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FIRST TOUR - YESTERDAY'S TOMORROW - REVIEWED

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:

OakTara (March 15, 2011)
***Special thanks to Catherine West for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Educated in Bermuda, England and Canada, Catherine holds a degree in English from the University of Toronto. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. Catherine and her husband live on the beautiful island of Bermuda, with their two college-aged children. Catherine is a member of Romance Writers of America, and American Christian Fiction Writers, and is a founding member of International Christian Fiction Writers. Catherine’s debut novel Yesterday’s Tomorrow, will release in 2011, through Oak Tara Publishers.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Independent, career-driven journalist Kristin Taylor wants two things: to honor her father's memory by becoming an award-winning overseas correspondent and to keep tabs on her only brother, Teddy, who signed up for the war against their mother's wishes. Brilliant photographer Luke Maddox, silent and brooding, exudes mystery. Kristin is convinced he's hiding something.

Willing to risk it all for what they believe in, Kristin and Luke engage in their own tumultuous battle until, in an unexpected twist, they’re forced to work together. Ambushed by love, they must decide whether or not to set aside their own private agendas for the hope of tomorrow that has captured their hearts.



Product Details:

List Price: $18.95
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: OakTara (March 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 160290278X
ISBN-13: 978-1602902787

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

     Prologue

February 1954

Didn’t they know they were shouting so loud the neighbors could hear?

     Kristin Taylor huddled in bed, drew her knees to her chest and clapped her hands over her ears. Through the thin wall she heard Daddy’s voice rise and Mom burst into tears. It was past ten o’clock. She was supposed to be asleep, but they woke her. Kristin gritted her teeth and began to hum her favorite song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

     A moment of peace settled over the brownstone apartment. Kristin smiled and wiped her eyes. It worked every time, even if she couldn’t hit the high notes.

     Dad started yelling again. She groaned, pulled the covers over her head and squeezed her eyes shut. They were going to be a while.

     Something smashed against the other side of her wall and shattered. More yells. No way to sleep with this racket going on. She sat up and turned on her bedside table lamp.

     Kristin hopped off her bed and pushed her arms through the sleeves of her thick flannel robe. Cold air chased her as she quick-stepped across the faded rug to her dresser. She ran her fingers along the stack of books squashed between two hand-carved wooden bookends. The frayed bindings of Heidi, Jane Eyre, Great Expectations and Pride and Prejudice and the Bible she’d received at her confirmation shared space with all the Agatha Christie novels Kristin could get her hands on. Every once in a while Mom came in to clean, found them, and threatened to throw them out, but Daddy wouldn’t let her.

     “The child has an inquisitive mind, Val. We should encourage that.”

     “And you do a fine job,” Mom retaliated. “She’s only twelve years old! She should be reading something more…genteel…what’s wrong with The Brontë sisters?”

     Kristin remembered the Ian Fleming book hidden under her bed and grinned. Dad snuck it in to her room a couple of nights ago. She’d start it now. Hopefully she could finish the whole story before Mom got her hands on it.

     Her eyes landed on the silver framed black-and-white image of Daddy getting his Pulitzer two years ago. They said he was probably the youngest journalist to ever receive the award. She should be proud. She was, but Mom didn’t seem so happy about it. Everyone wanted Daddy to go all over the world now.

     As their shouts died down again, she heard the distinct sound of drawers being pulled open and slammed shut. So, he was leaving. Her stomach tightened but she ignored disappointment and tried to imagine her father’s exciting world beyond their brownstone apartment. As she waited to see if they’d start up again, a faint cry reached her ears.

     Teddy.

     Kristin crept down the hall to her brother’s room. The lamp on the dresser shed a soft glow over Teddy’s round face. He sat up in his bed, fists curled into balls held against his chest. His eyes were scrunched tight—as if that would make it stop. He opened one eye as she entered the room, probably afraid she’d make fun of him for being a crybaby.

     Not tonight. Tonight she wanted to cry too.

     She skipped over Lincoln logs and Tinkertoys and scrambled up onto the bed beside him, eager to get her cold feet under the covers. “Scooch over.”

     Teddy’s bottom lip quivered but he made a supreme effort to stop crying, and shifted his small frame to give her room in the twin bed. She put an arm around his trembling shoulders and squeezed.

     He let out a long sigh matching her own. “Is…Daddy…gonna leave again?”

     Hot tears pricked her eyes and told her she wasn’t so brave after all. But she couldn’t give in. Teddy needed her. Later, Mom probably would too.

       “I don’t know. I heard them talking earlier. His editor wants to send him to Vietnam.”

     “Vietnam?” Teddy looked up at her, fresh tears pooling. “Where’s that?”

     Kristin rolled her eyes but guilt nudged off impatience. He was only ten for crying out loud. Well, almost ten. She couldn’t expect him to know everything. “Some place far away.”

     “Why do they want him to go there?”

       “Because the French and the Vietnamese are fighting a big war and they want him to check it out.” Because their Dad was the best war correspondent that ever lived. Kristin ran her tongue over her bottom lip. “He has to go talk to some important people and write a story about it.”

     Teddy shook his head and tugged on his blanket. “Why can’t somebody else do it? I want Dad to stay here. Tomorrow’s my birthday. We’re going to the ice rink, remember?”

     “Yeah. I remember.”

     He shivered and leaned against her shoulder. “But he’ll come back, right?”

     Kristin screwed up her nose. Couldn’t he figure something out for himself for once?

     “Kris?”

     “What?”

     “He’ll come back, right? And then we’ll go skating?”

     She tried to smile but her heart pounded too fast. “Of course he’s coming back. He always comes back, dummy.”

     “You promise?”

     She hesitated a moment. What if Dad didn’t come back? What would they do then? “I promise. Now can you go back to sleep? It’s getting late.”

     Mom and Dad were yelling again. Their voices seemed louder, closer. Kristin scrambled off Teddy’s bed and went to the door. She poked her head out in time to see her parents brush past her. Daddy held a suitcase in one hand, his battered leather briefcase in the other. And his coat was slung over one arm. Would he go without saying goodbye?

     Kristin glanced back at Teddy, about to tell him to stay put, but her brother was already behind her, standing barefoot in blue cotton pajamas.

     She grabbed his hand. “Come on.”

     With Teddy squeezing her fingers so hard she thought he might pull them off, she ran down the stairs and drew up short at the entrance to the living room. The French doors were open. Teddy slammed into her and jumped back with a yelp. Mom and Dad turned their way.

     Mom let out a little cry and shook her head, then put her mad face on. “What are you doing out of bed?”

     “We couldn’t sleep.” Kristin pushed hair out of her eyes and stuck out her chin. “You were making a lot of noise.”

     Mom threw up her hands and huffed as she sank onto the couch. Kristin couldn’t remember ever seeing her wear her hair down, but tonight it fell around her cheeks and curled on her shoulders. She would have looked pretty if her face wasn’t so red and her eyes all puffy.

     “I would’ve woken them anyway, Val.” Dad’s voice was gruff, but he didn’t sound angry anymore.

     Mom glared at Dad, pulled at the belt around her green woolen dress and kicked off her high heels. “All yours then, Mac.”

     Dad set his bags down and released a sigh from somewhere deep inside. His lips stretched apart in a feeble attempt at a smile. Dark circles lined his brown eyes and stubble covered his jaw. He looked from her to Teddy as if he didn’t know what to say.

     The air suddenly got sucked out of the room, like someone untying the knot of a balloon. Kristin shook her head and yanked the sash of her robe as tight as it would go. Dad dropped to one knee in front of them and held out both arms. “Come here.”

     Teddy ran to him. She knew he would. And he’d probably start blubbering again. Kristin folded her arms and pushed her toes into the rug. The goodbyes were the worst part. Try as she might, in the end she never could keep from crying.

     Dad concentrated on Teddy. Her brother always believed everything.

     She stood there, like playing statues in gym class, listening while Dad gave his excuses. Teddy would be satisfied with promises of season tickets to the Red Sox and a long train-ride from South Station to Grand Central and back, but she didn’t need bribes. She understood his job. Sort of.

     Kristin blinked through her tears as her brother threw his arms around Dad’s neck and hugged him tight. Then Mom took Teddy by the hand and led him back upstairs.

     Kristin shifted, her feet like ice. She should have put on her slippers. Dad’s knees creaked as he rose and made his way toward her. He reached for her hand but she tightened her arms. A tear escaped and rolled off down her cheek. Kristin lowered her head.

     “Oh, Kris.” Dad knelt before her. His hands warmed her arms through the sleeves of her robe. “Sweetheart, look at me.”

     Kristin slowly raised her chin until she made eye contact. “Sorry.”

     He lifted an eyebrow. “What do you have to be sorry for?”

     She shrugged, but couldn’t think of a thing.

     Kristin noticed for the first time a few streaks of gray in his hair. His white starched shirt sat open at the collar, his thin black tie slightly askew. Dad’s eyes were bright, sad. His mouth lifted in a grin as he wiped a tear from her cheek with the base of his thumb. When she sniffed, moisture shot up her nose. She gave a small involuntary shiver.

       “Are you going to Vietnam to write about the war?”

     His mouth twitched, like he was surprised she was so smart. Then something chased off the sad look and he smiled. “You’re going to make a fine journalist one day, young lady.”

     Kristin raised her shoulders again and pushed out her bottom lip. “Mom won’t let me.”

     “Sure she will. By then you’ll be all grown up. Making your own decisions. Leaving your old man in the dust.”

     “We could write stories together,” she offered. “Taylor and Taylor.” Her grin faltered as she watched his eyes moisten. Kristin sucked in a breath. Dad never cried.

     He pulled her to him and rested his lips against her forehead for a moment. “Sounds good to me.” He sat back on his heels, solemn. “Look after your brother.”

     “I always do.”

     “And don’t fight with your Mom.”

     Kristin looked down, studying the scuffs on his normally shiny shoes.

       “Kristin?”

     “Okay. I won’t.” She met his eyes again and the lump in her throat got bigger. Her skin prickled. He’d left before. Lots of times. But this felt different. “You’re coming back, right?”

     His face cracked in a funny sort of smile. “Of course I am. But you’ll pray for me, every night, just like always?”

     “Yeah.” She tried to smile back. “God will keep you safe, Dad. He always does.”  Kristin rested her head against his shoulder as he hugged her. She inhaled by habit. Tobacco and coffee mingled with the cologne he always wore. She could never remember the name of it, but they got a bottle for his birthday every year. He said he didn’t mind, but maybe this year they should do something different.

     A flash of headlights chased dust across the room. Dad stood, his smile gone. “There’s my cab.”

     Mom came forward and Dad took her in his arms.

     “I’m sorry,” they whispered at the same time. Mom stepped back, rested her palm flat against Dad’s face. Her cheeks were streaked with tears. His hand came over hers and their eyes met as he pulled her closer and kissed her, a long kiss that seemed to go on forever. Kristin almost felt she shouldn’t be watching. But she was glad she was.

     “Why does it have to be tonight?” Mom asked.

     Dad shrugged, tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear. “War doesn’t wait on birthdays, Valerie.” Dad pulled on his coat, gave Mom a final kiss and picked up his bags. “I’ll call when I can.” He turned to Kristin. “Bye, kiddo. I love you.”

     The little girl in her wanted to run back into her father’s arms and beg him not to go. But she wasn’t a little girl. She would turn thirteen this year. “Bye, Dad. Love you, too.”

     Mom walked with him to the door. Kristin raced to the window at the front of the room, pressed her nose against the cold glass and watched him get into the waiting cab.

      A light snow swirled around the soft yellow glow of the streetlamp outside their building. Maybe it would storm and his flight wouldn’t be able to leave Boston. Kristin pushed harder against the windowpane. It wouldn’t matter. He’d get another one. His job was very important. More important than anything else.

     Even them.

     The taxi pulled out onto the deserted street and Kristin squinted through the window. Her breath made it fog up and she wiped furiously, seeing Dad raise a hand in her direction. She waved back just in time before he drove away.












     “The past cannot be erased, nor forgotten. Flash photography; hellish images carved into our minds, emblazoned in our hearts forever. Golden threads hold yesterday together and form the foundations for tomorrow.

But what of today?”


Kristin Taylor - Yesterday’s Tomorrow: Vietnam – My Story. 1974.



     Chapter One

February 1967, Saigon, Vietnam.

Kristin shuffled along in the line of travel-weary passengers as they exited the plane. She blinked as her eyes adjusted to the daylight, shook off sleep and gripped the handrail of the metal steps. When her shoes hit the tarmac of Tan Son Nhut airport, her hand went to the intricately carved cross that hung around her neck. She rubbed the thick gold between her thumb and forefinger and took in her surroundings.

     The early morning sun’s rays jack-knifed off the tarred surface. A stifling heat sliced through her sneakers, raced through her and smothered her in its welcoming embrace.

     Teddy was right. It was hotter than hell.

     The pungent smell of gasoline flooded her senses and stung her eyes. Kristin pulled on dark sunglasses, tried not to breathe too deeply and looked down the runway. She stepped aside to let others pass as she surveyed the area, the slow thumping of her heart picking up its pace as she began taking mental notes.

     Aircraft of varying description lined the blacktop. Everything seemed larger in real life, from helicopters to small fighter jets to the Pan American Boeing 707 that had brought her here. Gray, green and brown flying machines blended together in an impressive show of US military power.

     It was impossible to imagine jumping aboard any of them. Or jumping out.

     Army personnel moved smoothly around the aircrafts, refueling and working on engines. Rows of enlisted men lined up to board a larger plane also being loaded with cargo. Soldiers sweating in the heat heaved supplies on to the plane’s cave-like interior. Commanding Officers barked like dogs to be heard over the noise as they rounded up their companies. She scanned the groups of soldiers and searched their faces. Some looked anxious, their eyes shifty even as their bodies remained stiff, while others seemed impassive, stone-faced and resolute as they stood between the world they knew and a world gone crazy.

     During a lull in the activity on the tarmac, a low rumbling somewhere off in the distance reached her ears. Her throat tightened as she turned toward the outline of mountains beyond the airstrip.

     The sound of war needed no introduction.

     Kristin caught up with the rest of the arrivals and moved along through Immigration, then pushed through the crowded airport to retrieve her bag. Vietnamese men and women dressed in colorful pajama-like clothing darted in and out of the maze of olive-green and khaki uniforms. Strong scents of heady perfume, spicy tobacco and rancid body odor made a tactile assault on her already queasy stomach.

     Her eyes tracked the Vietnamese signage while her ears captured the quickly spoken foreign tongue on every side of her. Relief cheered her on as she spied the doors that led out of the airport. She put her passport back into the green canvas knapsack on her shoulder and headed for the exit. Her eyes began to water as her body revolted against her present surroundings. She didn’t have a clue what lay beyond those doors, but she needed air.

     The four journalists she met on the flight stood outside on the pavement and she nodded their way. They’d been in Hong Kong for R&R and had been quite happy to chat with her. Their stories fascinated her. Scared her a little, although she wouldn’t admit it. The Frenchman’s tales seemed a bit too dramatic. He wore a teasing look the whole time. Caroline, the only female in the group, hailed from England. She worked for a small newspaper that Kristin had never heard of.

     Kristin confessed she wasn’t working for anyone. Yet. This didn’t seem to bother them and they gave her plenty of tips on how to find work.

     “Ah, Kristin, chèrie.” There was an odd comfort at the sound of her name being called in the midst of this foreign chaos. The Frenchman, Jean Luc, lumbered over, carrying two large cases. “Have you got your stuff?”

     “This is it.” She tugged on a beat-up brown duffel bag. It weighed a ton thanks to her typewriter. But she refused to leave that baby at home. Sweat formed on her brow and a drop rolled down the side of her face.

     “You have got a place to stay, oui?”

     Kristin swiped sweat out of her eyes. “No, actually, I don’t.” This adventure slowly inched out of her control. “It’s okay. I’ll find a place.”

     Jean Luc took a step back and hissed out air. “Oy.” His suitcases hit the ground with a thud and he ran a hand through his slick black shoulder-length hair. A sudden image of him tooling around Provence on a Peugeot made her smile. “Let me talk to my friend.” He put two fingers in his mouth and let out a shrill whistle aimed at the group gathered on the far side of the terminal building. “Caroline, sweetie, a minute please…”

     The English girl looked their way. Jean Luc pulled a faded red bandana from the chest pocket of his Safari shirt and wiped his brow as he pointed a finger at Kristin. “You don’t move, oui?”

     “Oui.” Not moving sounded pretty good.

     He met Caroline halfway and they engaged in a lively debate. She was fluent in French apparently, hand motions and all. Kristin let her bag slide off her shoulder and positioned herself on the top of one of Jean Luc’s large leather cases. Maybe quitting her job at The Daily and hopping a plane to Vietnam wasn’t the smartest thing she’d ever done. But, despite the sheer exhaustion and more than a little trepidation tailing her, it was arguably the most exciting.

      Kristin glanced at her watch and calculated the time back in Boston.

     Mom would be pacing the living room, holding the letter Kristin left for her or ripping it up. Either way, the next time they saw each other would not be cool.

     The worst of it was that her mother actually agreed with Kristin’s chauvinist pig of an editor. Former editor.

     Vietnam was no place for a woman.

     And then she’d pulled the old religious guilt trip. Had Kristin prayed about it? How did she know it was God’s will for her to go to halfway around the world, into a war zone no less?

     What a joke. God didn’t care one way or another. She’d stopped consulting him a long time ago—the day they got the news that Dad had been killed in Vietnam.

     Kristin pulled her hair into a ponytail, sweat stinging her eyes. She longed for a cold drink and a few hours of uninterrupted sleep, but refused to allow her mind to go there. She needed a plan, a way to get out beyond the city and do what she’d come here to do. Report on the war. Find the truth, whatever it was.

     And tell it to anyone who would listen.

     Jean Luc returned, his sizeable schnozz glowing like Rudolph’s. “Okay. We have got a plan.”

     Caroline stood beside him, a tall leggy blonde with a face so flawless she could be a model, but the wariness in her eyes betrayed the confident smile. “Jean Luc says you need a place to stay.”

     Kristin nodded. “That’s right.”

     The Grace Kelly lookalike raised a thin eyebrow, lit a cigarette and blew smoke over Kristin’s head. “My roomie’s gone back to New Zealand. It’s a one-bedroom flat, two beds, small kitchen and bathroom, a block away from The Caravelle, a hotel where a lot of the press guys stay. I’m in and out of the city. It’s not The Ritz, but if you’re interested…”

     Interested was an understatement. But her savings would last a month or two at best until she got work. “Um. How much…I…”

     Caroline smiled. “Oh, that’s right. You don’t have a job, do you…what was your name again?” She ground her half-smoked cigarette onto the pavement with the heel of her boot, taking along Kristin’s last shred of hope.

     “Kristin Taylor.” She pushed herself to a standing position. Although they were probably around the same age, Caroline gave off an air of superiority she hadn’t picked up on earlier. She crossed her arms and shook off insecurity. “I plan to get work as a stringer. I’ll have the money.” For all she knew, the woman could be psychotic. Kristin ran her tongue over dry lips. The alternative was…well, there wasn’t one.

     “You know you’ll need press credentials if you want to get anywhere outside the city. I’m sure something will come up though. Listen, why don’t you go have a look at the place? I’ve got to get to a meeting with my boss, but here…” Caroline foraged in her shoulder bag and came up with a notepad and pen. She scribbled, then handed over a piece of paper.

     Kristin squinted at the barely legible writing. “Thanks, where—”

     “Righto, I’ve got to run. Oh, here’s the key, but the apartment should be unlocked. Madame Dupont, my landlady, does laundry for me. She always forgets to lock the door. Just ignore the mess.  I’ll stop by the flat later and we can chat. Cheerio.” Caroline marched off to rejoin her comrades, leaving Kristin to suck air in her perfumed wake.

     Jean Luc clapped his big hands together. “Voilà! We can share a cab, oui?”

     “Sure. As long as you know where I’m going.” Kristin picked up her bag and allowed a smile. She had a place to stay. Next, a job.

     The drive to the apartment building in Saigon turned in to an interminable journey of stopping and starting. The odors inside the beat up blue Renault taxi were almost worse than the airport. Jean Luc grinned and pinched his nose. Kristin leaned a little closer to the open window, seriously wondering about body hygiene in this country.

     Men, women and children jostled for space along narrow sidewalks. Peddlers in brightly colored tunics and trousers and large conical shaped hats bowed under the weight of a wooden bar balanced across their shoulders on which a straw basket hung from each side. Avocados piled high in some, while other baskets held bright oranges and some other fruit she didn’t recognize.

     Her own heavy duffel bag no longer seemed significant.

     Tall trees lined the city sidewalks, their lush branches giving much needed shade from the blistering sun. It was odd to see these massive trees in the city, but then again, she hadn’t known what to expect. They passed rows of concrete buildings, some almost comparable to what she’d left back in Boston, but no skyscrapers. The architecture, especially the churches and the larger houses, appeared French in design, which made sense given the country’s history. The painted shades of blue, peach, pink and yellow put on a happy façade.

     She snapped a few photos as they drove. It was tempting to pretend she was merely a tourist on vacation. But this was Vietnam. A place of death—the place her father died—the place where countless others fought for freedom out there beyond the confines of the city. At this very instant men were losing their lives.

     Tomorrow she hoped to be taking very different pictures.

     As they veered off onto smaller side streets, shops of every description almost sat on top of each other. Striped awnings overhung many of them. They passed a large market where she spotted fruit and vegetable stalls and…oh... Kristin covered her mouth with her hand. What was that?

     “You don’t eat from there. Ever.” Jean Luc pointed at the hanging animal carcasses and made a horrible face.

     Kristin looked beyond the vile sight and shook her head. “Thanks for the tip, Jean Luc.”

     As they drove further along, burnt out shops and dilapidated structures here and there revealed the ravages of war, and its toll on the city. She turned to him, spider legs crawling up her spine. “I thought Saigon was relatively safe.” Her palms were moist against the ripped leather seat of the cab.

     The Frenchman grinned and lit a cigarette. “What is relative, chèrie?”

     Kristin nodded. “You’re right.” No wimping out. She’d come here to do a job, once she got one, to cover the war. Of course it would have been much easier if her Dan the Pig had just given her that chance. Instead, they’d chosen to send Joe Hines, twice her age and overweight. Joe wouldn’t last a week here.

     Kristin stared out the window again. The number of vehicles on the roads startled her. Cars, military jeeps and trucks jammed every bit of the asphalt. Pedal-bikes and motorcycles zipped on by, weaving in and out of the traffic. Gasoline fumes took fresh air prisoner and made breathing a chore. The cab inched along until there was a break in the traffic.

     Men pushing pedicabs ran along the side of the road. Kristin flinched each time they passed one, thinking the cab would surely hit it, and send the runner and his passengers flying.

     Heat emanated through her pores. She hated the cold, but hadn’t anticipated the oppression of this sauna-like atmosphere. She should listen to her brother more often. Her fingers slipped into the pocket of her jeans and felt for the thin envelope, his last letter to her before she’d left the United States. She wiped sweat from her brow and frowned. He hadn’t revealed his location of course, but she knew he was a combat medic. He could be anywhere. Hopefully she’d find out where and be able to get in touch. After leaving Mom in her wigged-out state, being able to tell her Teddy was alive and well would be the least she could do.

     The cab pulled up outside a large white five-story building with a rounded front. The words Hotel Caravelle in large black lettering teetered at the top of the building.

     “This is me.” Jean Luc gathered his gear and grasped her hand. “Later, chèrie. Come for a drink, okay?”
“Cool. Thanks.” Kristin watched her only friend in Vietnam disappear through the glass doors of the hotel and fiddled with the cross around her neck. Suddenly she was back in junior high on the first day of a new school, riding the bus for the first time. Alone.

     About ten minutes later, the cab shuddered to a stop. Kristin squinted up at the three-storey building in front of her. Distinctly French in architecture, pink paint crumbled in places where the cement had shifted. Two sorry-looking potted palm trees sat sentry on either side of a weathered wooden door. A small brass nameplate read: La Maison Dupont.

     Good enough. She paid her driver and made her way inside, entered a small living room area and glanced around. There wasn’t much to see. The worn wallpaper looked like it had once been pink. A tattered Persian rug curled at the edges lay on the floor in front of the reception desk. Two faded rose-patterned easy chairs were positioned in front of a fireplace. Kristin almost laughed at the sight as sweat dripped down her back.

     She peered over a raised wooden desk into a miniscule office. “Hello? Madame Dupont?” Nobody answered except a black cat that jumped down from the counter and prowled around her legs. Kristin cringed and moved aside. “Stay out of my way, cat, and we’ll get along just fine.”

     She called out again but the place appeared deserted. The smell from the full ashtray on the counter tickled her nose but jogged a sudden memory of her father and served up a fresh shot of courage.

      Kristin turned toward the only set of stairs in view. Caroline said her flat was on the second floor, first door on the left. She heaved her bag to her other shoulder and went to the darkened stairway, pushing thoughts of Psycho from her mind.

     The stairs creaked under her. A thin carpet runner proved more of a hindrance, bare in spots and easy to trip over. Nails stuck out of the wood and slowed her down as she picked her way over them. At the top, a long dark hallway stretched out into blackness. Where was the light? Two bare bulbs hung from the ceiling. Finding the switch, she flicked it upward. Nothing.

     Kristin squinted at Caroline’s instructions in the semi-darkness. Even if she could see the writing, she probably couldn’t read it. She stumbled toward the door on the left. Tried the knob and sure enough, it was open.

     She found the switch on the wall and thankfully this time the overhead light came on. Kristin let out a low whistle. This was more than just the mess Caroline had warned her about. A hurricane had ripped through the small apartment. That, or her new roommate was a total slob.

     She stepped over piles of clothes and magazines. A large pair of muddy combat boots sat in one corner near the door. She didn’t bother to pull up the blinds as she poked through the boxy rooms—a tiny kitchen and one bedroom with two twin beds. She dumped her bag and looked around. One bed was unmade, sheets tangled every which way. The second bed was covered in a light mauve bedspread, what looked to be freshly folded sheets sitting on the single pillow. Heaven.

     The battered-looking dresser was cluttered with newspapers, camera film and notebooks. A cramped bathroom tiled in white lay off the bedroom. A shower just big enough for one thin person, a cast iron claw-foot tub and toilet took up most of the space. She didn’t dare pull back the shower curtain. Towels lay strewn across the floor. Judging by the musty smell that filled the room, they’d been there a while. But the small circular tiles on the wall sparkled and coaxed a smile. Perhaps she could just live in the bathroom.

     Thirst scratched her throat as she retraced her steps to the kitchen. Her hand shook as she turned the tap. It squeaked and sputtered, then spat out a slow stream of water. Kristin frowned at the brown tinge. She washed her hands but decided not to drink it. She’d have to boil water to keep in the fridge. Assuming there was one.

     A brief scan of the room revealed a cubic four by four, almost hidden behind the door. Bits of rust showed through the white paint. She pulled the handle, opened the door and quickly shut it again, gagging as the odor of sour milk reached her nose.

     Back in the living room Kristin surveyed the mess. Ear-splitting honks from the street below startled her. Closing the window would be out of the question. An upward glance showed her a ceiling fan, and she tugged the cord. The groan and shudder it gave made her jump out of range, but the blades began to move and warm air circled around her. Better than nothing.

     Kristin went back into the bedroom, her muscles aching. Maybe she could take a nap while she waited for Caroline to show up. She stretched her arms over her head and yawned. The empty bed looked inviting. Another yawn overtook her. And suddenly sleep was the only thing that made sense.

                ~

     Luke Maddox entered his apartment, chucked his duffel bag across the living room and shuddered as a yawn escaped him. Jonno sauntered in after him.

     “Holy cow, what happened in here? Looks like a tornado hit the place, man.”

     Luke ignored his friend’s observations and made for the kitchen. He yanked on the rusted fridge door, scanned the contents and quickly stepped back. Whatever he’d left in there had died a slow and painful death. Moldy cheese, maybe. Combined with milk—yellow milk, and…well, he didn’t know what that was. Something green and slimy, definitely not edible. Only a jug of boiled water hiding on the bottom shelf remained safe. Madame came in to refill it every morning.

     He shut the door and let out the breath he’d been holding. “There’s no grub. I haven’t been home in a while. Sorry.” He returned to the living room to find Jonno already stretched out on the couch.

     “Too tired to eat anyway. I’m just gonna…sleep.” Jonno turned on his side, pulled an issue of Time from under his head and dropped the magazine to the floor.

     “Okay.” Luke pushed his fingers through his hair and frowned. Dirt was embedded in his pores. He knew if he looked in the mirror his face would be covered in the red soil they’d ripped over for half the night. He’d shower and get some sleep too.

     If he could shut his mind off long enough.

     He clenched his jaw and strode over to the window, pulled the camera strap over his head and set the Nikon down on the round table. Photographs covered almost the entire wooden surface. He poked at the black and white prints with a grimy finger.

     Glancing over his shoulder, Luke saw Jonno’s eyes flutter closed. He turned back to the table, pushed the pictures out of the way and retrieved a small leather wallet hidden beneath them. He never took it with him. Couldn’t risk losing it.

     He flipped it open and allowed his eyes to rest on the familiar smiling images. Melissa’s two year-old cheeky grin tugged at his heart. The dull ache in his chest returned.

     “Y’all get any good shots yesterday?” Jonno’s Southern drawl drifted across the room.

     A smile inched up one corner of Luke’s mouth and he pushed the wallet back under the other pictures. “Thought you were asleep.”

     Silence. Another yawn from Jonno.

     “Luke?”

     “What?” He placed his palms flat on the table and drew in a breath. He blinked a couple of times. Couldn’t remember when he’d last slept.

     “Do you ever wonder if…if it’s the right thing to do?”

     Luke pulled at the collar of his damp t-shirt and squared his shoulders. It wasn’t that he couldn’t answer the question. He did answer it, every day, each time he went back out there and stepped into hell. But lately his answers weren’t as consistent as they used to be.

     His pulse throbbed through a tendon in his jaw and he rubbed the bruised spot. He couldn’t bring himself to turn around. “I can have you transferred to somebody else. Just say the word.”

     “Nah.” Jonno grunted. “Don’t sweat it. I’m cool.”

     “Okay. Sleep. I’m going to shower.”

                                   ~

     Kristin stirred from deep slumber. Still in her jeans and t-shirt, she glanced around the darkened room, getting her bearings. She stretched her arms above her head and yawned. Then bolted upright.

     ‘You’re listing to Armed Forces Radio, Vietnam. Current time is 9.0.0. We’re looking for a high of ninety-eight degrees today, folks. Now, here’s a little Rolling Stones to get you going this fine morning. ‘It’s Not Easy’. You all stay safe out there…’

     The radio. Kristin ran a hand down her face and let out her breath. Caroline must have

arrived. Male laughter filtered through the closed door. And brought some friends back with her.

     She worked the kinks out of her neck, pushed herself off the bed and wandered barefoot across the threadbare carpet out into the next room.

     “Don’t move.”

     Kristin jumped back and stared down the barrel of a small pistol.




YESTERDAY’S TOMORROW
By Catherine West
Publisher: Oaktara Publisher
ISBN# 978-1-60290-2778-7
314 Pages

Back Cover: She's after the story that might get her the Pulitzer. He's determined to keep his secrets to himself. Vietnam, 1967. Independent, career-driven journalist Kristin Taylor wants two things: to honor her father's memory by becoming an award-winning overseas correspondent and to keep tabs on her only brother, Teddy, who signed up for the war against their mother's wishes. Brilliant photographer Luke Maddox, silent and brooding, exudes mystery. Kristin is convinced he's hiding something. Willing to risk it all for what they believe in, Kristin and Luke engage in their own tumultuous battle until, in an unexpected twist, they're forced to work together. Ambushed by love, they must decide whether or not to set aside their own private agendas for the hope of tomorrow that has captured their hearts. 

Review: I loved the cover of this book. It helped to set the tone for what to expect inside! I was thankful for the review copy and the opportunity to read such a gripping, emotional book.

Catherine West pens an honest portrayal of how disturbing the Vietnam War was for everyone. What happened there, the challenges they faced and how the soldiers were treated so horribly when they came home.

Main character Kristin Taylor is young and was passionate about being the best reporter in Vietnam, which wouldn’t be easy in a male dominated field. She was compelled to complete the mission her father died trying to complete.

She partnered up with Luke Maddox, who was a photographer per her bosses’ request. This guy got under her skin. Who did he think he was bossing her around – They were equal partners last time she checked?

Kristin tells her partner, “Luke this war has gone on so long that nobody back home seems bothered by what’s going on over here…I don’t think they have a clue what it’s really like for the guys on the front lines. Neither do the people who think we should be here. The whole country is caught up in a political quagmire. If you support the war, you’re accepting the death of countless men in the name of freedom; if you protest against it you’re a peace-loving hippie in bed with the communists.”

Kristen found conditions rough and wanted to be safe. She learned to survive and had a sarcastic wit about her. Things were crazy, but she found herself drawn to her partner. That was the craziest thing of all- she fought it on many levels. Luke was an amazing photographer but could he be trusted? She was becoming tough and street wise, and wondered who she could rely on? She knew she definitely couldn’t depend on God!
Kristin asked her brother Teddy, “Where is God in all this madness?” “...Since coming to Vietnam, she’d seen nothing to convince her God even existed.”

“Kris…God didn’t make this war. We did…when I think about this war, I think about the guys on the front lines, I can’t help but think of Jesus. “No greater love has a man who lays down His life for his friends.” That’s what the guys out there are doing for us. Kris. None of this makes sense, I know, but it makes even less sense without Him!”

What’s normal after Vietnam? When her assignment was complete- how could she go back to the USA? Who could she relate to? Kristin wasn’t the only one trying to figure life out. Many were afflicted with Post War Syndrome and didn’t know it. Josh set up Vietnam Café’s where people could get together and talk with others that they could relate to. This helped ease the pain and helped they cope with flash backs etc.

Catherine helps the reader get a taste of how people suffered in Vietnam and out- it’s gritty and real! She also helped show that God works all things out for His glory and our good! Luke says to Kristin, “We may never know why things happened the way they did. But I don’t think that matters. What matters most is how we grow through the struggles we’re given. At least that’s what I’m trying to do.”

I think this explains about everything we go through in life! I enjoyed this unlikely love story in the middle of a chaotic war called Vietnam. I hadn’t realized all the political issues and how dangerous it was not only for a woman but for anyone that was trying to help fight the good fight.

Thanks Catherine for such an honest, brutal look at this war. This story was gripping and would make a great summer read! Not only will you learn about Vietnam and history but you’ll see the hand of God at work in all things, amazingly- even in the middle of war. I look forward to reading more by this author!

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network 

MY FOOLISH HEART by SUSAN MAY WARREN - REVIEWED






About Susan May Warren
 
Susan May Warren is an award-winning, best-selling author of over twenty-five novels, many of which have won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, the ACFW Book of the Year award, the Rita Award, and have been Christy finalists. After serving as a missionary for eight years in Russia, Susan returned home to a small town on Minnesota's beautiful Lake Superior shore where she, her four children, and her husband are active in their local church.

Susan's larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women's events and retreats speaker, she's a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer's workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder of www.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.

Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!) A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at: www.susanmaywarren.com.

About MY FOOLISH HEART

Award-winning Susan May Warren returns to the Deep Haven series with a tender-hearted and laugh-out-loud story of finding love where you least expect it!


Unknown to her tiny town of Deep Haven, Isadora Presley spends her nights as Miss Foolish Heart, the star host of a syndicated talk radio show. Millions tune in to hear her advice on dating and falling in love, unaware that she's never really done either. Issy's ratings soar when it seems she's falling in love on air with a caller. A caller she doesn't realize lives right next door.

Caleb Knight served a tour of duty in Iraq and paid a steep price. The last thing he wants is pity, so he hides his disability and moves to Deep Haven to land his dream job as the high school football coach. When his beautiful neighbor catches his eye, in a moment of desperation he seeks advice from My Foolish Heart, the show that airs before his favorite sports broadcast. Before he knows it, Caleb finds himself drawn to the host-and more confused than ever. Is his perfect love the woman on the radio . . . or the one next door?

REVIEW:
 My Foolish Heart
By Susan May Warren
Published by Tyndale
ISBN# 978-1-4143-3482-0
321 Pages

Back Cover: Unknown to her tiny town of Deep Haven, Isadora Presley spends her nights as Miss Foolish Heart, the star host of a syndicated talk radio show. Millions tune in to hear her advice on dating and falling in love, unaware that she’s never really done either. Issy’s ratings soar when it seems she’s falling in love on-air with a caller. A caller she doesn’t realize lives right next door.

Caleb Knight served a tour of duty in Iraq and paid a steep price. The last thing he wants is pity, so he hides his disability and moves to Deep Haven to land his dream job as the high school football coach. When his beautiful neighbor catches his eye, in a moment of desperation he seeks advice from My Foolish Heart, the show that airs before his favorite sports broadcast.

Before he knows it, Caleb finds himself drawn to the host—and more confused than ever. Is his perfect love the woman on the radio . . . or the one next door?

Review: Just finished reading two suspense stories by Susan Warren and couldn’t wait to read another book by Susan! Point of No Return and Mission out of Control were so good I couldn’t wait for the review copy of this book.

The story starts out with a bang! A serious car crash happens right in front of the main character’s house! Issy starts to panic. Memories of her deadly car crash start flooding her emotions and remind her why she hasn’t stepped out of her house in two years.

Susan has several lovable, colorful, and wounded characters in this story. One of them is Caleb Knight who’s just moved to town and is seeking the football coaching position. He happens to live next to Issy who’s trapped in her house. He’s been wounded in war and knows all too well about disappointments. But he’s a fighter. He says to her, “We all could be trapped in our past if it wasn’t for the perfect love of God – He’s the only one that can set us free- My injury made me work harder and think about my life and how I wanted to live. It made me see God spared me. And it made me reach beyond myself.”

Susan May Warren is a very talented and creative author that has the skill to write in many different genres so well. She has the ability to make your heart race in the suspense-mystery books she writes. Then she has you feel the pain, have compassion for the characters in My Foolish Heart and cheer for the cast as they let God heal their hearts, set them free and help them live beyond what they thought they were capable of.  I really enjoyed My Foolish Heart, its characters, their situations and the strong believable spiritual thread. It was humorous, hopeful and an inspiring read. I’ll definitely be reading more of Susan’s books in the future!

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

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CFBA TOUR - DARKNESS FOLLOWS by MIKE DELLOSSO - REVIEWED




This week, the
 
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 
is introducing
 
Darkness Follows
 
Realms (May 3, 2011)

 
by
 
Mike Dellosso
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Mike now lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Jen, and their three daughters. He writes a monthly column for Writer . . .Interrupted, was a newspaper correspondent/columnist for over three years, has published several articles for The Candle of Prayer inspirational booklets, and has edited and contributed to numerous Christian-themed Web sites and e-newsletters. Mike is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, the Relief Writer's Network, the International Christian Writers, and International Thriller Writers. His short stories have appeared with Amazon Shorts and in Coach's Midnight Diner genre anthology. He received his BA degree in sports exercise and medicine from Messiah College and his MBS degree in theology from Master's Graduate School of Divinity.

Mike Dellosso writes novels of suspense for both the mind and the soul. He writes to both entertain and challenge. In addition to his novels, Mike is also an adjunct professor at Lancaster Bible College and a faculty member at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer's Conference.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Sam Travis lives in a Civil War era farmhouse in Gettysburg, PA, where he awakens one morning to find an old journal with an entry by a Union soldier, Lt. Whiting…written in Sam’s own handwriting. When this happens several more times, both at night and during waking “trances,” Sam begins to question his own sanity while becoming obsessed with Lt. Whiting and his bone-chilling journal entries. As the entries begin to mimic Sam’s own life, he is drawn into an evil plot that could cost many lives, including his own.

Can the unconditional love of Sam's daughter, Eva, break through his hardened heart before a killer on the loose catches up with them and Sam’s past spurs him to do the unthinkable?

If you would like to read the Prologue and first chapter of Darkness Follows, go HERE

Watch the book video:




Darkness Follows
By Mike Delloso
Published by Realms
ISBN#978-1616382742
304 Pages

Back Cover:
Sam Travis lives in a Civil War era farmhouse in Gettysburg, PA, where he awakens one morning to find an old journal with an entry by a Union soldier, Lt. Whiting…written in Sam’s own handwriting. When this happens several more times, both at night and during waking “trances,” Sam begins to question his own sanity while becoming obsessed with Lt. Whiting and his bone-chilling journal entries. As the entries begin to mimic Sam’s own life, he is drawn into an evil plot that could cost many lives, including his own. Can the unconditional love of Sam’s daughter, Eva, break through his hardened heart before a killer on the loose catches up with them and Sam’s past spurs him to do the unthinkable?

REVIEW: I don’t normally read books like this one but after I read Darlington Woods for book club I discovered that his books weren’t as scary as I thought they were. I’m a chicken at heart and don’t read books that make me sleep with the light on at night. Mike Delloso showed me through his last book that he can bring a depth and understanding to his characters and their situations that didn’t frighten me. It made reading the book more enlightening. So, I was anxious to receive a review copy of Mike’s new book.

Sam Travis lives in Gettysburg, PA and was recuperating from a serious injury he had received on the job. He’s been going a little stir crazy at home and got up often at night because he couldn’t sleep. One night he hears his brother calling him downstairs. He goes down there and sees nothing. Suddenly the glass window to his house shatters and wakes up the whole house. This is the beginning of a complex, compelling story that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and gripped my emotions as I read each page.

The police investigate, and find no clues. No bullets and no notes. Sam and his wife are stumped as to who would do such a thing. The reader is too! Later Sam discovers a story inside his little girl’s notebook written in his handwriting. He reads it. A soldier named Samuel has written about a battle in the Civil War and how he has to do something about Abraham Lincoln to stop the violence.

Sam had no recollection of writing the story he found in his office. He’s not a history buff and can’t quite figure out what Samuel(the author of the letter) is talking about in the note. How could he have written it? This was the beginning of some really bizarre events. Mike Delloso has you on the edge of your seat trying to figure out what’s real, what’s not and afraid of what might happen next.

Sam Travis starts to have flashbacks from his tragic childhood. There is a soldier character named Samuel who wants to end the war and keeps appearing to Sam through these notes, then there’s Jacob, his little girl Eva’s imaginary friend, who looks like he glows with glitter and finally a man who’s on a killing spree-why-how does this fit in? How do all these pieces and characters fit together? Sam and his wife didn’t know what to make of it and either does the reader until the end. Mike weaves a fascinating, intricate, intriguing story line I found captivating.

I liked how Mike wove real historical events into this story with Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War and a story about the first Minnesota battle. I also like how Sam learned along with the reader about history, Sam says, “Why did these men do such a thing in Minnesota? They had to have known they were embarking on their last charge, their last stand. What was in for them? They would never kiss their wives again, never hold their children. What made a man willingly do such a think? Bravery? Fear? Insanity? Dumb Obedience?” He wondered.

Mike tackled several pretty serious and sensitive issues like mental illness in his book. I had just watched a show about a family who was afraid to live with their middle school aged child and what they did about it. Some parents have done nothing, and couldn’t wait to release their child into society to fend for themselves. It’s a scary thing! Because I saw this show the matter was more real and made the events in this book even scarier! Yikes!

I like the author’s notes at the end that helped tie up a few things for me. I adored Sam’s little daughter Eva and her faith in God and love for her Daddy. I also enjoyed getting to know more about the Civil War and what men went through at that time. Once again I was memorized and gripped by this authors enthralling tale. You will be too!

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

A GREAT CATCH by LORNA SEILSTAD - REVIEWED












About Lorna Seilstad is a history buff, antique collector, and freelance graphic designer. A former high school English and journalism teacher, she has won several online writing awards and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives in and draws her setting from Iowa. This is her first novel.

REVIEW:
A GREAT CATCH
By Lorna Seilstad
Published by Revell
ISBN#978-0-807-3446-6
380 Pages

Back Cover: She wants to change the world. He wants to change her mind. 

Review: I’ve seen Making Waves and A Great Catch book covers and they both have made me stop in my tracks and pick them up to look inside. When the opportunity came to receive a review copy of this book I jumped at the chance to read A Great Catch.

Life on Lake Manawa, Iowa in 1901 was amusing and humorous to read about. This novel was not all fluff, but showed what Emily Graham went thru in her fight to get women the right to vote. Not everyone wanted change including the women.

Emily is twenty two years old. Her Aunt’s Millie and Ethel and her Grandma Kate all are on a mission to get Emily married. The most important thing for a woman was to be married. Didn’t Emily understand it was more important than helping women to get the right to vote? After all Emily was twenty two now and some men did not want a woman that advanced in age!

Emily was determined to fight the good fight for the right to vote. She wanted to make her own decisions, think for herself, and not have to answer to anyone! She didn’t need someone to tell her what to do!

Grandma Kate tells Emily, “We all answer to someone. I answer to God, and so do you…Men and women are equal…But equal doesn’t mean identical. Men aren’t unnecessary; dear…your grandpa was a part of me. We faced the world together. That’s how God planned It.!”

Emily wasn’t going to let a man run her life, but what about God? Had she even asked Him about his plans for her life? Would He make her stop fighting for women’s rights? She was afraid to ask!

Then she literally bumps into Carter Stockton, recent college graduate, and a pitcher for the Manawa Owls baseball team; at the roller skating rink. Carter asks Emily out to the theatre along with her Aunts to see a play about women’s rights. She realizes Carter may not be the one for her – was he making fun of her passion for women’s rights by taking her to this play? Carter thinks she may not be the one for him as he realizes Emily is much too obsessed with the women’s rights movement by being the chapter president, writing articles about the subject and holding rally’s. She was willing to give up time with God to do this too!. God was his passion. That and baseball!

Sparks start to fly when Emily gets the idea to write the Bloomers Girls Team to play against a men’s baseball team in her hometown. She asks Carter if his team would and he agrees under one condition…Emily plays short stop on his team! Emily’s insecurities about being physically uncoordinated rise to the forefront and she hesitates. But then takes on the challenge to help in the women’s right to vote. She would do almost anything for the cause.

I enjoyed the historical aspect to the story very much. The author says, “The Bloomer Girls team was real and existed form 1890-1934. Not only was this team providing a form of entertainment but it’s main reason to exist was to show the world they could hit, field, slide and catch as well as any man!”

This author made me want to live on Lake Manawa, where life was simple, street cars, horses and walking were the main ways to get around. The town marveled at electricity and was thankful they had lights at night. The characters were believable, and made you want to hang around them. This author showed change wasn’t easy or welcome by men and women. Each were concerned about what would this change mean to their way of life, love and the future? I enjoyed Carters and Emily’s spiritual struggle. Even though times were very different their spiritual struggle is universal and reminded me of what’s really important in the scheme of life.

A Great Catch is a historical romance novel that gives an intriguing look at love, romance and marriage. I highly recommend this as a great summer read or any time! I’ll definitely be reading more from this author!

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

ANOTHER FREE E-BOOK - Grab it while you can

Hey Everyone;

Just learned about another book that you can read FREE on your Ebook reader or computer.


By Marilyn Brown Oden


Looks Good!!

HAPPY READING!!

Nora :D


BK COVER OF WEEK - YESTERDAY'S TOMORROW


WHAT AM I READING??? A Debut Novel by Catherine West called Yesterday's Tomorrow. Want an closer look at the cover of this book???




BOOK COVER: I have to say that the book cover really caught my attention. It's fascinating to look at. Now that I've read the book I have to say that it does a GREAT job of capturing the essence of the story. The story takes place in Vietnam. Catherine takes you into battle as Kristen tries to capture the mood and report to her paper in the USA what's actually going on over there. I really like the cover of the book and what's inside.

Nora :D 


YESTERDAY’S TOMORROW
By Catherine West
Publisher: Oaktara Publisher
ISBN# 978-1-60290-2778-7
314 Pages

Back Cover: She's after the story that might get her the Pulitzer. He's determined to keep his secrets to himself. Vietnam, 1967. Independent, career-driven journalist Kristin Taylor wants two things: to honor her father's memory by becoming an award-winning overseas correspondent and to keep tabs on her only brother, Teddy, who signed up for the war against their mother's wishes. Brilliant photographer Luke Maddox, silent and brooding, exudes mystery. Kristin is convinced he's hiding something. Willing to risk it all for what they believe in, Kristin and Luke engage in their own tumultuous battle until, in an unexpected twist, they're forced to work together. Ambushed by love, they must decide whether or not to set aside their own private agendas for the hope of tomorrow that has captured their hearts.

Review: I loved the cover of this book. It helped to set the tone for what to expect inside! I was thankful for the review copy and the opportunity to read such a gripping, emotional book.

Catherine West pens a honest portrayal of how disturbing the Vietnam war was for everyone. What happened there, the challenges they faced and how the soldiers were treated so horribly when they came home.

Main character Kristin Taylor is young and was in a passionate pursuit of being the best reporter in Vietnam, that wasn’t easy in a male dominated field. She was compelled to complete the mission her father died trying to complete.

She partnered up with Luke Maddox, photographer per her bosses request. This guy got under her skin. Who did he think he was bossing her around – They were equal partners last time she checked?

Kristin tells her partner, “Luke this war has gone on so long that nobody back home seems bothered by what’s going on over here…I don’t think they have a clue what it’s really like for the guys on the front lines. Neither do the people who think we should be here. The whole country is caught up in a political quagmire. If you support the war, you’re accepting the death of countless men in the name of freedom; If you protest against it you’re a peace-loving hippie in bed with the communists.”

Kristen found conditions rough and wanted to be safe. She learned to survive and had a sarcastic wit about her. Things were crazy, but she found herself drawn to her partner. That was the craziest thing of all- she fought it on many levels. Luke was an amazing photographer but could he be trusted? She was becoming tough and street wise, and wondered who to trust? She definitely couldn’t turn to God.

Kristin asked her brother Teddy, “Where is God in all this madness?...Since coming to Vietnam, she’d seen nothing to convince her God even existed.”

“Kris…God didn’t make this war. We did…when I think about this war, I think about the guys on the front lines, I can’t help but think of Jesus. “No greater love has a man who lays down His life for his friends.” That’s what the guys out there are doing for us. Kris. None of this makes sense, I know, but it makes even less sense without Him!”

What’s normal after Vietnam? How could she go home? Who could she relate to? Kristin wasn’t the only one trying to figure life out. Many were afflicted with Post War Syndrome and didn’t know it. Josh set up Vietnam café’s where people could get together and talk with others that they could relate to. This helped ease the pain and helped they cope with flash backs etc.

Catherine helps the reader get a taste of how people suffered in Vietnam and out- it’s gritty and real! She also helped show that God works all things out for His glory and our good! Luke says to Kristin, “We may never know why things happened the way they did. But I don’t think that matters. What matters most is how we grow through the struggles we’re given. At least that’s what I’m trying to do.”

I think this explains about everything we go through in life! I enjoyed this unlikely love story in the middle of a chaotic war called Vietnam. I hadn’t realized all the political issues and how dangerous it was not only for a woman but for anyone that was trying to help fight the good fight.

Thanks Catherine for such an honest, brutal look at this war. This story was gripping and would make a great summer read! Not only will you learn about Vietnam and history but you’ll see the hand of God at work in all things, amazingly- even in the middle of war. I look forward to reading more by this author!

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

FREE EBOOK - HURRY AND DOWNLOAD WHILE YOU CAN!!

Hi, Everyone;

Here are some new and a few books I've mentioned before that are still FREE on your e-reader. PLEASE CHECK that it's free BEFORE YOU hit the download button. I had a few more that I was going to share with you but when I checked they weren't free anymore.You have to catch the deals fast as these offers don't last long.

Enjoy!

Nora :D



By Lorena Seilstad




By Karen Witemeyer



By Candace Calvert




By Margaret Daley



HAPPY READING!!


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

13 BK GIVEAWAY - UNVEILING OF TBCN LOGO






TODAY is the FIRST DAY We've Unveiled the Logo at THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK. I'm on SEEKERVILLE Blog today. Here's a peek at the article I wrote there. Thanks to my daughter Hilary and Rebeca for spending hours in creating TBCN'S Logo. I APPRECIATE YOU SO MUCH!!

Want to start a book club that reads Christian Fiction and don’t know how or where to begin looking for books your club can read? Are you a Christian Fiction or non-fiction author and want to speak to book clubs but don’t know where to begin finding them?

The Book Club Network is there to connect authors with book clubs and leaders with their books. I work at a Christian book store and when my boss asked me to start a book club at the store I was overwhelmed at the task of selecting books to read for our group. I wanted a meaty book that had more for us to say than,” Wow, that was fun.” What would we do with the rest of the time allotted for book club? 

We are celebrating in a big way at TBCN. Our first birthday party is on Monday, June 13th at 9p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

CHECK OUT THE COMPLETE INTERVIEW at SEEKERVILLE BLOG


LEAVE A COMMENT on the SEEKERVILLE SITE to win a BOX of books I’m giving way!!

Can’t wait for you to join us in celebrating our first birthday and thanks to everyone here for letting me tell you all about this exciting event.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Nora St.Laurent

The Book Club Network

www.bookfun.org

TERRI BLACKSTOCK SPEAKS TO FINDING HOPE BOOK CLUB



Predator
By: Terri Blackstock
ISBN: 978-0-310-25066-1
Published By: Zondervan
336 Pages

FINDING HOPE BOOK CLUB had the pleasure of speaking to Terri Blackstock via speaker phone last night. The meeting started at 7p.m. and we talked about the book and the author until 8p.m. when she talked to us on the phone.


Predator was an eye opener for many but no so surprising for others who were computer savvy. I know that it made me want to sit down with my kids and talk to them about facebook and other social networks (which I did).


Others in the group expressed they liked the realism in the book and how scary this story really is because it's happening somewhere in the world every day. Some gave stories of people that they knew - good people they thought that had gone so bad. It was almost surreal to them and so unexpected. Just like the events in the book.


Terri said she got the idea for this book when she started on facebook and realized what a scary place that really is. No longer to the predators of this world have to go outside their homes to find their victims. They can sit in the comfort of their own homes and browse the internet seeking whom they will devour. 


The ladies in the group told of situations where they've caught their friends sharing pictures on face book that revealed exactly where they lived, especially when facebook already has our city and state. It's friends and family watching each others back on the internet that's most helpful, since facebook seems to be changing it's rules and what they expose us to often without notice to the user. One member brought up the fact that if you have put your phone number anywhere on the web facebook has a way of gleaning that info and put it in your profile. 


We went on to talk about the other book series Terri has written Intervention and Vicious Cycle and her new book to hit the shelves in March called Downfall. Which were based on many aspects of her personal life and the things she did in helping her daughter overcome the clutches of addiction.


This is a powerful book and the Interventions books are very powerful but hopeful. Terri Blackstock said that she wanted to leave the reader with hope in hard situations. That's why she changed her market to writing in the Christian Fiction field. I'm so glad she did!


I caught up with Terri Blackstock at a book signing at a christian book store. It was nice to get to meet her and watch her interact with her fans!









Back Cover (Description from Amazon):
Bestselling author Terri Blackstock presents another stand-alone novel, Predator. The murder of Krista Carmichael's fourteen-year-old sister by an online predator has shaken her faith and made her question God's justice and protection. Desperate to find the killer, she creates an online persona to bait the predator. But when the stalker turns his sights on her, will Krista be able to control the outcome? Ryan Adkins started the social network GrapeVyne in his college dorm and has grown it into a billion-dollar corporation. But he never expected it to become a stalking ground for online Predators. One of them lives in his town and has killed two girls and attacked a third. When Ryan meets Krista, the murders become more than a news story to him, and everything is on the line. Joining forces, he and Krista set out to stop the killer. But when hunters pursue a hunter, the tables can easily turn. Only God can protect them now.

Review by Hilary St.Laurent - (Where You Go From Here - www.whereyougofromhere.blogspot.com )


This is one of the best books I've read in awhile. Terri Blackstock grips you from the beginning and leaves you completely satisfied in the end. A fourteen year old girl is murdered essentially because of what is posted on her "Grapevyne" page. Grapevyne in this novel is a mix of Facebook and Twitter, people are constantly posting "Thought Bubbles", snapping pictures of themselves, and sharing their day-to-day activities with their followers. This book makes you think REALLY hard about what you post online. 


The murderer in this book knows everything about these girls because of their Grapevyne page. They take pictures of themselves in places, post about what their doing and what they're going to be wearing. One scene in this book, in particular, makes your hair stand on end. He finds a girl at the airport, and knows exactly who she is, what she's wearing and how to get her into his car, all because he's a follower on her Grapevyne page. 


This book makes me think twice about what to post on my own Facebook page,  I can have all the privacy settings in the world but there are people out there who can get into my Facebook page if they really wanted to. That's scary. I think that this book should be required to read in schools. Teenagers and children should be educated about what is safe to post on the internet. Personal information in the wrong hands can lead to devastating things.

Ignorance is not bliss. If you don't know what you're doing on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Blogger, Tumblr, LiveJournal, or any site like that, you can get into trouble. Nowadays, people are not getting jobs because of what's posted on their Facebook page. Your Facebook page will make you or break you. It represents you to the world.


This book is amazing, and it's one of those books that makes people think. I HIGHLY recommend it, and I think you should pass it along to everyone you know. I enjoyed this book immensely, and you will to! 

About the Author (taken from here):
Terri Blackstock hasn’t always written for the Lord. Just over a decade ago she was an award-winning secular novelist writing for publishers such as HarperCollins, Harlequin, and Silhouette. With thirty-two titles published and 3.5 million books in print, she found that she was miserable. The compromises she had made in her career had taken their toll on her spiritual life, and she yearned to renew her relationship with Christ.
After much soul-searching and wrestling with God, she finally told the Lord that she would never write another thing that didn’t glorify Him. Thinking she might never be published again, she began planning ways to supplement her income, while she worked on her first idea for a Christian novel.
Because she enjoyed reading suspense novels, she tried weaving a faith message into a fast-paced page-turner with ordinary people in jeopardy. When Christian publishers expressed great interest, she realized that a secondary job would not be necessary. God was paving the way for her to enter the Christian publishing world.
Since that time, she’s sold 2 million Christian novels. She has over thirty Christian titles, many of which have been number one best-sellers. Her latest book, True Light, reached number one on the Top 50 of all Christian books the first full month it was in stores. Night Light was the winner of the 2007 Retailer’s Choice Award for General Fiction. Both books are part of her popular Restoration Series which began with Last Light. Other reader favorites include her Cape Refuge Series, her Newpointe 911 Series, her SunCoast Chronicles Series and her “Seasons” books written with co-author Beverly LaHaye. 
Terri has appeared on national television programs such as “The 700 Club” and “Home Life,” and has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins.

Other books by the author:



Book Trailer: