Monday, May 30, 2011

A Great Catch Book Tour by Lorna Seilstad

Lake Manawa:
The Bloomer Girls Play The Owls and Suffragists Speeches Heard at Pavilion

“So sad. Almost a spinster.” Aunt Millie shook her head. “If we don’t do something soon, no man is going to want a woman that advanced in years.”
Author Lorna Seilstad delivers another wonderful novel for summer with A Great Catch. It’s 1901 in Lake Manawa, Iowa, a beautiful little lakeside resort in America’s heartland. Summer has arrived, along with all the seasonal activities at Lake Manawa: baseball, swimming, roller-skating, picnicking, strolling along the boardwalk, and listening to speeches by the suffragists.
Educating the women of Lake Manawa to their equal status as men and their voting rights, Emily Graham, a 22-year old suffragist tries to live her life independently and free from her meddling aunts who think she is bound for spinsterhood. They want to find a suitable husband among the resort guests for her. Emily prefers to decline their choices; she has neither the time nor the need for a man in her busy suffragist life.
Carter Stockton, a recent college graduate and pitcher for the Manawa Owls baseball team, intends to enjoy every minute of the summer at the resort before he is forced into the business world by his older brother.
When Emily crashes into Carter at a roller skating rink, life begins to change for both of them. Carter must choose what he enjoys most; Emily will have to decide what is most important to her.
A Great Catch takes you back to the turn of the century with endearing characters and incredible settings, all found in America’s heartland.

Lorna Seilstad is the author of Making Waves and is a fresh voice in historical fiction with spirited and entertaining writing. She is a history buff, antique collector, and freelance graphic designer. Seilstad draws her setting from her home state of Iowa. A former high school English and journalism teacher, she has won several online writing awards and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.


MY REVIEW-I am a big fan of covers. Yes, book covers:) If they are really eye catching or not, that is. That is why I just knew this book was going to be great! A Great Catch has one of the best covers I have ever seen on a book. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and is only surpassed by mystery. But this book really has a wonderful cover that makes you want to read the book.

In this series, Lorna has done a wonderful job. The first book, Making Waves, was well written and quite interesting. This one follows in the same vein and was quite entertaining. There is not a lot of in-depth thought but I really liked the history. It shows a lot of the mind set back then and how women were looked upon. Emily was quite klutzy, which I thought was kind of funny. Many times today the books portray perfect women with the perfect figure who are graceful as can be. Not the case in this book. I also loved her aunt's! They are really hysterical and quite interesting. You will just have to read this book to find out more:) I also liked that characters from the first book, Making Waves, show up in this one.

Overall, I was really impressed with the style of this book. The characters were very like-able and the plot was great. I can't wait to read the next book!

Available May 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation. All thoughts are 100% mine.

Home Security

I have to tell you, we live somewhat out in the country, we don't have much need for security. But I know some people who definitely need it. And I recently found this home security lincolnton website that I thought was pretty neat. They have a lot of options on their website and it was interesting just looking around. Look at this http://www.localtv-satellite.com/ .

We do have a small dog that barks like crazy whenever someone new comes in so she is kind of our security alarm:) But in some cases, it would be nice to have a regular security system. For those of you looking into this type of home security, I think you might want to check out this website. They just might have the type you are looking for:)

I have not used this company or it's products. All thoughts are 100% mine.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Killer Among Us by Lynette Eason Blog Tour w/Review

Local Detectives Close In On Serial Killer!
Just as Noah open his mouth to respond, the passenger window beside Kit ruptured, glass flew, and Noah yelled. Kit gasped, “Noah!” Kit felt something hit her arm then pain radiated upward toward her neck. “The shooter is on the roof, I’m going for that parking garage,” Noah gritted. “Noah? I think I’m gonna pass out.” Kit’s eyes shut and this time she couldn’t shove the blackness away.

A Killer Among Us is the latest thriller in the Women of Justice series from author Lynette Eason. In the conclusion of this series, A Killer Among Us is full of the heart-stopping suspense and gritty realism that fans of television shows like NCIS or CSI enjoy. Eason brings to life the lives of a negotiator and a detective hunting down a killer in the streets of Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Kit Kenyon is a first-rate hostage negotiator. Noah Lambert is a good detective with excellent instincts. The new partners have hardly had time to get used to each other when they are thrown into this grisly murder case. As evidence mounts and more victims are found, Kit and Noah realize they are on the hunt for a serial killer. The problem is he's hunting one of them...but which one?

The pace never slows in A Killer Among Us as the story offers up clever plot twists, and hint of romance. Readers will be on the edge of their seats as this page-turning suspense keeps readers up late trying to discover who the killer is--and whether Kit and Noah will live to tell about it.

Lynette Eason is the author of Too Close to Home, Don't Look Back, and thirteen other romantic suspense novels. She is a member of American Fiction Christian Writers and Romance Writers of America. A homeschooling mother, she has a master's degree in education from Converse College. She lives in South Carolina.

MY REVIEW-I have had the privilege of reviewing the first two books in this series and I loved them! You can't go wrong with Lynette Eason if you want edge of your seat suspense and thrilling action! This book, A Killer Among Us, is the last book in the series and was a great ending to the series. I have to tell you, when I read her first book, I really loved the shock of who the killer was. By the second book I had pretty much figured out her writing style so I kind of guessed at who it was. In this one I was pretty sure but not definite until the end. It is one of those things with getting used to an author's style of writing. But I really enjoyed this one. Kit is so like her sister and yet so different. Noah is trying hard to overcome his guilt over the scene with his partner. I am trying not to give too much away but still tell you a little bit of why I enjoyed it:) I also felt badly for the sniper taking care of Kit. He did what he thought he needed to and at first I didn't like the way she jumped at him. But in the end it all works out and you see why Lynette puts this in the story. If you are a lover of good, clean suspense, this is a book for you! Way to go Lynette on another winner!

Available May 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
I received a copy of this book for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Guest Post by Julie Lessman ++ Book Giveaway!!

THE CINDERELLA EFFECT:
TRANSFORMING A WICKED CHARACTER
INTO A LIKABLE HEROINE

Okay, I admit it —I was when my second book in The Daughters of Boston Series, A Passion Redeemed, hit the stores with a heroine that everybody hates. YIKES! Can I help it if I was warped at the age of twelve after reading Gone With the Wind, resulting in an obsessive kinship with characters like Scarlett O’Hara???

I can still smell the fear in the e-mails from my agent and editor as they grappled with the prospect of my turning Charity O’Connor—the woman that so many readers wanted to slap (and whom fellow Seeker Camy Tang wanted to kill or maim)—into a LIKABLE heroine to whom readers could relate.

An impossible task? I didn’t think so, but time would tell if readers would fall in love with this wonderfully flawed woman who was such a pleasure to redeem. I simply employed a certain strategy that I like to call “The Cinderella Effect”—transforming a wicked stepsister into a princess at a ball with an easy wave of the wand and a few strokes of the keyboard.

For instance, in A Passion Most Pure, Collin McGuire is a drinking, womanizing rogue that most readers wanted to hate, but by imparting a glimpse of his painful past, his tender heart and his passion for family, readers found themselves pulling for him instead. Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking—easy to do with a handsome and warmly passionate man, but what about a female who appears to be nothing more than a cold and manipulative flirt?

Also easy! I believe you can make ANY character more likable and relatable to the reader by implementing some or all of the points indicated below, all of which I utilized to TRY and transform Charity in A Passion Redeemed:

Show the characters’s compassion:
With Charity, I interjected a number of important things, such as the tender relationship she had with her great-grandmother, which is witnessed in this scene by the hero, unbeknownst to Charity:

At eighty years old, Mima was little more than skin and bones, a tiny Dresden china doll with long, snowy hair fanned out across her pillow. Charity stood over her, sponging her pale, translucent cheek with a wet cloth, her voice soft and tender.
“There you are, Mima, your skin is as glowing as a newborn babe’s. How pretty you look! Now just a dab of color.” Charity rubbed her finger across her own lips and applied a hint of blush to her great-grandmother’s cheeks. Then she leaned back, hands on her hips. “Goodness, Mima, I’ll bet if Great-Grandfather could see you now, he’d fall in love all over again.”

Her defense of her best friend, Emma:

“Speaking of Emma, how are things?”
Charity glimpsed up. Her smile faded into a frown. “Not good, but she refuses to leave.”
The soft gray of Horatio’s eyes darkened to pewter. “How can a woman stay with a monster like that?”
Charity forced herself to concentrate on folding the charcoal-colored morning coat. She blinked several times to dispel a sting of wetness in her eyes. “I don’t know, Mr. Hargrove. She claims she loves him. Swears he didn’t mean it. That it was the bottle and not ‘her Rory’ who threw the hot grease in her face.” Charity shivered.
Mr. Hargrove placed a gnarled hand on top of hers. “She told me what you did, my dear. How you saved her job, threatening to quit if Emma lost hers.”
Charity whirled around to scoop tobacco into a bag, heat flooding her cheeks. The sweet, rich scent of maple rum drifted in the air. “Goodness, Emma and I are a team, Mr. Hargrove. I can’t keep this shop running by myself, you know.”
“You’re a good friend, Charity O’Connor. Putting your job on the line to save hers.” He released a quiet sigh. “What a tragedy. One so young and lovely … now so disfigured. I pray God watches over her.”

SHOW THE CHARACTER’S REMORSE:

She groaned and jolted up, suddenly noticing the clean counter where stacks of dishes should have been waiting. Guilt slithered within. Not only had she made a fool of herself with Mitch, but she had disappointed her grandmother and Mima. Flitted off to do her own bidding, completely flaunting their wishes. And after Grandmother had slaved for hours to make a special Thanksgiving dinner just for her. Charity choked back a sob. She was a miserable creature. An ungrateful granddaughter and a selfish human being. She didn’t deserve Mitch’s love. Why would God even consider it?

SHOW THE CHARACTER’S SENSE OF HUMOR:

Dooley nodded and fisted the bag in one hand and the peppermint stick in the other. His grin was ear to ear. “Thank you, Miss Charity. Me mum’s right. You are an angel from above.”
Charity chuckled as she walked him to the door. “There are some who would argue that point, Dooley. See you next week.”
“Yes, ma’am. Good night.”
Charity closed the door softly and flipped the bolt. Humming to herself, she strolled back to the register to record the cost of the bunting and peppermint stick on her personal charge. She glanced at the dirty burlap on the counter and sighed. She didn’t have high hopes for the raisin bread, but she’d take it home nonetheless. The neighbor’s dog seemed genuinely fond of it.

SHOW THE CHARACTER’S PAINFUL PAST TO INVOKE SYMPATHY:

Charity dropped on the bed. A mix of anger and guilt shuddered through her like the chill of the room. She couldn’t escape it. She’d betrayed her sister. Now regret shadowed her in shame, never allowing her to forget.
She grappled her fingers through her hair. If only she could be free. A clear conscience. A forgiven heart. The love of the man she longed for. Her fist trembled to her mouth as an involuntary cry escaped her lips. Oh, Faith, I’m sorry. When did I start hating you?

SHOW OTHER CHARACTER’S POSITIVE PERCEPTION OF CHARACTER :

Charity. The very name inflicted a sharp ache in his heart. Sky blue eyes that teased and tempted, lips that were the curse of his resolve. A wounded little girl, stubborn and strong, defiant in her quest for love. And all the while, a sensual woman, resilient to the core, fiercely devoted to those she opened her heart to. He drew in a deep breath to ward off the longing. No! He may love her and, yes, forgive her, and certainly pray for her, but he would never trust her. Not enough to make her his wife.

SO … there you have it, just a few of the things I incorporated to help Charity win the reader’s heart. Of course (grin), you won’t know if I actually succeeded unless you read the book! (

Hugs,
Julie


Readers, Julie has offered a giveaway of any copy of her book you would like! I am sure you will enjoy this so please get your entries in below:)

MANDATORY ENTRY-
Tell me your favorite character from one of Julie's books or who you think would be a favorite? Here is the link to her website so you can go check them out:) This comment is mandatory and must be done or the extra entries do not count. I have to tell you, my favorite was Charity. Partly because she has my name but partly because of her character.

US ONLY!!

EXTRA ENTRIES-Please leave a comment for each entry.

1.Blog or post about this on Facebook. Get 3 entries for each.
2.Follow my blog via GFC, subscribe through RSS Feed or email or follow me on Twitter. Get one entry for each you do.
3.Enter any of my other currently running giveaways. Let me know which ones.
4.Leave a comment on any of my review only posts. This must be for reviews only! Leave a comment for each.
5.Tweet about this giveaway. Can be done three times a day

6.Tell me which book you would like if you won. Check out her website to see the list of her titles.
7.Sign up for Julie's Newsletter. Get 2 entries for this so leave 2 comments.
8.Follow Julie on Twitter.
9.Follow Julie on Facebook.

This giveaway will end 6/10. Winner will be chosen through Random.org. They will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Beautiful, Healthy Body Event April Aromatics Perfume R&G!

BEAUTIFUL, HEALTHY BODY EVENT!
APRIL AROMATICS!

Well, time again for another company for my beauty event. I have really enjoyed doing this and I have many more companies so this will probably continue through some of June and I hope you all keep entering. This time I have a company called April Aromatics. Talk about some wonderful products! I do have a giveaway with this so please keep reading through:)

When I first contacted this company I wasn't sure they would join in on my event as they are international. Most companies don't like sending product overseas but I have had some that don't mind. And to me it is a blessing. I have had the privilege of finding many new companies this way and ones I will be purchasing from in the future. April Aromatics sent me a perfume for myself, some samples to try out their other scents, and a perfume for me to use as a giveaway for my readers.

The one I received for review was the Rose Bouquet. These perfumes are roll-on so I wasn't sure how they would smell or how long the scent would linger. In the past I have used a roll-on and it didn't seem to stay the way a spray perfume would. So I was really excited to see how this one worked. When it came in, we were getting ready to go out and do some shopping. So I quickly used this perfume on my way out. I was impressed first by the packaging. The labels, packages and paperwork all look very professional. I pay a lot of attention to detail and one of the things I am picky about is packaging. It often is the first thing to catch your eye and it will stick out in your memory. This was great!

The second thing I loved was the scent. This is a wonderfully refreshing bloom of roses! I rolled it on and felt like I was walking into a rose garden. There are several different roses in this perfume and the smell is just lovely. I am telling you, if you love roses, this is THE perfume to get! Many times I try a rose perfume(I love roses) and they don't really smell like rose or they smell cheap. This one does not smell like that and the scent is heavenly. I could just close my eyes and relax with this one:) The real test was a couple hours later when we got back from shopping. I could still smell the lingering scent of roses on my arm(I applied this to my wrist only) and it was sweet and not overly strong. It passed the test!

The samples I received are the little bottles which probably will give me a couple times of using them. They all smell pretty good but I had to space them out. They all started smelling the same when I first tried them:) The April Aromatics passed my beautiful and healthy test! They all smell soo good that I can't wait to put them on in the morning after my shower. And they are all natural so they are healthy for your body. If you are looking for a good gift for a friend or family member, I suggest you check out this company. I received my products in fast shipping time and I was really impressed.

For my giveaway, I have a bottle of the Spring Dreams Roll On Perfume. I will be shipping this out so US only. You will love this perfume! Get your entries in below:) You know the drill.

MANDATORY ENTRY-
Go to April Aromatics Store and let me know another scent that you might want to try. This must be done or the extra entries do not count.

US ONLY!!

EXTRA ENTRIES-Please leave a comment for each entry.

1.Blog or post about this on Facebook. Get 3 entries for each.
2.Follow my blog via GFC, subscribe through RSS Feed or email or follow me on Twitter. Get one entry for each you do.
3.Enter any of my other currently running giveaways. Let me know which ones.
4.Leave a comment on any of my review only posts. This must be for reviews only! Leave a comment for each.
5.Tweet about this giveaway. Can be done three times a day

6.Leave a comment on my Zone Diet Catch Up Post. Get 2 entries for this.
7.Sign up for the April Aromatics Newsletter. This is in the sidebar on their website. Get 2 entries for this.

This giveaway will end 6/9. Winner will be chosen through Random.org. They will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.
I received complimentary product for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation. All thoughts are 100% mine.

FIRST WildCard The Trigger by Hon Hoh Blog Tour

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

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


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


The Trigger

Living Impact (May 16, 2011)

MY THOUGHTS-This book was very interesting. Not many books are written from this perspective of the Christians going through tribulation. The author did a good job with bringing things into plain view and the book was interesting. I had a problem with some of the end of the book moving very fast. And there was one swear word in it. Even if we don't go through the tribulation, which I personally believe we will not, this book really makes you think about the future and what is ahead. Good book for someone who likes to research and study. Would like to find the author's other books. Overall a good story.

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Hon S. Hoh is a gifted teacher of the Word. He is a minister committed to the calling that God has placed on his life. He began studying the Book of Revelation in Bible college, and he is passionate about reaching people with the truth and love of Christ.

Hoh has been a pastor in Australia for over ten years and is gifted in preaching, teaching, and visionary leadership. He is a graduate of the University of Melbourne (Psychology), the Swinburne Institute of Technology, the Bible College of Victoria, and the Harvest Bible College (M.A. Ministry). Hoh worked in the field of social welfare prior to entering pastoral ministries.

Hoh is the author of Risen Lamb, Empowered Saints: The Book of Revelation Made Easy (Maryland: McDougal Publishing, 2002). His latest book, The Trigger: A Novel on the Revelation, is based closely on the theology expressed in his first book.
Hoh is the founder and executive director of Living Impact Inc, a non-denominational Christian ministry with an emphasis on global missions. He founded the ministry to help fulfil the Great Commission in reaching some of the poorest and most unevangelized peoples of the world. Living Impact started at the turn of the century, in 1999.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Do each of us play a role in the kingdom of God? Can the choices we make affect God’s timing of future events? Hon Hoh examines these questions while taking his readers on a riveting adventure in The Trigger: A Novel on the Revelation. Through twists and turns, readers will be led on a powerful journey.

The Trigger follows three individuals (a pastor, a spy, and a missionary) from three continents (the United States, China, and Australia) who find their lives merged in a single divine purpose: to win the last unreached people group on earth and usher in the Second Coming of Christ. They must succeed in order to release the trigger for the return of the Lamb as declared in Matthew 24:14.

In their way stands a legion of demonic principalities intent on destroying the plan. Against the backdrop of unprecedented persecution and the onslaught of cataclysmic events, they must remain steadfast in order to carry out the priority revealed to them by God. It is evident that no believer will escape the greatest tribulation in human history and that only the matchless return of the King can deliver mankind from evil’s reign.

The climactic battle between Good and Evil unfolds as Lucifer executes his definitive act of defiance: the global genocide of all Christians. With the sound of the trumpets reverberating throughout the heavens, the events that have been set in motion must now complete their course. Eternity and the fate of the earth are at stake, and there is no plan B.

Far more than just another End-Times novel and theologically distinct from the Left Behind series, Hoh will alter the way you see the world and prepare you for the future. This novel is based closely on Hoh’s theology expressed in his book Risen Lamb, Empowered Saints: The Book of Revelation Made Easy. Although the events described are entirely fictional, they are but one of many plausible scenarios in which the end could occur. Though these depictions may not arise for more than another hundred years, it is conceivable that they could begin to unfold within the next decade—or less.

Hoh has written a thought-provoking and exciting novel that looks at the events leading up to the Second Coming and challenges us all to follow the plans that Christ has for our lives.




Product Details:

List Price: $19.99
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Living Impact (May 16, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0578071959
ISBN-13: 978-0578071954

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Josh felt exhilarated as he left the apartment of one of the five key leaders of the persecuted church in China. Preaching and teaching the scriptures was one of Josh’s greatest ministry gifts. A distinct and powerful anointing of the Spirit came upon him whenever he was engaged in the delivery of the Word of God. That was abundantly evident while he was speaking in the underground churches of Shanghai, China.
“Jai Jian—goodbye,” Josh blurted out awkwardly. They were about the only Chinese words he had managed to learn in the past three weeks.

“Tank you for being good blessing to our people,” said Tai, one of the leaders sending him off. “Soli we cannot go wit you to airport; it not safe for us to do that for long time now. Government eyes everywhere, you know.”
“I understand. God bless you, brothers.” Josh waved his final farewell as the yellow taxi drove slowly away.

Everything had gone remarkably smooth. Despite the heightened crackdown on underground churches in the past six months, he had not run into trouble with the Public Security Bureau. Around five hundred Han Chinese had made first-time decisions to follow Christ during the many evangelistic meetings in and around the Shanghai area. Josh’s teaching had been well received by congregations of all sizes, a few of which had as many as a thousand worshippers. The secret police had been well aware of those larger congregations for many years. According to the latest statistics, 48% of mainland Chinese professed to be Christian, but only 15% were registered with the government endorsed Three-Self Patriotic Church. The Communist Party was clearly worried.

The journey to Hongqiao Airport was relatively short; soon Josh was lining up to check in for his flight to Australia. He was looking forward to his stopover Down Under before traveling home. The queue was long, but Josh was relaxed, thankful that his Shanghai mission had gone so incredibly well. He had at least a dozen intriguing stories waiting to fascinate Beverly and Rebecca, the two most precious women in his life.

His moment of reverie was quickly interrupted by a loud squeal as a dark green van braked to a stop at the entrance of the airport. Within seconds, a group of uniformed police stormed in the double glass doors. Josh quickly counted—there were eight of them. He tried to convince himself that it was just a routine operation in communist China, especially with the ongoing international clampdown on terrorist suspects.

To his dismay, the officers were moving in his direction. As they approached the United Airlines counter, Josh instinctively looked away. Surely they can’t be searching for me. The commotion was drawing closer to where he stood. He could feel his heart begin to race.

Please, Lord, make them blind to my presence if it’s me they’re After.
He had barely completed his lightning prayer when he felt a firm tap on his shoulder.
“Are you Mr. McGuire?” One of the officers inquired.

“Why?”
“Show me passport.”
“Sure, but can you tell me what’s happening? I mean, is there a problem?” Josh handed the officer his American passport, trying to keep as calm as possible.
With barely a glance at the document, the officer announced, “Come wit us, Mr. McGuire.”
Grabbing his bags, Josh hoped they would ask him some questions at the airport, but they placed him in the police van instead and sped off, honking impatiently at the passersby.
“May I know where you’re taking me, please?”

“Headquarter.”
“The local police headquarters?”
“No. MSS.”
“Forgive my ignorance, sir, what is this MSS?”

“Ministry of State Security! No more questions.”

Josh’s heart immediately sank with that curt reply. The Ministry of State Security was the Chinese equivalent of the CIA, or worse, the Soviet KGB in the former USSR. Josh figured that he could be in serious trouble. What did they want from him? What if they were after the names of his contacts, or wanted him to divulge some incriminating evidence? What was he going to do? Josh slid his left hand slowly on top of his trouser pocket to make sure his cell was still there. Perhaps he should call the American Embassy, if they’ll even let him. At least he was assured of one

thing, folks at home were praying. Bev would be, no doubt about that. His staff, his elders, and his band of intercessors had also assured him of their daily prayers.
What’s your purpose for allowing this to happen, Lord? Strengthen me now that I may know and fulfill your will in this .Josh closed his eyes to focus on Jesus. It took a while for his heart to stop pounding. Gradually he began to sense the presence of God permeate his soul.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~<>~~~~~~~~~~~
Michael was about to enter, then hesitated. The Twenty Four were in session, and he had no desire to interrupt. It was not that he was intimidated—the Twenty Four and the archangels had always gotten along perfectly well ever since the dawn of time, and angels have no human apprehensions—not archangels anyway. Like Michael, the twenty-four elders were spiritual beings of an exalted order, not humans, even though they were referred to as “elders” in that sacred scroll called the Apocalypse.

He knew the session they were having with the Lamb was of paramount importance. At the appropriate moment, Michael made an entrance into the throne room, kneeling before the King of Kings. He had always felt amazed before the presence of the Resurrected One. Since the ascension of Jesus over two thousand years ago, the splendor of the Lamb had never ceased to create a sense of awe and wonderment in him. The face of Jesus beamed with pure power, and His voice thundered mightier than Niagara Falls. The matchless Lamb of God was on the throne—the only one worthy to open the seven seals, slain in weakness yet risen with power. For centuries angels had striven to determine Yahweh’s plan of salvation, but they couldn’t—until the crucifixion and resurrection.

The Lamb stood to welcome Michael into the celestial council, and immediately the Twenty Four bowed in worship as Jesus rose to His feet. Michael could not get accustomed to that either.

The glorified Son of God, the Alpha and the Omega, approached to make him feel welcome while he elders knelt in meek reverence to the Almighty. Then again, the Ascended One did put His hand on old Apostle John, saying, “Do not be afraid,” when the beloved disciple first received the vision of Revelation. John was trembling with dread as any man would.

“Forgive me for interrupting, my LORD,” Michael said. “The accuser has come to make his demands once again.”

“We know what he wants,” one of the Twenty Four said.

Michael nodded. “Yes, he wants all restraints to be removed so that he can begin his vengeful and wicked scheme.”

“Tell the evil one,” Jesus said, “that Gabriel will be out of his way only at the appointed time. If he maneuvers for more information, you may reveal a little extra at your own discretion.”

“Yes, my LORD.” Michael took a bow to the Lamb and the elders before exiting the throne room. As he was leaving the chamber, he heard one of the spiritual beings ask, “While we are on the matter, LORD, may I inquire if our favored servant is on schedule?”

“Most definitely,” the Lamb said. “It is progressing exactly as I have anticipated; he truly does have an obedient heart.”

Michael smiled, and sped to his destination in a brilliant beam of light.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~<>~~~~~~~~~~~
The interrogation room was bright and clinical. The entire building looked new, or at least recently renovated. In the middle of the room was a chrome rectangular table with a red chair on each side. The walls were painted stark white, with no sign of a two way mirror on any of them. The guards confiscated Josh’s phone and ordered him to sit and wait for the interrogating officer. He looked at his wristwatch; it was 10:15 A.M.

An hour later, the door swung open. Two sagacious-looking agents entered swiftly, files in hand. The female officer sat down without a word, studying the files. The silence was disquieting and deafening, with the only sound an antiquated Mandarin clock on the wall.

Tick, tock, tick, tock, on it went.

“Mr. McGuire, what have you been doing in Shanghai?” the woman finally asked.
“I came as a tourist. This is my first time in China.” Josh was relieved to tell the truth. He was touring the underground house churches and some Three-Self congregations, and he had ticked the ‘tourist’ box on the disembarkation form on arrival.

“Have you been visiting illegal churches?”

“Why do you ask?” Josh tried to give nothing away. Maybe they are only fishing for information, he hoped.

“We know you’ve been preaching Christianity at some illegal gatherings.”
Josh swallowed hard. “Have you been following me? Why is it illegal to worship God?”
The man who was standing next to the female officer weighed in, “We don’t want to waste your time, Mr. McGuire, and believe me, you don’t want to waste ours. Whether you get out of here in a matter of hours, days, or weeks is up to you. Just answer the questions.”

For a moment Josh was glad he didn’t say months or years.

“Who are your contacts for the house churches? We want all their names!”
Josh was silent. He could not give them the names of the underground leaders. It would implicate them, and they could be imprisoned for years as a result. Those flourishing house churches could be closed down forever. Josh did not want to jeopardize the work of God, no matter what they might do to him personally. He decided to keep quiet.

“Names, Mr. McGuire!”
Josh stared hard at the files on the table in front of him.

“Your contacts, McGuire, or you will know the true meaning of PAIN,” the male officer hollered, pounding the table with his huge palm.

Josh clasped his hands tight beneath the table and raised his eyes to bravely meet the agent’s.
The man swung his fist in a rapid move, striking Josh with the back of his knuckles. The blow landed hard upon his right cheek. He fell off his chair on to the floor, and bubbles of blood instantly oozed from his nose.
A solid kick directed firmly at the abdomen followed.

Josh gritted his teeth to endure the agony. He had never been punched or kicked by a grown man in his life. He’d had fights with others when he was a young boy, but that was long ago and far different.

“I…demand…to see the U.S. ambassador,” Josh managed to say, groaning as he sat up on the floor. “You…have no right to strike me…. I’m a citizen of the United States.”

“Sure, you can tell that to the chief when you see him!”

The two agents stormed out the room, infuriated by Josh’s refusal to cooperate.
Did he say the chief? That was probably the last person Josh wanted to see; he could imagine a three-headed beast coming to torture him. With his handkerchief, Josh wiped the blood off his nose. Oh, Lord Jesus, help me to fear nothing and no one. Help me to be your faithful witness, and when your purpose for this is completed, get me out of here.


There was nothing Josh could do in the interrogation room but wait, pray, and not allow his imagination to run wild with anxiety. He remembered the strong anticipation he’d had for this trip and the thrill he’d felt at the airport before boarding. For a long time, particularly after the much-needed renovation, JFK has been his favorite airport. Actually, he had quite enjoyed visiting international airports around the world. This in spite of September Eleventh, which had taken place thirty-one years ago. Airports had not been quite the same since; for some, flying had permanently lost its appeal, with pleasure being replaced by apprehension and in some cases loathing because of those obtrusive security checks. The same couldn’t be said for Josh, though. Perhaps it still gave him

a sense of adventure—the restaurants and cafes, the bookstores, the movement of different people, planes taking off, each stirring within him a feeling of embarking toward something exciting.

It was often hard saying goodbye for the pastor and his wife, even if it was only for four weeks. One month could seem like a long time, and it sure did feel that way for Josh and Bev, particularly for this trip. He was travelling to a “closed” country on a mission, ministering and preaching at different underground churches. In the continuing era of international terrorism, he knew how difficult it would be for Bev not to worry about this particular mission of his. But her faith in God’s willingness and capacity to protect His own in any and every circumstance had rarely wavered over the years.

Josh remembered Rebecca, who’d been waiting ruefully at the front door, looking a little sad but eager to give Josh her warmest goodbye hug. “Go give them all you’ve got, Dad. I’ll be waging war on your behalf 24-7, both mom and I.” She’d given him the tightest bear squeeze a teenager can muster.

“I know you will, my panda bear. And you’ll look after mom for me, won’t you?”
He used to call her panda bear when she was little. He would never forget that cherished occasion when Rebecca was just four years old. She was playing in bed with both him and Bev when he cuddled her gently and asked, “Will you still be my panda bear when you grow up?”

“Yes, a BIG ONE!” was her spontaneous reply. They all broke into laughter. It was one of those precious moments enshrined forever in his memory. Now she was sixteen, and exceedingly pretty with her mesmerizing blue eyes.
Josh recalled giving Bev a long caress. “The Lord is with you as always, my dear, so there’s nothing to fear. Love you heaps.”

“We’ll be fine, hon, don’t worry about us. I’ll be praying hard for you. Hurry on now, Bill’s been out there a long time.”

Senator Bill Davies had been patiently waiting in his white limousine for Josh to say his good-byes. He usually insisted on chauffeuring his pastor to JFK, knowing that Bev didn’t fancy the 90-minute drive.

“Love ’em lots, don’t you? Gonna miss them, I bet?” the Senator had said when Josh climbed into the back seat.

“Nah! Not much,” Josh had joked, half-smiling, staring blankly out the tinted window.
“You’re a great pastor, Josh, and you have a wonderful relationship with Bev and Rebecca. Everyone in the church knows that. But tell me, why do you do this?”
“Do what, pal?”
“Go preaching to these dangerous and peculiar places.”

“Compelled to.”
“Just make sure we don’t have to send in our Special Forces to get you out of the ‘Middle Kingdom,’ okay?”

“Oh, I won’t bother; God has already sent His units ahead of me. Your guys are no match for His.”

The Senator had smiled and nodded. “Dead right there.”

Given what had just transpired in the last four hours, Josh sure hoped Bill wouldn’t have to stage a rescue from Shanghai.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~<>~~~~~~~~~~~
The Prince of Darkness had been pacing restlessly. His hollow eyes revealed nothing except a pit of venomous hatred stretching back through eternity. “What took you so long? Did He just delay you as usual?” The voice of Satan, once called Lucifer, was deep and demeaning.

“Keep your sarcasm to yourself,” Michael commanded, unfazed by Satan’s provocation, though saddened at the sight of such insatiable evil. “You shall not begin global persecution of the faithful until the time foreordained by the LORD God Almighty. Gabriel will not be out of your way until then.”
“Spare me your totalitarian autocratic babble. Tell me when that time is.”

“When the designated one is born again—”

“And who might that be?”
“You know.”
“I see. You mean the one whom my foot soldier has been pestering the last few years. Why is that pathetic, insignificant soul so important?”

“The LORD rebukes you, Satan. I do not want to see your face here ag—”
“Oh, you surely will. Just let Him know that I have the right to begin implementing my great plan for the earth when the hour arrives. I will not wait for even half a second longer.”

As the devil swept out on his scheming way, Gabriel appeared alongside Michael. His being emitted a pure, shimmering glow, much like his comrade except for a tint of sapphire.

“The Day is drawing very near indeed,” Gabriel said.

“You are right, my friend. The Great Commission has made outstanding progress over the past two decades. The gospel of our LORD has touched almost every people of every nation.”

“Only one city and one group remain…our very last bastion.”

“Hmm. The final frontier...”
From an enormous distance, they were taking an extended gaze at the Earth.

She was exceptionally beautiful.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How Huge the Night by the Munns Blog Tour w/Review!

About How Huge the Night:

Fifteen-year-old Julien Losier just wants to fit in. But after his family moves to a small village in central France in hopes of outrunning the Nazis, he is suddenly faced with bigger challenges than the taunting of local teens. Nina Krenkel left her country to obey her father's dying command: Take your brother and leave Austria . Burn your papers. Tell no one you are Jews. Alone and on the run, she arrives in Tanieux , France , dangerously ill and in despair.

Thrown together by the chaos of war, Julien begins to feel the terrible weight of the looming conflict and Nina fights to survive. As France falls to the Nazis, Julien struggles with doing what is right, even if it is not enough-and wonders whether or not he really can save Nina from almost certain death.

Based on the true story of the town of Le Chambon-the only French town honored by Israel for rescuing Jews from the Holocaust-How Huge the Night is a compelling, coming-of-age drama that will keep teens turning the pages as it teaches them about a fascinating period of history and inspires them to think more deeply about their everyday choices.



About the Munn's:

Heather Munn was born in Northern Ireland and grew up in southern France where her parents were missionaries like their parents before them. She has a BA in literature from Wheaton College and now lives in a Christian intentional community in rural Illinois , where she and her husband, Paul, host free spiritual retreats for the poor, especially those transitioning out of homelessness or addiction. When not writing or hosting, she works on the communal farm.

Lydia Munn, daughter of missionary parents, grew up in Brazil . She received a BA in literature from Wheaton College , and an MA in Bible from Columbia Graduate School of Bible and Missions. With her husband, Jim, she has worked in church planting and Bible teaching since 1983, notably in St. Etienne, near the small town in the central mountains of France which forms the background of How Huge the Night. The Munns now live in Grenoble , France .

MY REVIEW-This is a book for teens but it captured my attention from the beginning! A wonderful story that really makes you think. This novel is based on true events and the research was well done. I will be passing this on to my younger siblings as I am sure they will love it. If you have teens or even young adults who want adventure stories, give them this book! It would make a great gift and will get good reading material into their hands! I think it is an excellent book for teenage boys especially as this really shows how to take charge and be a man. This is really well written and made me think about decisions and choices I make as an adult. If only we would see more often how our choices affect people.

About the Giveaway!

To enter all you have to do is send a tweet (using #litfuse) about How Huge the Night or share about it on Facebook!

If you tweet we'll capture your entry when you use the hashtag (#litfuse). If you share it on Facebook or your blog, just email us and let us know (info@litfusegroup.com). Easy.

Not sure what to tweet/post? Here's an idea.

TWEET THIS: How Huge the Night - compelling, coming-of-age drama that will keep teens and adults alike turning the pages! #litfuse http://ow.ly/4RBXc

FACEBOOK THIS: How Huge the Night by Heather & Lydia Munn is a compelling, coming-of-age drama that will keep teens and adults alike turning the pages late into the night! http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13181161

I received a copy of this book for review purposes. I did not receive any monetary compensation. All thoughts are 100% mine.

FIRST WildCard The Reluctant Detective by Martha Ockley

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:


The Reluctant Detective

Monarch Books (March 1, 2011)

MY THOUGHTS-I had a very hard time with this book. I was expecting a great mystery and suspense novel until I got about 20 pages in. And I will put in detail here what I didn't care for so you know I am not just saying something. But it was bad enough I did not finish the book.

The first thing was the swearing throughout the novel. Maybe it is different overseas, I don't know. But there were several swear words in just half the book. This is not acceptable to me as a Christian and that is why I read Christian books. I don't want the swearing and the relationships of the world. I want to read a clean book. The second thing was the heroine of the story was living with a man for several years. Now I know things happen, but it is not really mentioned as wrong and that it is a sin, but more like everyone has faults and that was just one of them. It is implied they were immoral and I did not care for that at all. I want a book that is realistic but not to the point of having language of the world.


I was really hoping for more and I thought the plot really sounded neat. The author has a good writing style but I can't bypass the things that bothered me in this book.

***Special thanks to Cat Hoort and Noelle Pedersen of Kregel Publications for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Martha Ockley lives in the North-East of England and has close links with the church, having grown up as the daughter of a minister. She is a full-time author, writing both fiction and non-fiction.


Visit the author's website.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Faith Morgan has lived her whole life in Birmingham. Her two careers, first as a policewoman, then as an inner-city parish minister have kept her close to her family, but also painfully close to her past. Now the picturesque country village of Little Worthy needs a new vicar. But Faith’s g trip to Little Worthy to consider if this is God’s will becomes a long-term commitment when the current vicar falls over dead during a communion service.

Faith suspects murder. And when the police are called in, Faith’s past follows her to Little Worthy in the shape of former partner and former boyfriend, Detective Inspector Ben Shorter.

Ben never understood her calling , but he will need her help if he is going to solve this. How will Faith balance her present calling with her past training, and her feelings for Ben? And is Faith in danger herself?



Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Monarch Books (March 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1854249851
ISBN-13: 978-1854249852

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


“You know I don’t like to complain.” Pat Montesque screwed up her soft cheeks into a fierce smile. “But I’ll tell you, Elsie, I was a tad put out. I’ve always done the altar arrangements – since before Vicar Alistair came. You need a good substantial block of colour and there she was putting up a great waxy lily and a couple of twigs. Striking simplicity! I ask you!”

Elsie Lively tut-tutted sympathetically. She was looking at her dear Arthur’s grave: probably thinking it needed a bit of a tidy, thought Pat. But then it was so difficult to get down on your knees at her age and well nigh impossible to get back up.

“Naturally I pointed out it wouldn’t do – not in that space. Who’s going to notice a single lily? The altar would be as good as bare. He said it was a misunderstanding. She’d only meant to help. Men!” She philosophized aloud. “What they don’t know about women! And as for men of the cloth…”

“Charitable.”

“What did you say, dear? Didn’t quite catch that.” Pat leaned down to the small, bent woman at her side with all the gracious condescension of a church officer to a valued lay member.

“Charitable – man of the cloth; a good thing.”

Dear Elsie. Always stating the obvious.

Pat was distracted. A stranger was getting out of a little blue car by the gate. It was one of those snub-nosed Japanese things they were forever advertising on the commercial channels.

“Now, who’s that?”

The newcomer was a young woman in her early thirties with glossy brown shoulder-length hair and a healthy outdoor tan. She was dressed in a crisp fifties-looking cotton shirt dress in dove grey. As she turned, the sun caught a discreet cross pinned to her lapel. The churchwarden’s nose twitched. It couldn’t be! The bishop wouldn’t do that to them – would he?

Faith Morgan looked down the path from the wicket gate. A couple of elderly ladies were standing by an evergreen bush, cataloguing her from head to foot. This was supposed to be a low-key visit – she was only investigating options, she told herself. It might lead to nothing but still, it wouldn’t do to get off on the wrong foot with the locals.

The parish church of St James’s in Little Worthy rose sturdy and enduring with its sunlit graveyard at its feet. According to the guidebooks, stones in the tower had been part of a church here since Saxon times. Faith felt a wash of pleasure and peace. This place of worship had served its community for nearly a thousand years. There could hardly be a greater contrast to the gritty, uncertain, challenging chaos of the urban parish she was thinking of leaving. A pang of guilt interrupted her moment of euphoria. The face of her mentor, Canon Jonathan, came to mind, fixing her with one of his wry looks. His tart comment echoed in her head: Little Worthy, Faith? A congregation of eight – if you’re lucky – with an average age of seventy; a fund-raising nightmare to crush the heart of a saint!

Her eyes searched the roof line. Bound to be Grade I listed. Maintaining Saxon masonry couldn’t be cheap. It all seemed in good shape. Besides, there were always the heritage funds…

The bells began another peal, and the whiff of vanilla from a nearby shrub struck her with a breath of nostalgia. She had been here more than once as a child with Ruth and Dad on his bell-ringing outings. Those convivial summer Sundays with the dads and their kids and the occasional mother. After church they would go to the pub across the green – still called The Hare and Hounds, she noted happily. The dads would take off their ties and swap stories while she and Ruth sat outside with their lime shandies on benches of sun-warmed wood. You can never go back, she mused, so what was she doing back here?

She rallied. There was nothing wrong with peaceful continuity. Decency deserved to be cherished too.

There was a little time yet before the service began. Faith avoided the main approach and followed a gravel path around the back of the church. A creamy cloud of ivory clematis cascaded over a grey stone wall. Beyond, a solitary pony raised its chestnut head to gaze mournfully at her from a field of weeds. Some way off squatted a group of ramshackle farm buildings.

There was a well-worn track leading from the vestry door. Through a clump of limes she glimpsed the corner of what she thought must be the vicarage.

A dark-haired young man in jeans and a rumpled striped shirt strode out of the church. He had an angular face and the coltish appearance of not having quite grown into his bones. Behind him, a distinguished-looking fifty-something clergyman in surplice and cassock filled the doorway. That must be the incumbent, Alistair Ingram, thought Faith, wondering if she should introduce herself. He called out to the retreating youth, who turned back briefly to make a dismissive pushing gesture with both hands. She was about to step forward when she registered the youth’s expression: disdain, fury, and something else. Triumph? Faith turned away, embarrassed. It felt like a private matter; she shouldn’t be spying. She retraced her steps and entered the church.

The transition from sunlight to cool interior blinded her briefly. In a pool of clarity, Faith saw a service sheet held out in a meaty hand. It belonged to a cheery-looking man in a red waistcoat and a moss-green tweed jacket. He was smiling at her as if they knew one another.

“Fred Partridge,” he pronounced in a carrying voice. “Churchwarden. Pleased to have you with us.” He winked conspiratorially as he turned to greet a couple coming in behind her.

Faith slid into an unoccupied pew. There were twenty or so worshippers scattered about. Not a bad turnout for a small country church on the fifth Sunday in Lent. Her eyes settled on the little bent woman who had been outside as she arrived. She was arranging her hymnal and prayer book on the shelf before her with delicate, twisted hands. Her fine silver hair was folded into a thin bun secured by a network of old-fashioned two-pronged pins.

A presence blocked the light from the door. The formidable-looking lady who had been sizing her up as she arrived was standing in the aisle looking at her with speculating grey eyes. She was solid, with a healthy complexion, probably in her late sixties or early seventies, dressed in what Faith’s mother would refer to as “good clothes”.

“You’ve met my fellow churchwarden, I see,” she said. She had a round face and a hint of Morningside gentility in her voice. “I’m Patricia Montesque, the other one,” she stated brusquely.

Faith gave her best smile and held out her hand to have it clasped briefly in paper-dry fingers.

“I’m pleased to meet you. Faith Morgan. I’m visiting for the weekend – my sister lives locally. I have fond memories of Little Worthy. We used to come here when I was a child.”

“So you like our little church?”

“Isn’t it beautiful?” Faith responded warmly. “So well proportioned, and a lovely, comfortable feel about it.”

They contemplated the nave together.

“That’s a striking arrangement,” Faith remarked, indicating the display of lilacs and ivory viburnum by the altar. It was a deliberate ploy. Pat Montesque seemed the kind who was almost certain to do the flower arrangements. She was right. The churchwarden’s face relaxed into a narrow smile.

“Not one of my best, I’m afraid. I was rather rushed. But lilacs do give a lovely block of colour.” She inclined her perfectly coiffed head in a faintly regal manner. “So you’ve family in the area, then?”

“I was born in Winchester…”

“Winchester! Barely twenty minutes away. You’re almost a native.”

“Almost.”

“I’m just a newcomer, of course – hardly been here twenty years!” Pat Montesque gave a hard little laugh. “Not like dear Elsie Lively there.” She nodded in the direction of the silver-haired lady with the bun. “She’s Little Worthy born and bred. Ran the post office for half a century. A close-knit lot, the old families – but we have a very friendly parish here,” she ended firmly.

Faith remembered the post office. They had sold old-fashioned sweets: shell-shaped sherbets and Parma violets. She could almost smell the sugar. Ruth always chose liquorice; not because she particularly liked the taste, but for the way it stained her tongue black.

“So you haven’t met our vicar, Alistair?”

Faith was surprised by the challenge. Pat flicked a significant look at the cross pinned to her dress. So I’ve been rumbled, Faith thought.

“I haven’t had the pleasure,” she said.

“He’s a good pastor. A bit of a liberal, some thought when he first came, but he’s sound enough in the essentials. And very good with the finances.” Pat paused. “He’s leaving us, you know.”

“I had heard something of the kind,” murmured Faith. To think she had meant to slip in and out with being noticed. She should have known better. Rural parishes always had a Pat Montesque.

“Mmm. A bit of a dicky heart. He looks wonderfully well, but…” Her tone implied something more.

A petite woman with smooth, long fair hair, wearing a simple cotton dress came out of the vestry.

“…decided to take early retirement,” continued Pat.

The blonde had striking long-lashed blue eyes and a neat-featured prettiness that retained an element of youthful innocence, although she might have turned forty – it was hard to tell. She saw the churchwarden looking at her, and gave a little girl lost smile before leaning over a pew to exchange greetings with a young mother trying to hold a squirming toddler in her lap.

Pat turned back to Faith apparently as an afterthought. “You’ll be staying for coffee after the service?” Without waiting for a response, she was gone.

Could this place feel like home? Could these people ever be her people?

Faith studied the faces around her – silver-haired Elsie; the doting mother shadowing her small determined son as he ventured out down the aisle; the ruddy-faced man with the jacket too short in the sleeve, who couldn’t be anything else but an English farmer; a single black family with mother and father and a boy and a girl dressed in smart Sunday clothes. Faith’s eyes drifted up into the barrelled roof. There was such comfortable familiarity about the space. Why should that make her feel guilty?

Guilt. Purpose. Being of use. From the very first, Faith had always known that she wanted to be part of some greater purpose. That desire had led her into the police force. And, for a while, she thought she had found her place: to serve and protect; to bring the guilty to account; to protect the weak. That was what had first brought her and Ben together.

Running away, Faith?

I am not.

Ben always seemed to engage life so directly; he was unflinching, so sure of himself.

She was daydreaming. She could see Ben staring her down. Taking refuge, Faith? Never thought you were a coward.

You know I’m not, she protested the thought.

The rhythm of the old argument circled in her mind; the argument they had recycled so many times. It had moved them further and further apart, until she had left him – Ben, her lover, her mentor, her inspiration, once.

I can’t hold on to your certainties any more.

He had been so hurt. She couldn’t make him understand that it wasn’t about him. It had been something so personal; each step on her path to the ministry had seemed undeniable.

Her eyes came to rest on a stained-glass window panel leaning against the wall in the shadows beyond the pews. She guessed it must have been taken down on its way for repair. A glass section was cracked through and the leading twisted. The echo of the panel’s shape above was boarded up. A haloed lamb stood on a stretch of gaudy emerald grass. The Victorian artist had given the lamb a smiling, enigmatic expression. The Lamb of God.

Running away from reality.

That’s what he’d called it. To Ben, it had been a betrayal. And was he right? Was she seeking refuge from the world?

She looked around the congregation. These were people, individual persons, with their complicated lives, their struggles, their fears, their sins, their souls.

An intelligent, capable woman past thirty – with a degree, no less – buying into this delusion… for what? Ben always challenged her. They’d been a good team, once.

What am I doing?

Finding out.

That voice was somehow neither her own nor Ben’s. God and she often spoke like that. He would enter the conversation in her brain – not exactly unexpectedly. She had a sense he’d always been there. But since she had taken this turn – embraced this risk and embarked on the ministry – the sense of a presence, of an enduring and constant friend, had grown.

Finding out. The sense of opening horizons warmed and excited her. But then, what about Ben? He had moved back to Winchester more than a year ago.

And why should that matter one way or the other? He had his world now and she had hers.

The organist finished up with a self-important chord. The vicar was standing before them. Faith pulled her thoughts back to concentrate on the service.

Alistair Ingram took a step towards the altar draped in its Lenten purple, and the choir embarked on the Agnus Dei. Faith suppressed a smile as Pat Montesque’s forceful soprano rose above the rest.

“Lamb of God,

You take away the sin of the world.”

The vicar’s voice was clear and impressive. Faith wondered briefly if her own lighter tones could ever carry the words so well. Then she was caught up in the familiar comfort of their meaning.

“Jesus is the Lamb of God,

Who takes away the sin of the world.

Blessed are those who are called to his supper.”

Alistair Ingram spread out his arms to encompass his congregation. Sunlight, tinted by the stained glass in the window behind him, painted pastel blue and red on the white linen runner laid on top of the purple cloth.

“Amen.”

He picked up the communion cup and drank.

The toddler escaped from his mother and made a break for freedom past the communion rail, his feet pattering in quick uneven steps. What perfect timing. There had to be a life metaphor in that. Faith was pondering how children brought life into a church when her ears registered the choking rasp from the direction of the altar.

Alistair Ingram was staring out at nothing, his eyes wide, his chest heaving. Faith saw in slow motion. The chalice dropped from his hands. It hit the edge of the table. Wine flowed out red over the white cloth and stained the purple black. The empty cup rolled off the altar and struck the stone flags.

Alistair Ingram was no longer standing before them. Clutching at his chest and tearing at his vestments, he sat heavily on the steps.

The mother caught her son up in her arms. She turned his head into her shoulder, covering his face. Alistair slumped sideways. Faith realized that she was standing in the aisle, then she began to run towards the chancel steps.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What Appeals Most to me About Verizon FiOS.

Well, I was given another opportunity to team up with Social Moms and one of their writing posts. I am telling you, I love this group! If you haven't signed up yet, you should follow the link at the bottom and sign up. You will have many chances to write up neat posts! This time around they are teaming up with Verizon and FiOS. I am sure you are asking what FiOS is so hang on to your horses and I will tell you about it in just a minute. I personally do not have this great service but I wish I did.

Personally we do not watch much TV, but we definitely use the internet and phone which is exactly what FiOS service is for. I think this would be great to have in our home and ever since learning about this I have been jealous of those people who do have it:) I mean, come on, this is great and you will be wanting it once you learn more about it.

FiOS is rated as America's top-rated high speed internet service. I have personally not used it but I wish I could. Sometimes our internet is so slow and that is a real pain when you are uploading videos and pictures to a social network. With my blog I am always uploading pictures and even on Youtube or Facebook, it is often very slow. I have heard that FiOS is very fast to upload and that it is very clear. I would love it for this alone! I don't know how many times I upload pictures only for them to turn out grainy.

Now, something I found that they have which I thought was really neat, was the widgets. Do you know you can check your Facebook from this TV App? I thought this was sooo neat! There are really a lot of neat thing about this service from Verizon and I think it would be great for any family who has internet and TV. This will really lower your bill and you can get your phone, internet and tv service all in one price! You do have to check if it is available in your area as I have seen some people who couldn't get it. But I think that is rare from what I have seen so far. And the people who already have it really seem to love it! If there are already happy customers I know it is a service I can be happy with. That speaks volumes to me to have happy customers:)

So, sound like something you might be interested in? I would check out the link above to see if it is available in your area first and then check out the package prices. But to me, this sounds like a neat service that is needed in many homes.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Verizon FiOS blogging program for a gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

More Strollers.Com Review and Giveaway!! $50 Cymax GC!

Well, it has been a couple of busy weeks. I feel like I have barely been on here and I hate when that happens. So I knew when I was able to get back on, I would want a really nice giveaway for you all. Well, guess what? Cymax is giving me the opportunity to giveaway a $50 gift code to any of their stores! This can be applied to any of the 100 stores that are owned by Cymax. I am reviewing the MoreStrollers.com site right now.

We have had a lot of families and friends recently who are either expecting or had babies. We have had discussions from baby names, baby clothing, and furniture and accessories. One of these accessories are strollers. What a necessity! And you have so many options it is hard to choose. I suggest marking down what you would like in a stroller and then shopping around. One thing I have always loved in a stroller is the basket underneath. You can use this in so many ways! It would be my number one choice in a stroller. So, I actually loved shopping at the More Strollers website. There are so many choices to pick from! Check out the ones below that caught my eye:)

I like to go walking in the morning and I have several friends who like to walk so the Schwinn Jogging Stroller below was probably the first on my list. Very nice and quite easy to use.

And if you want one for twins, they have this beautiful, classy InSTEP Double Jogging Stroller.

I personally love the Dream on Me Fashion Stroller. It could be used for either boy or girl and looks to be light-weight. The hood is nice and keeps the sun off your babies face.

Okay, this is another favorite. I have heard of the Joovy brand and how good it is. So this one caught my eye. Nice and big but still tandem. Great look on this Joovy Caboose Tandem Stroller in Brown!!

So, now that you have seen some of the nice things that Cymax carries, you need to make sure you get your entries in. This is a $50 gift code to any Cymax store!

MANDATORY ENTRY-You must tweet for this giveaway. This is the mandatory entry and you must do this or the extra entries do not count. Win a $50 GC to http://morestrollers.com from @cymaxstores_ at @kingsdaughter24 #giveaway ends 6/7 http://bit.ly/lOxLU8

EXTRA ENTRIES-Please leave a comment for each entry.

1.Blog or post about this on Facebook. Get 3 entries for each.
2.Follow my blog via GFC, subscribe through RSS Feed or email or follow me on Twitter. Get one entry for each you do.
3.Enter any of my other currently running giveaways. Let me know which ones.
4.Leave a comment on any of my review only posts. This must be for reviews only! Leave a comment for each.
5.Tweet about this giveaway. Can be done three times a day but you must use the tweet above.

6.Leave a comment on my Zone Diet post. Get 2 entries for this.
This giveaway will end 6/7. Winner will be chosen through Random.org. They will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

Missions of Mercy Blog Tour with Susan May Warren

About The Mercy of Missions series:

Three heroes, all on missions of mercy, who discover that God not only saves us from evil, but from the darkness inside.


Point of No Return: An American boy and a warlord's engaged daughter have disappeared-together-in an Eastern European border country. Only one man can find them in time to prevent an international meltdown-Chet Stryker. But Chet is taken aback when he realizes the boy is the nephew of Mae Lund, Chet's former flame. When Mae insists on rescuing her relative herself, Chet knows he has to protect her from the enemy on their trail. Yet can he protect himself from falling for Mae again?



Mission: Out of Control:
Brody "Wick" Wickham is a former Green Beret turned security agent-with a 100 percent mission success rate. No way is his new assignment changing that. Even if it's protecting a diva American rock star while she's on tour in Europe . Except Veronica "Vonya" Wagner isn't just a beautiful celebrity used to having her way-she's the daughter of a U.S. Senator. And she's hiding a dangerous secret. When Wick discovers what's at stake, how far over the line will he go to keep them both alive?



Undercover Pursuit:
The only way to get security agent Luke Dekker to a wedding? An undercover mission as groomsman. He'll bust the groom, a drug cartel heir, before anyone can say "I do." Then Luke can escape all this love and romance nonsense-and the too pretty bridesmaid/agent assigned as his "fiancée" for the weekend. Until Luke discovers that sweet, vulnerable Scarlett Hanson isn't his contact. Isn't an agent.


Isn't trained for the high-stakes mission now trapping them both. And worse, Luke's falling for her-which is not part of the assignment.


Point of No Return: http://www.amazon.com/Point-Return-Love-Inspired-Suspense/dp/0373444249/ref=sprightly-20

Mission: Out of Control: http://www.amazon.com/Mission-Control-Love-Inspired-Suspense/dp/037344432X/ref=sprightly-20

Undercover Pursuit: http://www.amazon.com/Undercover-Pursuit-Love-Inspired-Suspense/dp/0373444400/ref=sprightly-20

About Susan: Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning author of thirty novels with Tyndale, Barbour, Steeple Hill and Summerside Press. A four-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol Award. A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you! She is also the founder ofwww.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.

For more about Susan and her other books, please visit www.susanmaywarren.com.


BIG NEWS: Susan has a brand new shiny website! Check it out and drop her a note! http://susanmaywarren.com

About the Missions of Mercy Giveaway: Please share the contest on Facebook and twitter! Oh, and don’t forget to add the blogger button to your sidebar from 5/16-5/31! The HTML code for it is attached! Appreciated greatly!

Susan May Warren is thrilled to announce the release of her 3 book Missions of Mercy series!

Three heroes, all on missions of mercy, who discover that God not only saves us from evil, but from the darkness inside.

Point of No Return: Can God deliver us from our mistakes? This question is posed to Chet and Mae as they race to save Mae’s nephew from an evil warlord in the Republic of Georgia . More here.

Mission: Out of Control: Does God turn his back on us when we fail? Brody and Vonya discover the answer as they conspire to capture an international smuggler and free a child soldier from war. More here.

Undercover Pursuit: What if we deliberately sin and harbor bitterness in our hearts? Is there a rescue from the dark places inside? Luke and Scarlett find out as they work to protect a bride-turned-informant whose courage could dismantle a human trafficking web. More here.

To celebrate the series, Susan is giving away a Missions of Mercy Prize Pack worth over $200! One grand prize winner will receive:

* A brand new FLIP HD Camera

* The entire Missions of Mercy series

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. You may enter once per email, facebook, and twitter. The contest ends on May 31st. Tell your friends! Winner will be announced on June 1st at the Litfuse Publicity site and at Susan May Warren's website. (While you're there, check out her rockin' new website!)

MY REVIEW-I really loved this series!! Susan May Warren is a wonderful author and I have enjoyed many of her previous books. This is a beautiful series and the settings and plots were very good. The characters were very well written and I loved them! My favorite book out of them all was Undercover Pursuit! Loved this plot:) Please check out the other review dates at the link here.




BUTTTON:

Missions of Mercy Flip Giveaway

GIVEAWAY POST:


Susan May Warren is thrilled to announce the release of her 3 book Missions of Mercy series!


Three heroes, all on missions of mercy, who discover that God not only saves us from evil, but from the darkness inside.

Point of No Return: Can God deliver us from our mistakes? This question is posed to Chet and Mae as they race to save Mae’s nephew from an evil warlord in the Republic of Georgia. More here.

Mission: Out of Control: Does God turn his back on us when we fail? Brody and Vonya discover the answer as they conspire to capture an international smuggler and free a child soldier from war. More here.

Undercover Pursuit: What if we deliberately sin and harbor bitterness in our hearts? Is there a rescue from the dark places inside? Luke and Scarlett find out as they work to protect a bride-turned-informant whose courage could dismantle a human trafficking web. More here.





To celebrate the series, Susan is giving away a Missions of Mercy Prize Pack worth over $200! One grand prize winner will receive:

* A brand new FLIP HD Camera
* The entire Missions of Mercy series

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. You may enter once per email, facebook, and twitter. The contest ends on May 31st. Tell your friends! Winner will be announced on June 1st at the Litfuse Publicity site and at Susan May Warren's website. (While you're there, check out her rockin' new website!)


Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter


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