Monday, October 31, 2011

A Stellar Book & Giveaway

UPDATE Sunday 11/6/11 10:10 PM WINNER!

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Timestamp: 2011-11-07 04:08:46 UTC

Congrats to auburnchick! Email me your address and I'll send the book your way!


* * * * *

Back in August, I shared my brief interview with Nancy Rue following the Christy Awards, where she received awards for two different books, her Young Adult novel Motorcycles, Sushi, and One Strange Book, and the first book in her new series, The Reluctant Prophet. (You can read that interview here.) At the time, I was eagerly awaiting the October release of book two, Unexpected Dismounts, which I purchased as soon as it was available and absolutely inhaled it. I've been eager to tell you about it, and one of you will receive a copy of this phenomenal book!

Unexpected Dismounts
Nancy Rue
(David C Cook)
ISBN: 978-1434764928
October 2011/464 pages/$14.99

Allison Chamberlain thought she was doing everything God required of her-but as her journey continues in the second book of The Reluctant Prophet series, she might have to let go of everything she loves to follow the call.

Allison is already taking care of five former prostitutes, trying to adopt an orphan, and helping a woman who's been raped. Along the way, she experiences unexpected dismounts, as every Harley owner who risks the ride eventually does. A relative challenges the adoption. An influential businessman blocks her ministry. Her beloved Chief is seriously injured. A piece of her past adds even more turmoil. As she picks herself up again and again, Allison realizes that some are guilty of terrible wrongs-but everyone must be responsible for righting them.

Nancy Rue is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 100 books for adults and teens, including The Reluctant Prophet, which won the 2011 Christy Award for Contemporary Series; Motorcycles, Sushi, and One Strange Book, the 2011 Christy Award winner in the Young Adult category; and Healing Waters, which was a 2009 Women of Faith Novel of the Year and ECPA 2010 Christian Book Award Finalist. Nancy travels extensively---at times on the back of a Harley Davidson---speaking and teaching to groups of `tween girls and their moms and mentoring aspiring Christian authors. She lives on a lake in Tennessee with her Harley-ridin' husband Jim and their two yellow labs (without whom writing would be difficult.)

Join Nancy at her blog as she continues to contemplate what it means to follow The Nudge.

If you know someone who looks down their nose at reading Christian fiction and says, "I only read non-fiction," I suggest you give them a copy of this series! I've not read many, if any, books that so clearly demonstrate what following Christ truly means as this series does. Unexpected Dismounts continues the story of Allison as she follows the Nudge God gave her, leading her to buy a Harley and open a home to help prostitutes begin a new life. Now she is facing some rather daunting challenges (some "unexpected dismounts," as they call them in the world of Harleys) and other than one new Nudge (which God must surely intend only to be followed in a theoretical, as opposed to literal, sense!) she finds Him to be rather silent. There's nothing quite like going out on a limb with and for God and then feeling like you're stranded there. . . .especially when almost everyone around you pretty much thinks you're crazy for being there in the first place! Including those who profess to be Christians, who just want Allison to get over this phase and get back in her pew and behave like a "normal" Christian. Allison must decide which is worse: for people to judge her for hearing and following God's voice, or for her to decide the cost is too great and close her ears and her heart to His nudges. Nancy Rue has definitely heard some nudges of her own in writing this series. This is not your typical "safe" Christian fiction. But come to think of it, the Christian life was never guaranteed to be "safe." From a strictly literary sense, this is a phenomenal book. Several times as I read, I stopped and thought, "where does she come up with this stuff?!" The characters and the interactions between them are so well-done that I truly felt as if I might encounter them in real life. But the spiritual dimension utterly transforms it from simply a "good read" to one that will challenge you to follow the Nudge that God is giving you. Don't miss this book and this series.

I am giving away my purchased copy of this book, which is in pristine condition, to one of you. To enter, leave a comment on this post by 8:00 pm CST Sunday, 11/6/11 and a wiinner will be randomly chosen (Be sure to change your clocks and fall back next weekend!) Be sure to include an email address if you don't have a blog. US residents only, please.


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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Wait No More

Wait No More:
One Family's Amazing Adoption Journey

Kelly & John Rosati
ISBN: 978-1589976535
November 2011/102 pages/$13.99

There are over 130 million orphans worldwide. The pro-life/pro-choice debate continues to consume politics and everyday conversations. Readers want to know what they can do to make a difference on these issues. Wait No More tells Kelly and John Rosati’s story of experiencing God more fully through the great blessings and challenges encountered during their journey to adopt four children from the U.S. foster care system. It is a story of God’s faithfulness to grow a beautiful family, through adoption, from the ashes of child abuse, neglect, and abandonment. The Rosatis strongly believe that God’s solution for orphaned children in the foster care system involves ordinary Christians desiring to live out an authentic pro-life commitment requiring action, not just words. Their story reveals how their beliefs challenged, enriched, and completely changed their family’s life.


Kelly Rosati is the vice president of Community Outreach at Focus on the Family where she oversees the Adoption & Orphan Care Initiative and the Sanctity of Human Life Division. An attorney by training, Mrs. Rosati served as the executive director of Hawaii Family Forum for 10 years.

John Rosati is a U.S. Air Force retiree who is currently pursuing a master's degree in human resources. John and Kelly are co-authors of the book Wait No More and have four adopted children.


This is an inspiring, encouraging, and convicting book; the Rosatis are a testimony of God's faithfulness and love and you will be touched reading about the blessings they have reaped as a result of their obedience in opening their hearts and their home to the children who now call them Mom and Dad. But what made me appreciate them the most and know they are the "real deal" is not the beautiful pictures taken on each Adoption Finalization Day, nor the descriptions of the days they met each child and felt the first stirrings of love within their hearts. Rather, it was the authenticity of this book---their honest sharing about the struggles they encountered, the doubts they had along the way, even the lack of attachment they struggled with at times. Christians can so easily paint a rosy "it's all wonderful" picture of following God, and I appreciated their openness in sharing that, while they can't imagine life without any of their four children, there were days that they wondered how they would survive the process. Don't miss the opportunity to get to know this special family. And then prayerfully consider how God might use you to make a difference in the life of a child who has no one to love him or her.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Saturday, October 29, 2011

TSMSS - Thy Word

This may be one of my favorite Amy Grant songs. It's one of her earlier ones, and its simplicity and chorus straight from Scripture speaks to me every time I hear it.

You'll find more songs at Amy's.


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Friday, October 28, 2011

Guest Blogger Today!

For many, the next three days will be an innocent time enjoyed with family and friends and full of creative costumes, games, and lots of candy. Others will completely shun anything to do with the mere mention of Halloween. And still others will dabble in or fully embrace the darkness and evil that exists not only on October 31st, but every day. Please join me in welcoming my guest blogger, author Melody Carlson, as she discusses the vulnerability of teens to supernatural forces.

Teens and Their Supernatural Pursuits
by Melody Carlson

Have you even wondered why some teens are drawn toward things like Ouija boards or psychics? Or why séances are still popular at sleepovers? Does it just have to do with Halloween and that spine-chilling need for a good scare? Or could it be something more? And, as a Christian, should you be concerned?

Those questions, as well as some confused reader letters, prompted me to tackle the “supernatural” in one of my teen novels (Moon White, TrueColors, Nav Press). And whenever I write an issues-based novel, I’m forced to research—and often in some dark places. So I began scouring websites, learning more about Wicca and the occult, trying to grasp what was really going on with today’s teens—and how I could write about it in a helpful and relevant way.

But, as usual, when I write a teen book, I go back to my own adolescence...trying to connect with my inner teen...and I suddenly remembered a short era when a friend and I got very interested in witchcraft. I had honestly forgotten about this time and was fascinated to recall how we scoured some witchcraft stores on a local campus—I think we even purchased a few things. Fortunately, this interest was short-lived and I became a Christian not long afterward.

However, as I reconnected with my inner teen, I had to ask myself—why had I looked into witchcraft back then? Why do teens dabble with it now? Suddenly the answer became crystal clear. I was searching. I’d been calling myself an atheist for several years by then, but I was spiritually hungry—starving in fact. Consequently I was looking for spiritual answers—something that would fill that empty void within me. I wanted a supernatural force in my life and I didn’t even care where it came from. I needed something bigger than me, more powerful than me, something to hold onto. I had no idea at the time that I was really searching for God.

This realization changed the way I viewed my research. Instead of feeling disgusted and dismayed by the witchcraft/Wicca sites (which are not particularly enjoyable) I began to recognize that these people (mostly girls) were simply searching too. They wanted a power source in their lives just like I wanted one in mine. They just hadn’t found God yet.

This led to another discovery. A girl who’s attracted to a religion like Wicca is usually seeking to gain some control over her life. Something is wrong and she wants to change it. To do so, she’s often enticed to purchase something—like “magical herbs”—to create a potion that will give her some control over her situation. Unfortunately, she doesn’t even realize she’s being tricked.

But think about it, wouldn’t you love to have control over a bad situation sometimes? Wouldn’t you love to be able to change the circumstances that make your life unpleasant? So what if someone offered you the “power” to do just that? Perhaps if you’re fifteen, you wouldn’t see that person as a charlatan and you would fall for it.

Which brings me to another important factor in understanding this generation’s attraction to the supernatural. Follow the money. The more I researched, the more it became painfully obvious that Wicca and witchcraft and the occult are money-making enterprises. Thanks to the internet, these savvy distributors sell anything imaginable—and many things you can’t. That leads to some serious motivation—these marketers want to hook their unsuspecting young customers and reel them in. Of course, these potions and trinkets and how-to books don’t come with a money-back guarantee. Nor are they approved by the FDA. Yet they are a multi-million dollar industry.

So, in a way, it’s a perfect storm. Teens that are insecure, lost, unhappy, and up with an unregulated industry that offers supernatural answers and power and control...for a price. And, oh yeah, I never even mentioned how this opens a door for Satan to slip in and wreak havoc. For’ll have to read the book.


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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Three Things on Thursday

This made me pause:

A pharisee is hard on others and easy on himself, but a spiritual man is easy on others and hard on himself. -A.W. Tozer

This made me laugh:

And the recipe for these cookies made me want to bake, eat, and gain back every pound I've lost in the last few months!

Have a great Thursday!


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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spooky Wednesday Hodgepodge

Apparently, this is the 50th Wednesday Hodgepodge. Wow! Way to go, Joyce!

1. What gives you goosebumps?

God moments, when you experience or hear about something that is so obviously orchestrated by Him.

And being cold.

2. Halloween-are you a lover or a hater? Okay, that sounds harsh...Halloween-yay or nay?

I'm relatively neutral, with a little more toward the nay. Not for any philosophical reason but because I never was creative with the whole costume deal. I dreaded that every year when my kids were little. I couldn't bring myself to spend all that money on a costume, but I just wasn't clever enough or crafty enough to come up with something cute. And my kids didn't even like a lot of the candy they got, especially my boy.

3. Can you respect someone you do not trust, and can you trust someone you do not respect?

I'd say no to both. Those traits are pretty closely connected.

4. Apples or oranges? Yes, you have to choose.

Wow, brutal choice. Apples. Crunchier and easier to eat.

5. What is something you wish was in your town? (shop, restaurant, attraction, etc)

I've always heard about In-N-Out Burgers and wanted to try one. They've actually got some in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area now, so maybe they'll work their way down here.

6. What non-food item is in your refrigerator or freezer?

One of those frosty mugs. And an ice pack, of course.

7. Are you at all superstitious?

I'd say no, but that might jinx me!

No, seriously, I'm not, and it's a good thing, because I'd be way too OCD about it!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Be sure to come back Friday for a timely guest blog post by an author!


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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lonestar Angel

Lonestar Angel
Colleen Coble
(Thomas Nelson)
ISBN: 978-1595542694
October 2011/352 pages/$15.99

Eden’s hope is rekindled when Clay delivers astounding news: their baby girl has been found.

Five years ago Eden and Clay Larson’s baby was stolen. When they went to pay the ransom, what happened changed their lives forever—the kidnapper’s car with Baby Brianna inside sunk deep into the river. Eden blamed herself, Clay lost himself in work. Their young and rocky marriage ended. Or so Eden thought.

Now Eden’s moved to a new town. She’s found faith and is trying to rebuild her life. She’s even dating again—a sweet guy named Kent who plans to marry her. But then Clay arrives out of the blue and delivers shocking news: he never signed their divorce papers, so they’re still married. What’s more, Clay has been searching for Brianna all this time. And he believes he’s found her: their daughter is in Bluebird, Texas, at a youth ranch. All five little girls there are the right age—he’s just not sure which one is Brianna. Or how she survived.

To uncover the truth, Eden and Clay sign on as counselors at Bluebird Ranch. They move into small quarters in the bunkhouse and oversee the kids as they try to find out more. Working together, they rediscover their love for each other. But danger is closing in—Eden, Clay, and all their young charges are in jeopardy. As they fight to save their family, Eden realizes that God has been fighting for them all along. And His plans are for a more abundant life than they’d ever hoped.

Best-selling author Colleen Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Book of the Year, RWA’s RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana. Get to know her better at her website (, Twitter (@colleencoble), and Facebook (Colleen Coble).

I always look forward to a book by Colleen Coble, and this one was so good that I stayed up way too late Friday night to finish it! Set in Texas, Colleen has expertly woven a captivating heart-pounding story, combining suspense with conflicted romance, and then tossing five precious, tug-at-your-heartstrings little girls into the mix! I felt the entire gamut of emotions while reading this book. Just like Eden and Clay, I kept changing my mind which girl I thought -- and hoped! -- was their Brianna. This is a wonderful, spell-binding tale of love, new beginnings, and trusting God. Lonestar Angel is a must-read!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Monday, October 24, 2011

FIRST - At the Throne of Grace

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:

At the Throne of Grace: A Book of Prayers

Harvest House Publishers; Abridged edition (October 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karri James | Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


John MacArthur is the pastor–teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California; president of The Master’s College & Seminary; and featured teacher for the Grace to You media ministry. Weekly telecasts and daily radio broadcasts of “Grace to You” are seen and heard by millions worldwide. John has also written several bestselling books, including The MacArthur Study Bible, The Gospel According to Jesus, The New Testament Commentary series, Twelve Ordinary Men, and The Truth War. He and his wife, Patricia, have four married children and fifteen grandchildren.

Visit the author's website.


Announcing a special new release from Bible teacher John MacArthur…a select collection of powerful Scripture readings and prayers that inspire heartfelt communion with God and gratitude for all that He is and has done for us.

For more than 40 years, John MacArthur has steadfastly committed himself to the careful and faithful teaching of God’s Word. A key outgrowth of his study of Scripture is the profoundly God-centered prayers that precede his sermons.

John’s prayers are the offerings of a heart that is fully committed to honoring God, proclaiming and obeying His Word, and calling others to do the same. In this book, prayers and Scripture readings from across his years of ministry have been brought together to stir Christians toward more meaningful and edifying communion with God.

This book will guide readers, in the most intimate way possible, before God’s throne of grace…giving them a renewed passion and appreciation for their Lord.

Product Details:

List Price: $22.99
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Abridged edition (October 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736938400
ISBN-13: 978-0736938402


Adoring Our
Advocate Unreservedly

1 John 2:1-19

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining.

The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.

Our Gracious God, we thank You for our heavenly Advocate,

Jesus Christ the righteous, whose death on the cross

made propitiation for all our sins—

perfectly satisfying every demand of Your holy justice.

It is He who brought us

out of guilt and into forgiveness,

out of darkness into light,

out of our rebellion and into Your love,

out of death and into life.

He delivered us from this evil world, into Your glorious kingdom.

How we praise You for the wonder of Your love in Jesus Christ!

We thank You for sending Your Son, the Incarnate One,

who was despised, rejected, beaten, mocked, and crucified—

all in order to atone for our sin.

In Him Your love has outloved all other loves.

Your mercy extends beyond comprehension to sinners

with complete and permanent forgiveness of our sins

through faith in Jesus Christ.

We therefore long to love You with a love like Yours.

We know that is not possible, so with the apostle Peter

we plead that You would know our hearts, knowing we truly love You

in spite of what it often looks like.

Our hearts are too much like stone; we ask that

You melt them with Your grace.

Our private lives are too often gated and locked as if we could shut You out

and thereby do what we want.

Help us throw open the door and lose the key! May Your will rule our lives.

We worship You, Father, for Your great love and the gift of Jesus Christ,

Your only-begotten Son, which is to say God the Son.

We praise You, Lord Jesus, for the wondrous gift of salvation

You provided for us.

We adore You, blessed Spirit, for revealing to us the truth of the gospel

and for making our hearts Your dwelling place.

Heavenly Father, in us may Your Son see the fruit of His soul’s anguish and be glad.

Bring us away from all that we falsely trust,

and teach us to rest only in Him.

Never let us be calloused to the astonishing greatness of the gift of salvation.

May we pursue sanctification—ever-increasing holiness—with all our might!

Lord Jesus, Master, Redeemer, Savior, take possession of every part of our lives—

Yours by right through purchase.

Sanctify every faculty.

Fill our hearts with hope.

May we flee the many temptations that relentlessly hound us
and mortify the sins that continually plague us.

May there be no hypocrisy in us.

Help us trust You in the hour of distress.

Protect us when evildoers pursue us.

And deliver us from the evil of this present world.

Dear Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow,

we confess that You alone are the giver of every good and perfect gift,

and You have given us so many things,

richly supplying us with things to enjoy.

And we are reminded by the passage we have just read that

the greatest gift of all is Your Son, Jesus Christ,

who sacrificed His very life in order that

we might be freed from sin’s bondage.

Fill our hearts with gratitude, and may our lives

reflect overflowing thankfulness

so that all who see may honor You.

In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.


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Saturday, October 22, 2011

TSMSS - The Basics of Life

I really liked the group 4Him when they were together, and this was one of my favorites that they sang. It still is as true today as it was when written way back in 1992!

Visit Amy's for more music!


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Friday, October 21, 2011

An Amazing True Story That Will Inspire You!

Hope Underground:
The 34 Chilean Miners—A Story of Faith and Miracles

by Carlos Parra Diaz (as told to Mario Veloso & Jeanette Windle)
(Imago Dei Books)
ISBN: 978-0-9869799-5-8
October, 2011/157 pages/$14.99

For several suspenseful hours on October 13, 2010, the attention of the entire world lay centered on a solitary spot in the Chilean desert. It was there that 33 trapped miners emerged to fresh air and freedom and the eager embrace of jubilant family and friends, after having spent ten weeks entombed one-half mile underground. Their emergence brought an end to the greatest mine rescue of all time.

As told to writers Mario Veloso and Jeanette Windle, Hope Underground: The 34 Chilean Miners—A Story of Faith and Miracles (Imago Dei Books) records the personal journey and spiritual involvement of a local, unassuming minister with the miners and their families. In a series of circumstances that would change his life forever, Pastor Carlos Parra Diaz rose to prominence as he became the influential chaplain of Camp Hope—a makeshift tent community established not far from the site of the mine collapse.

Yet Hope Underground is clearly more than just Pastor Parra’s story. Rather, it is the story of all who came together at Camp Hope focused on asking God to do a mighty work on behalf of the miners and the overwhelming evidence of His response that followed. Told simply and from the heart, Pastor Parra describes not only his own involvement with the families at Camp Hope but also introduces the reader to those miners, family members and officials who extracted nuggets of hope from the situation and then used them to instill faith in others.

For most people, this spectacular rescue is already yesterday’s news. However, for the millions who prayed for a miracle, this event has become a spiritual heritage for the whole world, a stirring reminder that God listens to the pleas of His children.

Readers are introduced to women like Maria Segovia, the “mayor” of Camp Hope, whose quiet strength and steadfast faith daily encouraged others. We meet the miner whose wife gave birth to their first child during the ten-week ordeal—a daughter they named Esperanza (which means Hope). And no reader will soon forget the youngest miner who boldly insisted there were 34 in the mine instead of 33 because, as he explained, “God never abandoned us.”

Though on its own, the story of his involvement would provide fascinating reading, what Pastor Parra gives us in Hope Underground is so much more. With humility and reverence, he leads us through the story of Camp Hope to a new realization that God remains a never failing presence to everyone willing to call upon His name.

Although I remember the Chilean mine collapse, I did not pay that much attention to it at the time it occurred. After reading this book, I wish I had. Pastor Parra has documented an event that God used to demonstrate His power and move hearts of individuals, not only in Chile but around the world. Far from the world of mega-churches, televangelists, and sold-out contemporary Christian music concerts, 33 miners and their families united in prayer asking for a miracle, believing God could not only preserve the lives of the miners but could impact the very equipment being used in their rescue. While books of this nature can sometimes be a bit dry and can drift into trying to explain why God acts in certain ways (and end with those involved suddenly developing huge "ministries" that actually turn the focus from God to themselves), this is a refreshingly authentic and humble book. Pastor Parra and others, like "mayor" Maria Segovia, faithfully served in such an important way during the crisis and then quietly returned to their previous lives, forever changed by what happened during those 69 days in 2010 but seeking only God's favor, content with where He has placed them. This book will encourage and inspire you - I highly recommend it!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from The B&B Media Companyl as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Marvelous Depiction

His Steadfast Love
Golden Keyes Parsons
(Thomas Nelson)
ISBN: 978-1595546296
October, 2011/320 pages/$15.99

The Civil War - a defining time of great sacrifice, change, and betrayal which determined the fate of the Nation.

It isn’t until it comes into her very home that Amanda Belle must face impossible choices of love, loss, and loyalty.

It's the spring of 1861 on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Although Amanda never thought she would marry because of her promise she made to her dying mother, her attraction to Captain Kent Littlefield is undeniable.

When Texas secedes from the Union, her brother Daniel marches off to war to fight for the Confederate States and Kent remains with the Union troops.

Her heart is torn between the two men she loves and the two sides of the conflict. When she turns to God for help, Amanda expects direction and support, but hears nothing. Is God listening to her anymore? Where is God in the atrocities of war—and whose side is He on?

Amanda senses her life is at a turning point. But she must trust God to bring her family through the chaos that threatens her home, her family, and the beloved state of Texas . . . with her heart, and her faith, intact.


Golden Keyes Parsons is the author of the highly acclaimed Darkness to Light series. She's been nominated for several awards, including the ACFW Book of the Year. She and her family live in Texas.

The Civil War era has always been one of my favorite settings for fiction, yet truth be told, there is nothing beautiful and romantic about this tragic and horrific time in our nation's history. His Steadfast Love portrays the heartbreak experienced by so many during this dark period as Amanda's heart is torn between her brother, who wears Confederate gray, and Captain Kent Littlefield, in Union blue. Golden Keyes Parsons has woven a story full of passion - and I don't use that word merely in the romantic sense, but in the emotionally charged atmosphere of the time. On top of it all, Amanda, who has been sheltered and protected as many genteel ladies were in that generation, has her eyes opened to the reality that, as benevolent as her father is toward the family's slaves, they are still slaves and not family, including her dear friend whom she grew up playing alongside. A unique aspect of this book which sets it apart from many in this genre is that Amanda and her family live on the Texas Gulf Coast; besides being a personal plus to this native Texan, it provided a perspective not often given in such novels. I also appreciated how the aspect of faith was handled, not as a cookie-cutter solution; the author bravely has Amanda and others wrestle with how God responds when opposing sides seek His favor and believe their cause is the "right" one. Chapter one opens with a wonderful quote from Abraham Lincoln: "My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side." This is one of the best stories of this era that I have read. I absolutely loved it and highly recommend it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge on A Fall Morning

Just so y'all know, fall has finally arrived in Texas! In fact, this morning it's downright nippy with the temperature dipping down into the 40's! I'm pulling out my denim jacket and making soup for dinner!

1. How do you typically react in a sudden, extreme, pressure-filled crisis? Would we want you nearby in an emergency?

I usually go into organizational, get-it-done mode. Yes, you would want me nearby, especially if it were a medical emergency. I can see big pictures and anticipate problems.

On the other hand, if the "sudden, extreme, pressure-filled crisis" were something like a snake in the house or yard, or some other uninvited non-human creature (or even some human ones!), then all bets are off!

2. Caramel apple-caramel sundae-caramel corn-caramel macchiato...of the four, which carmel treat would you choose?

Caramel corn. Especially if it's the Boy Scout Caramel Corn with nuts!

3. Is there such a thing as destiny? Explain.

You mean this kind of destiny?!

Uh, I don't think so!

But this kind? Absolutely!

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

. . .being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

4. What's your favorite piece of furniture? I'm referring to something currently in your possession as opposed to something on your wish list.

I really love my leather recliner. It's "my space."

I also really, really, really love our grand piano, which was my wedding gift from my man way back when. But I don't think of a piano as "furniture." It is so much more than that!

5. Wednesday night marks the start of the 2011 Baseball World Series. Did you know? Do you care? Will you be watching? Ever been to a professional baseball game? If you're not an American do you find the title 'World Series' annoying or amusing?

a. Vaguely - I knew it was soon.
b. Not really.
c. No.
d. Yes, as a child - Houston Astros.
e. I AM an American and I have still always thought it was funny that it is called the World Series when all the teams are essentially US (are there still a couple of Canadian teams? See how much I pay attention?!)

6. A sound that takes me back to my childhood is____________.

Cicadas and lawnmowers on a summer evening.

7. On average, once you've linked your hodgepodge post to mine how many other participant blogs do you visit? Do you ever come back to the Hodgepodge later in the day or even the day after to read posts?

Oh, now Joyce is going to start prying and pulling out confessions! Is she trying for the death of the Hodgepodge?! To be honest, I have been a horrible Hodgepodge hopper lately. Ever since life kinda imploded in the spring with everything going on in my life, I have barely been getting my own posts written. I have not been able to visit other blogs nearly as much as I would like to. i miss that. I miss the camaraderie and the fellowship, not to mention the witty answers each Wednesday! I try to pop in on a few blogs at some point for the Hodgepodge, but I have been way too invisible. I appreciate those of you who still visit my blog more than you can possibly know!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Saw this on Barbara H's blog and it cracked me up. Had to swipe it for my random thought!


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FIRST - A Dime a Dozen

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

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

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

A Dime a Dozen

Harvest House Publishers; Reprint edition (October 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karri James | Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Mindy Starns Clark is the author of many books (more than 450,000 copies sold), which include A Pocket Guide to Amish Life, Shadows of Lancaster County, Whispers of the Bayou, and The Amish Midwife. In addition, Mindy is a popular inspirational speaker and playwright.

Visit the author's website.


Fast-paced and inspirational, The Million Dollar Mystery series is from bestselling author Mindy Starns Clark.

Attorney Callie Webber investigates nonprofit organizations for the J.O.S.H.U.A. Foundation and awards the best of them grants up to a million dollars. In this series, Callie comes across a mystery she must solve using her skills as a former private investigator. A young widow, Callie finds strength in her faith in God and joy in her relationship with her employer, Tom.

In book number three of The Million Dollar Mystery series, Callie suddenly finds herself involved in the life of a young wife and mother whose husband has disappeared…possibly the victim of foul play.

Callie has come to the beautiful Smoky Mountains hoping to award a million-dollar grant to the charity set up in the woman’s late husband’s honor. But in the search for a missing migrant worker, a body is discovered, which puts the grant on hold and her new romance with her mysterious boss in peril. Trusting in God, Callie forges steadily ahead through a mire of clues that lead her deeper and deeper into danger.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Reprint edition (October 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736929584
ISBN-13: 978-0736929585


Mindy Starns Clark always writes a good story. Somehow I missed the first two books in this series, but I was able to enjoy this one as a stand-alone. In fact, I didn't even realize it was part of a series until I had finished reading it! There were plenty of twists and turns in this mystery that kept me from guessing what the resolution would be. With its setting of apple harvesting, this is a perfect book for fall, especially if you enjoy some warm apple pie or cobbler while reading it!


I’d never been part of a sting before. Sure, I’d blown the whistle on some defrauders in the past, and I had seen more than one person arrested because of felonious deeds I had brought to light. But this time was different. This time the crime was still in the process of being committed. Worse than that, most of the people at this party were involved.

I stood near French doors that led to the patio, holding a soda in my hand and looking out through the glass at the pool sparkling in the cool March afternoon. Behind the pool was a small lawn dotted here and there with ornamental groupings of shrubbery and plants, all surrounded by a high, thick hedge. I knew that a team of cops was on the other side of that hedge, ready to enter from every direction as soon as I gave the signal.

“Callie, would you like a hamburger? Maybe a hot dog?”

My hostess appeared in front of me bearing a platter of raw meat shaped into patties, and I assumed she was on her way back outside to the grill. My eyes focused on the marbled beef, and then at her expectant face. She was the very picture of charm and hospitality. Oh, and theft.

“No, thank you,” I said, forcing a smile. “I’m fine.”

Her hands were full, so I opened the door to let her out. Music poured into the house, compliments of large speakers mounted under the eaves.

“You should come too,” she urged loudly as she handed the platter off to her husband, Skipper. “It’s a gorgeous day.”

“In a while, perhaps,” I said as I let the door fall shut between us. She turned her attention to a group of guests near the pool, and as she worked the crowd I thought, You don’t want me to go outside, Winnie. The last thing you want me to do is go outside.

I glanced at my watch, wondering how much longer this would take. The police had instructed me to wait until all of the elements had fallen into place, and so far that hadn’t happened. The tension was getting to me, so I set my glass on a nearby countertop and made my way through the small crowd in the kitchen to the upstairs bathroom. I needed to be alone, to catch my breath, to make a call.

Once I was locked inside, I pulled out my cell phone and dialed the number of the police captain. He knew it was me and that I couldn’t say much on my end for fear of being overheard.

“Looks like things are moving along as expected,” he said.


“Have they brought out the hamburgers yet?”

“Oh, yes. Everything’s in full swing.”

He chuckled into the phone.

“I hope they’re enjoying it while they can,” he said.

“They seem to be.”

“We’re all set on our end. Soon as the guy shows up, we’ll text you.”

“I’ll be ready.”

“You found the garage?” he asked.



“Except for the boxes in the freezer.”

“Perfect. Simply perfect. Hang in there, kid. We’re on the homestretch.”

I hung up the phone and slid it into my pocket, wondering if all would go off as planned. There were so many elements coming into play here, and it was important that they close in at the moment when we could nab the greatest number of guilty parties. I shook my head, marveling at the situation I now found myself in. This wasn’t how I usually spent my Saturday afternoons!

As the Director of Research for the J.O.S.H.U.A. Foundation, my job was to investigate charitable organizations in order to verify their suitability for a grant. I had come here to get a closer look at Dinner Time, a food bank and soup kitchen for the homeless in a suburb of San Francisco. I had gone “undercover” by posing as a volunteer to get a good look at the organization from the inside. Almost immediately, however, I realized there was something stinky in the sauce. Dinner Time may have been providing food to the homeless, but it was also providing a handy second income to its founders and many of its employees by way of food donations that were ending up in places other than on Dinner Time’s tables.

Even this party was an appalling, blatant display of theft, and, according to my source, they had similar such events every few months. From the chips and hamburgers to the condiments, most of the food being consumed here today had actually been donated to the charity, intended for the poor. Instead, our hosts had simply loaded many of the boxes into their cars and driven the food home for this impromptu party. Any minute now a local food supplier would show up and collect his share of the take, which was waiting for him in the garage. Unbeknownst to any of them, however, much of the donated food this time was marked, from the codes printed on the bottom of the mustard bottles to the labels on the frozen steaks in the freezer.

A knock on the bathroom door startled me from my thoughts.

“Just a minute,” I called, and then I washed my hands in the sink and glanced at my reflection in the mirror. My own image still surprised me sometimes. Four months ago I had gone from having long hair to short, from wearing my hair in a tight chignon at the back of my neck to having just enough length to frame my face and touch at my collar. I liked the new look, both because of the years it seemed to take from my features and the way it worked with my usual attire of suits and dresses. I’d spent this week in more casual clothes, however, and today was no exception. I had on jeans and a lightly knit tan shirt, and I felt I looked the part I was playing—that of a woman interested in some simple volunteer work at the local soup kitchen. Little did they know that I was something much more threatening: an investigator with a mission to ferret out the bad guys in the nonprofit world and bring them all to justice!

I opened the bathroom door and found a familiar face waiting to get in, an employee of Dinner Time named Clement Jackson.

“Oh, hey, Callie,” he said, “I didn’t realize that was you in there.”

“No problem.”

I moved out of the way so that he could pass me and go into the bathroom. As he closed the door behind him, I made my way back downstairs to the kitchen.

Clement was such a dear man, a tireless worker who served full time at the food bank for a salary so low I didn’t know how he managed to make ends meet. He wasn’t aware that I knew his salary rate or anything about him beyond facts he had mentioned to me in casual conversation. He had told me about his lovely wife of 36 years, his five grown children, his eight grandchildren. But the scope of my investigation had included all of the employees and volunteers of Dinner Time, so I also knew his address, his work record, and much more. In the end, he had turned out to be one of only three people connected to the center who apparently weren’t involved in the theft of the food.

I was so glad, because it confirmed what I had felt to be true about him all week, that he was a wonderful person with a true heart for charity. His personal side mission was to collect and distribute free used books to all of the children who came to the food bank and, whenever he had time, to sit and read to them and encourage them to read more for themselves.

“Reading can get you through some mighty tough spots,” I had heard him say more than once this week. “Even if your feet can’t always go somewhere else, your mind sure can.” Poor Clement was going to be stunned when this sting came together, for he believed most people were motivated by the same altruism and good faith he himself possessed.

“Callie, can I get you something to drink?”

This time, Winnie’s husband, Skipper, was playing the host, walking toward me with a newly filled ice bucket.

“No, thanks,” I replied. “My drink’s right over here.”

As if to prove it, I walked to the spot where I had left my soda, picked it up, and swirled the liquid. Skipper’s very presence made me so nervous I didn’t dare speak for fear I would begin to babble. Unfortunately, he persisted.

“How about a little ice then,” he said, using the tongs to load up my drink with ice. Holding my tongue, I watched as he clunked square cubes into the glass I was holding in front of me.

“So what do you think of our weather here in California?” he asked. “Winnie said you just recently moved here, right?”

Actually, I hadn’t told her that. What I had said was that I had never lived in California before, implying, I guess, that I lived here now. It was the kind of half-truth that going undercover necessitated and the very reason I hated playing a role. As a Christian, lying was hard for me to rationalize, even when the ends seemed to justify the means.

“It’s certainly a beautiful day today!” I said, glancing toward the window. I was desperately trying to think of some other sort of socially acceptable patter when I was saved by the bell—or the ring, to be exact, because Skipper’s cell phone began ringing from his hip pocket.

With a smile, he thrust the ice bucket at me, extricated the phone, and turned it on.

“Skipper here,” he said amiably, winking at me as he did so.

Clutching the ice in front of me, I took a step back, wondering if I could seize the moment and get away before his conversation was finished. Unfortunately, it seemed to last all of about 15 seconds. He said, “Yep. Okay. See ya,” and then hung up the phone.

“You’ll excuse me, won’t you, Callie?” he asked smoothly, slipping the phone back into his pocket.

“Of course.”

I held the ice bucket toward him, but he didn’t take it.

“Um, could you bring that ice out to Winnie?” he asked. “I need to get something from the garage.”

Without waiting for a reply, he turned and walked down the hall. I stood there for a moment, knowing I couldn’t do as he had requested without taking a step outside myself. Instead, I passed the bucket off to someone else who was heading that way. As the door fell shut behind him, I felt my cell phone vibrate in my pocket. I moved away from the crowd and went into the empty dining room. Holding my breath, I whipped out my phone, pushed the button, and looked at the screen. As expected, it was a text from the captain: Our guy just turned into the driveway. Give it about two minutes and then take a peek in the garage.

Okay, I texted back.

I then pocketed my phone, glanced at my watch, and waited, my heart suddenly pounding in my chest. For an absurd moment, I wondered if there was any hidden firepower here, if perhaps Skipper and Winnie kept a Colt .45 tucked in the nearest flowerpot or something. Just because their crimes of theft were of a nonviolent nature didn’t mean they didn’t know how to defend themselves when push came to shove. As it was about to.

At one minute, forty-three seconds, I heard my name called from the other room. I looked through the doorway to see Clement just coming down the stairs on the other side of the kitchen. Clement, who could be in the line of fire if things went down in a nasty way. Clement, who was heading toward me with a genial smile, eager to start a chat just when it was time for me to move.

“I need a favor!” I said urgently, walking forward to meet him. “I can’t find my contact lens. I’m afraid it came out in the bathroom. Do you think you could go back up and look for me? Check all over the floor, the sink, you know.”

“Well, I’ll try, Callie,” he said, nodding his head, the tightly curled gray hair a sharp contrast to his brown skin. “But my eyesight’s not so good myself. Come up and we’ll look for it together.”

I glanced at my watch. Two and a half minutes.

“You go on up,” I said. “I’ll be there in just a bit.”


“And, listen, if you can’t find it, at least stay there and guard the door until I get there. I don’t want someone else stepping on it and breaking it.”

“All right.”

He dutifully trudged back up the stairs as I slipped from the kitchen, walking toward the long side hall Skipper had gone down less than three minutes before. I reached the door of the garage at the end, put my hand on the knob, and turned it.

The door swung open to reveal Skipper and another man lifting boxes into the open trunk of a black Cadillac. Both men looked up to see me, their faces about as guilty as two boys caught dipping their fingers in the peanut butter.

In a way, that’s exactly what they were doing.

The men recovered quickly. Both put the boxes into the trunk, but the man I didn’t know turned and stepped away where I couldn’t see his face. Skipper, on the other hand, took a step toward me, putting on a wide, fake smile.

“Can I help you, Callie?” he asked.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I was looking for some more soda. Maybe root beer?”

“There’s nothing like that out here,” he replied. “Try the pantry, off the kitchen.”

“Okay, thanks,” I said, returning his fake smile before stepping back out of the garage and pulling the door shut.

I turned on my heel and walked up the hall with my heartbeat pounding loudly in my head. Despite the chatter and confusion around me, I made straight for the French doors, opened them, and stepped outside. This was my signal to the police who were in hiding on the other side of the hedge, watching the party, waiting to pounce. Once on the patio, I simply kept walking through the loud music, heading around the pool and toward the backyard.

“Callie, can I help you with something?” I heard Winnie call after me.

Suddenly, before I could reply, there were shouts and screams and the sight of at least 20 police officers descending on the partygoers on the patio. I heard the words “freeze” and “raid” and “you have the right to remain silent.” Once I finally turned around and looked at the scene, all I could do was pray that Clement was safe, that the cops had apprehended the men in the garage before anyone could do anything stupid.

I waited at the back of the yard until I saw the captain come to the kitchen door and give the “all clear” signal to the cops outside. Breathing a great big sigh of relief, I headed toward the house, allowing myself to be herded into the corner of the patio where they were sorting everyone out. Counting heads, I realized they had managed to nab almost every single person who was on the list of those who had either stolen food or accepted food they knew was stolen. The cops didn’t single me out but merely pointed me in the direction of the innocent parties, the few standing near the garden shed who hadn’t the slightest idea what was going on.

Eventually, Clement was sent out from the house to join us. I gave him a big hug, certainly much bigger than our seemingly casual acquaintance would allow. Obviously shaken, he hugged me back even tighter.

When the police told us we were free to leave, I stuck with Clement, offering to take him home. In somewhat of a daze, he accepted that offer. Sitting in the passenger seat of my rental car, he stared blankly ahead as I drove toward his house and gently tried to explain all that he had just seen.

By the time we reached his house, he was still quite shaken. He invited me inside and I accepted, eager to see him safely delivered into the arms of his wife.

She wasn’t home, however, so I insisted that he call one of his children, perhaps Trey, since I knew he lived right down the street and could be here in a matter of minutes. While we waited, I heated some water on the stove for tea and essentially made myself at home in the kitchen. The house was small but tidy, and everything was easy to find in the neatly organized cabinets. As the water began to bubble on the stove, Clement took a seat at the table, silent, his expression blank. As I was setting his tea in front of him, Trey burst through the door, concern evident on his face.


Short but muscular, with his father’s coffee-colored skin and deep brown eyes, Trey was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, both of which were covered with spatters of blue.

“We were painting the baby’s room,” he added, sounding breathless, looking from me to his father. “What’s going on?”

Clement didn’t answer, so I introduced myself and tried to explain the situation as best I could. The place where Clement worked, I said, had been busted for fraud and theft. Clement was in the clear, but he had been fairly traumatized by the whole event.

“And who are you, exactly?” Trey asked, looking at me as if this were all my fault. In a way, it was.

“My name is Callie Webber,” I said, carrying over two more cups of tea and taking a seat at the table. “I’m a private investigator.”

Clement turned toward me, his face suddenly registering disbelief rather than shock.

“You’re a what?   ” he asked.

“A private investigator.”

“Since when?”

“Since I was old enough to get certified in the state of Virginia,” I said. “I’m also a lawyer. I work for the J.O.S.H.U.A. Foundation out of Washington, DC.”

Clement shook his head, as if to shake off the confusion. Before he could launch into more questions, I continued.

“I live in Maryland now,” I explained, “and I just came to California to investigate Dinner Time on behalf of my employer. Dinner Time had requested a grant, and it’s my job to verify eligibility.”

“You don’t even live here?” Clement asked me, still incredulous. “You mean you’ve been pretending all week?”

“I’m sorry, Clement,” I said. “Sometimes that’s the only way I can really see what’s going on.”

Trey slid into the seat across from me, ignoring the tea I had put there for him.

“So what happened today?” he asked. “I’m still confused.”

“In the course of the investigation of Dinner Time, I uncovered fraud, theft, tax evasion, distribution of stolen property, you name it. I took that information to the police, only to learn that they already knew about it and that they were very close to making some arrests. We worked together on a sting operation, and today we caught most of the guilty parties red-handed.”

“I can’t believe they were stealing food,” Clement said, shaking his head sadly.

“I always told you there was something slick about that Skipper person,” Trey said to his father. “‘Skipper and Winnie,’ good grief. Sounds like a pair of Barbie dolls.”

“Will Dinner Time have to close down?” Clement asked.

“Probably,” I answered. “Even if someone were to try to keep the place up and running, I doubt it would be able to stay open for very long. Between the bad publicity and the incarcerated principals, I think it’ll soon fold. I’m sorry.”

“I’m sorry too,” Clement said. “I’m sorry I was so blind, so stupid.”

Trey put a reassuring hand on his father’s arm.

“C’mon, Pop,” he said. “You couldn’t know. You were just doing your job.”

“Oh, yeah, my job,” Clement said. “Guess I’m out of a job now.”

“We’ll find you something,” Trey said. “Maybe Tanisha can get you on over at the grocery store.”

“I liked working at a nonprofit,” Clement said, shaking his head. “I liked feeling that my efforts were making just a little difference in the world.”

I reached into my pocket, grasping the familiar square of paper there. I pulled it out and set it on the table in front of me, still folded in half.

“I’d like to talk to you about that,” I said. “And I’m glad Trey is here, because this would involve him too.”

Both men looked at me, their faces somber.

“In the course of my investigation,” I continued, “I had to check into everybody’s background. Including yours, Clement. Your life story paints a picture of a good man, a steady reliable worker who knows the value of a dollar.”

“That’s my dad,” Trey said suspiciously. “But what are you getting at?”

“Well, I’ve watched you this week reading to the children down at the food bank, Clement. I’ve heard you talk about the benefits of reading, of being read to. I want you to think about starting a charity of your own. Something that lets you go around and give away books and have regular reading times with homeless children.”

“Like a bookmobile?” Clement asked.

“Perhaps,” I said. “Or maybe you could get some space in the recreation center or a homeless shelter or another food bank. Somewhere that you could set up a little reading corner filled with books and beanbag chairs and stuffed animals. It’s not hard to get people to donate children’s books to a charity. You could provide reading times, give the books to the children who seem to want them, encourage their parents to read with them…”

I let my voice trail off, seeing that a spark was lighting up behind Clement’s eyes.

“What do I have to do with this?” Trey asked.

“Your father told me that you’re an accountant,” I said. “Maybe you can help him get started and then keep the books for him.”

“Well, yeah, I could do that.”

“And I understand your sister is a graphic artist? Maybe she could put together some brochures and promotional materials. You’d be surprised how many resources are available, usually right at your own fingertips.”

I looked at Trey and then at Clement, surprised to see the fire quickly fading from the older man’s eyes.

“As good as our intentions may be,” he said, shaking his head, “There’s one thing standing in the way. I can’t afford it.”

I smiled, fingering the square of paper in front of me.

“Well, then let me take it a step further,” I said. “My job allows me a certain amount of leeway with small monetary grants. What would you think if I gave you a check to get started? You could get yourself incorporated as a nonprofit, file for federal tax exemption, and cover your basic start-up costs. Once you’ve got that tax exemption, I would encourage you to fill out a grant application from the J.O.S.H.U.A. Foundation for a much larger amount of money. We believe strongly in what you could accomplish, Clement, and we would like to have some small part in furthering your efforts.”

I sat back, thinking that in the two and a half years I had worked for the foundation, this was the first time I had to talk someone into taking our money!

“Still, I don’t see how it would work,” Trey said. “He’d need at least a thousand dollars just to get set up.”

“How does five thousand sound?” I asked, unfolding the check and handing it to them. It was already made out to Clement Jackson, who picked it up and studied it as if it were a ticket to somewhere important. “And, like I said, once you’ve got that tax exemption and your policies and procedures in place, you can apply to us for more. I have a feeling we’ll be very generous as long as you can show you’ve got a good business plan.”

The two men looked at each other and grinned, and not for the first time I wished my boss, Tom, the philanthropist behind all J.O.S.H.U.A. grants, could be here to witness their joy. Tom was half a world away right now, and though later I would recount this entire scene for him over the phone, it still made me sad that he wasn’t here experiencing it for himself.

Then again, he never was. Tom always donated anonymously through the foundation and then enjoyed the moment of presentation vicariously through me. I was happy to recreate every word, every detail, but I had never understood why he chose to remain so removed from the whole process.

Of course, he and I talked frequently during every investigation, and in fact it was the time we spent on the phone that had allowed us to become friends and then eventually something much more than friends. Four months ago, after several years of a phone-only relationship, Tom and I had finally been able to meet face-to-face.

At the time, he had been out of the country for his work, but he had surprised me by flying back to the States and showing up at my home. We had spent exactly 12 hours together—12 amazing hours that I had relived again and again in my memories ever since—and then he had to leave, returning to Singapore and the urgent business that awaited him.

Now, four months later, Tom was still in Singapore, though his business there was quickly drawing to a close and soon he would be coming home for good. His home was in California and mine was in Maryland, but our plan was to meet somewhere between the two in exactly seven days at some quiet place where we would finally, finally be able to spend some real quality time together—time getting to know each other even better, time exploring the possibilities of a relationship that had gone from friendship to something much more in the space of one 12-hour visit. I was already counting the minutes until we could be together again, knowing that once he returned, a new chapter in my life would begin in earnest. Tom was handling the logistics of our reunion, and my primary concern was to wrap up my next investigation by the following Sunday, because I didn’t want work or anything else to detract from the time we were going to spend together.

Clement spoke, snapping me out of my thoughts and back to the moment at hand.

“I’ve been praying for something like this for quite a while,” he was saying, looking at his son, and I realized there were tears in his eyes. “For so long,” he repeated, blinking. “I didn’t think the Lord was hearing me. But He was. Because He sent me an angel.”

I held up one hand to stop him, emotion surging in my heart as well.

“Now, don’t—”

“I’m not kidding, girl. You are an angel. A very generous angel.”

“So you’ll take the money and start your own charity?” I asked.

“Oh, thank You, Lord,” he said, grinning up toward the ceiling. Then he looked back at me. “Yes, Callie. Yes. Most definitely yes.”


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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Necessary Deception

A Necessary Deception
Laurie Alice Eakes
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3466-4
October, 2011/352 pages/$14.99

When young widow Lydia Gale helps a French prisoner obtain parole, she never dreams she will see him again. But just as the London Season gets under way, the man presents himself in her parlor. While she should be focused on getting her headstrong younger sister prepared for her entrée into Society, Lady Gale finds herself preoccupied with the mysterious Frenchman. Is he a spy or a suitor? Can she trust him? Or is she putting herself and her family in danger?

Discover a world of elegance and intrigue, balls and masquerades as Laurie Alice Eakes whisks you into the drawing rooms of London Society on this exciting quest to let the past stay in the past--and let love guide the future.

Laurie Alice Eakes is the author of Lady in the Mist, A Necessary Deception, and several other novels. She won a National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency in 2007 for Family Guardian. Laurie Alice writes full-time from her home in Texas, where she lives with her husband and sundry dogs and cats.

This book will sweep you away to another world where the mores of society dictate who has access to the coveted balls and soirees of the London Season and where conversation between two people is often executed as carefully and properly as the steps of a quadrille. Lady Gale's desperate desire for her father's withheld approval tugged at my heart, as did the heartbreaking secrets she hid within about her brief marriage; the responsibilities she shouldered in guiding her sisters added to the burdens. Her French gentleman friend seems like an answer to prayer. But when an unseen man set on revenge begins blackmailing her and casts doubt on the Frenchman's story, she is uncertain whom to trust. I was completely entranced by the intrigue, suspense, and romance of this novel.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Monday, October 17, 2011

You'll Love Love on the Line!

To celebrate the release of Love on the Line, Deeanne and her publisher, Bethany House have teamed up for an iPad2 Giveaway and Love on the Line Facebook Party! Full details below.

Love on the Line
Deeanne Gist
(Bethany House)
ISBN: 978-0764204098
October, 2011/368 pages/$14.99

It's a Battle of Wills ... and Love Is on the Line!

Rural switchboard operator Georgie Gail is proud of her independence in a man's world . . . which makes it twice as vexing when the telephone company sends a man to look over her shoulder.

Dashing Luke Palmer is more than he appears though. He's a Texas Ranger working undercover to infiltrate a notorious gang of train robbers. Repairing telephones and tangling with this tempestuous woman is the last thing he wants to do. But when his stakeout puts Georgie in peril, he realizes more than his job is on the line.

Rave reviews are already pouring in:

"Gist does it again with a superb cast of characters. She is a master at weaving together her trademark independent heroine, entertaining action based on historical events and love that melts your heart. Her latest project [Love on the Line] will certainly keep her fans longing for more." --Romantic Times

"The characters are imaginative and likeable, while the plot keeps the pages turning." --CBA Retailers Magazine

When I curl up with a book by Deeanne Gist, I know I'm in for a treat and Love on the Line may be her most charming novel yet! Deeanne's trademark is taking an actual historical situation and creating a delightful story around it, and she has a knack for seamlessly blending fact and fiction so that it's difficult to tell the difference between the two. What a fun peek this was into the early days of the telephone, complete with a switchboard operator, party lines (with nosy eavesdroppers!), and a lineman perilously climbing the poles with spikes on his boots! Deeanne has once again created a town whose characters leapt off the page and into my heart. Just the right amount of danger and suspense combines with romance and sheer fun to make this a completely satisfying read. My only complaint is that now I am once again waiting for her next release!

Deeanne Gist--known to her family, friends, and fans as Dee--has rocketed up the bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere with her very original, very fun historical & contemporary romances. Add to this three RITA nominations, two consecutive Christy Awards, rave reviews, and a growing loyal fan base, and you've got one recipe for success.

She has a very active online community on her website at and at

Love on the Line iPad2 Giveaway and Facebook Party!

Deeanne is thrilled to introduce Georgie and Luke to the word in her latest novel, Love on the Line. To celebrate Deeanne's publisher, Bethany House, is hosting the Love on the Line iPad2 giveaway and Author Chat on Facebook! Enter today and follow the link below to RSVP for Deeanne's rip-roarin' Facebook Party!

One fortunate winner will receive: 

  • A Brand New iPad2 
  • An Autographed Hardback Copy of Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist 

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 7th. Winner will be announced at Deeanne's Author Chat Facebook Party. Deeanne will be wrapping up the Love on the Line celebration by chatting with friends new and old! So grab your copy of Love on the Line (it's okay if you don't have one yet- you might could win one!) and join Deeanne on the evening of November 8th for a rip roaring book chat, a little trivia and lots of giveaways (books, and Amazon, iTunes & Starbucks gift certificates)!
Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter
Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends. Hope to see you on the 8th!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity and Bethany House as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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