Thursday, December 31, 2009

Review: Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer

Devil's Cub Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer

My rating: 4.5/5.0

My review: 

I have never read Georgette Heyer before even though I have seen her books around for a long time. I am glad I finally got a chance to read one of her famous Regency romances through Sourcebooks who kindly sent me this book.

I loved Devil's Cub. It is beautifully written, I truly enjoyed working my way through each page of Ms. Heyer's writing. I also loved the witty conversations and the humor she imparts. I loved the subtleties of it. It reminded me very much of Jane Austen's works with the witty conversations and observations.

The plot also moves along well and has action and romance. The characters of Vidal (Dominic) and Mary are very well done and intriguing characters. I loved watching them materialize and grow in front of me. The romance between the two is also marvelous to watch.

This is a sequel, come to find out, but it reads fine on it's own. I will be finding the first novel, These Old Shades, which is about Vidal's father, The Duke of Avon, for more of the backstory and also for more of Ms. Heyer's magnificent Regency romance.

About the Book: 

Devil's Cub is another of readers', booksellers', and librarians' favorite Georgette Heyers.

In this acclaimed followup to These Old Shades, Dominic Alastair, fiery son of the Duke of Avon, is forced to flee England after a duel. He intends to take and set up as his mistress the young lady whose attentions he's been courting, but her virtuous sister Mary gets in his way and finds herself carried off to France instead.
Discovering that he has met his match when she shoots him in the arm to protect her virtue, Dominic tries to persuade Mary to marry him, but she'll have none of it. A chase ensues that in the end embroils the Duke of Avon himself and his passionate and impetuous wife, Leonie, who is forced to admit that Mary might just be the best thing in the world for her beloved son.
I received my copy of this book from the publisher, Sourcebooks for review.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Here are my latest giveaway winners:

Stacie wins A Blue and Gray Christmas by Joan Medlicott.

plb8156 wins A Highlander Christmas by Janet Chapman

Thanks to all that entered.  More giveaways coming in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Book Review: Terror By Night by Terry Caffey

Terror by Night: The True Story of the Brutal Texas Murder that Destroyed a Family, . . . Terror by Night: The True Story of the Brutal Texas Murder that Destroyed a Family,  by Terry Caffey

My rating: 5.0/5.0

Terror By Night is an amazing story of how one man lived through a viscious attack on his family and not only survived but slowly learned to love and live again and serve God in the process.

After what happens on that horrible March night, Terry Caffey has every right to be bitter and he is, but the real story in this book is how he comes to terms with his life and his loss.  The brutality of his family's murders is horrible and the only part of the book I had trouble with, though it is not discussed in detail.  I just felt so much for this man and the loss he endured.  But the book turns uplifting as Terry struggles to find his place.  While he never loses his belief in God, he does question God, which would be natural in this circumstance.  But the turn-around in his life due to a chance encounter with a page from a novel given to his wife by author James H. Pence, is nothing short of miraculous.

The book is with Terry every step of the way from the weeks leading up to the murder through the year following and his growth and journey.

It's thought-provoking, awe-inspiring and just plain inspirational to read.  I am very sorry for all that Terry has been through, I can't even imagine losing my family.  But I am glad he lived and got a chance to share his amazing journey.  I wish him well in all he does.

I also read co-author James H. Pence's book Blind Sight a few weeks ago which was the book from which Terry found the page from. It is a wonderful book too and it was really interesting knowing how this book affected Terry Caffey's life.

I highly recommend both books.  They are both honest and very readable.  They aren't preachy, just straight-forward.  Both books involve men trying to make sense of their lives, one fictional and one non-fiction.  I am glad I got a chance to read both.

I received a copy of this book for review from Kathy Carlton-Willis Communications.

Teaser Tuesday - December 29


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I had been shot multiple times.  How could anyone live through that?  Someone told me I was a lucky man.
From Terror By Night by Terry Caffey with James H. Pence

This book is really amazing and I am enjoying reading it.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Mailbox Monday - December 28

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. To see this weeks list of participants go here.

ARC/Review Copies of:

50 Ways to Feel Great Today: Keys to Beating Stress, Worry, and the Blues
50 Ways to Feel Great Today by David B. Biebel, James E. Dill and Bobbie Dill - received from Revell for a tour later in January

Feeling a little down? Maybe more than a little down? Here are 50 potential remedies. Changing how we feel often begins with a small thing. Listening to a beautiful song. Enjoying a sunset. Making a happy memory. This book helps readers discover how to beat stress, ward off worry, and banish the blues. 50 Ways to Feel Great Today offers medically and scientifically sound advice for giving a blah mood the boot. These time-tested ideas are simple and often low or no cost. While no "be happy" pill exists, the activities in this book equip readers to become their own helping hand.

Jenna's Cowboy: A Novel (The Callahans of Texas)
Jenna's Cowboy by Sharon Gillenwater - from Revell Books for a tour later in January
 Jenna Callahan has a young son and rewarding work on her father's ranch. She's content. But she never expected to see Nate Langley back in town--the first guy she noticed, the one her father sent away all those years ago. And she never thought the attraction they felt would be as strong as ever. Jenna's cowboy has some healing of his own to do, though, after two tours of duty in the armed forces. With the help of good friends, strong faith, and a loving family, he hopes to put the horrors of the past behind him--and become the man Jenna deserves. With an emphasis on simple acts of love, Jenna's Cowboy gives romance readers what they want most: a love story with a Texas touch.

Us: A User's Guide

Us: A User's Manual by Daniel L. Tocchini received from The B&B Media Group for a FIRST Wild Card Tour in January.

Daniel Tocchini shows how some basic changes in marital “conversation”—the way couples talk to themselves and each other—can literally transform relationships.

Veteran marriage coach Daniel L. Tocchini doesn’t want to improve marriages. He wants to transform them. Drawing on personal experience and stories from couples he has coached, he offers practical guidance to move couples beyond communication tricks and gimmicks to help them truly understand "Us" for the first time—talking honestly, listening generously, tackling tricky issues, breaking out of ruts, and abandoning self-centered “consumer thinking.” Innovative, insightful, and thoroughly biblical, Tocchini’s approach has helped thousands in his popular seminars. Whether a marriage is in deep trouble or just coasting along, it's time for Christian couples to read the User's Guide that God intended.
Screen Play: A Novel 

Screen Play by Chris Coppernoll - received from The B&B Media Group for a FIRST Wild Card Tour in January

After struggling for years to make it as an actress, Harper finally gets her big break—but will she have to sacrifice the love of her life to take it?

At thirty, Harper fears her chances for a thriving acting career and finding true love are both fading fast. When she's handed an unexpected role on Broadway—understudy to New York’s biggest diva––everything changes. She longs for love in the City, but when it doesn't happen, she reluctantly signs up to an online matchmaking site. Frustration mounts when the only men Harper is interested in are on the West coast, thousands of miles away. Harper feels like an actress who doesn’t act, and a woman in love with someone she's never met, but God's about to change all that.

Wins I received:

The Gate House

The Gate House by Nelson Demille - won from Alyce at At Home With Books

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille delivers the long-awaited follow-up to his classic novel The Gold Coast.

When John Sutter's aristocratic wife killed her mafia don lover, John left America and set out in his sailboat on a three-year journey around the world, eventually settling in London. Now, ten years later, he has come home to the Gold Coast, that stretch of land on the North Shore of Long Island that once held the greatest concentration of wealth and power in America, to attend the imminent funeral of an old family servant. Taking up temporary residence in the gatehouse of Stanhope Hall, John finds himself living only a quarter of a mile from Susan who has also returned to Long Island. But Susan isn't the only person from John's past who has reemerged: Though Frank Bellarosa, infamous Mafia don and Susan's ex-lover, is long dead, his son, Anthony, is alive and well, and intent on two missions: Drawing John back into the violent world of the Bellarosa family, and exacting revenge on his father's murderer--Susan Sutter. At the same time, John and Susan's mutual attraction resurfaces and old passions begin to reignite, and John finds himself pulled deeper into a familiar web of seduction and betrayal. In THE GATE HOUSE, acclaimed author Nelson Demille brings us back to that fabled spot on the North Shore -- a place where past, present, and future collides with often unexpected results.
Another great mailbox week with a lot of books I can't wait to get to.

A Tournament of Reading Challenge

It's time to enter another challenge. I just saw this one today and thought it would be a good one to challenge me to expand my reading horizons. The Tournament of Reading Challenge is being hosted at Medieval Bookworm and here is the information about it:

This challenge is designed to get us all reading a little more medieval literature in 2010.  The challenge will run from January 1st to December 31st, 2010, and will be hosted right here at Medieval Bookworm.  Challenge genres include history, medieval literature, and historical fiction.  Medieval, for simplicity of definition, will be from 500-1500, and literature from all over the world is welcome, not just western Europe.  There are 3 levels:
  • Peasant – Read 3 medieval books of any kind.
  • Lord – Read 6 medieval books, at least one of each kind.
  • King – Read 9 medieval books, at least two of each kind.
 I think I will sign up at the Peasant level with aspirations to be a Lord.  I'm going to have to look over the recommendations to make my list which I will post here at a later time.

To join in the challenge go to Medieval Bookworm and sign up and then check out the other participants.

Here are the books I will try to read:

  1. The Pillars of the Earth  by Ken Follett
  2. World Without End by Ken Follett
  3. Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross
Here are the books I actually read:

  1. A Golden Web by Barbara Quick (a fiction retelling of the life of Alessandra Giliani, a great YA historical read)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2010 Debut Author Challenge

Here's another challenge I am joining for the new year.  It's the 2010 Debut Author Challenge.  Essentially you make a list of books you have read by YA authors that are debuting in 2010.  The initial challenge is to read 12, but I am hoping to read 20.  More information and the specifics can be found at the host site, The Story Siren.  The sign up page is here.

This will be my post for listing books that qualify for this challenge.
  1. The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
  2. Leaving Gee's Bend by Irene Latham
  3. Island Sting by Bonnie Doerr
  4. The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams by Rhonda Hayter
  5. Freaksville by Kitty Keswick
  6. Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
  7. The Mark by Jen Nadol
  8. The Naughty List by Suzanne Young
  9. Katy's New  World by Kim Vogel Sawyer
  10. Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
  11. A Change of Heart by Shari Mauer
  12. Freefall by Mindi Scott
  13. Matched by Allie Condi
  14. Firelight by Sophie Jordan
  15. The Candidates by Inara Scott
  16. Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
  17. Manifest by Artist Arthur
  18. Hunger by Jackie Kessler Morse
  19. Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
  20. Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales
  21. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
  22. Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin

    Tuesday, December 22, 2009

    Waiting on Wednesday - December 23

    "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

    I just saw this one - I still have the fourth in the series to read, but this looks interesting.  I loved the series - it's easy and enjoyable reading so this background information should be a lot of fun.

    Sorry no cover for this one.

    Keys to the Repository (Blue Bloods Short Stories)
    Release Date: May 25, 2010

    Lavish parties. Passionate meetings in the night. Bone-chilling murders. Midterms. The day-to-day life of Schuyler Van Alen and her Blue Bloods friends (and enemies) is never boring. But there's oh-so-much more to know about these beautiful and powerful teens. Below the streets of Manhattan, within the walls of the Repository, exists a wealth of revealing information about the vampire elite that dates back before the Mayflower. In a series of short stories, journal entries, and never-before-seen letters, New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz gives her hungry fans the keys to the Repository and an even more in-depth look into the secret world of the Blue Bloods. Won't you come inside?
    What are you waiting on this week?

    Teaser Tuesday - December 22


    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

    • Grab your current read
    • Open to a random page
    • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
    • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
    "Yes," said her grace candidly, "I think, my dear, that when you have the devil in you - which I perfectly understand - you are likely to forget everything."
    He disengaged himself, and stood up. "My devil don't prompt me to marriage, maman," he said.

    From Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer

    I'm enjoying this book a lot - the conversations are really witty.

    Monday, December 21, 2009

    Fall Into Reading Challenge 2009 Wrap Up Post

    Fall Into Reading 2009

    • Did you finish reading all the books on your fall reading list? If not, why not?  I met my goal but switched my books around - so I'm not sure whether I would say I read my fall reading list or not :)
    • Did you stick to your original goals or did you change your list as you went along?  I changed my list as I went along - once I would like to try and keep to my list, but I haven't been able to do it yet.
    • What was your favorite book that you read this fall? Least favorite? Why?  The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox was my favorite, because it was a wonderful fantasy story with great meaning behind it and it was highly entertaining.  I can't wait for my husband and my boys to read it.  I didn't have one that I disliked enough to classify it as my least favorite.  There are some that didn't get as high a review rating, but I didn't really dislike them.
    • Did you discover a new author or genre this fall? Did you love them? Not love them?  Lots of great new authors - Victoria Simcox, J.P. O'Donnell, and Melissa Senate to name a few.  Again there were none I disliked - I would try them all again.
    • Did you learn something new because of Fall Into Reading 2009 – something about reading, about yourself, or about a topic you read about?  Not really - I was better at keeping up with my reviews though.
    • What was your favorite thing about the challenge?  Keeping track and seeing all the books I have read.  I look forward to trying harder next spring/fall to follow my list that I set forth to begin with.
    My Fall Into Reading Challenge Post can be found here.

    What are you Reading Monday - December 21

    Come post weekly and see what others are reading too just so you can add to your tbr - I always do! For more information see J.Kaye's Book Blog and join in!

    Books Completed Last Week:
    • Southern Lights by Danielle Steel (library)
    • Wisdom Hunter by Randall Arthur (review)
    • The Sherriff's Surrender by Susan Page Davis (review)  
    • Highlander Christmas by Janet Chapman (review)
    Reading Now:
    • Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough (review)
    • Permission Slips by Sherri Shepherd (audiobook - review)
    • The Dark Divine by Bree Despain (review)
    • Yellow Moon by Jewell Parker Rhodes (review)

    Reviews Completed Last Week
    • Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer
    • Essie in Progress by Marjorie Presten
    • The Possibility of Everything by Hope Edelman
    • Kissing Games of the World by Sandi Kahn Shelton
    • The Silent Gift by Michael Landon and Cindy Kelley
    Reviews to do:
    • Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz
    • Tempted by P.C. and Kristin Cast
    • 13 1/2 by Nevada Barr
    • Sole Survivor by Dean Koontz
    • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
    • Only In Your Dreams by Cecily von Ziegesar
    • Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
    • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

    Summary -

    I started the week ahead of the game review-wise and finished up behind.  But that's okay I had a busy and good reading week.  I now have the next two weeks to play catch up on some reviews I missed while I had surgery and the immediate recovery time.  I have a few scheduled reviews, but not too many.  I plan on enjoying time at home with my kids and husband and enjoying Christmas.  I also plan to try and get a head start on my January schedule.  I also have a stack of library books to enjoy, so I have plenty to read over the next week.

    Sunday, December 20, 2009

    Mailbox Monday - December 21

    Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. To see this weeks list of participants go here.

    ARC/Review Copies of:

    The Choice (Lancaster County Secrets, Book 1)

    The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher
    received for blog tour on January 22, 2010 from Revell Books
    With a vibrant, fresh style Suzanne Woods Fisher brings readers into the world of a young Amish woman torn between following the man she loves--or joining the community of faith that sustains her, even as she questions some of the decisions of her elders. Her choice begins a torrent of change for her and her family, including a marriage of convenience to silent Daniel Miller. Both bring broken hearts into their arrangement--and secrets that have been held too long. Filled with gentle romance, The Choice opens the world of the Amish--their strong communities, their simple life, and their willingness to put each other first. Combined with Fisher's exceptional gift for character development, this novel, the first in a series, is a welcome reminder that it is never too late to find your way back to God.

    Terror by Night: The True Story of the Brutal Texas Murder that Destroyed a Family, . . .

    Terror by Night by Terry Caffey with James H.Pence
    Received for a blog tour from the author for Kathy Carlton-Willis next week

    At 3:00 a.m. on March 1, 2008, Terry Caffey awoke to find his daughter’s boyfriend standing in his bedroom with a gun. An instant later the teen opened fire, killing Terry’s wife, his two sons, and wounding him 12 times, before setting the house ablaze. Terry fell into deep depression and planned to kill himself, but God intervened. Upon visiting his burned-out property, Terry noticed a scorched scrap of paper from one of his wife’s books leaning against a tree trunk. The page read: “[God,] I couldn’t understand why You would take my family and leave me behind to struggle along without them. And I guess I still don’t totally understand that part of it. But I do believe that You’re sovereign; You’re in control.” That page was like a direct message from God, and it turned Terry’s life around. Now, one year later, Terry is remarried, the adoptive father of two young sons, and working to rebuild his relationship with his 17-year-old daughter, who is currently serving two life sentences in a Texas state penitentiary for her involvement in the crimes.

    Terror by Night tells the compelling story of how Terry Caffey found peace after his wife and sons were brutally murdered and his teenage daughter implicated in the crime. Sharing never-before-told details about the night of the crime and subsequent murder trial, it explains how Terry was able to forgive the men who murdered his family, and how he even interceded with the prosecutors on their behalf. A powerful example of how the power of forgiveness can bring healing after tragedy and great loss, it shows how God can bring good out of even the darkest tragedies.

    Faith that Works

     Faith That Works: A Topical Study on the Book of James by Anne Fortenberry
    received from Hannibal Books for a FIRST Wild Card Tour on January 4, 2010

    What does a person's faith look like if it's acted out in daily life? Our faith in God saves us; the Bible testifies to that. But what difference does that faith make in our lives? If works don't insure our salvation, what's the purpose of right Christian behavior? If we have transformed lives in Christ, what specific works represent an outgrowth of our belief? Anne Fortenberry tackles all these questions in her nine-week interactive Bible study, "Faith that Works." In a warmhearted, personal approach, Anne reveals fresh insights into the Book of James that will strengthen participants' faith, enrich their walk with the Lord, and challenge them to apply well-known scriptural principles. Participants in a "Faith that Works" small group will learn how to cope with trails and temptations, how to develop characteristics such as obedience, tongue control, wisdom, and trust in God, how to endure suffering, and how to restore wandering believers, among other topics.

    Seduced by a Rogue

    Seduced by a Rogue by Amanda Scott
    Received from Anna Balasi at Forever/Hachette Books for a tour date January 19th and I will also post a giveaway for this in the next few weeks.

    A fair-haired beauty at 19, Lady Mairi is heiress apparent to her father Lord Dunwythie's rich barony. He has carefully taught her how to manage their estates, but a feud between his clan and the Maxwell clan is brewing as the two families edge toward a clan war - their dispute over money owed. Mairi's father believes he owes nothing, and of course Mairi sides with him.

    When the impulsive and blue-eyed Rob Maxwell chances to meet Mairi in a barley field, they feel instant attraction, despite their families' antagonisms. Knowing he must put his clan first, Rob enacts a plan to force Dunwythie to pay his debt: Rob kidnaps Mairi, making the abduction appear the work of a stranger; then he and his sheriff-brother offer to help Dunwythis rescue his daughter IF, and only if, he will pay them the monies due. Yet after Rob captures Mairi's body, she captures his heart. When Dunwythie summons the aid of the most powerful clan in all Scotland (the Douglases), clan-tensions rise to a fever pitch. Love takes its own feverish course, as Mairi and Rob join forces to prevent a clash between hot-headed clans, and to protect their budding love.

    Denise's Daily Dozen: The Easy, Every Day Program to Lose Up to 12 Pounds in 2 Weeks

    Denise's Daily Dozen by Denise Austin
    I received this from Hachette books for a tour date in January.  I will also have a giveaway starting for this in January.

    From Denise Austin comes the perfect health book for anyone who wants to live better but just can't seem to find the time. Much more than just another excercise book, Denise's Daily Dozen covers a whole range of health and diet related concepts yet manages it all in a no-stress, time-conscious program of 12's. At it's core, this book contains the minimum daily requirements to keep the reader flexible, strong and trim. Organized simply into seven chapters, which equal the seven days of the week, it covers a full week in daily allotments. Each day will have it's own focus from Monday being "fat burning day" to Sunday's "recharge and rejuvenate."

    Denise has created a total body program, including a 7-day balanced meal plan that includes healthy recipes, and a workout that encompasses 12 exercises done in 12 minutes each day. Everyone can take just 12 minutes, at whatever time of the day works for them, and turn it over to these simple and fun exercises. Cardio, toning, yoga and breathing exercises...they're all here but in a way the maximizes effect while minimizing time.

    Beyond a dozen exercises for each day of the week this book will include many other of Denises dozens for each day. 

    The Dark Divine
    The Dark Divine by Bree Despain and a cute little bottle of Dark Divine nail polish from Egmont the publisher
    Release - December 22, 2009

    Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.

    The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.

    The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.

    Wins I received:

    Beat the Reaper: A Novel

    Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell
    Won from Nely at All about {n}

    Dr. Peter Brown is an intern at Manhattan's worst hospital, with a talent for medicine, a shift from hell, and a past he'd prefer to keep hidden. Whether it's a blocked circumflex artery or a plan to land a massive malpractice suit, he knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men.

    Pietro "Bearclaw" Brnwna is a hitman for the mob, with a genius for violence, a well-earned fear of sharks, and an overly close relationship with the Federal Witness Relocation Program. More likely to leave a trail of dead gangsters than a molecule of evidence, he's the last person you want to see in your hospital room.

    Nicholas LoBrutto, aka Eddy Squillante, is Dr. Brown's new patient, with three months to live and a very strange idea: that Peter Brown and Pietro Brnwa might-just might-be the same person ...

    Now, with the mob, the government, and death itself descending on the hospital, Peter has to buy time and do whatever it takes to keep his patients, himself, and his last shot at redemption alive. To get through the next eight hours-and somehow beat the reaper.

    Spattered in adrenaline-fueled action and bone-saw-sharp dialogue, BEAT THE REAPER is a debut thriller so utterly original you won't be able to guess what happens next, and so shockingly entertaining you won't be able to put it down.

    What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures

    What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell - won at J. Kaye's Book Blog

    What is the difference between choking and panicking? Why are there dozens of varieties of mustard-but only one variety of ketchup? What do football players teach us about how to hire teachers? What does hair dye tell us about the history of the 20th century?

    In the past decade, Malcolm Gladwell has written three books that have radically changed how we understand our world and ourselves: The Tipping Point; Blink; and Outliers. Now, in What the Dog Saw, he brings together, for the first time, the best of his writing from TheNew Yorker over the same period.

    Here is the bittersweet tale of the inventor of the birth control pill, and the dazzling inventions of the pasta sauce pioneer Howard Moscowitz. Gladwell sits with Ron Popeil, the king of the American kitchen, as he sells rotisserie ovens, and divines the secrets of Cesar Millan, the "dog whisperer" who can calm savage animals with the touch of his hand. He explores intelligence tests and ethnic profiling and "hindsight bias" and why it was that everyone in Silicon Valley once tripped over themselves to hire the same college graduate.

    "Good writing," Gladwell says in his preface, "does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else's head."What the Dog Saw is yet another example of the buoyant spirit and unflagging curiosity that have made Malcolm Gladwell our most brilliant investigator of the hidden extraordinary.

    Review and Giveaway - A Highlander Christmas by Janet Chapman

    A Highlander Christmas (Highlander, #7) A Highlander Christmas by Janet Chapman

    My rating: 4.0/5.0

    A delightful and quick holiday read. Mixes the real world with the sci-fi world beautifully and in a fun way.

    I really enjoyed reading A Highlander Christmas. The characters were interesting and the romance was great. There was a lot of fun and playfulness in the book that makes it just right for a Christmas read. My favorite character is Fiona, the runaway that helps Camry and Luke get together.

    The plotting is well done and it was hard to put down. It reads quickly and I enjoyed every minute of the book.

    I read the first book in Janet Chapman's Highlander series and really enjoyed it but have not read the rest of them. I feel like it would have helped to read all of the earlier books to have a little more understanding of the family but it definitely wasn't a must. I will go back and read the series now. If you want a delightfully fun Christmas romance - this is the book for you.


    I will give my copy of this book away to one reader. Open to the US and Canada only for this one. Unfortunately it will arrive after Christmas - but it's not too Christmasy and I think it will be enjoyable any time of the year. To enter just leave a comment. If you've read this series let me know how you liked it and you can have an extra 5 entries. Tweet, follow, blog etc. for other extra entries. Giveaway ends 12/27/2009.

    Saturday, December 19, 2009

    Twenty Ten Challenge

    Another challenge to join - this is another one I'm using to stretch my reading a bit.  The Twenty Ten Challenge is hosted by Bart at Bart's Reading Room so head over there to find out more about it and sign up.

    Here is the information about it.The aim is to read a total 20 books, over ten categories, in 2010. (Was this challenge based solely around the name? I’ll let you decide!)
    • Read 2 books from each category, making a requirement of 20 books total.
    • The categories are intended to be loose guidelines only, if you decide it fits, then it fits. (Apart from those marked **)
    • Categories marked with ** have tighter rules, and these must be followed.
    • Each book can only qualify for one category.
    • Crossovers with other challenges are allowed.
    • Books read from 01/01/2010 to 31/12/2010 are eligible.
    So, on with the categories
    1. Young Adult
      Any book classified as young adult or featuring a teenage protagonist counts for this category.
    2. T.B.R. **
      Intended to help reduce the old T.B.R. pile. Books for this category must be already residents of your bookshelves as of 1/11/09.
    3. Shiny & New
      Bought a book NEW during 2010 from a bookstore, online, or a supermarket? Then it counts for this category. Second-hand books do not count for this one, but, for those on book-buying bans, books bought for you as gifts or won in a giveaway also count!
    4. Bad Blogger’s ***
      Books in this category, should be ones you’ve picked up purely on the recommendation of another blogger count for this category (any reviews you post should also link to the post that convinced you give the book ago).
      *** Bad Bloggers: Is hosted by Chris of Stuff as Dreams are Made on.
    5. Charity
      Support your local charity shops with this category, by picking up books from one of their shops. Again, for those on book-buying bans, books bought for you as gifts also count, as long as they were bought from a charity shop.
    6. New in 2010
      This category is for those books newly published in 2010 (whether it be the first time it is has been released, or you had to wait for it to be published in your country, it counts for this one!)
    7. Older Than You
      Read two books that were published before you were born, whether that be the day before or 100 years prior!
    8. Win! Win!
      Have a couple of books you need to read for another challenge? Then this is the category to use, as long that is, you don’t break the rules of the other challenge by doing so! ;)
    9. Who Are You Again?
      This one isn’t just for authors you’ve never read before, this is for those authors you have never even heard of before!
    10. Up to You!
      The requirements for this category are up to you! Want to challenge yourself to read some graphic novels? A genre outside your comfort zone? Something completely wild and wacky? Then this is the category to you. The only requirement is that you state it in your sign-up post.
    My Reads:

    • Young Adult - complete
    1. Sydney's D.C. Discovery by Jean Fischer
    2. Good Ghoul's Guide to Getting Even by Julie Kenner
    • T.B.R. ** - complete

      1. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
      2. Inner Circle by Kate Brian

      1. Shiny & New  - complete

        1. Invitation Only by Kate Brian
        2. Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

        1. Bad Blogger’s ***

          1. Double Love by Francine Pascal - This is the fault of this post at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books for bringing up the Sweet Valley High series, for some reason I have decided to go back and read these.
        2. Charity
        4. New in 2010

          1. Becoming Lucy by Martha Rogers
          2. Conflicts with Interest by Michael Ruddy

        5. Older Than You

        6. Win! Win! - complete

          1. Portrait in Death by J.D. Robb
          2. Absolute Power by David Baldacci

          1. Who Are You Again? - complete

            1. Screen Play by Chris Coppernoll
            2. Lone Star Legend by Gwendolyn Zepeda

          2. Up to You! - I changed my mind - I'm going non-fiction for this one
            1. Hear No Evil by Matthew Paul Turner

            Friday, December 18, 2009

            Giveaway - 5 copies of Hearing From God Each Morning by Joyce Meyer

             Thanks to Valerie Russo at Faith Words I have 5 copies of Joyce Meyer's new book Hearing From God Each Morning: 365 Daily Devotions which will be published on January 8, 2010 to giveaway.  I am looking forward to receiving this and reviewing it in January.

            About the Book:
            In the hustle and bustle of today's busy world, sometimes it's hard enough to hear yourself think, much less take a minute to stop and listen for the voice of God. But learning to recognize God's voice and the many ways in which He speaks is vital for following His plan. This devotional; drawing from How to Hear From God, Knowing God Intimately, and The Power Of Simple Prayer shows the reader through a daily reminder, how God speaks through their own thoughts and feelings, their dreams, and the words of other people.


            About the Author:
            Joyce Meyer is one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, she has written more than eighty inspirational books, including The Secret to True Happiness, 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life, the entire Battlefield of the Mind family of books, her first venture into fiction with The Penny, and many others. She has also released thousands of audio teachings, as well as a complete video library. Joyce’s Enjoying Everyday Life radio and television programs are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences. Joyce and her husband, Dave, are the parents of four grown children and make their home in St. Louis, Missouri.

            on facebook

            To enter the giveaway simply comment and leave your email address if it's not available in your blogger profile.  The giveaway is open to the US and Canada only (no PO boxes) and will run through 1/1/2010.

            Additional entries for being a follower, subscribing to my blog, following me on twitter, tweeting (1 entry per day) and posting on your blog.  Just let me know what you do in your comment. 

            Review: The Sheriff's Surrender by Susan Page Davis

            The Sheriff's Surrender (The Ladies' Shooting Club Series, #1) The Sheriff's Surrender by Susan Page Davis

            My rating: 5.0/5.0

            I loved this book. Susan Page Davis does a wonderful job setting up this series in this book and while she is setting up and the reader is getting to know the characters,it remains interesting and never drags.

            Fergus makes a great setting and I loved learning about the town a little bit at time. I also enjoyed getting to know the characters and watching them grow and change when they were faced with different situations.

            The mystery storyline was also superb. Several plausible suspects are given throughout the book, but I didn't feel anything was given away early. It kept me guessing and kept me interested.

            The characters were fascinating. From Gert who I really liked to Libby the store owner to Bitsy the saloon owner and her girls, all of the characters add to the story and teach us about understanding and loving others. The characters all have a real feel to them and I can't wait to read more books in this series to get to know them more.

            The romance in this is a small part, but it is there and enjoyable. Overall this book was a very enjoyable and feel-good read. This is my first book by Susan Page Davis and I will seek out more of her books.

            Thanks to Angie Brillhart, Publicist for Barbour Publishing for sending me this book for review. My mom will be reading this book next and then I will be donating it to my church library.

            For more information on this book, the author and a preview please see my FIRST Wild Card Tour post.

            Friday Finds (December 18)

            Friday Finds is hosted over on Should Be Reading. It's all about what great books you have heard about/discovered in the past week. Here is my entry, and head over to the Should Be Reading Blog to read others and find books to add to your TBR pile!

            So here are a few of my finds:

            Dear Strangers
            By Meg Mullins
            Publication Date: February 4
            I found this through Jill's Waiting on Wednesday post at her blog Breaking the Spine - she always has great books I haven't heard of on her posts so check it out.

            In the high desert of the American southwest during the summer of 1982, the Finley family is awaiting the arrival of the baby boy they're due to adopt. Oliver, just seven, is eager for another playmate to join him and his sister in their idyll of swimming pools, climbing trees, and playing tag. But one hot afternoon, Dr. Finley dies suddenly and everything changes. Mrs. Finley, newly widowed, decides she cannot proceed with the adoption alone.

            Twenty-one years later, Oliver believes he has finally found the brother his family was meant to adopt. Along the way, he also finds Miranda, an eccentric, charming photographer whose subjects are consenting strangers in their own homes after dark. Oliver and Miranda's love story collides with catastrophe when their worlds intersect in ways they could never have predicted.

            Pocket Books Tour: Highlander Christmas by Janet Chapman

            A Highlander Christmas (Highlander, #7)A Highlander Christmas by Janet Chapman

            My Review and a book giveaway will be coming this weekend.

            About the Book:
            Camry MacKeage has absolutely no intention of telling her parents that she left her job as a NASA physicist for the small-town life of a dog-sitter -- which is why she's spending the holidays alone in coastal Maine with her furry friends Tigger and Max. Unfortunately, her irresistibly handsome rival, scientist Luke Pascal, accidentally spilled the beans. Now he's on a mission from her mother to tempt Camry home for the family's annual winter solstice celebration. But Luke is hiding his own secret, and he'll need a little bit of magic to earn Camry's trust...and a whole lot of mistletoe to seduce his way into her heart.

            Thursday, December 17, 2009

            FIRST Wild Card Tour and Review - The Sheriff's Surrender by Susan Page Davis

            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:

            Barbour Books (December 1, 2009)

            ***Special thanks to Angie Brillhart of Barbour Publishing for sending me a review copy.***

            My review will be coming later today.

            ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

            Award-winning author Susan Page Davis is a mother of six who lives in Maine with her husband, Jim. She worked as a newspaper correspondent for more than twenty-five years in addition to home-schooling her children. She writes historical romances and cozy mysteries and is a member of ACFW. Visit her Web site at

            Visit the author's website.

            Product Details:

            List Price: $10.97
            Paperback: 320 pages
            Publisher: Barbour Books (December 1, 2009)
            Language: English
            ISBN-10: 1602605629
            ISBN-13: 978-1602605626


            Fergus, Idaho

            May 1885

            Gert Dooley aimed at the scrap of red calico and squeezed the trigger. The Spencer rifle she held cracked, and the red cloth fifty yards away shivered.

            “I’d say your shooting piece is in fine order.” She lowered the rifle and passed it to the owner, Cyrus Fennel. She didn’t particularly like Fennel, but he always paid her brother, the only gunsmith in Fergus, with hard money.

            He nodded. “Thank you, Miss Dooley.” He shoved his hand into his pocket.

            Gert knew he was fishing out a coin. This was the part her brother hated most—taking payment for his work. She turned away. Hiram would be embarrassed enough without her watching. She picked up the shawl she had let fall to the grass a few minutes earlier.

            “That’s mighty fine shooting, Gert,” said Hiram’s friend, rancher Ethan Chapman. He’d come by earlier to see if Hiram would help him string a fence the next day. When Cyrus Fennel had arrived to pick up his repaired rifle, Ethan had sat down on the chopping block to watch Gert demonstrate the gun.

            “Thank you kindly.” Gert accepted praise for shooting as a matter of course. Now, if Ethan had remarked that she looked fine today or some such pretty thing, she’d have been flustered. But he would never say anything like that. And shooting was just work.

            Fennel levered the rifle’s action open and peered at the firing pin. “Looks good as new. I should be able to pick off those rats that are getting in my grain bins.”

            “That’s quite a cannon for shooting rats,” Gert said.

            Ethan stood and rested one foot on the chopping block, leaning forward with one arm on his knee. “You ought to hire Gert to shoot them for you.”

            Gert scowled. “Why’d I want to do that? He can shoot his own rats.”

            Hiram, who had pocketed his pay as quickly as possible, moved the straw he chewed from one side of his mouth to the other. He never talked much. Men brought him their firearms to fix. Hiram listened to them tell him what the trouble was while eyeing the piece keenly. Then he’d look at Gert. She would tell them, “Come back next week.” Hiram would nod, and that was the extent of the conversation. Since his wife, Violet, had died eight years ago, the only person Hiram seemed to talk to much was Ethan.

            Fennel turned toward her with a condescending smile. “Folks say you’re the best shot in Fergus, Miss Dooley.”

            Gert shrugged. It wasn’t worth debating. She had sharp eyes, and she’d fired so many guns for Hiram to make sure they were in working order that she’d gotten good at it, that was all.

            Ethan’s features, however, sprang to life. “Ain’t it the truth? Why, Gert can shoot the tail feathers off a jay at a hundred yards with a gun like that. Mighty fine rifle.” He nodded at Fennel’s Spencer, wincing as though he regretted not having a gun as fine.

            “Well, now, I’m a fair shot myself,” Fennel said. “I could maybe hit that rag, too.”

            “Let’s see you do it,” Ethan said.

            Fennel jacked a cartridge into the Spencer, smiling as he did. The rag still hung limp from a notched stick and was silhouetted against the distant dirt bank across the field. He put his left foot forward and swung the butt of the stock up to his shoulder, paused motionless for a second, and pulled the trigger.

            Gert watched the cloth, not the shooter. The stick shattered just at the bottom of the rag. She frowned. She’d have to find another stick next time. At least when she tested a gun, she clipped the edge of the cloth so her stand could be used again.

            Hiram took the straw out of his mouth and threw it on the ground. Without a word, he strode to where the tattered red cloth lay a couple of yards from the splintered stick and brought the scrap back. He stooped for a piece of firewood from the pile he’d made before Fennel showed up. The stick he chose had split raggedly, and Hiram slid the bit of cloth into a crack.

            Ethan stood beside Gert as they watched Hiram walk across the field, all the way to the dirt bank, and set the piece of firewood on end.

            “Hmm.” Fennel cleared his throat and loaded several cartridges into the magazine. When Hiram was back beside them, he raised the gun again, held for a second, and fired. The stick with the bit of red stood unwavering.

            “Let Gert try,” Ethan said.

            “No need,” she said, looking down at her worn shoe tips peeping out beneath the hem of her skirt.

            “Oh, come on.” Ethan’s coaxing smile tempted her.

            Fennel held the rifle out. “Be my guest.”

            Gert looked to her brother. Hiram gave the slightest nod then looked up at the sky, tracking the late afternoon sun as it slipped behind a cloud. She could do it, of course. She’d been firing guns for Hiram for ten years—since she came to Fergus and found him grieving the loss of his wife and baby. Folks had brought him more work than he could handle. They felt sorry for him, she supposed, and wanted to give him a distraction. Gert had begun test firing the guns as fast as he could fix them. She found it satisfying, and she’d kept doing it ever since. Thousands upon thousands of rounds she’d fired, from every type of small firearm, unintentionally building herself a reputation of sorts.

            She didn’t usually make a show of her shooting prowess, but Fennel rubbed her the wrong way. She knew he wasn’t Hiram’s favorite patron either. He ran the Wells Fargo office now, but back when he ran the assay office, he’d bought up a lot of failed mines and grassland cheap. He owned a great deal of land around Fergus, including the spread Hiram had hoped to buy when he first came to Idaho. Distracted by his wife’s illness, Hiram hadn’t moved quickly enough to file claim on the land and had missed out. Instead of the ranch he’d wanted, he lived on his small lot in town and got by on his sporadic pay as a gunsmith.

            Gert let her shawl slip from her fingers to the grass once more and took the rifle. As she focused on the distant stick of firewood, she thought, That junk of wood is you, Mr. Rich Land Stealer. And that little piece of cloth is one of your rats.

            She squeezed gently. The rifle recoiled against her shoulder, and the far stick of firewood jumped into the air then fell to earth, minus the red cloth.

            “Well, I’ll be.” Fennel stared at her. “Are you always this accurate?”

            “You ain’t seen nothing,” Ethan assured him.

            Hiram actually cracked a smile, and Gert felt the blood rush to her cheeks even though Ethan hadn’t directly complimented her. She loved to see Hiram smile, something he seldom did.

            “Mind sharing your secret, Miss Dooley?” Fennel asked.

            Ethan chuckled. “I’ll tell you what it is. Every time she shoots, she pretends she’s aiming at something she really hates.”

            “Aha.” Fennel smiled, too. “Might I ask what you were thinking of that time, ma’am?”

            Gert’s mouth went dry. Never had she been so sorely tempted to tell a lie.

            “Likely it was that coyote that kilt her rooster last month,” Hiram said.

            Gert stared at him. He’d actually spoken. She knew when their eyes met that her brother had known exactly what she’d been thinking.

            Ethan and Fennel both chuckled.

            Of course, I wouldn’t really think of killing him, Gert thought, even though he stole the land right out from under my grieving brother. The Good Book says don’t kill and don’t hate. Determined to heap coals of fire on her adversary’s head, she handed the Spencer back to him. “You’re not too bad a shot yourself, Mr. Fennel.”

            His posture relaxed, and he opened his mouth all smiley, like he might say something pleasant back, but suddenly he stiffened. His eyes focused beyond Gert, toward the dirt street. “Who is that?”

            Gert swung around to look as Ethan answered. “That’s Millicent Peart.”

            “Don’t think I’ve seen her since last fall.” Fennel shook his head. “She sure is showing her age.”

            “I don’t think Milzie came into town much over the winter,” Gert said.

            For a moment, they watched the stooped figure hobble along the dirt street toward the emporium. Engulfed in a shapeless old coat, Milzie Peart leaned on a stick with each step. Her mouth worked as though she were talking to someone, but no one accompanied her.

            “How long since her man passed on?” Ethan asked.

            “Long time,” Gert said. “Ten years, maybe. She still lives at their cabin out Mountain Road.”

            Fennel grimaced as the next house hid the retreating figure from view. “Pitiful.”

            Ethan shrugged. “She’s kinda crazy, but I reckon she likes living on their homestead.”

            Gert wondered how Milzie got by. It must be lonesome to have no one, not even a nearly silent brother, to talk to out there in the foothills.

            “Supper in half an hour.” She turned away from the men and headed for the back porch of the little house she shared with Hiram. She hoped Fennel would take the hint and leave. And she hoped Ethan would stay for supper, but of course she would never say so.

            Wednesday, December 16, 2009

            Article: Intentionality and Food by Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D.

            Intentionality and Food
            By Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D.,
            Author of The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones: A Holistic Approach

            "Made with love" is an ingredient I have often seen on home-made packaged cookies and other home-made foods in health food stores. It always seems like a sweet and nice thing to say, but without real meaning, a friendly, new-agey kind of sentiment. Turns out it's quite real, and measurable.

            Let me set the context for this column for you. At this time, I am the president of a small non-profit organization called Friends of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (FIONS). The organization it sprang from, IONS, was started by astronaut Edgar Mitchell, Ph.D., after he had an epiphany on his return from the moon that everything is connected. We offer a variety of programs, events, and dialogue groups in the NYC area, with a focus on consciousness and multiple ways of knowing.

            One program we offered a few years back was a presentation by Dean Radin, author of The Conscious Universe (HarperSanFrancisco, 1997) and Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality. (New York: Simon & Schuster -- Paraview Pocket Books, 2006). Dr. Radin has been Senior Scientist at IONS since 2001, and has been studying the effects of mind on matter for quite some time. He even worked on a classified program investigating psychic phenomena for the US government. During our event, he talked about his experiments with random number generators, which generate strings of 2 numbers at random. When an operator or study subject tries to influence the numbers with their intention, these machines seem to show some responsiveness -- they skew towards what the subject intended in a statistically significant way.

            As he was talking, I realized that his straight data supports the idea that mind interacts with matter. Then I thought of the very common idea of "cooking with love" -- which suddenly seemed entirely plausible. At dinner later with Dr. Radin I mentioned to him that perhaps there should be some research on the effects of the mind on food and cooking.

            Well, Dr. Radin is a man of action. He set about to do just that, and published a paper in the fall of 2007 where he shows, in a placebo-controlled trial, that the focused intention of shamanic healers enhances the beneficial effects of chocolate. See his video on this at (Radin DI, Hayssen G, Walsh J. 2007). Effects of Intentionally Enhanced Chocolate on Mood, Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, Volume 3, pp. 485-492) He was kind enough to credit me with sparking the idea.

            You realize what this means: that the mood of the cook can affect the mood of the people eating the food. As mentioned, this is not a new idea. If cooking with love enhances the flavor and energizing effects of your dinner, what happens when you cook with anger? Years ago my then-husband and I found ourselves in a nasty fight after leaving a restaurant, and the fight was over nothing at all. It was just the mood. We finally figured that the chef must have been really cranky.

            How about cooking with sorrow? You may remember a well-known movie called "Like Water for Chocolate", where the tears of the cook ended up saddening everyone at a wedding. Apparently, that notion is no longer so far-fetched.

            So what to do with this information? You cannot always control how you feel. But what you can do is be aware of it. When you get ready to cook your family's meal, take a moment to focus and center yourself, acknowledge any disturbing feelings, and try to let them go. Put on your favorite feel-good music. Sing along. Think of pleasant places, people you love. Corny, isn't it? But it works. If it doesn't work, leave the kitchen, and either get someone else to cook, or order in from your favorite local restaurant. You will all be much happier, even if the food is not as good as your own.

            Same idea if you are cooking for yourself. If cooking is an activity you really enjoy, if it helps you get out of your daily grind and move into a more pleasant mind-space, then cooking for yourself is an excellent idea. But if you've been out at work all day, come home tired, and try to throw some dinner together, the meal may not feel nourishing at all. If you cook for yourself out of obligation and you resent it, careful -- you could make yourself sick from your own crankiness. Better delegate the cooking to a professional, which is a much better idea than trying to subsist on dinners of protein bars and dry cereal. Nourish yourself by delegating the work, and spending a little money on decent food that someone cooks for you. Great if it's organic, but even if it's not, it's still worth it.

            When I was writing my book Food and Healing, I couldn't cook for myself. I could cook for my children and for my classes, but for myself, I couldn't because I had no energy left. So I ate lunch out at the coffee shop most days that I was writing -- isn't that ironic? And the book came out good enough that it's still selling after 20+ years.

            There is another aspect to intentionality in regards to food, and that has to do with the mood of the eater, not the cook. I know plenty of people who are so worried about eating right, that they think everything they eat is not good enough. They think, "this is not organic, it is full of pesticides," "the chemicals are going to kill me," "for sure this will put weight on me," and so on and so forth. Such a negative mindset is guaranteed poison in the energetics of your meal. Think of the alternative -- you are lucky enough to live in a time and place where you have enough food to choose your meal ingredients. Your main problem is what you will eat, not if you will eat. Be grateful that you have such abundance, and that your body knows what to do with it.

            To show your gratitude, bless the meal. Saying grace, "gracias", is an ancient ritual that still lives today, and it helps elevate the mood. While Dr. Radin asked trained shamans to enhance the chocolate, all of us human beings have the ability to affect matter with our minds. Even if it's not statistically measurable, it will be measurable by feeling. You may want to run a little test: eat the same meal, if you can, with two different attitudes: one, where you're cranky and you don't like anything, the other where you are full of love and gratitude. Then notice the feelings -- and don't discount them. They are ingredients in your food just as much as the onions and the flour.

            Here is a simple recipe to try this with.


            2 tablespoons organic butter or olive oil
            1 medium yellow onion, chopped
            1 teaspoon curry powder
            2 small carrots, sliced
            1 rib celery, sliced
            1 quart water or stock
            ½ cup red lentils
            ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
            Abundant loving intentions

            1. In a 4-quart soup pot, heat the butter or olive oil and add the onions. Sauté for about 2 minutes, then add the curry powder, sauté another minute. Add the carrots and celery and stir around another minute. Add the stock, then the lentils. Bring to a boil, stir well, lower the heat, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes. Add salt and cook another 5 minutes; adjust taste if needed. Loving intentions should be added throughout the stirring. Serve hot. 

            Makes 4 servings.
            ©2009 Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D., author of The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones: A Holistic Approach
            Author Bio
            Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D., author of The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones: A Holistic Approach, is a health educator and award-winning writer, consultant, and lecturer. She is the founder and CEO of the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York City. She is author of several books including Food and Healing and writes a column, "Food and Your Health," for New York Spirit magazine.
            For more information please visit


            Here are my latest giveaway winners:

            Wanda wins I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School by Caroline Taggert which was a giveaway offered by Caitlin Price at FSB Associates

            Freda Mans wins the Caridad Pineiro Sins of the Flesh lunchbox which I offered since I won one and got two so I wanted to share.

            Thanks to all that entered.  More giveaways coming in the next few weeks.

            Giveaway - 5 copies of Points of Power by Yolanda Adams

            Thanks to Valerie Russo at Faith Words I have 5 copies of Points of Power by Yolanda Adams which will be published January 5, 2010.

            About the Book:
            Over five million listeners tune in to hear Yolanda Adams's Points of Power, a segment in her daily radio show that inspires people by applying biblical truths to present-day realities. In her first book, Yolanda Adams transfers that winning segment into a reader's delight. In this highly accessible manual for daily living, she shares stories from her and others's personal experiences, showing readers how to access God's love and grace in their modern world and troubles. By revealing how Yolanda and other human beings have transcended the world's difficulties, POINTS OF POWER empowers readers to face trouble with confidence in the God who never fails.

            About the Author:

            Yolanda Adams is listed among the artists who have achieved the greatest critical and commercial success in blending R&B styles with gospel music. She has released twelve albums, two of which were certified platinum, one gold, and has won over twenty awards for her music. She currently hosts The Yolanda Adams Morning Show and makes her home in Houston.

            On Facebook

            To enter the giveaway simply comment and leave your email address if it's not available in your blogger profile.  The giveaway is open to the US and Canada only (no PO boxes) and will run through 1/1/2010.

            Additional entries for being a follower, subscribing to my blog, following me on twitter, tweeting (1 entry per day) and posting on your blog.  Just let me know what you do in your comment. 

            FIRST Wild Card Tour and Review: Wisdom Hunter by Randall Hunter

            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:

            Multnomah Books (September 20, 2003)

            ***Special thanks to Staci Carmichael of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for sending me a review copy.***

            My Review:
            Rating: 4.25/5.0

            I found this to be a very enjoyable, uplifting and thought-provoking book.  Jason was once a prominent pastor who led a very large congregation, but then difficulty comes into his life and he learns that his Christianity was not all it was cracked up to be.  So he resigns and heads off to find himself.  Never abandoning Christianity he learns more about God and being a Christian while he is out trying to find his granddaughter.

            I enjoyed reading of Jason's travels and the adventures and happenings that lead to his true revelations about the faith and his return to the ministry.

            Several passages really spoke to me and this one was my favorite - it's a discussion I've had with my husband and it's a discussion we've had in our church about church membership and how important it is that you stay true to the church you gave your membership to and don't get up and leave when someone upsets you.  This is the quote that reminded me of that and led to more discussion with my husband:

            Yoma responded quietly "The church in America has a great potential for diversity.  But Christians there too often run away from it. They start new churches to get away from diversity. Every city maybe has too many  churches for the wrong reason.  That's where the weakness lies."
            Overall I thought this book was well-paced and I enjoyed seeing Jason through the highs and lows.  It starts with a bang and a little ways into it it gets a little tough, the subject matter and the pace slows a little, but don't let that stop you because the book quickly picks back up and is hard to put down until you have finished with it.

            A great look into the Christian life showing that Christians aren't perfect and also giving a new look into what is wrong with when we make religion fit into the box we want it to fit into.  Suspense, drama and great character development make this a very enjoyable book to read.

            ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

            Randall Arthur is the bestselling author of Jordan’s Crossing and Brotherhood of Betrayal. He and his wife have served as missionaries to Europe for over thirty years. From 1976 till 1998, he lived in Norway and Germany as a church planter. Since 2000, he has taken numerous missions teams from the United States on trips all over Europe. Arthur is also the founder of the AOK (Acts of Kindness) Bikers’ Fellowship, a group of men who enjoy the sport of motorcycling. He and his family live in Atlanta, Georgia.

            Product Details:

            List Price: $13.99
            Paperback: 336 pages
            Publisher: Multnomah Books (September 20, 2003)
            Language: English
            ISBN-10: 1590522591
            ISBN-13: 978-1590522592


            PART 1: 1971-1972

            Jason cleared his throat. His wife knew what was coming next, and the pain within her rose again. At every evening meal for the last five hundred and fifteen days he had prayed aloud for their daughter, always working his way slowly through the prayer, emphasizing each word as if to prove his sincerity.

            "0 God," he said tonight, "wherever Hannah might be right now, we ask that she'll know your protection. Thank you for watching over her. And thank you even more that one day you'll honor our faith and bring her home."

            He paused, as if to arrest the Almighty's attention, then continued with a faltering voice. "Just-just make it soon. We miss her... "

            LYING ON THE living room couch, Hannah Freedman proudly realized once again that she was the reason Cody had emerged from his loneliness. He was absolutely consumed by her-and the thought was enthralling. Admiring her diamond-studded wedding band, she gratified herself with the reminder that Cody always treated her like a princess, as if by royal decree she had somehow granted him a new life.

            At this very moment, alone in their suburban Miami home, she could feel his infatuation. It lingered in every room, echoing in the easy recall of Cody's loving words and embraces.

            Hannah turned heavily upon her side, the baby in her womb preventing her from rolling all the way over onto her stomach. She smiled. It was like a fairy tale. She and Cody had met only ten months ago-she a runaway, not yet eighteen; and he a well-bred, 25 year-old professional. Now they were together forever. How could it be real? How could they have it so good?

            She reached over her head, retrieving from behind her a framed photograph of Cody that sat alone on the end table. The picture had been taken only weeks before she met him. It was the same handsome face, the same green-eyed, ash-blond man who was now her husband-but he had been so different then. There was a smile on the face, but it was hiding a sense of loss that had governed his life ever since the death of his parents in a plane crash two years earlier. From that seemingly unshakable disorientation, she had rescued him. Likewise, Cody had taken her from a miserable existence and placed her on a lofty pedestal of fulfillment beyond her wildest dreams.

            Her spirit soared with gratefulness as she pressed the photograph to her chest. Lost in blissful thoughts, she relived for the thousandth time the nonstop passion of the last ten months. First, the explosive romance-the instant chemistry, like gunpowder contacting fire. Then came the unplanned but welcomed pregnancy, followed by the exchange of wedding vows seven and a half months ago. Every day had been glorious. If she could live all of it over, she would not change a single detail.

            A wall clock across the room began to chime the hour, and Hannah closed her eyes and stilled her thoughts to listen: Four o'clock. It was four o'clock, Friday afternoon, December 15th. The "Christmas spirit" with its commercialism was in full swing-and she, Hannah Freedman, had everything in life a woman ever dreamed of: a large and beautiful home, a flaming love life, and emotional security. In only forty minutes her lover would be home from a day's work at his veterinary clinic, ready for their usual early and intimate dinner together. And in only fourteen days, according to the doctor's calculations, she and Cody would cuddle their first child.

            She lifted the photograph and contentedly stared through tears at Cody's picture. For the first time in her eighteen years, she knew what it was to live and to love.

            She slowly reached over her head and carefully returned the photograph to its place. She contemplated getting up from the couch. But due to an early morning burst of energy she had already put in a full day of cleaning house and baking Christmas cookies, and the work had left her exhausted. Her small frame, now carrying an extra twenty-six pounds, simply refused to rise.

            AT 4:40, CODY came in the back door. He slipped quickly through the kitchen, moving his six-foot-three, 170-pound athletic body with the fluidity of a cat, and began singing: "Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to live with a blue-eyed Georgia girl, hey!"

            On the living room couch Hannah awoke from her light sleep, and broke into a smile as Cody continued singing heartily off-key: "Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to love my blue-eyed Georgia girl!"

            When Cody poked his head around the corner, Hannah was applauding. "Coe," she said, extending tired but inviting arms, "you can love this blue-eyed Georgia girl anytime you want to."

            Like a moth to a flame, Cody was drawn into her arms. Kneeling on the plush gray carpet beside her, he kissed her full, moist lips as if he had been starving for her for weeks. When he finally withdrew, he looked into her eyes and said with intensity, "Hannah, you're so beautiful-even when you're tired"

            So often before he had told her she was beautiful-and had never stopped, even after her pregnancy began showing. Spreading her arms playfully like wings, Hannah nodded toward her body. "You like it, huh?"

            Cody smiled his reply, then ran his fingers slowly through her long, thick auburn hair. "Hannah," he moaned in earnest, "I'm missing you, bad."

            "How much?" she asked with delight.

            "You really want to know?"


            Cody grinned. "Well, I'll tell you. I accidentally gave overdoses of antibiotics to four different dogs today and killed them all," he joked, "simply because I couldn't get my mind off you. All I've done today is dream about being with you."

            Feeling aroused, Hannah slowly pulled him into another fiery kiss.

            It took every ounce of self-control Cody could muster to keep from going further. When Hannah finally released him, he fell reluctantly to the floor and stretched out on his back. "Just you wait," he said with gusto, "till we're able to be together again. I'm going to make it unforgettable."

            Hannah laughed seductively. "Are you sure you can hold out until then?"

            With surprise, she watched Cody's mood turn sober. He rose to kneel beside her again, and took her hands in his. "Hannah, if I had to, I'd be willing to wait the rest of my life for you."

            There was no doubt in Hannah's mind that he meant every word. She felt his sincerity as certainly as if it were rain pouring down on her. Instinctively she pulled him into another tight embrace.

            “Cody,” she confided in his ear, “this will be the best Christmas I've ever had. And the reason is you…”

            AFTER DINNER Cody raved as Hannah placed the tray of Christmas cookies on the dining room table beside him. "Better looking than Mother's used to be," he said. Taking a bite, he nodded, "And every bit as good!"

            An LP of instrumental Christmas music was playing softly in the background. Hannah sat down to hear Cody finish telling her about his day: setting a German shepherd's broken leg, diagnosing an old tomcat that was refusing to eat, bobtailing a four-day old boxer, and giving an array of shots.

            "And Mrs. Gravitt brought in her Dalmatian again," he said, then paused.

            "And?" Hannah asked.

            "And it should be the last time!" he smiled with satisfaction. "He's fully recovered, and Mrs. Gravitt is as happy as any client I've ever had."

            "She should be," Hannah reassured him. "That dog was nearly dead two months ago when she first brought him to you. It was a miracle anyone could save him. But what can I say? You're the best!"

            "Well, maybe not the best… But..."Cody tucked his thumbs beneath imaginary suspenders, in a mocking pose of greatness. They both erupted into laughter.

            "Say," he said after finishing another cookie, "I called Reed's Travel Agency this morning. They promised they could reserve the cabin-"

            Before he could complete the sentence, he saw Hannah suddenly gasp for breath, tense in her chair, then let out a low groan. Cody was immediately face to face with her, gripping her shoulders. "Are you all right?" he demanded.

            She finally began breathing, then looked him in the eye and gave the most surprisingly beautiful smile he had ever seen. "I think so... I... uh... yeah, I'm okay," she answered. "My water just broke." She could feel the warm fluid puddling around her buttocks and running down her leg. For a moment she was embarrassed, but the feeling was quickly overcome by an acute surge of pain.

            Still trying to figure out what to do, Cody saw Hannah tense again. He gripped her hand in silence, stunned by the piercing hurt locked on her face.

            Several seconds later, Hannah relaxed and took a deep breath. "I'm not positive," she said, "but if that was my first contraction, we may be mommy and daddy two weeks earlier than we thought."

            Elated, Cody held her in a big hug and said, "Can you believe it?" He started dancing around the table. "We're going to be a family!" he shouted, as Hannah laughed.

            THEIR CELEBRATION was soon tempered by the quickly recurring pains, and the rush to leave for the hospital. Within twenty-five minutes from the time Hannah's water had broken, she was seated beside Cody in their Ford station wagon. He was timing her contractions, which now came at less than three-minute intervals. The quickly paced labor pains, coming so soon, made Cody nervous. He tried to relax, but it was all so new. And this was his wife, his baby.

            This is happening too fast, he thought, calculating that the trip to the hospital would normally take twenty-five to thirty minutes. This time, he decided, it would have to be less than twenty. No stranger to speeding, he was confident he could meet the challenge.

            He glanced at his wristwatch-5:51-just as they were leaving their residential area and approaching the nearest main road. One look ahead quickly confirmed a rising worry: It was rush hour. Traffic on the main road was packed, moving at only a fraction of the normal speed.

            For the first time, Cody felt panic. To hide it, he forced a grin and said to Hannah, “I love adventure, but this is a little too much of the good stuff.”

            She smiled briefly, before yielding to the start of yet another contraction.

            Soon the eruptions of pain were less than two minutes apart. Hannah bravely fought back. Everything's under control, she kept telling herself. Be strong, be strong. Impossible as it seemed, each contraction hurt worse than the last, worse than anything she had ever felt in her life.

            "Just hang in there, babe," Cody said. "I'll get you there."

            The line of cars crept forward to an intersection which he realized was approximately their halfway point to the hospital. The flow of traffic halted again as he saw the same set of stoplights change to red for the second time. With mounting fear he looked at his watch: 6:16.

            Suddenly, Hannah leaned forward, grabbed the dashboard with both hands, and screamed. Cody reached out and touched her shoulder. He was now almost beside himself with panic. "Are you going to make it?"

            When her pain had passed its peak, she found her breath and shot back, "I don't know... Just hurry!"

            He knew then what he had to do. And on impulse, as if the adrenaline surging through him had switched on a machine, he did it.

            Trying to take charge of this desperate situation, he lurched the station wagon out of their traffic lane. Sounding his horn and flashing his headlights, he charged through the intersection and down the avenue, straddling the middle line.

            Hannah did little more than flinch. The thought of how crazy it all seemed flashed in and out of her mind.

            "I'll get you there," she heard Cody say again.