Wednesday, August 31, 2011

GRAVE EXPECTATIONS by Sherri Browning Erwin and Charles Dickens

GRAVE EXPECTATIONS
Authors: Sherri Browning Erwin and Charles Dickens
Publisher: Gallery Books
ISBN-13: 9781451617245

From the author of Jayne Slayre and in the bestselling tradition of such “monster classics” as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies comes a clever retelling of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations featuring Pip as a werewolf and Estella as a vampire slayer. GRAVE EXPECTATIONS is a re-imagining of Charles Dickens' tale with some supernatural surprises!

Bristly, sensitive, and meat-hungry Pip is a robust young whelp, an orphan born under a full moon. Between hunting escaped convicts alongside zombified soldiers, trying not to become one of the hunted himself, and hiding his hairy hands from the supernaturally beautiful and haughty Estella—whose devilish moods keep him chomping at the bit—Pip is sure he will die penniless or a convict like the rest of his commonly uncommon kind.

But then a mysterious benefactor sends him to London for the finest werewolf education money can buy. In the company of other furry young gentlemen, Pip tempers his violent transformations and devours the secrets of his dark world. When he discovers that his beloved Estella is a slayer of supernatural creatures, trained by the corpse-like vampire Miss Havisham, Pip’s desire for her grows stronger than his midnight hunger for rare fresh beef. But can he risk his hide for a truth that will make Estella his forever – or will she drive one last silver stake through his heart?

My Thoughts:

Sherri Browning Erwin has done it again! She took a great classic and turned it into a well written and practically flawless parody.  Dickens' "Great Expectations" now contains vampires, werewolves, Scapegraces and slayers, yet it still holds the integrity of the original story. Unlike some of the other parodies I have read, this one is well written with a seamless transition between Erwin and Dickens.

I found this an enjoyable read and maybe (dare I say it?) even better than the original Dickens' classic. I enjoyed the humor and the struggle of Pip's desire for Estella. Pip was definitely one that I sympathized with and understood. His struggles felt quite "real" as did his thoughts and feelings.  There was one place in the book that really stood out for me - Pip was with Biddy and Joe and feeling more and more blue while Biddy and Joe were becoming more happy: "Dissatisfied with my fortune, of course I could no be; but it is possible that I may have been without quite knowing it, dissatisfied with myself."


I really loved both of Erwin's parodies. She is a master at crafting a new story out of an old favorite, and is definitely winning a place on my favorite authors list. One great benefit of reading "Grave Expectations" is, I must now re-read "Great Expectations". Who would have ever thought I'd consider reading it again?!

 About the Author:

Sherri Browning Erwin is the author of historical and contemporary, often paranormal fiction, including Jane Slayre, which is available from Gallery Books. She has written historical romance for Dell under the name Sherri Browning and contemporary romance for Kensington under the name Sherri Erwin.

A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Sherri lives in Western Massachusetts with her nearly-perfect husband, and their charming actor son, amazing violinist daughter, a crafty corgi (Pembroke Welsh), and a very special pug.

To learn more about Sherri and the the books she's authored, you can visit her online at www.sherribrowningerwin.com.

This book was provided by Gallery Books for me to honestly review

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - "Bedbugs"


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of  Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

"The Bob Dylan guy scowled at her again. Susan smiled very politely, gave him the finger, and got up to leave."

~page 99 Bedbugs by Ben H. Winters

What's your teaser? PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your 2 ‘teasers’ in the comment section here. Thanks!

Friday, August 26, 2011

20 Free Barnes & Noble Classics

Just in time for school, Barnes & Noble is offering 20 free classics from their B&N Classic Series to download to your Nook. Many of these were offered for free last summer, so check your list to see what you may be missing. I was lazy and didn't look, so now I have duplicates. Usually B&N tells me when I have the book in my library, but it appears these books have different ISBN numbers than those downloaded last year.

Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Art of War

The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction

Don Quixote

Emily Dickinson

The Good Soldier

Gulliver's Travels

House of Mirth

Jane Eyre

Jude the Obscure

Odyssey

Paradise Lost

Picture of Dorian Gray

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Dubliners

Scarlet Letter

Sherlock Holmes

Tale of Two Cities

Three Musketeers

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Wuthering Heights

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursday Cafe Blog Hop

Welcome to the Thursday Cafe Blog Hop
Hosted by Deb, Tammy and Melissa!!


How It Works!!
Please Follow All Three of Us
And Then Visit As Many Other
Blogs As You'd Like!!

$25 Value and More Giveaways

Please Link Up Your Giveaways
Valued at $25 or Higher!



"Lost Edens" by Jamie Patterson - Review

Lost Edens
Jamie Patterson
Publisher: Beaver's Pond Press
ISBN: 9781592983865
Genre: Memoir, Non-ficiton

About the Book:

For Jamie Patterson, the end of her marriage is signaled by betrayal and abandonment. When estranged husband Ben asks to live with Jamie again, she ignores her instincts, her family's concern, and her friends' doubts and sets about making a perfect home in a California beach town.


What follows in 33-year-old Patterson's debut reads more like a mystery (or a horror story) than an account of a relationship ruptured by infidelity. As Jamie's carefully titrated efforts walk a tightrope between wishful fantasy and cruel reality, we watch: enraptured, enraged, and endeared by this fearless yet fragile young woman who must end one way of life to forge a new one.




My Thoughts:

This review took some time for me to write as the stark reality of this book hit very close to home. Jamie writes about the final weeks of her relationship with her husband and tells with both an innocence and purity of a soul that has been battered by emotional abuse. The lack of self-worth is apparent to the reader, but not to the person living it.

Jamie bares her soul and tells from a personal point of view how things transpired and how she discovered she lost herself, but only after losing her husband. She writes with a raw honesty and allows the reader inside the eyes of a person with no self-worth... a person who had it when she started, but doesn't realize that she no longer feels worthy of respect and real love. She shows a woman who feels that if she just tries harder and puts more effort in her relationship, she will receive the love from her husband that she so desperately craves.

This account illustrates how much emotional abuse breaks a person and how it robs their essence. Unlike physical abuse, the scars aren't apparent. The abuse isn't even apparent to the one on the receiving end until great damage has been done. Emotional abuse makes me think of the proverbial frog in the pot - it doesn't notice the heat is being turned up until it's too late.

This emotional account should be read by everyone!

Please Note:

Jamie will be donating a portion of her book sales to the Institute for Human Animal Connection at the University of Denver. After reading this book and meeting Huey, one will understand why.

About the Author:

Jamie Patterson is a writer, teacher, runner, and dog owner who has been writing since she was 9-years-old as the "kids corner" reporter for the Tangletown News in Minneapolis. Since then, she has written her way through life in four states and two continents and has completed four marathons. She is now an academic editor and lives in Minneapolis with her dog, Huey. This is her first book.

To learn more about Jamie, you can visit her at her website: http://www.lostedens.com/
or find her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lost-Edens/169034456471587
or on Twitter: http://twitter.com/PattersonJamie

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Velocity Fitness Magnetic Rower Review

Velocity Fitness CHR-2001 Programable Magnetic Rower allows you to get an effective workout in the comfort of your own home. Features a Drum Magnetic Control System (DMC), electronic tension control and is foldable making it convenient for storage when not in use. It has a large PU mouled saddle for maximum comfort and the beam is made of anodized aluminum profile and rectangular tubing support. Unit is also equiped with built in transportation wheels. The computer monitor has a large LCD all easy to read monitor. Functions include time, count, stroke/minutes, distance, calories, watt & pulse. There are 12 programs: manual, 6 pre-set. Offers a smooth and quiet workout. Rowing is an especially balanced form of exercise that involves all the main muscle groups and increases the efficiency of the heart and circulatory systems.

My Thoughts:

We live in an area that doesn't have a gym, so this is the first rowing machine any of us has used. Keeping that in mind, this is coming from a novice point of view.

The machine itself weighs about 90 pounds, and arrived needing assembly. All tools and materials were included, so it was just a matter of about 30 minutes to get the whole thing out of the box and assembled. The directions were clear and easy to follow. All pieces were made of heavy steel and the bolts were some of the biggest I have ever seen! The main part that houses the electronics has a plastic cover and is of a pleasing design and color.

When fully extended and ready for working out on, the unit measures about 7 feet. The manufacturer's description said the unit can be folded for space saving when not in use. It does compact nicely, with measurements of 54"h x 34"d x 20"w and this is obtained by folding the unit up in front of the seat.

The unit seems to be of good quality. The seat is well padded and very comfortable and the handles are nicely padded and are comfortable to grip. The foot rests are adjustable and fit each member of our family nicely. The seat quietly and easily glides on the beam.

We have 4 in the family - 2 teens and 2 adults. The unit works well with each having different strength programs that each family member prefers. My husband, who was far from interested in a rowing machine, is using it daily and has customized his own workout. He LOVES it, and is amazed at how much of a workout one can receive for the small amount of time that is spent on the machine.

A real plus for us is how quiet the unit is. One can work out and not disturb the rest of the family. I like using it early in the morning, and my husband likes using it late in the evening and it doesn't disturb anyone. The kids like using it when they are watching TV or listening to music and being quiet as the unit is, they can listen at normal levels.

There were a few drawbacks:

*Since we are new at using a rowing machine, we found no instruction in the book on how to use it. I know that it's not rocket science, but there were warm-up exercises included, but nothing else. If you know how to use a rowing machine, wouldn't you also know how to warm up? That, of course, was easily remedied - online videos are easy to find.

*The heart monitor that belts around the torso doesn't agree with my husband. Not sure why, but he has had trouble with it from day one. He doesn't like how it fits so he doesn't use it. I'm wondering if it is because of his broad chest. Other family members don't have this complaint.

*My husband thinks the handles should be bent forward a bit, instead of straight across. He thinks it would be more comfortable to use. The rest of us don't have a problem with them the way they are.

*My husband is over 6ft. tall with long legs. He has come close to the end of the beam when he was enthusiastically working out. There is no stop at the end and could be a problem for a very tall person.

*The directions on how to use the programs could be a bit more clear and easier to use. A little more in-depth explanation about each program would be nice.

I love the design, the ease in use, and the compactness of the Velocity Fitness Magnetic Rower. It has been nothing except a wonderful addition to my family's workout routine. If you have only enough money to buy one machine for your fitness program, this is the only one you really need. It works all your muscle groups and gives you a wonderful aerobic workout.

Product was sent through the Amazon Vine Program for me to test and honestly review.

Monday, August 22, 2011

"Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue" by Stephanie Laurens - Tour with Review

Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue
First Volume in the Cynster Sisters Trilogy
The 16th Cynster Novel
Publisher: Avon
ISBN 9780062068606
448 pages
ON SALE 30th AUGUST, 2011

About the Book:

You are cordially invited to the wedding of Miss Heather Cynster . . . but not before she encounters kidnappers, danger, and a daring rescue at the hands of Viscount Breckenridge.


Determined to hunt down her very own hero, one who will sweep her off her feet and into wedded bliss, and despairing of finding him in London’s staid ballrooms, Heather Cynster steps out of her safe world and boldly attends a racy soiree.


But her promising hunt is ruined by the supremely interfering Viscount Breckenridge, who whisks her out of scandal—and straight into danger, when a mysterious enemy seizes her, bundles her into a coach, and conveys her out of London.


Now it’s up to the notorious Breckenridge to prove himself the hero she’s been searching for all along . . .

My Thoughts:

Stephanie Laurens is a new-to-me author, so I walked into the Cynster series with no expectations, but with some concern that I would be missing out since this is the 16th book. That was not the case at all! The storyline in "Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue" was downright captivating! I didn't have any problems getting to know the characters and found Breckenridge appealing and crush-worthy. Sigh...

With the mystery of Heather's kidnapping and Breckenridge stepping in to try to be the hero, I was intrigued that everyone was clueless why this all happened. It made for a fascinating read that I didn't want to put down. Heather's need to know added a nice mix of thrill and danger to an already exciting plot.

My only "complaint" with the story is the amount of descriptive sex that was included. Yes, I know that historical romances contain this, so it's not a shock to me, but I'm just not into pages and pages of description from the lingering kiss to the final fireworks. With that said, that's the only drawback for me - but the story more than makes up for it - enough so, that I want to read more of Lauren's books. Her ability to spin a story is amazing, and will keep me coming back for more! I cannot wait to read the next book, and am planning to look for the previous books in the series. This book has made me want to get to know all the Cynsters and their stories!

About the Author (from Goodreads.com):

Stephanie Laurens was born in Sri Lanka, which was at the time the British colony of Ceylon. When she was 5, her family moved to Melbourne, Australia, where she was raised. After continuing through school and earning a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in Australia, Laurens and her husband moved to Great Britain, taking one of the last true overland journeys from Katmandu to London.

Once in London, Laurens and her husband both began work as research scientists in Kent. They lived in an area surrounded by history. Their own cottage was built in the 16th century, while next door were the protected ruins of an early Roman villa, and nearby was a 14th century castle.

After four years in England, Laurens and her husband returned to Australia, where she continued to work in cancer research, eventually heading her own research laboratory. One evening Laurens realized that she did not have any more of her favorite romance novels to read. After years of thinking about writing her own novel, during nights and weekends for the next several months she began crafting her own story. That manuscript, Tangled Reins, was the first of her books to be published. After achieving a level of success with her novels, Laurens "retired" from scientific research and became a full-time novelist. Her novels are primarily historical romances set in the Regency time period.

Laurens and her husband live in Melbourne with their two daughters. 



To learn more about Stephanie or find out more about her books, you can visit her website at: http://www.stephanielaurens.com/index.html


Book was supplied by Goddess Fish Promotions for both tour participation and an honest review.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ransome's Quest (The Ransome Trilogy) by Kaye Dacus - FIRST Wild Card Tour

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



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





Today's Wild Card author is:



and the book:


Ransome's Quest

(The Ransome Trilogy)


Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)

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



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Kaye Dacus, author of Ransome’s Honor has a BA in English, with a minor in history, and an MA in writing popular fiction. Her love of the Regency era started with Jane Austen. Her passion for literature and for history come together to shape her creative, well-researched, and engaging writing.



Visit the author's website.



SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:







This engaging end to the Ransome Trilogy is a fast-paced tale of love, faith, and danger on the Caribbean Sea in the early 1800s. Captain William Ransome frantically searches for his kidnapped wife and sister. But who will rescue them when buried secrets emerge and challenge everything they believe?











Product Details:



List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736927557

ISBN-13: 978-0736927550



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:






It is too dangerous.”



William Ransome snapped his cutlass into its scabbard and turned to face his wife. “The longer I delay, the farther away they take Charlotte.”



Dread froze his lungs, his stomach, his heart. Charlotte. His sister. Taken. “If anything happens to her…”



Julia wrapped her arms around her abdomen and leaned against one of the heavy posts at the end of the bed. “Why the message to my father? What has he to do with Charlotte?”



William double-checked the load of his pistol and tucked it under his belt. “Your father has publicly vowed—more than once—to rid the Caribbean of pirates and privateers for good. Charlotte was likely a target of opportunity, not purpose.”



“But if the man’s argument is with my father, it should have been me taken, not Charlotte.”



William could not disagree with her. Nor could he agree, as the very idea of Julia’s being taken by pirates nearly ripped his heart from his chest. “I should have put her on that ship in Barbados returning to England. If I had followed my conscience”—instead of listening to Julia’s and Charlotte’s emotional arguments—“she would have been well out of harm’s way by now.”



They both startled at a knock on the door.



“Come.”



The door opened at his command, revealing Jeremiah. “The horses are ready, Commodore.”



“Very good.” William took up his case and hat and moved toward the door.



Julia stepped in front of him, expression imploring. “Please, William, wait until dawn. The roads are treacherous enough in the full light of day. At night…and you do not know where you are going. What good will it do Charlotte if you become lost or…or something else happens to you or the horse? Or what if the pirates have laid a trap and done this to lure you from the safety of the house?”



A mirthless laugh expanded in his throat, but he stifled it. Safety of the house? Was the house safe when the brigands had snatched Charlotte from the porch almost directly outside this very room?



“I am sending Asher with him, Miss Julia,” Jeremiah said. “He knows the roads ’twixt here and Kingston better than anyone I know.”



William tore his gaze away from Julia’s anxious face. “Jeremiah, I am depending on you to protect Mrs. Ransome and ensure no harm comes to her while I am away.”



“I will protect her with my life, sir.”



He stepped around Julia and handed his bag and hat to Jeremiah. “Thank you. I shall join you in a moment.”



As he hoped, Jeremiah understood the dismissal. He gave a slight bow and left the room, closing the door behind him.



William took Julia by the shoulders and directed her to the chaise positioned at the end of their bed. He had to apply more pressure than he liked to make her sit. “You are to stay at Tierra Dulce. You will keep an escort with you at all times. I want armed guards posted near the house.”



She nodded, never blinking or breaking eye contact. “Yes, William.”



“If you hear any word from Charlotte or receive”—his voice caught in his throat—“a ransom demand from the pirate, you will send a messenger to Fort Charles. They will get word to me.”



“Yes, William.”



Heart tearing asunder at the necessity of leaving Julia behind, he bent over and pressed his forehead to hers. “Pray for Charlotte.”



Julia’s hands slid around behind his neck, her fingers twining in his hair. She angled her head and kissed him. “I promise. I will pray for you also, my love.”



He kissed her again and then tore himself away from her embrace. “I must go. I promise I will return—and I will bring Charlotte with me.”



Determined to not look back, he made for the door. He opened it and then hesitated. Without turning around, he said the words he needed to say, just in case they were the last he ever said to his wife. “I love you.”



“I love you, William.” Though softly spoken, her words acted as the command that loosed him from his mooring. He stepped through the door and closed it, leaving her on the other side.



Ned Cochrane paced the drive below the porch steps when William exited the house. He barely spared his former first officer a glance. Intellectually, he knew Ned had done his best, having been taken by surprise and set upon by several men. However, in his heart, he wanted to rail at the younger man for failing to protect Charlotte.



Though a horse was his least favorite mode of transportation, William easily swung himself up into the saddle. Once he was settled—and Ned appeared to be also—William nodded at Asher to lead the way.



Darkness enveloped them. Behind, the light from the house acted as a siren’s call, beckoning him to turn, to look, to regret his decision to leave in the dead of night and wish he had taken Julia’s advice and waited until dawn.



His neck ached from the effort of keeping his face forward instead of giving in to temptation and taking one last look at the house, hoping to catch a final glimpse of Julia.



He focused on the bumpy motion of the animal underneath him. He must leave all thoughts of—all worries about—Julia behind, just as he now left her home behind. Jeremiah had known Julia most of her life. He had been as much of a substitute father for Julia as her father, Admiral Witherington, had been for William.



No, he could not worry about Julia and her safety. Rescuing Charlotte must be his only focus, his only thought.



The monotonous rhythm of the horses’ hooves, at a walk over the dark, deeply rutted dirt roads, along with the necessity of keeping his eyes trained on the light shirt stretched across Asher’s broad back, lulled William into a stupor.



Ahead lay his ship. The thought of boarding Alexandra and getting under sail chipped away at his anxiety. As soon as he was on the water, as soon as he stood on the quarterdeck and issued the command to weigh anchor, he would be that much closer to finding Charlotte and bringing her home.



The road widened, and Ned pulled up beside him.



“You are certain the man did not identify himself?”



“No, sir. He did not give his name. He only said her safety depended on the mercy of a pirate.” Ned’s voice came across flat and hoarse.



“What were you doing out on the porch, alone with her in the dark?” Even as William asked this, he reminded himself Ned was not at fault. But if Charlotte had been inside, perhaps…



“I followed them—Miss Ransome and Winchester—when they went for their walk. I did not trust Mrs. Ransome’s steward to behave honorably.” He paused. “I need not have worried. Char—Miss Ransome handled the situation admirably and dispatched Winchester, and their engagement, with aplomb.”



“Winchester was with you when she was taken? Why did you not tell me this before?”



“No, sir. Miss Ransome dismissed him. He had been gone for…several minutes.”



Could Winchester be involved? Dread sank like a cannonball in William’s gut. Julia already suspected the steward of embezzling money from the plantation. And William had left her there with that man—



“I asked her to marry me.”



If Winchester were involved, and this was a ploy to get William away from Tierra—he yanked the reins. The horse voiced its protest and jerked and swerved, nearly unseating William. “I beg your pardon?”



“After Charlotte broke her engagement with Winchester, we talked about our mutual regard. I proposed marriage to her, and she accepted.” Ned’s words barely rose above the sounds of the horses’ hooves on the hard-packed earth.



From a sinking ship into shark-infested waters. Could Charlotte not have waited even a full day after breaking one engagement before forming another—again, without her family’s knowledge? “And if I refuse my permission?”



“Then we shall wait. We’ll wait until you think I am worthy to marry her, sir.”



Worthy to marry her. William did not have to think hard to remember standing before Julia’s father twelve years ago and saying the same words. Sir Edward had graciously given him—a poor, threadbare lieutenant with no prospects and nothing to recommend him as husband or son-in-law—a father’s blessing for William and Julia to marry based on nothing other than their love for each other. William had been the one to deem himself unworthy of her affections, and he had almost lost her forever.



“We shall discuss this after we return Charlotte home.”



“I pray that will be soon, sir.”



“So do I, Ned. So do I.”



Charlotte awoke with a gasp. Wooden planks formed the low ceiling above her. A canvas hammock conformed to her body and swung with the heave and haw of the ocean beneath the ship.



A ship?



Not possible. They had made port, hadn’t they?



She stared at the underside of the deck above, trying to clear the haziness from her brain. Yes. They had made port. Left Alexandra and ridden in carriage across those horrible, rutted roads to Tierra Dulce, Julia’s sugar plantation. The low, sprawling white house with the deep porch that wrapped all the way around and the white draperies billowing through the open windows.



The porch. She blinked rapidly. The porch. At night. In the dark. Henry Winchester and…and Ned.



She bolted upright and then flung her torso over the side of the hammock as her stomach heaved.



Why should she be sick? She hadn’t experienced a moment of seasickness on the crossing from England to Jamaica. She climbed out of the hammock, skirt and petticoats hindering her progress until she hoisted them above her knees, and made for the small table with a glass and pitcher.



Wan light from the stern windows sparkled through the glass, revealing a residue of white powder in the bottom of it. She set the glass back on the stand. Last night the pirate had made her drink from the glass, and then everything had gone hazy. But before that…



She buried her face in her hands. Being torn away from Ned. She prayed they had not killed him. She’d heard no gunshot, but as their raid had been one of stealth, they would more likely have used a blade to end Ned’s life.



A sob ripped at her throat, but she forced it to stay contained. She would not give the pirates the satisfaction of seeing her upset. And she must, and would, find a means of escape.



Thirst got the better of her, and she lifted the china pitcher of water and rinsed her mouth before drinking deeply the brackish liquid. She then turned and surveyed the cabin. Obviously the pirate captain’s quarters. Though smaller than Ned’s aboard Audacious, which was in turn smaller than William’s aboard Alexandra, the room was neatly kept, with serviceable furnishings, whitewashed walls and ceiling, and plain floors. Nothing to exhibit the extravagance or wealth she’d expected to see in a pirate’s private lair.



The desk. Perhaps something there would tell her more about her captor. She crossed to it, rather surprised by the empty work surface. No stacks of the papers or books like the ones resting on William’s or Ned’s worktables. Her fingers itched to open the drawer under the desktop and the small doors and drawers along the high back of it, but Mama had taught her better than that.



Two miniatures hanging above the desk caught her eye. One showed a woman, probably a few years older than Charlotte, with dark hair and angular features. Too plain to be called pretty, but not ugly either. The green backdrop of the second painting contrasted vividly with the reddish-brown hair of a pretty girl and matched her vibrant green eyes.



Mahogany hair and green eyes—just like Julia. Why would a pirate have a portrait of Julia hanging in his cabin? But, she corrected herself, the painting was of a girl no older than thirteen or fourteen. Surely the resemblance to Julia was merely coincidental.



“She was lovely, was she not?”



Charlotte gasped and whirled. A dark-haired man dressed in a blue coat that resembled a commodore’s or admiral’s—complete with prodigious amounts of gold braid about the cuffs, collar, and lapels—stood in the doorway of the cabin.



He tossed a bicorne hat—also similar to a navy officer’s—onto the oblong table in the middle of the cabin, clasped his hands behind his back, and sauntered toward her, his eyes on the portrait.



“What do you want with me?”



“I am sorry for the manner of your coming here, Miss…?” He cocked one eyebrow at her.



“Ransome. Charlotte Ransome. My brother is Commodore William Ransome. He will hunt you down. And when he finds you—”



“When he finds me,” the pirate said, sighing, “I am certain the encounter shall be quite violent and bloody. Is that what you were going to say?”



Charlotte ground her teeth together. The man stood there, serene as a vicar on the Sabbath, acting as if they stood in a drawing room in Liverpool discussing the weather. “What do you want with me?”



“With you? Nothing.” He flicked an invisible speck of dust from the oval frame. “My business is with her.”



“With her?” Charlotte nodded toward the painting. “Is that…?”



“Julia Witherington—or Julia Ransome, as I have lately learned. Empress of the Tierra Dulce sugar empire.”



The strange lilt in his voice when he said Julia’s name sent a chill down Charlotte’s spine. “Yes, she is married. To my brother.”



“The famous Commodore Ransome.” The pirate turned and ambled toward the dining table. “His reputation precedes him.”



Worry riddled Charlotte at the pirate’s lack of worry over the thought of William’s hunting him down and blowing him and his crew out of the water. After Charlotte escaped, naturally.



“You were not part of my plan, little Charlotte Ransome.” He turned, leaned against the edge of the table, and crossed his arms. The coat pulled across his broad chest and muscular shoulders. A lock of dark hair fell over his forehead, softening the way his heavy black brows hooded his eyes. His nose had been aquiline once, but now it sported a bump about halfway down from whence the rest of the appendage angled slightly to his left. A scar stretched across his forehead and down into his left eyebrow. On first sight he could have passed for Spanish, but his accent marked him as an Englishman.



If he weren’t a no-good, dastardly, cowardly, kidnapping pirate, she might consider him handsome.



“Did you kill him?” The question squeezed past her throat unbidden.



“Him?”



“Ned—Captain Cochrane. The man with me on the porch.” She schooled her emotions as best she could, pretending the man standing before her was none other than Kent, her nemesis during her days aboard Audacious as a midshipman.



“If he is dead, it is through no work of me or my men. We do not kill for sport, only for defense.”



“Ha!” The mirthless laugh popped out before she could stop it. “Morality from a pirate? Someone who spends his life pillaging and thieving and destroying and killing and…and…” Heat flooded her face.



“And?” The pirate stood and stalked toward her, an odd gleam in his dark eyes. “And ravishing young women? Is that what you were going to say?”



Charlotte backed away, right into the edge of the desk. She gripped it hard. “N-no.”



The pirate leaned over her, hands on either side of her atop the desk, trapping her. “Do not try to lie to me, little Charlotte Ransome. You have no talent for it.”



Stays digging into her waist, she bent as far back as she could. “Yes, then. Ravishing.” Not that he would get a chance to ravish her. A fork. A penknife. Anything with a sharp edge or point. Once she had something like that in her possession, she would be able to defend herself against him.



Up close, the pirate’s brown eyes held chips of gold and green. A hint of dark whiskers lay just beneath the skin of his jaw and above his upper lip.



He blinked when someone knocked on the door but didn’t move. “Come!”



“Captain, Lau and Declan are back.”



“Very good. I shall meet with them in the wheelhouse momentarily to hear their report. Dismissed.”



Charlotte wanted to cry out to stop the other man from leaving, but she knew she deluded herself. She was no safer with any man on this ship than with their captain.



Would Ned still want her—even be able to look at her—after the pirates were finished with her?



“What’s this?” The pirate reached up and touched Charlotte’s cheek. “Tears?”



She shook her head, more to dislodge his hand than in denial.



With another sigh he straightened and then handed her a handkerchief. “Calm yourself, Miss Ransome. I have no intention of ravishing you. Nor of allowing anyone else to ravish you. While you are aboard my ship, you are under my protection.”



He crossed to the table and retrieved his hat. “You, however, must stay to this cabin at all times. Though my men know my rules of conduct, a few of them might give in to the temptation of their baser desires should they see you about on deck.”



Charlotte leaned heavily against the desk. The handkerchief in her hand was of the finest lawn, embroidered white-on-white with a Greek-key design around the edge. She frowned at the bit of cloth. Why would a pirate carry something so delicate?



He settled the bicorne on his dark head, points fore-and-aft, the same way the officers of the Royal Navy wore theirs.



“Who are you?”



He touched the fore tip of the hat and then flourished a bow. “I am called El Salvador, and you are aboard my ship, Vengeance. Welcome to my home, Miss Ransome.”



My Thoughts:

"Ransome's Quest" is the third book of The Ransome Trilogy, but it can easily be enjoyed as a stand alone. Personally, because of how good the series is, I'd recommend starting with book 1.

With this book, we again find Charlotte Ransome in a precarious and dangerous position, but this time, not of her making. Charlotte is a strong female character who's strength can be both a help and sometimes a hindrance, especially when she gets into her stubborn moods. She is a character I adore and am thrilled with this last book, but also sad, because the trilogy is over.

This book is one that will take you on an adventure that makes you want to continue to read and not put the book aside, as you will need to know what happens next. Full of adventure, thrills and danger, this book will not disappoint. There are a few surprises along the way and an ending that is heartwarming and satisfying.

This is one book of a great trilogy that will not only please the Christian romance reader, but will also appeal to young adult reader as well.

Friday Follow - What Roll Would YOU Play?




Follow me Fridays are always so much fun. You find new blogs, friends and follows - what could be better than that?!

The question this week is:

If you could write yourself a part in a book, what book would it be and what role would you play in that book?

I would choose a book in women's fiction and be the character who is totally overwhelmed with her life, decides she's had enough and just walks away from everything. She leaves behind responsibilities and family and picks up a new identity and a new life - doing exactly what she's always wanted to do.


What roll would you play? I can't wait to see your answers!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Vintage Recipe Thursday: Raspberry-Filled Chocolate Chip Muffins


Vintage Recipe Thursday is meant to preserve your own original vintage family recipes, or out-of-print, copyright-free recipes from old cookbooks, magazines, newspapers or postcards.

You're invited! Get the details by clicking to the Vintage Recipe Thursday Homepage.


Our family is crazy about muffins. When I bake them, I make dozens. The gang is let loose on them and then we freeze the rest for quick snacks or to have with breakfast. This is a family favorite that has been around for years.

Raspberry-Filled Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
1/4 cup raspberry jam

Beat , oil and egg together until well blended. Combine dry ingredients and stir into the liquid mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.


Fill muffin cups 1/3 full. Place 1 teaspoon jam on top of batter.


Top with remaining batter. Sprinkle with sugar if desired. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes.


Cool - and enjoy!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bestseller for a Day Featuring "In Leah's Wake" by Terri Giuliano Long


Today is Bestseller for a Day - a wonderful program that focuses on indie authors and gives them the recognition they deserve. Each month one book is featured for just one day. During that time, we strive to help boost the sales of that author and try to get that book to hit #1 on Amazon's Best Seller List. You know what that means for the author, but what does that mean for you? If you purchase the featured book, which has been reduced to only 99 cents , you are entered into some fantabulous drawings and you get some amazing reading on top of it! It's a win-win situation for everyone.

What do you need to do?
First, you need to go to Amazon and  purchase a copy of "In Leah’s Wake" today (August 17th).  Then, visit the Bestseller for a Day site and follow the instructions to enter to win a Kindle.

Terri is also having a contest and offering a $50 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter that posts today   All you need to do is is answer the following question:

Do you enjoy literary fiction? Why or why not?


Terri will have an unbiased friend choose between all the comments sent in from all the sponsoring blogs and will pick the most interesting comment as the winner. I hope that the one chosen is one of my readers!

Make sure to answer the question and post your answer below with your email address so that you can be contacted if you win. Good luck :)


I had "met" Terri Giuliano Long when I was visiting the different blogs during the "Menage a Blog" Tour. She is not only is she a fantastic writer, but she is one of the most gracious people I had ever met. When I had the opportunity to sponsor her during this event, I couldn't say "YES!!" fast enough.

Terri wrote a great guest post for us. I had asked her about the main character, Leah, but she came up with an even better idea. I'll let her take it from here...

Rather than write a single essay, I chose questions readers often ask and answered those.


Why have you chosen to write about families?

Families fascinate me. My stories, while they differ, always tie back to the family, the ways we love, yet sometimes hurt one another, the grief, the sorrow, the revelation, the joy. We connect with family stories, because we’ve lived them. Readers often tell me In Leah’s Wake feels real and complex. They’ve been there, as a parent or a teen. They feel as if they know these characters and they care about them. Writing is a dialogue: we write; readers respond. Sharing that connection inspires me to write.

Are the characters real? Are they based on people you know?

This is a question typically put to literary writers. Because our characters feel real, readers often assume the story is autobiographical, that we’re writing about people we know. In the novel, Dorothy, who designed the bracelets Zoe buys, and Bob Sullivan, who owns Sullivan Farms Ice Cream, are real people– they graciously gave me permission to use their real names and I’ve done my best to capture their spirit. No other character is based on a real person. Like most writers, I borrow habits and physical characteristics from real people – for the runaway arm, I owe my youngest daughter, KK; my husband is a physical stand-in for Will. Family and friends notice similarities, which can result in embarrassingly inaccurate assumptions. I’m lucky: I have a good-natured family. They put up with my thievery and claim not to mind.

Which In Leah’s Wake character do you feel the most similar to and why?

The character quiz on my Website says I’m a Zoe. (Laughing.) I dislike conflict, so in that regard we’re similar. I like to think I’m less selfish, and more present, though I suppose you’d have to verify that with my family. Seriously, while I don’t indentify with any one character, part of me lives in all. I’m like the writer version of a method actor - when I write, I inhabit my characters. I reach down into myself and imagine – if I were this person, faced with this set of circumstances – what I would think or do.

This helps me to empathize and write with authenticity. While every character is flawed, no one is entirely good or bad. They all have good and bad traits. Yes, they make poor decisions, but they’re motivated by reasons that I hope readers relate to.

In Leah's Wake is a very honest novel. Was it difficult to write so plainly about complicated issues (troubled teens, first love, the parents' role in guiding their children)?

The common thread running through my work is that decent people, with the best intentions, sometimes do the wrong thing. This interests me. I want to know why. To figure it out, I create circumstances and suspend judgment. I wrote the first draft of In Leah’s Wake when our daughters were teenagers. We parents place tremendous pressure on ourselves – and each other – to raise perfect children. Those unrealistic expectations and judgments affect everyone, individuals, families and communities.
Teen rebellion, first love, and parental roles – these issues define us. Add this layer of pressure and our lives become harder, edgier. So writing was really a matter of skewing perspectives, imagining commonplace events through this particular lens, then giving the characters strong motivations and allowing the problems to play out.

You write from a teen's perspective. Was this in any way difficult?

Actually, it was fun. Leah sees things in such an offbeat, immature way. Yet there’s a nugget of truth in almost everything she thinks and says; she’s just not able, hasn’t had the experience, to see things clearly. She lives very much in the moment and she has no clue how situations will play out or how her behavior affects other people. Deep down she’s a good kid. She loves her family and she wants to get it right, but she wants to do it her way, without losing herself. I love that about her. If you write from your heart, if you empathize with your characters, it’s easier to get it right.

I actually found myself feeling bad for Todd. It was easy to not hate him too much. In fact I found myself imagining a back-story for him. You could have made him a lot more despicable. Was he a hard character to write? 

Initially, if this says anything, his nickname was Thunder – my kids laughed at me, said I was weird.

Todd’s contractions made him interesting to create and write about. Again, Leah’s a good kid at heart. For her to fall for him, fall as hard as she does, she had to see some good in him. Despite the negativity, the problems their involvement creates for her and her family, he frees her; ultimately, this relationship forces her grow up. In the end, she is, or will be, a better, kinder, more generous and forgiving human being, having lived through this. Although the characters themselves would deny it, Todd has a lot in common with Will; that’s part of the attraction for Leah. As much as I wanted throttle Todd, for Leah’s sake I gave him respect - far easier, believe me, to do for a character in your novel than the jerk your real son or daughter drags home. 

About the Book:

While her parents fight to save their daughter from destroying her brilliant future, Leah's younger sister, Justine, must cope with the damage her out-of-control sibling leaves in her wake.

Will this family survive? What happens when love just isn't enough?

Jodi Picoult fans will love this beautifully written and absorbing novel.

My Thoughts

"In Leah's Wake" was so well written that I had to wonder if Leah and her family were based on a real family. The story captured the essence of family and how easy the whole unit can break down when one member doesn't cooperate and decides the rules no longer apply to them.

This story is powerful and gripping and one you won't easily forget. Its realism will shake any parent who has dealt with teens, because they can see themselves in the position of Leah's parents - when everything one attempts to do seems to offend and anger and ends up appearing as hateful to that teen.

I was memorized by the story and found it difficult to put down. it is a story about misunderstanding, hurt, addiction, wrong choices, peer pressure, anger, healing, love, forgiveness, and understanding. The whole story felt so life-like that I found myself completely wrapped up in the characters and their choices and had to keep reminding myself this was a novel and not a true story! 
 
Make sure to pick up your copy today - you will be so happy you did!


About the Author


Terri Giuliano Long grew up in the company of stories both of her own making and as written by others. Books offer her a zest for life’s highs and comfort in its lows. She’s all-too-happy to share this love with others as a novelist and as a lecturer at Boston College.

Her life outside of books is devoted to her family. In her spare time, she enjoys walking, traveling to far-flung places, and meeting interesting people. True to her Italian-American heritage, she’s an enthusiastic cook and she loves fine wine and good food. In an alternate reality, she could have been very happy as an international food writer.
Terri loves meeting and connecting with people who share her passions. Visit her on  Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tglongwrites or Twitter: @tglong

While you are at Amazon, you might want to have a look at the four other partnering authors who have also dropped their book prices  to just 99 cents as well:

  • Sophie & Carter by Chelsea Fine – captivating YA romance
  • Chasing Amanda by Melissa Foster – compelling family mystery
  • The Trust by Sean Keefer – suspenseful Southern mystery
  • Bella by Steve Piacente – gripping political thriller 

I received an e-copy of "In Leah's Wake" for my honest review. 

    Friday, August 12, 2011

    "The One Who Waits for Me" by Lori Copeland

    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:

    Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)
    ***Special thanks to Karri James, Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***



    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



    Lori Copeland is the author of more than 90 titles, both historical and contemporary fiction. With more than 3 million copies of her books in print, she has developed a loyal following among her rapidly growing fans in the inspirational market. She has been honored with the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award, The Holt Medallion, and Walden Books' Best Seller award. In 2000, Lori was inducted into the Missouri Writers Hall of Fame. She lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband, Lance, and their three children and five grandchildren.


    Visit the author's website.



    SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:









    This new series from bestselling author Lori Copeland, set in North Carolina three months after the Civil War ends, illuminates the gift of hope even in chaos, as the lives of six engaging characters intersect and unfold with the possibility of faith, love, and God’s promise of a future.











    Product Details:


    List Price: $13.99

    Paperback: 320 pages

    Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2011)

    Language: English

    ISBN-10: 0736930183

    ISBN-13: 978-0736930185



    AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:




    Joanie?”


    Beth’s sister stirred, coughing.


    Beth gently shook Joanie’s shoulder again, and the young woman opened her eyes, confusion shining in their depths.


    “Pa?”


    “He passed a few minutes ago. Trella will be waiting for us.”


    Joanie lifted her wrist to her mouth and smothered sudden sobbing. “I’m scared, Beth.”


    “So am I. Dress quickly.”


    The young woman slid out of bed, her bare feet touching the dirt-packed floor. Outside, the familiar sound of pond frogs nearly drowned out soft movements, though there was no need to be silent any more. Ma had preceded Pa in death two days ago. Beth and Joanie had been waiting, praying for the hour of Pa’s death to come swiftly. Together, they lifted their father’s silent form and gently carried him out the front door. He was a slight man, easy to carry. Beth’s heart broke as they took him to the shallow grave they had dug the day before. Ma’s fever had taken her swiftly. Pa had held on for as long as he could. Beth could still hear his voice in her ear: “Take care of your sister, little Beth.” He didn’t have to remind her that there was no protection at all now to save either of them from Uncle Walt and his son, Bear. Beth had known all of her life that one day she and Joanie would have to escape this place—a place of misery.


    It was her father’s stubborn act that started the situation Beth and Joanie were immersed in. Pa had hid the plantation deed from his brother and refused to tell him where it was. Their land had belonged to a Jornigan for two hundred years, but Walt claimed that because he was the older brother and allowed Pa to live on his land the deed belonged to him. Pa was a proud man and had no respect for his brother, though his family depended on Walt for a roof over their heads and food on their table. For meager wages they worked Walt’s fields, picked his cotton, and suffered his tyranny along with the other workers. Pa took the location of the hidden deed to his grave—almost. Walt probably figured Beth knew where it was because Pa always favored her. And she did, but she would die before she shared the location with her vile uncle.


    By the light of the waning moon the women made short work of placing the corpse in the grave and then filling the hole with dirt. Finished, they stood back and Joanie bowed her head in prayer. “Dear Father, thank You for taking Ma and Pa away from this world. I know they’re with You now, and I promise we won’t cry.” Hot tears streaming down both women’s cheeks belied her words.


    Returning to the shanty, Joanie removed her nightshirt and put on boy’s clothes. Dressed in similar denim trousers and a dark shirt, Beth turned and picked up the oil lamp and poured the liquid carefully around the one-room shanty. Yesterday she had packed Ma’s best dishes and quilts and dragged them to the root cellar. It was useless effort. She would never be back here, but she couldn’t bear the thought of fire consuming Ma’s few pretty things. She glanced over her shoulder when the stench of fuel heightened Joanie’s cough. The struggle to breathe had been a constant companion since her younger sister’s birth.


    Many nights Beth lay tense and fearful, certain that come light Joanie would be gone. Now that Ma and Pa were dead, Joanie was the one thing left on this earth that held meaning for Beth. She put down the lamp on the table. Walking over to Joanie, she buttoned the last button on her sister’s shirt and tugged her hat brim lower.


    “Do you have everything?”


    “Yes.”


    “Then go outside and wait.”


    Nodding, Joanie paused briefly beside the bed where Pa’s tall frame had been earlier. She hesitantly reached out and touched the empty spot. “May you rest in peace, Pa.”


    Moonlight shone through the one glass pane facing the south. Beth shook her head. “He was a good man. It’s hard to believe Uncle Walt had the same mother and father.”


    Joanie’s breath caught. “Pa was so good and Walt is so…evil.”


    “If it were up to me, he would be lying in that grave outside the window, not Pa.”


    Beth tried to recall one single time in her life when Walt Jornigan had ever shown an ounce of mercy to anyone. Certainly not to his wife when she was alive. Certainly not to Beth or Joanie. If Joanie was right and there was a God, what would Walt say when he faced Him? She shook the thought aside. She had no compassion for the man or reverence for the God her sister believed in and worshipped.


    “We have to go now, Joanie.”


    “Yes.” She picked up her Bible from the little table beside the rocking chair and then followed Beth outside the shanty, her breath coming in ragged gasps. Pausing, Joanie bent and succumbed to a coughing spasm. Beth helplessly waited, hoping her sister could make the anticipated trip through the cotton fields. The women had planned for days now to escape if Ma and Pa both passed.


    Beth asked gently, “Can you do this?”


    Joanie held up a restraining hand. “Just need…a minute.”


    Beth wasn’t certain that they could wait long; time was short. Dawn would be breaking soon, and then Walt would discover that Pa had died and the sisters were missing. But they had to leave. Joanie’s asthma was getting worse. Each gasping breath left her drained and hopeless, and Walt refused to let her see a doctor.


    When Joanie had mentioned the notice in a discarded Savannah newspaper advertising a piece of land, Beth knew she had to buy the property and provide a home for Joanie. Pa had allowed her and Joanie to keep the wage Uncle Walt paid monthly. Over the years they had saved enough to survive, and the owner was practically giving the small acreage away. They wouldn’t be able to build a permanent structure on their land until she found work, but she and Joanie would own their own place where no one could control them. Beth planned to eventually buy a cow and a few setting hens. At first they could live in a tent—Beth’s eyes roamed the small shanty. It would be better than how they lived now.


    Joanie’s spasm passed and she glanced up. “Okay. You…can do it now.”


    Beth struck a match.


    She glanced at Joanie. The young woman nodded and clutched her Bible to her chest. Beth had found it in one of the cotton picker’s beds after he had moved on and given it to Joanie. Her sister had kept the Bible hidden from sight for fear that Walt would spot it on one of his weekly visits. Beth had known, as Joanie had, that if their uncle had found it he’d have had extra reason to hand out his daily lashing. Joanie kept the deed to their new land between its pages.


    After pitching the lighted match into the cabin, Beth quickly closed the heavy door. Stepping to the window, she watched the puddles of kerosene ignite one by one. In just minutes flames were licking the walls and gobbling up the dry tinder. A peculiar sense of relief came over her when she saw tendrils of fire racing through the room, latching onto the front curtain and encompassing the bed.


    “Don’t watch.” Joanie slipped her hand into Beth’s. “We have to hurry before Uncle Walt spots the flames.”


    Hand in hand, the sisters stepped off the porch, and Beth turned to the mounds of fresh dirt heaped not far from the shanty. Pausing before the fresh graves, she whispered. “I love you both. Rest in peace.”


    Joanie had her own goodbyes for their mother. “We don’t want to leave you and Pa here alone, but I know you understand—”


    As the flames licked higher, Beth said, “We have to go, Joanie. Don’t look back.”


    “I won’t.” Her small hand quivered inside Beth’s. “God has something better for us.”


    Beth didn’t answer. She didn’t know whether Ma and Pa were in a good place or not. She didn’t know anything about such things. She just knew they had to run.


    The two women dressed in men’s clothing struck off across the cotton fields carrying everything they owned in a small bag. It wasn’t much. A dress for each, clean underclothes, and their nightshirts. Beth had a hairbrush one of the pickers had left behind. She’d kept the treasure well hidden so Walt wouldn’t see it. He’d have taken it from her. He didn’t hold with primping—said combing tangles from one’s hair was a vain act. Finger-picking river-washed hair was all a woman needed.


    Fire now raced inside the cabin. By the time Uncle Walt noticed the smoke from the plantation house across the fields, the two sisters would be long gone. No longer would they be under the tyrannical thumb of Walt or Bear Jornigan.


    Freedom.


    Beth sniffed the night air, thinking she could smell the precious state. Never again would she or Joanie answer to any man. She would run hard and far and find help for Joanie so that she could finally breathe free. In her pocket she fingered the remaining bills she’d taken from the fruit jar in the cabinet. It was all the ready cash Pa and Ma had. They wouldn’t be needing money where they were.


    Suddenly there was a sound of a large explosion. Heavy black smoke blanketed the night air. Then another blast.


    Kerosene! She’d forgotten the small barrel sitting just outside the back porch.


    It was the last sound Beth heard.

    My Thoughts:


    Taking place right after the Civil War, this book will take you back to a time when slavery was still being practiced in the South and soldiers were going home to their new lives. This story tells about two sisters, Beth and Joanie and their need to escape their abusive Uncle Walt.

    Beth is a strong young woman who does everything she can to protect her asthma stricken sister. She is sensible but quite hot-headed and at times very impulsive. Her sister, Joanie, is opposite. She's meek and gentle and a strong Christian. When they find they have to depend on a group of soldiers to help them, Beth's  reaction of mistrust gives the reader a peek of the life she had lived before her parents died.

    This is a well written novel of adventure, suspense, faith and trust with some romance mixed in. It is humorous at times, and carries a nice message about having faith and trusting God. For me, this is a book that is perfect for a nice cozy read with a hot cup of a favorite tea in your favorite spot.

    This is the first book I've read by Lori Copeland, and it certainly will not be the last. I really enjoyed her writing style and found this book to be a very satisfying read!

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Booking Through Thursday


    It’s National Book Week. The rules: Grab the closest book to you. Go to page 56. Copy the 5th sentence as your status.


    "I felt almost drugged, like I hadn't slept at all."
    ~Always Watching by Brandilyn Collins & Amberly Collins
    (e-book version)

    Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

      

    Beet Juice Jelly - Vintage Recipe Thursday - Recipe Round Up


    Vintage Recipe Thursday is meant to preserve your own original vintage family recipes, or out-of-print, copyright-free recipes from old cookbooks, magazines, newspapers or postcards.

    You're invited! Get the details by clicking to the Vintage Recipe Thursday Homepage.
     


    This recipe came from my grandmother's good friend and neighbor, Phyllis. She, like my grandmother, seemed to be constantly cooking, baking or preserving something.


    Beet Juice Jelly

    6 cups beet juice
    1/2 cup lemon juice
    1 (1 3/4 ounce) boxes Sure-jell pectin
    8 cups sugar
    1 small package Jello (strawberry, raspberry or cherry)

    In large heavy pot, combine juices and pectin. Bring to a full rolling
    boil and boil 1 minute. Add the sugar and Jello, bring back to full
    rolling boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and pour into hot
    sterilized jars and seal. Process pints for 10 minutes in a boiling water
    bath.



    The Month of Lasts

    We finally went to see "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 2" and even though it has been out for a few weeks, it surprised me to find the theater packed. We arrived 15 minutes early and had a hard time finding seats for the four of us to sit together. We all enjoyed the movie, but left disappointed that there would be no more to see.

    The kids grew up with Harry and we celebrated many milestones with him. HP was the first thick book my son ever read, the first series we actually waited for the release and even pre-ordered them so we could have it on hand ASAP and the first series of movies we not only anticipated, but all eagerly awaited their release.

    After seeing the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2, we went to Borders to take advantage of the sales. It was sad seeing the store with empty spots, no cafe, and the shelving units with prices on them. We have always stopped at Borders every time we went to the mall. It was one of the places we HAD to go. With three voracious readers in the family, we never left there empty handed. Now, I not only say goodbye to Harry, but the place where we used to purchase our HP items. It is time to look for another "local" brick & mortar bookstore. Borders was 40 miles away and Barnes & Nobel is even farther.

    Just as we said goodbye to Harry Potter, we will also be saying goodbye to our youngest as she leaves for college next weekend. The weekend following, her brother will be leaving for college, and for the first time in many years of having a house filled with loving children, we will truly be alone. I still can't believe that those beautiful children are now amazing adults. When did all that happen?

    Yes, it is a month of lasts...The last time we made a purchase from Borders, the last time we will see a new Harry Potter on the big movie screen, and our last child saying goodbye to childhood as she skips out the door and plunges head first into campus life.

    Thursday Challenge

    Thursday Photo Challenge is hosted by Spun With Tears. The Thursday Challenge is a place for photographic fun and learning. A theme is announced on their site every Thursday and your assignment is to post a photo you've taken that matches that theme.

    This week's challenge is EMPTY.

    Bombardier Seat on the Sentimental Journey B-17
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