Thursday, July 29, 2010
by Mary Connealy
From the publisher:
What happens when an idealistic student nurse encounters an embittered army doctor in a stagecoach accident? How will she react when she learns her training didn’t prepare her for tragic reality? How will he, an army deserter, respond to needs when he vowed to never touch another patient? Can these two stubborn mules find common ground on which to work and bring healing to West Texas?
Mary Connealy's books are always a riot and Doctor in Petticoats is no exception. As a fan of the slightly unbelievable, cowboys and feisty heroines, for me, Ms. Connealy's books are must reads. I really loved this book!
If you know anything at all about Mary's previous series, Lassoed in Texas you know that Beth McClellan the main character in Doctor in Petticoats comes by her sassiness and strength honestly. Beth and her brand new, virtual stranger to her husband, Alex make a terrific team. I love how they work together. However even though this is their story, my favorite parts were the glimpses that we got of Beth's sister, Mandy and what seems to be the makings of a very interesting story. I'm a bit sad that we have to wait till Book 3, Sharpshooter in Petticoats for the full story but on the bright side we only have to wait until October to find out what happens to Beth's other sister, Sally in Book 2, Wrangler in Petticoats!
Doctor in Petticoats is definitely making my Top Books of 2010 list and has earned its spot on my keeper shelf along side the Lassoed In Texas series and Montana Marriages series. If you're looking for a quick pick me up read most any of Mary's books will do the trick. She's one author whose sense of humor really shines through in her work. If you'd like to learn more visit:
Seekerville (Group Blog)
Petticoats and Pistols (Group Blog)
*I received my book through a contest at Petticoats and Pistols, I was not obligated to provide a review.*
Sunday, July 25, 2010
by Ann H. Gabhart
From the publisher:
When well-laid plans go awry, can she still make her dreams come true?
Charlotte Vance is a young woman who knows what she wants. But when the man she planned to marry joins the Shakers—a religious group that does not allow marriage—she is left dumbfounded. And when her father brings home a new wife who is young enough to be Charlotte's sister, it is more than she can bear. With the country—and her own household—on the brink of civil war, this pampered gentlewoman hatches a plan to avoid her new stepmother and win back her man by joining the Shaker community at Harmony Hill. Little does she know that this decision will lead her down a road of unforeseen consequences.
Ann H. Gabhart brings alive the strikingly different worlds of the Southern gentry, the simple Shakers, and the ravages of war in 1860s Kentucky to weave a touching story of love, freedom, and forgiveness.
I'm always happy when I can pick up a book set during the Civil War so it was natural for me to grab this book when it came up for review. I really enjoyed it especially since it wasn't centered around "traditional" Christian beliefs but rather those of the Shakers. I believe that Ms. Gabhart really knows what she's writing about because I really felt as if I were in the midst of the Shaker community at Harmony Hill. On top of that the few scenes on the battle front were pretty realistic but tastefully done.
At first, I didn't really understand why Charlotte decided to join the Shaker society but then again there weren't a whole lot of options for a young woman other than marriage for escaping a troubled home life. She was a bit of a spoiled girl but I felt bad for her having to deal with a snotty stepmother who could have been her sister! I also loved Adam Wade, the hero because he very much reminded me of Rhett Butler. While he seemed to lose his roguishness by the end of the book he was still very likable.
There's not a whole lot of interaction between Charlotte and Adam in the middle of the book other than the letters they exchanged over almost a year. That was the only part that I really didn't care for in this entire 400 plus page book. It was a very quick read despite being so long and I would definitely read it again and suggest it to anyone who is looking for sweet Christian fiction that features something other than Amish themes.
“Available July 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”
To learn more about the author visit:
* I received my copy from Donna @ Revell Books in exchange for my honest review.*
Saturday, July 24, 2010
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
and the book:
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (June 7, 2010)
When the going gets tough—or weird or wonderful—the daydreamer gets going on a new story. Sally John has been tweaking life's moments into fiction since she read her first Trixie Belden mystery as a child.
Now an author of more than fifteen novels, Sally writes stories that reflect contemporary life. Her passion is to create a family, turn their world inside out, and then portray how their relationships change with each other and with God. Her goal is to offer hope to readers in their own relational and faith journeys.
Sally grew up in Moline, Illinois, graduated from Illinois State University, married Tim in 1973, and taught in middle schools. She is a mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother. A three-time finalist for the Christy Award, she also teaches writing workshops. Her books include the Safe Harbor series (coauthored with Gary Smalley), The Other Way Home series, The Beach House series, and In a Heartbeat series. Many of her stories are set in her favorite places of San Diego, Chicago, and small-town Illinois.
She and her husband currently live in southern California.
Visit the author's website.
List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (June 7, 2010)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
Eighteen months later
Like everything about the small village tucked into the foothills of the Sierra Madres in central Mexico, sunrise was a leisurely event.
Sheridan waited for it, tea mug in hand, shawl over her cotton nightgown, bare feet chilled against the tile floor of the second-story balcony. Alone, she listened in the dark to the squawk of roosters and clung to their promise that the world would once again know light.
“Oh, good grief,” she murmured to herself with a groan. “That is so maudlin. Truly and hopelessly maudlin. You might try something more chipper. Something like . . . Something like . . .” Her foggy brain offered nothing.
She scrunched her nose in defeat. The morning had shuffled in on the heels of a sleepless night. Chipper was not going to happen, no matter how hard she tried to talk herself into it.
If she could turn the calendar back eighteen months, she would not be talking to herself. No. Eliot would be right next to her, responding, most likely pointing out a dozen chipper thoughts in that funny way of his.
Nostalgia and regret hit her, a powerful one-two punch that still took her breath away. She clenched her teeth, waiting for it to pass, mentally spewing forth a verbal attack at the counselor who had promised her that time healed all wounds, that month by month they would see improvement.
What drivel that was! Eighteen months—or to be more precise, seventeen months, three weeks, and two days; but who was counting? All that time had passed and only one thing was healed: Eliot’s gunshot wound. His other wounds, the invisible ones, still oozed like toxins from a waste dump site. He was not the same man she had married.
Sheridan took a deep breath and let the bitter argument go. Nostalgia and regret settled back down into whatever corner of her heart they’d found to hide out in. Their impact, though, lingered.
Would time ever erase her longing for the Eliot she had married? The animated one, the one others adored, the one who was engaged in every detail of life, whether simple or complex, with every person who crossed his path. The one from B.C.E., Before the Caracas Episode. Now, in their A.C.E. days, he might as well be a deaf-mute for all the interest he showed in the world around him.
Sleep-deprived, she totally blamed him. She didn’t mean to. It wasn’t like he had much of a choice. The bullet that shattered his nerves shattered their life. Everything about it was over. Health, career, home, friends. All gone. Kaput. Some days she barely recognized herself and Eliot. Where were the Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery she once knew? These routines, hometown, health, acquaintances, and even personalities seemed lifted from the pages of some stranger’s biography.
“Oh, honestly. Get over it already, Sher.” She forced a swallow of tea and focused on the scene before her.
A lone sunbeam pierced between two mountain peaks and sliced into the distant mists. Another followed. And another and another until finally pure light broke free. Valleys and canyons burst into sight. Loud birdsong erupted. Then, as if God had uncurled His fist, long fingers of sunlight shot forth and touched the wrought-iron railing where she stood.
It was achingly gorgeous.
Sheridan flicked at a tear seeping from the corner of her eye. “You should have stayed in bed, you foolish, stubborn woman.”
Sunrises were the worst because they represented the best of what had been.
Most days she could ignore that thought. Evidently not today. She and Eliot were morning people. Had been morning people. Their daily ritual of tea and conversation at an east-facing view, awaiting dawn, was seldom missed. With crazy-full schedules, they needed such a time to relate on the deepest levels. Some days their hearts positively danced and sang in union. Naturally, through the years the tune changed now and then, the tempo sped up and slowed down, but the music never stopped. It never stopped. They always talked. They always connected.
Until that day in Caracas.
Now she watched sunrises by herself.
“You really should’ve stayed in bed.”
But it was so beautiful. And it went on and on like a slow waltz. At the bottom of her street now, purple haze still shrouded the town square. The sky brightened in slow motion above it, the fiery ball itself still hiding behind a peak.
Something moved in the semidarkness below. A person. Early risers were not uncommon, but she was startled. Something felt off about this one.
Or was that just her hypervigilance? Compliments of the incident in Caracas, it kicked into gear at times without warning, filling her with anxiety and suspicion.
Now she could see that it was a man. He passed the bandstand, his strides too deliberate for a villager, too American. He headed straight for the steep incline that led up to her house. In city terms, the distance was perhaps a block. In Topala terms, it was simply up beyond the sculptor’s shop.
The sun overtook the peaks and the man came into view.
“No way.” Her heartbeat slowed, but not quite to normal.
Even with his face concealed by a ball cap, his body clothed in a generic khaki jacket and blue jeans, a city block separating them, she recognized him. She recognized him simply because the air vibrated with him.
Luke Traynor owned whatever space he occupied.
Sheridan set the mug on the table beside her, tightened the shawl around her shoulders, and massaged her left arm. She felt no surprise at his unannounced arrival nor at the early hour. It was as if she had always expected him to show up sooner or later.
But as he climbed the narrow street, an uneasiness rose within her. Her muscles tensed. Why was he here? He had promised not to come. Sixteen months ago he promised. Not that she was keeping track. . . .
The sound of a soft whistle drew her attention back toward the square. Javier, the young sculptor, stood on the porch steps outside his shop. Behind him, the handicraft shop owner emerged from his door.
Javier raised his chin in question.
Sheridan gave a half nod. They needn’t be concerned. The stranger was, so to speak, a known quantity. Not that she felt the least bit glad to see Luke. Eliot would most likely be severely distressed at his arrival.
Wishing Luke were an apparition did not make it so. He continued his steady pace, arms swinging gently, head down as if he studied the cobblestones, making his way to her house.
Since that day in Caracas—the day her husband died in every sense except physically, the day this man saved her life—Sheridan had understood intuitively that Luke would always be a part of her life. And there he was, out of the blue, ascending her street in the middle of nowhere on a spring day as if he visited all the time.
She suddenly remembered the date. “Good grief.”
It was Annunciation Day, a day of remembrance, of celebration for when the angel Gabriel visited Mary and announced her future. How apropos. Luke appeared without warning. He would not have come unless he had something to tell her, some message that would irreversibly change her future.
Was this his joke or God’s?
Luke neared and looked up, straight at her.
She saw not the man whose presence had always triggered apprehension in her, but rather the guardian angel who had saved her life.
Sheridan turned and made her way inside, down the stairs, and through the house.
* * *
Sheridan opened the front door and stopped.
Luke Traynor stood less than six feet away, at the low gate in the stone wall where her front terrace met the steep hill.
She returned his steady gaze, knowing full well her own expression did not mirror the one before her. While dread, relief, and excessive gratitude rearranged every muscle on her face, his remained perfectly composed. The sharp nose, thin lips, and deep-set eyes could have been made of the same cobblestone he stood on.
He flashed a rakish grin. “I was in the neighborhood.”
“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”
He cocked his head, somber again. Always the gentleman, he waited for her to make the first move.
Sheridan clutched her shawl more closely and resigned herself to riding out the emotional disarray rumbling through her. She both loathed and loved this man. Of course he knew that, so it didn’t matter how she reacted to him except that she’d like herself better if she were polite.
With a quiet sigh, she walked to him, planted a kiss on his scruffy, unshaven cheek, and eased into his embrace. Nestled against the rough collar of his jacket, she smelled the familiar scent of him, an indescribable mix of earth, sun-drenched air, and confidence that bordered on lunacy. She felt the hardness of his body, always unexpected given his average height and build.
“Sheridan. How are you?”
“Fine.” She backed away, crossing her arms.
“And Eliot?” he said. “How is he?”
Luke blinked, a slow movement of lids indicating he could take the truth.
She wanted to shriek obscenities at him. The disconcerting thing about angels, though, was that it was impossible to keep up any sort of pretense. Like an angel, Luke had stayed close beside her for long weeks after the shooting. He had gone with her to the edge of hell, holding on to her until she came back. He knew her better than she knew herself. Glossing over answers was a waste of time with him.
She tried another phrase. “We’re doing about as well as could be expected.”
“Eliot is still asleep.”
“It’s early. Perhaps I can greet him later.”
The resistance drained from her. Yes, Gabriel had come to deliver a message, and he would not leave until he’d done so.
She had no inkling how to shield Eliot and herself from this unexpected source of distress but gave a lame attempt. “I don’t suppose you’re passing through town and simply must be on your way right now, this very minute?”
She inhaled, her shoulders lifting with the effort, and blew the breath out with force. “Coffee?”
Excerpted from Ransomed Dreams by Sally John. Copyright 2010 by Sally John. Used with permission from Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
I'll start off by saying this is not what I usually read. It's not really a romance but a book featuring a middle aged married couple facing struggles physically and emotionally that are taking a toll on their marriage. I'm not married or in a relationship right now but I do realize that in any kind of relationship, even friendships, there are going to be rough spots so I thought this would be a good story to read for a change of pace.
Ransomed Dreams is the first novel I've ever read by Sally John, and even though it does focus on an older couple, not 20somethings like a lot of Christian fiction, I liked it. Sheridan and Eliot Montgomery are faced with a trial that I can't ever imagine dealing with in their lives as U.S. foreign diplomats in Venezuela. The author presented it in such a way that I was caught up from the first page, however as the story continued the writing seemed to get a bit choppy, it just didn't all flow together for me from chapter to chapter.
I did like the characters though and felt sympathetic towards Sheridan who had to not only deal with Eliot's disability and their strained relationship but issues with her sister and father as well. She was real. She thought about another man, she wondered about whether her husband would ever return to his old self, and she had bitterness towards her father. Sheridan was far from the perfect heroine that I'm so used to reading about which was a very refreshing change. I look forward to reading the next book in the Side Roads series to see if we get another glimpse at this family or some of the secondary characters like Luke and Mercedes.
Friday, July 23, 2010
At the Movies: Knight and Day
From the first time I saw the previews I thought this movie looked like an interesting action/ comedy and I was right. While there weren't really any funny moments other than the ones that most of you have probably seen on the tv trailers for this film I still like it because of Cameron Diaz's character, June Havens. While she isn't the brightest bulb in the chandelier (but who would be with a million bullets flying at them?) she is one cool gal! She restores classic cars and is lugging car parts in her carry-on when she "accidentally" bumps into secret agent, Roy Miller! Oh and did I mention she has some serious driving skills and a sick vintage GTO? I'm one of those girls who watches a movie just for the car chases which this film has! In all seriousness this was a cute movie that both the guys and the gals will enjoy. Aside from being pretty unbelievable it was still entertaining. Not sure it's worth paying $12 to see but it's good.
On DVD: When in Rome
Yes, you know it, I am a sucker for the cheesy romantic comedy but sadly I haven't seen one in ages! This week, my cousin and I decided to check out When in Rome starring Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel and we loved it! It was completely crazy (like most romantic comedies are) and some of it was set in Rome so there were some awesome shots featuring the area's beautiful architecture. Even though the acting was just okay and there was a plot goof at the end, I laughed pretty much the entire way through. There were a few times when I was creeped out by some of Beth's...uhhhh, I'll say ardent followers for lack of a better word but Nick and Umberto (my personal fave) made up for that! ;-) If you're looking for an hour and a half of light, fluffy romance you may want to rent this movie!
Classic: My Best Friend's Wedding
I think I've seen every romantic comedy starring Julia Roberts and this movie is up there at the top of my list right as a favorite right under Pretty Woman (not a romantic comedy really but I included it) and Runaway Bride. I liked the fact that this movie **spoiler alert if you haven't seen it** didn't end with Jules getting the guy AND that the other girl, Kim, wasn't a terrible person! I also liked that Jules and Michael were best friends even after everything that Jules put them ALL through! The only thing that bothered me 'cause I'm a true romantic, Jules didn't get a happily every after. All in all this is a good movie and I really would like to see Julia Roberts in more romantic comedies like it.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Yesterday when the Fed-Ex man delivered my new bookcase I was worried that I might have a hard time assembling it. I'm all thumbs and don't know the business end of a screwdriver from the other but luckily it was oh so easy to assemble, with no tools required and it looks terrific holding my books, dontcha think?
Before: My poor bookcase couldn't even hold most of my newer books :-(
After: My brand new bookcase from CSN stores!!!! I love it! The reason I have those books stacked on the top shelf is because I have to read them or I have already read them and need to write reviews. They're at eye level so I don't forget about 'em!
YAY! Old bookcase got a break and now holds mostly YA fiction, books from friends, and some of my old Steeple Hill and Heartsong books. :-)
*I was given a $60 gift certificate in exchange for posting about CSN sites and agreeing to review whichever product I bought, with no obligation to provide a positive review.*
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Jill over @ Breaking the Spine hosts a weekly meme that features one book that you can't wait to be released! Be sure to visit Jill's site to see what she and other readers can't wait to get their hands on.
Dr. Leigh Stathos likes her ER shifts fast, furious, and adrenaline-infused—“Treat ’em and street ’em”—with no emotional complications. Life’s taught her a soul-rending lesson: nothing lasts forever, including marriage. And the clock is ticking toward the end of hers. Then an unwelcome confrontation with “the other woman” begins a whole new set of lessons.
San Francisco police officer Nick Stathos never gives up, whether protecting his patrol neighborhood, holding fast to faith—or trying to save his marriage. Seven days is all he has to reach Leigh’s heart. But when a desperate act of violence slams Golden Gate Mercy Hospital into lockdown, it starts a chain of events that will change lives forever.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
by Laura Frantz
From the publisher:
Caught between the wilderness and civilization, Morrow Little must find her way to true love.
Morrow Little is haunted by the memory of the day her family was torn apart by raiding Shawnee warriors. Now that she is nearly a grown woman and her father is ailing, she must make difficult choices about the future. Several men--ranging from the undesired to the unthinkable--vie for her attentions, but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to a forbidden love that both terrifies and intrigues her. Can she betray the memory of her lost loved ones--and garner suspicion from her friends--by pursuing a life with him? Or should she seal her own misery by marrying a man she doesn't love?
This sweeping tale of romance and forgiveness will envelop you as it takes you from a Kentucky fort through the vast wilderness of the West.
Laura Frantz has done it again! If you like a dashing hero, a rather terrifying army major, and a beautiful heroine paired with a little adventure and a lot of romance, you won't be disappointed. And just when I thought I couldn't like a character more than Captain Jack from The Frontiersman's Daughter she has introduced Red Shirt! I promise all you fans of Jack, you won't be disappointed with this story!
Once again Laura takes us to the wilds of Kentucky and up the Ohio River to Fort Pitt (today you may know it as Pittsburgh, PA). I felt as if I were with Morrow facing everything from the dangers of Indian attacks on the Ohio to the dangers of courtship. I could understand Morrow's fear of the Shawnee as well as her interest and the internal battles that she faced because of it.
I addition, I just love how the author's love for Kentucky shines through in the details of this book. If you don't already believe waterfalls to be terribly romantic locations, you will after reading both of Laura's books. I can't wait to read The Colonel's Lady, next summer! In the meantime Courting Morrow Little and The Frontiersman's Daughter are both on my keeper shelf to be read again soon.
+++++++My review of The Frontiersman's Daughter+++++++
To learn more about Laura Frantz and her books visit:
*I received my review copy from Donna @ Revell in exchange for posting my honest review.*
Friday, July 16, 2010
There were 12 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
Timestamp: 2010-07-16 04:29:20 UTC
Congrats CRYSTAL! You are the lucky winner!
An email has been sent to Crystal. She has 48 hours to reply or another name will be drawn.
Look for another giveaway soon!
Thursday, July 15, 2010
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
and the book:
Whitaker House (August 3, 2010)
At last count, Loree had 73 books (fiction and non-fiction for kids and adults; one novel optioned for a TV movie; and many more slated for release), 63 short stories, and more than 2,500 articles in print. Her stories have earned dozens of industry and "Readers' Choice" awards. A frequent guest speaker for writers’ organizations, book clubs, private and government institutions, corporations, college and high school writing programs and more, Loree has encouraged thousands with her comedic approach to ‘learned-the-hard-way’ lessons about the craft and the industry.
Visit the author's website.
List Price: $
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (August 3, 2010)
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:
San Antonio, Texas
The hot, sticky air in the banker’s cluttered office made it hard to breathe. Josh ran a fingertip under his stiff collar as the image of cows, dropping by the thousand, reminded him of why he’d come to San Antonio. Selling a couple thousand uncontaminated acres from his family’s ranch, the Lazy N, was the only way to protect the land that remained until they were able to get the anthrax infection under control.
He did his best not to glare at the decorous Bostonian, Griffen, sitting beside him. It wasn’t the Swede’s fault, after all, that the disease had killed so many of the Nevilles’ cattle. In his shoes, Josh would have snapped up the land just as quickly. Trouble was, now this la-di-da Easterner would move to Eagle Pass, bringing his never-been-out-of-the-city wife and children with him. Worse yet, Josh had a sneaking suspicion that the former printing press operator would make a regular pest of himself by asking about the Texas climate, irrigation methods, when to plant, and only the good Lord knew what else. If that didn’t earn Josh a seat closer to the Throne, he didn’t know what would.
Few things agitated him more than sitting in one spot. Especially indoors. Confusion at how these fancy gents managed to look so calm and cool only added to his restlessness. He hung his Stetson on his left knee, mostly to occupy his hands in some way. Now, as the banker explained the terms of the agreement, Josh stared hard at the bloodred Persian rug under his boots and searched his mind for something else to focus on, anything other than the wretched document that would transfer ownership of Neville land to this foreigner. Moving his Stetson to his right knee, he remembered the day he’d bought the hat, and how he’d purchased another just like it one year later, when business at the Lazy N had put him back in Garland. One for riding the range, one for his wedding.
Strange, he thought, how Sadie could appear in his mind’s eye from out of nowhere, even after three long years without her. He forced her from his mind. This get-together was more than painful enough without his dwelling on the most agonizing period of his life. Josh exhaled a harsh sigh, hoping the banker and the Swede hadn’t heard the tremor in it. For his agitation, he blamed the oppressive heat. His empty stomach. The ten-day ride from Eagle Pass that had left him so bone-tired, he couldn’t sleep, even on the hotel’s pillow-soft mattress. A body would think that an establishment with Persian rugs and velvet curtains could afford to provide some cold water for its clients, he thought, loosening his string tie as Griffen asked yet another inane question. Father, give me the strength to keep from grabbing those papers and hotfooting it out of here without making the deal! he prayed silently.
Sadly, his thoughts were doing little to distract him from the grim truth.
He had cast the single dissenting vote at the family meeting, and the decision to sell the land had become even more odious to him when it had been decided that, as the only Neville with a law degree, Josh would be responsible for transacting the sale. He groaned inwardly at the sorry state of affairs, leaning forward to hide the tears that burned in his eyes. He loved every blessed acre—especially those acres—that made up the Lazy N. He’d built a small but solid home for Sadie and himself on that section of the ranch, and having to hand it over to someone else hurt almost as much as burying Sadie had.
Griffen, God bless him, had been the one to suggest that Josh hold on to the precious acre where she had been buried, along with their twins, who had died at birth. When Josh had asked permission to visit their graves from time to time, Griffen’s pale eyes had darkened a shade, and he had said, “I’d be a wreck in your position. We will build a fence around the land to make sure your little family is never disturbed.” But Josh had known, even as he’d nodded in agreement, that having to cross Griffen property to reach his family would only heap one misery atop another.
Josh grabbed his Stetson and, with his elbows propped on his knees, spun it round and round as he watched, through the window, three men and a woman dismount sweaty horses. They looked as tense and restless as he felt, and he wondered what unfortunate family business had brought them to the bank today.
“If you’ll just sign here, Mr. Neville,” Thomas Schaeffer said, redirecting Josh’s attention to his own, unfortunate family business.
He accepted the banker’s fountain pen. As its freshly inked nib hovered over the document, a bead of sweat trickled down his spine, and he felt a disturbing kinship with the fat hen his ma had roasted for dinner last Sunday.
Outside, the wind blew steadily, swirling street grit into tiny twisters that skittered up the parched road before bouncing under buggies and scurrying into alleyways. Even the burning breeze would feel better than this choking heat. “Mind if I open the window? I’m sweatin’ like a—”
“I’d much rather you didn’t,” he said, peering over the rims of his gold-trimmed spectacles. “The wind is likely to scatter our paperwork hither and yon.”
Hither and yon, indeed. Josh had read sayings like that in literature, but what kind of person actually used that sort of language in everyday speech? His musings over the annoying situation were interrupted by the sounds of shuffling footsteps and coarse whispers from the other side of the banker’s office door.
The commotion put a stern frown on Schaeffer’s heat-reddened face. “I declare,” he said through clenched teeth, “I can’t take my eyes off that fool assistant of mine for fifteen minutes without some sort of mayhem erupting.” Blotting his forehead with a starched white hanky, he continued grumbling, “Looks like I’ll have no choice but to replace him.” Shoving the eyeglasses higher, he lifted his chin and one bushy gray eyebrow—a not-so-subtle cue for Josh to sign the paper.
So, gritting his teeth, Josh inhaled a sharp breath, scratched his name on the thin, black line, and traded the pen for the banknote Schaeffer handed him.
On his feet now, Griffen grabbed Josh’s hand. “T’ank you,” he said, shaking it, “been a pleasure doing business wit’ you, Neville.”
Unable to make himself say, “Likewise,” Josh forced a stiff smile and pocketed the check. “You bet.” God willing, the worst was behind his family now.
The burnished, brass pendulum of the big clock behind the banker’s desk swayed left with an audible tick as the men prepared to go their separate ways.
It swung right as gunshots rang out in the lobby.
Schaeffer and Griffen ran for the door, but a flurry of activity outside drew Josh’s attention back to the window.
It was the foursome he’d seen earlier, now scrambling up into their saddles. A lumpy burlap sack rested on the meaty rump of the biggest man’s mount, and sunlight glinted from his pistol.
Now Josh knew why the bunch had looked so nervous before. They’d been just about to rob the bank! He yanked out his sidearm, pulled back the hammer with one hand, and threw open the window with the other, hoping to get off a shot or two before the robbers were swallowed up by the cyclone of grit kicked up by their horses’ hooves.
Perched on the sill, Josh took aim at the shoulder of the fattest bandit, just as the woman’s pony veered right, putting her square in the center of his gun sight.
She looked back as Josh released the pressure on the sweat-slicked trigger.
Quick as you please, she faced front again, her cornflower blue skirt flapping like a tattered sail as she was swallowed up in a thick cloud of dust.
Beautiful Bandit is a wonderful western romance. I love that Kate aka Dinah is a wanted "outlaw" on the run from ruthless gang leader, Frank Michaels. She's definitely a different kind of heroine! What she had to go through with Frank was indescribable but she was strong enough to run away. In the process she meets Josh Neville, a handsome rancher with a wonderful extended family. I absolutely love Josh and his "Mee-Maw" Esther, she's one of the sweetest characters I've come across in Christian fiction. I didn't get to know the rest of Josh's family as much as I would have liked but I hope to in the upcoming books of this series. It was an enjoyable book and I'm really looking forward to the next one, Maverick Heart.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
by Kate Quinn
First century Rome: a world of depravity, blood, and secrets. The enigmatic Emperor Domitian watches over all, fearing murder from every side . . . except from the woman who fascinates him most.
Thea is a slave girl from Judaea; musical, wary, and passionate. Purchased as a toy for the spiteful heiress Lepida Pollia, Thea and her mistress will become rivals for the love of Arius the Barbarian, Rome’s newest and most savage gladiator. His love brings Thea the first happiness of her life – quickly ended when a jealous Lepida tears them apart.
As Lepida goes on to wreak havoc in the life of a new husband and his family, Thea remakes herself as a polished singer for Rome’s aristocrats. Unwittingly, she attracts another admirer in the charismatic Emperor of Rome. But Domitian’s games have a darker side, and Thea finds herself fighting for both soul and sanity. Many have tried to destroy the Emperor: a vengeful gladiator, an upright senator, a tormented soldier, a streetwise child, a Vestal Virgin. But in the end, the life of the brilliant and ruthless Domitian lies in the hands of one woman: a slave girl who has come to be called the Mistress of Rome . . .
Based on the life and death of one of Rome’s most depraved Emperors.
Lately I can't seem to get enough of fiction centered around the Roman Empire. After having read Francine Rivers, A Voice in the Wind and the sweet Christian romance, The Gladiator by Carla Capshaw which I really enjoyed I decided to read this general market fiction debut release by author Kate Quinn. I was not disappointed. I really loved the characters especially the Jewish slave Thea and the gladiator Arius.
The story takes place over more than 10 years and follows the lives of Thea, Arius, Lepida, as well as Emperor of Rome, Domitian and others. Each of the characters must deal with the demons of their past as well as the very present danger of living in Rome a a slave, a citizen or even as Caesar, "Lord and God." The depravity and debauchery of life in Rome is presented realistically with blood, violence and coarse language so be warned. That said some of the things that the characters said seemed a little "modern" for me but then again I'm no expert on Roman speech.
We meet the main character of Thea early in her life, at 14, and it is really hard to imagine how quickly slaves and women had to grow up during this time. Bought and sold for almost her entire life you want only good things to happen to Thea but of course at the hands of a jealous mistress fate was not on her side. Lepida is a character who you will love to hate. She is conniving and hateful to the end, the perfect antagonist! And whew that Domitian...what a completely evil man. But don't worry most of the characters like Marcis and Flavia aren't too bad so the book isn't without good people.
When all is said and done this was a really good book. I will definitely be looking for the continuing story of the children we met in this book, Sabina and Vix, in Daughters of Rome.
To learn more about Kate Quinn and her books visit:
*I traded for my copy on Bookmooch.*
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Any tips on what I should review? I'm thinking about a bookcase, since y'all know I have tons of books.
Or something that will keep me cool like one of their neat desk fans.
Watch for a review of whatever I choose in the upcoming weeks, in the meantime be sure to check out the CSN stores website!
MizB @ Should Be Reading hosts Teaser Tuesdays every week at her blog! This gives everyone the opportunity to share a few lines from a new book they're reading or one of their old favorites.
Here are the rules for Teaser Tuesdays!
1. Grab your current read.
2. Let the book fall open to a random page.
3. Share two teaser sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 & 12.
4. Share the title of the book that the “teaser” comes from, so people can find the book if they like the teaser.
5. PLEASE avoid spoilers!!!!!
I just finished Mary Connealy's latest release, Doctor in Petticoats from her new series, Sophie's Daughters. If you like Mary's signature style of comedy and heroines who get themselves into unbelievable situations you'll love this book! I'll post a review later in the week but for now here's a teaser!
Doctor in Petticoats (Sophie's Daughters, Book 1)
by Mary Connealy
Excerpt from page 121. Copyright 2010, Mary Connealy.
Be sure to visit MizB and read other great teasers!
Sunday, July 11, 2010
by Marlo Schalesky
From the publisher:
Marnie Wittier has life just where she wants it. Quiet. Peaceful. No drama. A long way away from her past. In the privacy of her home, she fills a box with slips of paper, scribbled with her regrets, sins, and sorrows. But that’s nobody else’s business. Her bookstore/coffee shop patrons, her employees, her friends from church—they all think she’s the very model of compassion and kindness.
Then Marnie’s past creeps into her present when her estranged sister dies and makes Marnie guardian of her fifteen-year-old son—a boy Marnie never knew existed. And when Emmit arrives, she discovers he has Down syndrome—and that she’s woefully unprepared to care for him. What’s worse, she has to deal with Taylor Cole, her sister’s attorney, a man Marnie once loved—and abandoned. As Emmit (and Taylor) work their way into her heart, Marnie begins to heal. But when pieces of her dismal past surface again, she must at last face the scripts of paper in her box, all the regrets and sorrows. Can she do it? Or will she run again?
I will start out by saying this is the first time for me reading a book by Marlo Schalesky. I really liked the story right from the beginning but I was completely shocked by the ending. It was totally unexpected ans I still can't figure out if I liked that part or not! That said, I can't give this book 5 stars, just 4.
The romantic aspect of the book was terrific and I really liked Taylor and Marnie. I am always a sucker for rekindled romances between people who were split up when they were younger. It just shows how true love never dies. Also there's Emmit, a young boy with Down Syndrome who Marnie has to care for, who is completely adorable, you will love him! There are also important messages of forgiveness, faith, and blessings in disguise that really stuck with me. "...Some have entertained angels unawares" (Hebrews 13:2) is something to keep in mind when you read Shades of Morning!
After having read this I'm making it a point to finish If Tomorrow Never Come's! From what I've read of reviews online there is also a twist in that story but this time I will be prepared. ;-)
To learn more about the author visit:
*I received my copy from publicist Kelly Blewett in exchange for my honest review.*
Thanks again! And if you do decide to pick up The Weight of Shadows and give it a read, please come tell me what you thought of it. I mean it. :)
If you would like to read my review of The Weight of Shadows go HERE.
by Bonnie Leon
From the publisher:
She went looking for adventure . . . and found more than she bargained for.
Kate Evans is an adventurous and independent young woman with a pioneering spirit. When she leaves her home in Washington State to follow her dream of being an Alaskan bush pilot, she knows it will be an uphill battle. But she never expected it to be quite like this. As the lone woman in a man's world, she finds that contending with people's expectations is almost as treacherous as navigating the wild arctic storms.
When she crosses paths with a mysterious man living alone in the forbidding wilderness, she faces a new challenge. Can Kate break through the walls he has put up around his heart? And will fear keep her from realizing her dreams?
Book 1 in the Alaskan Skies series, Touching the Clouds will draw you in with raw emotion and suspense, all against the stunning backdrop of the Alaskan wilds.
I was thrilled that this book featured a heroine who was a bit different from the norm. Kate Evans is so independent that she left her family orchard in Washington to fly as a bush pilot in Alaska! She has to deal with the death of her best friend, which she believes she caused, a broken engagement with her longtime friend, Richard and she's the only female flyer amidst a rough group of men. I was really impressed with how she held herself together in the cockpit especially when the going got tough! And *gasp* she didn't have to rely on a man!
That said, the romance of the book left me slightly underwhelmed. I don't know how to put this without spoiling it so if you are in the middle of it stop reading this review now. I was a little frustrated that Kate dated a fellow pilot for almost the entire book and even seemed to really care for him and suddenly admitted her feelings for someone else. Since she was dating someone else I just didn't feel there was as much of a love connection between her and Paul. However, since this is a series I'm really hoping that the author lets us see where their relationship goes because I really do like Paul, Kate, and even Mike.
“Available July 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”
To learn more about Bonnie Leon and her books visit:
Her WEBSITE She has a terrific contest going on through July 26th. Check it out!
*I received my review copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*
Thursday, July 8, 2010
by Ronie Kendig
Dead Reckoning is the story of a young woman anxious to abandon the crushing effects of her father’s espionage career only to find herself tangled in the very web of mystery and intrigue that consumed his life.
Underwater archaeologist Shiloh Blake is consumed with passion for the water and inflamed at the injustices of life, blaming her secret agent father for her mother's death. When her first large-scale dig traps her in the middle of an international nuclear arms clash, she flees for her life and is followed by an unknown man. Who is he? How is he always one step ahead? Reece Jaxon is a former Navy SEAL, who now serves his country as a spy. His mission is threatened by the beguiling Shiloh Blake as he hunts down the sources to a nuclear dead drop in the Arabian Sea. The only way to end this nightmare and prevent a nuclear meltdown is for Shiloh to join forces with Reece. Will Shiloh violate her vow to never become a spy like her father? Will she reconcile with her father? Will her trust issues destroy her chance for love? And will she allow God to help her through this ordeal?
I have never really been a reader of suspense fiction, it just wasn't that interesting to me until I discovered author, Ronie Kendig. I first read her second release, Nightshade a few weeks ago and I LOVED it! She kindly offered to send me a copy of her debut novel Dead Reckoning and I finished it on one day, staying up till the wee hours of the morning.
From the first page I was hooked! Being a lover of history I've always had a respect for and interest in archaeology so it was easy for me to like underwater archaeologist, Shiloh Blake and her best friend Khalid Khan. There is also a hunky ex-Navy SEAL turned spy, Reece aka Brutus, who will give you heart palpitations! Did I mention that from the very first chapter there is enough "edge of your seat" action to give a body a heart attack? Seriously. It is so good!
A lot of the suspense that I've read has had one or two scenes that made my pulse race but Dead Reckoning does not let up, it's nonstop action from start to finish. Assassinations, kidnappings, nuclear weapons, spies, and terrorists all in the exotic setting of Mumbia, throw in not one but two romances involving our main character, Shiloh and you have a suspenseful and thrilling read that will knock your socks off! I highly recommend this book to anyone (guys that means you too) who loves a great story!
P.S. I think the author is like me and has a thing for all things fast, like motorbikes! This book's hero owns a Ducati and Nightshade's hero drives a Hayabusa! Yum!
To learn more about Ronie visit:
The Discarded Heroes site
To read my review of Nightshade, her release from Barbour Publishers go HERE.
* I received my copy courtesy of the author, Ronie Kendig. Thank you.*
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
1. Stay inside huddled close to the air conditioner vent or the fan with a good book!
2. Visit the falls at Ohiopyle State Park and take a dip in the cool mountain water @ Cucumber Falls!
3. Drink A LOT of smoothies, sweet tea, Mountain Dew, and ICE WATER!
I hope you are all enjoying your summer and having fun! Be safe and I command you to Stay Cool...or at least try!
Monday, July 5, 2010
A reluctant war hero returns home and encounters a new chance at love.
No sooner has Shawn Collins returned home from the fighting in Europe than he is called upon to serve his country in another way--as a speaker on the war bond tour. While other men might jump at the chance to travel around the country with attractive Hollywood starlets, Shawn just wants to stay home with his son Patrick and his aging father, and grieve the loss of his wife in private. When Shawn asks Katherine Townsend to be Patrick's nanny while he's on the road, he has no idea how this decision will impact his life. Could it be the key to his future happiness and the mending of his heart? Or will the war once again threaten his chances for a new start?
Dan Walsh does not disappoint in this tender story of family ties and the healing of a broken heart.
~ Void where prohibited.
~U.S. Residents only please.
~ Leave a comment. You MUST be a follower. Please leave a valid email address so I can contact you if you're the lucky winner! Disguise it something like this: steelergirl83(at)gmail(dot)com
~ Contest is open until July 15, 2010 at 11:59 PM EST. Any comments made after that time will not count.
~The winner will be announced on July 16, 2010, on this blog AND I will contact the winner via email. The winner has 48 hours from the time winner email is sent or another name will be drawn.
Battle Wounds By Ronie Kendig
We call them heroes, but we don’t give them the support, encouragement, and acceptance they need to find help and healing. For many soldiers, they believe the mental anguish makes them weak. A lesser soldier. The truth is, they are hurting and broken—they need help. Coupled with physical and emotional healing, these soldiers need a deep, spiritual healing to accept the unique calling God has placed on their lives.
Jose Narosky said, “In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” I have that quote up on the website for the Discarded Heroes, my military thriller series through Barbour Publishing. The theme of the series is the brutal reality of combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the effects it has on our heroes.
The character of a soldier is made of a strong mettle. So, when these men and women—those we’ve deemed heroes—return home traumatized and psychologically affected, we do not know how to handle this. The stigma of being weak or the probability of losing their jobs/careers if diagnosed with PTSD or a similar disorder, prevents many of our war-time heroes from seeking the proper medical and psychiatric help needed.
With roughly a quarter million soldiers serving in a war theater, our society must be prepared to receive these brave men and women back home. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans have little idea of the psychological affect war has on our heroes. We are ill-prepared to assist and support these soldiers as they deal with the traumas of war. In speaking and writing articles and blog posts, the question that I’m asked the most is, what can I do? Thus, I’ve prepped a list of simple ideas:
1. CONTACT your representatives in Washington and encourage them to get funding passed for the VA. Would you believe that in the last year, some in DC were asking for those funds to be REDUCED? At a time when we’re about to bring our heroes home, now is not the time to gyp this endeavor.
2. VOLUNTEER at a VA hospital or center. What better way is there to impact lives than to assist our wounded warriors.
3. DONATE to an organization that benefits our soldiers and vets. A few I’m aware of that I (at the time of this article) believe are reputable are listed below:
*****The Wounded Warrior Project - truly inspiring!
*****Forgotten Soldiers – amazing site!
*****Any Soldier - started by a soldier
*****U.S. Troop Care Package
4. PRAY. It might sound cliché, but it’s a powerful tool. And since we’re just sitting at home, spending time on the Internet while our heroes are putting their lives on the line. . .praying is a small sacrifice with a huge benefit.
Ronie Kendig grew up an Army brat, married a veteran, and they now have four children and a Golden Retriever. She has a BS in Psychology, speaks to various groups, volunteers with the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and mentors new writers. Her novels include Dead Reckoning and Nightshade (July 2010, Barbour Publishing), Discarded Heroes Book #1.
Ronie can be found at http://www.roniekendig.com/ or http://www.discardedheroes.com/.
Friday, July 2, 2010
I am thoroughly Team Edward but that does not mean that I don't have a soft spot for Jacob and this movie just solidified those feelings. Without giving too much away I was really glad that Bella, with a little persuasion, finally admitted her feelings towards him...whether they were warm and fuzzy, loathing, or lukewarm you will have to watch the movie to find out! And can I just say I really liked Jasper in this movie? I can't help it, I have a thing for that southern drawl!
As for the big vampire/vampire/werewolf fight scene I was a little sad that it wasn't more realistic in terms of blood and gore. Not that I'm a fan of violence but if has to be in a movie it should at least be slightly believable. I didn't like the "glass" vampires. If you have seen the film you know what I mean.