy Pants out for a drive. Hearing the pretentious bank clerk use Tom’s nickname for the surrey left the fellas guffawing for days.

J.T. thrust the memory from his mind and crossed his arms over his chest, using his tongue to shift the toothpick to the other side of his mouth. “The buckboard is easier to get to. I reckon it’d do the job just as well.”

“I dunno.” Tom mimicked J.T.’s posture, crossing his own arms and leaning against the livery wall. “She said her stuff was mighty heavy and she’d pay extra to have it unloaded at her shop.”

“Shop?” J.T.’s good humor shriveled. His arms fell to his sides as his gaze slid past Tom to the vacant building across the street. The only unoccupied shop in Coventry stood adjacent to Louisa James’s laundry—the shop he’d tried, and failed, to purchase. J.T.’s jaw clenched so tight the toothpick started to splinter. Forcing himself to relax, he straightened away from the doorpost.

“I think she’s a dressmaker,” Tom said. “There were a bunch of them dummies with no heads or arms with her on the platform. Looked right peculiar, them all standin’ around her like they’s gonna start a quiltin’ bee or something.” The kid chuckled at his own joke, but J.T. didn’t join in his amusement.

A dressmaker? A woman who made her living by exploiting the vanity of her customers? That’s who was moving into his shop?

A sick sensation oozed like molasses through his gut as memories clawed over the wall he’d erected to keep them contained.

“So we gonna get the General, J.T.?”

Tom’s question jerked him back to the present and allowed him to stuff the unpleasant thoughts back down where they belonged. He loosened his fingers from the fist he didn’t remember making and adjusted his hat to sit lower on his forehead, covering his eyes. It wouldn’t do for the kid to see the anger that surely lurked there. He’d probably go and make some fool assumption that he’d done something wrong. Or worse, he’d ask questions J.T. didn’t want to answer.

He cleared his throat and clasped the kid’s shoulder. “If you think we need the freight wagon, then we’ll get the freight wagon. Why don’t you harness up the grays then come help me wrangle the General?”

“Yes, sir!” Tom bounded off to the corral to gather the horses, his chest so inflated with pride J.T. was amazed he could see where he was going.

Ducking back inside the livery, J.T. closed up his office and strode past the stalls to the oversized double doors that opened his wagon shed up to the street. He grasped the handle of the first and rolled it backward, using his body weight as leverage. As his muscles strained against the heavy wooden door, his mind struggled to control his rising frustration.

He’d finally accepted the fact that the owner of the shop across the street refused to sell to him. J.T. believed in Providence, that the Lord would direct his steps. He didn’t like it, but he’d worked his way to peace with the decision. Until a few minutes ago. The idea that God would allow it to go to a dressmaker really stuck in his craw.

It wasn’t as if he wanted the shop for selfish reasons. He saw it as a chance to help out a widow and her orphans. Isn’t that what the Bible defined as “pure religion”? What could be nobler than that? Louisa James supported three kids with her laundry business and barely eked out an existence. The building she worked in was crumbling around her ears even though the majority of her income went to pay the rent. He’d planned to buy the adjacent shop and rent it to her at half the price she was currently paying in exchange for storing some of his tack in the large back room.

J.T. squinted against the afternoon sunlight that streamed into the dim stable and strode to the opposite side of the entrance, his indignation growing with every step. Ignoring the handle, he slammed his shoulder into the second door and ground his teeth as he dug his boots into the packed dirt floor, forcing the wood to yield to his will.

How could a bunch of fripperies and ruffles do more to serve the community than a new roof for a family in need? Most of the women in and around Coventry sewed their own clothes, and those that didn’t bought ready-made duds through the dry-goods store or mail order. Sensible clothes, durable clothes, not fashion-plate items that stroked their vanity or elicited covetous desires in their hearts for things they couldn’t afford. A dressmaker had no place in Coventry.

This can’t be God’s will. The world and its schemers had brought her to town, not God.

Horse hooves thudded and harness jangled as Tom led the grays toward the front of the livery.

J.T. blew out a breath and rubbed a hand along his jaw. No matter what had brought her to Coventry, the dressmaker was still a woman, and his father had drummed into him the truth that all women were to be treated with courtesy and respect. So he’d smile and doff his hat and make polite conversation. Shoot, he’d even lug her heavy junk around for her and unload all her falderal. But once she was out of his wagon, he’d have nothing more to do with her.

———

Hannah sat atop one of her five trunks, waiting for young Tom to return. Most of the other passengers had left the depot already, making their way on foot or in wagons with family members who'd come to meet them. Hannah wasn’t about to let her belongings out of her sight, though—or trust them to a porter she didn’t know. So she waited.

Thanks to Victoria Ashmont’s generosity, she’d been able to use the money she’d saved for a shop to buy fabric and supplies. Not knowing what would be available in the small town of Coventry, she brought everything she needed with her. Including her prized possession—a Singer Improved Family Model 15 treadle machine with five-drawer walnut cabinet and extension leaf. The monster weighed nearly as much as the locomotive that brought her here, but it was a thing of beauty, and she intended to make certain it arrived at the shop without incident.

Her toes tapped against the wooden platform. Only a mile of dusty road stood between her and her dream. Yet the final minutes of waiting felt longer than the hours, even years, that preceded them. Could she really run her own business, or would Miss Ashmont’s belief in her prove misplaced? A tingle of apprehension tiptoed over Hannah’s spine. What if the women of Coventry had no need of a dressmaker? What if they didn’t like her designs? What if . . .

Hannah surged to her feet and began to pace. Miss Ashmont had directed her to be bold. Bold and self-confident. Oh, and confident in God. Hannah paused. Her gaze slid to the bushy hills rising around her like ocean swells. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” The psalm seeped into her soul, bringing a measure of assurance with it. God had led her here. He would provide.

She resumed her pacing, anticipation building as fear receded. On her sixth lap around her mound of luggage, the creak of wagon wheels brought her to a halt.

A conveyance drew near, and Hannah’s pulse vaulted into a new pace. Young Tom wasn’t driving. Another man with a worn brown felt hat pulled low over his eyes sat on the bench. It must be that J.T. person Tom had rambled on about. Well, it didn’t matter who was driving, as long as he had the strength to maneuver her sewing machine without dropping it.

A figure in the back of the wagon waved a cheerful greeting, and the movement caught Hannah’s eye. She waved back, glad to see Tom had returned as well. Two men working together would have a much easier time of it.

The liveryman pulled the horses to a halt and set the brake. Masculine grace exuded from him as he climbed down and made his way to the platform. His long stride projected confidence, a vivid contrast to Tom’s childish gamboling behind him. Judging by the breadth of his shoulders and the way the blue cotton of his shirt stretched across the expanse of his chest and arms, this man would have no trouble moving her sewing cabinet.

Tom dashed ahead of the newcomer and swiped the gray slouch hat from his head. Tufts of his dark blond hair stuck out at odd angles, but his eyes sparkled with warmth. “I got the General, ma’am. We’ll get you fixed up in a jiffy.” Not wasting a minute, he slapped his hat back on and moved past her.

Hannah’s gaze roamed to the man waiting a few steps away. He didn’t look much like a general. No military uniform. Instead he sported scuffed boots and denims that were wearing thin at the knees. The tip of a toothpick protruded from his lips, wiggling a little as he gnawed on it. Perhaps General was a nickname of sorts. He hadn’t spoken a word, yet there was something about his carriage and posture that gave him an air of authority.

She straightened her shoulders in response and closed the distance between them. Still giddy about starting up her shop, she couldn’t resist the urge to tease the stoic man who held himself apart.

“Thank you for assisting me today, General.” She smiled up at him as she drew near, finally able to see more than just his jaw. He had lovely amber eyes, although they were a bit cold. “Should I salute or something?”

His right brow arced upward. Then a tiny twitch at the corner of his mouth told her he’d caught on.

“I’m afraid I’m a civilian through and through, ma’am.” He tilted his head in the direction of the wagon. “That’s the General. Tom likes to name things.”

Hannah gave a little laugh. “I see. Well, I’m glad to have you both lending me a hand. I’m Hannah Richards.”

The man tweaked the brim of his hat. “J.T. Tucker.”

“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Tucker.”

He dipped his chin in a small nod. Not a very demonstrative fellow. Nor very talkative.

“Lay those things down, Tom,” he called out as he stepped away. “We don’t want them to tip over the side if we hit a rut.”

“Oh. Wait just a minute, please.” There was no telling what foul things had been carted around in that wagon bed before today. It didn’t matter so much for her trunks and sewing cabinet, but the linen covering her mannequins would be easily soiled.

“I have an old quilt that I wrapped around them in the railroad freight car. Let me fetch it.”

Hannah sensed more than heard Mr. Tucker’s sigh as she hurried to collect the quilt from the trunk she had been sitting on. Well, he could sigh all he liked. Her display dummies were going to be covered. She had one chance to make a first impression on the ladies of Coventry, and she vowed it would be a pristine one.

Making a point not to look at the liveryman as she scurried by, Hannah clutched the quilt to her chest and headed for the wagon. She draped it over the side, then climbed the spokes and hopped into the back, just as she had done as a child. Then she laid out the quilt along the back wall and gently piled the six dummies horizontally atop it, alternating the placement of the tripod pedestals to allow them to fit together in a more compact fashion. As she flipped the remaining fabric of the quilt over the pile, a loud thud sounded from behind, and the wagon jostled her. She gasped and teetered to the side. Glancing over her shoulder, she caught sight of Mr. Tucker as he shoved the first of her trunks into the wagon bed, its iron bottom scraping against the wooden floor.

The man could have warned her of his presence instead of scaring the wits out of her like that. But taking him to task would only make her look like a shrew, so she ignored him. When Tom arrived with the second trunk, she was ready. After he set it down, she moved to the end of the wagon.

“Would you help me down, please?”

He grinned up at her. “Sure thing.”

Hannah set her hands on his shoulders as he clasped her waist and lifted her down. A tiny voice of regret chided her for not asking the favor of the rugged Mr. Tucker, but she squelched it. Tom was a safer choice. Besides, his affable manner put her at ease—unlike his companion, who from one minute to the next alternated between sparking her interest and her ire.

She bit back her admonishments to take care as the men hefted her sewing machine. Thankfully, they managed to accomplish the task without her guidance. With the large cabinet secured in the wagon bed, it didn’t take long for them to load the rest of her belongings. Once they finished, Tom handed her up to the bench seat, then scrambled into the back, leaving her alone with Mr. Tucker.

A cool autumn breeze caressed her cheeks and tugged lightly on her bonnet as the wagon rolled forward. She smoothed her skirts, not sure what to say to the reticent man beside her. However, he surprised her by starting the conversation on his own.

“What made you choose Coventry, Miss Richards?”

She twisted on the seat to look at him, but his eyes remained focused on the road.

“I guess you could say it chose me.”

“How so?”

“It was really a most extraordinary sequence of events. I do not doubt that the Lord’s Providence brought me here.”

That got a reaction. His chin swiveled toward her, and beneath his hat, his intense gaze speared her for a handful of seconds before he blinked and turned away.

She swallowed the moisture that had accumulated under her tongue as he stared at her, then continued.

“Two years ago, I was hired by Mrs. Granbury of San Antonio to sew for her most particular clientele. One of these clients was an elderly spinster with a reputation for being impossible to work with. Well, I needed the job too badly to allow her to scare me away and was too stubborn to let her get the best of me, so I stuck it out and eventually the two of us found a way to coexist and even respect each other.

“Before she died, she called me in to make a final gown for her, and we fell to talking about her legacy. She had invested in several railroad properties, and had only one left that had not sold. In an act of generosity that I still find hard to believe, she gave me the deed as a gift, knowing that I had always dreamed of opening my own shop.”

“What kept her from selling it before then?” His deep voice rumbled with something more pointed than simple curiosity.

A prickle of unease wiggled down Hannah’s neck, but she couldn’t quite pinpoint the cause.

“She told me that she preferred to meet the buyers in person, to assess their character before selling off her properties. Unfortunately, her health had begun to decline, and she was unable to travel. There had been a gentleman of good reputation from this area who made an offer several times. A Mr. Tuck…”

A hard lump of dread formed in the back of Hannah’s throat.

“Oh dear. Don’t tell me you’re that Mr. Tucker?”

Sunday, May 30, 2010

What I'm Reading on Sunday


Kindle: Dangerous by Diana Palmer (for review as well)
I haven't gotten any further with this one at this time, I need to read it next though.  I put up the giveaway for one copy of the hardcover today, so check that out.


Audio in the Car:  Don't Look Twice by Andrew Gross 
I haven't been in the car since Friday night but I'm in the middle of Disc 4 and still enjoying it, a few things were a little predictable, but the overall story is very intriguing and has me on the edge of my seat.

Review Book:  The Ark by Boyd Morrison
I'm about 100 pages into this - it's for a tour on Wednesday.  It definitely has grabbed me from the beginning.  I read about 100 pages of it this evening without putting it down.


Dangerous (Long, Tall Texans)Don't Look Twice: A Novel The Ark: A Novel

Finished:

Never Let You Go by Erin Healy
Great book - I wanted to finish it last night but couldn't keep my eyes open, so I finished it first thing this morning.  Really enjoyed it, will post the review this week.


Welcome to Harmony by Jodi Thomas
I started this one this morning and finished it this afternoon.  I seem to have a stomach bug that has kept me from doing much today and I must admit I have enjoyed spending the day with the inhabitants of Harmony, Texas.  Review and Guest post with the author will be coming later this week.  I also will have one copy to giveaway as well.

  Never Let You Go  Welcome to Harmony

Reviews completed:

Other notes for today - I've not been feeling well, plus my boys have been at one of their sets' of grandparents all day and this evening for a cookout, so it's been pretty much me alone all day which has allowed for a lot of reading time (and preparing posts for my blog this coming week).  I have really enjoyed reading Welcome to Harmony.  It has been awhile since I've read this type of fiction, tale of a small-town with some romance and getting to know a lot of characters.  I've missed it and it was great to get  back to it.

Book Feature and Giveaway: Dangerous by Diana Palmer


Dangerous by Diana Palmer
Publisher: HQN Books
Publish Date: May 25, 2010
Hardcover,  384 pages
ISBN: 978-0-373-77459-3

My review will be coming later this week, I'm reading this now.  In the meantime check out this book and enter the giveaway to win your own copy below.

About the Book:


Tall, lean and headstrong, FBI agent Kilraven lives by his own rules. And one of those rules includes keeping his hands off Jacobsville’s resident sweetheart, Winnie Sinclair, no matter the temptation. Shy and innocent, Winnie couldn’t handle a man like him – a merciless man with a haunted past. And this small town may hold not only the woman he fights to resist, but the answers to a cold case that is very personal to Kilraven….

Winnie has had her own share of sorrow and senses Kilraven’s pain. Even though she tries to deny it, the gentle 911 operator feels a connection with the darkly handsome agent. When he makes the disturbing discovery that her family’s unsavory past might have a bearing on his case, Winnie is determined to help him crack it…and the ice around his heart.

As they combine forces in a dangerous investigation, the stakes rise ever higher. Winnie’s life is on the line, and she’ll need Kilraven more than ever. But if they are to have a future together, her ruthless Texan will need to confront his past and risk it all for their love.
About the Author:

Today the New York Times bestselling author of over 100 novels, Diana Palmer is renowned as one of North America's top 10 romance writers.  When she published her first novel in 1979, fans immediately fell in love with her sensual, charming romances.

A die-hard romantic who married her husband five days after they met, Diana says that she wrote her first book at age 13--and has been hooked ever since.

Palmer began her career as a newspaper reporter and columnist, a path she followed for 16 years.  When her novel Heather's Song was purchased by Silhouette Books in 1980, she retired her press badge and devoted herself to a life filled with romance and pening the page-turners her readers find so hard to put down.

This dynamic woman graduated summa cum laude from Piedmont College in 1995--at the age of 49!  "College was an experience I'll always cherish," she says.  "Now I fund a scholarship at my alma mater in my late father's name--he'd laugh to know that it's a science scholarship, when I can barely do math!  I also fund a nursing scholarship at the Oglala Lakota College in Kyle, South Dakota, in the name of my mother, who was a nurse."

Palmer is a member of the Native American Rights Fund, the American Museum of Natural History, the National Cattleman's Association, the Planetary Society, the Georgia Sheriff's Association and numerous conservation and charitable organizations.  Her hobbies include gardening, knitting, quilting, anthropology, astronomy and music.

Palmer lives in northeast Georgia with her husband, James Kyle, and a menagerie of animals that includes four dogs, four cats, assorted exotic lizards and an emu named George.  She loves Spanish-language soap operas and fast cars--her latest is a Jaguar.

Giveaway:
Planned Television Arts has given me 1 copy of Dangerous to giveaway to the readers of this blog. Simply comment to enter.  Additional entries for following (rss, email, blogger, networked blogs, etc.), tweeting (1 per day), posting on your blog (sidebar is fine).  Please comment for each entry - it makes the accounting easier.   Giveaway open to US/Canada only.  Don't worry if you are first or last - I'm starting to randomize all entries before using random.org to draw a number - so it's more like drawing a name out of a hat.  Giveaway runs through June 6, 2010.


FTC Information: I received this book from Jennifer Musico, publicist at Planned Television Arts for review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.


Book Feature: Enemy Lover by Karin Harlow




Enemy Lover by Karin Harlow
Publisher: Pocket Star Books
Publish Date: May 25, 2010
Paperback, 384 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4391-0982-3

Karin Harlow makes her paranormal suspense debut with the thrilling story of undercover agents fighting for justice--and against vampires.  In Enemy Lover (Pocket Star Books; June 2010; $7.99) a femme fatale becomes the newest member of the Last Option Special Team, where the only choices are do or die.


My review will be coming in the next week.

About the Book:
When you have no alternative, then you call in L.O.S.T. Because with the Last Option Special Team, it’s do or die. . . . 
It’s Jax Cassidy’s first mission for L.O.S.T.—one that will give the former cop who went rogue a chance to prove herself. Her assignment: gain the trust of assassin Marcus Cross . . . eliminate him . . . then take down Marcus’s mentor, Joseph Lazarus, a man with a bold eye on the White House. But the woman who’s known by her team for being a femme fatale succumbs to passion, only to discover Cross’s deadly secret. He’s a vampire, and Joseph Lazarus is his creator.

Left for dead by his platoon in the violent hills of Afghanistan, Special Ops sniper Marcus Cross was given a second chance at life. His newly heightened skills make him the perfect killing machine, and as Lazarus’s right-hand man, he’s quickly rising to the top of his dark empire, purging enemies with speed and precision. Only when dangerous beauty Jax Cassidy is sent to bring him in does he begin to question Lazarus’s motives and his own actions. But when Jax’s life is threatened by the one thing that can destroy them both, Marcus must make a bitter choice—her death or his.

About the Author:
A full-time writer, Karin Harlow spins dark tales of suspense, love and things that go bump in the night.   Drawing from her life as a cop's wife, her stories resonate with authority and reality.  When Karin isn't writing, she enjoys traveling the California coastline with her husband and one or more of her four children, or getting together in far-off places with her writing buddies.

FTC Information: I received this book from Ayelet Gruenspecht at Pocket Star Books for review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Book Review: Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard


Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard
Publisher: Razorbill
Publish Date: June 11, 2009
Paperback, 270 pages


My Review:
Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard was the second book I read for the first round of the YA Bloggers Debut Book Battle.  This is a time-travel young adult novel.  Callie is on the outs at her school since her best friend moved away so she is trying to use the class trip to London to remake  herself in some way and become friends with someone so she won't be alone anymore.  But it's not easy, Callie wants to be outgoing and not clumsy, but feels it is in her nature to be that way.  In a final attempt to impress some girls in her class she goes and buys a real pair of prada boots and then promptly falls on the sidewalk outside of the Prada store.  But when she awakes she is in the countryside wondering how she got there.  Soon she finds out not only is she in the countryside way outside of London, but she is also in 1815.

The story that follows had me laughing at times and sighing at others.  Callie becomes Rebecca, a childhood friend that is expected to visit from America (conveniently explaining her accent).  But she has a lot to learn about 1815 and the class system in England at the time.  Her 21st-century beliefs come forward throughout the book as she tries to help her new-found friend Emily escape from an arranged marriage and as she tries to become what she has always wanted to be, popular.  Lessons are learned and Callie learns a lot about making assumptions about people through the book and a lot about herself.

I found Prada and Prejudice highly entertaining and even thought-provoking at times.  I chose Prada and Prejudice as my winner over Bleeding Violet  because it was a fun and quick read.  Callie just wants to fit in and when she finds herself in England in the early 1800s she thinks she can remake herself into who she wants to be as Rebecca.  And she does, but along the way she learns valuable lessons about life and lessons that are as good in 19th century England as they are in 21st century America.  Callie's growth is amazing and inspiring and I think this book delivers a message that is great for teenage girls today.  And on top of that it is highly entertaining and kept me turning the pages throughout.  I'm glad I participated in this battle because otherwise I think I might have missed this truly wonderful book.

My Rating:  4.5/5.0

About the Book:
To impress the popular girls on a high school trip to London, klutzy Callie buys real Prada heels. But trying them on, she trips…conks her head…and wakes up in the year 1815!

There Callie meets Emily, who takes her in, mistaking her for a long-lost friend. As she spends time with Emily’s family, Callie warms to them—particularly to Emily’s cousin Alex, a hottie and a duke, if a tad arrogant.

But can Callie save Emily from a dire engagement, and win Alex’s heart, before her time in the past is up?
More Cabot than Ibbotson, Prada and Prejudice is a high-concept romantic comedy about finding friendship and love in the past in order to have happiness in the present.

About the Author:
Mandy Hubbard grew up on a dairy farm outside Seattle, where she refused to wear high heels until homecoming--and hated them so much she didn't wear another pair for five years. She's currently living happily ever after with her husband and young daughter in Enumclaw, Washington. Prada & Prejudice is her first novel, coming June 2009.

See Mandy Hubbard's website .
Follow her on Twitter.
Friend her on Facebook.

You Wish, her next book will be coming out on August 5th.  I have it on my side bar and can't wait to read it!

FTC Information: I bought this book for my Kindle and my reading enjoyment.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

 

Author Spotlight: Erin Healy

As I was reading on my current book, Never Let You Go by Erin Healy, I took a look at the materials the publicist sent with the book and thought an occasional author spotlight would be a good thing to do.

I like knowing about the authors I am reading and wanted to know more about Erin Healy because her book is really amazing so far.  Never Let You Go is her first solo effort, but she has co-written two books with Ted Dekker, Burn and Kiss.  I will be looking for these after I finish Never Let You Go.  So now a little more about Erin Healy, compliments of the press release from Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists.

About Erin Healy

Erin Healy is an award-winning editor and co-author of the supernatural thrillers, Kiss (Thomas Nelson, 2009) and Burn (Thomas Nelson, 2010) with Ted Dekker.  Now Healy presents her solo debut novel, Never Let You Go (Thomas Nelson, May 2010, 9781595547507, Trade Paper, $14.95), a new brand of cfiction building on her work with Dekker that melds supernatural suspense with relational drama.

Healy is the owner of WordWright Editorial Services, where she has specialized in fiction book development for the past eight years.  She has worked with popular authors such as Frank Peretti, James Scott Bell, Melody Carlson, Colleen Coble, L. B. Graham, Brandilyn Collins, Rene Gutteridge, Michelle McKinney Hammond, Robin Lee Hetcher, Lisa Samson, RAndy Singer and Robert Whitlow.

Healy earned her bachelor's degree in English with a minor in communication studies from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., and began her career as an editor for Christian Parenting Today during the mid-1990s.  AFter advancing from assistant editor, to associate editor, to editor while WordWright Editorial Services in 2002.

Healy began working for Dekker the same year, editing 12 of his well-known, heart-pounding stories, before collaborating with him as a co-author on Kiss.  Her first novel, Kiss is the story of Shauna, who wakes from a coma to find she is responsible for a terrible accident that left her brother permanently disabled and her recent memories erased.  She discovers she has the paranormal ability to steal memories from others, a capability she uses to clear her name and find out what really caused the car accident.

Burn is the story of one woman's ultimate betrayal fo friends and family and the far-reaching consequences of her actions, featuring overarching themes of good vs. evil, guilt and regret, and the grace of second chances.

Her solo debut Never Let You Go follows a devote, hard-working single mother who lives in the shadow of her estranged husband's choices and a family tragedy.  When troubling elements from her past suddenly return, her tenuous grip on life and her loved ones is threatened.  Staggering supernatural events begin spilling into her world, provinng that Hell's fury is great, but Heaven's power is greater still.

Healy currently resides in Colorado Springs, Colo., with her husband, Tim and two children.  She is the director of the Academy of Christian Editors, as well as a member of the International Thriller Writers and the American Christian Fiction Writers.  Visit www.erinhealy.com for more information.


Press release courtesy of Phenix and Phenix Literary Publicists.

Also check out Erin's website - she has a great contest going to win one of 40 copies of her new novel, Never Let You Go.

Review of Never Let You Go will be coming next week - I have just sat down and read about 100 more pages of it and it is a real page-turner.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Book Blogger Hop Mixed With What I'm Reading on Friday

I'm joining in the Book Blogger Hop this week.  I did forget to put how long I've been blogging in my link, so if you're visiting my blog from the hop - I have been blogging for a little over 1 year and love it.  I'm looking forward to visiting a bunch of blogs over the weekend and adding more to my google reader.  So go and check out Crazy-For_Books.com for the Mr. Linky for the Blog Hop.  


What I'm Reading on Friday Edition:

Kindle: Dangerous by Diana Palmer
For review and I'll be having a giveaway for this sometime next week (a print copy).  I only started the first few pages at lunch today and Mitch and I are without the boys tonight so we are going to enjoy a date night so I don't think I'll get much more reading on it today.  I am intrigued and a little lost with the beginning, but will withhold judgment until I read more.

Audio in the Car:  Don't Look Twice by Andrew Gross 
I started the 4th Disc today, the plot is twisting away :)

Review Book:  Never Let You Go by Erin Healy
I read some of this before bed last night and it is so good - even in the first few chapters.  I can't wait to read more.  This will be my main read until it's done.


Dangerous (Long, Tall 
Texans) Don't Look Twice: A Novel Never Let You Go  

Book Reviews:
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

*****Check out my sidebar for two giveaways going on right now and there are more to come very soon!*****

Other notes for today - I worked on my blog and it has a new look, what do you think.  On the personal tv watching front, we watched 3 more episodes of Lost last night (I think we are on season 2 episode 21), but there won't be any tonight as Logan, the son who watches with us will be with Jacob at his grandparents' house.  Even our little one watches from time-to-time when he wanders in (though most of the time he is off playing in his room) and was confused last night when they called Locke, John.  He had always heard that was Locke and did not understand that wasn't his first name.  I love 5-year-olds.



ABOUT THE HOP:
In the spirit of the Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on!  This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!  It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!  So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list below!!

The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun!  This is a weekly event!

Your blog should have content related to books, including, but not limited to book reviews.

Book Review: Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves


Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publish Date: January 5, 2010
Hardcover, 454 pages


My Review:
I read Bleeding Violet for the YA Bloggers Debut Book Battle, and it was a stunner.  It is so different from other YA paranormals that I have read.  Dia Reeves creates a very interesting world that borders our reality and thrusts Hanna right in the midst of it.  Hanna already doesn't fit in in the real world.  Labeled as manic-depressive and suffering from the loss of her father, she sets off to find her mother.  Hanna is labeled as crazy and suffers from hallucinations so when she sees things out of the ordinary, you are never quite sure if it is the world of Portero or Hanna's mind.  When she arrives in Portero, she finds her mother, Rosalee doesn't really want her.  But Hanna stays and as she learns more about the dangerous world of Portero and makes friends, things become even more interesting.

I have to say my favorite thing about Hanna was her style.  I love to sew, and Hanna sews.  Hanna sews all her clothes and has a magnificent eye for style (I'm a little more lacking there).  I loved the descriptions of the outfits she wears and creates.  We learn so much about her and her "tough girl" act in this book and I found her interesting throughout.  Most of the other characters are secondary, though Rosalee was key in Hanna's development along with her sometimes/maybe boyfriend, Wyatt, who I loved at times and found slightly irritating at other times.

This book is just different, that is all I can really say about it.  Different and interesting.

My Rating: 4.25/5.0

About the Book:


Love can be a dangerous thing....

Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna's tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas in search of a new home.
But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she's far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.

About the Author:

Check out Dia Reeves' website.
Follow Dia Reeves on Twitter.

FTC Information: I bought this book for my Kindle.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

 

Book Feature and Giveaway: The Last Christian by David Gregory


The Last Christian by David Gregory
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Publish Date: May 4, 2010
Paperback,  416 pages

My review will be coming next week - this is one of the books I'm trying to play catch-up with and I'm really looking forward to reading it.


About the Book:


A.D. 2088.

Missionary daughter Abigail Caldwell emerges from the jungle for the first time in her thirty-four years, the sole survivor of a mysterious disease that killed her village. Abby goes to America, only to discover a nation where Christianity has completely died out. A curious message from her grandfather assigns her a surprising mission: re-introduce the Christian faith in America, no matter how insurmountable the odds.

But a larger threat looms. The world's leading artificial intelligence industrialist has perfected a technique for downloading the human brain into a silicon form. Brain transplants have begun, and with them comes the potential of eliminating physical death altogether—but at what expense? 

As Abby navigates a society grown more addicted to stimulating the body than nurturing the soul, she and Creighton Daniels, a historian troubled by his father's unexpected death, become unwitting targets of powerful men who will stop at nothing to further their nefarious goals. Hanging in the balance—the spiritual future of all humanity.

In this futuristic thriller, startling near-future science collides with thought-provoking theology. The Last Christian is a provocative “what if?” novel from David Gregory, best-selling author of Dinner With a Perfect Stranger.


About the Author (From the WaterBrook Multnomah site):

David Gregory is the coauthor of two nonfiction books and a frequent conference speaker. After a ten-year business career, he returned to school to study religion and communications, earning two master's degrees. David lives in Texas, where he works for a nonprofit organization.

Giveaway:
Waterbrook Press has given me 1 copy of The Last Christian to giveaway to the readers of this blog. Simply comment to enter.  Additional entries for following (rss, email, blogger, networked blogs, etc.), tweeting (1 per day), posting on your blog (sidebar is fine).  Please comment for each entry - it makes the accounting easier.   Giveaway open to US/Canada only.  Don't worry if you are first or last - I'm starting to randomize all entries before using random.org to draw a number - so it's more like drawing a name out of a hat.  Giveaway runs through June 4, 2010.


FTC Information: I received this book from Waterbrook Press for review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Past Winners who have not received books - please email me

It has come to my attention that a few people have not received books from me that they won. If you will please email me your address and the book(s) you won and I will see what is going on. I know I was behind a while back and I still have a few out that I need to get out, but I have realized that I have missed some emails (not sure where they are going, but I'm not getting them). So if you haven't received something, let me know and I will try and see what is going on.  My email is crystalfulcher(at)ec(dot)rr(dot)com.

I have changed how I do my email lately, so that may be the problem, I will be looking into it because I do want to get your wins to you.  I'm also going to try and do a do you want this post re-announcing winners this weekend after I go through and see who I am missing.

Thanks!

What I'm Reading on Thursday


Kindle: Infinity (Chronicles of Nick #1) by Sherrilyn Kenyon 
I should be finishing this up this evening.  This one was a lot of fun to read and could be just the book to help me reclaim my reading mojo.  Ahh - it reminds me of reading my first Dark Hunter book when I first met Nick, and this book and the series that will follow will help the reader understand Nick better until he gets his official Dark Hunter book.  Now I think we have to wait until February 2011 for the next one - the horrors!  Oh well - time for me to catch back up on the  Dark Hunter books.

Audio in the Car:  Don't Look Twice by Andrew Gross 
I started the 3rd Disc today and this is moving right along, very enjoyable, like the reader and the character of Ty a lot.

Review Book:  Never Let You Go by Erin Healy
Soon as I finish Infinity I'll be back to this and I can't wait.


Infinity: Chronicles of Nick  Don't Look Twice: A Novel Never Let You Go  

Reviews completed:

Other notes for today - we watched 4 episodes of Lost last night, I think that puts us midway through season 2.  My husband is so addicted that he had supper almost ready when we walked in the door at 6pm and we watched until 9:15.  I have imposed a new limit of cutoff time for older son to get a good night sleep and allow for me some time to read and unwind before going to sleep. I think it's a good thing as I slept well last night and actually woke up before the alarm this morning.

Giveaway: The Rule of Nine by Steve Martini

Thanks to William Morrow, I have one copy of The Rule of Nine by Steve Martini to giveaway. I received the giveaway with my own coveted copy yesterday and I would love to get it into one of my reader's hands. It goes on sale on Tuesday, June 1 and you could have it soon after. Here's a little more about it. More information about the giveaway is below.   I will be reading it in the next week or so and posting my review.  I love Steve Martini and can't wait to read this one.


The Rule of Nine by Steve Martini
Publisher:  William Morrow
Publish Date:  June 1, 2010
Hardcover, 400 pages
Paul Madriani Book # 11

About the Book:

The Old Weatherman dreams of a plan that could be his swan song, an attack to drive a stake through the heart of the right-wing establishment and bury it for good. Now he's found the money, the ideal weapon, and the professional who knows how to use it. And he has set his sights on the perfect target at the very seat of the United States government, in the heart of downtown Washington. It will be a strike heard round the world.
San Diego defense attorney Paul Madriani is still reeling from the trauma of a near nuclear explosion he helped avert at the naval base in Coronado. Threatened by federal authorities to keep quiet about the close call in California, Madriani is now faced with a new problem in the steely-eyed and alluring Joselyn Cole, a weapons control expert, who believes he has to go public with what he knows if they have any hope of stopping a similar event in the future.

But Madriani has been linked to the murder of a Washington, D.C., political staffer, and authorities believe a shadowy figure called Liquida—a hired assassin known as "the Mexicutioner"—may be responsible. And this man, as the last survivor of the attack in San Diego, might be driven by a bizarre and horrifying star-crossed vendetta, and might now be looking for Madriani himself. What Madriani and Cole begin to fear is that the Old Weatherman and this madman have joined forces and intend to pull the city—and the country—into a vortex of terror before Madriani and Cole can find answers to the enigma that is "the rule of nine."

The Giveaway:

One copy of The Rule of Nine by Steve Martini provided by the publisher, William Morrow, that I will mail out to the winner within a week of the close of the giveaway.  The winner will be notified by email and posted on the website and will have 48 hours to contact me with their address before I draw another name.  Giveaway ends June 3, 2010.

To Enter:

Simply comment.  Tell me if you've read Steve Martini before or just say enter me.  Additional entries for tweeting (1 per day), following me in any way (twitter, google follower, rss, email, see sidebar to follow), and 5 additional entries for telling me your favorite book you read in May.  Please leave a separate comment for each entry (I'll count the 5 entries for your favorite book in May, so you don't need to leave that 5 times).  All comments will be randomized and then I will pick a number using random.org.

Thanks!  Look for another giveaway coming tomorrow and some housekeeping of some drawings I still need to do.  I took a small hiatus but I am back now so if you are expecting a book know it will be coming very soon.  Thanks for your patience - life just gets in the way sometimes.  :)