Mary's Blessing Lena Nelson Dooley ~ Review

Mary's Blessing
Lucie's Review: An intriguing read, that was at times a bit tough to read, yet at the same time was hard to totally put down.

First I guess I ought to explain why it was tough to read. It was a bit hard to read because many of the elements of the story were just so terribly sad, and I felt so bad for Mary and her family and everything that they went through. Like with her adoptive father and how his wife's death effected him, it was so tragic!

At first I wasn't totally draw to this book because so many things just seemed to happy, but then everything happened and the book totally changed tone and gained depth. I really liked how Mary and Daniel's relationship got stronger through adversities.

The character who really stood out to me was Tony, because even though he was a side character, he was really well developed. Daniel was pretty great too, because he probably had the most growth of all the characters.

Overall this was a book that made me really excited to read the other books in the series, it was pretty well written and I liked how the characters grew. It was a book that was a story about a couple overcoming great obstacles and finding love.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
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:

Realms (May 15, 2012)

***Special thanks to Althea Thompson | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***


Lena Nelson Dooley is an award-winning author with more than 650,000 books in print. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers—where she received the Mentor of the Year award in 2006—DFW Ready Writers, and Christian Authors Network. She lives in Hurst, Texas, with her husband of over 45 years.

Visit the author's website.


Mary Lenora Murray was adopted by parents who had recently lost a child while on the last wagon train west in 1867. When she is thirteen years old, Mary’s mother and her two older sisters die in the cholera pandemic, leaving her the oldest child with four younger siblings to raise. Her father, in his grief, pours himself into keeping the farm going, leaving the running of the home entirely in Mary’s hands.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Realms (May 15, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1616386177

ISBN-13: 978-1616386177


"Pa?” Mary Lenor a Murray shouted back over her shoulder as she picked up the heavy picnic basket. “You ready to go?” Why does he always drag his feet when we’re going to


Her father came through the mud room into the kitchen, letting the screen door slam shut behind him. He smelled of heat, hay, and sunshine, with the strong tang of muck from the barn mingled in. By the looks of his clothes, attending church was the farthest thing from his mind. His ratty trousers held smudges of several dark colors. She didn’t even want to guess what they were. And the long sleeves of his undershirt, the only thing covering his torso, were shoved above his elbows. Grayed and dingy, the shirt would never be white again, no matter how hard she tried to get it clean.

Mary bit her tongue to keep from scolding him as she did her younger brothers and sister when they made such a racket entering the house. No doubt he would give her some excuse about having too much work to go to church. Not a big surprise. She’d heard it all before too many times.

He set a bucket of fresh water beside the dry sink and gripped his fingers around the front straps of his suspenders. That always signaled he was about to tell her something she didn’t want to hear.

“I’m not going today.” This time he didn’t really make any excuses, just this bald-faced comment.

She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to calm her anger. She’d give him a sweet answer even if the words tasted bitter in her mouth. “The new pastor is coming today. We’re having dinner on the grounds after the service. Remember, I told you when we got home last Sunday.” She flashed what she hoped was a warm smile at him and prayed he couldn’t tell it

was fake.


M a ry ’s Ble s si ng

“What happened to the last one? He didn’t last very long, did he?” Pa started washing his hands with the bar of homemade soap she kept in a dish on the shelf. “Don’t understand why that church can’t keep a pastor. Someone musta run him off.”

Mary couldn’t keep from huffing out a breath this time. “I told you about that too.” She clamped her lips closed before she asked the question that often bounced around her mind. Why don’t you ever listen to me? At seventeen she was close enough to being an adult to be treated like one, and she’d carried the load of a woman in this household for years.

“His wife died, and his father-in-law begged him to bring the grandchildren closer to where they live, so he headed back to Ohio. Living in the same community as their grandparents, he’d have a lot of help with the younger ones.”

Mary had never known her own grandparents, none of them. Not her mother’s parents. Not her father’s parents. Not the par- ents of whoever gave birth to her. She didn’t wonder about any of them very often, but today her heart longed for someone who really loved her.

With bright red curly hair and fair skin that freckled more every time she stepped into the sunlight, she didn’t resemble anyone in this family that had adopted her as an infant. Since they were black Irish, they all had dark hair and striking blue eyes, not like her murky green ones. And none of them had ever wanted to know what she thought about anything—except her mother.

“Well, I’ve gotta lot to do today.” Her father reached for the towel she’d made out of feed sacks. “You and the others go ahead. I might come over that way at dinner time.”

No, you won’t. Mary had heard his statement often enough to know he was trying to placate her so she would leave him alone. So she would.

“Frances, George, Bobby, come on. We don’t want to be late.”


Lena neL son DooLey

She shifted the handle of the loaded basket to her other arm. “Frances, you grab the jug of spring water. We might get thirsty.” Her father’s icy blue eyes pierced her. “Pretty warm out today.

No sign of rain.”

“We’ll be picnicking in the field between the church and Willamette Falls. It’s cooler there, especially under the trees with the breeze blowing across the water.” She started toward the front door.

“Keep your eyes on the boys.” His harsh command followed her. “Don’t let either of them fall into the river. They could drown. Water’s fast right there.”

She nodded but didn’t answer or look back at him. All he cared about were those boys and getting them raised old enough to really help with the farming. He already worked them harder than any of the neighbors did their sons who were the same ages.

Six long years ago her mother and older sisters contracted diphtheria when they went to help Aunt Miriam and Uncle Leland settle in their house on a farm about five miles from theirs. On the trip to Oregon one of them had contracted the dread disease and didn’t know it until after they arrived. No one knew they were all dead until Pa went looking for Ma, Carrie, and Annette a couple of days later. He saw the quarantine sign someone nailed to a fence post and didn’t go closer until he had help. When he came home, he told Mary she would have to take over the keeping of the house. Six long years ago.

When did my life become such drudgery? Had it ever been any- thing else? At least not since Ma died, which seemed like an

eternity ago.


M a ry ’s Ble s si ng

4 4 4

Daniel Winthrop whistled while he dressed for church. He looked forward with anticipation to the moment when he would lay eyes on Mary Murray. Even her name had a musical ring to it.

He’d been waiting and planning what to say when he approached her. Today he would start his subtle courting. With the situation at the Murray farm, he knew he would have his work cut out for him to convince her she could start a life of her own with him. After he achieved that, he’d ask her father for her hand.

Visions of coming home to her each night and building a family together moved through his head like the slides of photo- graphs in the Holmes stereopticon they had at home. He loved her already, but more than that, he wanted to get her out of that house, where she was loaded down with so much work and responsibility.

Daniel had often gone with his mother when she bought fresh produce from the Murrays, so he knew what her life had been like since her mother died. Their families came to Oregon on the same wagon train, so he’d known her all his life. He was only three years older than she was, and he had watched her over the last few years as she blossomed into a beautiful young woman.

Mary needed to be appreciated and cared for, and he was just the man to do it.

“Daniel, we’re leaving soon.” His father’s voice prodded him from his dreams.

With a final peek into the tall cheval glass, he straightened his necktie before he headed out the door of his room. “I’m on my way.”

He bounded down the stairs and took their picnic basket


Lena neL son DooLey

from his mother. “Something really smells good.” He gave a loud sniff. “Do you need me to test and make sure it’s all right?”

He welcomed her playful slap on his hand that crept toward the cover on the basket. Her laughter reminded him of the chimes he had heard in the larger church in Portland.

“Not a single bite until dinner.” Like a queen, she swept out the door Father held open for her.

Their familiar ritual warmed his heart. He looked forward to creating family rituals with Mary. Once more he whistled as he headed toward the brougham. Nothing could cloud his day.

When they pulled up to the Methodist church, his father guided the team toward the back, where a large area paved with fine gravel gave plenty of space for those who arrived in horse- drawn vehicles. While Father helped Mother down from the open carriage, Daniel took the reins and tied them to one of the hitching rails that outlined the space. He chose the rail under

a spreading black cottonwood tree where the limbs were just beginning to show the leaf buds.

He scanned the lot, looking for the Murray wagon. Not there. Disappointed, he stared at the ground. Please, God, let Mary come today.

Clopping hoofs and a jingling harness accompanied a wagon

taking too fast of a turn into the parking area. Daniel cut his eyes toward the advancing disaster. Two of the wheels did indeed lift from the ground. Before he could get a shout out of his mouth, he heard Mary’s sweet voice.

“Lean to the right, boys!”

George and Bobby, Mary’s brothers, scrambled across the seat, followed by Frances. The wagon wheels settled into the gravel, and Mary pulled on the reins.

“Easy. Settle down.” Even though she spoke to the horses, he

heard every word.


M a ry ’s Ble s si ng

His heart that had almost leapt from his chest also settled down when he realized she was no longer in danger. Thank You, Lord.

The wagon came to a standstill, and Mary put her dainty hand to her chest and released a deep breath. The green cotton fabric, sprigged with white flowers, looked good on her, setting off her red hair, pulled up into a bunch on the top of her head. Without a hat or bonnet covering it, the sun danced across the curls. He loved seeing the wisps frame her face. That’s how he pictured her when he dreamed about their future.

Mary sat a moment without moving. She was probably scared out of her wits. Where was her father? He should have been driving the wagon, not her. How long had it been since the man had attended services? Daniel couldn’t remember the last time. It was not a good thing for a man to neglect his spiritual nature. He’d just have to pray harder for Mr. Murray.

Daniel hurried toward them. “Hi, Mary.”

She looked up, straight into his eyes, fear still flickering in the back of her gaze. “Daniel. Good morning.” Her words came out riding on short breaths.

He took hold of the bridle of the horse nearest him. “I can hitch your team under the trees for you.”

After releasing another deep breath, Mary nodded. “Thank you. I’d like that.” She turned toward her siblings. “Frances, you get the picnic basket, and George, you carry the jug of water. Go find us a pew, perhaps near the back of the sanctuary, and put the things under the bench. I’ll be right in.”

The younger children climbed out of the wagon and followed their sister’s instructions. Mary watched them until they’d gone around the side of the building toward the front. Then she stood up.

Before she could try to climb over the side, Daniel hurried to


Lena neL son DooLey

help. He held out his hand to her. She stared at it, then looked at his face.

“I’ll help you down.” He gave her his most beguiling smile. For the first time since she arrived, she smiled back, and pink

bled up her neck into her cheeks. Her blush went straight to his heart. Oh, yes, he loved this woman.

Mary slipped her slim fingers into his hand. Even through the white cotton gloves, he felt the connection as warmth sparked up his arm like fireworks on Independence Day. She glanced down so she could see the step. When she hesitated, he let go of her hand and both of his spanned her tiny waist. With a deft swing, he had her on the ground in seconds. He wished he had the right to pull her into an embrace. Wouldn’t that just set the tongues a-wagging? He couldn’t do that to her. Mary needed to be cherished for the treasure she was. And as far as Daniel could see, her father really didn’t treat her that way.

He watched her walk toward the front of the building, enjoying the way her skirt swayed with each step, barely brushing the tops of her black patent shoes. That is one beau- tiful woman. He turned back to her team. Walking beside the horses, he led them toward the hitching rail where his family’s brougham was parked, hoping it would give him the oppor- tunity to help her back up onto the wagon seat. As he crossed the lot, several other conveyances entered, and he waved and exchanged greetings with each family.

The church was the first one established in Oregon City. At that time, it was the Methodist Mission but grew as the town did. Along the way, members of this body had a great influence on what happened in the burgeoning city. And that was still true today. His Winthrop ancestors, who settled nearby, had been instrumental in both the growth of the church and of the

town. He felt a sense of pride at being a part of something that


M a ry ’s Ble s si ng

important, and he wanted to increase the town’s assets, because he planned to raise his own family here. Maybe establish a dynasty of his own, watching his sons and daughters, then his grandchildren, prosper.

His woolgathering slowed the progress of tying the horses to their spot. He needed to hurry so he wouldn’t miss the begin- ning of the service. As he opened the front door, Mrs. Slidell struck the first chord on the new Mason and Hamlin reed organ. The church had ordered the instrument from the manufacturing plant in Buffalo, New York. When it arrived only a couple of weeks before, the music added a special feeling to the worship and helped most people stay on the right tune better than the old piano did. He hummed along with the introduction to “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” his favorite hymn.

Glancing around the room, Daniel finally spied Mary and her siblings sitting on the second pew from the back on the right side of the aisle. He squared his shoulders and confidently approached the wooden bench. He asked if he could sit with them, and she scooted over to make room. Just what he wanted. He would be sitting right beside her.

Throughout the service, Daniel had a hard time keeping his mind on the proceedings. Mary sat close enough for him to touch her if he leaned a little to his right. He was so tempted to bump against her arm, but he held back. He imagined clasping her hand in his and holding it for longer than just a few seconds while helping her down from a conveyance or through a doorway, really wrapping his large fingers around hers and intertwining their fingers. Just thinking about it caught his breath.

He whooshed it out, and she turned toward him, her eyes wid- ening with a question. After flashing a smile at her, he glanced up at Rev. Horton. The man’s delivery was smooth, and his words

made a lot of sense. He’d be a good pastor for them, but Daniel


Lena neL son DooLey

couldn’t keep a single word of his message in his mind. Not while he could feel Mary’s presence with every cell in his body.

Instead, in his mind he searched up and down the streets of Oregon City, seeking a place to turn into a home for him and his beloved. If the right house wasn’t for sale, he could build her one. She could help him choose the design. That’s what he’d do. Build her the home she’d always dreamed of. His heart squeezed with the knowledge of what he planned to do. He could hardly keep the idea to himself. He hoped it wouldn’t take too long for him to convince her that they should marry.

He’d even hire servants to help her manage their home. Whatever her heart desired, he’d do everything he could to present her with all she wanted. He only hoped it wouldn’t take too long. At twenty years old, he was ready to move on to the next phase of his life—with Mary by his side.

“Now let us bow our heads in prayer.” Rev. Horton raised his hands to bless the whole congregation.

Daniel dropped his head toward his chest. How had the man finished his sermon without Daniel noticing? Next Sunday he’d have to listen more closely. He really did want to get to know the new pastor and his family.

“Amen.” After the pastor pronounced the word, several other men echoed it.

Daniel watched his father rise from the second pew near the front on the left side of the aisle and take his place beside the new preacher. He placed his arm across the man’s shoulders. “Dear friends, on your behalf, I welcome our new pastor. Now let’s all meet his lovely family.” He waved toward a woman sitting on the front pew. “Mrs. Horton?”

The woman stood and turned toward the congregation. She was pretty, but not as young or as pretty as Mary.

“And,” Father’s voice boomed, “these are their children.”


M a ry ’s Ble s si ng

Four stair-step youngsters stood beside their mother. The tallest, a boy. The next, a girl. Then another boy, and the shortest, a cute little girl. As if they had rehearsed it, they bowed toward the people in unison.

Several women across the sanctuary oooed or aahed before a loud round of applause broke out. The three oldest children gave shy smiles, and the youngest tugged at her mother’s skirts. When Mrs. Horton picked her up, the girl waved to the people, clearly enjoying the attention.

“I hope you all brought your blankets and picnic baskets.” Father beamed at the crowd. “We’re going to spread our food together. I believe there are plenty of sawhorse tables set up near the building. And you can pick a spot under the trees to settle for your meal. Just don’t forget to take the time to greet our new ministerial family while you’re here.” Father led the Horton family down the aisle and out the front door.

Daniel turned back toward Mary. “Perhaps you and your brothers and sister could spread your blanket beside my family’s.” A tiny smile graced Mary’s sweet mouth. “If you’re sure your

mother wouldn’t mind, I’d like that.”

“Oh, yes. I’m sure.” He stepped into the nearly empty aisle and moved back to let Mary and her family precede him, and he quickly followed behind.

His heartbeat accelerated just thinking about spending spe- cial time with the object of his affections. Without thinking, he started whistling a happy tune.

Mary glanced back at him. “I didn’t know you whistled.”

“Oh, yes. I’m a man of many talents.” His heart leapt at the interest he read in her gaze. Things were well on their way to working out just the way he wanted them to.

After All by Deborah Raney ~ Glass Road Blog Tour & Review

After All (Hanover Falls, #3)

My Review: Truths are revealed and new love grows from the ashes in Hanover Falls.

Susan Marlowe faces a startling new truth about her late husband while meeting opposition to the Homeless Shelter to which she gives so much to. Will hope rise from the ashes?

This is actually the first book that I have read from Deborah Raney, and I can tell you right now that it will not be the last! I loved every minute of it!
Though this was the third in a series, I had no problems at all with jumping right in, in fact I found myself glued to this book much quicker than I normally find myself hooked to a book. But I can totally see where it would certainly be beneficial to read the first two in the series.
What I liked most about this book was how real the characters were to me. They were not perfect , yet they were realistically flawed in a way that really made this story come alive. The characters also reacted realistically, in my mind, to the many situations that they faced.
For me this was one of those books that grabbed me from the first and wouldn't let go until I had turn the last page down. At times I felt like I was reading this book for Olympic Gold, I was reading so fast! I just had to find out was they would do, I really cared about those characters!

Ms. Raney has done a stellar job with the crafting of each of the characters, I even felt some pity for Andrea. I liked how After All dealt with forgiving and making thins right even when it seems like it's too late. A riveting read from beginning to end, and wonderfully satisfying!
I received this book from the publisher through Glass Road Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author: Deborah Raney is the award- winning author of numerous novels, including A Nest of Sparrows and the RITA award-winning Beneath a Southern Sky and its sequel, After the Rains. Deborah's first novel, A Vow to Cherish, was the inspiration for World Wide Picture's highly acclaimed film of the same title, which in December 2004 aired on prime time network TV for the second time. Deb's novella, Playing by Heart, was a National Readers Choice Award winner and a 2004 Christy Award finalist. Her novel with Howard/Simon & Schuster, Yesterday's Embers, appeared on the ECPA Christian fiction bestseller list. Known for her sensitive portrayal of family struggles and relationships, Deb has also written nonfiction books and articles and often speaks at women's retreats and writers' conferences around the country. She and her husband, illustrator/author Ken Raney, have four children and make their home in Kansas. Learn more at www.deborahraney.com.


The Ride of Her Life by Lorna Seilstad ~ Review

The Ride of Her Life

My Review: A story sure to quirk up the corners of many a mouth!

Lilly Hart is a cook working  on the shore of Lake Mawana, and she has dreams of giving her 6 year-old son, Levi. But the parents of Lilly's late husband have plans for Levi that threaten what Lilly and her late husband held dear. Then along comes Nick the striking Roller Coaster builder, who tests both Lilly's ability to trust others and to trust God, challenging her to open her heart once more.

This book has stellar dialogue, and I loved the way  the many characters interacted with each other so naturally, especially Lilly and Nick.
Another thing that I really appreciated was how even though teh book took place over a short period of time, the relationships that were built did not feel rushed in the least. They all seemed to progress naturally in their own time.
Another thing I wanted to bring up was how, even though I hadn't read the last two books, I had no trouble whatsoever just hopping in on the last book, though now I can most certainly say that I really want to read the first two :)
I adored the character of Levi, and I felt that Ms. Seilstad got him just right, making him neither too childish or too mature, something that is rather hard to do! Nick was a great hero, possibly one of the best I've read in a while because of how he was steady and romantic in a more subtle way, he wasn't ever stealing the show.

Overall this is a sweet romance, with both a healthy dose of humor and wit , as well as a plot that moved well, making this book hard to put down! Most definitely a book that I would recommend!
I received this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

“Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”


The Anniversary Waltz by Darrel Nelson ~ FIRST Wild Card Blog Tour & Review

The Anniversary Waltz: A novel

Lucie's Review: A touching tale of a couple looking over the last 60 years of their marriage while dancing in each others arms.

A wonderfully wrought debut, full of tears, faith, and a love that never gives up. This book is the kind of book that I could totally see as a Hallmark Hall of Famer, because I cried buckets!

The characters were well rounded and I felt like they reacted so very realistically to the situations that were thrust upon them. Besides the mains characters I really liked how well developed the side characters were, like the man who worked at the dry cleaners was fantastic!

This is possibly the best book I have ever read set during WWII, though please take into consideration that I am not the biggest WWII reader to start with.

Overall I would say that this book is a well crafted drama, that had me reaching for more than a few tissues. It is a touching read about characters who  had to find faith to fall back on. The characters were amazing, and I loved how there were parts of the story that were taken from real life experiences.  A touching tale, and a terrific debut for author Darrel Nelson. I would highly recommend this one!

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!

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:

Realms (May 15, 2012)

***Special thanks to Althea Thompson | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***


Darrel Nelson is a graduate of the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, with bachelor’s degrees in English and education. He is a schoolteacher by profession, with thirty-three years of teaching experience, and currently teaches fourth grade at Raymond Elementary School. Nelson has had an article published in Lethbridge Magazine and has written several dramatic plays, two of which won provincial recognition and were showcased at a drama festival. He won the CJOC radio songwriting contest two years running and has had one song receive international airplay. Writing has always been a passion, and over the years he has written four novels intended for the juvenile market. They are unpublished as yet, but he reads them annually to his fourth-grade students. The Anniversary Waltz is his first novel intended for the adult market. Hometown: Raymond, Alberta, Canada

Visit the author's website.


It’s the summer of 1946, and Adam Carlson has just returned from the war to his home in Reunion, Montana. Despite the strained relationship with his father, Adam sets out to revive the dilapidated family farm, neglected since his departure overseas four years ago. After some convincing to take a rest from his labors, he attends the town festival, where he meets Elizabeth Baxter, a young woman going steady with his former high school rival and now influential banker, Nathan Roberts.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Realms (May 15, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1616387157

ISBN-13: 978-1616387150


July 1946

Adam Carlson shifted in his seat on the Greyhound bus and stared wearily out the window. He couldn’t remember being this tired, not even during the heaviest part of the
fighting in Italy. But he was too excited to close his eyes now. He had finally received his discharge and was almost home. The return voyage across the Atlantic by army transport ship made him seasick, and the four-day journey across the country by train seemed to last forever. But that was all behind him, compartmen- talized in his memory along with a thousand other images he would just as soon forget. All that remained was the thirty-mile bus ride north from Great Falls.
Running a hand through his wavy, brown hair, he studied the landscape he hadn’t seen in four years—except in his dreams. And he had dreamed about his hometown of Reunion, Montana, a great deal, especially while lying under the stars at night and smelling the earthy aroma of freshly dug foxholes. Those were the times he wondered if he would ever see the Great Plains again or feel the wind on his face. He ached to see the Rocky Mountains and gaze at the foothills as they merged with the plains and stretched eastward into infinity. This was the country he loved, the country for which he had fought. Big Sky Country—a corner of heaven.
He noticed a hawk in the distance, riding the invisible current on graceful wings, circling above a stand of cottonwood trees. At that moment, he decided, it had been worth it—all of it.
Even though he had enlisted against his father’s wishes.
As the son of Hector Carlson, dry land farmer, Adam hadn’t needed to enlist. But he wanted to satisfy his sense of adven- ture. He wanted to see the world outside the farm’s boundaries, to answer the call of plain, old-fashioned patriotism. Remember Pearl Harbor! Laborers could be hired to bring in the harvest, he’d told his father, but who was going to go overseas and fight for a cause greater than one family’s run of bad luck?
Hector hadn’t accepted this reasoning, however. He tried to talk Adam into staying and helping run the farm. When his efforts proved futile, he gave up talking to his son at all. He didn’t come to see Adam off, nor did he write once in the four years Adam was away, not even a quick note scribbled at the bottom of the regular letters Adam received from his mother, Maude.
Adam shook the memory away and felt his heart rate quicken as the bus made the last turn leading into Reunion. The anticipa- tion of meeting his parents made him feel strangely nervous. It was dreamlike, as unreal as the world he had just left.
His thoughts went to those who would not be returning. Sixteen of his friends and comrades had fallen in Europe and were now permanent occupants. They would be forever denied the thrill of a homecoming and the anticipation of getting on with their lives. They would never see the mountains again or watch the maturing fields of wheat sway in the wind like a planted ocean. In their memory he closed his eyes, fighting his emotions as the Greyhound turned onto Main Street and headed for the bus stop in front of the Reunion Mercantile.
Several people were waiting on the sidewalk, anxiously craning to see inside the bus. A face appeared in the barbershop window next door to the Mercantile, peering out to study the scene. Two doors down a woman clutching several garments paused before entering Yang’s Dry Cleaners and glanced toward the bus stop. In a small rural community like Reunion, where grain prices and the weather were the main topics of conversation, the arrival of the Greyhound attracted attention.
Inside the bus the driver announced, “Reunion. Please remember to take all your personal belongings. I’ll set your lug- gage on the curb.” He opened the door, and those who were get- ting off made their way forward.
Adam remained in his seat, looking out the window. He watched as each person emerged and was immediately engulfed by waiting arms. It was heartwarming to see people embrace, cry, and laugh all at the same time. He wondered if his father would be this demonstrative, but he already knew the answer to that.
The bus driver reappeared in the doorway a few minutes later. “Isn’t this your stop, soldier?” He smiled sympathetically. “Sometimes it’s as hard coming home as it is leaving, isn’t it?”
Adam nodded and eased his six-foot frame out of the seat. He put on his service cap and adjusted his uniform before making his way up the aisle.
“Good luck,” the driver said, patting him on the shoulder. Adam stood in the door of the bus for a moment, watching
the happy scene. A woman in a blue cotton dress made her way through the crowd. It took Adam a moment to recognize his mother. She had aged during the past four years and looked so frail that he wondered how she got through the crowd without being snapped like a dry twig.
“Adam . . . Adam!” she called, her voice filled with so much emotion she could hardly speak. Tears formed in her eyes and ran down her cheeks as Adam quickly descended the bus steps. She took him in her arms and embraced him with surprising strength. “Oh, my son, God has answered my prayers and brought you back to me.”
Adam held her for a long time, his eyes closed, his lips quiv- ering. Maude silently wept on his shoulder and rubbed the tears with the back of her thin hand. Finally she held him at arm’s length as if unable to believe her eyes. Adam smiled reassuringly and gazed out over the crowd.
“He didn’t come,” she said, in answer to his unspoken question. Adam looked into his mother’s face. “But at least you came.” She reached up and stroked his cheek, her hand trembling.
“Of course I came. Wild horses couldn’t—” She changed the topic abruptly, likely realizing it would only serve to emphasize her husband’s absence if she didn’t. “Where’s your luggage?” she asked. “Let’s get you home so you can rest. You look exhausted.” So do you, he wanted to say, but he just smiled at her. It was obvious that the intervening years had taken their toll on her too. Adam led her toward the passengers who were sorting through the luggage, which was now sitting on the curb. He had no dif- ficulty identifying his two suitcases. They bore little resemblance to the ones he’d purchased four years earlier at the Mercantile. They were now held together by rope and packaging tape, and both of them showed evidence of journeys they’d taken aboard buses, trains, ships, army trucks, jeeps, and, on one occasion, an Italian farmer’s hay cart.
Maude had no difficulty identifying her son’s luggage either. As she reached for one of the suitcases, Adam quickly intercepted her. “I’ve got them, Mom,” he said, picking up the suitcases and adjusting his grip on the sweat-stained leather handles.
“The truck’s parked in front of the dry cleaners,” Maude said, taking hold of his arm and leading him through the crowd.
Adam nodded to the bus driver, who gave him a thumbs-up gesture, and followed his mother down the sidewalk, answering her questions and asking a few of his own. He realized the words of greeting he practiced on the bus were unnecessary. He hoped it would be the same when he finally met his father. But somehow he doubted it.
As the farm came into view, Adam drew in a deep breath. The surrounding fields of wheat and barley, a vibrant green beneath
a robin’s egg sky, were a pastoral setting of majesty and peace- fulness. But in many ways, returning home was like riding into enemy territory. Several times during the war, he had run into an ambush and barely escaped with his life, using every skill possible to survive. Today he felt like there was no refuge. He could only proceed directly into the line of fire and hope for the best.
His mind raced wildly as the pickup truck rattled through the gate and stopped in front of the house. He reached for the door handle but hesitated, taking everything in one more time in case it suddenly vanished . . . like a dream upon awakening.
The farmyard had changed. The two-story, clapboard house looked tired and faded, and several shutters hung at odd angles. The veranda tilted slightly to the south, and the railing was missing several spindles. The pump out in the yard had only a stub of a handle, and the clothesline beside it sagged noticeably. The woodshed and the barn were badly weathered, and the poplar tree near the garden now held only remnants of the tree house that he and his father had built years earlier.
Perhaps the farmyard had always looked like this and he hadn’t noticed. But a fresh coat of paint would do wonders to hide the wrinkles and blemishes, and he resolved to paint every building before winter. He would shore up the clothesline, repair the front step, fix the shutters, replace the handle on the pump . . .
A burst of energy surged through him. He would make it up to his father by getting the farm back in shape. It would be like he had never left. He would show his father that he did care.
Maude put her hand on his. “Before we go in, there’s some- thing I want to say. Despite your father not coming to meet you today, he does love you.”
Exhaling slowly, Adam turned toward her. “He has a funny way of showing it.”
“He has a hard time expressing his feelings sometimes, that’s all.” “He didn’t write once in four years.”
Maude stared out of the truck window, focusing on nothing in particular. She seemed to be searching for the right words. “I can’t say I agree with how he’s handled things, son. And I’m not trying to make excuses for him. But it’s been hard on him too. I just wanted you to know that.” She patted Adam’s hand. “I just hope the two of you can let bygones be bygones.”
Adam leaned over and kissed his mother on the cheek. “You’re a good woman, Maude Carlson.”
She smiled in appreciation, but her smile faded as the barn door opened and her husband stepped out into the sunlight. She glanced over at her son, who squared his shoulders and pulled on the door handle.
Adam was struck by how much his father had aged. His hair was much thinner, and his sun-hardened, wrinkled skin was stretched like tanned hide on a pole frame. His complexion resembled buckskin, rough side out, and his leanness added a sharp edge to his features. A permanent scowl creased his fore- head, and his mouth sagged at the corners.
Hector remained motionless, as though he was a gargoyle guarding the farmyard. His expression looked equally sullen and fierce, and Adam slowly approached him. Staring down the enemy in the fields and streets of Italy had not been this hard.
Maude hurried toward her husband. “Hec, it’s our boy! Adam’s home!”
Adam studied his father’s face, looking for any sign of wel- come . . . or forgiveness. But Hector’s granite-like countenance remained unchanged. Adam stopped several paces away and stood before his father like a disobedient child.
Hector met his son’s eyes momentarily, and then his gaze wan- dered over Adam’s uniform. The silence deepened and Adam felt the tension increase.
Maude narrowed her eyes. “Well, Hec, say something.”
Hector scratched his stubbled chin and cleared his throat. “They treat you okay?”
What a strange question, Adam thought. Was his father refer- ring to the army or the enemy? In all honesty, neither of them had treated him well. The army had removed four years of his life with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel, and the Germans had been far less subtle than that. They had tried to kill him.
Adam felt numb as the memories of the past four years flooded his heart, a trickle at first and then a gush. The experience had been more overwhelming than he ever expected. And with one question his father had reduced it to insignificance.

“You know I don’t agree with what you did,” Hector said. “But
I’m glad you didn’t go and get yourself killed.” Adam forced a smiled. “I’m glad I didn’t either.”
Maude looked anxiously from one to the other. “Hec, this calls for a feast of the fatted calf. Get some beet greens from the garden, and I’ll cook a roast with all the trimmings.”
Hector remained motionless.
She shooed him away from the barn. “You go on, now.” Embracing Adam, she said, “Go have a bath and get some rest, son. I’ll call you for dinner. There’s so much to talk about.”
Adam glanced at the retreating figure of his father and returned to the truck to get his luggage, aware that his mother was reverting to her proven formula for restoring peace on earth, good will toward men: a delicious meal. In the past, good food had settled more arguments in the family than had any line of reasoning, logic, or argument. The way to a man’s heart . . .


The Booker Award ~ Thank you Rosie!

Hello there! Today I am very happy to tell you that I am the happy recipient of the Booker Award an honor bestowed upon me by my friend Rosie over at Writings of Rosie ! So if you have time be sure to check out her awesome (and I should mention, purple) blog! So, thank you, Rosie :D

These are the rules :

1. This award is for book bloggers only. To receive this award the blogger's blog must be 50% about books (this includes writing blogs or reader blogs).

2. When you accept this award you must also share what your top five all time favorite books are. Going over five is encouraged.

3. You must pass this award on to five to ten other book blogs that you adore :)

Okay, so here are my top favorite books (and no, I can't put them in order!)

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
To Die For by Sandra Byrd (My Review)
Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin (My Review)
To Darkness Fled by Jill Williamson
Mine is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs (My Review)
The Wonder of Your Love by Beth Wiseman (My Review)
A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman
The Big Picture by Jenny B. Jones
The Mermaid in the Basement by Gilbert Morris
The Courtship by Gilbert Morris
Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larsen
Boston Jane Saga by Jennifer L. Holm
The Wings of Dawn (also published as Magnus) by Sigmund Brouwer
Evening Star (also published as Morning Star) by Sigmund Brouwer
Authentic Beauty by Leslie Ludy
When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy
The Island of the Innocent by Gilbert Morris
A Gown of Spanish Lace by Janette Oke
The Bluebird and the Sparrow by Janette Oke
Where Honor Dwells by Gilbert Morris
The Warlords of Nin by Stephen R. Lawhead ( My Review)
Time Enough for Drums by Ann Rinaldi
Pieces of Silver by Maureen Lang ( My Review)
Cinderellis and the Glass Hill by Gail Carson Levine
The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
The Discovery by Dan Walsh (My Review)
Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke ( My Review )
The Measure of Katie Calloway by Serena Miller (My Review)
And so many more...

And now for the five fortunate blogs:

Amber @ Seasons of Humilty
Jessica Laurie @ My Story Shelf
Patricia @ It's Time to Read Mamaw
Megan @ Faery Tales are Real
Abbi @ Christian Novels

And let me just say, thanks again Rosie :)


I Will Be Gone for Two Weeks, Plus My Weekend Reading Pile 5/25-27/12

Lady Anne's Quest

Hello, today I am here to tell you that I am going to have very limited internet access these next two weeks, I will be grateful to have internet for one hour per week down at the library while I am gone visiting family. One thing that I can promise, though is pictures...when I get back that is! I do have some posts, tours, and reviews scheduled to post while I am gone, so it will almost be like I'm still here. ;) But anyhow, I just thought I'd give you all a heads up about that.

Now onwards to the books!

I just started Lady Anne's Quest last night, and have started to re-familiarize myself with all of the characters. I am very interested to see how this will turn out!

Here's the blurb:

Lady Anne Stone believes her prayers are answered and she’s at last found her long lost uncle. Unwilling to let her meet him on her own, Daniel Adams accompanies her to her uncle’s ranch. But instead of answers, Anne is left with more questions. Both Dan and Anne are convinced the man introduced as her uncle is an imposter and decide to continue the search for the new Earl of Stoneford.

But now the swindler is on their trail, hoping to steal Uncle David’s inheritance. Dan has his hands full trying to protect Anne, but he finds he must guard his heart just as carefully. Even though he’s good at keeping her safe, he knows he’ll never convince Anne to become a farmer’s wife in Oregon when she has her sights set on returning to her home in England. But as Anne’s quest becomes even more difficult — and dangerous — Anne begins to see Dan differently. Will she soon be envisioning a new life in America?

The Ride of Her LifeThe other book I am starting up, is Lorna Seilstad's The Ride of Her Life. I am very excited to give this one a go :)

Here's the blurb:

The only man pragmatic Lilly Hart needs in her life is a six year old. Widowed two years ago, Lilly leaves the shelter of her intrusive in-laws' home to stand on her own and provide for her young son by working for the summer as a cook at Lake Manawa. However, her in-laws find that life utterly unsuitable for their grandson, and when a row ensues, a handsome stranger--who designs roller coasters, of all things--intercedes on her behalf. Still, Lilly is not about to get involved with any man, especially this cocky (though charismatic) gentleman. Little does she know she is about to begin the ride of her life.Filled with delightful characters and the romance of summer, The Ride of Her Life is another supremely entertaining story from the witty Lorna Seilstad. Readers will laugh out loud and sigh contentedly as they spend the summer of 1906 in Lake Manawa.

Well  that's a glimpse of what I'm reading. What are you reading this weekend?



A Love Forbidden by Kathleen Morgan ~ Review

A Love Forbidden: A NovelLucie's Review: A book that grew on me.

Shiloh Wainright comes to The White River Indian Agency with high hopes of being able to make a difference in the lives of the Ute Indians, as a school teacher. But conflicts quickly arise, leaving Shiloh stuck in the middle.
Jesse Blackwater is a man caught between two worlds, left bitter by his past.
History swirls and conflicts rise, will Shiloh and Jesse be able to overcome the trials set before them?

Filled with drama, and lots of tough situations. There were times when I wasn't sure if they were going to find a way out!  I also really liked how historical this book was, based on true happenings, and at the same time that made it a bit tough to read because some parts were rather devastating.

There was alot going on in just one book! Yet at the same time I found it a bit hard to really connect with the characters, because alot of things that really showed us who the characters were happened in the past, bu that might just be me personally. I really admired Shiloh, though, and how she really took the time and effort to make her faith a priority, and she really did put Jesus first in her life, and chose to make the best out of a bad situation.

I think was really what made this book unique was how broadly the cultural lines were drawn, it great poignancy. I would say that this book is more of a historical than a romance, so I think that would be a great thing to know before reading it. Faced with inner and outer struggles, Jesse and Shiloh, fight back with courage, faith and forgiveness. One of the things I will say is that the more I thought about this book after I had finished it, the more it grew on me. A very well done book, indeed. Thanks!

“Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Wish You Were Here by Beth K. Vogt ~ Litfuse Blog Tour & Review

 My Review: A witty tale fraught with romantic tension!

Well written, in an engaging, and enjoyable style, that mixes in a healthy dose of humor, I believe that Ms. Vogt has out done herself with this terrific romantic comedy!

One of this things that I absolutely loved about this book was how well the characters were developed. The characters were described not as much by their looks but how they interacted with each other and reacted to situations, a stellar job of showing and not telling! Another thing that I liked about the characters was how human they were and how it was so easy to picture them in my head. I really liked Allison, and how she wasn't perfect, she had struggles and she faced tough choices. Daniel was the perfect, not-too-perfect hero, with a sort of ruggedness to him. I was even able to sort of sympathize with Seth (the groom that Allison ran away from), because I do think that he truly believed that he loved her.

And yes there was humor! I loved how the characters interacted with each other so believeably, with wit and bits of sarcasm thrown in, making the conversations all the more real. Oh, and I absolutely loved Daniel's cute post cards, that were used in such a way as to really endear Daniel to the readers.

Overall, this is an excellent debut from Beth Vogt. It's actually hard to believe that this is her first book, if I hadn't known I would have said that she has written and published dozens! This is a wonderful book, with great characters, humor, and a subtle depth to it that makes it come to life. If you like watching Chick-Flicks, you will love Wish You Were Here!

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book: Allison Denman is supposed to get married in five days, but everything is all wrong. The huge wedding. The frothy dress. And the groom. Still, kissing the groom's brother in an unguarded moment is decidedly not the right thing to do. How could she have made such a mistake? It seems Allison's life is nothing but mistakes at this point. And pulling a "Runaway Bride" complete with stealing, er, borrowing her best friend's car doesn't seem to solve her problems. Can Allison find her way out of this mess? Maybe she just needs to stop orchestrating everything. Allison prefers being the one in control, and giving it up is not going to be easy. But to find her way again, she will have to believe that God has a plan for her and find the strength to let Him lead.

Buy the Book Here: http://ow.ly/aQTEk

About the Author:
Beth K. Vogt provides her readers with a happily ever after woven through with humor, reality, and God's lavish grace. She's a non-fiction author and editor who said she'd never write fiction. She's the wife of an Air Force physician (now in solo practice) who said she'd never marry a doctor-or anyone in the military. She's a mom of four who said she'd never have kids. Beth has discovered that God's best often waits behind the doors marked "Never." She writes contemporary romance because she believes there's more to happily ever after than the fairy tales tell us. Beth earned a journalism degree from San Jose State University and met her husband Rob when he knocked her down at a karate studio. They've been married for 31 years. They have four children, ranging in ages from 28, 25, 23 and - thanks to a funny thing happening on their way to the empty nest-a 10-year-old. The Vogt Team, which now includes a "daughter-in-love" and "son-in-love," enjoys hiking and camping in Colorado. Read more about Beth at her website:http://bethvogt.com

Check out all the other great stops on this tour: http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/13480251

Celebrate with Beth by entering her Wish You Were Here Giveaway!

One "happy" winner will receive:
  • A brand new iPad with Wi-Fi (The must-have, do-everything gadget!)
  • Wish You Were Here by Beth Vogt (Swoon worthy.)
  • $15 iTunes Gift Card (Music, books, apps, & more.)
Hurry, the giveaway ends on 6/4/12. The winner will be announced 6/6/12 on Beth's website!

Just click one of the icons below to enter! Tell your friends about Beth's giveaway
on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter


Beckon by Tom Pawlik ~ CSFF Blog Tour & Review


My Review: A chilling tale that asks the question, "If you could live virtually forever, would you? And at what cost?"

Jack, Elina, George, and Miriam all find themselves in Beckon, Wyoming. Chilling events and mysterious rituals are plentiful, but are they just a cover for an unspeakable evil?

Beckon was a bit of a slow for me, and at first I worried that maybe this wasn't my type of book, but I was soon proved wrong. No sooner had the thought run through my head then the book really took off! And after that I was turning pages with lightning speed, hanging on each page trying to figure out what would happen next. Because I had to know!

If I was trying to describe this tale I would say that it was like an Indiana Jones tale, with a Dorian Grey twist. Compelling adventure, that will send your heart pounding and the gears of your brain spinning. An adventure that will satisfy even the most hard to please. I think what I like most was how it subtly asked deep questions about life, and living, and how nothing can compare to eternal life in Christ Jesus.

Overall a thrilling, wild ride of a read. There were scenes that were in my mind quite violent, but Mr. Pawlik described them in a way that gave me the complete picture yet at the same time weren't terribly explicit.
This is a book that I would highly recommend to suspense readers. Thank you!

I received this book from the publisher through CSFF in exchange for an honest review.

Buy the book here: http://www.amazon.com/Beckon-Tom-Pawlik/dp/1414338732/

Visit the author here: http://www.tompawlik.com/

On his blog too: http://tompawlik.blogspot.com/

And on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tom-Pawlik/42692434035

And Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/TomPawlik

Check out all the other awesome stops on this tour: 

Noah Arsenault
Julie Bihn
Thomas Clayton Booher
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Beckie Burnham
Brenda Castro
Theresa Dunlap
Nikole Hahn
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Janeen Ippolito
Becky Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Rebekah Loper
Katie McCurdy
Shannon McDermott
Karen McSpadden
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Faye Oygard
Crista Richey
Kathleen Smith
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Shane Werlinger


My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade ~ Litfuse Blog Tour and Review

My Stubborn Heart

My Review: A book that put a smile on my face.

My Stubborn Heart is a charming romance, with a cast of quirky characters. I loved how much of the book had a light humorous tone to it that definitely made me chuckle often.

I just loved the sweet yet at times totally hilarious relationship between two of the side characters, Morty and Velma, it was easily one of my favorite things about this book. And I really liked how Matt and Kate's relationship progressed naturally and how she really drew him out of the shell he'd been in. The book had a nice everyday feel to it, it wasn't like a pile of drama, but it had a sweet charm to it.

While this was a book that I did enjoy, there were some things that prevented me from all out loving it. There were times when the characters said or thought, words that are considered cursing at my house and though it wasn't like all out cussing or anything, I just didn't think that certain words were necessary for the flow or arch of the story.

Overall I think that this was a charming debut, that had a nice depth to it with Matt's past, and I just loved the characters! Gran was pretty good at getting people to agree to what she requested, and all the while she was a lady about it :) I think my favorite part of the story was how Matt and Kate hung out with older folks, and it was cool. And I think that cross generation friendships are really one of the big things that are missing in today's world so it was great to see Kate and Matt forging those bonds. My Stubborn Heart is a promising debut from Becky Wade and I will most definitely be looking for books form her in the future!

I received this book from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!

Buy the Book Here!

About the Book:

Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When her grandmother asks her to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.

Upon her arrival in Redbud, Kate meets Matt Jarreau, the man hired to renovate the house. Kate can't help being attracted to him, drawn by both his good looks and something else she can't quite put her finger on. He's clearly wounded--hiding from people, from God, and from his past. Yet Kate sets her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light...whether he likes it or not.

When the stilted, uncomfortable interactions between Kate and Matt slowly shift into something more, is God finally answering the longing of her heart? Or will Kate be required to give up more than she ever dreamed?

About the Author:

During her childhood in California, Becky frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins. These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending. She's been a fan of all things romantic ever since.

Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in Dallas, Texas. It was during her years abroad that Becky's passion for reading turned into a passion for writing. She published three historical romances with Avon Books, then put her career on hold for several years to care for her kids, then recently returned to writing sheerly for the love of it. She felt led to move to the genre of contemporary Christian romance and couldn't be more thrilled with it.

These days Becky can be found failing but trying to keep up with her housework, sweating at the gym, carting her kids around town, playing tennis, hunched over her computer, eating chocolate, or collapsed on the sofa watching TV with her husband.

Learn more at: www.BeckyWade.com

You can check out all the other great stops on this tour here : http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/13491775/beckywade

Win a Nook Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™ in Becky Wade's My Stubborn Heart Giveaway and RSVP for FB Party {5/24}!

Celebrate with Becky by entering her My Stubborn Heart Giveaway and connecting with her during the Author Chat Party on 5/24!

One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A Brand New Nook Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™
  • A $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Certificate
  • A copy of My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on May 24th. Winner will be announced at the "My Stubborn Heart" Author Chat Facebook Party on 5/24. Becky will be hosting an book chat, testing your trivia skills and giving away some great prizes!

So grab your copy of My Stubborn Heart and join Becky on the evening of the May 24th for a chance to meet Becky and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook Enter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 24th!


What I'm Reading ~ Weekend 5/18-20/12

Hello all! Here we are again, and boy do I have some reading to do! Yesterday I received probably a record of seven books in the mail, so as you can imagine, and I'm sure relate to, I am scrambling for shelf space!

The Key on the QuiltI am very happily busy helping to prepare for out church's Summer Reading Program! My brother and I are so excited!

So we'll see what I can finish up this weekend! So onward to the books!

First up is The Key on the Quilt by Stephanie Grace Whitson, which I am really enjoying right now, and I was happy to see Ms. Whitson return to her Nebraska roots with this book after A Most Unsuitable Match. One thing that is really interesting is that it is set in a prison!

Here's the blurb:
Enter a historic Nebraskan prison where three women find betrayal, love, and ultimate truth. Jane Prescott is serving a ten-year sentence for murder. Can a broken spirit be healed behind bars? Matron Mamie Dawson feels called to help the wounded women in her charge. Will a guard's attentions keep her from her mission? Warden's wife Ellen Sullivan has changed her preconceptions about these female prisoners. Will it be enough to save her from a life-or-death situation? Will the cryptic quilt connecting their lives expose the truth of one woman's past and ensure a better future for them all?

My Stubborn HeartI just started My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade, and I have heard alot of mixed reviews about this one so I am very interested to read it for myself and find out exactily what everyone is talking about. LOL!

Here's the blurb:
Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When her grandmother
asks Kate to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance,
takes a leave of absence from her job as a social worker, and the two of them set off.
Upon her arrival in Redbud, Kate meets Matt Jarreau, the man her grandmother has hired to renovate the house. From the first moment
she meets Matt, Kate can't help but be attracted to him--he's got a combination of good looks and charisma that draw and tug at her. But she knows there's zero chance of a romance between them. Matt's in love with his dead wife, and even if he weren't, Kate realizes that she's way too ordinary for him. For Matt Jarreau is no ordinary guy. Kate discovers that he was once a great NHL hockey player who left the sport when his wife--an honest-to-goodness former Miss America--was diagnosed with brain cancer. Matt's been hiding from people, from God, and from his past ever since. Yet Kate is absolutely determined to befriend him, to try to reach him, to help him in some small way.
No, Kate's not looking for love. She knows better than that by now. But when the stilted, uncomfortable interactions between Kate and
Matt slowly shift into something more, is God finally answering the longing of her heart? Or will Kate be required to give up more than she
ever dreamed?

BeckonAnd for my third pick, Beckon by Tom Pawlik. I'm very excited to read this thriller, I have heard great things about this author, and am very much looking forward to reading it, though I have heard somethings are rather ... weird.

Here's the blurb:
Some things weren't meant to be discovered. Three people are each drawn to the small town of Beckon, Wyoming. A young anthropologist researches a Native American legend and makes a terrifying discovery. An ex-cop investigating her cousin's disappearance finds herself in grave peril. And an aging businessman is lured by the promise of a miracle. One by one they discover the town's ghastly secret. The only question is . . . will any of them make it out alive?

So what are you reading? You know I'd love to hear about it :)
Have an awesome weekend!