Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Never the Same by B. C. Fleming

Never the Same
Author: B. C. Fleming
Published 2011 by Fleming Continuing Education Programs
ISBN: 139780692004074
Paperback, 170 pages
Genre: Non-fiction

About the Book:

On one calm morning in late July 2006, a ten vehicle convoy departed its Forward Operating Base in southeastern Afghanistan. Destination: KANDAHAR. Less than five hours later one soldier awoke, burned and bloody, in a ditch on the side of the road.

This is the story of Sergeant B.C. Fleming. A Team Leader in a Reconnaissance Platoon with the US Army's 10th Mountain Division, Fleming recounts his grueling experience of waging war in the high-desert mountains of Afghanistan. From being shot at to getting blown up TWICE to delivering humanitarian aid to impoverished children, he candidly describes "the real story" of the war in Afghanistan as he experienced it.

His story is one of truth, pain, sacrifice, soul-searching, and the unthinkable adversity American troops overcome daily in order to protect and defend the American people.





Make sure to stop by B&B Media's blog and read their interview with B. C. Fleming.

My Thoughts:

Every American should read this amazing and inpsirational book! It takes the reader through the life-changing events of one outstanding individual and a true hero, Brian Fleming.

Brian tells about his decision to accept God's plan for him, his marriage and then his decision to enter the Army and how following God's plan for him has defined his life. Surviving 2 bombings, Brian traveled a horrendous road back from being badly burned and now travels and helps other surviving war trauma.

This book is not for the faint of heart. Brian puts it right out there - telling it matter-of-factually and takes the reader through the horrors of what he dealt with - physical pain, emotions and feelings and the trauma that took a tole on himself as well as his family when he returned from Afghanistan.

This is an amazing story of faith, love, gratitude, healing and finding one's own purpose. Make sure to add this incredible book to your list of must-reads for this year. Brian's story is nothing less than amazing!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

About the Author:

B.C. Fleming has rapidly emerged as a symbol of perseverance and unconditional victory among 21st century combat-veterans. His is a face of hope and promise, survival and success. Having been blown up twice while fighting the war in Afghanistan, he overcame the odds and lived to tell about it. With wisdom and perspective beyond his years, Fleming is dedicated to seeing others succeed in the midst of their own challenges.

If you would like to learn more about the author or his work, please stop by his website at: http://www.blownupguy.com/


I received a copy of this book to read and honestly review for this tour.

Threads of Hope (Fabric of Time) by Andrea Boeshaar

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 (January 3, 2012)

***Special thanks to Jon Wooten of Charisma House for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar is a certified Christian life coach; a popular speaker at writers’ conferences, workshops, and women’s groups; and the author of numerous published books, including the Seasons of Redemption series: Unwilling Warrior, Uncertain Heart, Unexpected Love, and Undaunted Faith.

Visit the author's website.



SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Kristin Eikaas has her hopes set on a new life in America.

The year is 1848, and Kristin Eikaas has traveled from Norway to Wisconsin with dreams of a new life. But when she arrives, she finds one disappointment after another. Worse, her superstitious uncle now believes that his neighbor’s Oneida Indian wife has put a curse on Kristin. Everyone knows the Sundbergs put spells on people…

Everyone except Kristin. Her run-ins with Sam Sundberg only prove that he is a good man from a Christian family. But when her uncle discovers she’s been associating with Sam, his temper flares. To escape his wrath, Kristin gratefully accepts a job as the Sundbergs’ house girl, finding solace at the family’s spinning wheel.

In the time Sam and Kristin spend together, their friendship develops into much more, and Sam prays about a match between them. But opposition threatens to derail their newfound love. Will they have the courage to stand up for what is right—even against their own families?


Product Details:

  • List Price: $13.99
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Realms (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616384972
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616384975



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


September 1848
It looks like Norway.
The thought flittered across nineteen-year-old Kristin Eikaas’s mind as Uncle Lars’s wagon bumped along the dirt road. The docks of Green Bay, Wisconsin, were behind them, and now they rode through a wooded area that looked just as enchanting as the forests she’d left in Norway. Tall pine trees and giant firs caused the sunshine to dapple on the road. Kristin breathed in the sweet, fresh air. How refreshing it felt in her lungs after being at sea for nearly three months and breathing in only salty sea air or the stale air in her dark, crowded cabin.
A clearing suddenly came into view, and a minute or so later, Kristin eyed the farm fields stretched before her. The sight caused an ache of homesickness. Her poppa had farmed . . .
“Your trip to America was good, ja?” Uncle Lars asked in Norwegian, giving Kristin a sideways glance.
He resembled her father so much that her heart twisted painfully with renewed grief. Except she’d heard about Onkel—about his temper—how he had to leave Norway when he was barely of age, because, Poppa had said, trouble followed him.
But surely he’d grown past all of that. His letters held words of promise, and there was little doubt that her uncle had made a new life for himself here in America.
Just as she would.
Visions of a storefront scampered across her mind’s eye—a shop in which she could sell her finely crocheted and knitted items. A shop in which she could work the spinning wheel, just as Mor had . . .
Uncle Lars arched a brow. “You are tired, liten niese?”
Ja. It was a long journey.” Kristin sent him a sideways glance.
“I am grateful I did not come alone. The Olstads made good traveling companions.”
Her uncle cleared his throat and lowered his voice. “But you have brought my inheritance, ja?” He arched a brow.
Ja.” Kristin thought of the priceless possession she’d brought from Norway.
“And you would not hold out on your onkel, would you?”
Prickles of unease caused Kristin to shift in her seat. She resisted the urge to touch the tiny gold and silver cross pendent suspended from a dainty chain that hung around her neck. Her dress concealed it. She couldn’t give it up, even though it wasn’t legal for a woman to inherit anything in Norway. But the necklace had been her last gift from Mor. A gift from one’s mother wasn’t an inheritance . . . was it? “No, Onkel.”
She turned and peered down from her perch into the back of the wooden wagon bed. Peder Olstad smiled at her, and Kristin relaxed some. Just a year older, he was the brother of Kristin’s very best friend who had remained in Norway with their mother. She and Peder had grown up together, and while he could be annoying and bad tempered at times, he was the closest thing to a brother that she had. And Sylvia—Sylvia was closer than a sister ever could be. It wouldn’t be long, and she and Mrs. Olstad would come to America too. That would be a
happy day!
“You were right,” John Olstad called to Uncle Lars in their native tongue. “Lots of fertile land in this part of the country. I hope to purchase some acres soon.”
“And after you are a landowner for five years, you can be a citizen of America and you can vote.” The Olstad men smiled broadly and replied in unison. “Oh, jaja . . . ”
Uncle Lars grinned, causing dozens of wrinkles to appear around his blue eyes. His face was tanned from farming beneath the hot sun, and his tattered leather hat barely concealed the abundance of platinum curls growing out of his large head. “Oh, ja, this is very good land. I am glad I persuaded Esther to leave the Muskego settlement and move northeast. But, as you will soon see, we are still getting settled.”
Ja, how’s that, Lars?”
Kristin heard the note of curiosity in Mr. Olstad’s voice.
“I purchased the land and built a barn and a cabin.” He paused and gave a derisive snort. “Well, a fine home takes time and money.”
“Oh, ja, that way.” Mr. Olstad seemed to understand.
And Kristin did too. One couldn’t expect enormous comforts out in the Wisconsin wilderness.
Just then they passed a stately home situated on the Fox River. Two quaint dormers peered from the angled roof, which appeared to be supported by a pair of white pillars.
“That is Mr. Morgan Martin’s home. He is a lawyer in town.”
Uncle Lars delivered the rest of his explanation with a sneer. “And an Indian agent.”
“Indians?” Kristin’s hand flew to her throat.
“Do not fret. The soldiers across the river at Fort Howard protect the area.”
Kristin forced her taut muscles to relax.
“Out here the deer are plentiful and fishing is good. Fine lumber up here too. But the Norwegian population is small. Nevertheless, we have our own church, and the reverend speaks our language.”
“A good thing,” Mr. Olstad remarked.
“I cannot wait for the day when Far owns land,” Peder said, glancing at Mr. Olstad. “Lots of land.” The warm wind blew his auburn hair outward from his narrow face, and his hazel eyes sparked with enthusiasm, giving the young man a somewhat wild appearance. “But no farming for me. I want to be rich someday.”
“As do we all!” exclaimed Mr. Olstad, whose appearance was an older, worn-out version of his son’s.
Kristin’s mind had parked on land ownership. “And once you are settled, Sylvia will come to America. I cannot wait. I miss her so much.”
She grappled with a fresh onset of tears. Not only was Sylvia her best friend, but she and the entire Olstad clan had also become like family to her ever since a smallpox epidemic ravaged their little village two years ago, claiming the lives of Kristin’s parents and two younger brothers. When Uncle Lars had learned of the tragic news, he offered her a place to stay in his home if she came to America. Onkel wrote that she should be with her family, so Kristin had agreed to make the voyage. Her plans to leave Norway had encouraged the Olstads to do
the same. But raising the funds to travel took time and much hard work. While the Olstads scrimped and saved up their crop earnings, Kristin did spinning, weaving, knitting, and sewing for those with money to spare. By God’s grace, they were finally here.
Uncle Lars steered the wagon around a sharp bend in the rutty road. He drove to the top of a small hill, and Kristin could see the blue Lake Michigan to her left and farm fields to her right.
Then a lovely white wood-framed house came into view. It didn’t look all that different from the home they’d just past, with dormers, a covered front porch, and stately pillars bearing the load of a wide overhang. She marveled at the homestead’s large, well-maintained barn and several outbuildings. American homes looked like this? Then no wonder Mr. Olstad couldn’t wait to own his own farm!
Up ahead Kristin spied a lone figure of a man. She could just barely make out his faded blue cambric shirt, tan trousers, and the hoe in his hands as he worked the edge of the field. Closer still, she saw his light brown hair springing out from beneath his hat. As the wagon rolled past him, the man ceased his labor and turned their way. Although she couldn’t see his eyes as he squinted into the sunshine, Kristin did catch sight of his tanned face. She guessed his age to be not too much more than hers and decided he was really quite handsome.
“Do not even acknowledge the likes of him,” Uncle Lars spat derisively. “Good Christians do not associate with Sam Sundberg or any members of his family.”
Oh, dear, too late! Kristin had already given him a little smile out of sheer politeness. She had assumed he was a friend or neighbor. But at her uncle’s warning she quickly lowered her gaze.
Kristin’s ever-inquiring nature got the best of her. “What is so bad about that family?”
“They are evil—like the Martins. Even worse, Karl Sundberg is married to a heathen Indian woman who casts spells on the good people of this community.”
“Spells?” Peder’s eyes widened.
Ja, spells. Why else would some folks’ crops fail while Karl’s flourish? He gets richer and richer with his farming in the summer, his logging camps in the winter, and his fur trading with heathens, while good folks like me fall on hard times.”
“Hard times?” Peder echoed the words.
Ja, same seed. Same fertile ground. Same golden opportunity.”
Uncle Lars swiveled to face the Olstads. “I will tell you why that happens. The Sundbergs have hexed good Christians like me.” He wagged his head. “Oh, they are an evil lot, those Sundbergs and Martins. Same as the Indians.”
Indians? Curiosity got the better of her, and Kristin swung around in the wagon to get one last glimpse of Sam Sundberg. She could hardly believe he was as awful as her uncle described. Why, he even removed his hat just now and gave her a cordial nod.
“Turn around, niese, and mind your manners!” Uncle Lars’s large hand gripped her upper arm and he gave her a mild shake.
“I . . . I am sorry, Onkel,” Kristin stammered. “But I have never seen an Indian.”
“Sam Sundberg is not an Indian. It is his father’s second wife and their children. Oneida half-breeds is what we call them.”
“Half-breed, eh?”
Kristin glanced over her shoulder and saw Peder stroke his chin.
“Interesting,” he added.
“How very interesting.” Kristin couldn’t deny her interest was piqued. “Are there many Indians living in the Wisconsin Territory?”
Ja, they trespass on my land, but I show my gun and they leave without incident. Sundberg brings his Indian wife to church.” He wagged his head. “Such a disgrace.”
“And the Territory officials do nothing?” Mr. Olstad asked.
Uncle Lars puffed out his chest. “As of three months ago, we are the State of Wisconsin—no longer a territory.” Uncle Lars stated the latter with as much enthusiasm as a stern schoolmaster. “Now the government will get rid of those savages once and for all.” He sent Kristin a scowl. “And you, my liten niese, will do well to stay away from Indians. All of them, including our neighbors, the Sundbergs. You hear, lest you get yourself scalped.”
Ja, Onkel.”
With a measure of alarm, Kristin touched her braided hair and chanced a look at Peder and Mr. Olstad. Both pairs of wide eyes seemed to warn her to heed Uncle Lars’s instructions. She would, of course. But somehow she couldn’t imagine the man they’d just passed doing her any harm. Would he?

Sam Sundberg wiped the beads of perspiration off his brow before dropping his hat back on his head. Who was the little blonde riding next to Lars Eikaas? Sam hadn’t seen her before. And the men in the wagon bed . . . he’d never seen them either.
After a moment’s deliberation he concluded they were the expected arrivals from the “Old Country.”  Months ago Sam recalled hearing talk in town about Lars’s orphaned niece sailing to America with friends of the family, so he assumed the two red-haired men and the young lady were the topics of that particular conversation. But wouldn’t it just serve Mr. Eikaas right if that blonde angel turned his household upside down—or, maybe, right-side up?
He smirked at the very idea. Sam didn’t have to meet that young lady to guess Mr. Eikaas would likely have his hands full. Her second backward glance said all Sam needed to know.
The word plucky sprang into his mind. He chuckled. Plucky she
seemed, indeed.
But was she wise enough not to believe everything her uncle said?
Sam thought it a real shame. Years ago Pa and Lars Eikaas had been friends. But then Pa’s silver went missing, insults were traded, and the Eikaases’ prejudice against Ma, Jackson, and Mary kept the feud alive.
The Eikaas wagon rolled out of sight, leaving brown clouds of dust in its wake. A grin threatened as Sam thought again of that plucky blonde’s curious expression. Maybe she did have a mind of her own. Now wouldn’t that be something? Sam thanked God that not everyone around here was as intolerant of Wisconsin Natives as the Eikaas family. There were those who actually befriended the Indians and stood up to government officials in their stead. Like Pa, for instance. Like Sam himself.
The blistering sun beat down on him. Removing his hat once more, he wiped the sweat from his forehead. He started pondering the latest government proposal to remove the Indians from their land. First the Oneida tribe had been forced out, and soon the Menominee band would be “removed” and “civilized.” As bad as that was, it irked Sam more to think about how the government figured it knew best for the Indians. Government plans hadn’t succeeded in the past, so why would they now? Something else had to be done. Relocating the Menominee would cause those people nothing but misery. They’d stated as much themselves. Furthermore, the Indians, led by Chief Oshkosh, were determined not to give up their last tract of land. Sam predicted this current government proposal would only serve to stir up more violence between Indians and whites.
But not if he and Pa could help it.
In the distance he heard the clang of the dinner bell. Ma didn’t like him to tarry when food was on the table. Across the beet field, Sam saw his younger brother run on ahead of him. He wagged his head at the twelve-year-old and his voracious appetite.
With one calloused hand gripping the hoe and the other holding the bushel basket, Sam trudged toward their white clapboard home. Its two dormers protruded proudly from the second floor.
Entering the mudroom, he fetched cold water from the inside well, peeled off his hat, and quickly washed up. Next he donned a fresh shirt. Ma insisted upon cleanliness at the supper table. Finally presentable, he made his way into the basement where the summer kitchen and a small eating area were located. The cool air met his sun-stoked skin and Sam sighed, appreciating the noonday respite.
Next he noticed a cake in the middle of the table.
“That looks good enough to eat,” he teased, resisting the urge to steal a finger-full of white frosting.
Ma gave him a smile, and her nut-brown eyes darkened as she set the wooden tureen of turkey and wild rice onto the table. “Since it’s Rachel’s last day with us, I thought I would prepare an extra special dessert.”
Sam glanced across the table at the glowing bride-to-be. In less than twenty-four hours Rachel Decker would become Mrs. Luke Smith. But for the remainder of today she’d fulfill her duties as Ma’s hired house girl who helped with the cooking, cleaning, sewing, washing, and ironing whenever Ma came down with one of her episodes, which were sometimes so intensely painful that Ma couldn’t get out of bed without help. Rachel had been both a comfort and an efficient assistant to Ma.
“I helped bake the cake, Sam.”
He grinned at his ten-year-old sister, Mary. “Good job.”
They all sat down, Mary taking her seat beside Rachel. Sam helped his mother into her place at the head of the table then lowered himself into his chair next to Jackson, who’d been named after Major General Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of this great country.
“Sam, since your father is away,” Ma began, “will you please ask God’s blessing on our food?”
“Be glad to.” He bowed his head. “Dearest Lord, we thank Thee for Thy provisions. Strengthen and nourish us with this meal so we may glorify Thee with our labors. In Jesus’s name, amen.”
Action ensued all around the table. The women served themselves and then between Sam and Jack, they scraped the bowl clean.
“Good thing Pa’s not home from his meetings in town,” Jack muttered with a crooked grin.
“If your father were home,” Ma retorted, “I would have made more food.”
“Should have made more anyhow.” Jack gave her a teasing grin. “No seconds.” He clanged the bowl and spoon together as if to prove his point.
“You have seconds on your plate already,” Ma said. “Why, I have never seen anyone consume as much food as you do, Jackson.”
His smile broadened. “I’m growing. Soon I’ll be taller than Sam.”
“Brotherly competition.” Sam had to chuckle. But in the next moment, he wondered if his family behaved oddly. Didn’t all families enjoy meals together? Tease and laugh together? Tell stories once the sun went down? According to Rachel, they didn’t. The ebony-haired, dark-eyed young woman had grown up without a mother and had a drunkard for a father . . . until Ma got wind of the situation and took her in. She invited Rachel to stay in the small room adjacent to the kitchen and offered her a job. Rachel had accepted. And now, years later, Rachel would soon marry a fine man, Luke Smith, a friend of Sam’s. 
Taking a bite of his meal, he chewed and looked across the table at Mary. Both she and Jack resembled their mother, dark brown hair, dark brown eyes, and graceful, willowy frames, while Sam took after his father, blue eyes and stocky build, measuring just under six feet. Yet, in spite of the outward dissimilarities, the five Sundbergs were a closely knit family, and Sam felt grateful that he’d known nothing but happiness throughout
his childhood. He had no recollection whatsoever of his biological mother who had taken ill and died during the voyage from Norway to America.
Sam had been but a toddler when she went home to be with the Lord, and soon after disembarking in New York, his father met another Norwegian couple. They helped care for Sam and eventually persuaded Pa to take his young son and move with them to Wisconsin, known back then as part of the “Michigan Territory.” Pa seized the opportunity, believing the promises that westward expansion touted, and he was not disappointed.
He learned to plant, trap, and trade with the Indians, and he became a successful businessman. In time, he saved enough funds to make his dreams of owning land and farming a reality.
Then, when Sam was a boy of eight years, his father met and married Mariah, an Oneida. Like her, many Oneida were Christians and fairly well educated due to the missionaries who had lived among them. In time Sam took to his new mother, and she to him. Through the years Ma cherished and admonished him as though he were her own son. She learned the Norwegian language and could speak it fluently. As far as Sam was concerned, he was her own son—and Mariah, his own mother.
They were a family.
“Was that the Eikaas wagon driving by not long ago?” Mary asked.
Sam snapped from his musing. “Sure was. It appears they have relatives in town.”
“Mr. Eikaas didn’t stop and visit, did he?” Mary’s eyes were as round as gingersnaps.
Sam chuckled. “No, of course not. I can’t recall the last time Lars Eikaas spoke to me . . . or any of the Sundbergs, for that matter.”
“Erik is nice to me at school.” Mary took a bite of her meal.
“Glad to hear it.”
“I can’t wait to begin school next week.”
Sam grinned at his sister’s enthusiasm. He’d felt the same way as a boy.
“Sam, what made you assume Mr. Eikaas transported relatives in his wagon today?”
He glanced at Ma. “A while back I’d heard that Lars’s niece was coming to America, accompanied by friends, and since I didn’t recognize the three passengers in the wagon this morning, I drew my own conclusions.”
“Is she pretty?” Jackson’s cheeks bulged with food.
“Is who pretty?”
“Mr. Eikaas’s niece . . . is she pretty?”
Sam recalled the plucky blonde whose large, cornflower-blue eyes looked back at him with interest from beneath her bonnet. And pretty? As much as Sam hated to admit it, she was about the prettiest young lady he’d ever set eyes on.
Jackson elbowed him. “Hey, I asked you a question.”
Sam gave his younger brother an annoyed look. “Yeah, I s’pose she’s pretty. But don’t go getting any big ideas about me courting her. She’s an Eikaas.”
“You’re awful old to not be married yet.” Jack rolled his dark eyes.
“What do you know about it? I’m only twenty-one.” Sam grinned. “Hush up and eat.” It’s what the boy did best. “So . . . did everyone have a pleasant morning?” He forked another bite of food into his mouth, wondering why he tried so hard to shift the subject off of Lars Eikaas’s niece.

Kristin looked around the one-room shanty with its unhewn walls and narrow, bowed loft. Cotton squares of material covered the windows, making the heat inside nearly unbearable. 
Disappointment riddled her being like buckshot. Although she knew she should feel grateful for journeying safely this far, and now to have a roof over her head, she couldn’t seem to shake her displeasure at seeing her relatives’ living quarters. It looked nothing like her uncle had described in his letters nor the homes she’d glimpsed on the way.
“Here is your trunk of belongings,” Uncle Lars said, carrying the wooden chest in on one of his broad shoulders. With a grunt, he set it down in the far corner of the cabin. “Where is my inheritance? Let me have a look at it.”
“Right now, Onkel?”
Ja, ja . . .” Impatience filled his tone.
Pulling open the drawstring of her leather purse, she reached inside and extracted the key. She unlocked the trunk and opened its curved lid. Getting onto her knees, Kristin moved aside her clothes and extra shoes until she found what she searched for. Poppa’s gold watch. She held the black velvet-covered box reverently in her hands for one last, long moment before she stood and presented it to her uncle.
“This belonged to my poppa.”
“Ah . . .” Uncle Lars’s face lit up with delight as he opened the box. Looking to Aunt Esther, he nodded. “This will bring a fair price, do you think?”
Disbelief poured over her. “But . . . you would not sell Poppa’s watch, would you?”
“None of your business!”
Kristin jumped back at the biting reply. Her opinion of her uncle dropped like a rock into a cavern.
“Anything more?” Her uncle bent over the wooden chest and quickly rummaged through it, spilling clothes onto the unswept floor.
Onkel, please, stop. My garments . . .”
“Does not seem to be anything else.” Uncle Lars narrowed his gaze. “Is there?”
“No.” The necklace Mor had given her burned against her already perspiring skin. Still, Kristin refused to part with the gift. “Nothing more. As you know, Poppa was a farmer. He supplemented his income by working at the post office, but no money was ever saved. After my parents died, I sold everything to help pay for a portion of my passage to America. I earned the rest myself.”
“Any money left?”
Kristin shook her head as she picked up the last of her belongings, careful not to meet her uncle’s stare. A little money remained in the special pocket she’d sewn into her petticoat. For safety, she’d kept her funds on her person throughout the entire voyage. The last of her coinage would purchase muchneeded undergarments. She’d managed to save it throughout the journey for the specific purpose of buying new foundations when she reached America. It wasn’t inherited. She’d worked hard for it.
With a grunt Uncle Lars turned and sauntered out of the cabin.
“You will sleep in the loft with your cousins.” Aunt Esther’s tone left no room for questions or argument. Wearing a plain, brown dress with a tan apron pinned to its front, and with her dark brown hair tightly pinned into a bun, the older woman looked as drab as her surroundings. “Your uncle and I sleep on a pallet by the hearth.”
“Yes, Tante. I am sure I will be very comfortable.” Another lie.
“Come, let us eat.” Aunt Esther walked toward the hearth where a heavy black kettle sat on top of a low-burning fire. “There is venison stew for our meal.”
“It sounds delicious.” Kristin’s stomach growled in anticipation. She’d eaten very little on the ship this morning. Excitement plus the waves on Lake Michigan made eating impossible. But after disembarking in Green Bay, her stomach began to settle, and now she was famished.
Aunt Esther called everyone to the table, which occupied an entire corner of the cabin. Her three children, two girls and one boy, ranging in ages from seven to sixteen, came in from outside, as did the Olstads. After a wooden bowl filled with stew was set before each person, the family clasped hands and recited a standard Norwegian prayer . . .
I Jesu navn gar vi til bords,—We sit down in the name of Jesus,
Spise drikke pa ditt ord,—To eat and drink according to Your
Word,
Deg Gud til are, oss til gavn,—To Your honor, Oh Lord, and
for our benefit,
Sa far vi mat i Jesu navn.—We receive food in the name of
Jesus.
Amen.
Having said grace, hands were released, and everyone picked up a spoon and began to eat. Kristin noticed her cousins, Inga and Anna, eyeing her with interest. They resembled their father, blonde curls and blue eyes.
“What do you like to do on sunny afternoons such as this one?” she asked cheerfully, hoping to start conversation. After all, Inga’s age was close to hers. Perhaps her cousin would help her meet friends.
“We do not talk at the table,” Aunt Esther informed her. “We eat, not talk.”
“Yes, Tante.” Kristin glanced at Peder and Mr. Olstad who replied with noncommittal shrugs and kept eating.
Silently, Kristin did the same. The Olstads always had lively discussions around their table.
When the meal ended, the girls cleared the table and the men took young Erik and ambled outside.
“May I help with cleaning up?” Kristin asked her aunt.
“No. You rest today and regain your strength. Tomorrow we are invited to a wedding, the day after is the Sabbath. Then beginning on Monday, you will labor from sunup to sunset like everyone else in this place.”
“Except for one,” Inga quipped. No one but Kristin heard.
“Who?” Her lips moved, although she didn’t utter a sound.
Far, that is who.” Disrespect seeped from Inga’s tone, which was loud and clear.
Hadn’t Aunt Esther overheard it?
Tante suddenly whirled around and glared at Kristin. “Do something with yourself. We are working here.”
With a frown, Kristin backed away. Her aunt’s brusque manner caused her to feel weary and more homesick than
ever. She missed her parents and her little brothers. Why did God take them, leaving her to live life without them? And Sylvia . . . how she longed for her best friend!
Kristin knelt by the trunk and carefully lifted out a soft, knitted shawl that had once belonged to her mother, Lydia Eikaas. Mor had been an excellent seamstress, expert in spinning wool into yarn and thread, as well as in weaving and sewing garments. She’d taught Kristin everything she knew about the craft. Surely Kristin could now put her skills to good use in this new country, this land of opportunity.
She sighed and glanced over to where her aunt and two cousins continued straightening up after the meal. Inga and Anna barely smiled, and her aunt’s expression seemed permanently frozen into a frown. Is that what this country really afforded . . . misery?
Allowing her gaze to wander around the dismal cabin once more, Kristin began to wish she had not come to America.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mornings with Jesus 2012 - Litfuse Tour & Giveaway

About the book:

"Be still and know that I am God.” is one of the most beautiful verses from the Bible, but it’s not easy to practice in this busy world. Mornings with Jesus will help you do just that—“be still” in Jesus’ beautiful and powerful presence. For those who are seeking a deeper experience in their relationship with Christ, Mornings with Jesus offers a fresh perspective of who Jesus is (the Healer, the Son of God, the Comforter, the Good Shepherd) and what that means for day-to-day life. With a warm and friendly voice, 365 short devotional writings on the character and teachings of Jesus encourage readers to greet each day by drawing near to Him and inviting His presence into their day. Spend time with Jesus at the beginning of each day and experience His nearness and peace in a new way throughout the year. Each day’s selection includes: • a Bible verse • an entry based on Jesus: His words, miracles, and parables; His wisdom, compassion, and comfort; His mystery, power, divinity, and humanity • a “faith step” that will inspire and challenge readers to apply the day’s message to their lives.

Available from Amazon

My Thoughts:

I'll admit, I'm one that prefers to curl up with my Bible at night instead of starting off with some readings in the morning. Mornings always seem so rushed and makes it almost impossible to have time to read and get something from what I'm reading.

"Mornings with Jesus" offers a Bible verse, a nice short devotional and a Faith Step that may challenge the reader to apply the reading throughout their day. Unlike many of the devotionals that I have read, this one is written by seven well known and loved authors: Tricia Goyer, Judy K. Baer, Gwen Ford Faulkenberry, Sharon Hinck, Keri Wyatt Kent, Camy Tang, and Erin Keeley Marshall, giving it more of a personal feel - like chatting over a cup of tea with a friend.

This book is designed to read one devotional a day and each are dated, but in the back there is also an index by subject. This is nice for those that need to concentrate on something at a particular time. This makes the devotional even more personal and possibly more useful when you really need that extra help.

Those that follow my blog know that my husband was let go from his job of 24 years due to downsizing and eliminating his position. This has been a real time of change and one day in particular, we were struggling with the news of how much health insurance will be running on top of everything else. That meant we had to cut back even more than we have been. I needed my devotion to address my situation, so I went to the index and found an entry written by Kari Wyatt Kent addressing the subject of economy (Tuesday, Oct. 9). Keri addresses pruning unneeded items from your life. With less "stuff" to focus on and fill you life with, you will have more compassion and will be more likely to rely on God and pray more.  This was fantastic and exactly what I needed to read that day!

I love reading the entries by the authors every day, but I don't care for the use of different versions for the Bible quotes. I prefer a one version focus and when a book/writer does this, it feels like the version that is used matches what the author wants to say more than the author matching their thoughts to what the verse says.

In conclusion, this is still a very nice devotional and gives a nice start to each and every day! Please note - this is not designed to replace your regular Bible study/reading.

See what others are saying here.

Win a copy of Mornings with Jesus

Guideposts was generous and sent me two copies of this book - one to review and one to give away to one lucky reader. If you would like to add this beautiful book to your library, please fill out the form below. Please note that since I am mailing the book personally, I will need to keep my costs down - so the drawing is only open to those who live in the US. Drawing ends Feb 12.



I received a copy of this book to read and honestly review for this tour.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Unhallowed Ground by Mel R. Starr

Unhallowed Ground
The Fourth Chronicle of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon
Author: Mel Starr
Publisher: Monarch Books
ISBN: 978-0-85721-058-6
Paperback
240 pages
Publication: January 2012

About the Book:

Thomas atte Bridge, a man no one likes, is found hanging from a tree near Cowleys Corner. All assume he has taken his own life, but Master Hugh and Kate find evidence that this may not be so.

Many of the town had been harmed by Thomas, and Hugh is not eager to send one of them to the gallows. Then he discovers that the priest John Kellet, atte Bridge’s partner in crime in A Corpse at St. Andrew's Chapelwas covertly in Bampton at the time atte Bridge died.

Master Hugh is convinced that Kellet has murdered atte Bridge--one rogue slaughtering another. He sets out for Exeter, where atte Bridge now works. But there he discovers that the priest is an emaciated skeleton of a man, who mourns the folly of his past life. Hugh must return to Bampton and discover which of his friends has murdered his enemy.

Read an excerpt of Unhallowed Ground here

My Thoughts:

Unhallowed Ground is the fourth book in the "Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon", however it is easily read as a stand-alone. This is the first of the series I have read, and I found no problems with starting at this point. There is enough information and character development that I could easily connect and not feel lost.

Taking place in 14th Century Bampton, England, Unhallowed Ground centers around Master Hugh de Singleton who is both a surgeon and bailiff to Sir Gilbert. Master Hugh is a walking contradiction because he's looked at with suspicion because of his job as bailiff and revered because of being a good surgeon. This makes for a very interesting protagonist.

Written in first person and being able to see through the eyes of Master Hugh was fascinating and made for a captivating and unforgettable story. When he sees Thomas atte Bridge hanging from the tree and studies him, he discovers that the apparent suicide is possibly not a suicide at all. As he continues his investigation, he discovers not only was Thomas atte Bridge a despicable man (worse than he originally knew), but he wrestles with the thought of possibly arresting a neighbor or "good" person who was involved in the murder.

Master Hugh is newly married and discusses this information with his wife, Kate. She is an intelligent woman who also noticed from the beginning that Thomas atte Bridge's death was not as it seemed. With each dead end Master Hugh would hit, Kate would be there as a sounding board and help him decide if it was worth continuing the investigation.

This book was an amazing read! I am so taken with the writing style of Mr. Starr, that I really want to read all the books in this series. He is truly a brilliant writer who seems to effortlessly bring to life 14th Century England. His prose and ability to describe in detail day-to-day life transports the reader back in time and allows on to actually feel like they are a part of that time period.

This book comes HIGHLY recommended!

About the Author:

Mel Starr was born and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. After graduating with a MA in history from Western Michigan University in 1970, he taught history in Michigan public schools for thirty-nine years, thirty-five of those in Portage, MI, where he retired in 2003 as chairman of the social studies department of Portage Northern High School. Mel and his wife, Susan, have two daughters and seven grandchildren.



I received a copy of "Unhallowed Ground" to read and honestly review for this tour.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go by Naomi Dathan

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:

Kirkdale Press (November 27, 2011)

***Special thanks to Ryan Rotz, Publicist, Kirkdale Press for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Naomi Dathan has been fascinated with prairie life since her third grade teacher read Little House in the Big Woods to the class. She finally indulged this fascination with her fourth novel, Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go. She lives in Ohio with her two daughters and two undersized beagles with oversized egos.


Check out her witty blog http://naomidathan.com 




SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

For everything there is a season.  A season for joy.  A season for sorrow.  A season for testing.

Jem Perkins has it all – money, a fine house, a handsome husband, and a new baby boy. But when her family fortunes turn, Jem’s husband Seth leads her to a new home: a sod house on a Nebraska homestead.

It is a season of growth for Jem as she reluctantly confronts her new realities: back-breaking labor, dangerous illness, and mind-numbing isolation. She learns to embrace her new role as a capable woman and marriage partner and discovers an awareness of God’s hand in her life.

Then, on January 12, 1888, the history-making Children’s Blizzard sweeps across the land, ushering in a season of hardship she never expected. Can Jem’s confidence, marriage, and new-found faith weather the storm?


$.99 Sale! 
Buy the ebook Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go from Vyrso for $.99. Use the coupon code WILDCARD at checkout or simply click HERE.
Offer ends this Friday.

Whither is also available for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, and Google Books.

About Vyrso
Vyrso is a new Christian ebookstore and reader app from Logos Bible Software. You can read Vyrso ebooks on your iPad, iPhone, Android tablet or phone, and online at Biblia.com.


Product Details:


  • Kindle Price: $6.15
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 382 KB
  • Simultaneous Device Usage:Unlimited
  • Publisher: Kirkdale Press (November 27, 2011)
  • Sold by:Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006FK72QE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


January 12, 1888


      At midnight, Charley woke shivering in his trundle bed. “Ma?”
      He rose, but couldn’t see his mother’s form in the faltering lamplight. “Ma? Mom-mom?”
      Still no answer. The cast iron stove was dark and silent. The wind outside howled like a wolf, and caught at the door of the sod house, swinging it open and shut.
      Where was Ma? Why wasn’t she making the stove hot or snuggling him warm under the covers? Was she outside with the wind-wolf?
      Charley went toward the door. Ice blew into his eyes, making them water. But he wasn’t crying. Not yet. Warmth brushed his legs, a wetness caressed his cheek. The big dog, Zeke, curled his shaggy body against Charley, pushing him backward—away from the open door.
      Charley pushed back and shook his finger at him. “No! Bad.”
      Zeke whined and pressed harder. Charley fell, landing on something warm and solid. It didn’t hurt, but he set to wailing anyway, protesting his alone state, his empty belly, and the bitter cold that bit at his eyes and ears and nostrils like fierce ants.
      No one came to comfort him, so his cries soon dried up. He scuttled across the still form on the floor, pausing at a tinkling sound. “Ging,” he said, remembering. “Ging, ging, ging.”
      The bell. Pa had rung the bell today. Ding, ding, ding. He’d stoked the fire high and hot, gave Charley cold mash to eat, and clung to the doorframe, ringing and ringing the bell. Once, Pa had fallen to the dirt floor, but after a long while, he pushed himself upright, clutched the doorframe, and rang the bell again.
      Now Pa was on the floor again, unmoving.
      Charley stepped on Pa’s head as he went to look outside “ Ma!” The storm sucked his voice away so fast that he didn’t even hear himself. The winds answered in high voices, scared and scary at the same time. Was Ma out there in the black with the wind voices?
      At last, Charley made up his mind. With Zeke making little worried sounds close beside him, Charley stepped out into the blizzard to find Ma.
***
August 14, 1886 (Seventeen months before)
      The Reynolds’s tea was well attended, but the August heat oppressed the guests, subduing the conversation to a languid pace. Servants discreetly watered—and even fanned—the profusion of roses arranged in vases through the room. Ladies and gentlemen sipped English tea and nibbled at scones and trifles to be polite, waiting for the blessed moment when they could return home, untie their cravats and corsets, and have a cool bath.
      Jem Perkins had nothing but sympathy for the wilting flowers. She sank onto a thickly upholstered chair next to her sister and fanned herself.
      “Can we go home now?” she whispered.
      “Hush!” Sally hissed, shooting a worried glance toward their hosts. “Mrs. Reynolds has been planning this tea for weeks. And we haven’t even greeted the guest of honor yet.”
      Hiding behind her fan, Jem peeked at Mrs. Ashley Grayson, seated near the window. She couldn’t hear what Mrs. Grayson said, but it drew appreciative laughter from the surrounding crowd. Jem smiled at her sister with her eyes. “She does feed off the adoration, doesn’t she?”
      Sally frowned. “Oh, Jem, I’m sure that’s not fair. Mrs. Grayson deserves credit for starting the Children’s Board.”
      “Of course she does! But don’t you think she has a bit of the look a cat gets when he’s found a sunny spot on the windowsill?”
      Sally pursed her lips. “You could have worked with her, Jem. I know she asked you to. Then you’d be right up there beside her.”
      Wasn’t that just like Sally, to make out that Jem was jealous. What had she to be jealous of?
      Jem fanned herself again, waiting until her irritation ebbed before answering. After all, it wouldn’t do for Jem—the married woman—to engage in sibling squabbling with her poor spinster sister. Once satisfied that there would be only kindness in her voice, she answered. “I was hardly in a position to take on an outside project right then, was I? A woman’s first responsibility is to her family. Perhaps you’ll understand … one day.”
      Sally’s cheeks went pink as the arrow found its mark. She was Jem’s elder by three years, poor thing, and she didn’t even have a serious beau. She sniffed. “I’m sure that was it. I’m sure it wasn’t because you discovered that setting up a charitable foundation actually requires a great deal of work.”
      That stung. Jem lowered her fan. “Now you’re just being cruel. You know I work very hard, Sally. Look at how many hours I put into the flower garden last year.”
      “And then you lost interest and Rogers had to take it over.”
      “And think of all the poetry I’ve written. You’ve never written a poem in your life!”
      “And I’m better off for it.”
      “At least I’m trying things. Maybe I haven’t found my true calling yet, but you shouldn’t fault me for trying.” 
      Sally opened her mouth, but then shut it again, holding up a restraining palm. “Oh, we’re quarreling like children.” She sighed. “I apologize. I’m sure you have found your true calling, Jem. I’m sure your true calling is motherhood. You’re wonderful with Charley, and what’s more important than raising a happy, healthy child?”
      Jem settled back in her seat, buying herself a minute by sipping her iced tea. Sally would never have apologized a year ago, would certainly have never offered a compliment. It was disconcerting, really. “It is hot,”  she offered.
      Seeing Sally relax, she did too, leaning forward to whisper to her. “And boring. I know Mrs. Grayson deserves all of our admiration. I do, truly. But I’m so tired of seeing all the same people and having all the same conversations, day after day. This city is chockfull of people, but you couldn’t tell by us.”
      “There’s the doorbell,” Sally said. “I’m sure it will be someone fascinating.”
      “Like Mark Twain?”
      “That’s right. Or Buffalo Bill.”
      Jem giggled. “How about Jesse James?”
      “I think he’s dead. Wasn’t he killed? Oh—” Her tone changed abruptly. “Look. It is someone new.”
      Jem looked. Her fan froze. The tall man stood in the entry to the parlor, his bearing military even out of uniform. He bowed slightly to Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds, shook Mr. Reynolds’s hand, and exchanged greetings with surrounding guests. Feminine eyes followed his progress as he strode in, but he didn’t seem to notice. His pewter gray eyes scanned the crowd, and landed on Jem.
      She returned his gaze, then lowered her attention to her skirts. “Well, now. The new guest is dashing, wouldn’t you say, Sally?”
      Sally made a haughty harrumph. “Oh, Sister, he looks to be a bit of a ruffian to me. Like someone who spends time in the Wild West. You’d do well to stay away from him, I think.”
      Jem murmured her agreement and peeked at the man over her fan again. His eyes were still on her. “I believe I’ll have some refreshment.” 
      She approached the buffet table, turning her back on the man. Her sister was at her elbows, but when she felt Sally withdraw, she knew the man was approaching. She peeked at him over her shoulder while she ladled pink punch into a glass. He removed his derby and offered a slight bow.
      “Ma’am.”
      “Lieutenant.”
      His lips twitched at her return address, or perhaps at the Virginia drawl that had crept into the single word. “I wonder if I might join you for a beverage.”
      “Why, sir, as a guest of this tea party, you are as welcome as anyone to partake, I daresay.” Yes, the drawl of her childhood was definitely back, sliding through her words like sugarcane molasses.
      “Indeed,” the man said. He poured himself punch and downed it in a single motion. The glass looked ridiculous in his large hand, like a child’s play teacup. “I have to say, ma’am, that the scenery in St. Paul has certainly improved since my departure to Washington. I don’t remember such fine, dainty creatures as yourself frequenting the Reynolds’s teas in the past.”
      Jem smiled at that, but flushed a little, too. “Perhaps, sir, you are mistaking me for one of the young ladies playing Botticelli in the next room. I’m afraid I don’t particularly”—she took her time with the word, savoring each syllable as she hadn’t in years—“qualify as dainty anymore.”
      He imitated her accent, exaggerated it into a parody of a Virginia gentleman. “Why, ma’am, you are very mistaken, I’m sure. Why, you are the … the epitome of feminine beauty and delicacy. Your eyes are as blue as cornflowers. Your lips, well, they’re two precious little, uh, roses. In fact, I wonder if we could step out into the gardens and take a stroll together? Just the two of us?”
      “Why, sir! Surely you don’t expect me to leave this tea with you, unchaparoned. Think of the scandal.”
      He pressed his hand to his chest, gave her moon eyes. “Nothing of the sort, ma’am. I cherish your reputation as I would cherish, well, the soundness of my horse’s legs. I would die before compromising your honor. In fact, in order to protect your good name, I am willing to go this far: I will tell these people that we are married.”
      Jem started to giggle, then; she couldn’t help it. He grinned back at her, and the game was up. She threw her arms around his neck, in spite of all the company around. “Oh, Seth. I’m so glad you’re home. I thought you wouldn’t be back for two more weeks.”
      “Jem.” He put his arms around her waist and let out a long breath, letting his rigid stance relax. “This was long enough. I missed you. Can we break away from this tea? How is the baby?”
      “Oh, I hated to leave him. I think he might be getting diphtheria.”
      “Diphtheria?” He didn’t sound worried. In fact, he sounded a little amused. She backed out of his arms a little to frown at him.
      “Diphtheria is very serious.”
      “You’ve had the doctor by, I take it?”
      “Of course. Twice now.”
      “And he said?”
      “Oh, you know how Dr. Hollister is. You’d have to lay an egg for him to agree you have chicken pox.”
      Seth took her elbow lightly and led her through the parlor, nodding to the ladies, offering greetings to a few of the men. “Jemima, I’m sure Dr. Hollister would know if Charley had diphtheria. It’s very distinct.”
      “You know I worry. He coughs continually—all night long. And his nose is running.”
      “Darling, it sounds like he has a cold.” He led her to the front door, where they made their apologies to the Reynolds. “Come,” he said, as he led her to the carriage. “I’ll have a look. I certainly know what diphtheria looks like.”
      Before they’d stepped through the French doors of their home, they could hear Charley’s outraged screams ringing through the house. Jem dropped Seth’s arm and ran up the long, curving staircase, allowing him to follow when he would. “Charley! Oh, dear, what’s happened?”
      She stopped when she entered the nursery. Her boy was upright, clutching the bars of his crib with chubby fingers, red-faced and tearful, but otherwise apparently fine. “Oh, dear.” She hurried to lift him and snuggled him against her bosom. “What’s the matter, you poor little boy? Are you hurt?”
       Charley’s cries subsided. He rested his nearly bald head against her, hiccoughing.
      “Poor boy,” Jem crooned. “Mama’s here, now. Where’s Nursie, hmm? Didn’t she hear you cry?”
      “He has grown.” Seth’s voice came from the doorway. “Was he standing? When did he start that?”
      “Last week.” She smiled up at him, keeping her cheek pressed against the peach fuzz of Charley’s warm head. “I wrote to you about it, but I suppose you didn’t get the letter.”
      “No, but I haven’t stayed in one place for more than a night.” He sighed, came and wrapped his arms around Jem, enveloping her and the baby in a hug. “My family.”
      “Oh, no, ma’am!” Sophie’s voice was sharp. “He’s supposed to be napping.”
      Jem and Seth turned to look at the nurse. Her hands were closed into tight fists, pressed against her stout body as if she were restraining herself from snatching the child and putting him back in his crib.
      “Oh, but he was crying so hard. Poor boy.”
      “Good afternoon, Lieutenant. Welcome home,” Sophie said, then firmed her voice to Jem. “No, ma’am. Colonel Wilkinson was clear on that. The boy must stay in his crib for his nap. The colonel don’t want him spoiled.”
      Seth’s voice was pleasant. “Sophie, I believe you work for me, not Colonel Wilkinson.”
      “No, no.” Jem hurried to the crib. “It’s fine, Seth. Really. My father is right—you know I’ll spoil him.”
      She peeled Charley off her chest and set him in the crib. His screams renewed, broken by sobs. He rolled and pulled himself back up to his feet. Seth picked him up. Charley reached for his mother, but Seth didn’t hand him over.
      “Oh, Seth, really. My father is right.”
      “I haven’t seen my son in two months. I believe he and I will take a walk around the nursery.”
      Sophie gave Seth a long, tight-lipped look, and retreated from the room.
      “Oh, my,” Jem said. “She’ll let my father know. She always does.”
      “Darling, this isn’t your father’s child. It’s ours. Why does he have anything to say about when we hold him?”
      “You know how he worries. He wants the best for his only grandson.”
      Charley stopped reaching for his mother and stared up into Seth’s face.
      “Look, he remembers you.” 
      Seth made a scoffing sound, but Jem saw he looked pleased. “He’s far too young. I’m glad he’s letting me hold him, though. So, other than this dire illness that has him at death’s door, he appears to be thriving.”
      Jem sighed. “You shouldn’t tease me, Seth. Ima Caldwell—do you remember her? She said her sister’s husband’s niece lost both of her little boys last winter—one to diphtheria, and the other to pneumonia. And Amy Wiley’s whole family is ill.”
      Seth sobered and kissed Charley’s head, holding him a little closer. “It’s terrible. I can’t imagine what they’ve suffered. But Charley is healthy. God has blessed us. Let’s thank Him for it, instead of borrowing trouble.”
      “Y—yes. I do, of course.”
      She shook her head. It was the sort of comment Sally had been prone to make lately. Seth had been no believer when they met; he’d gone to church only to please Jem and her family. But something had changed over the last year. Seth had changed.
      When he was home, he attended church on Sundays as well as a Bible study on Wednesday. He led prayer at mealtimes, even if it was only the two of them sitting at the long polished dining table. She tried to act like it was normal behavior—after all, she was the one who’d been brought up in the faith—but it was really rather embarrassing.
      “There, you see, Jem? He just needed a little walk.” Charley was settled against his father’s chest. His face had relaxed, his eyes closed in sleep.
      Jem plucked a cloth from the chest of drawers and swiped at the path of drool running down the baby’s chin. “You do remember about this part, don’t you?”
      Seth gave her a wry smile. “I tried to forget. I go through fewer shirts riding on top of the stage coach. Well, I suppose I should put him down.”
      Jem arranged the soft blankets in the crib. After Seth laid Charley on them, they stood side by side, admiring their little boy. “Isn’t he beautiful? I think he’s the prettiest baby in St. Paul.”
      Seth slid his arm around her waist. “By far the handsomest, anyway.” He sighed then. “Is your father at home today? I need to discuss some things with him. I didn’t see him at the Reynolds’s tea.”
      “He said he had business to attend to today. I’m not sure whether he’s at home or at the office. But, Seth, can’t it wait? You’ve just gotten home. Can’t we spend the rest of the afternoon together?”
      She looked up at him as she finished the question, and was surprised to see the grim expression on his face.
      “I’m afraid not, Jem,” he said. “I’m sorry; I know I just got home. But I have to handle some business.”
       She gave him a quick pout, making sure to smile with her eyes so he knew she was teasing. “It’s a shame, when a man would rather spend his homecoming with his father-in-law than with his wife.”
      Seth didn’t smile back, but he kissed her on the forehead. “I’ll be home in a couple of hours. We’ll have dinner together—just the two of us, all right?
      Jem wrapped her arms around his waist and accepted his embrace. “Hurry back. I’m sure my father will be glad to see you, anyway.”

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tour: Alienation by Jon S. Lewis - Review & iPad 2 Giveaway

Alienation:
A C.H.A.O.S. Novel Book #2
Author: Jon S. Lewis
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 9781595547545
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Science Fiction, General

About the Book:
After his parents were killed in a car accident, Colt McAllister was drawn into a world he thought only existed in comic books-one where mind control, jet packs, and flying motorcycles don't even scratch the surface. Along with his best friends Oz and Danielle, Colt is now training at the secret Central Headquarters Against the Occult and Supernatural academy. But strange accidents seem to follow him. . . even with the security of the school grounds. What first seems random soon turns deadly. But who is targeting Colt? As the alien invasions increase in frequency and force, C.H.A.O.S resources are taxed to the limit and they're forced to utilize the new recruits. In the midst of battle, Colt will discover some startling revelations . . . about himself, his friendship with Oz, and why he has been chosen to defeat this alien attack against earth.



My Thoughts:

Alienation is the second book in the C.H.A.O.S. series and like the first book, Invasion, it was a thrilling read. One of the few Christian fiction books geared towards teen males, this book will appeal because of the amount of action and comic book "feel" to the story line. Filled with aliens, fighting, good -vs- evil, a young hero and his friends, this will keep readers young and old as well as male and female, interested and on the edge of their seats!

Although this can be read as a stand-alone, I would strongly encourage the series to be read in order. There was so much that happened in Invasion, that one would appreciate Alienation even more reading the first book.

Jon S. Lewis spins a fascinating tale that really held my interest. I was a little surprised with the violence that was in the books, but then again, these are about war with the aliens. The Christian content is not overwhelming. In fact, it's quite subtle and comes across as normal in conversations and activities.

I am thrilled to see a clean read geared towards teen males. The market offers so much for the YA female so this not only refreshing but very exciting to me. I cannot wait to see what the next in the series holds in store for Colt, Oz and Danielle! This series comes highly recommended!

About the Author:

Jon S. Lewis is the coauthor of the Grey Griffins trilogy (over 500,000 books in print) and the upcoming Grey Griffins Clockwork Chronicles. He also writes for the DC COMICS family of publishers. He resides with his family in Arizona.


Win an iPad from @JonSLewis and @NelsonFiction in the Alienation iPad2 Giveaway! The invasion was only the beginning! Jon Lewis is celebrating the next adventure in his fast-paced C.H.A.O.S. series with an explosive giveaway!


One thrill-seeker will receive:
  • iPad2 with Wi-Fi
  • Copies of the C.H.A.O.S. novels, Invasion and Alienation
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on February 7th. Winner will be announced at the Alienation Facebook Party on 2/7. Jon will be hosting an Author Chat, giving away copies of the books and gift certificates to iTunes and Amazon.com! Don't miss a second of the intrigue!

Grab your copy of Alienation and join Jon on the evening of February 7th for an author chat, spy training (How much do you know about alien invaders?) and lots of giveaways. 

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Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 31st!


Want to see more of what others think about this book? Make sure to visit others in the tour. The schedule can be found at:  http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13451655) 




I received a copy of "Alienation" to read and honestly review for this tour.

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