Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Fatal Tree by Stephen Lawhead - CSFF Tour

The Fatal Tree
Bright Empires Series Book 5
Author: Stephen Lawhead
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 9781595548085
Hardcover: 368 pages
May be purchased here.

About the Book:
Kit stared at his fellow questors. “Is this it . . . the End of Everything?”

It started with small, seemingly insignificant wrinkles in time: A busy bridge suddenly disappears, spilling cars into the sea. A beast from another realm roams modern streets. Napoleon’s army appears in 1930s Damascus ready for battle. But that’s only the beginning as entire realities collide and collapse.

The questors are spread throughout the universe. Mina is stuck on a plain of solid ice, her only companion an angry cave lion. Tony and Gianni are monitoring the cataclysmic reversal of the cosmic expansion—but coming up short on answers. And Burleigh is languishing in a dreary underground dungeon—his only hope of survival the very man he tried to murder.

Kit and Cass are back in the Stone Age trying to reach the Spirit Well. But an enormous yew tree has grown over the portal, effectively cutting off any chance of return. Unless someone can find a solution—and fast—all Creation will be destroyed in the universal apocalypse known as The End of Everything.

In this final volume of the fantastic Bright Empires series, Stephen R. Lawhead brings this multi-stranded tale to a stunning and immensely satisfying conclusion.
My Thoughts:

As much as I wanted to read this book, I didn't want to start because I knew it would end a great series. I had come to know each of the characters so well. Some I absolutely adored and some I greatly disliked and I really didn't want to say goodbye to them. One I started this bittersweet read, I so wanted to find out the ending and just had to keep going, staying up past my bedtime and devoured the book.

Was I satisfied with the ending? Yes and no. Yes, it was great - no because it ended :) There were some surprises I didn't see coming and some of my favorites seemed to get themselves into some fascinating and heartpounding situations. I am thrilled that I finally got a chance to read this book, but so sad the series is over.

If you have not read any of The Bright Empires series, please, please don't start with this one. You really need to start at the beginning as these books build on each other. If you have read the series, don't miss out on this exciting conclusion - I'm sure you won't be disappointed with how everything turns out.

This whole series comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

About the Author:

Stephen R. Lawhead is a prolific and bestselling author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. He is best known for his King Raven trilogy, a re-telling of the Robin Hood legend, and Pendragon Cycle, centering on the King Arthur legend. Other notable works include the Song of Albion, Celtic Crusades and Dragon King Trilogies, Byzantium, Patrick, Avalon, and the works of science-fiction Dream Thief and Empyrion saga. Lawhead makes his home in Oxford, England, with his wife.

To learn more about the series or about the author himself, Stephen's website can be found at: http://www.stephenlawhead.com/
or on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/StephenRLawhead
and Twitter: https://twitter.com/StephenLawhead



Make sure to visit the other participating tour members listed below and see what they have to say about The Fatal Tree:

Julie Bihn
Thomas Clayton Booher
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
Karri Compton
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Jason Joyner
Janeen Ippolito
Carol Keen
Emileigh Latham
Rebekah Loper
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
Jalynn Patterson
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Audrey Sauble
Jojo Sutis
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Shane Werlinger
Phyllis Wheeler


In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a favorable review.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe - Review

Earth & Sky
The Earth & Sky Trilogy - Book 1
Author: Megan Crewe
Publisher: Skyscape (October 28, 2014)
Paperback: 306 pages
ISBN: 9781477847848

About the Book:
Seventeen-year-old Skylar has been haunted for as long as she can remember by fleeting yet powerful sensations that something is horribly wrong. But despite the visions of disaster that torment her, nothing ever happens, and Sky’s beginning to think she’s crazy. Then she meets a mysterious, otherworldly boy named Win and discovers the shocking truth her premonitions have tapped into: that our world no longer belongs to us. For thousands of years, life on Earth has been at the mercy of alien scientists who care nothing for humans and are using us as the unwitting subjects of their time-manipulating experiments. Win belongs to a rebel faction seeking to put a stop to it, and he needs Skylar’s help to save the world and keep the very fabric of reality together. Megan Crewe’s latest tale takes readers on a mind-bending journey through time with a cast of unforgettable characters.

My Thoughts:

Skylar is 17 and has always had the strange feeling around certain places or things that something is wrong. These sensations are at times so terrible that she ends up sick or really "out of it". When she meets Win, she finally finds out that these feelings aren't because she is crazy but because they are real and she finds out why and the truth behind them and what she has to do because of them.

Skylar is an interesting girl and Win... well he's just adorable on so many levels. Their partnership, although unlikely at first, ends up being one in which they both need - some for the same reason, some for different reasons.

This is a great young adult sci-fi time travel adventure/romance that will keep the reader engaged from beginning to end. It is quite fast paced with an unusual story line and a little mystery thrown in. This is a clean read with a few off-colored words and the romance is clean with some kissing.

Although marketed to young adults, Earth & Sky should appeal to anyone who enjoys time travel and a strong young female protagonist. One word of warning - this book is the first part of a trilogy, so the ending is going to leave you wanting more!

This book was supplied through the Amazon Vine Program for me to honestly review.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Mr. Samuel's Penny PIC Tour & #Giveaway

Mr. Samuel's Penny

by Treva Hall Melvin

on Tour November 1-30, 2014





Book Details:


Genre: YA Murder Mystery
Published by: The Poisoned Pencil
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Number of Pages: 259
ISBN: 978-1929345045
Purchase Links:



Synopsis:

It’s 1972 and fourteen-year-old New Yorker Elizabeth Landers is sent to the sleepy town of Ahoskie, North Carolina to spend the summer with relatives. Her expectation of boredom is quickly dispelled when police sirens and flashing lights draw her to a horrible scene at the Danbury Bridge. Mr. Samuel, owner of Samuel’s Lumber Yard, has driven his car off the bridge and into the river, drowning himself and his daughter. The medical examiner thinks it’s an accident, but the Sheriff finds fresh bullet holes on the bridge right where the skid marks are. Curiously, Mr. Samuel died clutching a unique 1909 wheat penny—a penny that is then stolen from the Sheriff’s office. Lizbeth witnesses Miss Violet’s grief upon learning that her husband and child are dead, and decides she will help by finding the penny.
Her search involves Lizbeth in the lives of many Ahoskie residents. Like the owner of the grocery store, mean old Mr. Jake, who—as all the kids in Ahoskie know—hates black folks. Plenty of pennies in his till. Then there is Ms. Melanie Neely, otherwise known as “Ms. McMeanie,” who thinks the lumber yard should belong to her. And Mr. Samuel’s handsome brother Ben, who struggles to keep the business afloat after his more clever brother’s death. Lizbeth searches through the collection plates at church and in the coin jars of crazy old Aunt Ode, a strange old woman missing one eye and most of her teeth, who keeps a flask in her apron pocket and a secret in her soul.


Read an excerpt:

Prologue

It is peculiarly bright this evening. Will not be dark for another hour or so. The headlights of the ’68 station wagon are on, but their worth cannot be seen until the fog seeps between the slats of wood. The sweet smell of honeysuckle floats through the air on a blanket of steam rising up from the river as the car makes its way across the threshold.
The old bridge aches aloud, for its back has carried many a passenger the last hundred years to and from Ahoskie, North Carolina. Known as “The Only One,” Ahoskie has existed as a settlers’ town and with the Indian name since 1719, but without the Indian’s permission to do For a moment there is a sense of unsteadiness.
Got to get across.
Just one more time.
Sometimes easy.
Most times hard.
Then sometimes someone never crosses back.

Chapter 1

For seven hours, I’d done nothing but unpack and eat. I was ready for something to happen.
But I wasn’t ready for anything like this.
I was standing at the front door that mid-June evening, waiting for Aunt Alice to come home from the grocery store, when I heard the piercing sound of horns and sirens unleashing their fury, synchronized to the flashing red and white lights leading the way south, away from town. The pimples that ran down my spine hurt from the screeching noise. At least five vehicles rushed down the narrow road, leaving great clouds of dirt as though dragged by invisible ropes behind them. Heading for a place where something God awful was happening.
I could see Auntie’s car trotting at a nervous pace behind them, then veering off to the left, down our street. I focused on her torso behind the wheel, then her head, then her eyes, steadfast with purpose.
“Hi Auntie, what’s going on down there?” I asked, with my hand shielding my eyes from the fading sun as she opened her car door to get out.
“I don’t know really, Lizbeth, ‘cept Uncle Frank was called to come in a hurry to help with his wrench truck down by the bridge.”
As the jarring sounds washed out through the tall bushy heads of the trees, Aunt Alice stared out towards the road. With her chin tucked in she spoke:
“Lizbeth, I’m going down there to see what’s going on. It’s going to be dark out soon. You can stay here if you want to, or go over to Mrs. Cooper’s if you get scared.” She placed her hand on my shoulder to reassure me that all would be okay.
“Scared? I’m not scared; I just want to go with you! See what’s happening down there!” I exclaimed, shaking her other hand in a tantrum, dividing her fingers between my two hands.
“You couldn’t fit in there anyway Lizbeth, I have a car full of groceries, girl. And besides, by the time I finish putting them away I may as well stay home.” She had me there, but I wasn’t about to give up. My eyes darted around the yard looking for a way out of the problem.
And there it was.
“You’re right Auntie, I can’t fit in your car, but I can ride my bike!” A prideful smile burned in the flesh of my cheeks.
“But Lizbeth....”
“I got a light on my bike Auntie. Besides, I bet I get there before you do!” That was all that needed to be said.
I arrived at the bridge before Auntie, thanks to my cousins showing me a narrow path just a couple of days earlier. I rode right on up to the bridge and oh so quietly kicked my kick-stand down. There wasn’t one holler, mostly because the police and other officials were concentrating on the sadness below. Good thing I had enough sense to leave my bike where it lay and walk the rest of the way so as not to call attention to myself. As my excitement grew, I tried to hold my breath, feeling my heart thumping through my chest, hoping that my good fortune in not being shooed away would hold out until I got a closer look.
By now the sun was so low the river looked like black ink slapping the shore angrily for letting Uncle Frank’s crane drop into its waters, and men bobbing up and down like red and whites. Flashlights dotting and dashing about like lightening bugs searching for their supper. A few orders jabbed out amongst the men here and there. Other than that, there was silence.
A startling shout came from a man with a white hat, and a tremendous swoosh broke through the dark water. When the crane pulled the car up, with a solemn grinding motion, something burst free from one of the car’s open windows. Shocked me so bad I nearly fell over into the deep, so shaken from the sight.
A man’s hand had set itself free from the car.
At first glance, the hand seemed to be riding the surface of the water, waving happily without care. But then the ashen skin with its grotesque wormy veins made it clear it was not.
Something glistened in rhythm with the ripples of water flowing over his fingers—a gold band.
But before I could focus, the shoulder and the head of the man slipped through the window like an eel. I could have held on a little longer but for the man’s face turning upward; his eyes bulging out of their sockets like strained ping pong balls. I threw up right then and there on the bridge, and luckily not on my brand new checkered shirt.
“Hey, hey you there girl! Get off the bridge before you drown your fool yourself! We don’t have time to be searching for no more bodies tonight. G’on now!” The man with the white hat again. I wanted to say sorry, but my wobbling legs took the best of me. Luckily I spotted Auntie on the shore, so I got my bike and stumbled to her side. Auntie held me close to her breast for a little while, still keeping her watch over the damage in the Ahoskie River.
I gathered myself and sat on the hood of her car, still hot from the engine, with a sweater between it and my legs. Auntie stood like stone beside me. Even the soft jowls of her face looked hard above her densely clasped hands.
I caught Uncle Frank’s eye across the river, and he waved to me in return. Not the free and happy to see you kind of wave, more like the I am here and so are you kind.
The rumble of a car moving fast towards us made me turn behind myself to see who was in such a hurry to see death. The Spring City emergency squad had already arrived, though late if you ask me, and there was nothing left to do except get that poor soul out of there. As the car’s lights peeked through the woods, I could see a turquoise Ford Country Sedan with a woman behind the wheel. A black woman. She steered wildly, like a cartoon character scripted for disaster, nearly hitting us as she drove up beside us. Punishing the brakes to screeching tears.
Barely before the car had stopped, she ran out towards the bridge.
She had on a light blue dress that ruffled at the collar and short sleeved cuffs. Her black hair, which was once held in a knot, was fast becoming a ponytail with every step she took. And she was beautiful. Only when she reached the water’s edge did I hear her crying. No, not crying.
She made a sound like an animal being torn apart from its limbs. She did not get far, thank God.
“My babyyy!” She hollered. Fighting to break free of the man in the white hat who had taken both her firm arms.
“Noooo, not my baby! Emma! No God, no!”
I looked over to Auntie’s grim face.
She could have been mistaken for a totem pole. I was afraid to speak; to interrupt the stranger’s pain seemed rude, but Auntie must have read my mind.
“Emma is...was their baby.” Aunt Alice swallowed hard when she said ‘baby.’ “The man you saw down there, her husband, Joseph Samuel.” I’ve known my Aunt Alice all of my life.
She obviously had some kind of affection for these folks for her to well up like this. “Joseph and Violet Samuel...and their daughter Emma.”
Lost in misery, we hardly noticed that Uncle Frank had crossed the bridge to meet us. He gave Auntie a long hug, then ushered me in to join them.
“What happened?” She whispered.
“I don’t know, hun’. Sheriff Bigly said the skid marks show Joseph drove that car clear off the bridge.” He stroked her back, gently rubbing the information in, soothing her like oil on a baby’s bottom. She let his powerful strokes sway her back and forth without resistance.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man dashing to the grieving Miss Violet. A man named Benjamin Samuel, I gathered, from the loud and thankful greeting made by Sheriff Bigly.
Must be someone close in the family, I thought. He barely grazed her arm, when she suddenly turned to see who it was.
“My baby’s dead!” she cried to him.
His long fingers got a hold of her petite arms. As he pulled her closer in, she fought with the strength of twenty slaves to be free from his grasp. But he wouldn’t let go. She kicked her feet wildly to get him off of her, but she failed. I could hear her lungs heaving hard, until her body became limp in his arms.
That moment was hard with silence.
*
After what seemed like forever, Auntie finally broke her trance, got into the car and turned the engine on. I nearly fell off the hood from the suddenness of her intentions. Thank goodness her headlights were already on. I grabbed the handle and swung myself into the seat.
As soon as my seatbelt ‘clicked’ she was heading out. She braked with a jerk, and then yanked the gear hard into forward. As she pulled around to get back on the road, a dust cloud gathered around the wheels. Crackling bits of dirt and gravel pricked the skin of my arm dangling out the window.
“You okay Auntie?” I asked. I wanted to touch her hand, but both were clinched with a mind to stay on the steering wheel; ten and two o’clock. So I went for the flapping short sleeve of her shirt instead.
She nodded at me with a fleeting smile.
*

My Thoughts:

A truly captivating young adult mystery, this book transports you back in time - a time when racism was an issue and things like integration was being forced onto students and people were very vocal about color. The main character, Elizabeth Landers, is a lovely young woman. She is so full of life and is a girl I've totally fallen in love with.

Lizbeth and her sister are staying with her aunt and uncle for the summer. When she goes to see an accident at the bridge, she gets caught up in the mystery of how it happened and why the man died clutching a penny. As the story unfolds, Lizbeth deals with some serious issues and how she not only learns but grows from them.

Part mystery, part coming of age, this book entertains the reader from the first paragraph. Although marketed as a young adult, I believe this book would be well received by all ages. I could identify with Lizbeth because of the time period. So many memories were brought back because of the wonderful descriptions and how the author captured the early 1970's.

Make sure to add "Mr. Samuel's Penny" to your must read list. I'm quite sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did!

Author Bio:

Treva Hall Melvin, has been a practicing attorney in all levels of government as a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney. A native New Yorker, she graduated from Villanova Law School in Pennsylvania and now lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband, their two children, and their dog Audrey. She loves athletics and antiquing.



Tour Participants:




Win Your Copy!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Thank you to Treva Melvin, Poisoned Pen Press and Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for generously sharing this book with us. If you'd like to join in on an upcoming tour just stop by their sites and sign up today!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Extraordinary Rendition by Paul Batista

Extraordinary Rendition
Author: Paul Batista
Publisher: Astor + Blue Editions LLC
ISBN: 9781938231261
Paperback: 380 pages

My thoughts about the book:

Please note -  Before sitting down with Extraordinary Rendition, make sure you find a comfortable spot along with your favorite beverage, because once you start, you are going to have a hard time putting book aside!

As you might have guessed, this was a total page turner that certainly captures one's attention. Centered around a lawyer, Byron Carlos Johnson, who decided to do something different and defend a terrorist, this novel will keep you wondering what is going to happen next. Byron is not a seasoned criminal lawyer, but a cooperate lawyer with no real experience in criminal law. Sounds crazy and with this type of case, you know it can't have a great outcome, or can it?

I love Batista's style of writing. With his background, he gives quite a realistic view of what happens in court and what can go on when mixing in terrorists and the government. When you mix that realism with the main character, Byron, you come out with a top-notched legal thriller that I gobbled up in a matter of hours.

If you love legal thrillers or are just looking for a great story, you should enjoy Extraordinary Rendition.

May be purchased at the following:
· Amazon: http://amzn.to/XdbrYp
· B&N: http://bit.ly/1ns9goE
· Astor+Blue: http://bit.ly/1kwDo7K



Extraordinary Rendition
Novel Based on Constitutional Controversy Delivers Complex Thrills


“Batista does it again when international intrigue collides with murder in Extraordinary Rendition! A high -priced Wall Street lawyer gets the shock of a lifetime...  law school never prepared him for this!  It's a fast ride--buckle up!"

--Nancy Grace, Attorney, TV Personality and New York Times Bestselling Author of Death on the D-List


When Ali Hussein, suspected terrorist and alleged banker for Al Qaeda, is finally transported from Guantanamo Bay to the US mainland to stand trial, many are stunned when Byron Carlos Johnson, a pre-eminent lawyer and son of a high-profile diplomat, volunteers to represent him.  On principle, Johnson thought he was merely defending a man unjustly captured through Rendition and water-boarded illegally. But Johnson soon learns that there is much more at stake than one man’s civil rights.

Hussein’s intimate knowledge of key financial transactions could lead to the capture of—or the unabated funding of—the world’s most dangerous terror cells.  This makes Hussein the target of corrupt US intelligence forces on one side, and ruthless international terrorists on the other.  And, it puts Byron Carlos Johnson squarely in the crosshairs of both.

Pulled irresistibly by forces he can and cannot see, Johnson enters a lethal maze of espionage, manipulation, legal traps and murder. And when his life, his love, and his acclaimed principles are on the line, Johnson may have one gambit left that can save them all; a play that even his confidants could not have anticipated. He must become the hunter among hunters in the deadliest game.

Written by no-holds-barred-attorney Paul Batista, Extraordinary Rendition excels not only as an action thriller, but as a sophisticated legal procedural as well; tearing the curtains away from the nation’s most controversial issues.

Provocative. Smart. Heart-pounding. A legal thriller of the highest order.
###


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul Batista, novelist and television personality, is one of the most widely known trial lawyers in the country. As a trial attorney, he specializes in federal criminal litigation. As a media figure, he is known for his regular appearances as guest legal commentator on a variety of television shows including, Court TVCNN, HLN and WNBC. He’s also appeared in the HBO movie, You Don't Know Jack, starring Al Pacino.

A prolific writer, Batista authored the leading treatise on the primary federal anti-racketeering statute, Civil RICO Practice Manual, which is now in its third edition (Wiley & Sons, 1987; Wolters Kluwer, 2008). He has written articles for The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and The National Law Journal.

Batista's debut novel, Death's Witness, was awarded a Silver Medal by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). And his new novel,Extraordinary Rendition, is now being published—along with a special reissue of Death’s Witness—by Astor + Blue Editions.

Batista is a graduate of Bowdoin College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and Cornell Law School. He’s proud to have served in the United States Army. Paul Batista lives in New York City and Sag Harbor, New York.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Looking for Jack Kerouac by Barbara Shoup #LookingForKerouac




Looking for Jack Kerouac
Author: Barbara Shoup
Publisher: Lacewing Books
Release date: Aug. 12, 2014
ISBN: 978-1938126475
Genre: Young Adult
Paperback, $14.95, 184 pages

About the Book:
When Paul Carpetti discovers “On the Road” in Greenwich Village while on a class trip to New York City, the world suddenly cracks open and he sees that life could be more than the college degree his mother is determined for him to achieve, a good job and, eventually, marriage to his girlfriend, Kathy. But upon his return, his mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer and his world falls apart.

Set in 1964, “Looking for Jack Kerouac” tells the story of how Paul’s dreams of a different life and his grief at the loss of his mother set him on a road trip with his rowdy friend, Duke, that includes a wild night on Music Row in Nashville, an all-too-real glimpse of glimpse of racism; and an encounter with a voluptuous mermaid named Lorelei – landing him in St. Petersburg, where he finds real friendship and, in time, Jack Kerouac. By then a ruined man, living with his mother, Kerouac is nothing like the person Paul has traveled so far to meet.

Yet, in the end, it is Kerouac who gives him the key that opens up the next phase of his life.

My Thoughts

When Paul comes face to face with a family tragedy, he starts looking at the world differently and what life means. He decides to pick up and leave with his close friend, Duke, to find the author of his favorite book. What he discovers is not at all what he expected - he finds out what really matters.

This coming of age story was wonderfully captivating. Paul is a character that seems aloof and not caring, but I found myself drawn to him. As he grows and learns about himself and his relationship with his best friend, Paul's view changes. I loved seeing him grown and how he found what things in life were really important. I loved watching him grow and his discovery of how things aren't always as the seem or how we think they are.

Although marketed for the young adult audience, this story will be welcomed by the adult audience as well - possibly taking them back and spurring memories of their own ideals and how things really turned out. I know I thoroughly enjoyed it, and would recommend it to anyone that understands what it's like being young.

About the Author:

To say Barbara Shoup is passionate about writing would be an understatement. The award-winning author has been recognized with multiple honors for her work, and in August, she will release her eighth novel “Looking for Jack Kerouac” with Lacewing Books, the young adult imprint of Engine Books.

Shoup is the author of seven other novels, including “Night Watch” (1982), “Wish You Were Here” (1994/2008), “Stranded in Harmony” (1997/2001), “Faithful Women” (1999), “Vermeer’s Daughter” (2003/2014), “Everything You Want” (2008) and “An American Tune” (2012). She is the executive director of the Indiana Writers Center and the co-author of “Novel Ideas: Contemporary Authors Share the Creative Process” (2000) and “Story Matters: Contemporary Short Story Writers Share the Creative Process (2006).”

Shoup graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and master’s degree in secondary education. She taught creative writing to high school students for more than twenty years.

Shoup’s short fiction, poetry, essays and interviews have appeared in numerous small magazines, as well as in The Writer and The New York Times travel section. Her young adult novels, “Wish You Were Here” and “Stranded in Harmony” were selected as American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults. “Vermeer’s Daughter” was a School Library Journal Best Adult Book for Young Adults.

Shoup is the recipient of numerous grants from the Indiana Arts Council, two creative renewal grants from the Arts Council of Indianapolis, the 2006 PEN Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Working Writer Fellowship and the 2012 Eugene and Marilyn Glick Regional Indiana Author Award.

Shoup has lived in Indiana all her life. She is married with two daughters and two grandchildren.

If you would like to learn more about Barbara, you can find her at:



 I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Healing Quilt by Wanda E. Brunstetter

The Healing Quilt
Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club - Book #3
Author: Wanda E. Brunstetter
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
ISBN: 9781616260873
Paperback: 320 pages

About the Book:
Retired Amish newlyweds Emma and Lamar Miller have decided to buy a winter place in Sarasota, Florida. But it wouldn't feel like home if Emma didn't take her quilting materials and offer classes. Wounded and hurting people have a knack for finding their way to her classes for some quilting therapy: Jennifer, a pregnant new mom; Mike, a charter boat owner; Erika, a wheelchair-bound teen; Kim, a waitress; Noreen, a newly-retired widow; and BJ, an artist facing illness. And when Jan visits from Indiana, romance is also added to the class discussions.

My Thoughts:

This fun series is about an older Amish woman who opens her home to 6 people who want to take quilting lessons. In each book, the quilters are a mixture of people from all walks of life - both male and female - and each brings their own problems with them. Some are obvious, some are not. With that said, The Healing Quilt can be read as a stand alone, however, since some people from past books are either referenced or have a part in this book, I would encourage the series be read from the beginning.

In The Healing Quilt, Emma and Lamar Miller are staying at the Pinecroft community in Sarasota, Florida. Emma misses home but knows Lamar needs to be there in the wintertime, so she decides she'd like to teach classes to keep her occupied. She, again, ends up with an interesting group with another set of problems, and this time she's not sure she can help.

With her patience and understanding, Emma guides the group through both quilting and life lessons and shares her Biblical understanding and God's love with the group. She is an endearing woman who will win the heart of the reader as well as impart some strong faith and belief that will reflect God's will and love for all.

This is an interesting series that is sure to delight lovers of Amish fiction as well as those that enjoy a story with a positive Christian message.

About the Author:

A nationally recognized authority on the Amish community, Wanda E. Brunstetter has sold more than seven million copies of her fiction and nonfiction books. Wanda enjoys an uncommon kinship with the Amish and continues to visit their communities throughout the country. Her books have won numerous awards and topped several bestselling charts.

If you'd like to learn more about Wanda or the books she's written, please visit her page at: http://www.wandabrunstetter.com/





 I received a copy of this book from Handlebar Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Featured Book - Second Chance Cafe by Brandy Bruce

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:
 
Heartsong Presents/Love Inspired (July 2014)



bookcover


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Visit the author's website. Brandy Bruce was scribbling stories in spiral notebooks by the age of 12. Her love for books never left her. She graduated from Liberty University, married the one person she could never get enough of, then started working as a book editor for a publishing house. Brandy and her husband, Jeff, live in Colorado with their two children. She can be reached through her blog at http://www.brandybruce.blogspot.com.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

ISABELLA ROMANO HAS GIVEN UP ON LOVE Between her demanding work as a nurse and her father's poor health, Isabella has no time for distractions. So when a handsome firefighter practically falls at her feet, she keeps him at arm's length. But Ethan Carter is determined to win her over.Orphaned at a young age, Ethan longs for a family of his own—and he's sure Isabella is his match. But when he opens a cafĂ© near his firehouse, Isabella is less than thrilled. She knows firsthand the strain of being a restaurant owner, and she wants no part of that life. Can Ethan convince the busy nurse they can overcome any obstacle and have their happily ever after together?

Product Details:
List Price: $4.99
Publisher: Heartsong Presents/ Love Inspired 
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0-373-48719-6

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Chapter One 

“Okay, people. We’ve got a firefighter with possible fractures and trauma to the spine. ETA is five minutes.”
Nurse Isabella Romano’s ears perked up and her pulse quickened. The mood in the emergency room shifted to one of controlled urgency. Isabella slipped on gloves and followed the attending physician, Dr. Nichols, to the Denver Health Medical Center’s ER entrance. Sirens rang out in the distance, and within minutes, the familiar sight of flashing lights sped toward them.
The back doors of the ambulance flew open and the paramedics jumped out. “Male, late twenties, fell from second-story landing to first floor and landed on his back. Multiple burns on his arms and a laceration on his right thigh. Hypotensive. Tachycardic. We administered one liter of saline through an 18 gauge IV in his left AC. Patient has maintained a pulse ox of 96 percent on 10L of oxygen via facemask.”
Isabella grabbed the left side of the stretcher, helping push the gurney to trauma room 1. At the sound of a low moan, she looked down at the firefighter strapped to the backboard. A neck collar kept him immobile and an oxygen mask covered his mouth.
“What’s his name?” Isabella called out to the EMT across from her.
“Ethan Carter. Company 51. Those guys will be filling up the waiting room as soon as they clear the scene.”
“Ethan, I’m Isabella. Can you hear me?”
His gaze met hers and Isabella could see his intense pain.
“Ethan, you’re going to be okay. We’re going to take good care of you.”
“Okay, everyone, on three,” Dr. Nichols ordered.
Everyone stopped what they were doing at Dr. Nichols’s instruction and lifted the backboard with Ethan on it, transferring him and the backboard to the hospital bed. He moaned. “We’re going to need 50 mcg of fentanyl,” Dr. Nichols called out. Maggie, one of Isabella’s colleagues, began cutting off Ethan’s burned clothing.
“Let’s get some X-rays, Isa,” Dr. Nichols stated. “I want a CT scan. His thigh obviously needs stitches.”
“I’m on it,” Maggie said as she inspected the burns on Ethan’s arms. Isabella moved to order the X-rays but Ethan reached out for her. She stepped back toward him, preparing to explain to him that she’d be back and he was going to be all right. But the look in his blue eyes stopped her. He tried to reach for his oxygen mask, but Isabella shook her head.
“No, don’t move,” she said; then pulled away his mask for a moment.
“Don’t leave me,” he said, his voice dry and raspy. Isabella was pretty sure that even covered in dust and blood, with a brace around his neck, he was the most attractive man she’d ever seen. Her heart tugged. In that moment, he just seemed so alone.
She replaced his oxygen. “I have to go for a minute, Ethan, but I’ll be coming right back. And we’ll get through this together. I know you’re scared and I know you’re hurting. But it’s going to be okay.”
He just stared at her, his eyes pleading for her to stay. Isabella couldn’t help it; she reached down and brushed his brown hair from his forehead.
“I promise I’ll be back,” she told him.Ethan Carter’s eyes fluttered open and then shut again quickly.
Who in the world turned on that blinding light?
He could hear a voice, someone saying his name. He turned his head to the side.
What happened?
He heard that voice again, saying his name. Then it came back to him, playing through his mind like a movie reel. The house fire. The roaring sound of the blaze. The sensation that he was falling. The impact of the ground floor. The rush into the ER.
“Ethan?”
He opened his eyes and blinked, trying to focus on the woman’s face in front of him.
“Hi there,” she said. “It’s nice to see you again.”
He blinked again. “Nurse . . .”
“Isabella. We met under rather tragic circumstances, I know.”
She was teasing. He could hear it in her voice. Now that he could focus on her clearly, he remembered seeing her in the ER.
“Isabella,” he repeated. Dressed in blue scrubs, she stood next to the bed, her brown hair tied back in a knot. She smiled down at him and Ethan felt better at the sight of her smile. She checked the monitors, her eyes darting toward the door of the hospital room.
“Did they get the family out of the house?” Ethan asked. Isabella nodded.
“Yes. One of the other firefighters—I think his name was Blake—told me to let you know that everyone made it out safely.”
“Except me, I guess,” Ethan said grimly. But Isabella’s smile didn’t fade.
“C’mon, tough guy. You’ve got this.”
Ethan studied her warm smile and playful tone. “You’re right,” he conceded. “God was watching over me in that burning house. He won’t abandon me now.”
She blinked in surprise at his statement. “I suppose He was,” she agreed.
“When can I go home?” Ethan asked.
“I’m not sure,” Isabella answered. “Dr. Nichols will be here any minute to talk to you,” she said.
“Can you stay?” Ethan asked immediately. Her face softened.
“Sure, if you want me to. Is there anyone you want me to call for you? The guys from the firehouse were here all night, off and on, in the waiting room. There are a few guys out there now. They can come in as soon as Dr. Nichols speaks to you.”
Ethan nodded. “Thanks. But there’s no one else for you to call.”
Isabella frowned. “Your family?”
Ethan just shook his head, turning his attention to the gauze covering his forearms. “There’s no one. Just the guys.” He hoped she’d drop the topic. He hated the pitiful looks he got whenever he explained to people that other than a few distant relatives out in California, he had no one. It was part of why he’d joined Company 51. A whole firehouse with the brothers he’d never had. He wondered if the chief was in the waiting room.
The door slid open and a doctor wearing black rimmed glasses and holding a clipboard walked in. He looked to be in his mid-forties.
“Good morning, Ethan. How are we feeling today?”
We? I have a feeling you’re doing a lot better than I am, doc.
“I’m hurting, but I’m guessing that medication is dulling the real pain.”
Dr. Nichols nodded. “You had a bad fall, Ethan. You know that. There were second degree burns on your arms, and a gash on your thigh that took about twenty stitches. You lost some blood, but we’ve given you IV fluids and you’re vitals have stabilized. You’re pretty banged up and bruised all over, but unfortunately, your back took the impact of the fall.”
Ethan’s chest constricted with fear.
“How bad is it?”
Isabella stepped closer to his bedside.
“It could have been worse. You have a lumbar—lower back—spinal fracture. The X-ray showed an L4 compression fracture. The positive aspect of this is that you still have good movement and feeling. Also, there doesn’t seem to be any neurological damage.”
“Do I need surgery?” Ethan asked.
“I don’t think so. The X-rays indicate a clean fracture. I’m going to recommend we move forward with outpatient treatment. But you’ve got a long, arduous healing journey ahead of you.”
“How long until I can be back on active duty?”
Dr. Nichol’s eyebrows furrowed. “The spine is a tricky thing, Ethan. And everyone heals at a different pace. You’re going to need rest, pain medication, lots of therapy, a back brace—”
“How long?” Ethan insisted.
“We’re talking months, Ethan. And that’s assuming that everything heals as it should. While in a few weeks you’ll be able to continue with most day-to-day activities, I don’t see you going back to active duty for probably six months. It could be less; it could be more. Perhaps they can transfer you to a desk job until you’re ready. After a few weeks of therapy we could reevaluate and consider light duty. But as of right now, your life is going to look different. You need to understand and accept that. Your priority needs to be healing properly.”
Months? Desk job? Light duty? Ethan tried to swallow the boulder in his throat.
“But, eventually, I’ll be back to normal. I’ll be able to be on active duty, right?” Ethan pressed. Dr. Nichols folded his arms across his clipboard.
“If all goes as it should, I think you’ll make a full recovery. But as I said, this is going to be a one-day-at-a-time healing process. We’ll start with rest. I want you on complete bed rest for the next few days. No strenuous activity. We’ll fit you for a back brace, which I want you to wear for six to eight weeks. We’ll do an X-ray after six weeks and see if the bone has healed. Then, once the bone has healed, you’ll need to begin physical therapy.”
Ethan took a deep breath. He felt a soft hand squeeze his arm and he looked up at Isabella.
“Hey, it’s going to be okay,” she said, her voice encouraging. “You’re here, you’re alive, you can walk—those are all good things.” He stared at her, trying to hold on to the sense of calm emanating from her.
She’s right, Father, he prayed. But what am I going to do for months if I’m not fighting fires? And what if ‘the healing process’ doesn’t go as it should and I can’t go back? Company 51 is all I have.
That last thought was too much. Ethan felt tears welling up in his eyes. He blinked fast to keep them at bay, mortified that he might cry in front of this nurse who not only was kind and smart and had a great sense of humor, but also looked stunning in blue scrubs.
I will never leave you.
The words were just a whisper in his heart, but they were enough. He clung to them. It had only been six months since one of his brothers at the firehouse, Caleb, had lead Ethan to Christ. Six months of a changed life. He still struggled to accept that God loved him like a father. That he could turn to God at any time. But it got easier. Accepting Christ as his Savior had filled Ethan with something he’d known was missing since childhood. Now he treasured that faith more than anything else.
Ethan closed his eyes.
I have You, Father. Whatever comes, I have you. Help me through this.Isabella watched as Ethan closed his eyes. His lips moved silently, and she knew without a doubt that he was praying. She looked over at Dr. Nichols who stood waiting without a word. Prayers were common things in the hospital. Sometimes people cried out loudly for help. Sometimes it was a desperate whisper. And sometimes, like now, it was a silent request. She’d seen people blame God. She’d seen them beg for His comfort. She’d even seen them try to barter for what they wanted.
Isabella wondered which one Ethan was doing now.
She also considered the fact that without all the dust and blood, Ethan Carter was even more attractive than she’d found him to be in the ER.
He had no family to call. That’s odd. The firefighters have filled up the waiting room, of course. But no one else. No relatives. No girlfriend. No one.
Isabella stared at the handsome firefighter’s brown hair and dark brown eyebrows. His sturdy jaw and those lips. She watched him pray. She wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to think so or not—but the fact that he was praying made him even more attractive.
I was wrong. He’s not completely alone. He has faith.
Ethan drew a breath and opened his eyes. He looked at Isabella before turning his attention to Dr. Nichols.
“Okay, what’s my next step, doc?”.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails

AddThis Share Buttons