Tuesday, March 30, 2010

An Absence So Great by Jane Kirkpatrick

An Absence So Great: A Novel (Portraits of the Heart, #2) An Absence So Great: A Novel by Jane Kirkpatrick



I'd have to give this one a star rating of 3.8 overall.

If someone doing a character study were to look at a photograph of you, what would it tell those reviewing it? Do you believe that the eyes are the windows to the soul?

Jessie is a young photographer who is still trying to sort out her feelings for FJ. She knows she can't have him though but how can she fill the void in her heart? He did, afterall, give her the start she desperately wanted to have in the photography world. Back in the 1800's in Minnesota, a young businesswoman was unheard of...that is until Jessie Gaeble hit the scene. Would she ever fulfill her dreams of owning her own studio? Would she ever find love again?

I found this novel to be a bit creepy. FJ is a major stalker-sort who made me nervous every time he shows up on the scene. He can't have Jessie Gaeble and he doesn't *want* Jessie Bauer! For this being labeled as "christian fiction" I found some of the storyline a bit edgy and questionable. I was uncomfortable with the way that Mrs. Bauer kept presenting herself to her minister/counselor. I also didn't like how Jessie's family treated her...where was the forgiveness? Neither Jessie (Gaeble or Bauer) had any bit of self-confidence about them and were made to appear emotionally weak throughout the book. Most of all, I HATED the ending...even if it is a story of the author's grandparents. I was very disappointed that things went the way they did!!

It's also worth mentioning that this is book two in the series (A Flickering Light is book one). Several other reviewers have said that reading book one will provide a lot of background for this book but I really don't feel that I missed out on too much by not reading the books in order.

View all my reviews >>

Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah for providing the review copy plus and extra to give away!


To enter the contest, please fill out the form below. I will draw the winner using random.org on April 6 at 11:59 PM EST.




This is my submission to the Book Review Wednesday hosted every Wednesday by Cym Lowell. Check it out! You might find a few new books to add to your reading list!

CymLowell




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Teaser Tuesday






Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading.

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

Grab your current read. Let the book fall open to a random page.

Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

Please avoid spoilers!!

Didn't his nephew have enough to worry about, being poked and prodded for IV antibiotics, x-rayed, and swallowed up by MRI scanners? He won't lose his leg. It can't happen.

Taken from Disaster Status by Candace Calvert. Get your copy today!!!!



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Monday, March 29, 2010

Mailbox Monday





Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page each Monday so that other book lovers and bloggers can see and comment on what's in the mailbox. Thanks Marcia for a great way of posting our new (or new to us) books!!

Have you read a book on my list? Please comment on it. It's possible I will use your comment and link back to you when I post my review of a particular book!

To Review:

The Bridegrooms
by Allison Pittman (from WaterBrook Multnomah for upcoming tour)

Catherine's Gift by John Little (upcoming FIRST tour)

A Corpse at St Andrew's Chapel by Mel Starr (upcoming FIRST tour)

Rooms by James L Rubart (upcoming FIRST tour)

Warriors in the Crossfire by Nancy Bo Flood (upcoming book tour)

This Little Prayer of Mine by Anthony DeStafano (upcoming blog tour + giveaway!!)


Purchased:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith

Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs (had to buy this after seeing so many great reviews on it!)

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
by Seth Grahame-Smith (Couldn't pass this up being an Abe and vampire fan!!)

Giveaway Books I Have Won:


Other:

Thirty Nights With a Highlander Husband
by Melissa Mayhue (Paperback Swap)

The Rose of Sebastopol by Katharine McMahon (Paperback Swap)

What's in your box this week?
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

FIRST: Deliver Us From Evil by Robin Caroll + review

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:


Deliver Us From Evil

B&H Academic (February 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Julie Gwinn of B&H Publishing Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Robin Caroll has authored eight previous books including Bayou Justice and Melody of Murder. She gives back to the writing community as conference director for the American Christian Fiction Writers organization. A proud southerner through and through, Robin lives with her husband and three daughters in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Visit the author's website.




Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: B&H Academic (February 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0805449809
ISBN-13: 978-0805449808

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Tuesday, 3:30 p.m.
FBI Field Office
Knoxville, Tennessee

Jonathan’s throat closed as he stared at the building from the parking lot. He gripped the package tight in his arthritic hands. Could he do this? Turn over evidence that would implicate him?

His heart raced and he froze. Not the best time for his atrial fibrillation to make an appearance. Despite being on the heart transplant list for eight months, it looked like his progressed heart disease would do him in. The most important reason he couldn’t go to prison—he’d never get a heart and would die. While Carmen wanted him to confess his crimes, she wouldn’t want him to die. The memory of saying good-bye to his beloved mere hours ago scorched his soul.

Her eyes fluttered open. Those blue orbs, which had once sparkled even in the absence of light, now blinked flat and lifeless.

He swallowed hard.

“Jonathan,” her voice croaked, “it’s time.”

Tears burned the backs of his eyes, and he rested his hand over her parchmentlike skin. “No, Carmen. Please, let me get the medicine.”

Her eyelids drooped and she gasped. Air wheezed in her lungs. “Sweetheart, the fight’s . . . gone from me.” She let out a hiss, faint and eerie. “The cancer’s . . . won.”

Jonathan laid his lips against her cheek, her skin cold and clammy, as if in preparation for the morgue. How could she continue to refuse the medicine? Even though she didn’t approve of his means of acquisition, the drugs had kept her alive for five years. Five years he cherished every minute of. He’d do anything to keep her alive and the pain at bay—the intense pain that had become her constant companion these last two weeks. It killed him to witness her agony.

She licked her bottom lip, but no moisture soaked into the cracked flesh. “You’ve done . . . your best by me, Jonathan. I know . . . you meant . . . no harm to . . . anyone.” Her eyes lit as they once had. “Oh, how I’ve enjoyed loving you.”

His insides turned to oatmeal. Stubborn woman—she’d allow herself to die, all because she discovered how he’d gotten the money.

“Promise me . . . you’ll . . . tell the . . . truth. Admit what . . . you’ve done.” Her breath rattled. “What you’ve . . . all done.”

Pulling himself from the wretched memory, Jonathan breathed through the heat tightening his chest. He’d secure himself the best deal possible—immunity—or he wouldn’t decipher the papers. And without him no one could make sense of the accounting system he’d created more than five years ago. Officials hadn’t a clue.

With a deep breath he headed to the guardhouse in front of the fenced FBI building. His legs threatened to rebel, stiffening with every step. He forced himself to keep moving, one foot in front of the other.

At the guardhouse, a man behind bulletproof glass looked up. “May I help you?”

“I need to . . . see someone.”

“About what, sir?”

“I have some information regarding a crime.” He waved the file he held.

“One moment, sir, and someone will be with you.”

Jonathan stared at the cloudy sky. He could still turn back, get away scot-free. His heartbeat sped. The world blurred. No, he couldn’t lose consciousness now, nor could he go back on his promise. He owed it to Carmen. No matter what happened, he’d honor Carmen’s dying wish.

“Sir?” A young man in a suit stood beside the fenced entry, hand resting on the butt of his gun. “May I help you?”

Jonathan lifted the file. “I have some evidence regarding an ongoing crime ring.”

The agent motioned him toward a metal-detector arch. “Come through this way, sir.”

Jonathan’s steps wavered. He dragged his feet toward the archway.

A car door creaked. Jonathan glanced over his shoulder just as two men in full tactical gear stormed toward them. He had a split second to recognize one of the men’s eyes, just before gunfire erupted.

A vise gripped Jonathan’s heart, and he slumped to the dirty tile floor, the squeezing of his heart demanding his paralysis.

Too late. I’m sorry, Carmen.

Two Weeks Later—Wednesday, 3:45 p.m.
Golden Gloves Boxing of Knoxville

Ooof!

Brannon Callahan’s head jerked backward. She swiped her headgear with her glove.

“You aren’t concentrating on your form. You’re just trying to whale on me.” Steve Burroughs, her supervisor and sparring partner, bounced on the balls of his feet.

“Then why am I the one getting hit?” She threw a right jab that missed his jaw.

He brushed her off with his glove. “Don’t try to street fight me. Box.”

She clamped down on her mouthpiece and threw an uppercut with her left fist. It made contact, sending vibrations up her arm.

He wobbled backward, then got his balance. “Nice shot.”

It felt good to hit something. Hard. Sparring with Steve was the best form of venting. The energy had to be spent somehow—why not get a workout at the same time? She ducked a right cross, then followed through with a left-right combination. Both shots made full contact.

Steve spit out his mouthpiece and leaned against the ropes. “I think that’s enough for today, girl. I’m an old man, remember?”

She couldn’t fight the grin. Although only in his late forties, the chief ranger looked two decades older. With gray hair, hawk nose, and skin like tanned leather, Steve had already lived a lifetime.

She removed her mouthpiece, gloves, and headgear before sitting on the canvas. “Old? You’re still kickin’ me in the ring.”

He tossed her a towel and sat beside her. “So you wanna tell me what’s got you all hot and bothered this afternoon?”

She shrugged.

“Come on, spit it out. I know something’s gnawing at you, just like you were picking a fight with me in the ring. What’s up?”

How could she explain? “I’m not exactly keen that the district feels there’s a need for another pilot in the park.” She tightened the scrunchie keeping her hair out of her face.

“That’s a compliment—having you on staff has been so successful they want to expand.”

“But I have to train him. Did you notice his arrogance?” She ripped at the tape bound around her knuckles. “He’s nothing more than a young upstart with an ego bigger than the helicopter.” While only thirty-six, she often felt older than Steve looked.

“You’re so good, you can come across a bit intimidating at first, girl.” Steve grabbed the ropes and pulled to standing, then offered her a hand. “Give him a chance.”

She let Steve tug her up. “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Even if he had maturity, I still have to train him. With all the rescues we’ve been called out on of late . . . well, I really don’t have the time.” She exited the ring. “Like those kids yesterday.” She shook her head as she waited for Steve to join her on the gym floor. “Their stupidity almost cost them their lives.”

“They were young, Brannon.”

“Please. Any amateur with half a brain should know better than to try to climb Clingmans Dome in winter.” Didn’t people realize if something happened to them they’d leave behind devastated family and friends? Loved ones who would mourn them forever? She fought against the familiar pain every time she participated in a search and rescue. All because people hadn’t taken necessary precautions.

“They didn’t know any better.”

“It takes a special kind of stupid not to have researched your climb.” Most SARs could be avoided if people planned a little more. It ripped her apart that so many parents, grandparents, siblings . . . fiancĂ©es . . . survived to deal with such grief. She’d tasted the bitterness of grief—twice—and the aftertaste still lingered.

Steve paused outside the locker rooms and shifted his sparring gear to one hand. “I agree, but most people don’t see the dangers we do every day.” He tapped her shoulder. “Hit the showers, champ. You stink.”

She laughed as she headed into the ladies’ locker room. Maybe Steve was right and the new pilot just made a lousy first impression. Maybe he’d be easy to train.

Please, God, let it be so.

Friday, 2:15 p.m.
US Marshals Office, Howard Baker Federal Courthouse
Knoxville, Tennessee

“You want me to escort a heart?” Roark struggled to keep his voice calm. He tapped the butt of his Beretta, welcoming it back to its rightful place on his hip.

Senior US Marshal Gerald Demott glared. “Look, I know you think this is a slight, but it’s important. And for your first assignment back on the job . . .”

“IA cleared me of all wrongdoing. I’m seeing the shrink and everything.” He gritted his teeth and exhaled. “I’ve been released to return to active duty.”

“This is active. It’s a field assignment, and it’s important. Here’s the case information.” Demott passed him a folder, then glanced at his watch. “You’d better hurry or you’ll miss your flight.”

Roark grabbed the file and turned to go.

“Holland.”

He looked back at his boss. “Yeah?”

Demott held out Roark’s badge. “You might want to take this with you, too.”

Roark accepted the metal emblem, then clipped it to his belt before marching out of Demott’s office. A heart. His job was to escort a human heart from North Carolina to Knoxville. Any rookie could handle that. But no, they still didn’t trust him enough to handle a real assignment.

He’d done everything they asked—took a medical leave of absence while Internal Affairs went over every painful minute
of his failed mission, saw the shrink they demanded he speak to every week since Mindy’s death, answered their relentless questions. The shrink reiterated he’d been forgiven for acting on his own.

Maybe one day he’d forgive himself. How many innocent lives would he have to save for his conscience to leave him be?

Roark slipped into the car, then headed to the airport. But to be assigned a heart transport? Not only was it wrong, it was downright insulting. After almost fifteen years as a marshal, he’d earned the benefit of the doubt from his supervisors. Especially Demott. His boss should know him better, know he’d only disregard orders if it was a matter of life and death.

But Mindy Pugsley died. They’d all died.

He pushed the nagging voice from his mind. Even Dr. Martin had advised him not to dwell on the past. On what had gone wrong. On disobeying a direct order.

If only Mindy didn’t haunt his dreams.

Roark touched the angry scar that ran along his right cheekbone to his chin. A constant reminder that he’d failed, that he’d made a mistake that took someone’s life. He’d have to live with the pain for the rest of his life.

He skidded the car into the airport’s short-term parking lot. After securing the car and gathering the case folder, Roark grabbed his coat. Snowflakes pelted downward, swirling on the bursts of wind and settling on the concrete. The purple hues of the setting sun streaked across the mountain peaks beyond the runways, making the January snow grab the last hope of light.

Yes, he’d handle this mundane assignment, then tell Demott he wanted back on real active duty. Making a difference would be the best thing for him. Would make him feel whole again.



This is a gripping tale that any mystery/suspense junkie would love! I love the characters (Brannon, Lincoln, and Roark) and the way they meet, interact, and influence each other though difficult times. I love the names the author chose as well! :) The author tackles the difficult topic of child sex-trafficking in a way that no other has (that I know of!). While there are difficult scenes to read (some graphic descriptions of living quarters for these girls) the information will leave the reader with a keen sense of almost being there. I was kept in rapt attention throughout the book with the various elements and situations that the characters found themselves in.

My favorite character in this book is Lincoln. There are many different aspects of his life that I could closely identify with and found myself in him many times.

I highly recommend this read to any and all!
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Teaser Tuesday





Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading.

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

Grab your current read. Let the book fall open to a random page.

Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

Please avoid spoilers!!

Serena held up the tube of Rafe's blood, opened the stopper, and chanted the words she knew by heart, a spell she had perfected. Few witches today did anything but what the old books told them; Serena could write her own grimoire with powerful, original spells.

Taken from Original Sin by Allison Brennan



I just love the cover of this book!

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Faery Rebels by RJ Anderson

Spell Hunter (Faery Rebels, #1) Spell Hunter by R.J. Anderson


My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I read this book in about 2 settings. This was an "ok" book for me. I didn't feel that the characters were as developed as they could be. I was slightly confused with the names changing throughout the book as well. I do like the name KNIFE though! I'm not quite sure it's fitting for a fairy though. There were sections of this book that just seemed to drag a little and then it would get good for a couple of pages and then die off again.

I do wish the author would have developed more of a background story with the boy. I figured he would play into the story more when he was first introduced but I felt that his character development was also weak.

I will probably read the next book in the series, mainly because I'm curious as to how the new revelations that took place at the end of the book play out.

I purchased Faery Rebels for a book tour.

View all my reviews >>

Author Web site- http://www.rj-anderson.com/

Author blog - http://rj-anderson.livejournal.com/

Check out our Author on Twitter - http://twitter.com/rj_anderson

Participants’ links (please visit them to see what they have to say about this book!)

Sally Apokedak
Brandon Barr
Amy Browning
Melissa Carswell
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Timothy Hicks
Jason Isbell
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
New Authors Fellowship
Nissa
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
Andrea Schultz
James Somers
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher

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Mailbox Monday




Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page each Monday so that other book lovers and bloggers can see and comment on what's in the mailbox. Thanks Marcia for a great way of posting our new (or new to us) books!!

Have you read a book on my list? Please comment on it. It's possible I will use your comment and link back to you when I post my review of a particular book!

To Review:

Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze (from WaterBrook Multnomah for upcoming tour...look for a giveaway because I got 2 copies!)

The Secret Holocaust Diaries by Nona Bannister (upcoming blog tour, thank you Tyndale!)

Deadly Disclosures by Julie Cave (upcoming FIRST tour)


Purchased:

Vampire Diaries: Shadow Souls by LJ Smith (I am LOVING watching them record the shows!! It's so cool!)


Giveaway Books I Have Won:

The Entire 18 book Set of Home to Heather Creek Series by Tricia Goyer, Diann Hunt, Kristin Eckhardt, Robert Elmer, Leslie Gould, and Carolyne Aarsen (Huge thanks to those at LITFUSE for this great contest!)

Other:

Soul of a Highlander by Melissa Mayhue (Paperback Swap)
Merlin's Harp by Anne Eliot Crompton (an ARC sent on to me by Sheila)

What's in your box this week?

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Where's the Hole?

A teacher friend of mine has written a great blog post that everyone should read. I encourage you to visit Sheri and found out where she found the hole!! I challenge you to find the holes as well! This is a WOW post by Sheri! :)


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FIRST: A Case for Love by Kaye Dacus

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:


A Case for Love

Barbour Books (February 1, 2010)



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Author Kaye Dacus enjoyed her visits to a local television station while researching this book. She likes to say she writes “inspirational romance with a sense of humor.” She lives in Nashville and graduated from Seton Hill University’s Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction program. She is an active member and former Vice President of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.97
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (February 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602604568
ISBN-13: 978-1602604568

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


“You did what?”

Forbes Guidry sank into the tall-backed leather chair, extremities numb, and stared at the couple sitting across the desk from him. As a partner in the largest law firm in Bonneterre, Louisiana, he’d heard a lot of shocking things over the fourteen years he’d been practicing. But nothing had hit him quite like this.

“We eloped.” His sister held up her left hand where a diamond wedding band had been added below the antique engagement ring she’d sported for the past three months. “I know you were looking forward to being Major’s best man, which is why we’re telling you before breaking it to the rest of the family.”

He hardly spared a glance at his best friend—now his brother-in-law—before pinning his gaze on his sister. “Meredith, this is a joke, right? What about the meeting Monday with Anne—the plans we discussed?” Sure, Meredith had been a little too quiet during that meeting, had voiced concerns about how big the wedding seemed to be growing, but she’d been coming off working a huge event that weekend and had been tired. . .hadn’t she?

“Things were getting out of hand—had already gone too far.”

“Stop.” Forbes fought the urge to press his hands over his ears. “Way too much information.”

Major chuckled; Meredith frowned at both of them. “Oh, for mercy’s sake. I’m talking about the wedding plans. Neither of us wanted a big wedding, but every time we met with Anne—or you, or anyone in the family—it grew exponentially. Especially once Mom and Dad stuck their oars in and started making lists of all of their business acquaintances that needed to be invited.”

Forbes stared at his sister, dumbfounded. He prided himself on knowing exactly what each member of his family was thinking before they ever thought it. How had this blindsided him so completely?

He finally turned his attention on Major. “When you came in Tuesday to talk about the restaurant, did you already have this planned?”

“No. Not planned. We’d discussed it, but it wasn’t until that night when we made the decision.” Major had the good grace to look abashed.

And you didn’t call me? Forbes reined in the childish words with a tight fist of control. He faced his sister again. “When and where did you get married?”

“Yesterday, when Mom and Dad met us at Beausoleil Pointe Center for lunch with Major’s mom. We’d asked the chaplain to perform the ceremony, and we got married in the pavilion where Major proposed to me.”

Forbes turned away from the dewy-eyed look Meredith gave her new husband, feeling ill. That would explain why Meredith hadn’t shown up for dinner with the siblings and cousins last night. He’d just assumed she was working overtime preparing for an event this weekend.

When the silence stretched, Forbes looked at them again.

Meredith’s eyes narrowed speculatively at Forbes. “Major, would you mind if I had a private word with my brother?”

“Sure. No problem.” Major stood, smoothing the front of his chinos. “I–I’ll wait for you out in the car.”

“Thanks.” Meredith never pulled her gaze away from Forbes—giving him the look that had always been able to make him squirm.

Forbes watched his friend leave the office, then pressed his lips together and faced his sister again.

“What is it that bothers you most? That you aren’t going to be best man, that you don’t get to be involved and have a say in the wedding plans, or that you didn’t see this coming?” Meredith crossed her legs and clasped her hands around her knee, her expression betraying smugness and amusement.

What bothered him most was that over the past six or eight months, Meredith had slowly been pulling away from the family. Ever since she’d bought that house against his—and their parents’—advice, she’d started keeping secrets, spending less time with them. As the oldest, it was his responsibility to keep his six brothers and sisters in line, to watch out for and protect them, and to guide them in making their decisions. Mom and Dad had laid that burden on him early in life, and he’d gladly carried it. But how could he express that to Meredith without coming across sounding like a little boy who hadn’t gotten his way?

“I’m not bothered, just surprised. You’re the last person in the family I’d expect to do something without planning it out well in advance.” He gave her his most charming grin. “It is what you do for a living, after all.”

She responded with a half smile. “And thus the reason for eloping. Between the busiest event-load we’ve ever had, the Warehouse Row project, and Major getting ready for the groundbreaking on the restaurant, we were just tired of schedules and checklists and menus and seating charts. Now Marci won’t feel like her wedding is being overshadowed by her oldest sister’s, since she decided to plan a Christmas wedding and we didn’t want to wait that long.”

He could see her point, but. . . “Don’t you feel like you’ve cheated yourself out of the wedding you always wanted? Growing up, you and Anne used to talk about your dream weddings.”

Meredith shrugged. “Anne always had the ideas. I guess that’s why she’s been such a great success as a wedding planner—every week she had bigger and grander ideas. Whenever I really thought about it, I couldn’t imagine myself in the big dress, my hair all done up, standing there in front of that many people. I guess I never dreamed about a wedding—I just dreamed about falling in love and being married.”

Come to think about it, Forbes couldn’t picture his jeans–and–T-shirt sister in a fluffy white gown, either. He ran his finger along the edge of the desk blotter.

“And look at the bright side: Now you don’t have to find a date for the wedding.”

He released a derisive sound in the back of his throat. “Yes, since that worked out so well at Anne’s wedding—for my date, anyway.”

“How do you always manage to find these women who’re just trying to make their boyfriends jealous?”

He shrugged.

“You know, I know someone I think would be perfect for you, if you’d like me to see if she’d be agreeable to being set up on a blind date with you.”

His insides quivered at the idea. “Thank you kindly, but I’ll have to pass and just leave it up to chance. As I told George Laurence a long time ago, when God’s ready for me to fall in love, He’ll throw the right woman into my path.”

“Uh, did you think that maybe your sisters’ and cousins’ attempts to set you up on dates might be God’s way of throwing the right woman in your path?”

“Not unless He’s shared something with you He hasn’t told me.” Forbes rounded the desk and held out his hand to his sister. She rose, and he pulled her into a hug. “Congratulations, Sis. I’m confident that you and Major will be happier together than you can even imagine.”

“I know we will be.”

“I’ll walk you out.”

Halfway down the stairs, he paused. “What about a honeymoon? Don’t tell me you’re going to just drop everything and take a two-week vacation that hasn’t been on the schedule for the past six months.”

“No. Since the events next week can be handled by our assistants, we’re leaving next Wednesday for a long weekend in Colorado. Amazing how this managed to coincide with the Aspen Food and Wine Classic that Major’s always wanted to go to, huh?” But from the smile on her face, he could tell she didn’t begrudge indulging Major’s wishes in the least.

Heading back to his office after seeing his sister and brother-in-law off—would he ever get used to that?—Forbes feigned harriedness to keep anyone from trying to stop him for a chat.

“Samantha, no calls for the next half hour, please,” he told his secretary on his way past her desk.

“Yes, Mr. Guidry.”

He leaned against his door after closing it. His office, with its walls of built-in, dark wood cabinets and bookcases, seemed to press in around him.

What he’d told Meredith was true; he was absolutely certain that she and Major would have a happy marriage. Both of them were easygoing, almost too eager to give up what they wanted to make someone else happy. Forbes had learned a long time ago that he didn’t have the right personality to get married. Every girl he’d dated in high school or college had wanted to go out with him because of his looks. And every one of them had eventually broken up with him for one of two reasons: Either she thought he was selfish and didn’t pay enough attention to her, or she thought he was too controlling and tried to smother her.

He’d completely given up on dating after his ten-year high school class reunion, at which he’d overheard two of his ex-girlfriends having a laugh about how it was no surprise to them that he wasn’t married yet.

He crossed to the window behind his desk and leaned against the frame, staring down at the visitor parking lot. His twenty-year reunion was coming up in the fall. And while he’d love to find some ravishing beauty to take to it to shut up all those exes, he didn’t want the hassle of expectations that came from taking someone out on a date.

When the thirty minutes he’d given himself to brood expired, he opened the office door and asked Samantha to come in to review his schedule for the remainder of the day.

He made several notes in his PDA while she reviewed the afternoon’s appointments and meetings. When she finished and closed her planner, she hesitated, biting her lips.

“What is it?” He leaned back in his chair, curious. She’d never acted in the least intimidated or scared of him before. She’d worked for him a little less than a year, but she was the first secretary he’d had who didn’t seem to mind a boss others had called a micromanager—had even stood up to him a time or two.

“Someone from Bonneterre Lifestyles called a little while ago. It seems you didn’t RSVP for the dinner tonight.”

Forbes groaned. Ever since he’d assisted in partner Tess Folse’s run for city council five years ago—during which he’d given many speeches, appeared on all the local channels’ news broadcasts, and had his photo in the paper multiple times—he’d been a fixture on the magazine’s beefcake list, having garnered enough votes to win and get his face on the front cover twice.

“I suppose it’s black tie?”

Samantha nodded. “That’s what the gal said.”

“Seven o’clock?”

“They offered a car—a limo—for you, if you want.”

He pressed his thumb and forefinger to the bridge of his nose. The three other partners—all women—were thrilled every year when he told them of his inclusion on the list. The articles enumerating his accomplishments were good exposure for the firm, they’d say. Up until now, he’d found some excuse or another to avoid the dinner. This year, Tess, Sandra, and Esther had strongly suggested he make an appearance at the magazine’s big publicity event at which the magazine’s cover would be revealed and the top five bachelors named and recognized with awards.

He glanced over Samantha’s head at the three plaques and two glass trophies on a display shelf. Maybe they needed to give him a new award—Bonneterre’s Most Perpetual Bachelor. He hoped this year he wasn’t again the oldest man on the list.

“Call them back and tell them I’d be delighted to attend, but I’ll drive myself.”

“Will do, boss.” Samantha scooped up her planner and the folders Forbes had given her to refile, and crossed to the door. “And Mr. Guidry?”

“Yes, Samantha?”

“Do try to have fun tonight, okay?”

“Uh-huh. As fun as jumping into a pool full of thumbtacks.”

Samantha’s laughter followed her out of the room.

His gaze flickered back to the emblems of his perpetual singleness. He’d heard the magazine always invited the year’s Most Eligible Bachelorettes to the dinner—possibly hoping to set up a relationship and eventual wedding they could report in their pages. Maybe he could find someone there to take to the reunion—so long as she understood there were no strings attached.

[insert line space]

Alaine Delacroix scrubbed off her on-air makeup. “Matt, have you seen Pricilla since I went off air? I need to talk to her about the event tonight.”

The intern frowned. “I thought you were a guest at the thing, not covering it.”

“Who else is going to cover something like that other than me? I’m the only reporter at this station who covers the social scene.” Not that she wanted to anymore. But until the news director actually looked at the hard-news pieces she’d been doing on her own time, she’d be stuck covering the fluff stories as she had for the past decade of her life.

“If I see her, I’ll tell her you need to talk to her.” The college student waved and left the small prep room.

Alaine turned to check her appearance in the large mirror to make sure she didn’t have mascara smeared down her cheeks. She made the inspection as quick as possible, hating to see her own reflection with no makeup. Even with her shoulder-length black hair still styled from her noon broadcast, with no makeup on, all she saw in the mirror were flaws—dark circles under her eyes, freckles scattered across her nose and cheeks, and the bumps on her forehead that never seemed to go away.

She applied concealer under her eyes, powder all over her face, and a touch of eye makeup, blush, and lip gloss before returning to her desk in the newsroom. Once upon a time, Alaine Delacroix would have thought nothing of walking around with no makeup on. But that had been a very long time ago; she’d been a different person then.

An envelope with the station’s logo and return address in the top left corner sat on her chair when she got back to her cubicle, bearing her name in handwriting she didn’t recognize. She opened it—and smiled. She’d hoped the marketing director would be able to come through for her.

She picked up her phone and dialed a number from memory.

“Boudreaux-Guidry Enterprises, Events and Facilities, this is Meredith.”

“Hey, girl. It’s Alaine.”

“Oh—hi.” Meredith sounded funny. “What’s up?”

Alaine laughed. “I can’t believe you’re going to pretend you don’t know why I’m calling you.”

“You—how did you find out?”

All traces of amusement evaporated, her reporter’s instincts kicking in. Meredith sounded like someone who had a secret. “You know a journalist can’t reveal her sources. So? Spill it. I want details.”

“I haven’t told most of my family yet. If I give you details, you have to promise you won’t say anything to anyone until after Sunday. We’re telling the family at dinner after church.”

“Strictly off the record.” Alaine picked up a pen and steno pad, but forced herself to put them down again and rotate in her chair so that her back was to the desk.

“We had the chaplain at Beausoleil Pointe Center marry us yesterday afternoon. We surprised our parents.”

All the air in Alaine’s lungs froze solid. Meredith Guidry and Major O’Hara had eloped? “But I thought you were having your cousin Anne plan a big wedding for you. I was hoping to cover it, since Major has become quite the celebrity, what with his cooking segments on my show.”

“We decided we were just too busy to try to plan a big wedding. And we’ve already wasted eight years. Why put it off any longer?”

A flash-fire of jealousy forced the air out of Alaine’s lungs. Meredith had been one of her few friends who was still unmarried—and the only true friend Alaine had had in years. She hated being single; even more than becoming a serious journalist, getting married was the one thing she wanted most in life. Yet at thirty-two years old, she was starting to worry that the chances of either dream coming true were not just slipping, but sprinting, away.

Alaine had to swallow past the huge lump in her throat to make her voice work. “Congratulations, Mere. I’m really happy for you.” She glanced down at the envelope crumpled in her fist. “Oh, I got the passes for the Art without Limits exhibit preview and fundraiser at the Beausoleil Fine Arts Center, if you’re still interested in going.”

“Of course I am. And since Major’s catering it, I won’t have to feel guilty about going off and leaving him home alone. Thanks again for thinking of me.”

“I don’t know anyone else who likes art, and I hate going to those things by myself.” She twisted the spiral cord around her finger tightly, trying to see if the slight pain would help squeeze out her envy.

“Same here—oh, my other line just lit up. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Okay. Bye.” Alaine turned around to hang up the receiver, then put her head down on her folded arms atop the desk. God, why is everyone I know married or engaged? Am I the last old maid left in Bonneterre?

She knew the answer to that, of course. Twenty-four other “eligible bachelorettes” would be at the Bonneterre Lifestyles dinner along with her, if they all showed up. And who wouldn’t, when they’d have VIP access to the handsomest, wealthiest, highest-profile single men in town for the evening?

Mother’s constant harping on her to get married—and soon—was starting to make Alaine feel like something was wrong with her for still being single at her age. The facts that Joe and his wife couldn’t have kids and that Tony, at age twenty-six, wasn’t anywhere near ready to settle down put all the pressure of producing grandchildren anytime soon on Alaine. And she wasn’t even sure she wanted kids.

She sat up and tried to run her fingers through her hair—before remembering it was still shellacked with hair spray.

Maybe tonight she’d give those bachelors more than just a professional glance. Maybe it was time to get a little arm candy to show her parents—and anyone else who might be looking—that she was at least trying. And she never knew: Mr. Right could be Bachelor Number One, Two, or Twenty-Five.



I did not receive a copy for review nor have I read this book. I am adding it to my wish list because I have the first two books in this series and I would like to have this one available once I finish the first two. What did you think of your first glimpse into this book? Does it sound like something you might enjoy reading? Why or why not?


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Friday, March 19, 2010

FIRST: Chosen by Ginger Garrett

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:


Chosen

David C. Cook; New edition (March 1, 2010)



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Focusing on ancient women’s history, critically acclaimed author Ginger Garrett creates novels and nonfiction resources that explore the lives of historical women. In addition to her writing, Garrett is a frequent radio and television guest. A native Texan, she now resides in Georgia with her husband and three children.


Visit the author's website.


Chosen, by Ginger Garrett from David C. Cook on Vimeo.



Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (March 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434768015
ISBN-13: 978-1434768018

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Prologue

Fourth Day of the Month of Av

Year 3414 after Creation

If you have opened this, you are the chosen one.

For this book has been sealed in the tomb of the ancients of Persia, never to be opened, I pray, until G-d1 has put His finger on a new woman of destiny, a woman who will rise up and change her nation. But we will not talk of your circumstances, and the many reasons this book may have fallen into your hands. There are no mistakes with prayer. You have indeed been called. If this sounds too strange, if you must look around your room and question whether G-d’s finger has perhaps slipped, if you are not a woman with the means to change a nation, then join me on a journey. You must return with me now to a place without hope, a nation that had lost sight of G-d, a girl with nothing to offer, and no one to give it to.

I must introduce myself first as I truly am: an exiled Jew, and an orphan. My given name was Hadassah, but the oppression of exile has stripped that too from me: I am now called Esther,2 so that I may blend in with my captors. My people, the Hebrew nation, had been sent out of our homeland after a bitter defeat in battle. We were allowed to settle in the kingdom of Persia, but we were not allowed to truly prosper there. We blended in, our lives preserved, but our heritage and customs were forced underground. Our hearts, once set only on returning to Jerusalem, were set out to wither in the heat

of the Arabian sun. My cousin Mordecai rescued me when I was orphaned and we lived in the capital city of Susa, under the reign of King Xerxes.3 Mordecai had a small flock of sheep that I helped tend, and we sold their fleece in the market. If times were good, we would sell a lamb for someone’s celebration. It was always for others to celebrate. We merely survived. But Mordecai was kind and good, and I was not forced into dishonor like the other orphans I had once known. This is how my story begins, and I give you these details not for sympathy, but so you will know that I am a girl well acquainted with bitter reality. I am not given to the freedom in flights of fantasy. But how can I explain to you the setting of my story? It is most certainly far removed from your experience. For I suspect that in the future, women will know freedom. And freedom is not an easy thing to forget, even if only to entertain an orphan’s story.

But you must forget now. I was born into a world, and into this story, where even the bravest women were faceless specters. Once married, they could venture out of their homes only with veils and escorts. No one yet had freed our souls. Passion and pleasure, like freedom, were the domain of men, and even young girls knew the wishes of their hearts would always be subject to a man’s desire for wealth. A man named Pericles summed up my time so well in his famed oration: “The greatest glory of a woman is to be least talked about by men, whether they are praising you or criticizing you.” Our role was clear: We were to be objects of passion, to receive a man’s attention mutely, and to respond only with children for the estate. Even the most powerful woman of our time, the beautiful Queen Vashti, was powerless. That was my future as a girl and I dared not lift my eyes above its horizon. That is how I enter this story. But give me your hand and let us walk back now, past the crumbling walls of history, to this world forgotten but a time yet remembered. Let me tell you the story of a girl unspared, plunged into heartache and chaos, who would save a nation. My name is Esther, and I will be queen.

1 Out of respect for God, Jews write the name of God without the vowels, believing that the name of God is too holy to be written out completely by a human. God is referred to as either “G-d” or “YHVH.”

2 The name Esther is related to the Persian name of Ishtar, a pagan goddess of the stars.

3 Esther refers to the king by his Persian name. In the Hebrew texts of antiquity, he is also referred to as Ahasuerus.


1

Eleventh Day of Shevat

Third Year of the Reign of Xerxes

Year 3394 after Creation


Was it today that I became fully awake, or have I only now begun to dream? Today Cyrus saw me in the marketplace haggling gently with my favorite shopkeeper, Shethana, over the price of a fleece. Shethana makes the loveliest rugs—I think they are even more lovely than the ones imported from the East—and her husband is known for his skill in crafting metals of all kinds. When I turned fifteen last year, he fashioned for me a necklace with several links in the center, painted various shades of blue. He says it is an art practiced in Egypt, this inlaying of colors into metal shapes. I feel so exotic with it on and wear it almost daily. I know it is as close to adventure as Mordecai will ever allow.

But as Shethana and I haggled over the fleece, both of us smiling because she knew I would as soon give it to her, Cyrus walked by eating a flatbread he had purchased from another vendor. He grimaced when he took a bite—I think he might have gotten a very strong taste of shallot—and I laughed. He laughed back, wiping his eyes with his jacket and fanning his mouth, and then, oh then, his gaze held my eyes for a moment. Everything in my body seemed to come alive suddenly and I felt afraid, for my legs couldn’t stand as straight and steady and I couldn’t get my mouth to work. Shethana noticed right away and didn’t conceal her grin as she glanced between Cyrus and me. I should have doubled the price of her fleece right then!

Cyrus turned to walk away, and I tried to focus again on my transaction. I could not meet Shethana’s eyes now—I didn’t want to be questioned about men and marriage, for everyone knows I have no dowry. To dream of winning Cyrus would be as foolish as to run my own heart straight through. I cannot dream, for it will surely crush me. And yet I can’t stop this warm flood that sweeps over me when he is near.

I haven’t told you the best part—when Shethana bought her fleece and left, I allowed myself to close my eyes for a moment in the heat of the day, and when I opened them again, there was a little stack of flatbread in my booth. I looked in every direction but could see no one. Taking a bite, I had to spit it out and started laughing. Cyrus was right—the vendor used many bitter shallots. The flatbread was a disaster.

©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. Chosen by Ginger Garrett. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.



Another wish list book!!! Esther is one of my favorite Bible characters and I would just love to read this book! Enjoy your first look!


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Thursday, March 18, 2010

FIRST: Scars and Stilettos The Transformation of an Exotic Dancer by Harmony Dust

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:


Scars and Stilettos : The Transformation of an Exotic Dancer

Monarch (December 18, 2009)



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Harmony Dust founded and leads Treasures, a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles that helps women in the sex industry to make healthy life choices. She and her husband John have a young daughter.

Visit the author's FaceBook.
Visit the author's MySpace.
Visit the author's YouTube.
Visit the author's ministry.



Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 252 pages
Publisher: Monarch (December 18, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825463092
ISBN-13: 978-0825463099

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


The haze of dusk was a soft blanket over my green Honda Civic as I drove the familiar route to the Los Angeles Airport. How many times had I taken this freeway? This exit? On autopilot, I changed lanes smoothly and rounded the bend towards Century Boulevard. I was going in the same direction I had always gone, but I might as well have been in a parallel universe to the one I lived in six years before.

I glanced at the clock in my car: 5:45 pm… Always early.

My husband’s plane wouldn’t land for another 15 minutes. I decided to wait in the Taco Bell parking lot down the street.

I missed him. For the first year of our marriage I went on tour with him. We traveled from city to city in dusty rental cars, eating lunch at truck stops and fast-food chains. I sold his Pigeon John T-shirts and CDs at the product table, while he rocked the stage for a steadily growing fan base of nerds and ex-nerds, hip-hop heads and youth groups. I was happy to do so. It was a lifestyle that appealed to the bohemian Venice girl in me.

‘I want your dreams to come true, too,’ he said to me on the night of our honeymoon.

My dreams. What were my dreams? Driving through Nebraskan corn fields and the dim streets of Baltimore on our way to shows, I found myself pondering this question. One moment I was exploring the possibilities; the next I was filling out an application to join the program for the Master’s in Social Welfare at the University of California at Los Angeles. My new role as a full-time graduate-school student meant leaving behind the life on the road with my husband.

He had only been gone for a few days, but I couldn’t wait to kiss his handsome, caramel face.

Driving down Century, I saw the sign in the distance. The words ‘Live Live Nude Nudes’ hung in muted, orange and red 1970s-style lettering. You’d think with all the razzle-dazzle strip clubs popping up everywhere, this one would wither and die and go back to being something more functional, as it was when it was a bowling alley. But it’s still there. And so are the girls.

I wondered about my old co-workers. Had they moved on to other clubs, or other lives, or were they still there?

I remembered that life: the suffocating feeling of being trapped, with no end in sight; wanting the money, needing it, but wishing there were some other legal way to get it. The constant pressure to smile, and pretend you want nothing more than to fulfill every wish and fantasy of a stranger, when all you really want to do is lie around your apartment in sweat pants, watching mafia movies like Goodfellas and Casino – imagining you could live some other life.

I remembered, and all I could do was pray: that the women behind those very walls, feeling as I once did, would have a real and true encounter with the loving, gracious, God of freedom and wonder that I have come to know. That they would discover the beauty that lies within them that is more precious than the rarest gem. That they would realize that the dreams of their youth and the passions of their hearts are important, and within reach.

The driver in front of me gently pressed his brakes, snapping me out of the trance I was in. I glanced in my rear view mirror, and saw that I had passed the Taco Bell parking lot I was planning to pull in to. Instead, I parked in a lot directly across the street from the club, turned my car off, and sat staring. There are girls in there right now, I thought.

What are you going to do? A voice whispered to my heart. What could I do? I felt as though I was outside a prison that had once held me captive. I was free, while there were still women feeling trapped inside. There was a stand-off: I was still, waiting for something to happen. For the other guy, for some other person, to come up with something: a solution; an idea; anything.


What are you going to do? What can I do? It’s not like I can waltz up there and tell the bouncer I want to talk to the girls. Even if he did let me in, what on earth would I say?

What do you want to say?

I glanced to my left and discovered a stack of postcards from a recent women’s conference I had attended. The woman pictured was facing away from the camera, looking confidently ahead. Her back was draped with strands of pearls. Tattooed across the warm brown skin of her shoulder blades were the words, ‘Her value… far above rubies and pearls.’

That is what I wanted to say. That is exactly what I wanted the women in that club to hear. Hands shaking, I grabbed the stack of postcards and began writing on the back of each one:

‘I was just driving by and wanted to tell you that you are loved…’

What else?

‘If you are ever interested in going to church, I know of a great one: www.oasisla.org.

You are welcome there!

Love, Harmony

PS: I used to work here too.’

When I first started dancing, even if I wanted to go to church, it would never have occurred to me that a church would have me. Still sitting in the car, my legs were heavy and stiff as I held the postcards in my hands. I wondered if I was doing the right thing. Would people think I was crazy for going back there?

I called my mother-in-law. If I am insane, she’ll tell me so, I thought. Her voice was deep and soothing like a mama bear; her words steady and careful, as she encouraged and prayed with me. It was settled; I wasn’t crazy.

I approached the parking lot and there, scattered between orange cones, were the dancers’ cars. ‘My’ spot was among them. Each night, when the security saw my car pulling into the lot, he removed the orange cone and motioned me into the space nearest the dancers’ entrance. Someone else was parked there now. As I approached the first car, a large man wearing a dark blue security jacket stepped out of the porn shop adjoining the club. Security: I hadn’t thought of that. I wasn’t sure he would let me go through with it.

The words Go in confidence radiated from within me. Before the security guard could even open his mouth, I briskly approached him and stuck out my hand.

‘Hi. My name is Harmony. I used to work here. I just wanted to leave these little notes for the girls.’ I whipped out the postcards and presented them to him. He looked at them and back at me. Tilting his head, he seemed caught off guard by the whole thing.

‘All right; go ahead,’ he said, as he waved me along and went back into the porn shop.

Quickly, before he changed his mind, I placed each postcard on the windshields of the dancers’ cars. I wondered what they would think when they found the postcards at the end of the night. What would I have thought?

As I headed to the airport terminal to pick up my husband, I imagined myself walking to my car after a long night of work: feet aching, head throbbing from six hours of pounding music. How would I feel if I entered the buzzing silence of my car and saw that little postcard sitting beneath my windshield wiper?

‘You are loved… You are welcome here.’ Aren’t those the  words I had always longed to hear? That is all I ever wanted… to be loved and welcomed. Isn’t that what we all want?


When I pulled up to the airport terminal, I saw my husband standing there, leaning on his luggage. Always dapper, his vintage-looking Kangol hat was tipped slightly to one side. I hopped out of the car and threw my arms around him, nuzzling my face into his warm neck.

‘Missed you.’

‘Missed you, too.’

We got in the car and headed home.

‘John, you are never going to believe what I just did…’

I recounted the story, and he listened encouragingly.

‘That’s cool, babe. That’s really cool,’ he said, while affectionately squeezing my fingers one by one.

‘Yeah. I mean the whole thing has me thinking… maybe I can do that every time I come to pick you up at the airport. Or every time I pass by a strip club. Do you think other girls would want to do this too? This could be the start of something,’ I rattled on.

We had no idea that within a year a group of volunteers would be going to over 150 strip clubs annually. That we would be walking alongside women, encouraging them to live the healthy, flourishing lives they were created to live. That within two years we would be an official non-profit organization. That four years later we would be training other outreach groups throughout the nation.

The idea I had that night sitting in the parking lot has expanded and become more than I ever dreamed possible. No matter how much it has grown and changed, the message is still the same…

‘You are loved. You are welcome here.’ In our churches, in our lives.

This very message was first breathed like oxygen into my heart during a time when I needed it most in my own life. My passion to share it was born out of my own broken past. This is my story.



This looks like a great book. I have not received it for review, rather I'm posting this to introduce the book to you and to give you an opportunity to read the first chapter. Based on that chapter and the author's background, I think I would be interested in this book. Therefore, I'm adding it to my wish list.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's been a pretty bad hair day!!!

I have been having a great week (except that I haven't had a lot of time to read!!). I finally got my vehicle back yesterday (long story but AAMCO had it for about 6 1/2 weeks) and when my hubby came to pick me up he said he needed to update me on "the latest developments at our house". Well, that kinda scared me because we have some ill family members and I was afraid something that happened to one of them, or that my daughter had a wreck on the way home from dropping me off at work. He proceeds to tell me that he'll tell me before we get home but that he can't tell me right now (he was driving...which scared me because he's usually pretty calm and collected but he wasn't going to tell me yet which meant it was bad!). Well, I talked him into it and he pulls out his phone. He shows it to me and I burst out into tears...my poor baby!!!

When I left for work yesterday morning, both of my precious babies were sleeping soundly in my bed. As always, I gave them a kiss on the cheek before heading out. Never did I expect my two precious angels to cause the havoc that wreaked upon my life!!

Mikaylah pre-mommy leaving for work (ok old picture but you get the point!)

Sadly, the pictures that my husband was about to share with me would change my life...forever! I could not believe what I was looking at! Would you like to know what put me into instant tears that flowed rivers at my feet???


Who is this??? NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Who was the culprit future barber? This face just looks so innocent!! How could he?!?!


Well the story is slowly coming out but supposedly, Mikaylah decided she wanted her hair cut and little Michael was the perfect one to perform the deed. Needless to say, daddy bought her some do-rags and I'll be looking for a cute hat for her to wear. I've tried to clean up the disaster but it's really just going to have to grow out...hopefully quickly!! I had wanted to take them to have pictures made the in a couple of weeks and that is now on hold!



The joys of being a parent...and having two beautiful children...I just hope everyone will still realize that she is a GIRL and not accuse her of being a boy...how traumatic for her!

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FIRST: The Right Call by Kathy Herman

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:


The Right Call

David C. Cook; New edition (March 1, 2010)



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Kathy Herman is a best-selling suspense novelist who has written fifteen novels since retiring from her family’s Christian bookstore business. Kathy and her husband, Paul, have three grown children and five grandchildren and live in Tyler, Texas. This is the third title in the Sophie Trace trilogy, which also includes The Real Enemy, and The Last Word.


Visit the author's website.

The Right Call, by Kathy Herman from David C. Cook on Vimeo.



Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (March 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434767841
ISBN-13: 978-1434767844

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Drew Langley jumped at the loud thud upstairs and resisted the temptation to bang on the wall and dispel the roaring laughter that followed. Was he the only student in the apartment building still studying for finals?


A warm breeze rattled the blinds, and he closed his eyes, inhaling the intoxicating fragrance of magnolia blossoms wafting from the south campus of Stanton College. It took every ounce of discipline he could muster not to close his books and give in to the lure of spring.


He heard rubber soles on the hardwood floor and lifted his gaze as his roommate came to a quick stop in front of the mirror over the worn living-room sofa.


Tal Davison wet his fingers and smoothed his hair. “I see you’re still studying. I guess that means you’re not coming.”


“To what? I thought you had a date.”


“Why do you make me tell you everything twice? You’re worse than my grandmother.”


Drew put down his pencil. “Sorry, I’ve been focused on other things. Tell me again. I’m listening.”


Tal came and stood in the doorway of Drew’s bedroom, his arms folded across his chest. “I’m going over to Henry’s for a junk-food buffet and beer. You’re invited.”


“Thanks. But I really need to study for my English lit final. It’s next week, and I’ve got chapters of catching up to do.”


“Suit yourself. I’m brain-dead. I couldn’t learn another thing if you paid me.” Tal started to go and then stopped. “Listen, thanks again for letting me move in here for the last few weeks. It’s nice sharing an apartment that doesn’t reek of marijuana. I hope I haven’t been as big a pain as your other roommate.” He shot Drew a half smile.


Drew leaned back and folded his arms. “Hey, not at all, man. I hope you don’t think I’ve been ignoring you. It’s just that I have to keep up the grades. No four-oh, no scholarship. There’s no way I can afford to attend Stanton without it.” I don’t have a rich father footing the bill.


“Doesn’t it cramp your style to go to college in Sophie Trace? Your parents are pretty close by, aren’t they?”


“Thanks to the scholarship I can live off campus. That’s all the independence I need. It’s nice going home whenever I want. My parents really help me stay on track.” Drew studied Tal’s expression.


“I take it you wish your dad wasn’t so close?”


Tal got quiet for a moment and seemed to be somewhere else. “He’s much too busy to breathe down my neck. And he doesn’t care about my grades as long as I pass and he can tell his cronies that his namesake’s attending his alma mater and is going to work for him after graduation.”


“Is that so bad?”


“I just wish he cared more about me and less about his image. I’m not sure I can ever measure up to his expectations.”


“Come on, man. You’ve got it made in the shade. All you have to do is get through one more year, and he’ll hand you the job of a lifetime. I thought you were pumped about it.”


Tal flashed a crooked smile. “I’m trying to be. It’s my big chance to make Dad proud of me. It’s all he’s talked about for years. But there’s a lot of pressure, learning to run a big corporation. The closer I get, the more intimidated I feel.”


“He must think you can do it, Tal. There’s a lot at stake for him, too.” Even if he is handing it to you on a silver platter.


“Maybe I’ll buy a little time after I graduate—tell Dad I’m burned-out and need to backpack across Europe for a while before I jump into the corporate world.”


A grin tugged at Drew’s cheeks. “Then you’d need someone to babysit your Hummer. Can I apply for the job? Man, I wish I’d been there when your dad had it delivered to your birthday party.”


“It was an awesome way to turn twenty-one, all right. But I’d trade it in a heartbeat for a relationship with my dad like you have with yours.”


“I guess I take it for granted.”


“Well, don’t,” Tal said. “I can’t remember the last time I sat down and had a real conversation with mine. He’s either working himself to death or hiding out at the lake house with wife number four—the fashion model who’s got silicone for brains.”


“I didn’t realize she was his fourth wife.”


“And she’s pregnant with daughter number seven. Maybe he’s going for the record.”


“Yeah, but you’re still his only son. And you and your mother are close.”


“Not in proximity. She’s spending a lot of time in New York with her boyfriend. He deals in fine art, and she likes to go to the auctions with him. I doubt I’ll see her anytime soon.”


Drew shifted his weight. Why hadn’t Tal mentioned before that his mother was seeing someone?


“Actually, I’m happy for her,” Tal said. “And I don’t mind sharing her Nashville house with the maid, the cook, and the butler. I’ll lie around the pool and read sci-fi novels and give my brain a rest. I’m so burned-out I can’t stand to think about another year of studying.”


“You’ll be ready to hit it again in the fall. Just think how good you’ll feel when you get your degree.”


Tal smiled wryly. “Would you believe my dad’s executive bonus last year was ten million? I must be nuts not to be more excited about the job.”


No kidding. “So why aren’t you?”


“I don’t know … my dad’s ruthless. And the company takes precedence over everyone and everything. I want more out of life than that.”


“I hear you. But if it were me, I’d at least try it long enough to earn a couple million and then go do whatever I wanted.“


“I’ve thought of that.” Tal stood up straight, the result of his beer drinking and bingeing hanging over his belt. “But I have a feeling that once Dad has me under his thumb, I’ll never get out from under. What I really want to do is go to the police academy.”


“Have you told him how you feel?”


“I tried. But Dad doesn’t really care how I feel. It’s my duty as his only son to keep the family business going. If I turn my back on that, he’ll basically disown me. Not that we’re close now, but it’s hard to think of having no dad. Hey, enough serious talk. It’s party time. Sure you don’t want to come?”


“Yeah, I’ve got to hit the books. Who’s your designated driver?”


“Don’t need one. I’m walking.”


“You think that’s smart? Henry’s neighborhood isn’t exactly the safest part of town.”


“I’ll be fine. But I’ll tell you what”—Tal laughed and tossed his keys to Drew—“if I don’t make it back alive, the Hummer’s all yours.”



©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. The Right Call by Kathy Herman. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.



I have not received this book for review. Rather, after reading the first chapter, I'm adding it to my wish list. This one sounds really good!!


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