Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Governess of Highland Hall Book Review



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Picture Credit

About the Book
 
Worlds lie between the marketplaces of India and the halls of a magnificent country estate like Highland Hall. Will Julia be able to find her place when a governess is neither upstairs family nor downstairs help?
 
Missionary Julia Foster loves working alongside her parents, ministering and caring for young girls in India. But when the family must return to England due to illness, she readily accepts the burden for her parents’ financial support. Taking on a job at Highland Hall as governess, she quickly finds that teaching her four privileged, ill-mannered charges at a grand estate is more challenging than expected, and she isn’t sure what to make of the estate’s preoccupied master, Sir William Ramsey.

Widowed and left to care for his two young children and his deceased cousin Randolph’s two teenage girls, William is consumed with saving the estate from the financial ruin. The last thing he needs is any distraction coming from the kindhearted-yet-determined governess who seems to be quietly transforming his household with her persuasive personality, vibrant prayer life, and strong faith.

While both are tending past wounds and guarding fragile secrets, Julia and William are determined to do what it takes to save their families—common ground that proves fertile for unexpected feelings. But will William choose Julia’s steadfast heart and faith over the wealth and power he needs to secure Highland Hall’s future? (Goodreads)




My Review
 
I picked this book because of the cover. Ever since Downton Abbey hit the screens writers have gone crazy with the Edwardian time period. Since there are multiple books with this same setting I was not sure what to expect. 
This book was surprisingly good I enjoyed the children in the book and Julia drove me crazy sometimes but is a good character. While this book is very predictable, I enjoyed how the story played out. The most unique part of this book is the fact that Julia's family were missionaries in India for many years, I don't think that was extremely common, especially for a woman of her age. 
Since Julia was a missionary she has a very strong belief in her faith in God and does not hesitate in telling people so. This author tied in the Christian faith very well with this story line. 

In any case this is a good read for those who like the Edwardian time period. 

"I received this book from WaterBrook Multnomah for free in exchange for an honest review."
 



 To learn more about the author stop by her website!






Friday, August 30, 2013

Whispers on the Dock Book Review




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Picture Credit


About the Book
Three sisters. A charming inn. Hints of mystery and romance. And a gorgeous seaside setting. Escape to Misty Harbor Inn. Readers will delight in the adventures of these three sisters who reunite to bring their mother's dreams to life. (Goodreads)

My Review
Whispers on the Dock is the third and final book in the Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn Series. The fun thing about this book is that the author, Evangeline Kelley, is actually the pen name for multiple women who wrote these stories together. 
That being said, if you have read the previous books you will enjoy this one, it wraps the story up well. For a review on this story alone, it was difficult for me to get into. I did enjoy the fact that the characters were interested in history and had a mystery to follow, but it was nothing I hadn't read before. 
It is very well written and flows nicely, it was just not my favorite book. If you have read the previous books, I would recommend reading this one simply because it completes the story. 


"I received this book from Litfuse for free in exchange for an honest review."






Book three in the Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn series, Whispers on the Dock(Guideposts Books) is now availableCome back to Nantucket and be enthralled by the final installment of the cozy intrigue of Misty Harbor Inn.

Enter to win the entire set of Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn.
mistyharbor-rafflecopter
Three winners will receive:
  • Seaside Summer, Sunflower Summer and Whispers on the Dock by Evangeline Kelley
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 31st. All winners will be announced September 2nd at the Litfuse blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit the Litfuse blog on the 2nd to see if you won one set! (Or better yet, subscribe to our blog (via the box in the top right sidebar) and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Puppy Lovin'

I have never had a dog before, and this week I picked up the most adorable puppy!! We are still debated on names but we both like the name Remi (out of a book). She is a shihpoo- a mix between a Poodle and a Shih Tzu. I am not a poodle fan, but I love these dogs and she is so cute! She will only get to maybe 14 pounds. She is a little cuddle bug and loves to play outside. 









The Letters Book Review


 The Letters

 About the Book
Rose Schrock is a plain woman with a simple plan. Determined to find a way to support her family and pay off her late husband's debts, she sets to work to convert the basement of her Amish farmhouse into an inn. While her family, especially her cranky mother-in-law, is unhappy with Rose's big idea, her friend and neighbor, Galen King, supports the decision and he helps with the conversion. As Rose finalizes preparations for visitors, she prays. She asks God to bless each guest who stays at the Inn at Eagle Hill. As the first guest arrives and settles in, Rose is surprised to discover that her entire family is the one who receives the blessings, in the most unexpected ways. And she's even more surprised when that guest decides to play matchmaker for Galen King. With her signature plot twists combined with gentle Amish romance, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites readers back to Stoney Ridge for fresh stories of simple pleasures despite the complexity of life. Fisher's tale of God's providence and provision will delight her fans and create many new ones. Welcome to the Inn at Eagle Hill. (Goodreads) 



 My Review
When I got this book I was really hoping that it would be uniquely Amish and a fun story. There are some good parts, and the general idea of the book is good- starting an inn to support her family while learning life lessons. But this was not a book that I could get into reading, or relate with characters. I kept getting to the next chapter and flipping to see how much longer the book was. I hate to say that about any book but that is what happened. Amish lovers will enjoy the twist and tales but if you are on the edge about reading much Amish fiction I wouldn't pick this book up. 

"I received this from Revell for free in exchange for an honest review."

Moon Dancing Book Tour!

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Next Step Books (July 14, 2013)

***Special thanks to Virginia Smith and Keely Leake for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Anna Zogg has always been fascinated by the west: ranch life, wild mustangs and the tough men and women who sought to tame it. Her fondest memories are of summers she spent riding her horse, Brandy, and the day she participated in a rodeo. Moon Dancing was born out of her lifelong love of the west and the discovery of her own Native American heritage. Author of numerous articles, Moon Dancing is Ms. Zogg’s debut novel. She and her husband, John, currently live in Utah.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A rogue black stallion. A sacred white buffalo. Mysterious night voices.

Megan Gillespie returns to Wyoming to fulfill a promise. Nothing more. Yet when the unexplainable happens she is drawn into the intrigues surrounding her uncle’s ranch…intrigues that escalate the longer she stays. How can prized mares simply vanished? Who is the Native American that appears only at night? Why is her uncle determined to keep her from leaving?

Torn between the desire to escape and the need to resolve these long-held secrets, Megan uncovers truths that threaten her life…and stir her to the depths of her soul.


Product Details:
List Price: $10.58
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Next Step Books (July 14, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1937671127
ISBN-13: 978-1937671129


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

A scream–long and agonizing–ripped the air. The hair on Megan Gillespie’s neck stood on end while the scent of spring rain filled her senses. She peered through the pickup’s windshield, seeing nothing beyond a mound of pinyon pine and withered grass. Shouts of men and the nervous snorting of horses battered her. What is happening? She flung open the door. As she sprinted up the dusty rise, she tripped on her long jeans skirt.

The scene below riveted her.

Like a pack of wolves, a group of men circled a black stallion. Head flailing, the horse fought uncountable ropes. He reared, hooves striking blindly. Foam flecked his neck, teeth bared and mouth opened in a silent shriek. The setting sun painted his soaked hide in blood-colored lather. Dust boiled upwards, the air choked with pinpricks of glittering gold.

The horse fought in vain. His cry, one of rage and impotence, shuddered through Megan.

Pain! She doubled over, as though punched the stomach. Can’t breathe. Her eyes burned from the agony.

The stallion again reared, legs lashing out.

“Hold him. I said, hold him!” A tall man yanked a lariat from the hands of one of the men.

The next moment, the stallion lunged forward. Men scattered. Rope tore through the gloves of one cowhand, the sound like a zip-line at high speed. He howled.

The stallion’s getting away! Megan’s heart leaped with hope. He’s getting–

Joy crumpled into terror. The horse charged directly at her.



* * *



“Hey, ya hear me? I said, whatcha think of Silver Springs?”

The voice pierced the fog of her mind. Megan shook her head and blinked. A gentle breeze lifted a strand of hair and caressed her cheek. She turned to the speaker.

Miles, the driver of the van, scratched his ribcage as he grinned at her.

Where’s…?

A chill crawled through her. She could have sworn she’d just been standing….

“Cat got yer tongue?”

Miles spat a brown stream of unmentionable liquid into the dirt. She stepped back to avoid being splattered.

He smirked. “Better get used to it, Miz City Gal. Out here, don’t need my spittin’ cup.”

She vaguely recalled the chipped mug and its foaming contents in the truck’s console. Hadn’t she just spent three hours coming from Cheyenne? She remembered thinking how hot the ride had been without air conditioning.

A door slammed. The other passenger opened the back of the van and grabbed his luggage, muttering under his breath.

“Hey, I can get those.” Miles sprang forward to haul the man’s belongings into the building.

A battered sign hung from the eaves of the self-proclaimed hotel, half the words blistered off. Weatherworn rocking chairs squeaked on the porch, propelled by invisible patrons.

As she stared at her grimy feet, Megan remembered stepping out of the van. I distinctly recall worrying about my sandals. Pedicured toenails had morphed from mauve to mud-colored. Dust streaked her skirt. Miles had asked if she were “rump sprung” as she’d gazed down the empty streets of Silver Springs. But after that….

The late afternoon sun beat down, warring with her lingering out-of-sync feeling.

She again glanced down the main street. Twenty or so sad buildings spread out on both sides of a potholed road. Peeling paint, grime and neglect stamped the worn wooden siding. At a distance stood a lonely corral and dilapidated barn. If not for three pickup trucks, Megan could swear she’d stepped back a hundred years into the old west.

I had these thoughts before. The sense of déjà vu hit her again. What is going on?

She remained alone by the van, staring down the vacant street and asking herself why she would voluntarily travel to the wilds of Wyoming. Was she crazy? Obviously, in light of the weird stuff that had happened since the moment of her arrival.

Three months. That’s all I promised my uncle. Megan took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. She could put up with almost anything for three months. Besides, she’d earned it. She’d worked multiple seventy-hour weeks to finish a major project so she could take the time off.

Down the street, a dust devil swirled hypnotically. The tan cyclone bobbed and gyrated, then lifted into the air, passing over her head as though parading out of town. For a moment, the sun blinded her with hazy orange. The cloud of dirt settled and split apart, spraying the horizon in gold and scarlet.

“Wow,” she murmured, entranced by the beauty.

A white calf stood at the edge of town. Is that a buffalo? Nothing had been there a minute ago. Feet splayed, the ghost-colored animal calmly returned her gaze, oblivious to the dust storm. Animals didn’t normally stare at people, but this one did. Wholly intent on her, the calf didn’t move. Megan shivered.

The miniature storm continued to blow at the edge of town, then suddenly shifted, spraying dirt her direction. Dazzling sand particles danced around, without touching her. The storm raged for minutes. Then it unexpectedly died as though someone flipped a switch. She blinked and looked back to the edge of town.

The calf had vanished.

She straightened. Where–?

“Miz Gillespie?” A deep male voice sounded nearby.

Megan ignored the speaker. The calf had been right there!

“Did you–did you just…?” Unable to explain the event, she clamped her mouth shut, still staring.

“Did I what?”

Finally, she gazed at the newcomer.

I’ve seen him before.

The tall cowboy looked like he’d stepped out of a western movie. Sandy hair, blue-gray eyes, and deep tan made her gulp. Not only was he lean and square-jawed, but the huge silver belt buckle, shaped like a horseshoe, large hat and well-worn boots completed the picture.

He grinned. “Don’t tell me you’re overcome by our picturesque town.”

“Heya, Jack.” The voice of Miles boomed as he exited the hotel. “Thought that was you.”

The cowboy turned to the driver. “Where’ve you been? Stop to take pictures or something?” Annoyance roughened the words of the man named Jack. “I’ve been waiting over an hour.”

“I’m sure you found someone to keep ya occupied. Heard the new barmaid has her eye on you.”

“You could’ve called.” Jack poked the brim of his hat back with a thumb.

“Forgot my phone. ’Sides, I was busy talking to the purdiest gal I’ve seen in a while.” Miles winked at her. “This here’s Daniel’s niece.”

The cowboy stuck out his hand. “Jack Crawford. Foreman of the Double O.”

“Megan Gillespie.” As she shook his hand she hissed in a breath from his firm grip.

“Figured. You got his red hair.”

“That ain’t all of his this city gal’s got.” Miles guffawed.

What’s that mean? She pulled her hand away from Crawford’s.

“Course, she don’t have as many freckles. And good thing she don’t weigh near–”

“This your gear?” The foreman stepped up to the back of the van.

Gear. She tucked away the interesting word as she shot him a grateful look. “Yes. Let me–”

“I got it.” He grabbed the three pieces of designer luggage, then stuffed one under his arm. “This all?”

“Let me get my purse and carryon.” She hurried to the front seat to retrieve them.

“That’s one thing about Jack.” Miles dug into a can of tobacco, apparently oblivious to the fact they ignored him. “Always knows how to treat the ladies right.”

“I’m parked down the street.” Crawford indicated the trucks with a tilt of his head.

“So you could be closer to the bar?” Miles stuffed a wad in his lip, then smirked.

The foreman glared. “We agreed to meet at the post office, remember? My pickup’s right out front.”

The driver spread his hands. “How’s I supposed to know we’d have an extra passenger? Jed Harper wanted me to drop him off at the hotel.”

Crawford straightened with a jerk. “Harper?”

“Harper Junior. Returning to the fold, so to speak.” Miles scratched his cheek without a break. “Staying in town overnight. Guess he wants to patch things up a’tween him and the old man.”

Megan raised her brows. The sullen man who’d shared her van ride didn’t seem the type who wanted to patch up anything.

“He tell you this?” Crawford’s mouth hardened. “Or you making it up?”

Miles looked taken aback. “Aw, you know me. Picked it up here and there.”

“And spreading it around.”

“Hey, ain’t still bad blood a’tween you and Harper, is there?”

The foreman’s jaw jutted as he glanced at Megan. “Let’s go.”

“You’re supposed t’forgive and forget, Jack.”

Without answering, Crawford stalked down the street.

She hurried to follow, wondering what Miles meant by bad blood. However, his parting shot distracted her. “Whatever you do, Miz Gillespie, don’t let Jack take the scenic route. He’d ruin your reputation, fo’sure.” His squawking laugh made her wince.

“Thanks again for stopping by.” An overly bleached blond popped out of a building and smiled brilliantly at Crawford. “Don’t forget you got that tab running.”

“You know I’m good for it.” He touched the brim of his hat.

Her smile faded as soon she noticed Megan.

When he reached a blue Chevy, he tossed her luggage into the bed then climbed into the full-sized cab, leaving her to fend for herself. He could at least open her door, couldn’t he? She tucked her carryon under an arm to free her hand. Crawford unexpectedly leaned over and opened the door from the inside.

“Thanks.” Though she was grateful they’d gotten away from Miles, the foreman could be a little more helpful. And not toss her suitcases around like cattle prepared for branding.

He started the truck before she shut the door and began to back out. Megan fumbled to find the seat belt.

“You don’t need ’em around here.”

She glared at him. “I happen to value my life.”

“Nobody uses ’em–trust me.”

She ignored his comment and dug between the middle of the seat. The shoulder strap was missing, leaving her only with the lap belt. After locating the other half, she jammed the gritty ends together, and then struggled to tighten it. Clogged by dirt and disuse, the mechanism wouldn’t budge. Crawford was already heading out of town, acknowledging the wave of another woman who walked along the street.

Megan hated to give up, but finally folded her hands to hide the fact that the belt lay slack. Without a word, Crawford reached over. With one hard tug, he tightened the strap.

“Ow! Enough.” The material dug into her pelvis. She spent the next couple minutes trying to loosen it. “You didn’t have to cut off circulation to my legs.”

He remained silent, staring ahead at the narrow road.

After settling, she studied the landscape. Bare dirt, pinyon pine and spindly grass, all either brown or faded. Nothing else could be seen for miles and miles. What creatures could possibly survive here? Already she missed the lush green of Florida. Forbidding gray mountains dominated the horizon. Though she’d spent the first nine years of her life in Wyoming, nothing seemed familiar. Or inviting.

Megan threw a glance at the foreman. “How far to the ranch?”

“’Bout an hour.”

“That far?” When he didn’t volunteer anything else, she tried again. “Is the road paved all the way?”

“Mostly.”

“Have you lived in this area long?”

“Some.”

“Like it?”

“Yep.”

She blew out a breath. “Definitely not big on conversation.”

Crawford acted as though he hadn’t heard. Fingers choking the steering wheel, he stared ahead. Maybe there was still bad blood between him and Jed Harper.

The subdued drone of tires on pavement began to grate on her nerves. Silence pressed on her, but instead of growing sleepy, she found herself tensing. She almost asked the foreman to turn on the radio. More than once, she unclenched her hands and forced her shoulders to relax. She sighed deeply several times, trying to get enough air.

The shrill ringing of a phone made her jump.

“Sup?” Crawford pressed the cell to his ear. After a pause, he said, “You’re kidding. When? Where? On my way.”

He stomped on the accelerator. When the pickup began to rock, Megan clutched at the door. She glanced at the speedometer. They were doing over seventy-five.

“What’s going on?” Her voice came out a little more sharply than she intended.

“Need to make a detour.”

“Where?” Miles’ warning about a scenic route flashed through her mind. “My uncle’s expecting me.”

“This won’t take long.” Gaze locked ahead, Crawford’s jaw stiffened.

The needle edged eighty. Eighty-five.

“Do you have to drive so fast?” She raised her voice over the whine of the engine. “I’m sure–”

“He doesn’t want me to miss this.” Crawford shot her a hard glance. “Believe me.”

She gulped, saying nothing more.

He slowed only slightly as they came to a dirt road and careened around the corner. The pickup skidded, spraying rocks into the air. They fishtailed. With casual expertise, he righted the vehicle, then sped up again. The truck bounced crazily over uneven ground. Megan banged her arm against the window then grabbed the seat back. Her carryon leaped up, then crashed to the floor several times.

In the distance, men and horses crowded around something. Dread built in her. As the truck hurtled down a hill, she lost sight of them. Her stomach vaulted into her throat. Crawford slammed on the brakes, causing the truck to skid sideways. After shoving the gearshift lever into park, he flipped off the keys.

“Stay here. You’ll be safe.” He jumped out.

For several minutes, she heard only her panting breath. Her arm felt bruised where it had hit the window. Fighting to slow her pounding heart, she rubbed her neck. Megan pushed away the premonition of having been there before.

The sun dipped lower in the sky, the heat growing inside the truck until it became suffocating. She turned the key so she could roll down both windows a few inches. Outside, the blowing wind snatched at the nearby pinyon pine, rustling the twigs, the sound reminiscent of shuffling paper. The breeze moaned its way through the windows.

Help me. Someone, standing outside the cab of the truck, rasped the barely audible words.

“What?” Megan jerked around to look out her window. Imagining she saw a dark form, she shrank back.

No one was there.

“This is creepy.” She rubbed her arms.

The barrenness of the countryside and the utter stillness clawed at her mind.

I’ve been here before. I know it.

She shuddered. Where had Crawford gone? What was he doing? The cries of men and animals gradually welled up into awareness, as though someone slowly turned up the volume on a radio.

The scream of a stallion pierced the air. A shiver slithered down her spine. What were they doing to the horse? Déjà vu hit so hard, she clenched the door handle and dashboard to brace herself. The scent of spring rain enveloped her.

This can’t be happening.

Megan peered through the dirty windshield, knowing she’d done that before. But when? How?

Her hand crept up her throat. The burn of something tightened around her neck. It pulled against her flesh, crushing her windpipe. The agony built and built until she could hardly breathe.

Out of the corner of her eye, a white blur streaked past the truck. Megan gasped in recognition as a buffalo calf ran up the knoll and disappeared.

The next moment, she bolted out of the cab and sprinted up the rise.

Vanishing Act Book Review



Vanishing Act
Picture Credit

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Pinkerton detective Carter Forbes returns in Book Two of the Charm & Deceit series. Set in Washington D. C. during the Civil War the action revolves around Juliet Button who does not believe in ghosts! She does believe in supporting her makeshift family of misfits. Having spent years as assistant to her illusionist uncle, Juliet possesses skills to make an audience believe the impossible and launches a career as “Miss Avila,” a medium. She wants nothing to do with agent Forbes who has the power to destroy the life she’s built. But when President Lincoln’s youngest son is kidnapped, and the first lady comes to her for help, she can’t refuse, even if it means facing Forbes, who knows far too much about her already.
Product Details:
List Price: $12.99
Series: Charm & Deceit (Book 2)
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (September 2, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603749063
ISBN-13: 978-1603749060






 My Review
I have not read the first book in this Charm and Deceit Series by Jennifer AlLee and Lisa Richardson.
I LOVED this book, I could not put it down! Two reasons why: I thought I was going to hate it and it is completely different from many other books I have read!
I applaud the authors for taking the jump and writing a book like this in the Christian fiction world. 
Juliet is supporting her family and is a skilled illusionist. She knows that she can not talk to the "other world" but convinces people that she can talk to their dead friends and family. Carter knows its all rubbish and wants to prove her wrong so his sister would stop believing in the nonsense. Throw this story together with two very strong characters and a mystery surrounding President Lincoln's son and you have me hooked. 
The mystery is fun, not completely predictable, I love the characters, and the setting is fantastic. It's not easy for a Christian author to write about the life of a medium and illusionist, without sparing the details. While this book does discuss talking with the other world, it shows things from behind the scenes, it's obviously a way for Satan to attack.


I highly recommend. 

"I received this book from FIRST in exchange for an honest 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:

Whitaker House (September 2, 2013)

***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Veteran authors Jennifer AlLee and Lisa Karon Richardson have combined their considerable skills to create the action-packed historical romance series, Charm & Deceit, for Whitaker House.

Jennifer AlLee is the bestselling author of The Love of His Brother (2007) for Five Star Publishers, and for Abington Press: The Pastor's Wife (2010), The Mother Road (April 2012), and A Wild Goose Chase Christmas (November 2012). She’s also published a number of short stories, devotions and plays. Jennifer is a passionate participant in her church’s drama ministry. She lives with her family in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Visit the author's website.

Lisa Karon Richardson has led a life of adventure — from serving as a missionary in the Seychelles and Gabon to returning to the U.S. to raise a family—and she imparts her stories with similarly action-packed plot lines. She’s the author of Impressed by Love (2012) for Barbour Publishing’s Colonial Courtships anthology, The Magistrate’s Folly, and Midnight Clear, part of a 2013 holiday anthology, also from Barbour. Lisa lives with her husband and children in Ohio.

Visit the author's website.




AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

May 6, 1862

Washington, D.C.

Juliet palmed the thin stack of note cards on the table and slid them up her sleeve. Her fingers trembled as they always did before a “show.” No matter. They’d be steady when it counted.
Grandmotherly Miss Clara smoothed Juliet’s pale skirts. “You’ve got a new sitter. A young fellow.”
“Do we know anything about him?”
“Artie’s checking now.”
Juliet pressed the heel of her hand against her stomach. The queasiness would pass, too.
“This is all I found. It was in the lining of his hat.” Miss Clara passed her a folded ticket stub for Ford’s Athenaeum and a battered-looking letter with countless creases.
Juliet accepted the offerings and opened the letter. No, not a letter. She raised an eyebrow and looked at Miss Clara. “This is a pass that allows the bearer to move through Union lines.”
Miss Clara glanced up from her examination of a tiny stain on Juliet’s hem and met her eyes.
“So, he’s doing war work?”
“Apparently important work. It’s signed by President Lincoln.”
Miss Clara took the paper from Juliet’s trembling fingers.
Why would anyone carry such a document in a place as obvious as a hatband? Though ostensibly he was in the heart of Union territory and it wouldn’t be required, the pass granted access anywhere. That meant he’d come from beyond Union lines, in rebel territory. But, in rebel territory, who would want such a pass on him? Juliet sat down at the kitchen table. Something about this man felt dangerous. The pass identified him as Carter Forbes. The name meant nothing to her, and yet something niggled at the back of her mind. She should know about him.
Artie clattered down the stairs, his brown hair disheveled as usual, and leaped over the last few steps, landing with a thump. “Nothing.”
“Did you try to cross-reference him?”
Artie tilted his head and scowled in response.
Juliet held up a hand. “I had to ask. It seems that I should know the name.” She rubbed the furrows from between her eyebrows. She hated blind readings; they were so tricky. “Did he say how he learned of my sittings?”
Artie shook his head. “I don’t think so. The Professor never said anything.”
The Professor entered at that moment. “They’re all ready for you.”
“Do you know anything about this Carter Forbes fellow?”
The question seemed to pain the old gentleman, and Juliet winced at her own callousness. The Professor used to draw enormous crowds through the power of his observations about people; but now, his eyesight was shrouded by milky white cataracts, which meant he noticed very little.
“He came to the front door and asked if he could attend today’s sitting. He spoke well, and when I took his hat, I noted it was of fine felt. I asked if he had been referred by one of your clients, and he said no. He didn’t seem to want to offer any further information.”
It wasn’t an unusual reaction. Many new clients were hesitant and wanted her to prove her skills by astonishing them with information about themselves.
Juliet inhaled and held the breath for a long moment before letting it out in a rush. She could do this. She had to do this. If she turned away clients, it wouldn’t be long before she and her makeshift family were turned out of their home. She just couldn’t go back to the vaudeville circuit. Not if she was to have any hope of keeping them all together. One day, she would find a better way to support them. But for now, well, she had no choice.
***
Carter covertly examined his companions around the smooth oak table: a half dozen well-dressed ladies, most of them older than he, all but one of whom were in mourning; and a tall, rickety man with a snowy beard that reached his waist. The individuals in the group appeared to have at least a nodding acquaintance with one another, and they sat in companionable silence as they waited for Miss Avila.
The peaceful hush proved to be too much for a twittery sort of elderly lady to Carter’s right. She wore a full dress of black bombazine that looked far too warm for the summer heat. Her hair was frizzled into the semblance of ringlets that wilted on either side of her cheeks. She leaned closer to him and smiled kindly. “I don’t think I’ve met you before. Is this your first visit to Miss Avila?”
One of the ladies sniffed at this breach of social etiquette, but the others looked interested and friendly, as if the mere fact of their gathering in this room conferred a special kind of privilege.
Squelching the desire to educate them on the certainty they were being duped, Carter pasted on a smile for the lady and nodded. “Yes, ma’am. Is she as impressive as they say?”
“More so, I think.” She beamed at him. “Miss Avila has such a way about her. She’s so mystical and otherworldly. I completely see why the spirits choose to seek her out.”
The bearded gentleman cleared his throat. “She’s not like some as you’ll find—them show-offs with their painted-up faces and tricks. She’s a good little gal, the kind my Emmeline would have taken under her wing. The kind I would have wanted for my boy.” His words choked off, and he blew his nose into a large handkerchief.
Carter wanted to pat him on the shoulder or offer some reassurance, but he couldn’t allow himself the liberty. The fellow was austere and proud in his grief. Any expression of pity would likely inflict further hurt. How could someone take advantage of these poor people?
The door opened, and a slip of a young woman entered. Her dark hair was pinned up in a neat chignon. She wore a simple cotton day dress with stripes of soft white and pale purple, unadorned except for a strip of lace edging the collar and running from the bodice to the belt line. The sleeves were certainly long, and roomy enough to hide all sorts of goodies. But he didn’t see any telltale bulges. He and the other gentleman stood at her entrance.
“I’m sorry to have kept you all waiting.” Her voice was well-modulated and cultured. There was a whiff of foreign climes beneath the excellent English, but Carter couldn’t quite place the accent.
She circled around the table to the only available seat. Carter had engineered matters so that she would be seated right beside him. Miss Avila lightly touched the elderly gentleman’s arm as she passed. “Mr. Greenfield, how are you today?”
If Carter didn’t know better, he would think she was genuinely concerned.
“Thank you for asking, my dear. I am much as usual.”
“You haven’t had bad news from the War Office about Ben, have you?”
Aha. She was fishing for information.
“No, I’ve had no word. Been at least four months since his last letter.” His voice cracked.
Miss Avila reached out and squeezed his hand. “We will pray for his safekeeping. But, in this case, no news is good news. Keep up your faith.”
She approached her seat but stopped in front of Carter. “You must be Mr. Forbes,” she said pleasantly.
“I am.”
“I am Miss Avila.” She smoothed her skirts as she lowered herself delicately into the chair. “Is there someone in particular you are hoping to reach today?”
“I thought you’d be able to tell me that, and all the mysteries of the world besides,” he shot back.
A sharp gasp came from the lady on Carter’s other side. The disapproval in the room radiated toward him in waves.
Miss Avila, however, maintained her calm. “I’m afraid I cannot read your mind. I suppose there are some who may be able to do so, but my gifts do not lie in that direction. If you wish to get the attention of those on the other side, it would be best for me to know whom to ask for.”
“My father, Jonathan Forbes,” Carter blurted out. Immediately, he regretted it. He didn’t want to sully Father’s memory with anything this woman might say about him. But another idea sprang to mind. “And my sister, Emily.” He smiled then, trying not to bare his teeth in the process. Just let her try to get out of this one.
Miss Avila had a knack for giving a person her full attention. When she turned her lovely dark eyes to her manservant and motioned for him to close the curtains, it was as though a lighthouse beacon had moved away from his soul.
As the room darkened, she leaned forward to light the single taper in the middle of the table. The manservant departed through a noticeably squeaky door. The candlelight flickered, casting grotesque shadows on the walls around them.
“We must now join hands.”
It took all of Carter’s self-control to keep from rolling his eyes. Of course, if they held hands, no one would be free to catch whoever might cavort about in the darkness beyond the edge of the candlelight to help the woman create her weird effects.
He took the hand she offered in his and held it tightly, to be certain she could not pull away. She made no attempt to do so. Her small, soft hand rested warmly in his, neither grasping nor trying to break free of his grip. Her eyes drifted closed.
Carter sat rigid, straining every sense to discover her means of trickery. Except for the occasional tiny pop from the candle, there was no sound in the room. The silence allowed the sounds outside to press inward—a city symphony of rumbling carriage wheels, clip-clopping hooves, and shouting street hawkers. Somewhere across the street, a piano played a popular ditty. The world was going on all around them, but, shut away in this dark and silent room, they were set apart.
At last, Miss Avila began to speak. She brought a message from the dead to each of the ladies in turn—words of enduring love, whether from a parent, husband, or child, that made them dab at their eyes with lace hankies. Finally, she asked for Catherine Greenfield.
The old fellow shifted, sitting taller. “Catherine? Catherine, are you there?”
“I’m here, Harlan.” Miss Avila now spoke with a slight Southern accent.
“My Catherine. I’ve longed to hear your voice again.”
“We talked before I left. You promised you wouldn’t grieve like this.”
“I know. But I’m just not sure how to get on without you. And now, Ben’s gone off, and…and I’m scared he won’t come back.”
“You must live on, Harlan. Ben’s children need a man about to help keep them in hand. Look to the living, my dear. Look to the living.”
Carter raised an eyebrow. That was not the message he’d expected.
Mr. Greenfield leaned toward the candle, his features taut with anxiety. “Are you telling me Ben is there with you?”
“No, dear.”
“You’re sure?”
“Harlan Greenfield, I think I’d know my own son.”
Tears glistened on the old fellow’s face. “Oh, thank God. Thank God.”
Miss Avila spoke again. “Catherine is gone. Is there an Emily Forbes there who will speak with me?”
Carter searched the woman’s face, but it gave away nothing. She waited patiently as the silence in the room again allowed the outside world to intrude.
At last, she shook her head. “I’m sorry, Mr. Forbes; the woman you seek is not on the other side.”
Carter clamped his lips together. She was cunning, he had to hand her that. He had counted on her revealing herself as a fraud by claiming to talk to Emily, who was very much alive and well.
He forced himself to continue the charade. “And my father?”
Once again, Miss Avila appeared to consult with an invisible host.
“He is there but unable to speak to me directly.”
Carter hid a sneer. “He suffered so much during his final illness. I want to make sure he is no longer in pain.”
“There is no illness or suffering in the other world. He says you should not worry about him.” Though she didn’t open her eyes, Miss Avila’s delicate brow furrowed emphatically. “Nor should you be concerned about your disagreement prior to his passing. It was a small matter, and you must not allow it to prey on your mind.”
Carter nearly let go of her hand. How could she possibly know about that?
Miss Avila’s frown deepened, and she shook her head a couple of times. Then her eyes popped open. “They are gone.” She began to tremble from head to foot and slumped slightly, as if the contact with ghosts had sapped her strength.
She clapped her hands lightly, and the door opened again with another squeal. Carter was nearly convinced that was by design, for all the other appointments in the establishment were in perfect taste. Why would she abide a squeaky door, unless it was a deliberate flaw designed to reinforce the idea that the sitters were entirely alone—that no one else could have entered or exited?
Miss Avila bid her guests farewell, shaking their hands and giving each one a few personal words. She asked about family members and various ills. Took notice of a new bonnet and complimented a handsome necklace. The sitters seemed to brighten under her attention, as if she’d lit a lamp within them.
At last, Carter alone remained with her. He realized afresh how small she was; how her eyes, though dark, were bright and…kind. Once again, she surprised him, and he fumbled for words.
With practiced ease, she stepped in to save him from embarrassment. “Thank you for coming today, Mr. Forbes. I hope you found it enlightening.”
“To be honest, I had hoped for more.”
“Perhaps you are unaware that a sitter’s attitude can affect the ability of the spirits to communicate clearly. Tell me, did one of my clients refer you?”
“In a manner of speaking.”
She cocked her head prettily, waiting for an answer.
Carter decided it wouldn’t hurt to let her stew. He smiled back wolfishly but didn’t elaborate further.
Miss Avila stilled like a rabbit scenting a nearby predator.
***
Juliet didn’t dare move for fear she would give away her agitation. Mr. Forbes was even more than she’d bargained for. A tall man with neatly combed light brown hair and a well-groomed mustache of the same color, he was the sort who might be dismissed if one were fool enough not to notice the intelligence in his gray eyes and the muscular build beneath that stylish coat.
Juliet was no fool. She would not underestimate this man. He wasn’t the type to approach a medium. That meant he’d had a very definite purpose in seeking her out. If that purpose had anything to do with the work that had earned him a pass signed by President Lincoln, she could find her goose cooked.
On the other hand, it could very well have to do with his not-so-dearly-departed sister. As soon as he’d mentioned Emily, Juliet had made the connection. No wonder the name Carter Forbes was so familiar. But did he know of her acquaintance with his sister? At that moment, Juliet remembered something else Emily Forbes had mentioned about her older brother: He was a Pinkerton agent working for the government.
That certainly explained the pass. What it didn’t explain was what he wanted with her.
“I always like to get to know my new clients,” she finally said. “Would you care to join me for tea in the sitting room?”
His smile was thin-lipped. “I’d be delighted.”
Juliet led the way. “Please have a seat. I just need to speak to my housekeeper a moment.”
Once out of sight, she all but ran for the kitchen. Miss Clara and Professor Marvolo were seated at the table.
“All done, dear?” Miss Clara slid a tray of cookies toward her.
“Forbes is a Pinkerton and he wants something. I know it.”
Professor Marvolo turned his clouded gaze toward her. “Describe him.”
Juliet had spent years under the professor’s tutelage. As quickly as she could, she described everything the Pinkerton had said and done, in addition to his appearance. “I had a bad feeling about him from the beginning, so I kept the sitting very simple. No spirit writing. I didn’t want to do anything that he could seize upon.”
“Very wise.” The professor nodded over his fingertips, which he had pressed together as if in prayer. “He’s here on a personal matter.”
“Are you sure? How can you tell?”
“If this were an official investigation, he wouldn’t still be fooling around with tea and verbal sparring. Besides, the Pinkertons are all working for the war effort, in one way or another, and we don’t have a thing to do with that.”
“What should I do?”
“You have to go back in there and talk to him. Find out what he wants. This could be a good thing. Having a Pinkerton on our side might be beneficial.”
Miss Clara patted her arm. “I’ll bring in tea directly.”
Juliet clenched her hands into fists. She could do this. She had to do this. They were counting on her. And while she was not certain they would benefit from having a Pinkerton on their side, it would be a total disaster to have a Pinkerton as an enemy.
She returned to the sitting room. Once again, Mr. Forbes stood as she entered.
“I apologize for the delay. Tea will be brought directly.”
“That sounds good.” He sat as she did. “I’m curious, how long have you had this gift of being able to talk to spirits?”
She smiled. “Anyone can talk to spirits. They are the ‘great cloud of witnesses’ that surround us. The real trick is being able to hear them talk back.” She decided to press her luck. “Mr. Forbes, now I must ask you a question.”
“Certainly.”
“Why did you try to make me believe your sister was dead?”
He slid back in his chair. “I think you know the answer.”
“It was a test, then?”
He nodded. “You passed that one with ease.”
Juliet watched him warily. “That one? Was there another test?”
“Oh, yes,” he said smugly. “My father didn’t die of a lingering illness. He was murdered.”
Now Juliet settled back in her seat. “Perhaps you should think over the conversation again. I merely said that there was no illness on the other side, and that he said not to worry about him.”
Artie entered, carrying a tray of tea things.
Alarmed, Juliet sat forward again. She didn’t want him anywhere near this man. “Artie?”
“Miss Clara asked me to bring this to you.” With his back to the agent, he gave her a broad wink.
Juliet refrained from making a face at him.
“And who is this strapping young lad?” Mr. Forbes asked in a too jovial voice.
“This is my son,” Juliet said evenly. “Artie, make your bows.”
Forbes looked from her to Artie and back again.
Juliet answered the unasked question. “He is adopted.”
“I see. It must be difficult, supporting such a large house, as well as a family.”
Juliet felt as if a hand had tightened around her windpipe. “Artie, go on back to the kitchen and help Miss Clara.” Her eyes warned him not to argue.
When he was gone, Mr. Forbes stood. “Miss Avila, I grow tired of sparring with you. We both know you are a fraud. If I have to, I will send agents by the dozens until someone exposes you. Then I will smear your name in every salon and parlor in the capital. You will never have another client.”
Mouth dry as parchment, Juliet tilted her chin up a notch. “May I know what I have done to earn your enmity?”
“I have a young person I am responsible for, as well. My sister, Emily, whom you introduced to spiritualism.”
Juliet frowned. “Emily sat for me only once, and she was brought by a neighbor.”
“Once was far more than enough. She now believes that she can, in a way, resurrect our parents and keep them close at hand. She’s been taken in by a spurious English nobleman who claims to have powers remarkably similar to your own.”
Juliet knew immediately of whom he spoke. “Lord” Shelston was gaining quite a following in the area, but he could be cruel and exceptionally greedy, as well, draining his clients of their resources and then discarding them.
“If your worry is with Shelston, why come after me?”
Carter shook his head. “I am not a complete idiot. If I attack her pet directly, Emily will simply consider me too protective. I must tackle this problem at the root.”
“And you believe I am the root of the problem?” She laughed roughly. “Mr. Forbes, my influence is nowhere near as great as you take it to be.”
“Not at all, Miss Avila. I realize your clientele is small, by most standards. But, by shutting down your operation, and those like yours, it lights a fire under Shelston’s feet. He’ll soon find Washington a very inhospitable place.”
Mind awhirl, Juliet sought a way out of this dilemma. “I know Shelston, and I agree with you as to his basic character. I don’t want to see your sister involved with him any more than you do. So, I have a proposal.”
Carter raised a questioning eyebrow, so Juliet rushed on.
“I’ll go with you and tell Emily all I know about him and how he achieves his illusions.”
“And what do you want in return?”
“Your word that you will leave my family and me in peace.”
She could imagine Forbes’s thought process: weighing the pros and cons; deliberating what his sister’s well-being was worth to him; contemplating whether he could live with himself if he let a small fish swim free in order to catch the larger fish he was after.
Finally he held out his hand. “You have a bargain, Miss Avila.”
She grabbed it before he could change his mind and pumped it forcefully. The deal had been struck.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Winter in Full Bloom Book Review






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 About the Book
Lily Winter's wings are folded so tightly around her daughter that when empty nest arrives, she feels she can no longer fly. But Lily's lonely, widowed life changes in a heartbeat when she goes to visit a woman who is almost a stranger to her-a woman who also happens to be her mother. During their fiery reunion, her mother reveals a dark family secret that she'd been hiding for decades-Lily has an identical twin sister who was put up for adoption when they were just babies.

 Without looking back, Lily-with her fear of flying-boards a jumbo jet and embarks on a quest to find her sister which leads half way around the world to Melbourne, Australia. Befriended by imprudent Ausie, he might prove to be the key to finding her sister. But her journey becomes a circle that leads her back home to attempt a family reunion and to find the one dream she no longer imagined possible-the chance to fall in love again.(Goodreads)




My Review

Winter in Full Bloom by Anita Higman is the first book I have read by this author. At the start of the book I was very interested into how the rest of the story was going to end up. I love how the author starts the book with on the airplane and spins her story. This book hit home in a way because of the family that is introduced. Lily Winter goes to Australia to meet a sister she never knew existed. I just met my sisters I had never met so it was fun to read this part of the story. Once in Australia she meets a man who is full of surprises and discovers her family's past. 
I really enjoyed the first part of the book more so than the second half. Higman did throw in some curve balls I was not expecting to make the story unpredictable. 
While this is not my favorite, it is a fun contemporary fiction read with strong characters. 
Also, you have to love the cover, it's beautiful!

"I received this book from Litfuse for free in exchange for an honest review."  





Anita Higman's latest novel, Winter in Full Bloom, has just released. She's teamed up with her publisher, River North Fiction, for a fun giveaway and a Facebook Author Chat Party on August 29th.

Winter-in-Full-Bloom-rafflecopter
 
  One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HD
  • Winter in Full Bloom by Anita Higman
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 28th.Winner will be announced August 29th at the Winter in Full Bloom Author Chat Party on Facebook. During the party Anita will be hosting a book chat, talking about family, announcing the winner of the Kindle Fire, and giving away a ton of books, gift certificates, and more. Oh, and she'll also be giving party goers an exclusive look at her next book.

So grab your copy of Winter in Full Bloom and join Anita on the evening of August 29th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

DON’T MISS A MOMENT OF THE FUN; RSVP TODAY. HOPE TO SEE YOU ON THE 29th!

Pattern for Romance CFBA Tour



About the Book
Honour Metcalf’s quilting needlework is admired by a wealthy customer of the Boston Mantua-maker for whom she works. In need of increasing her earnings, she agrees to create an elaborate white work bridal quilt for the dowager’s niece. A beautiful design emerges as she carefully stitches the intricate patterns and she begins to dream of fashioning a wedding quilt of her own. When Honour is falsely accused of thievery and finds herself in a perilous position, merchant tailor Joshua Sutton comes to her aid. As he risks his relationships, reputation, and livelihood to prove her innocence, the two discover a grander plan—a design for love.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Pattern for Romance, go HERE.

My Review

I have enjoyed the many Quilts of Love books, and this one is truly unique from the rest. Set in colonial Boston it includes a ton of historical aspects I hadn't read about before. Unlike the other quilts in the books, the ones mentioned in this book include the tedious designs that cover the quilt. I love this time period in history so that was my biggest draw to the storyline. Aside from that, I couldn't relate with the characters much, I didn't feel like there was a lot of depth with them. In any case, for a colonial Boston read this is a good one!

 "I received this book from CFBA for free in exchange for an honest review".


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Pattern for Romance
Abingdon Press (August 20, 2013)
by
Carla Gade


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Carla Olson Gade has been imaging stories most of her life. Her love for writing and eras gone by turned her attention to writing Inspirational Historical Romance. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Writers, and the Maine Fellowship of Christian Writers. She is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary.

Her publishing credits also include a variety of newspaper articles, newsletters, and web content. She also enjoys developing discipleship materials for women. She has been a book judge for the Inspirational Reader's Choice Contest (RWA), and ACFW's Genesis Contest.

In addition to writing, Carla is a freelance website designer and webhost and an advocate for adult literacy. An experienced event and program planner/promoter, Carla designs marketing materials for her writing group, women's ministry, and other functions. Carla has also spoken at several women's events and facilitated many workshops and classes through the years.

An autodidact, creative thinker, and avid reader, Carla also enjoys genealogy, web design, and photography. A native New Englander, she lives in beautiful rural Maine with her "hero" husband and two young adult sons, and a new grandson.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

On Distant Shores Book Review




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 About the Book



 Lt. Georgiana Taylor has everything she could want. A comfortable boyfriend back home, a loving family, and a challenging job as a flight nurse. But in July 1943, Georgie’s cozy life gets decidedly more complicated when she meets pharmacist Sgt. John Hutchinson. Hutch resents the lack of respect he gets as a noncommissioned serviceman and hates how the war keeps him from his fiancée. While Georgie and Hutch share a love of the starry night skies over Sicily, their lives back home are falling apart. Can they weather the hurt and betrayal? Or will the pressures of war destroy the fragile connection they’ve made?

"With her signature attention to detail and her talent for bringing characters together, Sarah Sundin pens another exciting tale in her series featuring WWII flight nurses. Fans new and old will find in On Distant Shores the perfect combination of emotion, action, and romance.(Goodreads)



 My Review

On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin is the second Wings of the Nightingale series. I love historical fiction and I find facts from the second World War interesting because it really was not that long ago. Sundin has done some incredible research and knows her stuff! I enjoyed the characters in this book but some of the doctor/nurse stuff made me squirm-I could never be a nurse. In any case the main story line is great, the tension during the war and between the characters is realistic. This book was longer than I thought but it does cover a few years time during the war. It really takes you back to the time period and throws you right into the war, which is difficult to do, this author impresses me.  This was not my favorite book but it was very well written and an enjoyable read. 

"I received this book from Litfuse for free in exchange for an honest review."


Sarah Sundin is celebrating the release of her latest novel, On Distant Shores, with a Romantic Weekend Getaway giveaway!
On-Distant-Shores-rafflecopter

  One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa Cash Card (good for a perfect couple's getaway)
  • With Every Letter and On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 2nd. Winner will be announced September 3rd at the "On Distant Shores" Author Chat Party on Facebook. During the party Sarah will be hosting a book chat, testing your trivia skills, announcing the winner of the Weekend Getaway, and giving away a ton of books, gift certificates, and more. Oh, and she'll also be giving party goers an exclusive look at the next book in the Wings of the Nightingale series.

So grab your copy of On Distant Shores and join Sarah on the evening of September 3rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

DON’T MISS A MOMENT OF THE FUN; RSVP TODAY. HOPE TO SEE YOU ON THE 3rd!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Icing on the Cake Book Review


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 About the Book


Scarlet Lindsey’s aunt Wilhelmina may be Texas’s most popular cake baker extraordinaire, but she’s also getting on in years. When Scarlet decides to take on the role of cake decorator at her cranky aunt’s bidding, it’s just the beginning of a series of misunderstandings and mishaps that will lead her to compete in a cake challenge on national television-and might even lead her to finding true love.
Fan favorite Janice Thompson is back with more wit, more weddings, and more of what her readers love best-bridal business drama. Bella and the gang are all here and readers will fall in love with the newest quirky characters straight from the creative mind of a fantastic storyteller.(Goodreads)






My Review


Janice Thompson is a great author and has a fun sense of humor. I had not read her previous books, but had heard a lot about her books. Icing on the Cake is a fun bakery setting plot that has dynamic realistic characters, romance, and hilarious quotes that made me laugh. At the beginning of each chapter she includes a quote that has something to do with food or cake or baking. For those that love to bake this is the book for you! 


 "Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart." - Erma Bombeck
 



 "I received this book from Revell for free in exchange for an honest review".


















Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Into the Whirlwind Book Review


Into the Whirlwind
Picture Credit

After her father's death, Mollie Knox takes over his watchmaking company and uses her head for business 
 to solidify the good name of the 57th Illinois Watch Company. Her future looks bright until the night her beloved city is destroyed in the legendary Great Chicago Fire. With her world crumbling around her, Molly must do whatever it takes to save her company in the aftermath of the devastating fire.

Zack Kazmarek is an influential attorney with powerful ties to the political, mercantile, and ethnic roots of Chicago. His only weakness is Mollie Knox, a woman who has always been just beyond his reach. However, all bets are off after the fire destroys Chicago, and Mollie is in desperate need of assistance. Just as Zack finally begins to pursue the woman he loves, competition arises in the form of a hero from her past who can provide the help she needs to rise from the ashes.

While Mollie struggles to rebuild, the two men battle for her heart. One has always loved her, but the other has the power to save her. In the race to rebuild the city, can she survive with her business and her heart intact?





My Review

I am a fan of Elizabeth Camden, she has yet to disappoint. Into the Whirlwind was a fascinating look into the Great Chicago Fair. I had never read anything that was written during that time and I enjoyed how the author incorporated it into her storyline. I loved the characters, Mollie is so fun to read about, while Zack is infuriating, I wanted to yell at him a few times. I could not put this book down. I love how smart Mollie is and how the fire raged through the city and they were right in the middle of it all. I enjoyed how I got to read the side of Mollie trying to figure out her future. 
Another interesting fact was the Polish influence on the story line. I know little about that part in history and Camden did great research to add life to her story. 

I highly recommend!

"I received this book from CFBA for free in exchange for an honest review."











This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Into the Whirlwind
Baker Publishing Group (August 15, 2013)
by
Elizabeth Camden


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


A research librarian and associate professor, Elizabeth Camden has a master’s in history from the University of Virginia and a master’s in library science from Indiana University. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband in central Florida.




ABOUT THE BOOK

After her father's death, Mollie Knox takes over his watchmaking company and uses her head for business to solidify the good name of the 57th Illinois Watch Company. Her future looks bright until the night her beloved city is destroyed in the legendary Great Chicago Fire. With her world crumbling around her, Molly must do whatever it takes to save her company in the aftermath of the devastating fire.

Zack Kazmarek is an influential attorney with powerful ties to the political, mercantile, and ethnic roots of Chicago. His only weakness is Mollie Knox, a woman who has always been just beyond his reach. However, all bets are off after the fire destroys Chicago, and Mollie is in desperate need of assistance. Just as Zack finally begins to pursue the woman he loves, competition arises in the form of a hero from her past who can provide the help she needs to rise from the ashes.

While Mollie struggles to rebuild, the two men battle for her heart. One has always loved her, but the other has the power to save her. In the race to rebuild the city, can she survive with her business and her heart intact?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Into the Whirlwind, go HERE.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Billy Graham in Quotes Book Review





Picture Credit

 About the Book
A note from Franklin Graham: "My father, Billy Graham, is known for speaking out about the one and only thing that matters in this world: the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. He remembers the call of God seven decades ago to preach the Word of God to all those who would listen about salvation that comes only through Christ. He took this high calling with seriousness and boldness in obedience to God and once said, 'I will travel anywhere in the world to preach if there are no strings on what I am to say.'
"My father has always prayed that his words would reflect God’s standard of truth as the basis to claim, 'I have given them Your word' (John 17:14). In this book, I believe you will see that he has faithfully spoken God’s Word that quenches the thirst of those seeking to draw from the wellsprings of Life. It is highly meaningful to see these statements now collected in one volume."
Drawn from an unparelleled collection of both personal and published works, Billy Graham provides input on more than one hundred topics, such as suffering, joy, money, addictions, peace, and many more. (Booksneeze)



My Review
Billy Graham in Quotes by Franklin Graham with Donna Lee Toney is a book I knew I would like. I LOVE quotes, anything and everything to do with quotes. At my old job I would look up certain quotes and make "quote of the day" and "quote of the month". I like them because other people are so much better at putting a thought process into words. I love verses as well, but quotes have I have always enjoyed. That being said, I LOVE how this book is set up and organized. It's not just a bunch of quotes thrown together- thank goodness. Each quote is separated into a different topic such as: marriage, joy, abortion, peace, money, addiction, etc. There is also an index where you can look up quotes under a certain topic. Depending on the day you can flip to the topic you need and there are your quotes. One of my favorite sections is marriage. 
Taken from the book:

"The Bible stresses that marriage ideally should be a picture or a reflection of Christ's love for His people".

"Marriage is not a reform school... Instead of you reforming [your spouse], [he or she] will instead influence you".

Each sections starts with a Bible verse too. 

"We are accountable to [God] for the way we use our time". 


I mean there are so many good quotes, some better than others. In any case, if you like quotes in any amount you should pick up this book. 

"I received this book from Booksneeze for free in exchange for an honest review".
 








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