BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

MELODY CARLSON TALKS ABOUT BOOK CLUBS



MELODY CARLSON'S BIO: Melody has written around 200 books for teens, women and children. That's a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a "storyteller." Her books range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She's won a number of awards (including the Rita and Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at http://www.melodycarlson.com

What have been the benefits to you in having relationships with reading groups?

Again, it’s about connecting with people. Being a writer can feel lonely and isolated at times. But when I get a chance to participate in a reading group (via phone, skype, or in person) I get the satisfaction of an immediate personal response. And it’s fun to answer readers’ questions and tell some of the back-story to the story.

Where would you like to see your relationship with reading group grow? How do you think your goals can be met? If so, how?

For starters I’d like to carve more time into my schedule to get involved in more reading groups. My goal is to spend less time writing and more time interfacing, but that’s hard with a writing schedule like mine. Also, I need to get more comfortable with some of the handy electronic tools like skype. And I’d like more free time to travel and visit various book groups. It’s been a goal for a few years now (and getting closer to reality) to do a cross country tour in our motorhome where we visit books stores, schools, libraries and reading groups.

Do you have a set size a reading group has to be before you'll talk to them on the phone or in person? What do you feel most comfortable doing?

I don’t have a ‘set size.’ I’ve done groups as small as four and up to around sixteen. But I think a group around eight is probably my favorite. Enough people to get varied opinions, but not so many that it’s overwhelming. Also, I think being there in person is the most fun…unfortunately it’s not usually practical. Being on the phone is always easy for me. And skype probably feels more personal to the readers. One of the most memorable reader group meetings was arranged by a publicist and because my book setting was a wedding, the publicist provided wedding-like refreshments and created a bridal shower sort of atmosphere that the readers just loved. Really fun!

What do you think about ebooks and future sales of your book? How will authors do book signings with an ebook reading crowd?

I know that many of my readers are getting hooked on eBooks and I’m glad that my books are available electronically (I have about a 100 titles now). However, I’m not using my kindle much and I still like the feel of a “real” book in my hands. But I get it—and it’s a greener way to live. However, it would be difficult to sign an eBook. Maybe I’d take bookmarks or postcards to sign for readers.

Which type of book club meeting do you prefer? Why?

I think it’s fun to meet in a person’s home. That’s probably the writer in me—I like to see where and how people live. Also, like I mentioned, I prefer groups with around 6-10 readers. More intimate and friendly. But I’m open to whatever setting is best. Mostly it’s nice when the members of the group are good friends—a happy sort of energy happens and I leave feeling good about the time spent.

Do you learn about your book and yourself from book club meetings? If so what?

Absolutely. One time I did a group that had read my novel Finding Alice (about schizophrenia). It was a very interesting and intelligent group of women, and some of their observations about the book pleasantly surprised me. As a writer, I’m not always aware of things I’ve tucked ‘between the lines’ and sometimes it takes a savvy reader to illuminate it for me. Metaphor is subjective and it’s fun to see how others react to what you’ve created—and how it touches them in totally unique ways.


Did you learn more about your characters than you original wrote about? Have you been surprised by readers reactions to one of your books? Characters? If so, which ones?

One thing that’s surprised me is when a reader personalizes the story—so much so that she perceives a character in a much different way than I wrote it. And then someone else in the group might see it completely differently. It reminds me of how our personal experience plays into the way we view the world and others around us. It’s like the story my grandma used to tell about three blind men describing something they just felt of, but didn’t know what to call it. One was certain it was a rope. Another felt sure it was a tree trunk. The third knew it was a giant palm leaf. It was an elephant, but they all felt different parts of it.



Has your book club experience - getting feed back from reading groups - helped you in writing future books? If so, how has it helped you?
 

What might help me most is being reminded that I’m writing for real readers. People with real problems and real relationships and real lives…and that makes me want to keep my writing as real as possible. Whether it’s for teens or adults I like to be sure that my fiction is believable, lifelike and relevant.

You write for very different audiences. Which do you prefer writing the best children's, young adult or adult books?

My favorite book to write is usually what I’m presently working on. Right now it’s teen nonfiction. But fiction is my first love. And I really do like writing for young adults because of the amazing response I get from the readers. Also it’s a different kind of writing—like in my TrueColors series (Nav) I got to write the kind of stories that just don’t do that well in the adult market. I love getting into the head of a teen character and taking her through all sorts of things that reflect real life. 

THANKS for stopping by Melody. It was wonderful to catch up with you at the ICRS Conference this summer in Atlanta. I enjoyed Double Take and my book club will be reading Christmas at Harrington's this year. I enjoyed that book too.

Until Next Time

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

JUICE LADY'S WEEKEND WEIGHT-LOSS DIET - 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:

Siloam (December 13, 2011)

***Special thanks to PUBLICIST'S NAME of PUBLICIST'S COMPANY for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Cherie Calbom, MS, is the author of The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet, The Juice Lady’s Living Foods Revolution, and Juicing for Life, which has nearly two million books in print in the United States. Known as “The Juice Lady” for her work with juicing and health, Cherie has worked as a clinical nutritionist and has a master’s degree in nutrition.


Visit the author's website.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Jump-Start Your Diet…
Detox Your System…
Lose a Dress Size…
Shrink Your Love Handles . . .

…with this two-day diet program that helps you get healthy for life.

Start Friday night with a juice or green smoothie dinner. Then have an all-liquid Saturday and Sunday breakfast and lunch, followed by a raw food dinner Sunday night. It’s easy, delicious, and requires only a weekend commitment!

Look and feel great for a special event
Motivate yourself for continued weight loss
Cleanse your system after a stressful week
Jump-start your living foods lifestyle!


Product Details:


  • List Price: $12.99

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Siloam (December 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616386568
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616386566



    AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


    Weight Loss on a Mission
    The World Health Organization estimates that by 2015, there will be more than 1.5 billion overweight consumers, incurring health costs beyond $117 billion per year in the US alone.1 It’s obvious that we need to do something differently. We need a new way of life—a revolution in how we eat, one that we adopt for the rest of our lives.
    What if you found a weight-loss program that could help you lose weight more effectively than anything you’ve ever tried? And what if that program didn’t involve expensive meals you had to order, pills you had to buy, or anything other than great whole foods you prepare in your kitchen? What if that program helped
    you look and feel better than ever? And what if it was such an energizing way of life that you wanted to follow it for the rest of your life? Are you interested?
    The Juice Lady’s Weekend Weight-Loss Diet is a fast track to just such a program. This two-day jump start can lead you into a transformative lifestyle that is helping thousands of people lose weight, keep it off for good, and completely revolutionize their health. This is what I call weight loss on a mission—the mission is
    to help you become healthy, happy, and filled with life, as well as slim and fit. (You’ll find a complete weight-loss juicing program in my book The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet.)
    Freshly made vegetable juices are at the center of the weekend weight-loss diet. They provide concentrated sources of very absorbable nutrients. They are low in fat and calories, so replacing higher-calorie foods with fresh juice is a shoo-in for weight-loss success.
    But the benefits of juicing don’t stop there. Vegetable juices help curb cravings because they satisfy your body’s nutrient needs. They’re alkaline, which is very helpful to balance out a system that’s most probably too acidic. They’re also high in antioxidants that are antiaging and immune enhancing—that means you’re giving your body the things it needs to start looking and feeling younger.
    Fresh Juice—a Cornucopia of Nutrients
    Every time you pour a glass of juice, picture a cornucopia of nutrients cascading into your body, promoting health, revving up your metabolism, balancing weight, and increasing vitality. This melange of nutrients can change your life—completely change your life—as it completely changed mine! Here’s what every glass of juice provides.
    Amino acids
    Did you ever consider juice to be a source of protein? Most people would say no. Surprisingly, it does offer more amino acids than you might think. We use amino acids to form muscles, ligaments, tendons, hair, nails, and skin. Protein is needed to create enzymes, which direct chemical reactions, and hormones, which
    guide bodily functions. Fruits and vegetables contain lower quantities of protein than animal foods such as muscle meats and dairy products. Therefore they are thought of as poor protein sources. But juices are concentrated forms of vegetables and so provide easily absorbed amino acids, the building blocks that make up protein. For example, 16 ounces of carrot juice (2–3 pounds of carrots) provides about 5 grams of protein (the equivalent of about a chicken wing or 2 ounces of tofu). I don’t recommend drinking that much carrot juice because of the sugar content, but that’s an example.
    Vegetable protein is not complete protein, so it does not provide all the amino acids your body needs. In addition to lots of dark leafy greens, when you finish your weekend weight-loss kick start, you’ll want to eat other protein sources, such as sprouts, legumes (beans, lentils, and split peas), nuts, seeds, and whole grains. If you’re not vegan, you can add eggs and free-range, grass-fed muscle meats such as chicken, turkey, lamb, and beef along with wild-caught fish.
    Carbohydrates
    Most vegetable juice contains good carbohydrates. The exceptions would be carrots and beets, which have higher sugar content. They should be used in small quantities and diluted with low-sugar vegetable juices such as cucumber and dark leafy greens. Carbs provide fuel for the body, which it uses for energy, heat production, and chemical reactions. The chemical bonds of carbohydrates lock in the energy a plant takes up from the sun and soil, and this energy is released when the body burns plant food as fuel.
    There are three categories of carbs: simple (sugars), complex (starches and fiber), and fiber. Choose more complex carbohydrates in your diet than simple carbs. There are more simple sugars in fruit juice than vegetable juice, which is why I recommend you juice primarily vegetables, use low-sugar fruit for flavor and a little sweetness, and in most cases drink no more than 4 ounces of fruit juice a day.
    Both insoluble fiber and soluble fiber are found in whole fruits and vegetables—both types are needed for good health. It’s amazing how many people still say juice doesn’t have any fiber. It contains the soluble form—pectin and gums, which are excellent for the digestive tract. Soluble fiber also helps to lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and improve good bowel bacteria and elimination.
    Essential fatty acids
    There is very little fat in fruit and vegetable juices, but the fats juice does contain are essential to your health. The essential fatty acids (EFAs)—linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids in particular—found in fresh juice function as components of nerve cells, cellular membranes, and hormonelike substances called prostaglandins. They are also required for energy production.
    Vitamins
    Fresh juice is replete with vitamins, but heat and processing destroy vitamins. We need these organic substances because they take part, along with minerals and enzymes, in chemical reactions throughout the body. For example, vitamin C participates in the production of collagen, one of the main types of protein found in the body that keeps your skin looking fresh and youthful rather than sagging and aging. Fresh juices are excellent sources of water-soluble vitamins such as C, many of the B vitamins, and some fat-soluble vitamins such as E and K, along with key phytonutrients like beta-carotene (known as pro-vitamin A), lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin. They also are coupled with cofactors that increase the effectiveness of each nutrient; for example, vitamin C and bioflavonoids work together synergistically to make each more effective.
    Minerals
    There are about two dozen minerals that your body needs to function well, and they’re abundant in fresh juice. They make up part of bones, teeth, and blood, and they help maintain normal cellular function. The major minerals include calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur. Trace
    minerals, which include boron, chromium, cobalt, copper, manganese, nickel, selenium, vanadium, and zinc, are those needed in very small amounts.
    Minerals occur in inorganic forms in the soil, and plants incorporate them into their tissues. As a part of this process, the minerals are combined with organic molecules into easily absorbable forms, which makes plants an excellent dietary source of minerals. Juicing is believed to provide even better mineral absorption than whole vegetables because the process of juicing releases minerals into a highly absorbable, easily digestible form.
    Enzymes
    These living molecules are prevalent in raw foods, but heat, such as cooking and pasteurization, destroys them. Enzymes facilitate the biochemical reactions necessary for life. They are complex structures composed predominantly of protein and usually require additional cofactors to function, including vitamins; minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron; and other elements. Fresh juice is chock-full of enzymes. Without them we would not have life.
    When you eat and drink enzyme-rich foods, these little molecules help break down food in the digestive tract, thereby sparing the pancreas, liver, and stomach—the body’s enzyme producers—from overwork. This sparing action is known as the “law of adaptive secretion of digestive enzymes,” which asserts that the body will adapt or change the amount of digestive enzymes it produces according to what is needed. According to this law, when a portion of the food you eat is digested by enzymes present in the food, the
    body won’t need to secrete as much of its own enzymes. This allows the body’s energy to be shifted from digestion to other functions such as repair and rejuvenation.
    Fresh juices require very little energy expenditure to digest. That is one reason why people who start consistently drinking fresh veggie juice often report that their digestion and elimination improve and that they feel better and more energized right away.
    Phytochemicals
    Plants contain substances know as phytochemicals that protect them from disease, injury, and pollution. Phyto means plant, and chemical in this context means nutrient. There are tens of thousands of phytochemicals in the foods we eat. For example, the average tomato may contain up to ten thousand different types of these nutrients, with one of the most famous being lycopene. Phytochemicals give plants their color, odor, and flavor. Unlike vitamins and enzymes, they are heat stable and can withstand cooking. Some of them, such as lycopene, appear to be more effective when cooked.
    Biophotons
    There’s one more substance abundant in raw foods that is more difficult to measure than the others. It’s known as biophotons, which is light energy that is found in the living cells of raw plant foods. These photons have been shown to emit coherent light energy when uniquely photographed (Kirlian photography). This light energy is believed to have many benefits when consumed, such as aiding cellular communication and feeding the mitochondria and the DNA. They are believed to contribute to our energy, vitality, and a feeling of vibrancy and well-being.
    Now that you’ve learned about the powerful nutritional punch packed inside each glass of juice you drink, let’s consider how this applies to weight loss.
    Power Foods That Give Your Weight Loss a Big Boost
    In addition to some of the basic steps you can take to achieve weight loss success, there are specific foods you can add to your weight-loss program that will make a huge difference in assisting your body in burning fat. These super foods can help you succeed and give you super-size health dividends at the same time. Be sure to add them to your weight-loss program.
    Green juice: the number one fat cure. In honor of his hundredth show, Dr. Oz served on the set his favorite green juice drink to one hundred people who had lost thirteen thousand pounds combined. This blend of cucumbers, apple, and leafy greens started a new wave of interest in green juices for weight loss. So why do green juices work so well? Dr. Oz cites the fact that they compensate for the fact that most of us are simply not getting sufficient nourishment from standard diets. He says, “We know we have to have at least five fistfuls of leafy green vegetables and fruit every day, so we make a morning green drink.”2
    There’s evidence to suggest that even if we took the time to chew up five cups of green veggies each day, we wouldn’t get as much benefit from them as we would from juicing them. The mechanical process of juicing the vegetables breaks apart plant cell walls and makes absorption better than even when the best “chewers” chew their food at least thirty times before swallowing. It has an effect like throwing marbles at a chain-link fence rather than tennis balls; their contents are going to go through in a way that tennis balls can’t.
    The juices contain easily absorbed micronutrients that will do more than slim you down—they’ll optimize your overall health and wellness. There’s science behind the green juices transformative powers and a number of reasons why the juices, along with a high intake of living foods, energize your body, fire up your metabolism, speed slimming, and overhaul your health. Here’s the evidence as to why it works.
    Green Veggies Help Lower the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
    Because of their high magnesium content and low glycemic index, green leafy vegetables are also valuable for persons with type 2 diabetes. One study revealed that an increase of just one and onehalf servings a day of green leafy vegetables was associated with a 14 percent lower risk of diabetes.3
    Magnesium-rich greens ramp up your energy. A British study comparing the metabolism of female twins found that magnesium intake was the most important dietary variable that determined adiponectin levels.4 Adiponectin is a fat cell hormone that promotes insulin sensitivity. This hormone has recently gained attention from researchers because of its regulation of glucose and fat metabolism. Elevated levels of adiponectin are associated with increased insulin sensitivity and fat burning. Adiponectin also seems to work closely with leptin—a hormone that helps control the appetite. As you lose weight, this hormone gets a boost. Fresh fruit and vegetables have a positive influence on this hormone, which is made in fat cells. It boosts metabolism and helps regulate inflammation, which, consequently, helps to prevent weight gain, becoming a type 2 diabetic, or developing heart disease.
    This new study shows very clearly that adequate magnesium is imperative to maintaining adiponectin levels. This means that a deficiency of magnesium, which is common in America, is a clear contributor to the problems people have with weight management. Magnesium also plays a key role in fighting off stress and anxiety, supporting restful sleep, preventing restless leg syndrome, and boosting energy.
    Further, magnesium helps prevent fat storage. When magnesium is low, cells fail to recognize insulin. As a result, glucose accumulates in the blood—and then it gets stored as fat instead of being burned for fuel. Green plants, which are rich in magnesium, are far superior to magnesium supplements because the supplements’ particles are a bit large for the body to entirely absorb. (I’m in favor of taking magnesium supplements, if they are needed, but as an adjunct to a magnesium-rich diet.) Green plants take inorganic minerals from the soil through their tiny roots and incorporate them into their cells. They become organic particles that are much smaller and easier for the body to absorb. It is estimated that more than 90 percent of a plant’s minerals is delivered to the cells when you juice the greens. So juice up those leaves—chard, collards, beet tops, parsley, spinach—the five highest in magnesium, plus kohlrabi leaves, kale, dandelion greens, lettuce, and mustard greens.
    Here’s the good news—you’ll increase your energy with this highoctane fuel! That means you’ll get more done and feel more like working out, so you’ll burn more calories and build more muscle.
    Enzymes Speed Fat Burning
    Our bodies produce enzymes that are used in digesting the food we eat. They can be found in the saliva, small intestine, stomach, liver, and pancreas. These hardworking little catalysts break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into fatty acids, amino acids, and forms of glucose that feed your cells.
    Enzymes are responsible for a host of reactions in the body. All the minerals, herbs, vitamins, and hormones we take can’t do their jobs without enzymes. When your diet is deficient in enzymes from live foods (uncooked, not processed), your body has to work harder to produce the enzymes it needs. If you’re deficient, you may experience weight gain, depression, and many other maladies that plague modern society.
    Enzymes are truly weight-loss supermen. But these magic bullets start decreasing as we age—by age thirty-five most people see a decline in their enzyme production. Still, we need them for weight loss and good digestion. It’s enzymes that assist in the breakdown and burning of fat.
    This is where juices come to the rescue—as I mentioned earlier, they’re packed with enzymes. Eating a high percentage of raw food is important because cooking and processing our food destroys enzymes. When you drink fresh, live juices and eat plenty of living foods, the enzymes they contain kick your metabolism into gear by helping to spare your liver and pancreas from working so hard. Then these organs can focus on their metabolic tasks of burning fat and producing energy. And your digestion will improve. This affects your whole life, your whole being.
    Three Super-Hero Enzymes
    Lipase. Lipase is a fat-splitting enzyme that is abundant in raw foods. It assists your body in digestion,
    fat distribution, and fat burning. However, few of us eat enough raw foods to get sufficient lipase
    to burn even a normal amount of fat, not to mention any excess fat. Without lipase, fat accumulates.
    You can see it on your hips, thighs, buttocks, and stomach. Lipase is richest in raw foods that contain
    some fat, such as sprouted seeds and nuts, avocado, and fresh coconut meat.
    Protease. As your body burns flab, toxins are released into your system. This can cause water retention and bloating. Protease is a digestive enzyme that helps to break down proteins and eliminate toxins. Eliminating toxins is essential when you’re burning fat. If your body is storing toxins, it’s very difficult to burn fat. But protease comes to the rescue and attacks and eliminates toxins. So, as you can see, it’s crucial to have plenty of protease during weight loss. Protease is richest in the leaves of plants. So juice up those
    green leaves and burn fat. Plus, the greens are also rich in antioxidants that bind up toxins and carry them out of your system so they won’t hurt your cells. That means you’ll get double action with green juices.
    Amylase. Amylase is a digestive enzyme that breaks down complex carbohydrates into simple sugars. It’s also present in saliva. So while we chew our food, it goes to work on carbs. That’s why it’s recommended that you chew each mouthful of food about thirty times. The pancreas also makes amylase. And amylase is plentiful in seeds that contain starch. (You can juice most seeds of fruits and vegetables.) Its therapeutic use is in regulation of histamine, which is produced in response to recognized invaders to the body. Histamine is a responder in allergic reactions such as hay fever and is what causes hives, itchy watery eyes, sneezing,
    and runny noses. Amylase breaks down the histamine produced by the body in response to allergens like pollen or dust mites. Some health professionals believe it may help the body identity the allergen as not being harmful so it doesn’t produce the histamine in the first place. This is one reason that people on a high raw plant diet often experience improvement in their allergies. For the most effective approach to increasing
    enzymes, you may also want to take an enzyme supplement. I especially like an enzyme formula that
    is taken between meals—it cleans up any undigested particles of food floating around the system and
    greatly improves digestion. A popular side benefit is that your hair gets thicker and your nails grow
    stronger. (For more information on these enzymes, see Appendix A.)
    Greens Alkalize Your Body and Promote Weight Loss
    Many people eat a high-sugar breakfast consisting of foods and drinks such as orange juice, toast, jam, honey, sweetened cereal, sweet rolls, doughnuts, muffins, waffles, or pancakes. All this sugar and simple carbohydrates (which turn to sugar easily) promote acidity and cause yeast and fungus to grow. They also produce a lot of acid. Traditional high-protein breakfast foods such as omelets, cheese, bacon, sausage, and meat promote elevated acid levels in the body as well. Add to that highly acidic drinks such as coffee, black
    tea, sodas, alcohol, and sports drinks, and acidic foods for lunch and dinner, and you’re consuming loads of acid-forming foods throughout the day. Keep in mind that acid-forming food does not mean the state of the food when you eat or drink it but the final ash residue after it is metabolized. As a result of this style of eating, along with not eating enough green veggies and other living foods, many people suffer from a condition known as mild acidosis, which is an out-of-balance pH leaning toward acidity. This means that the body is continually fighting to maintain pH balance.
    One of the symptoms of acidosis is weight gain and an inability to lose weight. That’s because the body tends to store acid in fat cells and to hang on to those cells to protect your delicate tissues and organs. It will even make more fat cells in which to store acid, if they’re needed. To turn this scenario around, it’s important to alkalize your body. Greens are one of the best choices you could make because they’re very alkaline. And juicing them gives you an easy way to consume a lot more than you could chew up in a day.
    To give your body a great start in rebalancing your pH, make 60 percent to 80 percent of your diet alkalizing foods such as green vegetables, raw juices, grasses such as wheatgrass juice, fresh vegetables and fruit, raw seeds, nuts, and sprouts. Greatly limit or avoid your consumption of acid-forming foods such as meat, dairy products, chocolate, sweets, bread and all other yeast products, alcohol, carbonated drinks, sports drinks, coffee, and black tea. When pH balance is achieved, the body should automatically drop to its ideal, healthy weight unless you have other health challenges. (But those should heal too over time.) As the acidic environment is neutralized with mineral-rich alkaline foods, there will be no need for your body to create new fat cells for storage of acid. And since the remaining fat is no longer needed to store acid wastes, it simply melts away.
    This is also a great way to restore your health. Many diseases such as cancer thrive in an acidic state. Take away the acid, and they don’t do as well. An alkaline diet also boosts your energy level, improves skin, reduces allergies, sustains the immune system, and enhances mental clarity.
    Thermogenic Foods Rev Up Your Metabolism
    Thermogenesis means the production of heat, which raises metabolism and burns calories. Thermogenic foods are essentially fat-burning foods and spices that help increase your metabolism. This means that with some of your kitchen staples, you can burn off fat during or right after you eat and increase your fat-burning potential just by eating them. So include these super foods often in your juices and recipes.
    Hot peppers. Imagine eating hot peppers and revving up your metabolism enough to lose weight. A study in 2010 found that obesity was caused by a lack of thermogenic response in the body rather than by overeating or lack of exercise. “The animals developed obesity mainly because they didn’t produce enough heat after eating, not because the animals ate more or were less active,” said Dr. Yong Xu, instructor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and co-lead author of the study.5 Another study found that hot peppers turn up the internal heat, which helps in burning calories.6 You can add hot peppers or a dash of hot sauce to many juice recipes or almost any dish and make it taste delicious.
    Garlic. When it comes to weight loss, garlic appears to be a miracle food. A team of doctors at Israel’s Tel Hashomer Hospital conducted a test on rats to find out how garlic can prevent diabetes and heart attacks, and they found an interesting side effect—none of the rats given allicin (a compound in garlic) gained weight.7
    Garlic is a known appetite suppressant. The strong odor of garlic stimulates the satiety center in the brain, thereby reducing feelings of hunger. It also increases the brain’s sensitivity to leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells that controls appetite. Further, garlic stimulates the nervous system to release hormones such as adrenalin, which speed up metabolic rate. This means a greater ability to burn calories. More calories burned means less weight gained—a terrific correlation.
    Ginger. Ginger contains a substance that stimulates gastric enzymes, which can boost metabolism. The better your metabolism, the more calories you’ll burn. It has been shown to be an anti-inflammatory—
    inflammation is implicated in obesity. Ginger helps improve gastric motility—the spontaneous peristaltic movements of the stomach that aid in moving food through the digestive system. When the digestive system is functioning at its best, you’ll experience less bloating and constipation. It has also been found to
    lower cholesterol. And ginger is the top vegan source of zinc, which gives a big boost to your immune system. Top that off with the fact that it tastes delicious in juice recipes, and you have a super spice. I add it to almost every juice recipe I make.
    Parsley. This dark green herb offers a great way to make your dishes and juices super healthy. Parsley helps you detox because it’s chock-full of antioxidants, like vitamin C and flavonoids, and it’s loaded with minerals and chlorophyll. It’s also a natural diuretic, which helps you get rid of stored water. That means thinner ankles, feet, and fingers. And it improves digestion and strengthens the spleen as well. You can add a handful of parsley to almost any juice recipe and you won’t even know it’s there.
    Cranberries. Studies show that cranberries are loaded with acids that researchers believe are useful in dissolving fat deposits. When fat deposits settle in the body, they are hard to get rid of, so it’s best to get them before they get “hooked on” you. Some studies point out that the enzymes in cranberries can aid metabolism, which gives a boost to weight loss.8This tart little fruit is a natural diuretic, helping you get rid of excess water and bloating. Of all the fruits, cranberries rank number two for antioxidant content, which helps detoxify the body. And they promote healthy teeth and gums, fight urinary track infections, improve heart health, and keep cancer at bay.
    Kathy, who was featured in my “Holiday Fat Buster” article in the December 27, 2010, issue of Woman’s World, issue, lost 5 pounds in seventy-two hours drinking a cranberry, pear, cucumber, and ginger
    cocktail along with the rest of the Turbo Juice Diet Program. Within a week Kathy’s tummy was down 5.5 inches—she said she had to keep measuring to make sure it was right. Regarding the juice diet program, she said, “Overall, I had a lot of energy and no hunger.”9 You can add cranberries to many recipes for a delicious enhancer to your juice drinks and a boost to your weight loss at the same time. If you buy these berries when they’re in season, you can freeze a few packages to have on hand for seasons when they aren’t available.
    Blueberries. A 2010 study found that blueberries can help you get rid of belly fat, thanks to the high level of phytochemicals (antioxidants) they contain. The study also showed that blueberries are helpful in preventing type 2 diabetes, and the benefits were even greater when the blueberries were combined with a low-fat diet.10 Moreover, blueberries can also help fight hardening of the arteries and improve the memory.
    Lemons. Adding just a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to your water, salad, or soup will help ward off cravings, alkalize your body, and keep your insulin levels in check. Hot lemon water with a dash of cayenne pepper is a great way to start your day—it gets the liver, your fat-burning organ, moving in the morning. It’s also a natural diuretic and helps clear out toxins from your system. Further, it aids the digestive process and prevents constipation. It can also help alleviate heartburn—just add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to water and drink with your meal. Limonene, a compound in lemons, helps short-circuit the production of acid in the stomach—lemons are very alkalizing. Meyer lemons, my favorite, are sweeter and are available in the winter.
    The Low-Glycemic Benefits of Juicing
    The glycemic index has become a popular weight-loss tool based in part on the fact that high-glycemic foods raise blood sugar levels, cause the body to secrete excess insulin, and lead to the storage of fat. Originally developed to help diabetics manage blood sugar control, the glycemic index has become popular in the weight-loss market largely because it works so well. Researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association that patients who lost weight with a low-glycemic diet kept the weight off longer than patients who lost the same amount of weight with a low-fat diet.11
    The glycemic index (GI) diet refers to a system of ranking carbohydrates according to how much a certain amount of each food raises a person’s blood sugar level. It’s determined by measuring how much a 50-gram serving of carbohydrate raises a person’s blood sugar level compared with a control.
    Virtually all carbohydrates are digested into glucose and cause a temporary rise in blood glucose levels, called the glycemic response. But some foods raise it more than others. This response is affected by many factors, including the quantity of food, the amount and type of carbohydrate, how it’s cooked or eaten raw, and the degree of processing. Each food is assigned an index number from 1 to 100, with 100 as the reference score for pure glucose. Typically, foods are rated high (greater than 70), moderate (56–69), and low (less than 55). Low-glycemic foods, especially raw carbohydrates, can help control blood sugar, appetite, and weight. Though helpful for everyone, they are especially helpful for people with type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome.
    Low-glycemic foods are absorbed more slowly, allowing a person to feel full longer and therefore be less likely to overeat. Raw food experts such as Dr. John Douglass have found that raw carbohydrates such as the raw juices are better tolerated than cooked carbs. They don’t elicit the addictive cravings that cooked foods cause. Douglass believes, as does the Finish expert A. I. Virtanen, that the enzymes in raw food play an important role in the way they stimulate weight loss as they do in the treatment of obesity.12
    When you get to chapter 6, “Beyond the Weekend,” you will be encouraged to choose most of your carbohydrate foods from the low-glycemic index and a large percentage of those foods as raw. The foods I recommend eating after you’ve completed your weekend weight-loss diet (see Appendix B) are for the most part low glycemic and are nutrient-rich, not refined, and higher in fiber—like whole vegetables, fruit, and legumes (beans, lentils, split peas).
    Not All Carbs Are Created Equal
    Different carbohydrates take different pathways in the body after digestion. For example, some starchy foods are bound by an outer layer of very complex starches (fiber) like the legumes (beans, lentils, split peas), which increases the time it takes for them to be digested. So even though legumes are relatively high in carbohydrates, they have a lower glycemic response because of their complex encasing.
    There is also the antioxidant potential of foods to consider, meaning the amount of antioxidant nutrients a food contains, such as beta-carotene and vitamin C that are abundant in many fruits and vegetables. In Chinese culture, carrots are often used as cooling medicine. Carrots, beets (both very rich in beta-carotene),
    and other brightly colored vegetables are especially important to include in our diet to prevent disease. These days many health professionals suggest we eliminate carrots and beets because of their glycemic rating, but the weekend weight-loss diet does not exclude them because of their high nutrient and fiber content. But I do recommend that you use them in small amounts because they are higher in sugar.
    Also, please keep in mind that not all low-glycemic foods are healthy fare. Low-glycemic foods include candy bars and potato chips. These foods are very nutrient depleted, contain sugar or turn to sugar easily,
    and lack fiber. You need to get the best nutrition for your choices. With this plan, there’s no obsessing over the glycemic index either, just a basic understanding of the principles. Keep in mind that certain factors can change a score, such as the riper the fruit, the higher the glycemic index score. But always choose ripe fruits and vegetables over unripe; they are healthier by far. Adding good fat to foods can lower the GI score. And keep in mind that the GI response to any given food also varies widely from person to person.
    It can even vary within the same person from day to day. So it’s important to listen to your body and determine how the foods you are eating are affecting you.
    More Than Weight Loss
    Years ago when I was taking prerequisites for my master of science program in whole foods nutrition at Bastyr University, I worked for a weight-loss center part time as a nutrition counselor. I noticed that a number of people who entered the program looked healthy, meaning they had good skin color and tone and vibrancy—they were just overweight. Soon into the program, I noticed that though they were losing weight, they weren’t looking healthier. I observed a loss of skin tone, skin color turning a grayish pallor, and a loss of energy and vitality. I was alarmed. Even as a student I knew that it was not just about dropping weight; it was about getting healthier. I quit the job, unable to promote something that I felt did harm.
    When you embark on a weight-loss program, it should be about getting healthier along with losing weight. Whether you want to lose 10, 20, 50, 100, or even 200 pounds, it isn’t just about getting the weight off any way you can. I know people who have lost weight through drastic means and ruined their health in the process.
    Losing weight with vegetable juices and kicking off your program with the Weekend Weight-Loss Diet is the first step in choosing a weight-loss regimen that doesn’t sacrifice your health. That’s why I’m excited about introducing you to the Weekend Weight-Loss Diet. I know what it can do for you. So many people have praised this program and my other juice diets because of the increased health and energy they experienced. And if they can experience these great results, you can too. You’re off to a great start and a
    lifetime of fitness!

    REVIEW:

    I really liked this book. I LOVE JUICING!! This is a way to Jump-Start your Weight Loss program. She's right when she says it's quick and easy. She talks a little bit about nutrition in the beginning in simple terms and not so complicated that you lost interest! Then inside she lays out the weekend plan. What to drink and what times to do it!! She has a weeks eathing plan! I like that she helps you pick out the best in the produce isle!! I never know for sure how to pick out rip fruit and veggies. She makes it simple. Then she talks about beyond the weekend, how to keep losing weight and feel great! I really enjoyed this balance of juice and regular food.

    At the end she has delicious receipes I'll use way beyond the weekend. If you like juicing or just wanted to give it a try for the weekend. I highly recommend this book.

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

    GIVEAWAY 10 COPIES - JULIE KLASSEN'S NEW NOVEL


    BETHANY HOUSE GIVING AWAY 10 COPIES


    BOOK DESCRIPTION:Pampered Margaret Macy flees London in disguise to escape pressure to marry a dishonorable man. With no money and nowhere else to go, she takes a position as a housemaid in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, a suitor she once rejected in hopes of winning his dashing brother. Praying no one will recognize her, Margaret fumbles through the first real work of her life. If she can last until her next birthday, she will gain an inheritance from a spinster aunt--and sweet independence. But can she remain hidden as a servant even when prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall?

    Observing both brothers as an "invisible" servant, Margaret learns she may have misjudged Nathaniel. Is it too late to rekindle his admiration? And when one of the family is nearly killed, Margaret alone discovers who was responsible. Should she come forward, even at the risk of her reputation and perhaps her life? And can she avoid an obvious trap meant to force her from hiding?

    On her journey from wellborn lady to servant to uncertain future, Margaret must learn to look past appearances and find the true meaning of "serve one another in love."


    THE DRAWING is AT THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK


    Here is the Link to OUR NEW DRAWING


    http://www.bookfun.org/group/bethanyhousepublishers/forum/topics/the-maid-of-fairbourne-hall-by-julie-klassen


    ALL ENTRIES MUST BE MADE @ TBCN for the Drawing!! Winners will be Announced TUESDAY!!


    Blessings


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

    F.A.I.R.I.E.S. by M.C. PEARSON - REVIEWED


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
    M. C. Pearson graduated from San Jose State University with a B. A. in art, served as a multi-media illustrator in the United States Army, earning the rank of sergeant, and spent four years as a house parent for at-risk youth. Now married over 20 years, she homeschools her two children, volunteers with her church youth group, and runs a book review blog alliance (FIRST Wild Card Tours) while writing and drawing. F.A.I.R.I.E.S.: Baptism by Fire is her first novel.

     
    Visit the author's website. http://www.fantasticalsquads.blogspot.com/




    F.A.I.R.I.E.S.
    By M.C. Pearson
    Published by First Wild Card Press

    Back Cover: Unwittingly chosen to join an army of fairies, who fight for the Light of the One, a teenaged girl learns about spiritual warfare as she attends a military academy with fantastical beings.

    Review: Have you seen the movie Tooth Fairy or The S.A.N.T.A. Clause? Read the book Hinds Feet in High Places? F.A.I.R.I.E.S. reminded me of parts of these movies and book. I’m thankful to have received a review copy of such an imaginative book. This author combines fantasy with reality like the two movies I mentioned and is an allegory like the book Hinds Feet in High Places. Mellie is the only human in the story. She is surrounded with mystical characters like Lord of the Rings has with fairies, elves, gnomes, gremlins, dragons, dwarfs just to name a few and she’s trying to make sense of this new world she has just entered, like Lucy in C.S. Lewis’s book Narnia.

    M.C. Pearsons is not only the author of this youth fantasy but she is the illustrator as well. Her pictures are scattered throughout the book. They illustrate for the reader her imaginative characters

    Mellie is a disgruntled human who wishes to escape the home life she has with her dreadful sisters. “Just once she wanted to do something that would make her sisters see that she wasn’t stupid, awkward, ugly, and a little baby.” She wanted to live in a family where she was loved and accepted. Maybe she could runaway and find a better place to live.

    Suddenly Mellis finds herself deep into the forest unsure of where to go next, then she runs into the strangest sight, a walking stick that talks.

    Is this a dream she wonders? Then suddenly the walking stick ushers her into the labyrinth of the F.A.I.R.I.E.S. She doesn’t know what to think. Everything was quite magical. Just like in the Santa Clause and Tooth Fairy movies she sees everyone working together as a team for a common goal, she’ll learn later.

    The walking stick finally introduces himself to her, his name is Regnans. He says, Welcome to the F.A.I.R.I.E.S. it stands for

    F – Fantastical

    A – Aerial

    I – International

    R- Reasonably

    I- Inconspicious

    E- Emancepation

    S – Squads
    They have accepted her into their organization. Regnans goes on to tell she has been “chosen” by the One. He tells her, “You made a choice to run away from a miserable life and asked to be set free?..... Right? You asked – we answered – you are accepted.”

    Mellie is surprised and says, “But I don’t believe in fairies….”

    “Follow-Me. I’ll enroll you for training. We are at war.” Move quickly.

    She replies, “I’m not at war with anyone”

    Regnan says, “You are at war. The darone wants to stamp out the light.”

    This is where the story reminded me of the Tooth Fairy and how he goes into training. He learns all he can and then makes the mission his own.

    Mellie embarks on a magical adventure as “chosen” by the One to be trained as a soldier of the light to fight the shadow whose set on fighting humans.

    She also is in search of the One who truly loves and accepts her for who she is and was created to be.

    I enjoyed this journey into the F.A.I.R.I.E.S. training and beyond!! It was fun, entertaining and yet there was a depth to this story I enjoyed. I also like the surprising twists and turns Mellie takes in her search to find the One and her mission in life.


    Are you looking for a story that will whisk you into a magical land and help you not think about the worries of this world; at the same time bring comfort and joy to your soul? Then search no more F.A.I.R.I.E.S. is the book for you and the young people in your life. It will spark great conversation for you and any book clubs that would like to read it.

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

    GIVEAWAY - (5) COPIES - RACE AGAINST TIME


    Book Description:
    Anesia Naltsiine has made mistakes that have cost her-and her 13-year old daughter, Zoya-dearly. But no more. She will prove her worth as a mother and as a breeder of champion sprint racing dogs. Her kennel is so successful that buyers come from all over the world. So why does she still feel so worthless?

    Zoya misses the dad she never knew. All she wants is to follow in his footsteps as a champion sprint dog racer. But when she witnesses a murder in their town of North Pole, Alaska, she finds herself thrown into dangers and emotions she can’t begin to understand.

    Enter Sean Connelly, a new employee at the kennel with demons of his own. When he discovers macrochips bearing military secrets implanted in the Naltsiine's dogs, a puzzle tracing back to the murder unfolds. Then strange "accidents" start happening; clearly someone wants Zoya silenced. Anesia tells her daughter it's not safe to race, but Zoya, angry with the world- and God-takes off across dangerous Alaskan terrain alone. Anesia and Sean must race against time to save the girl-and themselves.

    LINK TO THE CONTEST @ THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK

    Drawing ends Thursday night - Winners announced Friday

    You must answer the question to be entered into the drawing @ The Book Club Network - Not here

    HAPPY READING!!

    Nora St.Laurent
    The Book Club Network

    WILD CARD TOUR FIRETHORN by RONIE KENDIG - 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:

    Barbour Books; Discarded Heroes edition (2012)

    ***Special thanks to Ronie Kendig for sending me a review copy.***

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
    An Army brat, Ronie Kendig grew up in the classic military family, with her father often TDY and her mother holding down the proverbial fort. Their family moved often, which left Ronie attending six schools by the time she’d entered fourth grade. Her only respite and “friends” during this time were the characters she created.
    It was no surprise when she married a military veteran—her real-life hero—in June 1990. Married more than twenty years, Ronie and her husband, Brian, homeschool their four children, the first of whom graduated in 2011. Despite the craziness of life, Ronie finds balance and peace with her faith, family and their three dogs in Dallas, TX.
    Ronie has a deep love and passion for people, especially hurting people, which is why she pursued and obtained a B.S. in Psychology from Liberty University. Ronie is an active member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has volunteered extensively, serving in a variety of capacities from coordinator of a national contest to appointment assistant at the national annual conference.

    Since launching onto the publishing scene in 2010, Ronie and her books have been gained critical acclaim and national attention, including:
      • Finalist in Christian Retailing’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards (Nightshade)
      • RWA’s Faith, Hope, and Love’s 2011 Inspirational Readers’ Choice Awards in Romantic Suspense (Nightshade)
      • Named one of the Top 25 Christian Fiction Suspense, Mystery, and Thriller Writers by FamilyFiction (Sept 2011)
      • 2011 FamilyFiction Readers’ Choice Awards – 3rd place as New Favorite Author, 8th place with Nightshade for Novel of the Year.
      • INSPY Award Shortlist final in Mystery/Thriller (Dead Reckoning)
      • The Christian Manifesto’s 2010 Lime Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Nightshade)
    Visit the author's website.

    SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:
    Blown and dismantled, Nightshade is ready to repay the favor.

    Former Marine and current Nightshade team member Griffin "Legend" Riddell is comfortable. So comfortable he never sees the set up that lands him in a maximum security prison, charged with murder. How can he prove his innocence behind bars?

    Covert operative Kazi Faron is tasked with reassembling Nightshade—the black ops team someone dissected. Breaking Griffin out of a federal penitentiary amid explosive confusion may turn out to be her last assignment. What will it take to convince the fugitive that whoever set him up has also dissected the Nightshade team? As Kazi and Griffin race to rescue the others and discover the traitor,
    love begins to awaken in their hearts.

    Can a covert operative and the felon she's freed overcome their mutual distrust long enough to save Nightshade? Will anything prepare them for who—or what is coming?



    Product Details:


    • List Price: $12.99
    • Paperback: 352 pages
    • Publisher: Barbour Books; Discarded Heroes edition (2012)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1602607850
    • ISBN-13: 978-1602607859



    AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


    To all American military heroes

    At home and abroad,

    Those who have gone before

    and those serving today—

    THANK YOU!

    Because of you, we are FREE!


    RECON CREED
    Realizing it is my choice and my choice alone to be a Reconnaissance Marine, I accept all challenges involved with this profession. Forever shall I strive to maintain the tremendous reputation of those who went before me.
    Exceeding beyond the limitations set down by others shall be my goal. Sacrificing personal comforts and dedicating myself to the completion of the reconnaissance mission shall be my life. Physical fitness, mental attitude, and high ethics—The title of Recon Marine is my honor.
    Conquering all obstacles, both large and small, I shall never quit. To quit, to surrender, to give up is to fail. To be a Recon Marine is to surpass failure; To overcome, to adapt and to do whatever it takes to complete the mission.
    On the battlefield, as in all areas of life, I shall stand tall above the competition. Through professional pride, integrity, and teamwork, I shall be the example for all Marines to emulate.
    Never shall I forget the principles I accepted to become a Recon Marine. Honor, Perseverance, Spirit, and Heart.
    A Recon Marine can speak without saying a word and achieve what others can only imagine.
    Swift, Silent, Deadly


    Chapter 1
    The Shack
    “It’s sad, really.” Marshall “The Kid” Vaughn trudged away from the thumping rotors of the helo that had deposited them back at the Shack, his pack almost dragging the ground. “Ya don’t realize how much a person adds until he’s gone.”
    “Legend’s not gone.” Max “Frogman” Jacobs hoisted his rucksack into a better group, his mind locked on Sydney and their two sons waiting for him at home. Poor woman had to be going out of her mind with two of his Mini-Me’s running around.
    “Yeah.” John “Squirt” Dighton hit the light breaker, then waited for the six-man team to clear the door. “He’s just temporarily detained.”
    Lights sizzled and popped to life. Groaning bounced off the grimy windows as he hauled the door closed, locked it, then started toward the showers.
    The Kid grunted. “Forty-years-to-life temporary.”
    In the locker room, a depressive gloom hung over the team. They’d been on countless missions, hit just about every terrain and environment imaginable, but none had taken the toll the last couple had. And there was one reason—they were down a man. Griffin “Legend” Riddell. If Max could write the playbook, they wouldn’t do another mission without the guy. But with the man in federal prison for murdering a congressman, it’d be a long wait.
    It was quiet. Too quiet. Max looked around the Spartan room. Walls of lockers, most unused. A few benches. A giant once-white bin for dirty duds. And the team. Six men, now. All very skilled. Good men. Even the one missing. Every man here knew Legend had been set up—he didn’t murder that congressman. But nobody could prove it. The evidence was damning. Justice—injustice was more like it—came swiftly. Lambert, ever the puppeteer, couldn’t pull the right strings to get Legend off.
    “I’m heading up to visit him tomorrow. Anyone game?” Colton “Cowboy” Neeley slumped on a bench and ran a hand over his short, dark hair. His blue eyes probed the group.
    “Nah, man. I’ve got a date,” the Kid said.
    Squirt beaned him with a towel. “What girl would go out with you, mate?”
    The Kid snapped the terry cloth back at the former Navy SEAL. “Your sister.”
    Squirt froze. His jaw went slack. Then his eyes darkened.
    Laughing, Canyon “Midas” Metcalfe rose to his feet from the corner. “You just proved his point by thinking your sister would actually go out with him.”
    Squirt swallowed, his face drained of color. “I introduced them at a New Year’s party.”
    Midas laughed harder. “Your mistake, mate.
    Shuffling closer, Squirt pointed a finger at the Kid. “I swear, you touch her, I’ll shove a fist full of witchety grubs down your gullet.”
    “Give me credit, dude.” The Kid raised his hands. “I’m a gentleman.”
    Max grunted. “Right.” As he strode around the lockers to the shower well, he heard more threats and much more laughter from the Kid. Max shook his head. Would the Kid ever grow up, learn when to leave things alone?
    As he tossed his oily, grimy duds on the bench, Max paused, thinking maybe he should send his report to Lambert now so he wouldn’t have to mess with it tomorrow. The mission had been simple enough, a snatch-n-grab of an Iranian doctor. It’d been nice and clean, in and out. The report wouldn’t take long. Then he could shower, bug out, and know he had the whole weekend with Syd and the boys.
    Max jogged up the iron stairs, which creaked and groaned beneath his weight. Down the hall to the right. He punched in the code and entered the secure hub, the door hissing shut behind him. The most high-tech part of this dump-of-a-warehouse.
    Shouts drew his attention to the blinds. He jabbed two fingers between a couple and spread them to peeked down into the main area. Squirt and the Kid raced into the bay and back the way they came. Squirt looked ready to kill. The Kid’s face revealed his fear. Max shook his head again. Man, he wanted Griffin back. The guy seemed to bring balance to the team. Badly needed balance.
    Max powered up the computer. Hand propped on the warped wood, he waited for the system to boot.
    More shouts. Loud thuds.
    He pinched the bridge of his nose. Would they never—?
    Tat-a-tat! Tat-tat-a-tat!
    Instinct drove Max to his knee at the sound of gunfire. He scrambled to the window. Through the slanted blinds, he peered down into the slab of cement. His brain wouldn’t assemble what he saw. Gunmen. A dozen or more. Rushing into the Shack from the parking bay. Moving swiftly, as if. . .
    They know the layout.
    Max darted to the door and jerked it open. He sprinted down the hall toward the stairs. As his boot hit steel, he froze. A shadow emerged. Floated into the hall.
    Too late.
    Max jerked back. Pressed his spine against the wall.
    By the showers, the Kid looked up. Max signaled to him. Then made his best and loudest Nightshade whistle, hoping it would penetrate the building, give the men warning to take cover.
    The Kid threw himself back into the locker room.
    Men swarmed the corner. One looked to his left, one right. His weapon slowly rose as he traced the stairs with his M16.
    Max leapt backward into the darkness and into office. He closed the door. As the lock clicked, darkness dropped like an anchor over the entire building. Behind him, a glow screamed his location. The monitor!
    Max spun. Lunged across the desk. Stabbed the power button. And paused with his hand still near the monitor. If someone was coming after them. . .accessing this computer. . .
    On his knees, Max yanked the cords free. With the box, he moved to the window and reassessed the parking bay. Another van with a half-dozen men with AK-47s. They streamed into the warehouse.
    Max’s gut wound into a dozen knots. They were screwed.
    Think! Hand on the door, he considered going back downstairs. But that would get him captured. Killed. Yet he’d rather be with his guys than running like a chicken.
    No, not running. Considering options, gaining the advantage. Planning. The invasion force was armed to the teeth. They knew who they were coming after. They’d brought weapons. And those guys moved with precision. Swift, deadly precision.
    Though Nightshade had a stellar ops record, perhaps they had finally met their match. Still. . .two to one? Nightshade had faced worse.
    A large black Suburban screeched to a halt in the middle of the parking bay. Two men emerged, both wearing trench coats.
    Max cursed his luck to be up here, away from his gear, his weapons. Up here, without firepower. Thus, powerless.
    Okay, enough. He was going down there. He eased the door open and slid across the hall. Bathed in darkness, he crouched at edge of the landing, using the wall for cover. A dozen men so far, rushing here and there. Quick, quiet chatter between the men.
    A smirk slid into Max’s face. His team had taken cover and these goons couldn’t find them. If he could just get a weapon. . .
    “Can’t find them.”
    “They’re here. I saw them go in,” the man nearest the SUV shouted. “Find them! Lights!”
    Light rushed through the building as headlamps from the vehicles stabbed the dusty, damp building. Max yanked back, out of sight. He needed to get down there, defend his men. His boot hit the landing.
    Shouts erupted. A shot bounced off the steel rafters, taunting as it echoed through the Shack. Stilled, Max waited. More shouts. The sound of a scuffle. The half-dozen men waiting by the SUV lifted their weapons to the ready.
    The locker room door swung open. A man walked backward, his AK-47 aimed at a large form filling the doorway. Cowboy. Arms raised, dressed only in his jeans, he stalked forward. Someone shoved him from behind, which barely moved the big lug.
    Spine pressed against the wood, Max peered down into the bay.
    “You move one wrong muscle,” the one in front of Cowboy growled, “and so help me God, I’ll kill you.”
    “No you won’t.” Cowboy lowered his hands. “If you wanted me dead, I wouldn’t be out here.”
    Ride ’em, Cowboy.
    From the side entrance to the showers, three men dragged a shouting, cursing Kid into the bay. Max smirked that it took three tangos to wrangle the Kid.
    Hand clenched, Max’s mind went into overdrive. What could he do? God. . .I need. . .something. What could he pray for? Intercepting the team was impossible. Twelve, fifteen armed tangos against one unarmed man?
    He latched on to the hope that they’d only found Cowboy and the Kid. No Midas, Squirt, or Aladdin. Good. Maybe they could regroup and—
    A man flew through the bay door from the showers and landed with a thud a yard from the others. Midas flipped over, scissored his legs, and swept the thug off his feet. The Kid seized the confusion to attack the men guarding him. And impressively. With a hard right, he dropped the first and used that weapon to disable the second.
    Cowboy took a step back and rammed his elbow into the gut of the nearest guard. The gunman bent forward—straight into Cowboy’s meaty fist. The big guy pivoted, slapped the interior of the gunman’s wrist, effectively seizing the weapon and flipping the muzzle around. He fired at the guy.
    Crack!
    In the split second it took for Max to realize the sonic boom that rent the air wasn’t the report of Cowboy’s .45 MEU but of a rifle, Max saw the man in the black trench coat drop to the ground. A circle spread out like a dark halo.
    “Sniper!” someone shouted.
    The dead guy had fallen backward. Most likely shot from the front. Which meant. . . Max’s gaze rose to the rafters. With no light, it’d be the perfect hiding spot. But. . .who? Squirt? Aladdin?
    Crack!
    The man guarding Colton stumbled forward, then went to his knees before hitting the cement.
    The man in the black trench coat nearest the SUV dropped. A pool of blood spilled out.
    “There!” One guard swung and fired his fully automatic at the ceiling. Four others followed suit, firing at the bank of grimy windows on the southeast wall of the building.
    Max followed their direction and watched. Waited, his breath caught at the back of his throat. Cracks and shattering glass blended with the staccato punches of the guns to create a wild cacophony of noise. Max tuned it out, praying whoever—Aladdin or Squirt—wouldn’t be hit.
    But then he saw it. A shift of a shadow. Like someone rolling. . .
    The gunfire petered out as a body plummeted the eight feet to the ground.
    The thud seemed to have supernatural powers as it pounded Max’s chest and pushed him back. Away from the window but not far enough that he lost line of sight.
    Silence dropped on the Shack.
    “Where’s Max Jacobs?”
    As the question streaked through the warehouse, Max registered a red glow in the far corner. Even as he noticed it, he heard a beep. Another. His gaze darted to the source of the noise. Two men were walking the perimeter, their M16s dangling as they raised their arms and pressed something against the supports. Arms lowered and the men stepped back revealing gray bricks with wires.
    Explosives.
    Gotta stop this. Do something. His gaze collided with Cowboy’s. The big lug gave an almost imperceptible shake of his head.
    Max’s nostrils flared as he wrestled with what to do.
    “Where’s Dighton?”
    How do they know our names?
    “Dead,” someone answered.
    Pulled back into the shadows, Max clenched his eyes and bit down on his tongue. Dighton was dead. What about Aladdin—had he survived the fall?
    Sirens wailed in the distance.
    “Load ’em up.”
    “What about Jacobs?”
    “Outta time.” The leader left as the gunmen dragged the team out of the building.
    Stealthily, Max held on to the box and sprinted the length of the hall to the side of the Shack. In the conference room, he plunged toward the window. Craned his neck to peek out. Three vehicles—twin white vans and a black town car.
    The guys were loaded into the van and one into the car.
    The leader shifted, held something out, then it wavered.
    Detonator.
    Max spun around, searching for an out. Doors. Only one way down—the stairs. But they led to the bay, which would be engulfed.
    Windows. Overlooked the dock. The canal. It was January. The water would be brutal cold. His split-second assessment told him no matter what route he took, it’d be deadly. Despite his training, if he didn’t find shelter out of the water once he broke surface, he’d die an ice cube. If he stayed, he’d die a fireball.
    Good thing SEALs are insulated against cold water.
    Max vaulted toward the window, hurtling the computer through the window. The glass shattered as a violent force blasted through the air. It lifted him. Up. . .up. . . Flipped him. Searing pain sliced through his arm. Heat stroked his back and legs. Fire chased him out of the building. Into the night.
    Boom!
    Another wave slammed into him. Threw him backward. Toward the water.
    Something punched his gut. Knocked the breath from his lungs.
    Bright white lit the night. Blinded him. Then—almost instantaneously—black. Pure black. And he was falling. . .down. . .down. . .



    Ro n i e K e n d i g
    Firethorn
    Discarded Heroes # 4

    OTHER BOOKS BY RONIE KENDIG

    Nightshade (Discarded Heroes #1)

    Digitalis (Discarded Heroes #2)

    Wolfsbane (Discarded Heroes #3)

    © 2011 by Ronie Kendig

    ISBN 978-1-60260-0785-9
    Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher.

    This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual people, organizations, and/or events is purely coincidental.

    For more information about Ronie Kendig, please access the author’s Web site at the following Internet address: www.roniekendig.com

    Published by Barbour Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 719, Uhrichsville, OH 44683,

    www.barbourbooks.com

    Our mission is to publish and distribute inspirational products offering exceptional value and biblical encouragement to the masses.

    Printed in the United States of America.

    FIRETHORN REVIEWED

    By Ronie Kendig
    Published by B & H
    ISBN# 978-1-602060-785-9
    348 Pages

    Back Cover: Don your tactical gear and enter the world of black ops and espionage within the pages of Ronie Kendig’s thriller Firethorn. Former Marine Griffin “Legend” Riddell, a fugitive from injustice, finds it difficult to trust anyone. Covert operative Kazi Faron, the woman sent to free him, has a dangerous secret that may jeopardize her life, mission, and the only man she respects. As Griffin and Kazi race around the globe to save Nightshade, the danger mounts. Will they find the culprit sabotaging their black ops team? Can their newfound feelings and trust survive when Griffin and Kazi face truth and terror?Show More Show Less

    Review: Ronie’s passion and understanding of soldiers and war tactics is evident in her rapid-fire fiction. She says “Thank you for journeying with the Nightshades team, for opening your minds and hearts to the great toll war/combat takes on our men and women in the U.S. Armed forces.” I’m thankful for the review copy I received of this book and the awareness this author has brought to my attention about what goes on in the hearts and minds of our soldiers. Along with the thank you note, Ronie tells readers about ways to get involved in supporting our troops.

    This amazing series highlights one team member per book during some incredible black ops missions. The reader gets to know them, their personal struggles and their background. In this book finale things are done a little different. We get to know Griffin Riddell up-close alright (code name “Legend” in Nightshades) as things heat up on all fronts. “Legend” is set free by Kazi and begins an unbelievable journey. Along the way he learns his team is picked off and taken down one by one. This couldn’t be happening!

    The question on Griffin’s mind is, “Who did this? Who went after Nightshades? Someone who had a powerful need to die, because he and the others, once back together, would ensure their attacks kissed the grave-fast.”

    Kazi has helped Griffin face some pretty remarkable circumstances and all the while acting as a Lone Ranger. Griffin tries to explain to her about his faith and being a team player. He says, “God will help us Kazi, He will.”

    Kazi replies, “I need someone I can touch-or punch, not a God who hides out in Heaven while we run a muck on this planet.”

    Kazi rubbed Griffin the wrong way. He was trying to be patient. Griffin tries to explain about being loyal to the team. “Now, I don’t care what sort of business you’re trying to protect or if you’re trying to protect yourself Kazi, but you need to understand – these are my boys..I will do whatever it takes to get them back, and part of that includes protecting you when and if I have to. …You’ve never worked on a team have you? …See, me and my boys are a team. We talk to each other, depend on each other. That keeps us alive, know what that means? Makes us friends…more than friends-brothers.”

    I loved how real Griffin and Kazie were with each other in and out of combat! I also liked the authors well timed humor. I really had to keep track of what was happening and where. This was a riveting read. Ronie has an explosive, unbelievable conclusion to a very memorable and moving series. This was one wild ride. This book reminded me of a Mission Impossible movie. It’s big, its rapid-fire action drama, real and revealing on so many levels. It has surprises for the reader with so many twists and turns. I know I wasn't sure what was up until the dust settled at the end. Ronie left the story with a satisfying ending. I can’t wait to read the next book by her. I highly recommend this book and this Discarded Heroes series.

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