Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Book Review: Mornings With Jesus 2012: Daily Encouragements for Your Soul (Plus a Giveaway)

Mornings With Jesus 2012: Daily Encouragements for Your Soul
Publisher: Guideposts
Publish Date: 2011
Paperback, 378 pages 
Non-Fiction, Christian, Devotional









My Review:
"We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit." 1 John 4:13 (NIV)

That is the Bible verse that starts the devotional for today, January 31, 2012, which is my day on the tour.  The Faith Step for today, or as I like to think about it the lesson to take away and act upon is: "Ask Jesus to empower you to celebrate the blessings of another today."

Wow.  This is a powerful one for me.  And I bet it is one for you as well.  We all have a little bit of the green-eyed monster in each of us.  And I don't even think this devotion speaks to that.  I'll tell you how it spoke to me when I read through it last night in preparation for this post today.  Yes you could say I procrastinate, but in a way maybe waiting made this message appear at just the right time for me.  God has a miraculous way of doing that and several of the devotions have been that spark for me.

But back to today's devotion and celebrating the blessings of another.  The one quote that stood out in the whole devotion was this one:
How does someone crippled with pain wholeheartedly rejoice over another's miraculous healing, without that whisper deep in the soul: "Lord, what about me?"  
Sharon Hinck's words really spoke to me here.  Because this is what I feel often.  Heck at one time I have even been on the other side of that as I watched a friend die of brain cancer yet the tumors that my doctor at one time believed were inoperable and would probably only give me a month or two to live were found to only be cysts.  I wondered how I could face her husband and son since I was alive and she was not.  Now I am on the opposite side.  I see others happy and healthy and I continue to decline and all I want is my life back, the life I had just 4 years ago.  So yes I have asked "Lord, what about me?"

But as the devotion goes on, I felt uplifted, I am not forgotten and through the strength of God I can celebrate the blessings of others.  Just as my friends celebrated my blessings as well.  I know now they harbored no ill-feelings towards me and that has let loose a burden as well.  So this devotion has doubly blessed me today.

And today's devotion is not the only one that has really helped me. Earlier this month there was a great devotional by Camy Tang about a stagnant prayer life and boy don't I feel like I have been there before.  Each one I have read so far has had something to say to me.  Each morning (or evening) I get just a little bit of God talking to me through these wonderful devotions written by these Christian women.  And I look forward to enjoying the rest of the year with the insight these ladies will provide me into my own spiritual life and I hope to come out on the other end just a little closer to Jesus.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0


About the Book:

"Be still and know that I am God.” is one of the most beautiful verses from the Bible, but it’s not easy to practice in this busy world. Mornings with Jesus will help you do just that—“be still” in Jesus’ beautiful and powerful presence. For those who are seeking a deeper experience in their relationship with Christ, Mornings with Jesus offers a fresh perspective of who Jesus is (the Healer, the Son of God, the Comforter, the Good Shepherd) and what that means for day-to-day life. With a warm and friendly voice, 365 short devotional writings on the character and teachings of Jesus encourage readers to greet each day by drawing near to Him and inviting His presence into their day. Spend time with Jesus at the beginning of each day and experience His nearness and peace in a new way throughout the year. Each day’s selection includes: • a Bible verse • an entry based on Jesus: His words, miracles, and parables; His wisdom, compassion, and comfort; His mystery, power, divinity, and humanity • a “faith step” that will inspire and challenge readers to apply the day’s message to their lives



GIVEAWAY
Thank you to the publisher, I have a second copy of Mornings With Jesus 2012 to giveaway.  To win simply by enter below.  Open to US/Canada only.  Ends 2/7/2012.  The only mandatory entry is name and email and if you are logged into Rafflecopter using Facebook it will enter those for you all you will have to do is hit the enter me button.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***I received this book through Litfuse publicity for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free. ***

Monday, January 30, 2012

Book Review: Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey (+ Chance to Win iTouch Spy Pack)

Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey
Publisher: Revell
Publish Date: January  1, 2012
Paperback, 322 pages 
Fiction, Suspense, Historical, Christian
 ISBN: 978-0800720469





buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
My Review:
I am halfway through this one and if the second half is as good as the first half then this is a first-rate historical suspense thriller.  I loved getting to know the characters, but this jumps right into the action as well.  I know this is actually the second in the series, but I had no problem getting to know the characters.  The storyline is completely separate so that is no problem.  It's the two main characters that continue through the series.

I loved the setting.  I know very little about the occupation of France during World War II and particularly the occupation of Paris.  That is the setting, the end of the occupation and the resistance of the citizens of Paris.  I found this fascinating.  And then add in the art angle and I was completely sold.  The authors did a wonderful job weaving the historical with the suspense to make the book very interesting and hard to put down.

I have no reason to believe this will disappoint and I look forward to finishing the book.  I also look forward to going back and reading the first book in the series, The Swiss Courier and any future books that involve Gabi and Eric.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0 (at a little over halfway through, because of tour date)


Blog tour schedule: http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13449999


About the book:
It is August 1944 and Paris is on the cusp of liberation. As the soldiers of the Third Reich flee the Allied advance, they ravage the country, stealing countless pieces of art. Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring will stop at nothing to claim the most valuable one of all, the Mona Lisa, as a post-war bargaining chip to get him to South America. Can Swiss OSS agents Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler rescue DaVinci's masterpiece before it falls into German hands?

With nonstop action, Chasing Mona Lisa is sure to get readers' adrenaline pumping as they join the chase to save the most famous painting in the world. From war-ravaged Paris to a posh country chateau, the race is on--and the runners are playing for keeps.
Read an excerpt, watch a video and find out more here. http://www.triciagoyer.com/historicalfiction.html#ChasingMonaLisa  
About the authors:




Tricia Goyer is the coauthor of The Swiss Courier as well as the author of many other books, including Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights, both past winners of the ACFW's Book of the Year Award for Long Historical Romance. Goyer lives with her family in Arkansas. For more about Tricia and her other books visitwww.triciagoyer.com 





Mike Yorkey is the author or coauthor of dozens of books, including The Swiss Courier and the bestselling Every Man's Battle series. Married to a Swiss native, Yorkey lived in Switzerland for 18 months. He and his family currently reside in California. For more about Mike  and his other books visit www.mikeyorkey.com 

Buy the book 




Win an iTouch SPY Pack in the Chasing Mona Lisa Giveaway from @triciagoyer @mikeyorkey!

Chasing Mona Lisa is the continuing tale of Gabi Mueller and Eric Hofstadler (first introduced in The Swiss Courier). This time the due are on a relentless quest to save the most famous
painting in the world  - the Mona Lisa. You can help Gabi and Eric with your very own spy pack when you enter The Chasing Mona Lisa Giveaway!






One passionate protector will receive:

  • iTouch (The must-have device for any spy. Camera, Maps & Music.)
  • Starbucks Gift Card (For all those late nights.)
  • Moleskin Notebook (For those important notes.)
  • Invisible Ink Pen (Don’t want anyone reading those important notes.)
  • Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey (Great
    handbook and intriguing tale for any spy-in-training!)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on January 31st. The winner will be announced at the Chasing Mona Lisa Facebook Party on 1/31. Tricia and Mike will be hosting an author chat (on Facebook and Live from Tricia's website) and giving away their books and a Book Club prize pack! (Ten copies of the book for your small group or book club AND a LIVE Author Chat for your group with Tricia and Mike.)

So grab your copy of Chasing Mona Lisa and join Tricia and Mike on the evening of the 31st for an author chat, spy training (do you know how to pick a lock? ) and lots of giveaways. 

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 31st!


***I received this book through Litfuse Publicity for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free. 

Happy 20th Birthday Magic Treehouse Books!



I saw that the Magic Treehouse books by Mary Pope Osborne are turning 20 in a dedicated issue of Shelf Awareness that I received this morning and I had to post.  I have read Magic Treehouse books to both of my boys.  My oldest and I have also listened to them in the car as well.  I love these books.  I love that you get a little bit of history and some mystery mixed in. I love that they have a boy and a girl in them.  I love that they are siblings.  I love just about everything about these books.  I wish I could say I have read all of them, but I have not.  But seeing this newsletter this morning makes me want to go home and pull out one of the many we have on our personal bookshelf and read to my youngest tonight and I think I will.  He can choose the book and we will read together.

Do you have a favorite?  I'm not sure.  I loved the ones that revolved around Camelot and fantasy.  But the ones with American history were great too.  Mary Pope Osborne has a definite gift for children's books and it shows as these books have now spanned 20 years and I am sure they will span more.

So go, click on the banner, enter the giveaway.  And maybe you'll pull out a Magic Treehouse book to read to yourself, your child, your grandchild, niece, nephew, whoever, tonight or one night this week.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Young Adult Giveaway Hop


Welcome to the Young Adult Giveaway Hop sponsored by I Am A Reader, Not a Writer and Down the Rabbit Hole

For this giveaway I have the wonderful book Cobbogoth by Hannah L. Clark to giveaway.  I was sent an extra copy just for a giveaway like this one.  It has 5, 5-star reviews on Goodreads.  Interested?  Here's a little  more about it.


Cobbogoth by Hannah L. Clark
To seventeen-year-old Norah Lukens, the Cobbogothians were just a myth. But after her archeologist uncle's brutal murder, and being asked to translate one of his old research journals for evidence, she begins a journey to discover the truth for herself.

Chasing the myth her uncle was obsessed with, Norah learns that his murder was a cover up for something far more sinister. If she hopes to save others from suffering the same fate he did--including the peculiarly magnetic James Riley--she must head to Iceland in order to find out the truth once and for all.

If she succeeds, she'll gain the one thing she's always longed for.

But if she fails, not even the gods can help her.


Want to win, fill out the Rafflecopter below.  US/Canada only for this one.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I am still here

I apologize for being MIA the last two weeks.  As most of my readers know I have had a myriad of health problems and have had two brain surgeries in the past in an effort to revlieve my symptoms.  But it has appeared over the last year the the cysts in my spinal cord were not all of  my problems.  I had a bout of bad headaches over the summer and after finding a medicine to control them (but not explanation as to why I have them, we are back to my first diagnosis I recieved in 2008, fibromyalgia.  However, it has gotten worse in the past 6 months and I have been going to the doctor monthly (and somtimes even more often) trying to work out what is going on.  Around Christmas things were slightly more under control and then the stress of the holidays brought me down again.

At the beginning of this year I decided that my word for this year is "Hope" and I would hope for a better year.  And then one of my friends who has fibro mentioned she was trying a gluten-free diet and was feeling better.  After some reading, some discussion with my husband and some messaging with a friend who has been gluten-free for awhile (and actually encouraged me to go gluten-free when I had the headaches) I decided to give it a try.  So that is where I have been.  I have been reading up on the gluten-free diet.  I have been acclimating myself and my family to the gluten-free diet.  They are not eating gluten-free, but it does change how things are done in the kitchen.  I truly feel that I am gluten-intolerant, but even if I am not, this is a very healthy diet if done right so I don't feel I can go wrong.  So it has taken a lot of my reading time.  I actually feel it takes all my time, but slowly I am getting use to it and getting back to reading.  So I will be back.  I will start to have some reviews later this week and be back to full schedule next week.

I have winners to draw and giveaways to mail.  Don't worry - it will all be done.  I just had to take a break for me.  I did do some serious thinking about giving up the blog, but I can't, it's something I truly enjoy.  So I will be back . . .

Monday, January 23, 2012

Book Feature: The Shadow of Your Smile by Susan May Warren (+ your chance to enter to win a $200 Visa Gift Card)

The Shadow of Your Smile by Susan May Warren
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publish Date: January 1, 2012
Paperback, 384 pages 
Fiction, Romance, Christian
 ISBN: 978-1414334837





buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery



***My Review will be coming tomorrow***


The blog tour schedule can be found here.
About the book
 

A beautiful blanket of snow may cover the quaint town of Deep Haven each winter, but it can’t quite hide the wreckage of Noelle and Eli Hueston’s marriage.

After twenty-five years, they’re contemplating divorce . . . just as soon as their youngest son graduates from high school. But then an accident erases part of Noelle's memory. Though her other injuries are minor, she doesn’t remember Eli, their children, or the tragedy that has ripped their family apart. What’s more, Noelle is shocked that her life has turned out nothing like she dreamed it would. As she tries to regain her memory and slowly steps into her role as a wife and mother, Eli helps her readjust to daily life with sometimes-hilarious, sometimes-heartwarming results. But can she fall in love again with a man she can’t remember?

Will their secrets destroy them . . . or has erasing the past given them a chance for a future? Read the story behind the story here: http://www.susanmaywarren.com/books/the-shadow-of-your-smile

About Susan:
Susan May Warren is an award-winning, best-selling author of over twenty-five novels, many of which have won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, the ACFW Book of the Year award, the Rita Award, and have been Christy finalists. After serving as a missionary for eight years in Russia, Susan returned home to a small town on Minnesota’s beautiful Lake Superior shore where she, her four children, and her husband are active in their local church.
Susan's larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder ofwww.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.
Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!)
A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at:www.susanmaywarren.com



Come Back to Deep Haven and Win a $200 Visa Card from
@SusanMayWarren!

Sometimes love requires a little forgetting ... Come back to Deep Haven and
find out what's been happening in your favorite quaint hamlet. If you're new to the Deep
Haven series - this is the perfect book to start with - each book in the series is a stand
alone story.



Susan is celebrating the release of The Shadow of Your Smile by giving away a prize pack worth over $200 from 1/9-1/28.





One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A $200 Visa Gift Card (Use that to rekindle a little romance, treat
    yourself to a spa day, snap up those shoes you’ve been eyeing, or purchase a few great
    books!)
  • The entire set of Deep Haven Books 
The winner will be announced on 1/30/12 on Susan’s blog, Scribbles! Just click one of the icons below to enter and tell your friends about
Susan's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.



Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter


***I received this book through Litfuse Publicity for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  I do not receive money for my amazon links since I live in NC (something about some law), so they are up purely for my readers to have a place to check out the book.***

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book Feature: Love Blooms in Winter by Lori Copeland (FIRST Wild Card Tour)

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 (January 1, 2012)

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


**My review will be coming soon**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Lori Copeland is the author of more than 90 titles, both historical and contemporary fiction. With more than 3 million copies of her books in print, she has developed a loyal following among her rapidly growing fans in the inspirational market. She has been honored with the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award, The Holt Medallion, and Walden Books' Best Seller award. In 2000, Lori was inducted into the Missouri Writers Hall of Fame. She lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband, Lance, and their three children and five grandchildren.



Visit the author's website.




SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


This new romance from bestselling author Lori Copeland portrays God’s miraculous provision when none seems possible. An engagement, a runaway train, and a town of quirky, loveable people make for more adventure than Tom Curtis is expecting. But it is amazing what can bloom in winter with God in charge.




1892—Mae Wilkey’s sweet next-door neighbor, Pauline, is suffering from old age and dementia and desperately needs family to come help her. But Pauline can’t recall having kin remaining. Mae searches through her desk and finds a name—Tom Curtis, who may just be the answer to their prayers.



Tom can’t remember an old aunt named Pauline, but if she thinks he’s a long-lost nephew, he very well may be. After two desperate letters from Mae, he decides to pay a visit. An engagement, a runaway train, and a town of quirky, loveable people make for more of an adventure than Tom is expecting. But it is amazing what can bloom in winter when God is in charge of things.












Product Details:




    • List Price: $13.99
    • Paperback: 304 pages
    • Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2012)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0736930191
    • ISBN-13: 978-0736930192




AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:







Dwadlo, North Dakota, 1892
The winter of ’92 is gonna go down as one of the worst Dwadlo’s ever seen,” Hal Murphy grumbled as he dumped the sack of flour he got for his wife on the store counter. “Mark my words.” He turned toward Mae Wilkey, the petite postmistress, who was stuffing mail in wooden slots.
“Spring can’t come soon enough for me.” She stepped back, straightening the row of letters and flyers. She didn’t have to record Hal’s prediction; it was the same every year. “I’d rather plant flowers than shovel snow any day of the week.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Hal nodded to the store owner, Dale Smith, who stood five foot seven inches with a rounded belly and salt-and-pepper hair swept to a wide front bang. “Add a couple of those dill pickles, will you?” Hal watched as Dale went over to the barrel and fished around inside, coming up with two fat pickles.
“That’ll fix me up.” Hal turned his attention back to the mail cage, his eyes fixed on the lovely sight. “Can’t understand why you’re still single, Mae. You’re as pretty as a raindrop on a lily pad.” He sniffed the air. “And you smell as good.”
Smiling, Mae moved from the letter boxes to the cash box. Icy weather may have delayed the train this morning, but she still had to count money and record the day’s inventory. “Now, Hal, you know I’d marry you in a wink if you weren’t already taken.” Hal and Clara had been married forty-two years, but Mae’s usual comeback never failed to put a sparkle in the farmer’s eye. Truth be, she put a smile on every man’s face, but she wasn’t often aware of the flattering looks she received. Her heart belonged to Jake Mallory, Dwadlo’s up-and-coming attorney.
Hal nodded. “I know. All the good ones are taken, aren’t they?”
She nodded. “Every single one. Especially in Dwadlo.”
The little prairie town was formed when the Chicago & North Western Railroad came through five years ago. Where abundant grass, wild flowers, and waterfalls had once flourished, hundreds of miles of steel rail crisscrossed the land, making way for big, black steam engines that hauled folks and supplies. Before the railroad came through, only three homesteads had dotted the rugged Dakota Territory: Mae’s family’s, Hal and Clara’s, and Pauline Wilson’s.
But in ’87 life changed, and formerly platted sites became bustling towns. Pine Grove and Branch Springs followed, and Dwadlo suddenly thrived with immigrants, opportunists, and adventure-seeking folks staking claims out West. A new world opened when the Dakota Boom started.
Hal’s gaze focused on Mae’s left hand. “Jake still hasn’t popped the question?”
Mae sighed. Hal was a pleasant sort, but she really wished the townspeople would occupy their thoughts with something other than her and Jake’s pending engagement. True, they had been courting for six years and Jake still hadn’t proposed, but she was confident he would. He’d said so, and he was a man of his word—though every holiday, when a ring would have been an appropriate gift, that special token of his intentions failed to materialize. Mae had more lockets than any one woman could wear, but Jake apparently thought that she could always use another one. What she could really use was his hand in marriage. The bloom was swiftly fading from her youth, and it would be nice if her younger brother, Jeremy, had a man’s presence in his life.
“Be patient, Hal. He’s busy trying to establish a business.”
“Good lands. How long does it take a man to open a law office?”
“Apparently six years and counting.” She didn’t like the uncertainty but she understood it, even if the town’s population didn’t. She had a good life, what with work, church, and the occasional social. Jake accompanied her to all public events, came over two or three times a week, and never failed to extend a hand when she needed something. It was almost as though they were already married.
“The man’s a fool,” Hal declared. “He’d better slap a ring on that finger before someone else comes along and does it for him.”
“Not likely in Dwadlo,” Mae mused. The town itself was made up of less than a hundred residents, but other folks lived in the surrounding areas and did their banking and shopping here. Main Street consisted of the General Store, Smith’s Grain and Feed, the livery, the mortuary, the town hall and jail (which was almost always empty), Doc Swede’s office, Rosie’s Café, and an empty building that had once housed the saloon. Mae hadn’t spotted a sign on any business yet advertising “Husbands,” but she was certain her patience would eventually win out.
With a final smile Hal moved off to pay for his goods. Mae hummed a little as she put the money box in the safe. Looking out the window, she noticed a stiff November wind snapping the red canvas awning that sheltered the store’s porch. Across the square, a large gazebo absorbed the battering wind. The usually active gathering place was now empty under a gray sky. On summer nights music played, and the smell of popcorn and roasted peanuts filled the air. Today the structure looked as though it were bracing for another winter storm. Sighing, Mae realized she already longed for green grass, blooming flowers, and warm breezes.
After Hal left Mae finished up the last of the chores and then reached for her warm wool cape. She usually enjoyed the short walk home from work, but today she was tired—and her feet hurt because of the new boots she’d purchased from the Montgomery Ward catalog. On the page they had looked comfortable with their high tops and polished leather, but on her feet they felt like a vise.
Slipping the cape’s hood over her hair, she said goodbye to Dale and then paused when her hand touched the doorknob. “Oh, dear. I really do need to check on Pauline again.”
“How’s she doing?” The store owner paused and leaned on his broom. “I noticed she hasn’t been in church recently.”
Dale always reminded Mae of an owl perching on a tree limb, his big, dark blue eyes swiveling here and there. He might not talk a body’s leg off, but he kept up on town issues. She admired the quiet little man for what he did for the community and respected the way he preached to the congregation on Sundays.
How was Pauline doing? Mae worried the question over in her mind. Pauline lived alone, and she shouldn’t. The elderly woman was Mae’s neighbor, and she checked on her daily, but Pauline was steadily losing ground.
“She’s getting more and more fragile, I’m afraid. Dale, have you ever heard Pauline speak of kin?”
The small man didn’t take even a moment to ponder the question. “Never heard her mention a single word about family of any kind.”
“Hmm…me neither. But surely she must have some.” Someone who should be here, in Dwadlo, looking after the frail soul. Mae didn’t resent the extra work, but the post office and her brother kept her busy, and she really didn’t have the right to make important decisions regarding the elderly woman’s rapidly failing health.
Striding back to the bread rack, she picked up a fresh loaf. Dale had private rooms at the back of the store where he made his home, and he was often up before dawn baking bread, pies, and cakes for the community. Most folks in town baked their own goods, but there were a few, widowers and such, who depended on Dale’s culinary skills. By this hour of the day the goods were usually gone, but a few remained. Placing a cherry pie in her basket as well, she called, “Add these things to my account, please, Dale. And pray for Pauline too.”
Nodding, he continued sweeping, methodically running the stiff broomcorn bristles across the warped wood floor.
The numbing wind hit Mae full force when she stepped off the porch. Her hood flew off her head and an icy gust of air snatched away her breath. Putting down her basket, she retied the hood before setting off for the brief walk home. Dwadlo was laid out in a rather strange pattern, a point everyone agreed on. Businesses and homes were built close together, partly as shelter from the howling prairie winds and partly because there wasn’t much forethought given to town planning. Residents’ homes sat not a hundred feet from the store. The whole community encompassed less than five acres.
Halfway to her house, snowflakes began swirling in the air. Huddling deeper into her wrap, Mae concentrated on the path as the flakes grew bigger.
She quickly covered the short distance to Pauline’s. The dwelling was little more than a front room, tiny kitchen, and bedroom, but she was a small woman. Pauline pinned her yellow-white hair in a tight knot at the base of her skull, and she didn’t have a tooth in her head. She chewed snuff, which she freely admitted was an awful habit, but Mae had never heard her speak of giving it up.
Her faded blue eyes were as round as buttons, and no matter what kind of day she was having, it was always a new one to her, filled with wonders. Her mind wasn’t what it used to be. She had good and bad days, but mostly days when her moods changed as swift as summer lightning. She could be talking about tomatoes in the garden patch when suddenly she would be discussing how to spin wool.
Mae noted a soft wisp of smoke curling up from the chimney and smiled. Pauline had remembered to feed the fire this afternoon, so this was a good day.
Unlatching the gate, she followed the path to the front porch. In summertime the white railings hung heavy with red roses, and the scent of honeysuckle filled the air. This afternoon the wind howled across the barren flower beds Pauline carefully nurtured during warmer weather. Often she planted okra where petunias should be, but she enjoyed puttering in the soil and the earth loved her. She brought fresh tomatoes, corn, and beans to the store during spring and summer, and pumpkins and squash lined the railings in the fall.
In earlier days Pauline’s quilts were known throughout the area. She and her quilting group had made quite a name for themselves when Dwadlo first became a town. Four women excelled in the craft. One had lived in Pine Grove, and two others came from as far away as Branch Springs once a month to break bread together and stitch quilts. But one by one the women had died off, leaving Pauline to sew alone in her narrowing world.
Stomping her boots on the porch, Mae said under her breath, “I don’t mind winter, Lord, but could we perhaps have a little less of it?” The only answer was the wind whipping her garments. Tapping lightly on the door, she called, “Pauline?”
Mae stepped back and waited to hear the shuffle of feet. Pauline used to answer the door in less than twenty seconds. It took longer now. Mae made a fist with her gloved hand and banged a little harder. The wind howled around the cottage eaves. She closed her eyes and prayed that Jeremy had remembered to stack sufficient firewood beside the kitchen door. The boy was generally responsible, and she thanked God every day that she had him to lean on. He had been injured by forceps during birth, which left him with special needs. He was a very happy fourteen-year-old with the reasoning power of a child of nine.
A full minute passed. Mae frowned and tried the doorknob. Pauline couldn’t hear herself yell in a churn, but she might also be asleep. The door opened easily, and Mae peeked inside the small living quarters. She saw that a fire burned low in the woodstove, and Pauline’s rocking chair sat empty.
Stepping inside, she closed the door and called again. “Pauline? It’s Mae!”
The ticking of the mantle clock was the only sound that met her ears.
“Pauline?” She lowered her hood and walked through the living room. She paused in the kitchen doorway.
“Oh, Pauline!”



Monday, January 16, 2012

I Melted the Internet with Scott Nicholson, Aiden James, H.T. Night & J.R. Rain!






Wow what a great event for these authors and they melted facebook too!!!  If you entered here, your email address has been sent in for the drawing for the Kindle Fires which will take place tomorrow so make sure you check out http://epickindlegiveaway.blogspot.com/ to see if you are a winner tomorrow - they will also be emailing the winners as well.  Also if you spread the word with the picture above today, you will be entered to win a $50 GC.  I saw it on facebook so check it out.  Put it on your blog, facebook, or any other virtual space and email the link to epickindlegiveaway (at) yahoo (dot) com to be entered.  Winner will be announced tomorrow.






Friday, January 13, 2012

Book Review: Don't Breathe A Word by Holly Cupala + Giveaway

Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publish Date: January 3, 2012
Paperback, 299 pages 
Fiction, Young Adult
 ISBN: 978-0061766695






buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
My Review:
What can I say about this book?  Don't Breathe a Word is amazing is so many different ways.  It's not an easy read in the way that it deals with tough subjects.  But it is an easy read in the way that the page just about turn themselves.  I found myself right there with Joy.  I had asthma as a child/teenager so I could definitely relate to her in that way.  The rest, wow, I just felt for her and hoped for her and cheered for her.  I wanted things to work out for her and for Creed.

It's defnitely a gritty book.  It deals with abuse, it deals with teen runaways and teens living on the streets.  It dealt with so much that my sheltered life did not let me know was out there, but my eyes are opened now and even though my small town probably does not have many homeless teens, I do know abuse is out there.  The thing is, Ms. Cupala could have made this a totally depressing book, but it's not.  It's sad and it takes the right tone with the tough situations, but you can feel the hope as well.  Hope between Joy and Creed even in the toughest times.

Ms. Cupala's writing was amazing, I was immediately transported to the streets of Seattle, somewhere I have never been and have only seen in Grey's Anatomy and that doesn't show the street life, just mainly hospital and bar life.  She does magic with her words, making me a part of the story.  Making me care about the main characters, and making me afraid of the ones I am supposed to be afraid of.  I felt all of Joy's emotions.  It was really amazing.

I honestly read this book several months ago and it has stuck with me.  I read over 200 books a year and often details blur together in my mind.  Nothing about this book has blurred.  That is the mark of a great book in my mind.  I can remember the details, the story and the characters.  Ms. Cupala has written a story that you won't soon forget with Don't Breathe a Word.  It's a story to make us as readers aware, but it's a story of hope as well.  I loved it and I think if you enjoy contemporary young adult novels that deal with issues you will as well.  This is one that can't be missed.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

Parental guidance: Due to the subject matter I recommend this for 14+ (abuse, runaways, teenagers living on the street).  The language/sexual content is blurry after a few months, but I do know the subject matter is better suited for the older teenagers or if you want to use it as a book to discuss with younger teenagers it would be great for that.  I know I would do that if I had daughters, and I may do it with my sons when they get older, mainly as a way they are not to treat girls (though I think they already understand that).

About the Book:
Joy Delamere is suffocating...

From asthma, which has nearly claimed her life. From her parents, who will do anything to keep that from happening. From delectably dangerous Asher, who is smothering her from the inside out.

Joy can take his words - tender words, cruel words - until the night they go too far.

Now, Joy will leave everything behind to find the one who has offered his help, a homeless boy called Creed. She will become someone else. She will learn to survive. She will breathe... if only she can get to Creed before it’s too late.

Set against the gritty backdrop of Seattle’s streets and a cast of characters with secrets of their own, Holly Cupala’s powerful new novel explores the subtleties of abuse, the meaning of love, and how far a girl will go to discover her own strength.


About the Author (from Goodreads.com): 
Holly Cupala wrote teen romance novels before she ever actually experienced teen romance. When she did, it became all about tragic poetry and slightly less tragic novels. When she isn't making art and writing, she spends time with her husband and daughter in Seattle, Washington. These days, her writing is less about tragedy and more about hope.

Part of the author's proceeds from this book will go toward helping sexually exploited girls around the globe. TELL ME A SECRET is her first novel.


Website 
Twitter
Facebook


GIVEAWAY Details
Harper has been kind enough to give Holly enough copies of DBaW to do a prize per day of the tour! And trust me when I say you want this book - my review will be coming next week - I read this months ago and it still sticks with me.  It's amazing!
Here is the details of how this is going to work:
*There will be one book given per day, drawn weekly. Everything entered by Saturday night will be put into a drawing on Sunday.
*The points DO accumulate, meaning entries put in for week one are still going to count for the drawings in weeks 2 and 3. (This is to reward those who follow/enter from the start, and doesn't punish them later because their entries are more spread out)
ENTRIES:
*There is one automatic entry
*For every post you comment on, it is one entry.  You must enter the link to the post you commented on in the entry form below.  (So make sure you comment here for an entry!)  Then check out the rest of the tour stops and comment and enter them on the form below)
*There is an extra entry if you tweet, facebook, do a blog post or somehow include on your blog. It is one for each of these, but only 1 per type (meaning you can't tweet every day and get points for it... its just one tweet)
*You need to fill out the form EACH time you do something to enter. If there is no link, the entry does not count (beyond the first initial entry, that you can just enter to win from)
There will be ONE international winner a week, assuming an international person gets drawn.  If the winner is international, they will be getting a copy from The Book Depository. US/Canada copies will be mailed from Holly and the copies will be signed.
The final drawing will held Sunday, January 15, and will include all entries through midnight CST Sat, Jan 14.


FTC Information: I received this book through Teen Book Scene for an honest review.  I do make money from purchases made at The Book Depository and B&N.com, but all money is used to fund giveaways and shipping for giveaways from the blog.




Epic Kindle Giveaway Day #3: 4 Kindle Fires, $200 in Gift Cards, 45 free books #epickindlegiveaway

Want to win a Kindle Fire? Authors Aiden James, Scott Nicholson, J. R. Rain, and H.T. Night are teaming up Jan. 11-13 to give away $1,000 in prizes, including four Kindle Fires, $200 in Amazon gift cards, and 45 free Kindle books.

There are four ways to enter during Jan. 12-13:
  • Share this blog link on facebook or twitter using the share buttons at the bottom of this post, if you do this, make sure you comment with links to your tweets or facebook posts and your email address on this post.  
  • Share our free books and event from http://epickindlegiveaway.blogspot.com
  • Spread the news about our contest on your favorite Internet hangouts and the Kindle Fairy is searching and putting names in her Magic Hat

TODAY’S FREE KINDLE BOOKS

Scott Nicholson
Drummer Boy (supernatural thriller) Amazon US Amazon UK;
The Red Church (supernatural thriller) Amazon US Amazon UK;
As I Die Lying (psychological thriller) Amazon US Amazon UK;
Creative Spirit (haunted house thriller) Amazon US Amazon UK;
Disintegration (suspense thriller) Amazon US Amazon UK;
Zombie Bits (zombie stories) Amazon US Amazon UK; Amazon US Amazon UK;
Speed Dating with the Dead Amazon US Amazon UK;
The Skull Ring Amazon US Amazon UK;
Scott Nicholson Library, Vol. 4 Amazon US Amazon UK;
October Girls (YA paranormal) Amazon US Amazon UK

H.T. Night
A Boy's Life (Young Adult) Amazon US Amazon UK;  
Boy Meets Girl (Young Adult) Amazon US Amazon UK;  
Everlasting Love (Poetry) Amazon US Amazon UK;  
Getting Yours (Romantic Comedy) Amazon US Amazon UK;  
Paranormal Love Stories (Vampire/Werewolf Love Story) Amazon US Amazon UK;  
The Werewolf Whisperer (Vampire Romance) Amazon US Amazon UK;  
Vampire Love Story (Vampire Romance) Amazon US Amazon UK;  
Winning Sarah’s Heart: Back to School (YA Romance) Amazon US Amazon UK;
Winning Sarah’s Heart: Boys Being boys (YA Romance) Amazon US Amazon UK

J.R. Rain
BAD BLOOD - A Vampire Thriller Amazon US Amazon UK;
BLACK RAIN: 15 Short Stories Amazon US Amazon UK;
ELVIS HAS NOT LEFT THE BUILDING - A murder mystery Amazon US Amazon UK;
JUDAS SILVER - An adventure screenplay Amazon US Amazon UK;
LOST EDEN - An adventure screenplay Amazon US Amazon UK;
THE BODY DEPARTED - A ghost story Amazon US Amazon UK;
THE VAMPIRE CLUB - supernatural fantasy comedy Amazon US Amazon UK;
THE VAMPIRE WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO -mystery novella Amazon US Amazon UK

Aiden James
Aiden James Vampires (Vampire adventure) Amazon US Amazon UK;
Cursed Immortals (Supernatural Thriller/Vampires) Amazon US Amazon UK;
The Raven Mocker (Horror/Mystery) Amazon US Amazon UK;
Deadly Night (Murder mystery/Supernatural) Amazon US Amazon UK;
The Forgotten Eden (Supernatural Thriller) Amazon US Amazon UK;
Twice Bitten (Vampire adventure) Amazon US Amazon UK

If one of the four authors hits #1 on the Kindle Free list, they will give away another Kindle Fire. If at any time during the event, the four authors hold all the Top 10 slots on the Kindle Free list, they will give away a sixth kindle. Kindle Fire winners will be selected by the Watauga County (NC) Public Library staff using random.org.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop


Welcome to the Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop sponsored by I Am A Reader, Not a Writer and Reviews By Martha's Bookshelf. I have a great prize pack for you.  I have three of my favorite recent YA reads: Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep, Living Violet by Jaime Reed and Everneath by Brodi Ashton.  This giveaway is open to US/Canada only. Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.

Please note that if you are signed into Rafflecopter with Facebook you will not have to enter your name and email, it does it automatically, you just have to hit enter.  If you have any problems with the form, email me at crystalfulcher(at)ec.rr.com.



Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep
My Review
Logan Quinn was try­ing to kill me. My Spar­tan class­mate relent­lessly pur­sued me, swing­ing his sword at me over and over again, the shin­ing sil­ver blade inch­ing closer to my throat every time. A smile tugged up his lips, and his ice-blue eyes prac­ti­cally glowed with the thrill of battle...

I’m Gwen Frost, a second-year warrior-in-training at Mythos Acad­emy, and I have no idea how I’m going to sur­vive the rest of the semes­ter. One day, I’m get­ting schooled in sword­play by the guy who broke my heart—the drop-dead gor­geous Logan who slays me every time. Then, an invis­i­ble archer in the Library of Antiq­ui­ties decides to use me for tar­get prac­tice. And now, I find out that some­one at the acad­emy is really a Reaper bad guy who wants me dead. I’m afraid if I don’t learn how to live by the sword—with Logan’s help—I just might die by the sword..


Living Violet by Jaime Reed
My Review
He's persuasive, charming, and way too mysterious. And for Samara Marshall, her co-worker is everything she wants most--and everything she most fears. . .

Samara Marshall is determined to make the summer before her senior year the best ever. Her plan: enjoy downtime with friends and work to save up cash for her dream car. Summer romance is not on her to-do list, but uncovering the truth about her flirtatious co-worker, Caleb Baker, is. From the peculiar glow to his eyes to the unfortunate events that befall the girls who pine after him, Samara is the only one to sense danger behind his smile.

But Caleb's secrets are drawing Samara into a world where the laws of attraction are a means of survival. And as a sinister power closes in on those she loves, Samara must take a risk that will change her life forever. . .or consume it.




 Everneath by Brodi Ashton
My Review 
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...



a Rafflecopter giveaway



Book Review: Gun Games by Faye Kellerman

Gun Games by Faye Kellerman
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: January 3, 2011
Hardcover, 384 pages 
Fiction, Suspense
 ISBN: 978-0062064325
Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus #20





buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
My Review:
Gun Games is my first Faye Kellerman novel.  I have meant to read her for years.  I have read her husband and have even read her son, but for some reason haven't read her.  I use to have this thing where I had to start the series from the beginning, but I have finally gotten over that.  Yes you do miss character growth and some background, but I've found a lot of these suspense series, each book stands on it's own and that's how I feel about Gun Games.  It's the 20th novel in the Rina  and Peter Decker series and as I stated before the first I have read.

Gun Games seems to center around two separate stories, Gabe, the foster son that Pete and Rina are keeping who is a piano prodigy is the center of one of the stories.  He meets a girl who is a year younger and is a Persian Jew.  Gabe is white and not a Jew at all.  A romance ensues secretly.  Gabe keeps up his piano studies and is trying to decide what to do with his life.  All-in-all I really enjoyed this story line.  I liked Gabe and Yasmine.  They were cute and sweet and everything young love is when you are 15 and 14.

The second story centers around a suicide that Pete and his detectives have been asked to look into at an exclusive private school.  The mom just doesn't think her son could have committed suicide.  Crazy things start showing up.  I really enjoyed this storyline.  The detective work and the way things unfolded really made the story.  And I always enjoy reading about exclusive prep or boarding schools.

And then the storylines intersect like you would not believe and I won't give anything more away.  But thing go completely crazy.  If you think you couldn't put the book down before this point, there is no way you are putting it down after this point.

I think Ms. Kellerman does an excellent job creating believable characters and scary characters.  She interweaves a plot that is so crazy that it is believable.  I was enthralled.  It's one of those books that is so calm and easy going in the beginning that it sucks you in and before you know it you just cannot put it down.

Overall I think this was an amazing book and if the others in this series are anything like it I am definitely starting at the beginning and working my way through.  In fact I'm going to my library website now to reserve The  Ritual Bath.  I can't wait to get more of Peter and Rina Decker.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

Advisory note: Not for the faint of heart, there is bad language, though it is not overdone. There is also sex and plenty of sexual references especially between the teenagers.  Also Gabe's biological father owns brothels, so references are made to that and they are often crude.  All of this seems to be in the character of Chris, the father, but if you don't like that kind of thing in the books you read, this book may not be for you. It wasn't all the time, more time was spent on the suspense plot, but it is in there so I feel I should mention.


About the Book:
LAPD lieutenant detective Decker and his wife, Rina, have willingly welcomed fifteen-year-old Gabriel Whitman, the son of a troubled former friend, into their home. While the enigmatic teen seems to be adapting easily, Decker knows only too well the secrets adolescents keep—witnessed by the tragic suicide of another teen, Gregory Hesse, a student at Bell and Wakefield, one of the city’s most exclusive prep schools.

Gregory’s mother, Wendy, refuses to believe her son shot himself and convinces Decker to look deeper. What he finds disturbs him. The gun used in the tragedy was stolen—evidence that propels him to launch a full investigation with his trusted team, Sergeant Marge Dunn and Detective Scott Oliver. But the case becomes darkly complicated by the suicide of another Bell and Wakefield student—a death that leads them to uncover an especially nasty group of rich and privileged students with a predilection for guns and violence. Decker thought he understood kids, yet the closer he and his team get to the truth, the clearer it becomes that he knows very little about them, including his own charge, Gabe. The son of a gangster and an absent parent, the boy has had a life filled with too much free time, too many unexplained absences, and too little adult supervision.

Before it’s over, the case and all its terrifying ramifications will take Decker and his detectives down a dark alley of twisted allegiances and unholy alliances, culminating at a heart-stopping point of no return.


About the Author (from Goodreads.com): 
Faye Kellerman was born in St Louis, Missouri. She began her career as a dentist but turned to writing after the birth of her eldest child in 1978. As well as the highly popular Peter Decker series she has also written one historical mystery. In between writing, she tries to find the time to enjoy her two favourite hobbies, gardening and music. She has four children and lives with them and her husband, novelist and psychologist Jonathan Kellerman, in Los Angeles.

Website 

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FTC Information: I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.  I do make money from purchases made at The Book Depository and B&N.com, but all money is used to fund giveaways and shipping for giveaways from the blog.