BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

WORDS by GINNY YTTRUP - FIRST CHAPTER & REVIEW

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:

B&H Books (February 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Julie Gwinn, Trade Book Marketing, B&H Publishing Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Ginny L. Yttrup is an accomplished freelance writer, speaker, and life coach who also ministers to women wounded by sexual trauma. Her blogs include Fiction Creator, My Daily Light, and Crossings Life Coaching. She has two grown sons and lives in California. Words is her first novel.



Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DISCRIPTION:

“I collect words. I keep them in a box in my mind. Whenever I wanted, I’d open the box and pick up the papers, reading and feeling the words all at once. Then I could hide the box. But the words are safer in my mind. There, he can’t take them.”
Ten-year old Kaylee Wren doesn’t speak. Not since her drug-addled mother walked away, leaving her in a remote cabin nestled in the towering redwoods-in the care of a man who is as dangerous as he is evil. With silence her only refuge, Kaylee collects words she might never speak from the only memento her mother left behind: a dictionary.

Sierra Dawn is thirty-four, an artist, and alone. She has allowed the shame of her past to silence her present hopes and chooses to bury her pain by trying to control her circumstances. But on the twelfth anniversary of her daughter’s death, Sierra’s control begins to crumble as the God of her childhood woos her back to Himself.

Brought together by Divine design, Kaylee and Sierra will discover together the healing mercy of the Word—Jesus Christ.




Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: B&H Books (February 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1433671700
ISBN-13: 978-1433671708

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


“In the beginning was the Word.”

John 1:1


“All those things for which we have no words are lost. The mind—the culture—has two little tools, grammar and lexicon: a decorated sand bucket and a matching shovel. With these we bluster about the continents and do all the world’s work. With these we try to save our very lives.”

Annie Dillard


Chapter One


Kaylee


I collect words.

I keep them in a box in my mind. I’d like to keep them in a real box, something pretty, maybe a shoe box covered with flowered wrapping paper. I’d write my words on scraps of paper and then put them in the box. Whenever I wanted, I’d open the box and pick up the papers, reading and feeling the words all at once. Then I could hide the box.

But the words are safer in my mind. There, he can’t take them.

The dictionary is heavy on my lap. I’m on page 1,908. I’m reading through the Ss. When I finish the Zs, I’ll start all over again.

Su-per-flu-ous.

I like that word. It means something extra, something special, something you don’t need. It’s super. But you don’t need super. You just need good enough.

How does it sound when someone says it?

I didn’t really think about how words sound until I stopped talking. I didn’t mean to stop talking, it just sort of happened.

My mom left.

I got scared.

And the words got stuck.

Now I just read the words and then listen for them on the little radio in the kitchen, the only superfluous thing we have.

As I read, my hair falls across my eyes. I push it out of the way, but it falls back. I push it out of the way again, but this time my fingers catch in a tangle. I work for a minute trying to separate the hairs and smooth them down.

When my mom was here, she combed my hair most mornings. Our hair is the same. “Stick straight and dark as soot.” That’s what she used to say.

It hurt when she pulled the comb through my hair. “Kaylee, stop squirming,” she’d tell me. “It’ll pull more if you move.”

Sometimes I’d cry when the comb caught in a knot and she’d get impatient and tell me to stop whining.

Maybe that’s why she left. Maybe she got tired of my whining.

That’s what he says. He tells me she didn’t love me anymore—that she wanted out. But I don’t believe him. I think something happened to her, an accident or something.

She probably has amnesia. I read that word in the dictionary.

That’s when you hit your head so hard on something that you pass out and have to go to the hospital and when you wake up, you don’t remember anything. Not even your name.

Not even that you have a daughter.

I think that’s what happened to my mom. When she remembers, she’ll come back and get me.

So I just wait. I won’t leave. If I leave, she won’t know where to find me.

And when she comes back, I’ll be good. I won’t whine anymore.

I was nine when she left. Now, I’m ten. I’ll be eleven the day after Christmas. I always know it’s near my birthday when they start playing all the bell songs on the radio. I like Silver Bells. I like to think about the city sidewalks and all the people dressed in holiday style. But Jingle Bells is my favorite. Dashing through the snow on a one-horse open sleigh sounds fun.

It’s not near my birthday yet. It’s still warm outside.

As the sun sets, the cabin gets dark inside, too dark to read. He didn’t pay the electric bill, again. I hope he pays it before Christmas or I won’t hear the songs on the radio.

Before I put the dictionary away, I turn to the front page and run my fingers across the writing scribbled there. “Lee and Katherine Wren. Congratulations.

Lee and Katherine are my parents. Were my parents. Are my parents. I’m not sure.

My mom told me that the dictionary was a gift from her Aunt Adele. Mom thought it was kind of a funny wedding gift, but she liked it and kept it even after Lee left. We used it a lot. Sometimes when I’d ask her a question about what something was or what something meant, she’d say, “Go get the dictionary Kaylee, we’ll look it up.” Then she’d show me how to find the word, and we’d read the definition. Most of the time she’d make me sound out the words and read them to her. Only sometimes did she read them to me. But most of the time when I asked her a question, she told me to be quiet. She liked it best when I was quiet.

I miss my mom. But the dictionary makes me feel like part of her is still here. While she’s gone, the dictionary is mine. I have to take care of it. So just like I always do before I put the book away, I ask a silent favor: Please don’t let him notice it. Please don’t let him take it.

I put the dictionary back under the board that makes up a crooked shelf. The splintered wood pricks the tip of one finger as I lift the board and shove the dictionary under. The shelf is supported on one end by two cinderblocks and by one cinderblock and three books on the other end.

I remember the day she set up the shelf. I followed her out the front door and down the steps, and then watched her kneel in the dirt and pull out three concrete blocks she’d found under the steps. She dusted dirt and cobwebs from the cracks and then carried each block inside. She stacked two blocks one on top of the other at one end of the room and then spaced the last block at the other end of the room, under the window.

“Kaylee, hand me a few books from that box. Get big ones.”

I reached into the box and pulled out the biggest book—the dictionary. Then I handed her the other two books. She stacked them on top of the block and then laid a board across the books and blocks.

Even at seven, I knew what she was doing. We’d move in with a boyfriend and Mom would get us “settled” which meant she’d move in our things—our clothes, books, and a few toys for me. She’d rearrange the apartment, or house—or this time, the cabin—and make it “homey.”

After she made the shelf, she lined up our books. Then she placed a vase of wildflowers we’d collected that morning on the end of the shelf. She stood back and looked at what she’d done. Her smile told me she liked it.

The cabin was small, but of all the places we’d lived, I could tell this was her favorite. And this boyfriend seemed nice enough at first, so I hoped maybe we’d stay this time.

We did stay. Or at least I stayed. So now I’m the one arranging the shelf and I’m careful to put it back just as it was. Our books are gone. In their place I return two beer bottles, one with a sharp edge of broken glass, to their dust-free circles on the shelf. I pick up the long-empty bag of Frito Lay corn chips and, before leaning the bag against the broken bottle, I hold it open close to my face and breathe in. The smell of corn and salt make my stomach growl.

Once I’m sure everything looks just as it was on the shelf, I crawl to my mattress in the corner of the room and sit, Indian-style, with my back against the wall and watch the shadows. Light shines between the boards across the broken front window; shadows of leaves and branches move across the walls, ceiling, and door. Above my head I hear a rat or squirrel on the roof. Its movement scatters pine needles and something—a pinecone, I imagine—rolls from the top of the roof, over my head, and then drops into the bed of fallen needles around the front steps.

This is the longest part of the day—when it’s too dark to read.

When I read…

I forget.

That’s how it works.

Once the sun goes down, I don’t leave the cabin. I’m afraid he’ll come back after work and find me gone. He’s told me not to leave because he’d find me and I’d be sorry.

I believe him. believe --verb 1. to take as true, real, etc. 2. to have confidence in a statement or promise of (another person).

My legs go numb under my body and my eyes feel heavy, but I don’t sleep. Sleep isn’t safe. Instead, I close my eyes for just a minute and see flames against the backs of my eyelids. They burn everything my mom and I brought to the cabin.

I remember the hissing and popping as the nighttime drizzle hit the bonfire. And I remember his laughter.

“She’s gone for good, Kaylee. She ain’t comin back.” He cackled like an old witch as he threw more gasoline on the flames.

The smoke filled my nose and stung my lungs as I watched Lamby, the stuffed animal I’d slept with since I was a baby, burn along with most of our clothes and books.

The only exceptions were the three books he hadn’t noticed holding up the shelf. My tears couldn’t put out the fire, and I finally stopped crying. I wiped my nose on my sleeve and stepped away from the blaze. I squared my shoulders and stood as tall as I could. Something changed in me that night. I couldn’t be little anymore. I had to be grown up.

I open my eyes and reach my hand under the corner of the mattress. My fingers dig into the hole in the canvas, feeling for the music box that had been inside Lamby. I’d found it in the ashes the morning after the fire. I tug it free, then wind the key and hold it up to my ear. As the music plays, I remember the words of the song that Grammy taught me just before she died. Jesus loves me, this I know…

The song makes me feel sad.

I don’t think Jesus loves me anymore.

Eventually, I must fall asleep, because I wake up startled—mouth dry, palms damp, and my heart pounding.

I hear the noise that woke me, the crunching of leaves and pine needles. I listen. Are his steps steady, even? No. Two steps. Pause. A dragging sound. Pause. A thud as he stumbles. Pause. Will he get up? Or has he passed out? Please let him be out. A metal taste fills my mouth as I hear him struggle to get back on his feet.

“Kay—leeee?” He slurs. “You up? Lemme in.”

He bangs his fist on the front door, which hasn’t locked or even shut tight since the night he aimed his .22 at the doorknob and blew it to pieces.

The door gives way under the pressure of his fist. As it swings open, he pounds again but misses and falls into the cabin. He goes straight down and hits the floor, head first. A gurgling sound comes from his throat, and I smell the vomit before I see it pooled around his face.

I hope he’ll drown in it.

But he won’t die tonight.

Instead, he heaves himself onto his back and reaches for the split on his forehead where, even in the dark, I can see the blood trickling into his left eye. Then his hand slides down past his ear and drops to the floor. At the sound of his snoring, I exhale. I realize I’ve been holding my breath. Waiting…waiting…waiting.



Chapter Two

Sierra


Cocooned in crocheted warmth, I slip my hands from beneath the afghan and reach for my journal—a notebook filled with snippets of feelings and phrases. I jot a line: Like shards of glass slivering my soul. I set pen and journal aside and warm my hands around my ritual mug of Earl Gray, considering the phrase. I like the cadence of the alliteration. I see shining slivers piercing an ambiguous soul. I see a canvas layered in hues of red, russet, and black.

A memory calls my name, but I turn away. There will be time for memories later.

I close my eyes against the flame of color igniting the morning sky and allow my body the luxury of relaxing. I breathe deep intentional breaths, exhaling slowly, allowing mind and body to find a like rhythm. With each breath I let go, one by one, the anxieties of the past week.

Prints—signed and numbered. Five hundred in all.

Contract negotiations with two new galleries. Done.

Showing in Carmel last night. Successful.

Mortgage paid. On time for once.

Van Gogh neutered. What did the vet say? “He’s lost his manhood—be gentle with him. He’ll need a few days to recoup.” Good grief.

A whimper interrupts my reverie. The afghan unfurls as I get up and pad across the deck back into the bungalow. Van presses his nose through the cross-hatch door of his crate—his woeful expression speaking volumes. I open the cage and the spry mutt I met at the shelter a few days before staggers toward the deck, tail between his legs. I translate his body language as utter humiliation and feel guilty for my responsible choice.

“Sorry pal, it’s the only way I could spring you from the shelter. They made me do it.” His ears perk and then droop. His salt and pepper coat bristles against my hand, while his ears are cashmere soft. He sighs and drifts back to sleep while I wonder at the wisdom of adopting an animal that’s already getting under my skin. I consider packing him up and taking him back before it’s too late. Instead, I brace myself and concede “Okay, I’ll love you—but just a little.” He twitches in response.

The distant throttle of fishing boats leaving the harbor and the bickering of gulls overhead break the morning silence followed by the ringing of the phone. I smile and reach for the phone lying under my journal.

“Hi, Margaret.” No need to answer with a questioning “Hello?” There’s only one person I know who dares calling at 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday.

Laughter sings through the phone line. “Shannon, when are you going to stop calling me Margaret?”

I dubbed her that after the indomitable Margaret Thatcher, prime minister of her homeland. Her unwavering British accent, even after nearly half a century in the United States, and her strength under pressure inspired the nickname. It fits.

“Well, as I’ve told you, I’ll stop calling you Margaret when you stop calling me Shannon. Need I remind you that I haven’t been Shannon in over a decade?”

“Oh, right. Let’s see, what is your name now? Sahara Dust? Sequoia Dew?”

I play along. “Does Sierra Dawn ring a bell?”

“Right, Sierra Dawn, beautiful name. But you’ll always be Shannon Diane to me.”

The smile in her voice chases the shadows from my heart. “Okay, Mother. I mean Margaret.” I pull my knees to my chest and reach for the afghan as I settle back in the weathered Adirondack for our conversation.

“Sierra, I didn’t wake you, did I?”

“Of course not. What is it you say, ‘You can take the girl out of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the girl.’”

“That’s my girl. Your daddy’s been out in the fields since 6:00 but he let me sleep. I just got up and thought I’d share a cup of tea with you.”

I do a quick pacific/central time conversion and realize with some alarm that it’s 9:00 a.m. in Texas.

“You slept until 9:00? You never sleep that late. What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong, darling, I’m simply getting old. I had to get up three times during the night and by this morning I just wanted to sleep. So I indulged.”

“Well, good for you. I’m glad you called. You know my favorite Saturday mornings are spent with you and Earl.”

“I’m not drinking Earl.”

A startling confession. “You’re not? What are you drinking?”

“Sierra, I’m drinking Lemon Zinger!” Her declaration is followed by a giggle that sounds anything but old.

I stretch my long legs and cross them at the ankles and lean my head against the back of the chair. I feel as though my mother, with gentle skill, has distracted me while she’s worked to remove a few of those slivers imbedded in my soul. But unless I stop brushing up against my splintered history, the slivers will return—or so she tells me.

Just before we hang up, she says, “Shannon—” there’s such tenderness in her voice that I let the slip pass— “are you going to the cemetery today?”

Her question tears open the wound, exposing the underlying infection. I imagine her practicality won’t allow her to leave the wound festering any longer; instead she lances my heart.

I lean forward. “Yes, Mother. You know I will.” My tone is tight, closed. But I can’t seem to help it.

“Darling, it’s time to let go—it’s been twelve years. It’s time to grasp grace and move on.”

The fringe of the afghan I’ve played with as we’ve talked is now twisted tight around my index finger, cutting off the circulation. “What are you saying? That I should just forget—just let go and walk away— never think about it again? You know I can’t do that.”

“Not forget, Sierra— forgive. It’s time.”

“Mother, you know I don’t want to talk about this.”

“Yes, I know. But you need to at least think about it. Think about the truth. Ask yourself what’s true.”

I sigh at my mother’s oft repeated words and grunt my consent before I hang up— or “ring off” as she would say.


I left Texas at eighteen and headed to California, sure that was where I’d “find myself.” On the day I left, my daddy stood at the driver’s door of my overstuffed used station wagon gazing at the hundreds of acres of soil he’d readied for planting in the fall and gave me what I think of now as my own “Great Commission.” In the vernacular of the Bible Belt, my daddy, a farmer with the soul of a poet, sent me out into the world with a purpose.

“Honey, do you know why I farm?”

At eighteen I’d never considered the “why” of what my parents did. “No, Daddy. Why?”

“Farming’s not something that can be done alone. I till the ground, plant the seeds, and irrigate. But it’s the rising and setting of the sun and the changing of the seasons that cause the grain to grow. Farming is a partnership with the Creator. Each year when I reap the harvest, I marvel at a Creator who allows me the honor of co-creating with him.”

He’d stopped staring at the fields and instead looked straight at me. “Look for what the Creator wants you to do, Shannon. He wants to share his creativity with you. He wants to partner with you. You find what he wants you to do.”

With that, he planted a kiss on my forehead and shut the door of my car. With my daddy’s commission tucked in my heart, I left in search of my life. My older brother, Jeff, was already in California completing his final year in the agricultural school at Cal-Poly in San Luis Obispo. Tired of dorm life, Jeff and two friends rented a house in town and told me I could rent a room from them for the year. I was thrilled.

Our neighbors and Mother and Daddy’s friends couldn’t understand why they’d let me “run off” to California. In their minds, California was a dark place where drugs and sex ruled. But Daddy assured them California was not the Sodom and Gomorrah they imagined. He should know. His roots were in California. He was born and raised there. Jeff and I grew up hearing about the Golden State and were determined we’d see it for ourselves one day. College in California seemed a logical choice to both of us.

As I headed west, I thought of my parents and what I’d learned from each of them through the years. Daddy taught me to see. Where others in our community saw grain, Daddy saw God. He always encouraged me in his quiet and simple way to look beyond the obvious. “Look beyond a person’s actions and see their heart. Look for what’s causing them to act the way they act, then you’ll understand them better.”

When I was about twelve, Mother and Daddy took us with them down to Galveston for a week. Daddy was there for an American Farm Bureau meeting. After the meeting, we stayed for a few rare days of vacation. I remember standing on the beach and looking out at the flat sea, Daddy pulled me close and pointed at the surf and asked, “What do you see?”

“The ocean?” I asked it more than stated.

“Yes, but there’s more. You’re seeing God’s power.”

I must have seemed unimpressed because Daddy laughed. “It’s there Shan, someday you’ll see it. But, I’ll admit it’s easier to see it in the crashing surf and jagged cliffs of the California coastline.”

I didn’t understand what he meant then—and I’m still not sure I fully understand—but back then my daddy’s description of the California coastline followed me as I was off to see it for myself.

My mother taught me to look for something else. “What’s the truth, Shannon?” she’d ask over and over, challenging me to choose what was right. She taught me to analyze a situation and then make a decision that represented the truth foundational to our family.

Most often the truth she spoke of was found in the big family Bible she’d brought with her from England. She’d lay the book out on the kitchen table and open it to the book of John in the New Testament and she’d read from the King James version: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

“There’s freedom in the truth, Shannon. You remember that,” she’d say.

Again, I’m only now beginning to understand what she meant. But these were the lessons from home that I carried with me to California.

So why hadn’t I applied those lessons? Why I had I wandered so far from my parents’ truth?

Those are questions I’d ask myself many times over. I’d yet to find the answers.



REVIEW:
WORDS

By Ginny L. Yttrup
Published by B & H
ISBN#978-14336-7170-8
363 Pages

Back Cover: "I collect words. I keep them in a box in my mind. I'd like to keep them in a real box, something pretty, maybe a shoe box covered with flowered wrapping paper. Whenever I wanted, I'd open the box and pick up the papers, reading and feeling the words all at once. Then I could hide the box. But the words are safer in my mind. There, he can't take them."

Ten-year old Kaylee Wren doesn't speak. Not since her drug-addled mother walked away, leaving her in a remote cabin nestled in the towering redwoods-in the care of a man who is as dangerous as he is evil. With silence her only refuge, Kaylee collects words she might never speak from the only memento her mother left behind: a dictionary.

Sierra Dawn is thirty-four, an artist, and alone. She has allowed the shame of her past to silence her present hopes and chooses to bury her pain by trying to control her circumstances. But on the twelfth anniversary of her daughter's death, Sierra's control begins to crumble as the God of her childhood woos her back to Himself.

Brought together by Divine design, Kaylee and Sierra will discover together the healing mercy of the Word-Jesus Christ.

REVIEW: “I can’t talk. I can’t breathe. Tears choke me.”

That’s exactly how I felt when I read the last page of this book. I’m thrilled to have received a review copy of such an astounding, debut novel. I haven’t read anything this profound, inspiring and life changing since Redeeming Love and June Bug. The author is a master wordsmith and trusts the readers’ imagination to fill in the blanks about the abuse Kaylee endures and talks about it without being graphic. Ginny L. Yttrup has overcome sexual abuse in her own life, is compassionate towards its victims and has penned a story filled with healing and hope. Ginny shows the reader a way to shine the light of Jesus in the darkest places of life in a real way.

Kaylee is a ten year old girl fascinated by words. Words are a colorful protective shield she uses to give her hope and clarify things she doesn’t quite understand. Kaylee is a bright and loving child surviving day after day anticipating her mother’s return.

I enjoyed Ginny Yttrup's creative writing style. It was fun to read and had a powerful impact to the story. For example Kaylee says, “my favorite C word - co-loss-al. It means awesomely huge.”

She uses it to describe the colossal redwood trees she loves. The tree is her special place to hide her earthly treasures and new words. The author’s style adds richness to the novel and gives Kaylee a distinctive way of expressing herself.

“I’m so hungry I could eat the scrambled egg in one bite. Instead, I try to make it last, make it seem like more. I take tiny bites. I think of a word that I added to my box this week.

Sa-vor – verb 1) to perceive by taste or smell, esp, with realism 2) to give oneself to the enjoyment of: savor the best in life.

Yes, I savor each bit of my eggs.”

This author’s unique voice allows the reader to experience and see the healing power of love in action. This book is not preachy but potent. The message is clear “Jesus is the word – the most important word”

Ginny had me going in parts of the story I thought I had figured out, and threw in twists I didn’t see coming. Parts were surprising, suspenseful and I found myself nervous for the characters. This book is quite an experience, one you’ll never forget and don’t want to miss. This novel is one of the reasons why I read and promote Christian Fiction. I highly, highly recommend it. Treat yourself to reading Words. I don’t know where Ginny will go from here but I’ll be following.

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network
http://www.bookfun.org/

BOOK COVER OF WK - WORDS by GINNY YTTRUP













I have to say that this cover is very eye catching. I couldn't even imagine what this book was about from the cover but I wanted to find out. It did make me want to look inside to see what this story was about. When I read the book cover I wasn't hooked but when I read the first page and the note to readers by the author I was in. This author has a powerful testimony and her writing style is unique. Reading this book is an experience I'll never forget.

"In the begining was the WORD and the WORD became flesh....." This is one amazing book filled with mystery, suspense, hope an healing. It's a book everyone should experience. The cover of this book definately drew me in. The story will touch your heart to the core. I highly, highly recommend this book. I'll definately be waiting for this author next book. You will too!!

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network
http://www.bookfun.org/

WORDS

By Ginny L. Yttrup
Published by B & H
ISBN#978-14336-7170-8
363 Pages

Back Cover: "I collect words. I keep them in a box in my mind. I'd like to keep them in a real box, something pretty, maybe a shoe box covered with flowered wrapping paper. Whenever I wanted, I'd open the box and pick up the papers, reading and feeling the words all at once. Then I could hide the box. But the words are safer in my mind. There, he can't take them."

Ten-year old Kaylee Wren doesn't speak. Not since her drug-addled mother walked away, leaving her in a remote cabin nestled in the towering redwoods-in the care of a man who is as dangerous as he is evil. With silence her only refuge, Kaylee collects words she might never speak from the only memento her mother left behind: a dictionary.

Sierra Dawn is thirty-four, an artist, and alone. She has allowed the shame of her past to silence her present hopes and chooses to bury her pain by trying to control her circumstances. But on the twelfth anniversary of her daughter's death, Sierra's control begins to crumble as the God of her childhood woos her back to Himself.

Brought together by Divine design, Kaylee and Sierra will discover together the healing mercy of the Word-Jesus Christ.


REVIEW: “I can’t talk. I can’t breathe. Tears choke me.”

That’s exactly how I felt when I read the last page of this book. I’m thrilled to have received a review copy of such an astounding, debut novel. I haven’t read anything this profound, inspiring and life changing since Redeeming Love and June Bug. The author is a master wordsmith and trusts the readers’ imagination to fill in the blanks about the abuse Kaylee endures and talks about it without being graphic. Ginny L. Yttrup has overcome sexual abuse in her own life, is compassionate towards its victims and has penned a story filled with healing and hope. Ginny shows the reader a way to shine the light of Jesus in the darkest places of life in a real way.

Kaylee is a ten year old girl fascinated by words. Words are a colorful protective shield she uses to give her hope and clarify things she doesn’t quite understand. Kaylee is a bright and loving child surviving day after day anticipating her mother’s return.

I enjoyed Ginny Yttrup's creative writing style. It was fun to read and had a powerful impact to the story. For example Kaylee says, “my favorite C word - co-loss-al. It means awesomely huge.”

She uses it to describe the colossal redwood trees she loves. The tree is her special place to hide her earthly treasures and new words. The author’s style adds richness to the novel and gives Kaylee a distinctive way of expressing herself.

“I’m so hungry I could eat the scrambled egg in one bite. Instead, I try to make it last, make it seem like more. I take tiny bites. I think of a word that I added to my box this week.

Sa-vor – verb 1) to perceive by taste or smell, esp, with realism 2) to give oneself to the enjoyment of: savor the best in life.

Yes, I savor each bit of my eggs.”

This author’s unique voice allows the reader to experience and see the healing power of love in action. This book is not preachy but potent. The message is clear “Jesus is the word – the most important word”

Ginny had me going in parts of the story I thought I had figured out, and threw in twists I didn’t see coming. Parts were surprising, suspenseful and I found myself nervous for the characters. This book is quite an experience, one you’ll never forget and don’t want to miss. This novel is one of the reasons why I read and promote Christian Fiction. I highly, highly recommend it. Treat yourself to reading Words. I don’t know where Ginny will go from here but I’ll be following.

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network
http://www.bookfun.org/

FREE E-BOOKS

Here are some more FREE E-BOOKS for you. Some I've listed before and they are Still FREE. Others are BRAND NEW to the list.

REMEMBER - If you don't have a Kindle, no problem. You can download a free Kindle app to your PC, Mac or phone and still get the free books It's amazing how many different ways you can read a book!

HAPPY READING

NORA :D


LISTEN

by RENE GUTTRIDGE

LEAVES AFTER LEAVES FALL
By Nicole Baart


GOODNESS GRACIOUS GREEN
By Judy Christie

THE APOTHECARYS DAUGHTER
By Julie Klassen

PRIDE AND PREDJUSTICE
By Jane Austin

ONE YEAR DEVOTIONS FOR COUPLES

FOOLS RUSH IN
By Janice Thompson

TREASURE ISLAND
By Robert Lewis Stevenson
AGAINST ALL ODDS
By Irene Hannon

STUCK IN THE MIDDLE
By Virginia Smith

DAUGHTER OF JOY
By Kathleen Morgan

JUST AS I AM
By Virginia Smith

CENTURIONS WIFE
By Davis Bunn and Jeanette Oke

CRAVING GOD
By Lysa TerKeurst

RELENTLESS
By Robin Parrish

VOICES OF THE FAITHFUL - DEVO- REVIEWED







VOICES OF THE FAITHFUL

By Kim P. Davis with Beth Moore
Published by Thomas Nelson
ISBN#978-0-8499-4624-0
452 Pages

Back Cover: A 366-day devotional with inspiring stories from the front lines of faith.

"A willingness to go is all they have in common," says Beth Moore, speaking of her friends on the front lines who are spreading the gospel around the world and with whom she collaborated to create this book. This brilliant, 366-day devotional features incredible stories of God's faithfulness in the face of uncertainty and danger, written by hundreds of missionaries worldwide.

With a foreword by International Mission Board president Jerry Rankin and an introduction by Beth, this volume also includes advice on how to hear God's voice, pray for missionaries, and understand the church's and individual's role in missions.

Review: I’m thankful for the review copy of this devotional to start out 2011 on a new perspective. It was interesting to get to know missionaries and pray for them. It also gave me a new perspective on life outside my comfort zone and how people live in other parts of the world. We are so fortunate.

In the introduction Beth Moore describes how God placed in her heart a desire to pray for and be part of missions. She got to know a special missionary family that seemed normal enough to her. Beth Moore could see at an early age that God allowed this “normal” family to do extra-ordinary things. It inspired Beth then and later on in life.

I liked this devotional as it took examples of the real missionary experiences and related them to the reader in a way they could relate to and be encouraged in their faith and daily walk with Christ.

The missionaries share what God has done in their lives, in the mist of their struggle and their encounters with the people they live among. They give insight into how God has moved in the people’s hearts, changed them and the missionaries as well.

This is a book that helps me to keep my life in perspective of what’s important in life and keep the main thing the “main” thing day in and day out. God is alive and well and so is his word. He doesn’t need people to accomplish His will but He allows me to partner with him to be the hands and feet of the mission field He sets out paths to.

This devotional gives gave me a perspective I don’t think about often, and also helped me get to know brothers an sisters in Christ sharing the love and fulfilling the need in other parts of the world. It’s also a book that inspires me to do the same in my little corner of the world. I look forward to reading this book and the next book Voices off the Faithful Volume Two!

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network
http://www.psalm516.blogspot.com/

NOTE: They've published volume two in this Devotional series! It's just as good!

Nora St.Laurent

REVELL TOUR - FATAL JUDGEMENT - REVIEWED


Fatal Judgment is the first novel in the new romantic suspense series “Guardians of Justice” by acclaimed author Irene Hannon, who has been recognized with accolades including RITA and Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice awards.

Author Dee Henderson has praised Hannon’s latest book, saying, “Fatal Judgment is Irene Hannon’s storytelling at its best. I enjoyed every minute.”

In Fatal Judgment, U.S. Marshal Jake Taylor has seen plenty of action during his years in law enforcement. But he'd rather go back to Iraq than face his next assignment: protection detail for federal judge Liz Michaels. His feelings toward the coldhearted workaholic haven't warmed in the five years since she drove her husband--and Jake's best friend--to despair . . . and possible suicide.

As the danger mounts and Jake gets to know Liz better, he's forced to revise his opinion of her. And when it becomes clear that an unknown enemy may want her dead, the stakes are raised. Because now both her life--and his heart--are in danger.

Full of suspense and romance, Fatal Judgment is a thrilling story that will keep you turning the pages late into the night.

Fatal Judgment is Irene Hannon’s storytelling at its best.
I enjoyed every minute.”
– Dee Henderson



IRENE HANNON is the author of more than 25 novels, including the CBA bestsellers Against All Odds, An Eye for an Eye, and In Harm's Way. Her books have been honored with the coveted RITA Award from Romance Writers of America, the HOLT Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier award, and the Reviewer's Choice Award from Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine. She lives in Missouri.
http://www.irenehannon.com/.

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life. They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.

For more information, visit http://www.revellbooks.com/


REVIEW:
FATAL JUDGMENT

By Irene Hannon
Published by Revell
ISBN# 978-0-8007-3456-5
330 Pages

Back Cover: U.S. Marshal Jake Taylor has seen plenty of action during his years in law enforcement. But he'd rather go back to Iraq than face his next assignment: protection detail for federal judge Liz Michaels. His feelings toward the coldhearted workaholic haven't warmed in the five years since she drove her husband--and Jake's best friend--to despair . . . and possible suicide.

As the danger mounts and Jake gets to know Liz better, he's forced to revise his opinion of her. And when it becomes clear that an unknown enemy may want her dead, the stakes are raised. Because now both her life--and his heart--are in danger.

Review: Fatal Judgment is a chilling story that can be taken from today’s headlines. Irene Hannon pens a realistic, intriguing, gripping story I couldn’t put down. In light of a recent shooting that took place in Tucson, Arizona a month ago, of a female politician and a man in Florida who held a school board at gun point earlier this year, the situation in this book is very real. I was thankful to receive a review copy of a book where a federal judge’s life is in danger. The FBI procedures Irene Hannon describes, add to the drama and realism of the story.

This book felt like a combination of the television shows CSI and Law and Order, without all the graphic photos, explicit violence and foul language. This author did extensive research on how U.S. Marshall’s operate and the FBI agencies work together to protect the innocent. It was fascinating to see things from their point of view.

There was a believable spiritual thread throughout the book that I enjoyed. I also liked the authors’ balance of violence and faith, too. The judge says, “Faith is a funny thing. It’s easy to believe while life is rolling merrily along. But in times of trial, it’s tempting to turn away from God. Yet, that’s when we need him the most.”

Judge Michaels had to think about her situation-there was no time to freak out.

"She had to keep her wits about her. Think clear. Her life depended on it. Who would try to kill her? She forced herself to examine the facts, just as she did in the courtroom, doing her best to take emotion out of the equation. The facts were straight forward…her stalker was committed in finishing the job he set out to do three weeks before.” She realized she needed supernatural help.

The judge's life is turned upside-down and not in a good way-she craved her routine. Anything normal-she liked her organized, predictable life. She prays as she looks through case after case to see who could possibly want to kill her.

U. S. Marshal, Jake, had met Liz Michael’s five years ago at her husband’s funeral. Liz’s husband was his close friend. Funny his friend didn’t have nice things to say about his wife over the years. He had a good idea what this Liz was like and wanted nothing to do with a woman like her.. He’d do his job and be civil. But, the more interactions Jake had with Liz the more he was surprised at what he discovered. He found a sensitive, broken woman in the middle of a crime scene, worried more about others than herself. She wasn’t anything like his friend described. How could that be? Jake was uncomfortable with the feelings he felt in her presence and when he smelled her perfume, oh my—he had to stop this line of thinking? He was a professional and would separate his emotions from his work. He couldn’t get distracted...the Judge’s life depended on him being focused on finding the killer.

I liked how this author took her time in having the reader get to know Federal Judge Liz and the U.S. Marshall Jake. Both parties had their own personal baggage to deal with, which affected how they operated in current time. Fatal Judgment is a captivating, romantic, suspense story that I was drawn into quickly and stayed up late reading. This is the first book in the Guardian of Justice series. I highly recommend this book. I can’t wait to read the next installment.

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network http://www.bookfun.org/
Finding Hope Through Fiction http://www.psalmt516.blogspot.com/

DIGITALIS by RONIE KENDIG - REVIEWED


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Digitalis
Barbour Publishing, Inc.(January 1, 2011)
by
Ronie Kendig

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ronie has been married since 1990 to a man who can easily be defined in classic terms as a hero. She has four beautiful children. Her eldest daughter is 16 this year, her second daughter will be 13, and her twin boys are 10. After having four children, she finally finished her degree in December 2006. She now has a B.S. in Psychology through Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Getting her degree is a huge triumph for both her and her family--they survived!!

This degree has also given her a fabulous perspective on her characters and how to not only make them deeper, stronger, but to make them realistic and know how they'll respond to each situation. Her debut novel, Dead Reckoning released March 2010 from Abingdon Press. And her Discarded Heroes series began in July 2010 from Barbour with the first book entitled Nightshade.

This is the second book in the series.

ABOUT THE BOOK


Step into the boots of a former Marine in this heart-pounding adventure in life and love. Colton “Cowboy” Neeley is a Marine trying to find his footing as he battles flashbacks now that he’s back home. Piper Blum is a woman in hiding—from life and the assassins bent on destroying her family. When their hearts collide, more than their lives are at stake. Will Colton find a way to forgive Piper’s lies? Can Piper find a way to rescue her father, trapped in Israel? Is there any way their love, founded on her lies, can survive?

If you would like to read an excerpt of Digitalis, go HERE.

REVIEW
Digitals
By Ronie Kendig
Published by Barbour
ISBN# 978-1-60260-783-5
320 Pages

Back Cover: Step into the boots of a former Marine in this heart-pounding adventure in life and love. Colton “Cowboy” Neeley is a Marine trying to find his footing as he battles flashbacks now that he’s back home. Piper Blum is a woman in hiding—from life and the assassins bent on destroying her family. When their hearts collide, more than their lives are at stake. Will Colton find a way to forgive Piper’s lies? Can Piper find a way to rescue her father trapped in Israel? Is there any way their love, founded on her lies, can survive?

REVIEW: While delivering an astounding high energy, nail-biting suspense story, Ronie Kendig has mastered the art of having the story’s message pierce your heart and her quirky endearing characters feel like family. I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to read the review copy I received, which is the second book in the "Discarded Heroes" series. I’ve read all of Ronie Kendig’s book so far and think Digitals is her best work yet.

This author masterfully weaves the right amount of action, adventure and romance that pulls at your heart strings, keeps you intrigued and wanting to read more. This novel begins with a bang - literally explosions from the start - as Colton is in the middle of a flashback. The Nightshade’s team is heading for another mission impossible; will Colton Neeley be up for it? He’s struggling with flashbacks and no sleep. Now the team leader has him in therapy sessions to see if that helps...maybe he should just give up this gig!

...“he’d had enough. Was it worth it? Was it worth it to sear images into his brain and live with them night after night so someone half a world away could sleep when he couldn’t? Was it right? Sacrificing his peace for theirs?"

This story beautifully shows how God uses flawed characters to get his work done; he doesn’t need us, but allows us to be part of his plan. Piper Blum is a woman with a few secrets she has to keep; her life depends on it. Piper can’t let anyone close. Then she meets Colton Neeley and his daughter in a surprising way. She likes Colton and thinks he’s handsome, but she has to stop thinking like this. Colton senses she isn’t telling him everything, but he doesn’t press her for answers - he knows all too well about secrets. He has a few he doesn’t want to share either.

I'm amazed at how every time I read Ronie's books, she captures the male bonding moments in battle and the teasing teammates are involved in - all in a male point of view. I often forgot that a woman wrote this book. It’s so believable! The pace of the story and Ronie’s well-timed humor in the middle of some combat situations, allow the reader to experience the effects of war, and the suspense and drama before something else happens. It kept me on the edge of my seat as this author gave me a glimpse into the emotions, struggles and agony military men and their families go through.

I was engaged in the story hook, line and sinker from the very first page. I cared for her main characters Colton, Piper, Mickey and the rest of the Nightshades team. Warning to readers: You will lose hours of sleep, as you won’t be able to rip yourself away from this novel, its message and the characters. They will become your friends and you’ll find yourself cheering for them. This book is a keeper and Ronie Kendig is an author to watch, she’s getting better by the book!

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network
www.bookfun.org

PASSPORT THROUGH DARKNESS - KIMBERLY SMITH-FIRST CHAPTER

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:

David C. Cook (January 1, 2011)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Kimberly L. Smith is the president and cofounder of Make Way Partners, a mission organization committed to ending human trafficking. She is currently leading Make Way Partners to build the only private and indigenously based anti-trafficking network in Africa and Eastern Europe. A devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, Smith lives with her husband, Milton, in Sylacauga, Alabama.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DISCRIPTION:

Each one of us longs to know we matter. We hunger to know that we have purpose, our life has meaning, and God dreams great dreams for us. In Passport Through Darkness: A True Story of Danger and Second Chances, Kimberly Smith invites us into her own struggles as an ordinary woman who feels those aches, asks those questions, and stumbles through a quest to find her place in a broken world.


Traveling around the world and deep into the darkness of her own heart, Smith’s worst fears collided with her faith as she and her family discovered the atrocities of human trafficking. But in that broken place a self-centered life was transformed into an international effort to save thousands from modern-day slavery, persecution, disease, and genocide.

As Smith and her husband risk everything for orphans in Eastern Europe and Africa, they see God work again and again in impossible situations, especially in their own lives and marriage. They see God change them—even in their exhaustion, marital struggles, and physical limitations. They see the beauty of living out God’s dreams.




Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (January 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 143470212X
ISBN-13: 978-1434702128

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:



AT THE END OF ME


I stood at a precipice, a crag of rock in a parched, thirsty land that mirrored the condition of my heart. From where I stood, I looked down upon the riverbed that rendered the jagged cut reaching from the left corner of my mouth down to the bottom of my chin, and my right eye purplish black.


I recalled the day these marks came upon me and considered how many of the women I saw laboring in the current below who shared my experience. Fifty percent? Ninety percent? Had any woman been spared the hand-delivered scars of violence birthed in the tomb of this brutal, war-torn land?


Sickly cows wove around and between the women in the river. As the cows did their business in the water, some of the women bathed. Others washed rags they donned as clothing. Still others drew cans of drinking water from the soapy-feculent murkiness.


Taking stock of the last few months spent here at the border of Darfur, Sudan—the cusp of hell—I savored how God had knit these women into the fiber of my soul in ways that I’d never imagined possible back in the day of my corporate-ladder climbing. Love for them had changed my whole world. It had changed me. Now it was time for me to take what I’d been shown here back to my home in America with prayers that it, too, would be transformed.


My soul felt as restless and insecure as my feet did shuffling at the edge of the cliff.


A part of me felt so dark, lonely, and overwhelmed, I wanted to throw myself from the spire and be done with it. That would be the easy way, though, and my life had never seemed to be about finding the easy path. In fact, something in me seemed to like making life as difficult as possible.


A sprig of hope, a mite of faith encouraged me to stand down. Wait. Be expectant, but don’t jump. Pray. Help was surely around the corner.


Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) had promised to send someone to witness the persecution, rape, mutilation, and genocide I was documenting on the southern border of Darfur. Knowing it had taken me months of preparation, followed by endless fieldwork, to find and accurately record this data—information that I was still just beginning to comprehend—I didn’t see how I could possibly help the VOM rep to grasp it in just three days.


Sudan is the tenth-largest country in the world; the region of Darfur is the size of France. The southern half of Sudan has a grand total of about three miles of pavement. Darfur has none. The reality of war, insecurity, violence, and lack of infrastructure, combined with the fact that we had no vehicle to speed up our maneuvers, rendered the task of sufficiently covering the vast territory in such a short time frame all but impossible.


I’d taken it upon myself to take the time and risk of walking from village to village or riding our sole motorbike to the death camps, what I’d come to call the Internally Displaced People’s camps (IDP). I started calling IDPs death camps after my first visit over a year ago. Before that trip, the word camp always conjured an image of security, even if the conditions were rustic. Visiting one stripped me of my penchant for naivetĂ©, showing me thousands of people squatting in the desert with no food, water, or security—just waiting for death. For most, the wait wasn’t long.


I wanted to make sure I would be able to adequately expose the VOM rep to the same kind of reality. To do that, I would need transportation to cover vast amounts of ground more quickly than walking would allow.


Late yesterday a brainstorm hit me. We’d ride donkeys! James Lual Atak, our indigenous director, laughed at my kawaidja (rich white person) notions, calling me a Sudanese wannabe. But he humored me. Since the VOM rep would be here in just a few days, early this morning he’d brought several donkeys to our camp so we could test-ride them before the rep arrived.


Always ready for action, I was the first to climb on. An old man we called Peterdit held the end of the rope tied around the neck of my donkey, which I’d named Blue. The sharp ridge of spine rising from Blue’s bare back cut into me in all the wrong places, and I squirmed to make a seat for myself.


Peterdit kept overenunciating two Arabic words for me, one for stop and one for faster. As Blue reared up, alternately kicking his hind legs and then his front legs high into the air, he let me know he wasn’t happy about my squirming on his backside.


Blue’s outburst jerked the rope from Peterdit’s grasp. Blue set off toward the village, bucking like a horizontal kangaroo.


In my hysteria I could only summon up one of the two words Peterdit taught me. I screamed it as firmly as I could, “Harach! Harach! Harach!” over and over again trying to make Blue obey my limited grasp of the Arabic language: “Stop!”


My head thrashed back and forth, and I flopped to Blue’s side, squeezing my legs around his girth as tightly as I could, while clinging to the frayed rope now burning the palm of my hands as it ripped through my fingers. As I blitzed by, I caught a glimpse of James laughing uproariously from atop his donkey, his long legs conveniently reaching his feet flat to the desert floor. At the time, I found no humor in Blue’s fit, or my condition!


After my whirlwind tour of the village via Blue’s conniption, Peterdit boldly stepped into Blue’s path and grabbed the rope flinging freely in the air as I clung to Blue’s short tuft of mane. He yelled a word I did not recognize in such force that the beast calmed himself, and I fell to the ground. Although my body would yell its trauma to me through deep musculature aches for many days, my only serious injury was to my pride.


Apparently the one Arabic word I had been yelling was not the word “Stop!” but rather “Faster, faster, faster!”


The comedy of my barebacked-donkey ride at this morning’s sunrise seemed a millennium away, and a stark contrast to the bleakness of what followed. As waves of heat swelled from the desert floor, I wrote off the whole donkey deal as another one of my romantic inclinations, and James and I opted to walk, not ride, to the death camp.


While there may be few good days in a death camp, this one was particularly brutal. We’d been out of medicine for a month, out of food for a week, and today, we ran out of water. All of those life giving commodities were gone, except for the private stash we kept at our compound for James and me, the kawaidja.


Although at home in the United States, people often thought of me as a poor missionary, I was coming to understand and grapple with the fact that I was, in reality, wealthy for simple things like never running out of water.


Up to this point in my life, what had I chosen to do with my riches? Standing on that cliff, I painfully acknowledged how I’d squandered so much of what God had given me, most painfully my entire life. Many times throughout this journey, this awakening, I have come perilously close to throwing it all away.


Through God’s grace, I slowly stepped down from the precipice and began to face the end of the me I’d created for myself. I wanted to live the life—be the me—He dreamed of.


I remembered a prayer I’d cried out many years before, begging Him to use me. I wondered, if I’d known where that prayer would lead, would I still have prayed it? Deciding the answer was yes, I uttered a new prayer: “You can have whatever You want from me, but please, God, just show me what difference one person can make in the darkness of this broken world.”


The following is His story, as lived through me to this point.



NOTE: This looks amazing!! This just went on my wish list!

LONG TIME COMING - REVIEWED


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Long Time Coming
Abingdon Press (November 1, 2010)
by
Vanessa Miller

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Vanessa Miller of Dayton, Ohio, is a best-selling author, playwright, and motivational speaker. Her stage productions include: Get You Some Business, Don’t Turn Your Back on God, and Can’t You Hear Them Crying. Vanessa is currently in the process of turning the novels in the Rain Series into stage productions.


Vanessa has been writing since she was a young child. When she wasn’t writing poetry, short stories, stage plays and novels, reading great books consumed her free time. However, it wasn’t until she committed her life to the Lord in 1994 that she realized all gifts and anointing come from God. She then set out to write redemption stories that glorify God.

To date, Vanessa has completed the Rain and Storm Series. She is currently working on the Forsaken series, Second Chance at Love series and a single title, Long Time Coming. Vanessa believes that each book will touch readers across the country in a special way. It is, after all, her God-given destiny to write and produce plays and novels that bring deliverance to God’s people. These books have received rave reviews, winning Best Christian Fiction Awards and topping numerous Bestseller’s lists.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Two women from different worlds find hope together.


Faithful Christian Deidre Clark-Morris is a professional career-minded woman with a loving husband, but no children. Kenisha Smalls has lived in poverty all her life. She has three children by three different men and has just been diagnosed with inoperable cervical cancer.

While the meeting between these two women appears accidental, it becomes their catalyst of hope. Neither woman expects the blessing that God has in store for her. While Deidre will guide Kenisha on the path to eternal life with Jesus Christ, Kenisha will teach Deidre how to stand strong against the hard-knocks of life.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Long Time Coming, go HERE

Watch the book video:


 
REVIEW
LONG TIME COMING

By Vanessa Miller
Published by Abington Press
ISBN# 978-1-4267-0768-1
303 Pages

Back Cover: Faithful Christian Deidre Clark-Morris is a professional career-minded woman with a loving husband and beautiful home, but no children. Kenisha Smalls has lived in poverty her entire life and has three children by three different men. After learning that Kenisha has inoperable cervical cancer, the relationship between these two women becomes a catalyst of hope, leading them both to a place of redemption and healing.

Review: I’m thankful to have received a review copy of this bitter-sweet novel which reminded me of the Good Samaritan bible story. It’s also a book filled with the message of forgiveness, sacrifice and God’s love for us and others. The author quickly captures the readers’ attention and heart, while setting the tone of the novel from the beginning. “Twenty-three and played out. Like the words of a tired, old, blues song, Kenisha Smalls had been strung and rung out….and too young to give up.”

Deidre had a run in with Kenisha at the school she worked at when she was late to pick up her son. Deidre threatened to call social services. Deidre hated to see parents mistreat their children. They took them for granted and didn’t realize the precious gift they had. Kenisha clams up, Deidre has judged her and soon realizes that this woman wouldn’t believe the truth if she told it to her.

Deidre and her husband had tried for years to have children, but after seven years God had not blessed her womb. Was God punishing her? Deidre had a secret not even her husband, Johnson a military man who worked hard and loved the Lord, knew about. Could she tell her husband what she hid in her heart? Is that what God wanted?

Miller does a great job of setting the mood and placing readers into the skin of her characters:

Jumping in the shower, she allowed the hot water to assault her weary bones. As the steam filled the small bathroom, she wallowed in the horror story her life had become. What next? How much can happen to a person before the almighty decides it’s time to pick on someone else?

That’s how Kenisha sees God. He hadn’t been there for her when all the bad things happened, and He isn’t there now.

Deidre feels drawn to this woman and her family,”She had certainly learned that some of life’s journeys were simply too great for her, and she needed to lean on the Lord to get through them. Just as God had sent an angel to strengthen Elijah, Deirdre knew that her husband Johnson had been her angel, sent from heaven above. He had helped her move past the pain, and now she wanted to do the same for Kenisha.”

Deidre and Kenisha are the most unlikely people to become friends. It’s made possible after Deidre apologizes for judging her and wants to be there for her. Deidre says, “We all suffer from something, Kenisha. That’s a part of life-since evil has come into the world, God has no choice but to let things play out, so we can choose good over evil!...So, accepting good over evil is more like accepting God into your heart.” That was the first step.

I enjoyed the journey this novel took me on even though it had a predictable ending. There were many gold nuggets and fun moments along the way. I look forward to reading more of Vanessa Millers’ books.

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network
http://www.bookfun.org/

BK COVER of WEEK - SAVE THE DATE

BOOK COVER OF THE WEEK - SAVE THE DATE by JENNY B. JONES

I have to be honest with you this book cover did not grab my attention. I would never even picked up the book and looked inside. The cover didn't give me a feel for a story I'd like to read. It almost looks like something advertising a soap opera. I'm not a fan of soap operas. Stay with me here!! I really did like this book.

What did stop me in my tracks was the authors’ name. This cover made me hesitant to read this book for fear that Jenny B. Jones was writing in a different style I was used to. I dug in and read the first line of the prologue which was “It was a good night to get engaged.”

Then I read the first line of the back cover it said “you are invited to the most unlikely engagement of the year”. Ok, having read several of Jenny B. Jones’ books I was ready to bypass the front cover and read her new book. I’m thrilled that I did. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED. Did I mention that I LOVED this book? I really did.

After I read the book I started to talk to my customers about the GREATEST new book I had just read. Several of them were hesitant to even listen to me because of the cover. They thought it was some chick-lit book or a book written for teens that they couldn’t relate to. After I explained to them what was inside they bought it. My customers said that they would have never picked up the book had I not pointed it out to them and shared how much I LOVED this book. So, the moral of the story is Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Here’s My review. I HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book.

REVIEW:
Save the Date

By Jenny B Jones
Published by Thomas Nelson
ISBN# 978-1-59554-539-8
311 Pages


Back Cover: When Alex and Lucy pick out wedding invitations, they wonder if they can be printed in vanishing ink.

Former NFL star Alex Sinclair is a man who has it all--except the votes he needs to win his bid for Congress. Despite their mutual dislike, Alex makes Lucy a proposition: pose as his fiancée in return for the money she desperately needs. Bound to a man who isn't quite what he seems, Lucy will find her heart on the line--and maybe even her life. When God asks Alex and Lucy to scrap their playbook and follow his rules, will they finally say, "I do"?

Review: Main Character Lucy's best friend Morgan says, “Is this a private mental break down or can anyone join in?”

I choose to join in the fun and you will too when it comes to reading this and any one of Jenny B. Jones’s books. She has a gift of drawing the reader quickly into a world she’s created and has you sympathizing with her characters while learning a thing or two. I was so thankful for the review copy of such a brilliant book.

Lucy is the director of Saving Grace home for girls. Donations were down and time was running out on her lease. Alex is in the middle of a heated campaign and needed Lucy’s help with the election process. Alex saw Lucy had a passion for Saving Grace and had the potential to help him win the election.

“Alex, do you know what Saving Grace is? Did you know in our country wards of the state are considered adults at eighteen? As soon as they graduate high school, many of them are forced to leave the foster care system. They become instantly homeless. With little help, no life skills. The girls at the home have real hopes and dreams just like the rest of us if given a chance. Saving Grace is their chance."

Alex has a plan and a marriage proposition for Lucy. They could help each other. It would be strictly a business deal. It reminded me of The Princess Diaries, where Anne Hathaway learns she is next in line to the throne and starts Princess Lessons. Lucy is not studying to be a princess but she has to learn about political matters and who’s who to get along at social functions she attends without Alex. How would the doors stay open for her girls at the home? Could she even entertain Alex’s proposal? That was the question. Could she pull off what he was requesting? She’s despised Alex since high school. He knew what she thought about him. That he was one of those rich kids that could fix anything with money. She didn’t mingle with his kind. Alex had to convince her this could work, that he could do. There was a lot of work ahead and they both knew how much after Alex’s questioning, that went something like this:

“Lucy do you know anything about football?”

“You toss a ball around and throw people to the ground. What else is there to know?”

“….if we’re going to do this I think I should know everything about each other. Don’t you agree?

"I’ll send you a memo."

"No we’re going to have to get to know each other the old fashioned way. Talking . Spending time together. Texting.”

Oh, God help her, let the games begin! Alex seeks the help of Clare in educating Lucy in political matters and manners so she does well at campaign dinners and events. This reminded me of Julie Andrews trying to teach Anne Hathaway manners and policies of running a country. Hysterical!

No one can describe situations like Jenny or create characters you can totally relate to. Make sure you set aside time to enjoy every minute of this book. I think Save the Date is Jenny’s best novel she’s written so far. Not only will you laugh out-loud, have your heart hurt at certain parts, but the important message in the book will remind you that the only things worth living for are faith, family and friends. I highly recommend this book and will be doing just that to my book club.


Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network
 www.bookfun.org

ANGEL HARP REVIEWED



This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Angel Harp
FaithWords (January 26, 2011)
by
Michael Phillips




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Michael Phillips has been writing in the Christian marketplace for 30 years. All told, he has written, co-written, and edited some 110 books. Phillips and his wife live in the U.S., and make their second home in Scotland.






ABOUT THE BOOK


Widowed at 34, amateur harpist Marie "Angel" Buchan realizes at 40 that her life and dreams are slowly slipping away. A summer in Scotland turns out to offer far more than she ever imagined! Not only does the music of her harp capture the fancy of the small coastal village she visits, she is unexpectedly drawn into a love triangle involving the local curate and the local duke.

The boyhood friends have been estranged as adults because of their mutual love of another woman (now dead) some years before. History seems destined to repeat itself, with Marie in the thick of it. Her involvement in the lives of the two men, as well as in the community, leads to a range of exciting relationships and lands Marie in the center of the mystery of a long-unsolved local murder. Eventually she must make her decision: with whom will she cast the lot of her future?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Angel Harp, go HERE
 
REVIEW
 
ANGEL HARP

By Michael Phillips
Published by Faith Words
ISBN# 978-0-446-56771-8
464 Pages

Back Cover: Widowed at 34, amateur harpist Marie "Angel" Buchan realizes at 40, that her life and dreams are slowly slipping away. A summer in Scotland turns out to offer far more than she ever imagined! Not only does the music of her harp capture the fancy of the small coastal village she visits, she is unexpectedly drawn into a love triangle involving the local curate and the local duke.

The boyhood friends have been estranged as adults because of their mutual love of another woman (now dead) some years before. History seems destined to repeat itself, with Marie in the thick of it. Her involvement in the lives of the two men, as well as in the community, leads to a range of exciting relationships and lands Marie in the center of the mystery of a long-unsolved local murder. Eventually she must make her decision: with whom will she cast the lot of her future?

REVIEW: I devoured the Shenandoah Sisters series Michael Philips wrote, so I was anxious to receive a review copy of Angel Harp. I couldn’t wait to see the adventure Michael Phillips would take me on next. I love how this author develops his characters and lets the reader know them inside and out. I also enjoy how Michael, who has a second home in Scotland, was able to show the reader this country with fresh eyes. I was amazed at how he captured the innocence of experiencing this country for the first time. Michael is also gifted in how he writes believably from a female point of view. Marie is the main character I enjoyed getting to know and felt her struggle. The author let me know her from her deepest parts of heart and mind. Marie’s life’s been on hold since her husband died, and was going nowhere. As her birthday approaches she reflects on her life and decides to start living it. She didn’t want to give up on her dreams; she finally desired to make them happen. Marie realizes, “When you let your dream die...you don’t only lose the dream...you stop dreaming altogether.”

Marie sets out on her dream trip to Scotland. She gets off a bus in a small town that catches her eye and starts walking until she finds a place to spend the night, determined to set out on foot to discover the land and its people in the morning. She is also on a mission to find the perfect place to play her harp and be one with the land.

Marie plays her harp in a beautiful park and meets the most amazing girl named Gwendolyn. She’s 12 years old and is captivated by the harp Marie is playing. Gwendolyn is drawn to Maria and her music, but her aunt doesn’t want her to talk to strangers. Marie has experience teaching children to play the harp, so when Gwendolyn says she loves the music and the harp; Marie offers to instruct her on how to play. Marie gives the harp and a quick lesson to Gwendolyn and watches in amazement. She can’t believe her ears, it’s absolutely magical. She has never seen anyone play the harp like this without training, it was astounding.

Marie has a plan to stay in Scotland longer than she’d thought. She has a purpose. She wants to teach Gwendolyn play on her harp every day if she could. She wanted to bring joy into this girl’s life and watch her talents bloom and grow.

Marie then meets Pastor Iain Barclay. He hears her play the harp which gets them talking about spiritual matters and how music stirs the soul. Iain talks about a personal relationship with Jesus, something she knew nothing about. He tells her, "Life is a Journey, a quest for truth and understanding...God is in the business of waking people up. It’s all about finding truth, walking in integrity, becoming who we’re meant to be, discovering who God is. Those are the things that matter.”

Word gets around about Marie’s music and Alashdair, the Duke, requests her to play for him at the Castle. Alashdair says to her later, “Your music sparked something in me that I had not felt for many years, maybe that I had never felt…I thought I had never heard anything so lovely, so peaceful, so haunting…It made me both sad and happy at once…All these thoughts rushed though me in an instant. Your music forced me to confront myself…”

Maria’s love for music and her ability to express herself through music is a gift everyone in this small community wanted to be part of. Maria starts to feel alive and fall in love with this town and its' people - people who aren’t afraid to tell her what’s on their mind. Love always brings complications. Marie finds her life has taken an unbelievable turn playing for Duke’s in castles and also in a beautiful church setting. Maria must decide the direction her life should go and where she will spend it. She has tough choices and the reader feels her anguish and start rooting for her.

Once again I was whisked away into Michael Phillips world with a story that spoke to my spirit and touched my heart in so many ways. Michael knows relationships and how the power of God can move in peoples hearts like no one else can. This author has a way of describing music, how it moves the human spirit in a special way and can change lives like the spoken word can’t. I enjoyed the characters and their struggle. I loved the complexity of the situation and how God provides a way when there seems to be no way out. It was a treat to read this novel and get to know these unforgettable characters I grew to love and wanted to hang out with long after the book ended. I felt my soul refreshed. You will too.

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network
http://www.bookfun.org/

FREE EBOOKS THIS WEEK

I'm so thrilled by all these books that are available FREE from Amazon. Many I have shared before and they are still free, others are new. Some are Classics. Being a non-reader for so many years it's great to see I can play catch up on books people talk about at no cost to me.
Don't worry if you don't have a Kindle or E reader. I'm amazed at all the ways people can download and read books. You can take advantage of these freebies in a variety of ways. Simply download Amazon's Kindle for PC or smart phone software.

BEFORE YOU CLICK to down load CHECK to see if they are still FREE!! Some of these offeres might be gone before you've had a chance to down load them. FREE Offers sometimes change frequently, make sure that the book is still free before purchasing. It's really a pain to call and talk to a real person after you clicked. I know because it happened to me. I was on a roll clicking all these free books and then got snagged. I didn't realize it until AFTER I Clicked the button and saw the price Was Not Free!! So, CHECK IT OUT Before you click. Grin!



Chosen One
by Alister E. McGrath

The Light and the Legends
By Karen Hancock

Hollywood-Nobody-
by Lisa Samson

Adventures off Sherlock Holmes
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Author)

The Apothecarys Daughter
By Julie Klassen

Pride and Prejudice
By Jane Austin

The Justice Game
By Randy Singer

Happily Ever After
By Susan Warren

Just As I Am
By Virginia Smith

Alice in Wonderland
By Lewis Carroll

Fools Rush In
By Janice Thompson

Gulliver’s Travels
By Jonathan Swift

Invisible
By Lorena McCourtney

Little Women
By Louisa May Alcott

Made to Crave
By Lysa Terkeust

The Potluck Club
By Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson

Against All Odds
By Irene Hannon

Daughter of Joy
By Kathleen Morgan

Hide in Plain Sight
By Marta Perry

Stuck in the Middle
By Virginia Smith

Circle of Friends 25 Chocolate Chip Cook Book
By Goose Berry Patch

Jane Eyre
By Charlotte Bronte

Legends of King Arthur and his Knights
By Sir James Knowles

Sense and Sensibility
By Jane Austin

Grimms Fairy Talles
By Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm

House of Dark Shadows
By Robert Liparulo

Love on a Dime
By Cara Lynn James

Centurions Wife
By Janette Oke and Davis Bunn

Deeper Water
By Robert Whitlow

Starlighter
By Bryan Davis

Homespun Bride
By Jillian Hart

Relentless
By Robin Parrish



HAPPY READING!! Just think no more going to the library and late fees. Read at your own pace and own time!!

Blessings









Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network
http://www.bookfun.org/