BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

TRIPLE FEATURE TOUR - SUSAN MAY WARREN - REVIEWED



Point of No Return
By Susan May Warren
Published by
ISBN# 978-0-373-44424-3
216 Pages






Back Cover: 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?

REVIEW: I really enjoy books by Susan May Warren so I anxiously awaited the arrival of a review copy of this book. I was hooked from the first page of Point of No Return. I couldn’t believe Susan May Warren covered as much as she did in such a small book. The way Susan talks about Europe and the people was so up-close and personal. Because her family lived in Russia and were missionaries for several years, she brings the readers an insight and realism no one else can. Chet Stryker the main character wants to start a security business. Mae Lund wants to fly for Chets new company, but he won’t let her. He cares too much for Mae to send her on any dangerous mission. He won’t lose another person he cares about on his watch!

Because of his decision not to hire Mae Lund they separate and he struggles with having the right personal to take on the tough jobs. He accepts security jobs from rich people that want security at their children’s birthday parties. It’s not what he had envisioned his company to be doing, but he had to pay his bills.

Mae Lund gets news that her nephew needs help. His team went to Europe on a mission’s trip and he hasn’t returned. He’s reported missing. Chet Stryker is the last person on the planet she wants’ to ask for help but she’d do anything to find her nephew Josh! His life is in danger and her sister was coming unglued. Chet says he’s see what he can do. Mae can’t believe he’s so aloof. She’d get this thing done by herself.

Chet rethinks his position and his feelings for Mae. Maybe he can help Mae find Josh! He knew Mae would do this with or without him. She wasn’t afraid to do what needed to be done to get accomplish the goal of a mission. He knew she was born to fly and regretted not having her on his team, but how could he help?

I liked Susan’s not to the reader, “I love Chet because he struggled with his mistakes. Just like Jacob, who wrestled with God on his return to the place of his sins. (Gen 32) Chet wants to be forgiven, but doesn’t know how to hold onto grace. When God returns him to the land of failure, he sets Chet free, just as He did Jacob. God longs to help us hold onto grace and set us free, too!!”

This story captivated my mind and heart from the start. I was amazed at how much Susan packed into such a small book! Wow! What a great, powerful read! I highly recommend it!

Nora St.Laurent
The Book club Network www.bookfun.org
Finding Hope Through Fiction www.psalm516.blogspot.com






Mission Out of Control
By Susan May Warren
Published by Steeple Hill
ISBN# 978-0-373-44432-8
218 Pages





Back Cover: 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?

REVIEW: I enjoyed so many of Susan May Warrens books in the past I was excited to receive a review copy of this book. The main character Ronnie AKA Vonya reminded me a little of the T.V. show Hannah Montana where no one knows Miely Cyrus and Hannah Montana are one and the same. Ronnie does her best to keep her two lives separate until someone tries to kill her. Now her dad has hired a body guard to protect her on this singing tour.

I enjoyed this book and the authors note to the reader, “When doing a book signing or a women’s event, I have a way about myself that might not be the same gal you’d see on the other side of the computer, hidden away in my office. We all live “double lives,” based on what we want people to see and the things we’re trying to prove to ourselves. I took that premise and applied it wildly to Ronnie, AKA Vonya and Brody, who also wants to be seen as capable and not broken.”

I was pleasantly surprised Susan May Warren packed so much action, adventure, fun, laughter into such a small book! I loved the message interwoven throughout the pages of this novel. This book has it all! I highly recommend this book. It would make a great summer read!



UNDERCOVER PURSUIT

By Susan May Warren
Published by Love Inspired
ISBN# 978-0373444403
224 Pages

Product Description: 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 "fiancĂ©e" 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.

Review to follow!! I'm still finishing this one up!! It looks as good as the others!


Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org
Finding Hope Through Fiction www.psalm516.blogspot.com

FIRST TOUR - STORIES FROM GRANDMAS ATTIC - 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:

David C. Cook (April 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Arleta Richardson grew up in a Chicago hotel under her grandmother’s care. As they sat overlooking the shores of Lake Michigan, her grandmother shared memories of her childhood on a Michigan farm. These treasured family stories became the basis for the Grandma’s Attic Series.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Remember when you were a child, when the entire world was new, and the smallest object a thing of wonder? Arleta Richardson remembered: the funny wearable wire contraption hidden in the dusty attic, the century-old schoolchild’s slate that belonged to Grandma, an ancient trunk filled with quilt pieces—each with its own special story—and the button basket, a miracle of mysteries. But best of all she remembered her remarkable grandmother who made magic of all she touched, bringing the past alive as only a born storyteller could.

So step inside the attic of Richardson’s grandmother. These stories will keep you laughing while teaching you valuable lessons. These marvelous tales faithfully recalled for the delight of young and old alike are a touchstone to another day when life was simpler, perhaps richer, and when the treasures of family life and love were passed from generation to generation by a child’s questions and the legends that followed enlarged our faith. These timeless stories were originally released in 1974 and then revised in 1999. They are being re-released with new artwork that will appeal to a new generation of girls.


Product Details:

In Grandma's Attic:

List Price: $6.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (April 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781403790
ISBN-13: 978-0781403795

More Stories from Grandma's Attic:

List Price: $6.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; 3 edition (April 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9780781403801
ISBN-13: 978-0781403801
ASIN: 0781403804


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

In Grandma’s Attic – Chapter 1


Pride Goes Before a Fall

“Grandma, what is this?”


Grandma looked up from her work. “Good lands, child, where did you find that?”


“In the attic,” I replied. “What is it, Grandma?”


Grandma chuckled and answered, “That’s a hoop. The kind that ladies wore under their skirts when I was a little girl.”


“Did you ever wear one, Grandma?” I asked.


Grandma laughed. “Indeed I did,” she said. “In fact, I wore that very one.”


Here, I decided, must be a story. I pulled up the footstool and prepared to listen. Grandma looked at the old hoop fondly.


“I only wore it once,” she began. “But I kept it to remind me how painful pride can be.”


I was about eight years old when that hoop came into my life. For months I had been begging Ma to let me have a hoopskirt like the big girls wore. Of course that was out of the question. What would a little girl, not even out of calicoes, be doing with a hoopskirt? Nevertheless, I could envision myself walking haughtily to school with the hoopskirt and all the girls watching enviously as I took my seat in the front of the room.


This dream was shared by my best friend and seatmate, Sarah Jane. Together we spent many hours picturing ourselves as fashionable young ladies in ruffles and petticoats. But try as we would, we could not come up with a single plan for getting a hoopskirt of our very own.


Finally, one day in early spring, Sarah Jane met me at the school grounds with exciting news. An older cousin had come to their house to visit, and she had two old hoops that she didn’t want any longer. Sarah Jane and I could have them to play with, she said. Play with, indeed! Little did that cousin know that we didn’t want to play with them. Here was the answer to our dreams. All day, under cover of our books, Sarah Jane and I planned how we would wear those hoops to church on Sunday.


There was a small problem: How would I get that hoop into the house without Ma knowing about it? And how could either of us get out of the house with them on without anyone seeing us? It was finally decided that I would stop by Sarah Jane’s house on Sunday morning. We would have some excuse for walking to church, and after her family had left, we would put on our hoops and prepare to make a grand entrance at the church.


“Be sure to wear your fullest skirt,” Sarah Jane reminded me. “And be here early. They’re all sure to look at us this Sunday!”


If we had only known how true that would be! But of course, we were happily unaware of the disaster that lay ahead.


Sunday morning came at last, and I astonished my family by the speed with which I finished my chores and was ready to leave for church.


“I’m going with Sarah Jane this morning,” I announced, and set out quickly before anyone could protest.


All went according to plan. Sarah Jane’s family went on in the buggy, cautioning us to hurry and not be late for service. We did have a bit of trouble fastening the hoops around our waists and getting our skirts pulled down to cover them. But when we were finally ready, we agreed that there could not be two finer-looking young ladies in the county than us.


Quickly we set out for church, our hoopskirts swinging as we walked. Everyone had gone in when we arrived, so we were assured the grand entry we desired. Proudly, with small noses tipped up, we sauntered to the front of the church and took our seats.


Alas! No one had ever told us the hazards of sitting down in a hoopskirt without careful practice! The gasps we heard were not of admiration as we had anticipated—far from it! For when we sat down, those dreadful hoops flew straight up in the air! Our skirts covered our faces, and the startled minister was treated to the sight of two pairs of white pantalets and flying petticoats.


Sarah Jane and I were too startled to know how to disentangle ourselves, but our mothers were not. Ma quickly snatched me from the seat and marched me out the door.


The trip home was a silent one. My dread grew with each step. What terrible punishment would I receive at the hands of an embarrassed and upset parent? Although I didn’t dare look at her, I knew she was upset because she was shaking. It was to be many years before I learned that Ma was shaking from laughter, and not from anger!


Nevertheless, punishment was in order. My Sunday afternoon was spent with the big Bible and Pa’s concordance. My task was to copy each verse I could find that had to do with being proud. That day I was a sorry little girl who learned a lesson about pride going before a fall.


“And you were never proud again, Grandma?” I asked after she finished the story.


Grandma thought soberly for a moment. “Yes,” she replied. “I was proud again. Many times. It was not until I was a young lady and the Lord saved me that I had the pride taken from my heart. But many times when I am tempted to be proud, I remember that horrid hoopskirt and decide that a proud heart is an abomination to the Lord!”


***************************************

More Stories From Grandma’s Attic

Chapter 1


The Nuisance in Ma’s Kitchen

When Grandma called from the backyard, I knew I was in for it. She was using her would-you-look-at-this voice, which usually meant I was responsible for something.


“What, Grandma?” I asked once I reached the spot where she was hanging up the washing.


“Would you look at this?” she asked. “I just went into the kitchen for more clothespins and came back out to find this.”


I looked where she was pointing. One of my kittens had crawled into the clothes basket and lay sound asleep on a clean sheet.


“If you’re going to have kittens around the house, you’ll have to keep an eye on them. Otherwise leave them in the barn where they belong. It’s hard enough to wash sheets once without doing them over again.”


Grandma headed toward the house with the soiled sheet, and I took the kitten back to the barn. But I didn’t agree that it belonged there. I would much rather have had the whole family of kittens in the house with me. Later I mentioned this to Grandma.


“I know,” she said. “I felt the same way when I was your age. If it had been up to me, I would have moved every animal on the place into the house every time it rained or snowed.”


“Didn’t your folks let any pets in the house?” I asked.


“Most of our animals weren’t pets,” Grandma admitted. “But there were a few times when they were allowed in. If an animal needed special care, it stayed in the kitchen. I really enjoyed those times, especially if it was one I could help with.”


“Tell me about one,” I said, encouraging her to tell me another story about her childhood.


“I remember one cold spring,” she began, “when Pa came in from the barn carrying a tiny goat.”


“I’m not sure we can save this one.” Pa held the baby goat up for us to see. “The nanny had twins last night, and she’ll only let one come near her. I’m afraid this one’s almost gone.”


Ma agreed and hurried to find an old blanket and a box for a bed. She opened the oven door, put the box on it, and gently took the little goat and laid it on the blanket. It didn’t move at all. It just lay there, barely breathing.


“Oh, Ma,” I said. “Do you think it will live? Shouldn’t we give it something to eat?”


“It’s too weak to eat right now,” Ma replied. “Let it rest and get warm. Then we’ll try to feed it.”


Fortunately it was Saturday, and I didn’t have to go to school. I sat on the floor next to the oven and watched the goat. Sometimes it seemed as though it had stopped breathing, and I would call Ma to look.


“It’s still alive,” she assured me. “It just isn’t strong enough to move yet. You wait there and watch if you want to, but don’t call me again unless it opens its eyes.”


When Pa and my brothers came in for dinner, Reuben stopped and looked down at the tiny animal. “Doesn’t look like much, does it?”


I burst into tears. “It does so!” I howled. “It looks just fine! Ma says it’s going to open its eyes. Don’t discourage it!”


Reuben backed off in surprise, and Pa came over to comfort me. “Now, Reuben wasn’t trying to harm that goat. He just meant that it doesn’t … look like a whole lot.”


I started to cry again, and Ma tried to soothe me. “Crying isn’t going to help that goat one bit,” she said. “When it gets stronger, it will want something to eat. I’ll put some milk on to heat while we have dinner.”


I couldn’t leave my post long enough to go to the table, so Ma let me hold my plate in my lap. I ate dinner watching the goat. Suddenly it quivered and opened its mouth. “It’s moving, Ma!” I shouted. “You’d better bring the milk!”


Ma soaked a rag in the milk, and I held it while the little goat sucked it greedily. By the time it had fallen asleep again, I was convinced that it would be just fine.


And it was! By evening the little goat was standing on its wobbly legs and began to baa loudly for more to eat. “Pa, maybe you’d better bring its box into my room,” I suggested at bedtime.


“Whatever for?” Pa asked. “It will keep warm right here by the stove. We’ll look after it during the night. Don’t worry.”


“And we aren’t bringing your bed out here,” Ma added, anticipating my next suggestion. “You’ll have enough to do, watching that goat during the day.”


Of course Ma was right. As the goat got stronger, he began to look for things to do. At first he was content to grab anything within reach and pull it. Dish towels, apron strings, and tablecloth corners all fascinated him. I kept busy trying to move things out of his way.


From the beginning the little goat took a special liking to Ma, but she was not flattered. “I can’t move six inches in this kitchen without stumbling over that animal,” she sputtered. “He can be sound asleep in his box one minute and sitting on my feet the next. I don’t know how much longer I can tolerate him in here.”


As it turned out, it wasn’t much longer. The next Monday, Ma prepared to do the washing in the washtub Pa had placed on two chairs near the woodpile. Ma always soaked the clothes in cold water first, then transferred them to the boiler on the stove.


I was in my room when I heard her shouting, “Now you put that down! Come back here!”


I ran to the kitchen door and watched as the goat circled the table with one of Pa’s shirts in his mouth. Ma was right behind him, but he managed to stay a few feet ahead of her.


“Step on the shirt, Ma!” I shouted as I ran into the room. “Then he’ll have to stop!”


I started around the table the other way, hoping to head him off. But the goat seemed to realize that he was outnumbered, for he suddenly turned and ran toward the chairs that held the washtub.


“Oh, no!” Ma cried. “Not that way!”


But it was too late! Tub, water, and clothes splashed to the floor. The goat danced stiff-legged through the soggy mess with a surprised look on his face.


“That’s enough!” Ma said. “I’ve had all I need of that goat. Take him out and tie him in the yard, Mabel. Then bring me the mop, please.”


I knew better than to say anything, but I was worried about what would happen to the goat. If he couldn’t come back in the kitchen, where would he sleep?


Pa had the answer to that. “He’ll go to the barn tonight.”


“But, Pa,” I protested, “he’s too little to sleep in the barn. Besides, he’ll think we don’t like him anymore!”


“He’ll think right,” Ma said. “He’s a menace, and he’s not staying in my kitchen another day.”


“But I like him,” I replied. “I feel sorry for him out there alone. If he has to sleep in the barn, let me go out and sleep with him!”


My two brothers looked at me in amazement.


“You?” Roy exclaimed. “You won’t even walk past the barn after dark, let alone go in!”


Everyone knew he was right. I had never been very brave about going outside after dark. But I was more concerned about the little goat than I was about myself.


“I don’t care,” I said stubbornly. “He’ll be scared out there, and he’s littler than I am.”


Ma didn’t say anything, probably because she thought I’d change my mind before dark. But I didn’t. When Pa started for the barn that evening, I was ready to go with him. Ma saw that I was determined, so she brought me a blanket.


“You’d better wrap up in this,” she said. “The hay is warm, but it’s pretty scratchy.”


I took the blanket and followed Pa and the goat out to the barn. The more I thought about the long, dark night, the less it seemed like a good idea, but I wasn’t going to give in or admit that I was afraid.


Pa found a good place for me to sleep. “This is nice and soft and out of the draft. You’ll be fine here.”


I rolled up in the blanket, hugging the goat close to me as I watched Pa check the animals. The light from the lantern cast long, scary shadows through the barn, and I thought about asking Pa if he would stay with me. I knew better, though, and all too soon he was ready to leave.


“Good night, Mabel. Sleep well,” he said as he closed the barn door behind him. I doubted that I would sleep at all. If it hadn’t been for the goat and my brothers who would laugh at me, I would have returned to the house at once. Instead I closed my eyes tightly and began to say my prayers. In a few moments the barn door opened, and Reuben’s voice called to me.


“Mabel,” he said, “it’s just me.” He came over to where I lay, and I saw that he had a blanket under his arm. “I thought I’d sleep out here tonight too. I haven’t slept in the barn for a long time. You don’t mind, do you?”


“Oh, no. That’s fine.” I turned over and fell asleep at once.


When I awoke in the morning, the goat and Reuben were both gone. Soon I found the goat curled up by his mother.


“Will you be sleeping in the barn again tonight?” Ma asked me at breakfast.


“No, I don’t think so,” I said. “I’ll take care of the goat during the day, but I guess his mother can watch him at night.”


Grandma laughed at the memory. “After I grew up, I told Reuben how grateful I was that he came out to stay with me. I wonder how my family ever put up with all my foolishness.”


Grandma went back into the house, and I wandered out to the barn to see the little kittens. I decided I wouldn’t be brave enough to spend the night there even if I had a big brother to keep me company!


REVIEW TO FOLLOW: I've been really busy with book club this week. Last meeting today!! I'll post my Review of this book tomorrow. I REALLY ENJOYED these books. I wish I would have read them when I was a kid!!

Nora :D
The Book Club Network
www.bookfun.org

BOOK COVER OF WK -DENISE HILDRETH JONES' - THE FIRST GARDENER


I've just learned of a NEW RELEASE by DENISE HILDRETH JONES - I've read many of her books. She's made me laugh, cry and think about the deeper things in life. She's spoken at Finding Hope Book Club two times and both times we were captivated by her humor, honesty and zest for life. I do think this cover is interesting, simple and intriguing! Knowing Denise and her books I'm sure that this book won't disappoint. I can't wait for the adventure this author will take us on next.


The last book I read for Finding Hope Book Club was Hurricanes in Paradise. We loved all the colorful characters and the special bonding that too place preparing for the Hurricane in Paradise. Before that we read Will of Wisteria. Again another book we loved and talked in depth about! I'm sure that this book will take us on another fun adventure.


















Here is the BACK COVER BLURB: Jeremiah Williams has been tending the gardens of the Tennessee governor’s mansion for over twenty-five years. And like most first families who have come and gone, this one has stolen his heart.

Mackenzie and her husband, Governor Gray London, have struggled for ten years to have a child and are now enjoying a sweet season of life—anticipating the coming reelection and sending their precious daughter, Maddie, off to kindergarten—when a tragedy tears their world apart. As the entire state mourns, Mackenzie falls into a grief that threatens to swallow her whole.
 
Though his heart is also broken, Jeremiah realizes that his gift of gardening is about far more than pulling weeds and planting flowers. It’s about tending hearts as well. As he uses the tools that have been placed in his hands, he gently begins to cultivate the hard soil of Mackenzie’s heart, hoping to help her realize what it took him years to discover. 

A Southern tale of loss, love, and living, The First Gardner reminds us that all of life is a gift, but our heart is the most valuable gift of all.


Just wanted to give you a SNEAK PEEK into DENISE'S New Book THE FIRST GARDENER to be Released AUGUST 2011~~ I Can't Wait!!

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

FREE EBOOKS THIS WEEK - HURRY - GET THEM WHILE YOU CAN

This week some more exciting books FREE on Ebook. Remember to check to see if these books are still FREE BEFORE you buy them. Most of these books are available on NOOK and KINDLE!!

ALISON STROBEL'S NEW RELEASE!! Only good for a few days!! HURRY!!


THE HEART OF MEMORY by Alison Strobel




Crista Allen




Karen Kingsbury




C.J. Darlington




Nicole Young


A Few of these I've listed before. But the Top two are NEW!! Get them while you can!!

HAPPY READING!!

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

FIRST TOUR - THAT'S WHEN I TALK TO GOD - 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 authors are:


and the book:

David C. Cook (April 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:


Dan and Ali Morrow are parents of two wonderful daughters. When they’re not writing children’s books, they like to go on adventures around their Colorado home. They are the authors of That’s Where God Is (2010), their first children’s release.

Visit the authors' website.


ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:


Cory Godbey illustrates, animates, and writes for Portland Studios, a creative firm dedicated to telling great stories and pursuing excellence in art.

He has contributed to projects such as Zune Arts, Flight graphic novel anthologies, and has worked with many major publishers.

Recently, Cory was accepted in the acclaimed Society of Illustrators Annual.

Cory seeks to tell stories with his work.

He also likes drawing monsters.

Visit the illustrator'swebsite.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Targeted to children four to eight, That’s When I Talk to God mirrors the day of the typical child, creating an opportunity for readers to put the practices in the story to use in their own lives. Through beautiful illustrations and an engaging, familiar character, readers can relate to That’s When I Talk to God. Children will learn to go to God with their fears, their joys, their questions, and their desires. They will also learn the hows, whens, and whys of praying to the Lord in a way they can easily apply to their own experiences. And adults will be reminded to communicate the benefit, simplicity, and beauty of prayer.



Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 36 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook (April 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434700186
ISBN-13: 978-1434700186

AND NOW...THE FIRST FEW PAGES (Click on the pictures to enlarge them!):










REVIEW:
That's When I Talk to God
By: Dan and Ali Morrow
Published by:
ISBN#
 Pages


Review: I loved the last book in this series and couldn't wait for the review copy of this book so I could read the next book in the series. I loved the illustrations and the message of this book.It's non-threatening and makes the child think about the different ways she can talk to God. Not just in church or at meal time but throughout her day she can stop and talk to God- pray!

"You know we can pray to God anytime we want to right?...You can pray about anything, anywhere, and anytime."

The authors show that you don't have to wait until super time or bed time to pray to God. The other thing they bring up is how to talk to God and what about? The authors suggest through their main character talking to her mom that all she needed to do was look outside and thank God for making such a beautiful world. You can also tell him how much you love him. They give other practical situations where a little one (or anyone would just pray). I really like the practicability of the book and the innocence of it.

I also liked the way it challenged the child to think outside the box and incorporate God in every minute of our lives. This is a great teaching tool and a way of opening up conversation with your child or students about prayer and how and when we are to talk to God. I highly recommend this book!

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

CCS VIRTUAL -BLOG TOUR -GIVEAWAYS - PEOPLE OF THE BOOK

PEOPLE OF THE BOOK by Kathi Macias — 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO ENTER THE BOOK GIVEAWAYSCLICK HERE. Also, post a comment on this Christian speaker blog for a random book giveaway on May 2, 2011. Also check FACEBOOK for more details.



Watch the book trailer now!

Will God protect and keep them safe in the midst of persecution?
People of the Book

Farah lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with her family, and wants nothing more than to develop a deeper devotion to her Muslim faith. She sees the month of Ramadan as her chance to draw nearer to Allah, and pursues that goal. All goes well until the prophet Isa—Jesus—appears to her in a dream and calls her to Himself. Her brother, Kareem, who has never liked her, seeks to discredit her.

Farah’s cousin, an only child, frequents an online chat. She discovers former Muslims discussing their new belief that Isa is much more than a Muslim prophet—He is actually the Son of God. She becomes acquainted wit
h an American girl of Muslim ancestry—now a devout Christian—Sara. Sara has problems of her own due to her brother Emir’s suspicious behavior.

Each finds their faith put to the test. Will they be true to their beliefs? Will God protect them, or will they pay the ultimate price for their faith?



People of the Book is the fourth and final book in your Extreme Devotion series. Each book is set in a different country, with the theme of first devotion and commitment to Christ above all else running through all four. How is People of the Book different, and who/what inspired you to write this book?


People of the Book was the most difficult of the four Extreme Devotion series books to write, but it is also the strongest when it comes to a call to personal commitment to Christ and to the fulfillment of the Great Commission. With each of the books, I began drafting the manuscripts through Internet research, since I had never lived in any of the four countries and had only visited one of them. After the original draft, I worked with someone who either currently lived in the country or who had recently spent many years there. People of the Book was the toughest because the Saudi women I connected with via the Internet were understandably apprehensive about associating with me. Most, in fact, were terrified to do so. I was therefore quite pleased to meet a young woman named Dolly Dahdal here in the States who, until just a few years ago, had spent the majority of her life in Saudi Arabia and understood perfectly why I had chosen to write this book. We shared a passion to help expose the fallacy of “honor killings,” a horrific crime perpetrated primarily against women and girls who in some way bring “dishonor” on their Muslim families, and Dolly was a major contributor to the authenticity of this book.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of this story?


Eighteen-year-old Farah, who lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with her family, wants nothing more than to develop a deeper, more meaningful devotion to her Muslim faith. She sees the month of Ramadan as her chance to draw nearer to Allah, and she pursues that goal throughout the holiday. All goes well until the prophet Isa—Jesus—appears to her in a dream and calls her to Himself. At the same time, her only brother, Kareem, who has never liked Farah, actively seeks an opportunity to expose her for the sham he believes she is.

Meanwhile, Farah’s seventeen-year-old cousin, Nura, has begun to frequent an online chat room where former Muslims gather to discuss their new faith, based on their belief that Isa is much more than a Muslim prophet—He is actually the Son of God. While there, Nura becomes acquainted with an American girl of Muslim ancestry—now a devout Christian named Sara—and a friendship quickly develops. However, Sara has problems of her own due to her fifteen-year-old brother Emir’s involvement with a gang.
The lives of Farah, Nura, and Sara ultimately dovetail until each finds herself at a place where her faith is put to the test. Will they remain faithful to the end? Will God protect and keep them safe in the midst of persecution and treachery? Or will they be required to pay the ultimate price for their faith?

Kathi Macias
Kathi Macias BIO: Kathi is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 30 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and recently won the prestigious 2008 member of the year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) at the annual Golden Scrolls award banquet. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al, where the two of them spend their free time riding their Harley.

Kathi, how did you get into writing? Has it always been your passion, or is it something you came to later in life?


I’ve always wanted to write, for as long as I can remember. I was an avid reader even before I started kindergarten. I wrote a short story in third grade that the teacher liked so much she showed it to the principal, and they decided to turn it into a play for the entire PTA. I was hooked! One day when I was about 13, I was walking home from school with my then boyfriend (now husband), Al, and I told him I’d be a writer some day. He often reminds me how blessed I am to have been able to do what I dreamed of all my life.

I understand you’re running a special contest that has to do with this book. Can you tell us about it?


Not only are there several opportunities to win a copy of the book on various blog sites included in this tour, but I’m giving away the entire four-book series at the end of the tour to someone who leaves a comment on one of the blogs, so be sure to check them all out and leave comments on each one!

In addition to writing, you are a popular speaker at women’s event, writers’ conferences, and various venues around the country. How can people find out more about you, your writing and speaking, sign up for your weekly devotional newsletter (in English or Spanish), and/or just view your many book videos, etc.?


They can find me at one of my websites (http://www.kathimacias.com; http://www.theTitus2Women.com) or on my Easy Writer blog at http://kathieasywritermacias.blogspot.com. There is a “contact” button on my Kathi Macias website if they’d like to send me a message. I always respond to all my emails!

REVIEW:

PEOPLE OF THE BOOK
By Kathi Macias
Published by New Hope Publishers
ISBN#978-1596692824
320 Pages

Back Cover: Will God protect and keep them safe in the midst of persecution?
Farah lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with her family, and wants nothing more than to develop a deeper devotion to her Muslim faith. She sees the month of Ramadan as her chance to draw nearer to Allah, and pursues that goal. All goes well until the prophet Isa—Jesus—appears to her in a dream and calls her to Himself. Her brother, Kareem, who has never liked her, seeks to discredit her.

Farah’s cousin, an only child, frequents an online chat. She discovers former Muslims discussing their new belief that Isa is much more than a Muslim prophet—He is actually the Son of God. She becomes acquainted with an American girl of Muslim ancestry—now a devout Christian—Sara. Sara has problems of her own due to her brother Emir’s suspicious behavior.

Each finds their faith put to the test. Will they be true to their beliefs? Will God protect them, or will they pay the ultimate price for their faith?

Review: Kathi Macias shows readers how God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things all over the world, in her extreme devotion series. This author quickly captures the reader's attention and shows God’s love in action through the hard times her characters face. Since I’d read all the books in this series, I was anxious to receive a review copy of the last installment, The People of the Book, which focuses on teenage girls in Saudi Arabia.

Sara and Nura are teenagers who develop a friendship through an on-line chat room. Sara is a Christian living in America and Nura is a Muslim girl living in Saudi Arabia. Sara prays, witnesses to Nura and tells her where to read the bible on-line.

This is a haunting tale of young people facing tough choices from one corner of the globe to the other. My heart strings ached as I read of the dangers these Saudi women faced just for thinking about reading the bible and talking about God. The challenges these young girls encountered, captivated my thoughts. I contemplated their hardship, danger and courage they faced in order to take a stand for Christ in their country.

This author reminds the reader that many people don’t have the religious freedoms we enjoy here in America. As I read, I was compelled to pray for people like Nura and Farah, who are facing prison sentences and/or death for serving the one true God. Kathi reminds the reader that God’s word is alive, and it can touch the human heart and mind in very unique and real ways. I was reminded that God can do far more than we can even imagine through prayer and reading the bible...it’s powerful!

Kathi has an extraordinary gift of telling a compelling story that comes alive in the heart and mind of the reader. The constant tension between the characters and the dangers they faced, made this a page turner for me. These characters came alive...the call on their lives was authentic and the battle for their hearts and their minds real. I felt compassion for these teens as they struggled with their faith, hope and courage to seek the face of the Savior. They were also overwhelmed by the unconditional love God wanted to give them. Kathi Macias once again has skillfully penned a believable, captivating; mission minded novel...one that will stay in your heart and your mind. I know you’ll find yourself sharing this story with your friends. I can’t stop thinking about this story and the characters. I highly recommend The People of the Book.

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org
Finding Hope Through Fiction www.psalm516.blogspot.com

LOTS OF WINNERS - LOTS OF GREAT BOOKS

I've been so thrilled to be able to bring you so many wonderful books and introduce you to some authors I've really enjoyed. I've also loved their books. My hope is that you'll connect with many of them here and want to read their books.

THANKS to the authors for letting me get to know then and for them giving away their new books. I'm SO EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE THE WINNERS (who have all been contacted!)

1. Sibella Giorello gave away 4 copies of her older books in celebration of her new release The Mountains Bow Down. I gave away Two copies of The Clouds Rolled Away and Two copies of The River Runs Dry. Thanks Sibella for the opportunity to get to know you and your books. Thanks also for your generous give away!


CONGRATS TO THE FOLLOWING WINNERS OF SIBELLA'S BOOKS.

a. Judy K. Burg won The Clouds Rolled Away
b. Sylvia Miller won The Clouds Rolled Away
c. Amber French won The River Runs Dry
d. Linda Wagner won The River Runs Dry


2. ROBIN CAROLL - THE SHADOW OF EVIL
Thanks Robin for the opportunity to get to know you and your books. I'm thrilled that Finding Hope Book Club is reading your book Deliver Us From Evil at our book club.

CONGRATS to Rebecca Grover on winning a copy of Robin's book.

3. KIMBERELY & KAYLA WOODHOUSE - NO SAFE HAVEN
THANKS Kimberley and Kayla for the opportunity to get to know you and your books. I was fascinated to read about your writing journey. I'm also looking forward to your next book Race Against Time.

CONGRATS to Charolotte Saltzman on winning a copy of Kimberley and Kayla's book.

4.RONIE KENDIG - DIGITALIS
Thanks Ronie for the opportunity to get to know you and your books. I really have enjoyed this series so far. I can't wait to read more.

CONGRATS to Carmen Boley on winning a copy of this exciting book.



5. SHANE SUTHERLAND - I DARE YOU
Shane I've known you for years and delighted to tell others about your new book. I know this was a tough one to write but a work to rejoice in. Thanks for this opportunity to get to know you and your family better. I'm excited to see what God is doing with your faithfulness to write this book.

CONGRATS - Ann Miller on winning a signed copy of Shane's new book.

BOOK SIGNING AT LIFE WAY MALL OF GA STORE APRIL 23rd - Call the store for details. 770-831-7707 SHANE SUTHERLAND will be at the store signing and selling copies of her new book. I DARE YOU.

I'd love for you to meet Shane and have her sign a copy of her new book for you!

WOW, what a Month!! I'm THRILLED to announce all these winners. I'll be having more contests!

I'm in the closing days of a FIVE book give away. BESIDE STILL WATERS by Tricia Goyer. It's her new Amish series based on a true story.



CLICK THIS LINK http://psalm516.blogspot.com/2011/04/giveaway-5-beside-still-waters-tricia.html  to leave a comment about the interview for your name to be put in the hat!!

BLESSINGS to you all!! Thanks for stopping by and encouraging these authors!!

Until Next Time!!

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

FIRST WILD CARD TOUR - DIAGNOSIS DEATH - RICHARD L. MABRY - 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:

Abingdon Press (April 2011)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Richard L. Mabry, MD, is a retired physician and medical school professor who achieved worldwide recognition as a writer, speaker, and teacher before turning his talents to non-medical writing after his retirement. His first novel, Code Blue, was published by Abingdon in the Spring of 2010, followed by Medical Error that fall. He is also the author of one non-fiction book, and his inspirational pieces have appeared in numerous periodicals. He and his wife, Kay, live in North Texas.

Visit the author's website and blog blog.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Removing life support can be a killer!

When her comatose husband died in the ICU while on life support, the whispers about Dr. Elena Gardner began. They were stronger after another patient died in ICU. After she took up practice in a small town, the whispers turned to a shout: “mercy killer.”

Then there were the midnight phone calls that started after her husband’s death. Who was the woman who sobbed out, “I know what you did?” And how could Elena stop the calls that tortured her?

Two physicians, widowers themselves, tell Elena they know what she is going through. But do they? And is it safe to trust either of them?

What was the dark secret that kept Elena’s lips sealed when she should be defending herself? Would what she did in her husband’s ICU room turn out to be a prescription for trouble?


Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press (April 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1426710216
ISBN-13: 978-1426710216

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:



Prologue


She stood by his bedside and waited for him to die.

Outside the room, the machines and monitors of the ICU hummed and beeped, doctors and nurses went about their business, and the hospital smell—equal parts antiseptic and despair—hung heavy in the air.

With one decisive move she flipped the switch of the respirator and stilled the machine’s rhythmic chuffing. In the silence that followed, she imagined she could hear his heartbeat fade away.

She kissed him and exhaled what passed for a prayer, her lips barely moving as she asked for peace and forgiveness—for him and for her.

She stood for a moment with her head bowed, contemplating the enormity of her action. Then she pocketed the empty syringe from the bedside table and tiptoed out of the room.





1

Dr. Elena Gardner approached her apartment as she had every night for six months—filled with emptiness and dread. The feeling grew with each step, and by the time she put the key in the door, fear enveloped her like a shroud. Some nights it was all she could do to put her foot over the threshold. This was one of those nights.

She turned the key and pushed open the door. The dark shadows reached out at her like a boogeyman from her childhood. The utter stillness magnified every sound in the old apartment, turning creaking boards into the footsteps of an unknown enemy.

She flipped on the light and watched the shadows turn into familiar surroundings. Even though the thermostat was set at a comfortable temperature, she shivered a bit.

Elena dropped her backpack by the door and collapsed into the one comfortable chair in the living room. The TV remote was in its usual place on the table beside her. She punched the set into life, paying no attention to what was on. Didn’t matter. Just something to drown out the silence, something to remind her that there was life outside these four walls. That somewhere there were people who could laugh and joke and have fun. Somewhere.

She sighed and picked up the phone. She should call David.

He’d been firm about it. “Call me anytime, but especially when you get home at night. That’s the toughest time. It’s when the memories butt heads with the ‘what-ifs.’”

She dialed the number. Maybe she should put him on her speed dial. But that implied there wouldn’t be an end to this soon. And she wasn’t ready to think about that.

“Hey, Elena.” Although Dr. David Merritt—a resident physician in one of the busiest obstetrics programs in the Southwest—was surely as tired as she was, his voice sounded fresh, almost cheery. “What’s up?”

“Oh, you know. Just needed to hear a friendly voice.”

“Glad to oblige. How was your day?”

That was one of the things Elena missed most. Now that Mark was gone, there was no one to share her day. “Not too bad until I was about to check out. The EMT’s brought in a thirty-two-year-old woman, comatose from a massive intracranial hemorrhage. The neurosurgeons rushed her to surgery, but––”

She knew David could guess the rest. He cleared his throat. “Did that…was it tough to take?”

Elena started to make some remark about it not bothering her. But that wasn’t true. And she knew David wanted the truth. “Yeah. Not while it was happening. Then I was pretty much on automatic pilot. But afterward, I almost had a meltdown.”

“It’ll get better.”

“I hope so.”

“Any more phone calls?”

Elena felt goose bumps pop up on her arms. “Not yet. But it’s Tuesday, so I expect one later tonight.”

“Why don’t you call the police?”

“What, and tell them that for four weeks I’ve answered the phone every Tuesday at midnight and heard a woman sobbing, then a hang-up? That’s not a police matter.”

“And you—”

“I know what they’ll ask. Caller ID? ‘Anonymous.’ Star 69? ‘Subscriber has blocked this service.’ Then they’ll tell me to change my number. Well, this one’s unlisted, but that doesn’t seem to matter. How much trouble would it be for whoever’s calling to get the new one?”

David’s exhalation was like a gentle wind. “Well, let me know if there’s anything I can do.”

“You’ve done plenty already. You know, after Mark died, I had a lot of people fuss over me for about three days, but you’re the only one who’s stayed with it. Why?”

His silence made her think she’d asked an embarrassing question. People didn’t go out of their way to be nice the way David had with no thought of something in return. Did they?

“Elena, I’ve been where you are,” David said. “Oh, I know. A spouse divorcing you isn’t the same as one dying, but a lot of the feelings are the same. I mean, when I saw my wife and little girl pull away from the house for the last time, I wanted to lie down and die.”

She knew exactly what he was talking about. “That’s me. I wanted to crawl into the coffin with Mark. At that point, my life was over.”

“But I got past it,” David said. “Oh, I didn’t ‘heal.’ You don’t get back to where you were, but you learn to move on. And when Carol sent me the invitation to her wedding, it broke my heart, but it helped me realize that part of my life was over. Anyway, I made up my mind to use what I’d learned to help other people. And that’s what I’m doing.”

Elena sniffled. “Sorry.” She pulled a tissue from her pocket and dabbed at her eyes. “That’s another thing. I feel like tears are always right there, ready to come anytime.”

“That’s normal. Let them out.”

They talked for a few minutes more before Elena ended the conversation. She wandered into the kitchen, opened the refrigerator and looked in without seeing the contents. She wasn’t hungry. Since Mark’s death she’d lost twelve pounds off a frame that had little to spare. Maybe she should patent the process. “Sure-fire weight loss guaranteed. Withdraw life support and let your husband die. If you don’t lose weight, double your money back.”

Her lips drew back in what started as a hesitant smile but turned into a grimace of pain. She dissolved into tears.

Elena wasn’t sure how long she sat at the kitchen table with her head cradled in her arms before the ring of the phone roused her. She looked at her watch. A little after nine—too early for her midnight caller. Had the routine changed?

She shuffled back to the living room. When she checked the caller ID, she felt some of her tension subside. Dr. Helen Bennett represented the only ray of sunshine in Elena’s dark landscape right now.

“Hello?”

“Elena, did I wake you?”

“No, not really. Just starting to unwind. What’s up?”

“We need to talk.”

That didn’t sound promising. “Wow, that sounds like what I used to tell boys in college before breaking up with them. What’s going on?”

“I’d rather do this face to face. Why don’t we have breakfast tomorrow morning? I usually make rounds at six-thirty. Can you meet me in the St. Paul Hospital staff cafeteria at six? We can talk then.”

Elena hung up with a growing sense of unease. Mark’s death had plunged her into a dark abyss. The only glimmer of hope for a future had been Dr. Helen Bennett’s offer to join her practice. The opportunity to work alongside a woman who was one of the most respected family practitioners in the community, a doctor Elena had admired since her days in medical school, seemed like a gift from above. Was that about to be taken from her?

The evening dragged on as Elena worried about the problem like a kitten with a ball of yarn. Finally, she ate some peanut butter and crackers, forced down a glass of milk. She’d shower in the morning. Right now, she just wanted to crawl into bed.

Sleep was elusive as a glob of mercury. She picked up the book from her bedside table and tried to read, but the words blurred on the page. Finally, she closed the book, turned out the light, and tried to sleep. Instead, she watched the red numerals on her bedside clock change: 10:00, 10:40, 11:15.

She was tossing in a restless slumber when she heard the ring of the phone. The clock showed 12:05 as Elena reached for the receiver. Her left hand clutched the covers tighter around her as her right lifted the phone and brought it to her ear.

At first there was silence. Maybe this was simply a wrong number. Maybe the calls had stopped.

No, there it was. Sobbing. Starting softly, then rising to a crescendo. A woman’s voice—a husky alto, like a lounge singer in a smoky, second-rate club.

“Who is this?” Elena said.

No answer. Only sobbing.

“What do you want?” Elena’s voice rose to a shriek.

A click. Then silence.

Elena stabbed blindly at the phone’s “end” button, finally hitting it as an electronic voice began, “If you’d like to make a call—”

She turned on the bedside lamp and stared at the cheap lithograph on the opposite wall. In it, a young man and woman were walking through a field of flowers. They looked so happy. Like she and Mark had been.

But he was gone, and she’d never be happy again. Ever.

She reached for the light, but withdrew her hand. No, leave it burning. Elena burrowed deeply under the covers, the way she used to do as a child after hearing a ghost story. She closed her eyes and watched the images march across her brain: endless days spent at the bedside of a living corpse, Mark’s casket disappearing into the ground, a faceless woman at some shadowy location sobbing into a phone.

As the sound of those sobs echoed through Elena’s mind, that image of a face from her past came into focus. Was that who was calling? If so, there was nothing Elena could do. She’d simply suffer . . . because she deserved it.

* * *

Elena slapped at the snooze button on her alarm clock. Why was it buzzing already? Then she remembered—her breakfast with Dr. Bennett. What had Helen meant by, “We need to talk?”

Her stomach did a flip-flop, and she tasted a bitter mix of peanut butter and bile. Maybe some coffee would help.

Elena padded to the kitchen and reached into the cabinet, wishing she’d had the foresight to make coffee before going to bed last night. The weight of the canister told her before she removed the lid—empty. She filled a glass at the sink and drank the contents, hoping to at least wash the bad taste from her mouth.

A quick shower brought her a bit more awake. Now for hair and makeup. Elena had always taken pride in her resemblance to her mother, a beautiful woman with dark, Latina looks. But long days at the hospital followed by sleepless nights took their toll.

There were dark circles under her eyes, the brown irises surrounded by a network of red. A few drops of Visine, and she looked less like the survivor of an all-night drinking spree. She’d cover the circles with a little make-up and hope Dr. Bennett didn’t notice.

Elena ran her hands through her long, black hair. She needed a haircut, needed it in the worst way. But there was neither time nor money for that right now. She’d pull it into the always-utilitarian ponytail she’d favored more and more lately.

Dressed, her backpack slung over one shoulder, her purse over the other, she stepped through the door into the early morning darkness, in no way ready to face the day. It was bad already. She hoped it wouldn’t get worse.

* * *

The ride in the elevator was three floors up, but Elena’s stomach felt as though she was in a free fall. She didn’t have to do this today. When Helen Bennett called, she should have put this visit on “hold.” But something told her she needed to get it out of the way.

The elevator doors slid open, and the scene before her made memories scroll across her mind like a filmstrip unwinding. The waiting area of the ICU at Zale University Hospital was quiet at 5:30 a.m. The television set high on the far wall flickered with silent images as closed captions of the local news crawled across the bottom of the screen. An older man huddled in a chair near the “Staff Only” door, glancing every few seconds toward that portal as though Gabriel himself were about to come through it with news of his loved one.

Elena knew the feeling. For two weeks, she’d spent much of every day in this same waiting room. The rest of the time, the minutes not spent snatching a quick bite in the cafeteria or hurrying home for a shower and change of clothes, were spent at her husband’s bedside, holding his hand and listening to the even rhythm of the respirator that kept him alive. Her heart bled for the old man and for every other person who’d ever sat in this room.

Elena was pleased when her final training assignment took her away from Zale, the place where her life fell apart. St. Paul Hospital was less than half a mile away, but she welcomed every foot of that buffer. When she walked out of Zale for the last time, she silently vowed never to return.

Now she was back, and she still wasn’t sure of her reason. Was it to add the books from the box balanced on her hip to the dog-eared paperbacks next to the volunteer’s desk? Or was it to show she had the courage to revisit the scene of the most terrible two weeks of her life? No matter, she was here. She clenched her jaw and forced her feet to move.

“Dr. Gardner. What are you doing here?”

Elena looked up at the nurse emerging from the elevator. The woman’s name tickled at the periphery of Elena’s memory like a loose hair. What was it?

“Oh. You startled me.”

“Sorry. What brings you back here?”

Elena held up a handful of books and shoved them into the bookcase. “These are some of Mark’s––” Her throat closed up and words left her. With an effort, she began again. “I was going through some of Mark’s things and thought these might help the people in the waiting room pass the time.”

The nurse moved closer and Elena sneaked a look at her nametag. Karri Lawson. Of course. How could she forget Karri? The pretty brunette had been the nurse responsible for Mark’s care almost the entire time he was in the ICU. In fact Karri had been Mark’s nurse the day––. Elena shook her head. Don’t go there. Don’t go back.

If Karri noticed Elena’s discomfort, she made no mention of it. Instead, she gave Elena a brief hug. “I haven’t seen you since…since that day. I’m sorry for your loss.” She made a gesture toward the closed doors leading to the ICU. “We all are.”

Elena had heard “sorry for your loss” so many times, it was almost meaningless. Her response was automatic. “Thank you.”

“Would you like to come in and see the other staff?” Karri looked at her watch. “The day shift isn’t here yet, but there may be some nurses you remember from when…from your time here.”

“I don’t think so.” Elena reached out and touched Karri on the shoulder. “I have a meeting. But tell everyone hello for me. Tell them I said, ‘thanks.’”

* * *

“The coffee here is surprisingly good,” Elena said. “Everyone always says that hospital food, especially hospital coffee, is terrible.”

“I agree,” Helen Bennett said. “I wish my receptionist could make coffee like this. She’s a jewel, but in fifteen years with me she’s never learned to make coffee that doesn’t taste like it’s brewed from homogenized tire treads.”

“Don’t be too hard on her, Helen. I’m looking forward to working with her. And with you, of course.”

Helen placed her mug on the table as carefully as an astronaut docking the space shuttle. “Well, that’s what we need to talk about.” She looked around to make sure there was no one within earshot. Around them, the cafeteria was filled with bleary-eyed residents, medical students, and nurses, but no one seemed interested in the conversation at their table. “I’m afraid you’re not going to be working with my receptionist, or my nurse, or me.”

“What—”

Helen stemmed Elena’s words with an upraised hand. “Let me give you the whole story. Then I can answer questions if you have any—assuming you’re still speaking to me by then.”

The hollow feeling in Elena’s stomach intensified.

“I’ve been in private practice for fifteen years, going it alone. There aren’t many of us left in solo situations, but I’ve held out. I’ve managed to get other doctors in various groups to share call with me, but lately that’s been somewhere between difficult and impossible.”

“I know. That’s why you wanted to bring me into the practice,” Elena said.

“True, but that’s changed. The Lincoln Clinic has approached me to join their family practice section. Actually, they want me to head it. They’ve made me a great offer. Not just the money, although that’s good. The whole package seems tailor-made for me. I’ll be supervising six other doctors, and I’ll be exempt from night call. A great retirement plan and benefits.” Helen looked down at the tabletop. “I couldn’t turn it down.”

Elena’s mind scrambled for a solution. The ship was sinking, and she grabbed for something to keep her afloat. “So, why don’t I take over your practice? I can buy you out. I mean, I won’t have the money right way, but I can pay you over several years. It’ll be sort of like an annuity for you.”

Helen was already shaking her head. “No, one part of the deal was that I bring my patients with me. The clinic will hire both my receptionist and nurse, and give them a good package as well. They’ll even buy my equipment from me. I’ve already terminated the office lease. I’m moving out in ninety days.”

Elena forced back the tears she felt forming. “Helen, do you realize what this does to me?”

“I know. I just—”

“No.” Elena worked to keep her voice level. “You don’t know. You don’t know how I’ve struggled to get through my residency after Mark’s death. You have no idea what it meant to me to have a practice waiting for me. No need to lease space, to remodel and buy equipment. No waiting to build up a practice. There’d be a guaranteed income and a chance to pay off a mountain of debt.”

“Elena—”

Elena shook her head. “I finish my residency in less than a month. Thirty days! Now you’ve pulled the rug out from under me. I have four weeks to find a way to do the only thing I know how to do—practice medicine.” She turned her back to Helen, thinking that Helen had done the same thing to her. “No, I realize this is good for you, but I don’t think you really know the effect it has on me.”

“Elena, I had to do this. Once you get over the shock, you’ll think about it and agree. But listen, I’m not going to leave you hanging.”

Elena turned back to face the woman who’d been her mentor, the friend who was now betraying her. “What do you mean?”

“The clinic gave me a very short deadline to accept or reject their offer. I only made my final decision this weekend. But the second call I made, after the one to the clinic administrator, was to your chair, Dr. Amy Gross. She and I are both putting out feelers for a place you can practice.” Helen reached across the table and patted Elena’s shoulder. “We know how hard this past three months have been on you. We worry about you. And believe me, we won’t abandon you now. God has something out there for you. Trust Him.”

Elena drained the last of the coffee from her cup. When she set it down, she knocked her fork off the table. The dull clank of silverware on vinyl floor was barely audible over the low hum of voices that filled the cafeteria. “Trust God? I don’t think so. I trusted Him when Mark lay there fighting for his life, but it didn’t seem to do any good.”

“I know. But He’s still in control.”

Elena shook her head, while one more hobgoblin joined those already dancing in her brain.



***NOTE*** I've read Medical Error by this author and really enjoyed it on so many levels. I look forward to reading this book. Finding Hope Book Club is reading this book as their book club feature for November. We all can't wait to talk to Richard L. Mabry M.D. I also can't wait to read this book too!!

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