Happy Thanksgiving

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He got away this year!!

Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway. Scroll down a couple of posts for the details!

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The Rod

The author, Judy Heathcoe, of the book I reviewed below, has provided us some goodies for a giveaway. (This giveaway is now closed.)

The Rod by Judy Johns Heathcoe is an interesting book with a more interesting premise.

 The story starts a little slow as it gets bogged down in the minutia of character descriptions.

However, it picks up rapidly after the first few pages, so much so that at times you don’t even realize you are holding your breath until you have to exhale.

 The story centers primarily on two characters: Heath Morgan and Harland McGowan.

Heath Morgan, a security guard, is a family man; he is married with three stepdaughters, which includes a set of twins. His wife, Julie, met and later married him after a frightening experience involving one of her children.

Harland McGowan is an archaeologist who stumbles across what he believes to be Moses’ staff, or rod, if you will – hence the title of the book.

 The book opens with Heath and his family stopping at the estate sale of the now deceased Harland McGowan. Heath finds what he thinks is a great walking stick and decides to buy it. Soon he realizes there is something different about this “stick” when he tries to saw it down to a more manageable size. He is unable to, because the wood is strong as steel and causes the saw to jerk away, injuring his arm in the process. Beginning at this point, more and more strange things occur in Heath’s life, each involving the rod.

From the point of Heath’s purchase, the action really begins. The story is written from Heath’s and Harland’s perspectives. Heath’s is in current day; Harland’s is from the 1970’s. I don’t want to give away too much of the book, but it is a remarkable story. Plan to take several hours out of your day; because once you get into the story, you won’t want to put it down until you are finished.

Harland McGowan is one of the few students at Pepperdine University in California chosen to go on an archaeological dig for a Field Project in Jordan. While on the project Harland stumbles across the grave of Moses and comes away with Moses’ rod. Harland, too, experiences many bizarre episodes caused by the rod.

 My apologies to Judy, an author friend, I had promised several months ago to read and blog about her book. Due to numerous family emergencies, I was unable to until now. Judy, I want to thank you for your patience and understanding during this trying time.

Disclaimer:

Though The Rod has some strong Christian themes, it is not primarily a Christian book. There are a few curse words scattered throughout, selling of drugs and allusions to drug use that may be bothersome to some readers.

Short Straw Bride, lots of excitement and intrigue

August 30, 2012

Short Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer is another skillfully written book. Karen’s books are fun, lighthearted stories but provide a serious and enjoyable read.

Meredith Hayes has long had an oversize crush on Travis Archer; created only in her mind and dreams.
The Archer brothers never venture off their land nor do they tolerate others venturing onto their land but when Meredith overhears a plot to drive the Archers out, she knows she must act. She sets out to invade their land and tell them of the plot.

Her act of kindness leads to destroying her reputation, discord between herself and her family and a near kidnapping by her ruthless ex-fiancée.

Travis feels bound to protect her; after all, she helped to save his family and their land. He devises a scheme to draw straws to see which of the brothers must marry Meredith. Unbeknownst to all, including Meredith, he devises a way to insure he gets the short straw.

Meredith is torn between her longstanding “love” for Travis and the feeling that he got the short end of the deal when he married her. She goes into the marriage with all her heart and prays Travis will come to see and appreciate her for who she truly is.
There is lots of excitement and intrigue throughout the book you will want to give yourself plenty of time to read!

For an excerpt and a short video about Short Straw Bride follow the links below:
http://www.karenwitemeyer.com/excerpt_straw.html

This book was given to me free of charge from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Saving Grace

March 26, 2012

I was unaware Saving Grace by Annie Jones is a sequel to another book which really made some of the references harder to understand. For the most part, though the book could be a standalone book.
My only real complaint, if you will, is Saving Grace, really isn’t so much about how Naomi, Rose, Lucy and Gayle save Grace as it is how these four friends each save themselves through God’s grace.
The book styles itself as a book about the reclusive widow Grace Grayson-Wiley, but you find out next to nothing about Grace, until near the end of the book. Her eccentric yearly habit of dressing for the New Bethany Splendor Belle Gala and waiting for her “beau” is described in the first few chapters. Otherwise, the book remains silent about Grace, and the four leading ladies’ lives are examined.
Each of the four ladies have their own real life crises to deal with.  Naomi is an older newlywed adjusting to her blended family.  She discovers shocking and seemingly unwelcome news making her yearn for her deceased mother.  Rose’s boyfriend is suddenly secretive and petulant. At the same time, her career daughter loses her job and moves back home with no intentions of moving out. Gayle’s husband seems to be withdrawing, and she fears he’s having an affair.  She has no reason to doubt his fidelity and doesn’t want to accept he could have a physical cause for his withdrawal. And Lucy is finally beginning to trust herself around the same time handsome bachelor Dr. Ben Martin moves into town, needing her day care services. His alternating hot and cold pursuit throws all her old insecurities into high gear.
I enjoyed the book despite the fact that Grace’s story gets little mention until solved in the last chapter of the book. The book captures your attention and holds it with the stories of the four “real” leading ladies.
Saving Grace is a sweet Christian story illustrating our need for friends and most of all our need for God’s grace.
I plan to check out the first book and meet my new “friends” again. I also want to check out other books by Annie Jones.

The e-copy of this book was provided to me by Waterbrook-Multnomah in exchange for an honest review.

The Choice

February 10, 2012

Suzanne Woods Fisher’s first book in the Lancaster County Secrets, The Choice, is a very enjoyable read.

The story centers around Carrie Weaver, an Amish girl, who through a series of unforeseen circumstances is unable to marry her true love, Sol Riehl. She settles instead for a marriage of convenience to Daniel Miller.

Carrie’s marriage to Daniel is short-lived, however, when he’s killed by an Englisher in an accident involving his buggy and a car. Carrie pulls her life together and carries on amidst numerous difficulties and hardships, comforted by her faith in God and best friend, Mattie Zook.  

The Choice does not follow the normal formulaic story of most Amish books.  Multiple plots and storylines keep you on your toes wondering what’s going to happen next.

A masterful blending of heartache, forgiveness and real life, The Choice leaves you eagerly anticipating the rest of the series and wanting to know more about everyone’s lives.

This is one of many books on my Kindle. I will be reviewing others in days to come.

A Sound Among Trees

October 14, 2011

A Sound Among Trees by Susan Meissner starts out so slowly, I didn’t really want to finish it. The book really doesn’t pick up until almost the last chapter.
Susan Meissner has interwoven a modern day story with a civil war era story, and I feel the book would have been better if she had created two different stories instead of one.
The modern day story is full of superstition and unfounded ghost stories perpetrated by Adelaide Bishop, owner of the ancestral home.
Adelaide is convinced there are not ghosts in the home but that the home, Holly Oak, is trying to exact penance from all the female inhabitants both past and current –  penance for her great grandmother’s treason in helping the Union soldiers.  How else, she reasons, would there have been so many losses.  Losses that include the death of her granddaughter, Sara, and the running away of her daughter, Caroline, Sara’s mother.
When Carson, Adelaide’s grandson in law (Sara’s widower), marries Marielle, a woman he met and fell in love with over the internet, the community wastes no time in apprising her of the “ghosts” of Holly Oak.
Marielle, just a little too susceptible to the stories, gets caught up in the intrigue.
The book really doesn’t  begin to work until after a major mishap and Caroline’s return.  It’s as if everyone needed a slap to get back into reality and Caroline provided the slap.
I normally love historical fiction; however, A Sound Among Trees never really delivered.

This book was provided for me by WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for an unbiased review.

Always the Baker, Never the Bride

October 10, 2011

Always the Baker, Never the Bride, by Sandra Bricker is a cute, lighthearted story about an award-winning baking wizard, Emma Rae Travis. In a seemingly cruel trick of fate, she suffers from diabetes.

Jackson Drake is her new boss. He’s trying to convert Atlanta’s Tanglewood Inn into a destination spot for all things wedding, his late wife’s dying dream.

A procession of southern belle sister’s and well-meaning friends of Jackson’s pop up throughout the book lending an air of wonderful southern charm and keeps Jackson on his toes. Emma’s parents’ constant marriage woes and her eccentric Aunt Sophie are perfect counterparts to Jackson’s family.

Sandra Bricker also intersperses delightful tidbits and recipes for weddings and high tea throughout the book that are sure to delight the reader.

The story was believable. However, I had a hard time with Jackson’s on again off again feelings suddenly being settled without any real thoughts or sharing with Emma Rae. I felt the main reason they “settled” was to bring a logical conclusion to the book.

That being said I did enjoy the book and it wasn’t as formulaic as a lot of Christian romances which gave it a little more flavor.

A fun, good-natured read with wonderful recipes and tidbits included.

Heaven is for Real

August 28, 2011

Heaven is for Real is the true story of four-year-old, Colton Burpo, who almost dies during emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix.

Colton begins to “leak” little bits of what his vision was like throughout the story.

He called desperately for his father, Todd, after his surgery.  He wanted to tell his father that Jesus was pleased with him and not angry for his furious questioning of His will.

The story continues with Todd’s reflections of the harrowing story of Colton’s illness; from the doctor’s misdiagnosis to the surgery and beyond.

Though Todd tells the story, the portions of Colton’s recall of heaven are in Colton’s own words.

It would be very easy to dismiss this book as just another near death experience and a child spouting “propaganda” taught him by his parents; however, the book reveals too many things recalled by Colton which he had no way of knowing.

In some cases, Colton accepts things adults have told him but when all presupposed ideas are stripped away, and Colton is left to speak for himself wondrous things are revealed.

Colton’s matter of fact recounting of his visit in heaven leaves you awestruck and wishing you still had the childlike suspension of disbelief and wonder of life.

I began reading this book expecting to barely if at all, believe it and finished it feeling closer to God.

We Be Big: The Mostly True Story of How We Became Rick & Bubba

May 2, 2011

Intro from: “.We Be Big: The Mostly True Story of How We Became Rick & Bubba (with the assistance of best-selling and award-winning author Don Keith).

Rick and Bubba are two HIGHLY unlikely radio broadcasters telling everyone about their lives, families, and friends and not cutting anyone any slack. One of their overriding themes is “if it happened, we tell,”  both the good and the bad and giving everyone a glimpse of life at its most real, even when the telling is painful.
I have been somewhat aware of Rick and Bubba since moving to Alabama so I knew a small part of their history but since I only listen to the radio when driving and I don’t have television the book We Be Big fills in some of the blanks.
We Be Big, taken from their 800 number, is written with alternating chapters from first Rick and then Bubba’s perspective.
The story starts with their younger days and their fascination with walkie-talkies and radios.
Rick discovered at a young age that he loved being in the limelight in any way that was available to him. He states it wasn’t from lack of love however, just his own insatiable desire to be “on stage” and number one in all his endeavors.
Bill “Bubba” was more fascinated with the makings and mechanical aspect of things and continued in this field until he became co-DJ with Rick.
Throughout the book they both tell of how they were led through every experience of their lives to become who they are now.
Rick and Bubba don’t cut any slack when telling how their faith in God and God’s divine guidance brought them to where they are, many times in unknown and mysterious ways until they looked back at all that happened and could see His hand leading them.
They both have a deep and abiding faith in God and even after having experienced unbelievable loss, their faith carries them through each day.
They both unabashedly give God the thanks for bringing them to where they are.
The book isn’t a religious book however. It’s a fun, though realistic and sometimes gritty look at their lives from childhood to now.
Be prepared to take the time to read We Be Big at one sitting because once you start, the frequent laughter and occasional tears will keep you reading to the end.
I really enjoyed this book on many levels and would recommend it for anyone wanting to read a refreshingly honest and open book, especially if you are familiar with Rick and Bubba.

I was given this book by Blogging for Books from Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for a review.