Monday, October 31, 2011

Moonlight Rises by Vincent Zandri #Giveaway, Tour & Review




I am very excited to be able to host today's author, Vincent Zandri. I've had the pleasure of hosting him before, and if you're a long time follower, you'll know he's one of my favorite authors. Even more exciting -  Mr Zandri is giving away an e-copy of his new book "Moonlight Rises" to one lucky reader! See below for details...


Moonlight Rises
By Vincent Zandri 
Genre: Adult Suspense, Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: StoneGate Ink
Publication Date: August 13,2011
Purchase Links: 
 
Synopsis:

“Life sucks. Then you die. Or, if you’re Dick Moonlight, first you die and then you live.”


Dick Moonlight is dead.


Really dead this time, now that three President Obama-masked thugs dressed all in black and communicating only with hand-held voice synthesizers pressed up against their voice boxes have beat the life right out of him inside a dark, downtown Albany alley. What are the thugs after? A box. Size, weight, description unknown. They also want him to stay away from his newest and only client: a handicapped nuclear engineer of dubious Russian heritage by the same of Peter Czech.


But then, now that they’ve killed him, Moonlight’s problems seem to be over. In fact, as he undergoes an out of body experience, his soul floating above his train-wreck of a corpse inside the Albany Medical Center I.C.U., he feels pretty damned good. Great in fact. To make death all the more sweeter, his one true love, Lola, is standing by his bedside. With her long dark hair draping her chiseled face and big round Jackie O sunglasses hiding tear-filled eyes, she appears every bit the grieving sig other. Nothing could make the dead-and-gone Moonlight prouder.


But then something happens. Something bad. A man enters into the I.C.U. Some young guy. He takes hold of Lola’s hand, and pulls her into him. Together, the two share a loving embrace over Moonlight’s dead body. Now, what seemed like a peaceful death is anything but. Moonlight wants back inside his body so he can face-off Some Young Guy and find out if his true love has in fact been cheating on him. At the same time, he wants to find out the true identity of those thugs who killed him so he can exact his revenge. No doubt about it, Moonlight needs to live if he’s going to uncover some pretty painful answers and take care of business.


Like a little kid dropping down a playground slide, Moonlight slides right back inside his bruised and broken body. Opening his eyes the white light blinds him. He feels the pain of his wounds and the pain of his breaking heart.


Life sucks, then you die.
But Moonlight rises.

My Thoughts:

Moonlight is back and in another brilliant and riveting action-packed novel. This time, Moonlight is out looking for who killed him. Say what?! Killed him? If he's dead how can he be hunting down the Obama guys? The Obama guys? So tell me, are you intrigued yet?

Richard (Dick) Moonlight is a gritty and tough private investigator that is far from perfect, making him a character you really can wrap your mind around. His humanity makes him believable and his sense of humor and quirkiness (like his short- term memory loss) makes him an easy favorite - a character that you want to follow through a series.

If you haven't read any of the Moonlight series, you might want to start at the beginning. "Moonlight Rises" can be read as a stand alone, but reading through the series makes it even better because you really get to know Moonlight.

If you have never read a Vincent Zandri novel, do yourself a favor and make one of his works your next read. He has a style that grabs hold of you. There's something mesmerizing about his writing and characters that makes it difficult for me to put the book aside, so I've just given in to the fact that when I get one of his novels, I make sure to block out a whole day, so I read the whole thing in one sitting.

Please note that these novels are geared for the adult audience. Language and situations are rough - certainly not for the kids.



About the Author

 
Vincent Zandri is the No. 1 International Bestselling Amazon Kindle author of THE INNOCENT, GODCHILD, THE REMAINS, MOONLIGHT FALLS, CONCRETE PEARL and the forthcoming MOONLIGHT RISES. He is also the author of the bestselling digital shorts, PATHOLOGICAL and MOONLIGHT MAFIA. Harlan Coben has described his novels as "...gritty, fast-paced, lyrical and haunting," while the New York Post called THE INNOCENT, "Sensational...Masterful...Brilliant!" In March, April and May of 2011, he sold more than 100,000 Kindle E-Books editions of his novels, and is rapidly closing in on the 200K mark all totaled. An MFA in Writing graduate of Vermont College, Zandri's work is translated into many languages including the Dutch, Russian and Japanese. An adventurer, foreign correspondent, and freelance photo-journalist for RT, Globalspec, IBTimes and more, he divides his time between New York and Florence, Italy. 



If you'd like to learn more about Vincent, you can visit him on:
Facebook 
Twitter
Blog 
Website


Giveaway 

Win an E-Book copy of "Moonlight Rises" by Vincent Zandri. All you need to do is fill out the Rafflecopter below. This is an International giveaway

I received an ecopy of this book to read and honestly review for this tour.

Friday, October 28, 2011

"Refuge on Crescent Hill" by Melanie Dobson

Refuge on Crescent Hill
Author: Melanie Dobson
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Paperback
272 pages
978-0-8254-2590-5
Category: FICTION/ Christian/ Suspense

About the Book:
This homecoming wasn’t what she expected . . .


Jobless, homeless, and broke, Camden Bristow decides to visit the grandmother she hasn’t seen in years. But when Camden arrives in Etherton, Ohio, she discovers that her grandmother has passed away, leaving her the 150-year-old mansion on Crescent Hill. The site of her happiest summers as a child, the run-down mansion is now her only refuge.


When Camden finds evidence that she may not be the mansion’s only occupant, memories of Grandma Rosalie’s bedtime stories about secret passageways and runaway slaves fuel her imagination. What really happened at Crescent Hill? Who can she turn to for answers in this town full of strangers? And what motivates the handsome local Alex Yates to offer his help? As she works to uncover the past and present mysteries harbored in her home, Camden uncovers deep family secrets within the mansion’s walls that could change her life—and the entire town—forever.

Read an Excerpt HERE


Have a look at the REAL "Crescent Hill" and see where Melanie got her inspiration from. She has many gorgeous photos posted on her blog.


Hurry as this offer won't last long!
Refuge on Crescent Hill will be available on Amazon Kindle FREE for one week starting October 31! Click Here (please note - this won't show free until Oct. 31st)



My Thoughts:

When Camden's world is turned upside down, she decides to go back to the one place where she can find refuge - her grandmother's home. When she arrives, she is shocked to find that her grandmother has passed away and no one had let her know her grandmother was even sick, let alone her dying. Along with that sudden news, Camden also discovers she is the sole beneficiary of her grandmother's home, a home that comes with secrets.

This fast-paced mystery is also filled with history of the Underground Railroad. Mixing the story of an escaped slave, a hidden tunnel and something hidden in the house, this book was a fascinating read. Everything was seamlessly intertwined and made for a very good mystery with a lesson.

There is one thing that bothered me (and yes this is picky). With the amount of apparent research that the author has done, I found it sad that when she writes about Camden picking up her grandmother's King James Bible and reading it, the quote is used is from another version and NOT the King James.

Putting that aside, this really was a great and entertaining read!


About the Author:

Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of The Black Cloister; Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana; and Together for Good. A former corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family, Melanie has worked in the fields of journalism and publicity for more than eighteen years. She and her family live in Oregon.


Book was supplied by publisher for me to honestly review.

Bestseller for a Day: All Hallow’s Eve: The One Night it’s Bad... to be Good

Once again, it's Bestseller For A Day
and today's pick is:

All Hallow’s Eve: The One Night it’s Bad... to be Good


People are being martyred but not for their faith. Instead the deaths are part of a serial killer’s sick game as he chooses his victim by their name… then kills them in that Saint’s grisly manner. 

This book is seriously scary and is just in time for you to cuddle with on All Hallow's Eve! I can't tell even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this book. I devoured it in one day and even though it was freaking me out, I still couldn't stop. I had to know who the serial killer was and who the next victim was going to be. And wait until you find out who the killer is!! WOW!!

Buy to Win!!! Enter to win a Kindle!!!

That’s right!
By helping us drive “All Hallow's Eve” to the top of the Kindle Lists on October 28th, YOU can win!
Because Cristyn is giving away a brand new Kindle!
Simply purchase “All Hallow's Eve” on October 28, then head back to the Bestseller For A Day Website and fill out the entry form (located at the top of the right hand column).
You will only need to enter your email address and the first five numbers from your Amazon purchase confirmation code.
And tah-dah! You just gained 5 entries to win a Kindle!
For more info visit: http://www.bestsellerforaday.com/


Bestseller for a Day: 99 Cent Bonus Buys!

To celebrate All Hallow’s Eve’s big day, these authors are dropping the price of their amazing titles to just 99¢!!!!
On October 28th, head over to their Amazon.com pages and see what all the fuss is about!


Widowmaker by Cristyn West and Elena Gray

A horror movie that causes people to die? 

Something so scary that people watching it are bleeding out of their eyes, having heart attacks and ripping their own faces apart? The docu-horror film called Terror in the Trees sounds harmless enough, doesn't it? 


That's what FBI Agent Derek Bolder thought when he was given the mission to go to Hollywood to bring back the film. He hadn't yet understood the sheer evilness contained within it...but he soon would.

Derek's ex-fiancée Jill, the beautiful and sexy film executive, is dead set against giving him the film. It would ruin her career. What lengths would she and her nasty boss go to, to protect their reputations even as the bodies pile up?



Fierce Dawn, A ParaRealm Novel by Amber Scott
Snarling teeth, glowing eyes. Someone--something--is after her.

The man who haunts her dreams enters her reality, claiming she's transforming into a changeling--not quite immortal but no longer human. Except nobody wants this change. Not humans, not immortals and least of all her.

Battle lines are drawn and blood spills as the two fight not only for her life, but for mankind's as well.




The Evil Within, a Horror Anthology by Cristyn West, Amber Scott, et. al.

The hiss of hot breath coming from inside the coat closet.

The noxious odor of plastic smothering your face as you fight to breathe.

The nagging feeling that someone is watching your every move...waiting.

Vengeance. Misplaced trust. Pure evil.

After reading these nine chilling tales this Halloween, how many times will you soothe yourself in the dark thinking "there are no monsters"?


I received an e-copy of All Hallow's Eve to honestly review.

Your Pathway to Miracles by Marilyn Hickey

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:

Whitaker House (September 6, 2011)
***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling of Whitaker House for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


At age 80, Dr. Marilyn Hickey, founder and president of Marilyn Hickey Ministries, is still going strong. Known and loved worldwide for her clear, down-to-earth Bible teaching, she’s brought Scripture to life for countless thousands through her radio and TV broadcasts, books, and speaking ministry. In recent years she’s ministered across the U.S. as well as in the Sudan, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, India, China and Pakistan. The author of dozens of books and pamphlets, Marilyn Hickey’s recent Whitaker House releases include: Spiritual Warfare, The Names of God, Total Healing, and Your Pathway to Miracles. She and her daughter co-host the weekly worldwide television show, Marilyn and Sarah.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


In her latest book worldwide Bible teacher Marilyn Hickey offers a “how to” for those in need of a miracle. Dr. Hickey teaches readers how to learn to build trust in God, creatively interweaving faith-building Scriptures with her considerable personal experience, such as giving birth to her daughter after being told it was medically impossible. Christian leaders are applauding the results, recommending Your Pathway to Miracles to their congregations and audiences, with Joyce Meyer saying, “it will fuel your faith and give you a new passion to believe God for the miraculous,” and from Richard Roberts: “allow her new book to set you on your own journey for miracles in the mighty name of Jesus.”

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (September 6, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603743251
ISBN-13: 978-1603743259

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Everyone Needs a Miracle

What Miracle Are You Seeking?

In the United States and around the world, countless numbers of people are looking for miracles in their lives. When some people say, “I’m praying for a miracle,” they are really talking about wishful thinking or a vague hope that things will get better. Others, however, mean that they are asking God to intervene in their lives based on the reality of His promises. There’s a big difference! Over the years, my ministry has received numerous reports of miracles that have come through prayer and holding on to God’s Word, miracles such as:

My eight-year-old son had leukemia. I called for prayer for strength to go through the treatment. That wonderful prayer partner rebuked the disease and prayed that he be healed in Jesus’ name. Now my son is healed! There is no leukemia in his body! It was such a testimony to the doctors and nurses.

***

I had a nervous breakdown [and when I was feeling the worst I would] listen to you say, “This is the best day of your life!”…Little by little the joy I felt began to increase.…I want you to know that my mind is healed now. I was sick for seven years. I feel the peace of God and the joy of the Lord again.

***

I recently requested that you agree with me to lose weight because I had reached a whopping 203 pounds. Well, praise God, the Lord has done a miracle for me. I went on a diet and have lost 53 pounds, and I’m not through yet.

***

You prophesied that a child who had been kidnapped by his father was going to be returned to his mother. I claimed that word as mine! I had stood in faith for 2 1/2 years before that word; and in less than one month, my son was returned to me. I was tired and weary…ready to give up—your word from God renewed my strength to stand.

***

Everyone needs a miracle of some kind, whether it is one of healing, financial provision, restoration of broken relationships, open doors of opportunity, favor with another person, or another intervention of God. I have experienced many miracles in my life, and I am still experiencing them. Miracles are available to us today because God’s Word promises them. What miracle are you seeking?

Our heavenly Father is a God of the miraculous. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is a miraculous book. It is a supernatural gift, a revelation from God, which He has given for our instruction, comfort, and guidance in life. It tells us of many miracles God has provided for His people over thousands of years. Yet the Bible doesn’t talk just about past miracles; it tells us how we can experience miracles in the present and the future. God hasn’t changed. He desires to do miracles for us, too!

For I am the Lord, I do not change. (Malachi 3:6)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
A Miraculous Sign

A miracle is something that, without the intervention of God, would never have happened to the person who received it. A miracle may also be defined as something that occurs outside the natural processes of life that we would ordinarily experience in our physical world.

In October 2000, I took a group of travelers on a ministry trip to La Paz, Bolivia, and held a series of citywide meetings in the stadium there. There are many indigenous people in Bolivia whose cultural roots are steeped into idolatry, witchcraft, shamanism, and the like, and who need to hear the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ.

One of the travelers accompanying us told me she’d had a unique dream. “I dreamed that there were three rainbows in perfect arches in the sky,” she said. “I don’t know what it means, but it could be the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit or some special visitation while we’re in Bolivia.” I didn’t share this conversation with anyone but kept it hidden in my heart.

While we were in Bolivia, we would hold three nights of healing meetings in the stadium, as well as two days of meetings with Bolivian ministers, because we like to pour the knowledge of God’s Word into the hearts of ministers. We had brought books printed in Spanish, and we had special times of instruction and fellowship with them.

The president of Bolivia invited me to join a breakfast meeting he was sponsoring, and I was asked to speak to some of the key leaders in the government. This was an unexpected and wonderful open door for ministry.

Little did I dream what God the Father would do to prepare the hearts of the people for that breakfast and our healing meetings. The first morning of our ministry training school, we were in downtown La Paz teaching the local pastors. About one thousand Bolivian leaders were there, plus the one hundred and twenty-five people from the United States who had accompanied us on the trip. One of our staff people passed a note to me while I was speaking, saying that there were crowds in the street and that traffic was stopped because there were three rainbows in perfect arches over the building we were in. I said to the people, “There is something very unusual happening outside. We must go out and look.”

We walked outside, and, as had been reported, there were three rainbows in the sky above the building. All three were shaped in perfect arches, and each one was a different color. We were able to capture this sight on video. No one knew what to think. I was shocked that God would perform such an unusual miracle right then and there.

We went back to the meeting and praised and worshipped God. Following the meeting, we boarded our buses to go back to our hotel. When we arrived, we saw that the three rainbows had followed us and come to a stop over the hotel. We also found that witches had gathered outside, protesting by ringing bells and banging pans. The president of the country had called a leadership conference of witches, and these witches were very upset with our being there and with the rainbows that were positioned over the hotel, and they had come to speak curses against us. But let me tell you something: You cannot curse what God has blessed.

In both the Old and New Testaments, the Bible says that Jesus took the curse of our sins on Himself on the cross so that we could be blessed. (See, for example, Isaiah 53:4–5; Galatians 3:13–14.) Knowing this, we rebuked Satan and asked God to bring these witches to salvation in Jesus.

When I went to the breakfast, oh, what a breakfast it was, because of all the news that had been on television and in the newspapers regarding our visit and the manifestation of the rainbows. What timing the Lord has! He had given a woman on our team a dream and then brought it to pass as a sign to us and to the people of Bolivia. Because the three rainbows had appeared over the city, I knew what to say to all those attending the breakfast. I asked them, “What is God saying? He wants to bring revival to La Paz, Bolivia. God wants to move on this country, but He can do it only as we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ.”

The breakfast was a wonderful opportunity to praise God. He had already sent a sign of His presence in the form of the three rainbows. The Bible says that miraculous signs will follow those who believe. (See Mark 16:17.) That was a time when signs both went before us and followed us! I built on the sign God had sent by calling the people to repentance. Then, at the stadium meetings, people were Spirit-filled, and literally thousands of people were saved and healed. There were an unusual number of people healed from growths and tumors. People also came and threw their eyeglasses onto the platform because they could see perfectly without them.

We were able to broadcast these meetings over satellite to all the Spanish-speaking countries in the world. It was an awesome time, a time when God showed up and “showed off.”

Why Miracles?
Why does God do miracles in the lives of His people and in relation to situations that concern them? Our experiences in Bolivia draw attention to five significant reasons God does miracles.

1. God’s Miracles Reveal His Power as Creator-King

When God created the earth and everything in it, including human beings, it was a miraculous event that reveals to us His power as Creator, as well as His sovereignty over the earth. The created world continues to reveal God’s nature and power.

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. (Psalm 19:1–4)

The three remarkable rainbows in the sky demonstrated that this same powerful Creator God was involved in our visit to Bolivia. God spoke the world into existence at the beginning of time, and He not only continues to create wonders that glorify Him, but He also brings the things we need into existence as we speak His Word to the circumstances and problems in our lives. As He does so, He manifests His nature and His ways to us.

2. God’s Miracles Reveal the Spiritual Reality Supporting Our Physical World

Miracles make known the existence of an invisible spiritual reality that is the true or ultimate reality in life. Most people live only according to what they can experience through their five senses, but there is a spiritual realm that undergirds, and is greater than, the physical reality of our world, and within which our physical world exists. The Bible tells us that Jesus, who is God the Son, the second person of the Trinity, both created and sustains our world: “All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist [“hold together” niv]” (Colossians 1:16–17).

A miracle sign such as we saw in La Paz, and the resulting outpouring of supernatural healings and other manifestations, revealed to the Bolivian people the presence of God’s spiritual realm and His desire to intervene to meet both their physical and spiritual needs.

3. God’s Miracles Convey His Compassion for His People
God the Father does miracles to bless and deliver His people, because He is loving and compassionate. For example, when He sent Moses to deliver the Hebrews, who were enslaved in Egypt, He told him,

I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey. (Exodus 3:7–8)

In the course of delivering the Hebrews, God performed many miracles, including the manifestations of the pillars of cloud and fire, which were signs of His constant presence with His people, and the parting of the Red Sea, through which He rescued them from their enemies. (See Exodus 13:21; 14:21–30.) And God still saves and delivers today.

God loves all the people of the world. He created them in His image and sent His Son to redeem them. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). When Jesus came to earth, His healings and other miracles were prompted by His compassion. In one instance, when two blind men called out to Him, asking for mercy, “Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him” (Matthew 20:34).

The sign of the three rainbows in Bolivia was a symbol to the people that God knew them and loved them and wanted to move among them in compassion, healing, deliverance, and the outpouring of His Spirit.

The apostle Paul wrote that if God gave His Son to die on the cross for us, “how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). “All things” includes miracles.
4. God’s Miracles Promote Faith in the Truth of the Gospel
Miracles are also a way in which God the Father confirms people’s faith in the legitimacy of the gospel message, helping to bring them to repentance and into a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.

[Jesus said to His followers,] “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature….And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;…they will lay hands on the sick, an they will recover.”…And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.” (Mark 16:15, 17–18, 20)

Likewise, God opened the door and validated our ministry in Bolivia by the manifestation of the rainbows, which drew the attention of the people as they saw the sign personally or heard about it through the media. Then, during our meetings in Bolivia, thousands of people were saved and healed. The healings, including those of growths and tumors, were further signs—“accompanying signs”—that confirmed the ministry of the gospel God had given to us for the people.

Please remember that Jesus said we are not to seek manifestations of signs as a substitution for belief in God’s Word. (See Matthew 12:38–39.) And we are not to seek signs for their own sake, as a form of entertainment. However, God will use miracles to promote faith in His Word so that people will believe and be saved, healed, and experience abundant life in Him.
5. God’s Miracles Reveal Genuine versus False Spirituality
The signs accompanying our preaching of the gospel in Bolivia were a testimony to the people of true, godly spiritual activity in contrast to counterfeit spirituality. The witches who had protested our presence there had gathered for a conference in La Paz at the request of the president, who had also invited me to speak to governmental leaders at a breakfast, so there was obviously confusion in that nation regarding what kind of spirituality should be practiced and promoted. To some people, witchcraft or shamanism may seem innocent and helpful, but these things are false and destructive. The witches had tried to cause a commotion and disrupt our ministry, yet God showed that He is greater than counterfeit spirituality. He poured out His Spirit in a powerful way according to His love, bringing salvation, healing, and deliverance to the people.

Please be aware that false teachers and prophets can exhibit counterfeit signs and miracles. Jesus said, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). And the apostle Paul wrote,

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

(2 Thessalonians 2:9–10)

Genuine miracles from God, however, are recognized by those who know His ways and are enlightened by His Spirit. One of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day named Nicodemus told Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (John 3:2). And the Corinthian believers to whom Paul ministered were aware that the message and work of an apostle from God will be confirmed by signs and miracles: “Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds” (2 Corinthians 12:12).

Remember that true miracles bring glory to God—not to a “miracle worker.” They confirm the truth of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection and triumph over the devil and all the forces of evil. (See, for example, Colossians 2:11–15.)
How Do God’s Miracles Come to Us?

God’s miracles—His supernatural interventions in our lives—come to us in different ways. While there may be similarities between these ways, and they may overlap, each is important in itself. Throughout this book, we will explore various avenues through which God brings miracles into our lives. We will also discover what we need to know and act upon in order to receive our miracles. Miracles usually don’t just “happen” in our lives, for, as we have seen, God does miracles for various reasons and gives them as we seek Him through faith in His Word.

Think of yourself as on a pathway to receiving the miracles you desire from God. I invite you to take a journey with me as I relate the adventures of miraculous living that I have experienced in my life, knowing that you, too can experience the same kinds of miracles and live in the realm of the miraculous. The path to miracles is an ongoing one, and we can experience miracles of various kinds throughout our lives.

Let’s be sure not to miss out on all that God has for us. There are consequences of not accepting and receiving the miracles He wants to give us through our faith in Him. The Scriptures say that Jesus “did not do many mighty works [in His hometown] because of their unbelief” (Matthew 13:58). We don’t want to forfeit our miracle opportunities, which are part of the spiritual wonder and destiny God has planned for our lives.

If someone witnesses God’s miracles but observes them only as a spectator and stays in unbelief toward Jesus and His offer of salvation, there is a high cost to him.

Then [Jesus] began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.…And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.”

(Matthew 11:20–21, 23)

Not to experience a healing or deliverance God desires for you would be tragic enough, but to lack repentance and refuse to receive Christ would lead to a grim penalty. We don’t want to fall short of God’s purposes for our lives. In this book, we’ll see how to both receive Christ into our lives and enter into the realm of the miraculous. Let us be able to say with Paul, “In [God] we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Receiving Your Miracles

Through Your Pathway to Miracles, I want to show you how to gain a deeper relationship with your heavenly Father and learn how to live in the miraculous according to His plans. He has spectacular episodes for your life as you hold fast in faith. Get ready to be liberated from frustration and defeat as you set your eyes continually on His positive truths and principles, even as you contend with negative circumstances and situations. You will discover…

how miracles begin
the reasons and seasons for miracles
the roles of faith, expectation, positive affirmation, and prayer
the importance of claiming your miracle
how to recognize the miracles in your own hands
keys to removing mountainous problems blocking your miracles
how to access “giant” miracles for big needs
ways in which God gives favor and opportunity
the nature of “miracle packages”
how to persevere to receive God’s miracle when there seems to be no solution for your problem and all seems hopeless.
My friend, whatever kind of miracle you need, read on!



My Thoughts:

I have not been exposed to Marilyn Hickey's ministries before now. Her book is well written and interesting. She appears to believe in things like signs and the laying on of hands and Marilyn has an interesting take on how to have miracles happen in your life.

Her book covers many ways and steps to have miracles happen. This book will certainly make one aware that miracles can happen and may even inspire some to try some of her methods/advice for themselves.

Scripture quotes are mainly taken from the New King James Bible with some from the King James Version and New International Version.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Reclaiming Lily by Patti Lacy



Reclaiming Lily
Author: Patti Lacy
Paperback: 380 pages
Publisher: Bethany House (October 1, 2011)
ISBN: 9780764209413
Available at Amazon

Two Women. Two Cultures. A Troubled Teen

About the Book

A storm the size of Texas brews when Gloria Powell and Kai Chang meet in a Dallas hotel. They have come to discuss the future of Lily, the daughter Gloria adopted from China and the sister Kai hopes to reclaim. Kai is a doctor who had to give up her little sister during the Cultural Revolution and has since discovered that an inherited genetic defect may be waiting to fatally strike Lily.

Gloria's relationship with her daughter is tattered and strained, and the arrival of Kai, despite the woman's apparent good intentions, makes Gloria fearful. Gloria longs to restore her relationship with Lily, but in the wake of this potentially devastating diagnosis, is Kai an answer to prayer...or will her arrival force Gloria to sacrifice more than she ever imagined?

Read An Excerpt at:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/63098733/Reclaiming-Lily




 
My Thoughts:

A beautiful and well written story full of emotions that is guaranteed to tug at you heart and possibly even make you shed some tears. This story is one that every mother and sister will be able to understand and at the same time never want to have to face the difficulties that the main characters deal with.

This is not a story that you can quickly read through, but instead, you'll want to take some time and sit and just enjoy it. It is powerful and makes one understand the power of love and God. Patti Lacy does justice to handling such difficult subjects as adoption, left-behind family members, different cultures and disease.

This is such a beautiful story that I just can't seem to do it justice with a review. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this book, find a quiet spot and just let this unforgettable story spin it's mesmerizing magic over you (and keep a box of tissues handy...)

About the Author:

Patti Lacy graduated from Baylor University in 1977 with a BS in education. She taught at Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois, until she retired in 2006 to pursue writing full time. She and her husband, Alan, have two grown children. Visit Patti at http://www.pattilacy.com.

VISIT THE FULL BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE AT http://bit.ly/ReclaimingLilyVirtualBookTour.


A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for me to honestly review.

The 13th Demon, Altar of the Spiral Eye (The Chronicles of Jonathan Steel) by Bruce Hennigan

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

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


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Realms (October 4, 2011)
***Special thanks to Kim Jones | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Bruce Hennigan wrote his first short story at age thirteen and knew he wanted to become a full-time writer by the time he was a senior in high school. He is the author of numerous Christian dramas and the coauthor of Conquering Depression. He has a medical degree from Louisiana State University Medical Center and lives in Shreveport, Louisiana, with his wife and daughter.


Visit the author's website.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Do You Dare Look Evil in the Eye?

When Jonathan Steel wakes up on a beach in a raging thunderstorm, naked, beaten, and bleeding, he has no idea who he is or how he got there. But just as he starts to make progress in his slow journey to recovery, tragedy strikes again, taking everything in his new life that he has come to love and rely on.

Filled with rage and a thirst for revenge, he searches the countryside for the entity responsible—an entity called only the Thirteenth Demon. His quest brings him to Lakeside, Louisiana, and a small country church where evil is in control and strange writing on the walls, blood-soaked floors, and red-eyed spiders have appeared in the sanctuary.

As he faces the final confrontation with an evil presence that has pursued him all of his life, he must choose between helping the people he loves or destroying the thirteenth demon.





Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Realms (October 4, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616382805
ISBN-13: 978-1616382803

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Lakeside, Louisiana

Along the western horizon the sun settled, bloodred—the very eye of Satan glaring down upon
the man who stood in front of the horror that had once been his church. Alone on the second floor balcony, his voice echoed into the coming night.

“God, what have I done to deserve this?”

He backed up to the wrought iron railing, then gasped as he realized he was leaning against the bent, misshapen portion of the railing where it had all begun. He pushed away, bit his thumbnail, and looked around at the huge white columns and across the empty balcony. In front of him were the two intimidating wooden doors that led into the foyer of his church. Four windows were on each side, coated with caked dust. No one had been inside the church in weeks. But that did not mean it was empty.

He had to get to his office.

A squeaking filled the silence. The man watched in horror as the doorknob began to turn. He backed away until he felt his heels at the top of the stone stairs. Sweat poured down from his forehead, and he felt his dress shirt sticking to his ribs. The squeaking stopped. Silence descended.

“Is someone there?” he whispered. There was no answer. He sighed and pushed his glasses back up on his nose. His heart slowed, and he wiped his coat sleeve across his forehead. The coat swallowed him. He had lost twenty pounds in the last month. “I’m not walking away this time,” he said to the lifeless door. “You won’t scare me away!”

The door burst open with a rush of wind, and a red mist engulfed him. He could taste the red liquid in the air; it was coppery, salty. Blood! Through the tiny red droplets on his glasses, he watched a river of it surge through the open doorway. His foot slid as he tried to stumble away, and he fell backward, bouncing off the stone banister, rolling down onto the steps. He slowed his fall halfway down the stairs and looked up at the open doors. Blood cascaded over the top step and poured down the steps, tendrils of crimson coming after him.

He slid back, tumbled once again until he came to a halt on his back on the sidewalk in front of the church. The blood came down the stairs, pooling at the base just inches from his feet. He scooted back away from the pool, watching it grow into a large circle of shimmering red.

“Do you think this is going to scare us away?”

He watched as the girl and her child appeared around the corner of the stairway. The girl’s yellow hair rested on her shoulders, and she wore the same cotton dress with sunflowers as on the day she had wormed her way into his life. She couldn’t have been over sixteen, but that didn’t seem to matter to the toddler who held her left hand. The boy was dark-headed and somewhere between a year and two years of age. His nose was running, and he wore only a disposable diaper. The young woman picked up the child.

“No! This is not my doing. Don’t you know what is going on around here?” The man pointed a bloody hand up the stairs.

“You know what I want. Time is running out,” she said. The toddler smiled.

“It’s in my office, and I can’t get inside because of ”—he gestured at the pool of blood—“this!”

“I’m not leaving, Thomas. We’re in the nursery.” She disappeared from sight, back toward the door under the stairs that led into the basement of the old church.

A fly buzzed by his head and landed on his glasses. He swatted at it. Another fly circled his head. He shook his bloody hair as more flies appeared and moved toward the pool of blood. One landed on the shiny, crimson surface and instantly burst into flame. More flies dove into the pool until a circle of flame hovered above the blood. It gently floated higher, growing larger with each dying fly until it was the size of a beach ball. More flies filled the evening air, circling in dizzying arcs, until they surrounded the ball of flame. A hole opened in the front of the fly ball, and the flames showed forth from within. The man blinked as the opening turned toward him. It was a huge flaming eye! More flies arrived and flew about the flaming
eye to form a spiral that pulsated and spun around it.

“We know about the girl,” the raspy voice proclaimed as the eye lifted higher in the air.

At that, the man lost all reason, all civility, and scuttled backward like a crab into the road in front of the church. The hot asphalt blistered his palms. The buzzing grew louder as the voice spoke the words over and over. His heart pounded. He heard a high, keening whimper and realized it was his own voice.

Suddenly, against the insane noises, there came another roar, approaching fast, and then the sound of squealing brakes, the whoosh of hot wind, the smell of burning rubber, and the grill of a recreational vehicle as it stopped just inches from his face. The man glanced back at the flaming eye with its pulsating spiral. It had disappeared, leaving only a pool of blood behind. The doors of the church were shut. The sudden silence was punctuated by the creaking and popping of the RV to his left. A long shadow fell over him as a figure stepped into the man’s sight.

He was six feet tall with wiry muscles and dressed in a V-neck T-shirt, blue jeans, and work boots. His hair was reddish blond and short, his face tight and expressionless. His eyes were hidden behind mirrored sunglasses.

“How long has it been bleeding?” His voice was barely above a whisper.

“It just started.” The man wiped blood from his face. “Are you Steel?”

“Get up.” The figure disappeared into the RV.

He grabbed the grill of the RV with bloody hands and pulled himself shakily to his feet. He walked around the vehicle and entered through the open door. Inside, a table with two laptops and one large monitor sat where he would have expected the kitchen table to be. The man he presumed to be Jonathan Steel reappeared with a black backpack in one hand and a plastic container of disinfectant wipes in the other. He handed him the wipes.

“Clean up. You stink.”

“Hey, I asked you a question.” He pulled wipes from the container and wiped the blood from his hands. “Are you Steel?”

Steel opened a cabinet and took out a huge flashlight. “Are the lights working inside the church?”

The man wiped blood from his glasses. “I don’t know. Listen, you haven’t answered my question.”

The mirrored sunglasses turned in his direction. “Yes. I am Jonathan Steel.”

“I’m . . . I’m Thomas Parker. And this is my church.” He tossed the bloodstained wipes into the sink.

“I know,” Steel answered.

“What are you going to do?”

“We are going inside.” Steel pushed past him toward the open door.

“But don’t we need to sit down and talk about this?” Parker followed the man out of the RV. “Maybe over a cup of coffee? Maybe after I’ve had a shower?”

Steel ignored him and paused at the pool of blood. A fly landed lazily on the surface of the pool and then burst into flames. “Now there’s something you don’t see every day.”

Parker grabbed the man’s arm to turn him. He swallowed. “No one has been inside for six weeks.”

Steel took off his sunglasses, and Parker was shocked by his bright, turquoise eyes. Steel glared at him. “Whose blood is this?”

Parker looked at the blood and then back into Steel’s penetrating gaze. “I don’t know. It just appeared.”

Steel nodded and slid the sunglasses into a pocket of his T-shirt. “Then we need to find the source. Let’s go.”

Parker watched in horror as Steel squished through the puddle of blood and started up the stairs. He hurried after him, trying his best to avoid the rivulets of blood on the stairs. They arrived at the upper level, and Steel paused in front of the closed doors. Blood still trickled from the threshold. His head turned as he studied the walls, the windows, and finally the wrought iron railing that ran around the huge balcony. Parker followed the direction of the man’s gaze and felt a chill when it stopped on the far railing. He knew that if Steel went to the edge and looked down he would see the impression where the body had landed in the soft, grassy soil. The grass still had not grown back. Steel reached for the doorknob and paused.

“Wait a minute!” Parker said. “Do I have to go with you?”

“This is your church.” Steel frowned. “You cannot be afraid.”

“I asked you to come help with the church. To clean up all of . . . this.” Parker motioned to the blood on the portico. Steel just stared at him with those intense eyes. Parker wiped his forehead and sighed. “Look, you didn’t see that blood gush out of that door like a living thing. You didn’t see the eye of flame with the swirling spiral that came out of that puddle of blood . . . ”

“Spiral?” Steel interrupted him. He grabbed Parker by the lapels of his suit coat and pulled him up onto his tiptoes. “Are you sure the eye was surrounded by a spiral?”

“Yes, down there.” Parker slid down into his suit. “It came out of the puddle, and the flies flew around like a spiral.”

For a second Steel’s skin relaxed; his gaze seemed to settle on a distant memory. His hands relaxed, and Parker slid back down onto his feet. Then just as quickly as the change had come, the stony face returned. Steel’s gaze returned to Parker. “We are both going in. Now.” Steel turned and pulled the doors open. They flew outward toward them, and Parker hid behind Steel’s bulk to avoid the mist of blood. As they stepped inside, the temperature plummeted, filling the air with a chilling, icy vapor. Steel stepped into the church’s foyer, his breath misting in front of him. Parker hurried after him. He glanced around at the chunks of ice that covered the offering table and icicles that hung from the old chandelier. Everything was frozen and smelled like freezer-burned meat. The outer doors slammed behind them, engulfing them in darkness.

“What is going on?” Parker huddled up against Steel’s back. Steel’s voice seemed calm and unchanged. “Someone is trying to scare you, Reverend Parker.” Light gushed from Steel’s flashlight, and Parker screamed.

Huge, red spiders hung around them, suspended from the ceiling, their scrabbling arms coated with frost, their multifaceted eyes black with menace. As the light burst through the darkness, the nearest spiders retreated along their spindly webs into the dark shadows of the foyer corners.

“Where did they come from?” Parker shouted.

Steel walked toward the inner two doors that would lead into the sanctuary. “Ignore them. They don’t like the light.” Steel pushed open the doors, and the cold, bitter air was replaced with a hot, fetid wind redolent with the fragrance of vegetation. Parker stumbled over something and looked down at a huge vine stretching across the center aisle. Huge roots and vines covered the pews, the aisle, the walls, and the stainedglass windows. They stretched upward to the edge of the roof.

The inner doors slammed behind them, and Parker bolted forward against Steel’s unmoving back.

“For a man of God, you sure are skittish,” Steel growled at him over his shoulder.

“Are you kidding?” Parker stammered. “Who wouldn’t be?”

“I’ve seen worse,” Steel said.

“You’ve seen worse? How could it be worse?”

“Never ask that question.”

Parker fought off his trembling. He should be the strong one. Not Steel. He tried to stand up straight and smooth out his coat. “Now that we’re here, I need to find something.” A huge curtain of vines was draped across a door leading out of the right side of the sanctuary. “My office is over there.” He pointed.

“We’ll get there.” Steel passed the flashlight beam over the ceiling. Strange writings covered the old acoustic tiles. He fumbled in his backpack and retrieved a digital camera. The darkness was interrupted by flash after flash as Steel took dozens of pictures of the ceiling. Parker saw ghostly figures in the afterglow of each flash. Finally, he closed his eyes until Steel was finished.

“Pictographs of some kind. I don’t recognize the language,” Steel said as he slid the camera back into his backpack and pulled out a small video camera. “We’ll need a linguist.”

“A linguist?”

Steel motioned toward the front of the sanctuary. An altar table sat in front of the pulpit. It was covered with blood that dripped and ran in tiny threads to the floor. A huge, dead flower arrangement sat in the middle of the puddle of blood. Behind the pulpit and choir loft, something glowed with an orange light. “What is that?”

Parker pushed his glasses up on his nose. “Something is in the baptistery.”

Steel hopped over the low choir rail and weaved his way through the three rows of chairs in the choir loft. He stood on a chair and glanced into the baptistery. Parker hurried after him and climbed up on a chair next to Steel. Inside the baptistery, where there once existed the warm, welcoming waters of baptism, a pool of radiant energy filled the deep chamber. Its surface moved with eddies of orange and red energy. Steel switched on the video camera and began recording.

“Baptism by fire?”

“Of course not. What is it?” Parker felt himself drawn into the mesmerizing ebb and flow of energy currents.

“An energy field. Something in this church is manipulating other dimensions of space and time,” Steel said.

Parker glanced at him. “Dimensions?”

Steel turned off the video camera and looked at Parker. His face was bathed in the reddish glow of the baptistery. “We’ll need a physicist.”

“We need a linguist and a physicist. What about a florist for that dead flower arrangement?” Parker threw his hands in the air.

“Reverend, you have no idea what you’re up against.” Steel played the flashlight beam over the choir rail. “Who else is in here?”

“No one,” Parker said.

“I thought I saw someone move in the choir loft.”

Parker shook his head. “If you could just help me get through those vines over there, I need to get something from my office . . . ”

“You’re lying to me.” Steel flicked the beam into his face. Parker put up his hands to block the light. “I’m not lying. There is no one in here but us. No one has been in this sanctuary in weeks.”
Steel pointed the light toward the vines over the door. “So, what is so important in your office?”

“Records, paperwork, uh . . . ” Parker mumbled, stepping back involuntarily. Something squished beneath his feet, and immediately the air filled with the sound of soft chittering, the sound of a thousand tiny legs tapping and moving. Steel focused the beam of light on the floor. Spiders were all around them, scuttling along the vines converging on Parker. He backed into the altar table, and blood splashed down his legs. He bounced away and ran toward the door leading to his office. A curtain of red spiders converged on the vines and blocked his way. “Mr. Steel, do something!” he screamed.

“The light isn’t stopping them,” Steel said. Suddenly a gust of wind swirled to life behind Parker, swallowing him in a tornado of debris and dust. Parker felt himself lifted helplessly into the air. Wind buffeted him, spinning him upside down until he hung in the center of the vortex ten feet above the floor. Steel backed away from the funnel of air as bits of glowing energy spun from the baptistery, coalescing into a tumbling mass of gleaming metal slivers.

Parker watched the tiny metal flecks hurtle across the loft to pause just outside the vortex. Slivers of metal tumbled and spun and assembled themselves into tiny, metal spiders. The metal arachnids swirled into the vortex. Sparking and flashing in the glow of the baptistery, they ripped at his clothing, shredding his suit coat, ripping his pants, even tugging off his shoes. Parker’s open mouth finally found sound, and his scream tore through the roar of the wind. Suddenly Steel was beneath him, pulling him down. Together they fell out of the vortex of wind. Parker pushed himself off of Steel and, without pausing, ran down the aisle, flung through the inner doors, and pushed through the outer doors onto the portico. He tumbled down the stairs and came to rest in the parking lot, his eyes filled with sweat, blood, and dead leaves. Bruised and scratched, in only his underwear, he stood up and ran down the hill to the parsonage where he lived, his mind filled with unspeakable horrors.


My Thoughts:

A pastor is terrified to enter his church as it has been possessed. He calls in a man who knows how to deal with demons and they discover that they are dealing with something more powerful than they first thought. With a team of the demon "hunter", a physicist, and a linguist, the search of how to rid the church of this entity begins...

Creepy... Scary... A total page turner! WOW! This book is one that is not for the squeamish or one who scares easily. It is what I would categorize as Christian Horror (if there is such a genre). Yes, this one really pushes the envelope - but does have a message. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait for the next in the series to come out!


If you enjoy Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker and John B. Olsen, you are going to love this book.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

CSFF Tour: "The Bone House" by Stephen R. Lawhead



The Bone House
A Bright Empires Novel Bk 2
Author: Stephen R. Lawhead
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (September 6, 2011)
ISBN: 9781595548054
Available at Amazon

About the Book:
One piece of the skin map has been found. Now the race to unravel the future of the future turns deadly.
 
An avenue of Egyptian sphinxes, an Etruscan tufa tomb, a Bohemian coffee shop, and a Stone Age landscape where universes collide …

Kit Livingstone met his great grandfather Cosimo in a rainy alley in London where he discovered the reality of alternate realities.

Now he’s on the run – and on a quest, trying to understand the impossible mission he inherited from Cosimo: to restore a map that charts the hidden dimensions of the multiverse while staying one step ahead of the savage Burley Men.

The key is the Skin Map – but where it leads and what it means, Kit has no idea. The pieces have been scattered throughout this universe and beyond.

Mina, from her outpost in seventeenth-century Prague, is quickly gaining both the experience and the means to succeed in the quest. Yet so are those with evil intent, who from the shadows are manipulating great minds of history for their own malign purposes.

Across time and space, through manifest and hidden worlds, those who know how to use ley lines to travel through astral planes have left their own world behind in this, the second quest: to unlock the mystery of The Bone House.
My Thoughts:

First, let me say that I am really enjoying the series so far. The thought of ley travel is something that is fascinating because one can sit back and think, "What if..." The thought of going to different dimensions, times, planes, wormholes, etc. is nothing new, but the way Lawhead is developing the series, his take is unusual and interesting.

If you have not heard of the series, PLEASE READ THE FIRST BOOK ("The Skin Map") before diving into this one. This is the second of five novels and this series builds upon itself . You will be hopelessly lost if you start with this book.

The Bright Empire series is being marketed as Christian fiction, but honestly, so far I haven't seen anything of a Christian message. At this point I really don't see anything different than Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy. We have travel in different places, there are good guys and bad guys, and each contains an element of "magic". Pullman didn't bring his agenda to light until the last book. I am wondering if the Christian message will come later in this series as well. At this point though, it is nothing more than a secular series to me.

The characters are developing nicely as is the story. I'm finding more depth and complexity to each of them in this book. I'm still not sure what all the pieces of the map hold, but I'm developing a theory now (no spoilers here) and will have to wait until the third book to see if I'm correct. It does not come out until September 2012 - a very, very long wait wait for me, especially on the note this book ends.

If you enjoy science fiction, time travel, etc, you are really going to enjoy this series.

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.

If you would like to learn more about Stephen or his work, you can visit his website at: http://www.stephenlawhead.com/

See what others on the the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Tour are saying about The Bone House:

Noah Arsenault
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
CSFF Blog Tour
Jeff Chapman
Carol Bruce Collett
Karri Compton
D. G. D. Davidson
Theresa Dunlap
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Janeen Ippolito
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Marzabeth
Katie McCurdy
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Rachel Wyant


In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher

A Quarter for a Kiss by Mindy Starns Clark

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; Reprint edition (October 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Karri James | Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


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


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

With a touch of romance and a strong heroine, A Quarter for a Kiss offers more of the fast-paced and suspenseful inspirational writing found in A Penny for Your Thoughts, Don’t Take Any Wooden Nickels, and A Dime a Dozen. In this fourth book of the Million Dollar Mysteries, Mindy Starns Clark weaves another tale of mystery and God’s touch on the lives of those who seek Him.

As a young widow, Callie Webber finds strength in her faith in God and joy in her growing romance with her employer, Tom Bennett. When their friend and mentor, Eli Gold, is shot, the search for answers as to who and why leads Tom and Callie to the beautiful Virgin Islands. There they face a sinister enemy among the ruins of an old sugar plantation—an enemy who’s willing to do anything to keep his identity secret and the past deeply buried.





Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Reprint edition (October 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736929592
ISBN-13: 978-0736929592

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

“Come on, Callie,” Tom urged. “You can do it. You know how.”

Ignoring the burning in my calves, I kept my gaze on Tom, who had reached the top of the wall almost effortlessly and now waited there for me to join him.

“There’s a grip at two o’clock, up from your right hand about six inches,” he guided, speaking in the low, soothing tones I teasingly called his “rock climbing” voice. Glad for that voice now, I released my handhold and reached upward, my fingers easily finding and grasping the tiny ledge. “Now your foot,” he said. “Slow and easy. You’re almost there.”

As I went I concentrated on all I had learned about rock climbing in the last few weeks. It was Tom’s passion, and we had spent a number of hours practicing on a real rock face while he taught me the basic tricks and techniques. Now we were in an indoor gym, on a simulated rock wall, climbing much higher than we had ever gone in our practice runs. And though I was wearing a safety harness that was roped to the ceiling, that didn’t make it any easier or any less scary—particularly where the wall actually bent outward, pitching me at a difficult angle.

“You are one step away, Cal,” he said, excitement evident in his voice. “Most of the people won’t make it half this far.”

With a final burst of daring, I slid my toes against the next hold and straightened my knees, rising high enough to touch the ceiling at the top of the wall.

“You did it!” Tom cried, and only then did I allow myself to smile and then to laugh.

“I did do it!” I echoed, slapping a high five with Tom and feeling the rush of pleasure and relief he said he experienced every time he finished a challenging climb. Of course, to him “challenging” meant the Red Rocks of Nevada or Half Dome in Yosemite. For me, a big wall in a rock-climbing gym was a pretty good start.

We repelled down together, my legs still feeling shaky once I was on solid ground.

“That was great,” the teenage staffer said as he helped unhook me from the harness. “And to think you were worried. Are you sure you haven’t done this before?”

“Not that high and not indoors,” I said.

“Well, you’re a natural.”

“I had a good teacher,” I replied, glancing at Tom, who was busy removing his own harness. He and I had spent the last three weeks together vacationing in the North Carolina mountains. During that time, we had enjoyed teaching each other our favorite sports—climbing and canoeing—though I liked to tease him that my hobby was the superior one, because one false move with a canoe paddle wouldn’t exactly plunge a person hundreds of feet to their death. Tom had replied that if one were canoeing above Niagara Falls, that wouldn’t exactly be true, now would it?

As the teenager moved on to help the next set of climbers, Tom gave me an encouraging smile.

“Hey, what did you say this is called?” I asked him, pointing at my visibly wobbling knees. “Sewing legs?”

“Sewing-machine legs,” Tom replied. “A common climbing malady. Come on. You need to rest for a bit.”

He bought us two bottles of water from the snack bar, and then we found a quiet corner and sat on a bench there, leaning back against the wall. I felt thoroughly spent, as if I had pushed every single muscle in my body to its very limit.

I sipped on my water, feeling my pulse slowly return to normal, looking around at the activity that surrounded us. Across the giant room, a new group of climbers was being instructed by a guide while about ten more people waited in line for their turn. In the front window was a giant banner that said “Climb for KFK,” and beside the cash register was a table where pledges and donations were being accepted for “Kamps for Kids,” a charity that provided summer camp scholarships to impoverished children. Instead of a walk­athon, they were calling this event a “climbathon.” I liked the idea as well as the whole atmosphere of the place, from the easy joviality of the people waiting in line to the upbeat encouragement of the instructors who were manning the ropes and providing assistance as needed.

“So what’s up, Callie?” Tom asked. “You haven’t been yourself all morning.”

I shrugged.

“Sorry,” I said. “This is my work mode, I guess. You have to remember, we’re not just here to have fun. We’re on the job, so to speak.”

Tom nodded knowingly and then leaned closer and lowered his voice.

“So how does this happen, exactly?” he asked. “Do you just walk up to the people and say, ‘Hi, here’s a big whopping check’?”

I smiled.

“Oh, sure, that’s usually how it goes. I call that my Big Whopping Check speech.”

“Don’t be hard on me,” he said, grinning. “I’ve never done this before.”

I leaned toward him, speaking softly.

“Well, first of all, you have to wait for the proper moment,” I said. “Like just before you’re about to leave.”

“Okay.”

“Second,” I continued, “you have to have the full attention of the correct person. You don’t want to give that whopping check to just anybody.”

“Get the big wig. Got it.”

“Finally, the act of presentation takes a little bit of flair. It’s a huge moment for them. You want to help them enjoy it.”

“I think I understand.”

“You also want to bring them back down to earth a little. I actually do have a short speech I give every time I hand over a grant. I remind the recipient where the money’s coming from and what it’s for. That seems to go over well.”

I felt funny explaining how I did my job to Tom, because he wasn’t just my boyfriend, he was also technically my boss. Though he lived and worked on the other side of the country, far from our actual office, Tom was the kind and generous philanthropist behind the J.O.S.H.U.A. Foundation. I worked for the foundation as the director of research, and basically my job was to investigate nonprofits Tom was interested in and analyze their suitability for grants. If they checked out okay, I then had the pleasure of awarding them grant money. That’s what we were doing here today. For the first time ever, Tom was joining me as I gave a little bit of his money away.

“Hey, Tom! Tom Bennett!” a man cried, interrupting my thoughts.

The fellow bounded toward us, grinning widely. He was tall and wiry, with deep laugh lines in a tanned face, and when he reached us, we stood and the two men shook hands warmly. “You said you might come, but I didn’t believe you.”

“I’m glad I was able to work it out,” Tom replied, smiling.

He introduced his friend as Mitch Heckman, owner of the gym and co-organizer of the event. I told Mitch how impressed I was with the gym and with the climbathon concept.

“Most of the credit goes to my wife,” Mitch said, shaking my hand. “I’m just glad we could use the gym to help out a good cause.”

“Have you raised much?” Tom asked.

“Our goal for today was twenty-five thousand dollars,” Mitch said. “You can see how we’re doing on that poster over there.”

He pointed to a drawing of a mountain with a zero at the bottom, amounts written up the side, and $25,000 at the top. Sadly, it had only been colored in about half of the way up—and the event would be over in another hour or two.

“Of course, we had a pretty big learning curve in putting the whole thing together,” Mitch said. “I’m sure we can make up the difference with some bake sales or car washes or something. We’ll get there eventually. Mai pen rai, huh?”

“Yeah, mai pen rai.”

They chatted for a few minutes more, and then Mitch was called up to the front. After he was gone, Tom explained to me their acquaintance, that they had met a few months ago while mountain climbing—specifically, while scaling the limestone cliffs off of Rai Ley Beach in the Krabi Province of Thailand. Tom had been working hard in Singapore and had taken a weekend off to visit the nearby mountain-climbers’ mecca, where he met Mitch atop one of the peaks after a particularly challenging climb. As the two men rested, they talked, and it turned out that they were both avid climbers and eager to explore an unfrequented jungle crag nearby. Together they had hired a guide and ended up having an incredible day of climbing. Though the two men hadn’t seen each other since, they had been in touch off and on ever since via e-mail.

“What were you saying to each other just now? My pen…”

“Mai pen rai,” Tom replied. “That’s Thai for ‘no problem’ or ‘never mind.’ The guides say it to encourage you while you’re climbing, kind of like ‘you can do it.’ ‘Don’t worry.’ Mai pen rai.”

“Does Mitch know about the foundation?”

“Nope. He thinks I’m just another rock jock.”

“He’s in for a nice surprise, then,” I said. “This is fun, giving a grant to someone who never even applied for one.”

This wasn’t our usual mode for doing business, that was for sure. But this particular charity was so new—and the amount we were donating so relatively small—that the investigation hadn’t been all that complicated. Since KFK had never applied for a grant from us, I hadn’t really had the authority to go in and do an extensive investigation. But they did belong to several good nonprofit watchdog groups, so I had felt confident doing the research from our vacation home in North Carolina, mostly over the internet and on the phone with the foundation’s accounting whiz, Harriet, the day before.

“Anyway, now you’ll finally have the pleasure of making a donation live and in person,” I added. “Something I’ve only been bugging you to do for two years.”

“Almost three years now,” he corrected. “And, yes, I’m hoping this might shut you up for good.”

“Oh, you want me to shut up, do you?” I asked. “What about—”

He silenced me with a finger against my lips, which he allowed to linger there.

“No,” he whispered, gazing a moment at my mouth. “Don’t ever stop talking to me. I want to listen to you forever.”

We looked into each other’s eyes as everything else in the room blurred into the background. My legs shivered again, but not from climbing this time.

“We need to get going,” Tom said gruffly, standing and then helping me to my feet. I squeezed his hand, and then we separated into the men’s and women’s locker areas to get cleaned up.

After a shower I dressed quickly in a pair of black slacks and a soft blue knit shirt. I towel-dried my short hair, combed it out, and took a moment to put on some lipstick and a touch of mascara.

As I looked in the mirror, ready to leave, I was suddenly overwhelmed with sadness. In a few short hours Tom and I would go our separate ways, boarding two different flights to head toward our homes on opposite coasts—him to California and me to Maryland. For three glorious weeks we had done nothing more than shut out the rest of the world and spend time together, but we couldn’t hide out and play forever. Our work and other responsibilities awaited us, and as one week had turned into two and then to three, we had already stretched the length of our available time to the very max. Soon our idyllic vacation together would officially be over, and Tom and I would be back to our long-distance romance as usual.

Slinging my bag onto my shoulder, I decided to take this day moment-by-moment. Despite the difficulty of parting, we still had a job to do. We still had a grant to give out.

I emerged from the locker room to find Tom also showered and dressed, standing nearby and squinting toward the front of the room. He had in his hand a check from the J.O.S.H.U.A. Foundation, dated today and made out to the charity, though the amount had been left blank.

“Callie, can you read that figure?” he asked. “I need the exact amount they’ve raised so far.”

I walked a little closer and then came back to report that they were up to $11,043. Quick with numbers, Tom didn’t even hesitate before he filled out the check for $23,957.

“That’s ten thousand more than they need to bring them to their goal,” I said after doing the math in my head, not surprised one bit by his generosity.

“Yeah, but it’s the least we can do, don’t you think?”

He tried to put the check in my hand, but I pushed it back.

“No, you don’t,” I said. “Enjoy the moment.”

Carrying our bags, Tom and I walked to the front of the gym, where his friend Mitch was chatting with a woman that I assumed was his wife. We were introduced, and I liked her firm handshake and the way she looked me directly in the eye. She thanked us for coming and then moved on to speak with someone else.

“We’re going to head out,” Tom said to Mitch, “but I wanted to give you a check first. I talked my company into making a small grant.”

Of course, the way Tom had said it, you’d never know that it was his company, nor his money—nor that he was using “small” as a relative term. Mitch took the folded check without looking at it.

“Listen, buddy, every bit helps. Thank you so much, and thanks for coming.”

The two men shook hands, and then Mitch shook my hand as well. We said goodbye, and Tom and I departed, walking silently through the packed parking lot toward our rental car.

“You were right, Callie,” he said nonchalantly, pressing a button on his key chain to unlock the car. “Giving away the money in person really is kind of fun.”

I was about to reply when we heard Mitch calling Tom’s name. We turned to see the man running toward us, breathless, his eyes filled with disbelief.

“I don’t understand,” he gasped, holding up the check. “This is so much. Is it some kind of joke?”

“No joke, Mitch,” Tom said. “We’re affiliated with the J.O.S.H.U.A. Foundation. That’s a grant.”

“A grant?”

“Yeah, we give them out all the time. Callie, what is it you like to say when you give grants to people?”

I smiled.

“Basically,” I said, going into my spiel, “we want you to know that the best way you can say thanks is to take that money and use it to further your mission. The foundation believes strongly in what you’re trying to accomplish, and we just wanted to have some small part in furthering your efforts.”

To my surprise, Mitch’s eyes filled with tears.

“Your generosity leaves me speechless,” he said finally. “Won’t you come back inside? Let me tell my wife. She’ll be so excited. Maybe we can get a picture for the newsletter or the website or something.”

I looked at Tom, but he seemed decidedly uncomfortable.

“Mitch,” I said, “we really prefer to do this in a discreet manner. Just tell Jill that the J.O.S.H.U.A. Foundation gives the money with love and with God’s blessings. We’d rather not receive any individual recognition.”

Bewildered, he looked back down at the check.

“And you promise this isn’t a joke?” he tried one more time.

“No joke,” Tom laughed. “I give you my word, buddy. It’s for real.”

With a final sincere thanks, Mitch turned and headed back to the building. We stood there and watched until he went inside and the door closed behind him.

On impulse, I turned and threw my arms around Tom’s neck. Startled, after a moment he hugged me back.

“You are such a good man,” I whispered, feeling absolutely, utterly, and completely in love.

He laughed, pulling me in tightly for an embrace.

“Wow,” he replied. “This giving-away-money thing gets better all the time.”

Knowing the clock was ticking closer toward our flight times, we managed to pull apart and get into the car. He started it up and pulled out of the parking lot, driving toward the airport.

We were quiet as we went, both lost in our own thoughts. As we wove our way through traffic, I considered our relationship and the long and winding path my life had taken since my husband’s death. This coming summer would mark four years since Bryan was killed, and in one way it seemed like yesterday, and in another it seemed like decades ago. My husband had been my first true love, the sweetheart I had met at 16 and married at 25. We’d had four wonderful years together as husband and wife, but that had all come crashing to an end that fateful day when we went water-skiing and Bryan was hit by a speedboat. The boat’s driver went to prison for manslaughter, but I also went into a sort of prison myself—a self-imposed prison of mourning, of loneliness.

Only in the last six months had I allowed myself to consider the possibility that there might be life for me beyond my husband’s death. Tom and I had developed a good, strong friendship through our many work-related conversations over the phone, and then, slowly, that friendship had started taking on other dimensions. We finally met in person last fall, when Tom received word that I had been hurt in an investigation and raced halfway around the world to be by my side and make certain I was all right. We had spent a mere 12 hours together—just long enough to begin falling in love—and then we were forced to endure a four-month separation while he went back to Singapore on important business and I healed from my injuries and continued my work with his foundation in the U.S.

Then three weeks ago, in the very heart of spring, we had been joyously reunited. Showing up in a hot air balloon, Tom had swept me away to a gorgeous vacation spot in the North Carolina mountains, where we planned to stay a week or so and give ourselves the opportunity to see if our relationship really could work face-to-face. What we had found was that we were so compatible, so comfortable, and so suddenly and deeply in love that it was nearly impossible to end our vacation and return to our regular lives.

Now, however, our time together had come to an end.

“There’s the car rental return,” Tom said suddenly, pulling me from my thoughts. He followed the signs and turned into the lot, but instead of heading straight to the busy rental return area, he veered over to an empty parking spot nestled behind a big truck. He put the car in park but left the motor running.

“Maybe we should say our goodbyes here,” he told me, “instead of out in the middle of the busy airport.”

I nodded, surprised when my eyes suddenly filled with tears. I didn’t want to say goodbye at all. Tom’s cell phone began ringing from his gym bag, but we ignored it.

“Callie, have I told you that the past three weeks have been the happiest weeks of my life?”

The ringing stopped. In the quiet of the car, I held on to his hand, looking deeply into his eyes.

“They have been incredible,” I replied. There were many, many moments we had shared that I would relive in my mind in the coming days. “I don’t know if I have the strength to say goodbye to you or not.”

Tom reached up and smoothed a loose lock of hair behind my ear. Such tenderness was in his gaze that I thought it might break my heart.

“Callie, I have something for you,” he whispered. He started to reach into his pocket, and I swallowed hard, wondering what it could be. Then his phone began to ring again.

“You better see who it is,” I said, sighing. “It might be important.”

By the time he got the phone out from his gym bag, the call had been disconnected. Tom was pressing buttons, trying to see who had called, when my phone started ringing from my purse. I dug it out, surprised to see that the number on my screen matched the number that had just called his.

“Hello?” I asked somewhat hesitantly.

“Callie?” a woman’s voice cried from very far away. “Is that you?”

“This is Callie,” I answered. “Who is this?”

“This is Stella,” the voice said. “Stella Gold.”

I put my hand over the phone and mouthed to Tom, It’s Eli’s wife.

Eli Gold was my mentor, a friend of Tom’s, and the person responsible for bringing the two of us together.

“Stella?” I asked, trying to picture a woman I didn’t know very well at the other end of the line. I had met her the day she married my dear friend Eli, but she and I had not really spoken since, except for those times when I called their house and she had been the one to answer the phone. “What’s up?”

“Oh, Callie, I’m so glad I finally reached you. I need you. I need your help. I need Tom Bennett, also, if you know how to reach him.”

“What is it?” I asked, my heart surging.

“It’s Eli,” she sobbed. “He’s in the hospital.”

“In the hospital?”

“Callie, he’s been shot.”


My Thoughts:

Even though this is the fourth book in the series, you can easily read it as a stand alone. There is enough back story given that one won't feel lost. Reading it so quickly after book three made me feel the story was dragging just a little bit because of the back story information given (but only in those places).

In "Quarter for a Kiss", we get much more up close and personal with Callie and her boyfriend/boss, Tom. The relationship is tested when Tom's friend and Callie's mentor is shot. As they work together to try to solve the mystery behind the shooting, they find challenges in other parts of their lives.

This book is almost the end of the series and ends on a note that makes you want to rush out to buy the next one to see how things end. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to patiently wait, as the next book in the series, "The Buck Stop Here" won't be available until April 1, 2012. A fantastic series with characters that become more in-depth and revealing as the series continues, I will be sad to see it end.

This is a cozy type mystery that will satisfy both the Christian as well as the main-stream audience.

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