Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Lunar Antics


by Robert Walters

Who Are These Guys? 
(taken from the Lunar Antics website)

Meet the gang from the Lunar Antics comic strip! Zeno, Zed, Linda, and Drusus are inhabitants of the moon who just love to hang out here on Earth. Because it's not enough to be superior to all Earthlings, their mission is to make sure you know that they are superior to all Earthlings. 

But don't let these moon people steal the show because it's really about us! 



You can read an excerpt of the book HERE


You can find Lunar Antics on Twitter HERE.







MY REVIEW

The Lunar Antics are funny! I really appreciated the fact that this book is 100% family friendly. There is nothing crude or offensive... which just proves that you can be funny without being obnoxious at the same time. I found the characters quite entertaining and loved how the author used them to point out some of our unique "earthling" eccentricities. It is always fun to laugh at ourselves.

I would be happy to recommend The Lunar Antics: Boy, I'd Hate To Be Made Out Of That Stuff to anyone who enjoys a good, clean comic book. 


Thanks so much to Robert Walters & Laconil Publishing for sending me a review copy of this book.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In the Midst of it All

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:

Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (February 22, 2010)
***Special thanks to Miriam Parker - Associate Director, Online Marketing - at Hachette Book Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Tiffany L. Warren, is an author, playwright, songwriter, mother and wife. Her debut novel What a Sista Should Do, was released in June of 2005 and has ministered to over 50,000 readers. Her second book, Farther than I Meant to Go, Longer than I Meant to Stay was a national bestseller. In 2006, Tiffany and her husband, Brent, founded Warren Productions and released their first gospel musical. What a Sista Should Do - The Stage Play debuted in Cleveland, OH at the famed Allen Theatre.

Tiffany is also the visionary behind the Faith and Fiction Fellowship tour. Presently, the authors have visited groups in Atlanta, Houston, New York, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Charlotte.

Tiffany's third novel, The Bishop's Daughter was released in January 2009. Tiffany resides in northern Texas with her husband Brent and their five children.


Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (February 22, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446195162
ISBN-13: 978-0446195164

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


To read the chapter, press the the button that says, "Browse Inside This Book":

Monday, March 29, 2010

CFBA- Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa


This week, the



Christian Fiction Blog Alliance



is introducing



Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa



Summerside Press (March 1, 2010)



by



Melanie Dobson






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Melanie Beroth Dobson is the author of the inspirational novels Together for Good (2006), Going for Broke (2007), The Black Cloister (2008), Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana (2009), Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa (2010), Refuge on Crescent Hill (2010), and The Silent Order (2010) as well as the co-author of Latte for One and Loving It! A Single Woman's Guide to Living Life to Its Fullest (2000).



Prior to launching Dobson Media Group in 1999, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family where she was responsible for the publicity of events, products, films, and TV specials. Melanie received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master's degree in communication from Regent University. She has worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for fifteen years including two years as a publicist for The Family Channel.



Melanie and her husband, Jon, met in Colorado Springs in 1997 at Vanguard Church. Jon works in the field of computer animation. Since they've been married, the Dobsons have relocated numerous times including stints in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado, Berlin, and Southern California. These days they are enjoying their new home in the Pacific Northwest.



Jon and Melanie have adopted their two daughters —Karly (6) and Kinzel (5). When Melanie isn't writing or entertaining their girls, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, traveling, hiking, line dancing, and reading inspirational fiction.





ABOUT THE BOOK



Times are hard in 1894. Desperate for work, former banker Jacob Hirsch rides the rails west from Chicago with his four-year-old daughter, Cassie. When a life-threatening illness strands the pair in Homestead, Iowa, the local Amana villagers welcome the father and daughter into their peaceful society. Liesel, a young Amana woman, nurses Cassie back to health, and the Homestead elders offer Jacob work. But Jacobs growing interest in Liesel complicates his position in the Amanas. Will he fight to stay in the only place that feels like home, even if it means giving up the woman he loves? Or will Liesel leave her beloved community to face the outside world with Jacob and Cassie at her side?



If you would like to read the first chapter of Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa, go HERE.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Alexis and the Sacramento Surprise

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 (March 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Angie Brillhart of Barbour Publishing, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Erica Rodgers lives outside of Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and two children. She loves reading, singing in front of her bathroom mirror, and being outside. She currently writes juvenile and young adult fiction.



Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $5.97
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (March 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602602700
ISBN-13: 978-1602602700

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


A Problem at the Park


SLAM!

Alexis Howell jolted up in bed. She sat for a moment while her shocked heart slowed down.

Who on earth is banging doors this early in the morning? She thought. It’s only—

She looked at the clock on her wall.

“Nine thirty!” Alexis exclaimed.

She knew she had set her alarm for eight o’clock, but she reached over and saw that someone had unplugged it. Alexis threw the covers off and flew out of bed. Why did her little brothers always mess with her on important days? She’d be late!

She yanked on a pair of shorts, slipped on a pair of flip-flops, and scurried toward the door. Alexis passed her desk and reached out, but her hand closed on thin air.

“Where’s my paper?” she yelled.

“You mean this one?” her brother asked. He was standing at the top of the stairs waving a paper airplane. The boys were twins, and at first glance she sometimes couldn’t tell them apart, which made them even more annoying.

“You made it into an airplane?” cried Alexis. “Give it to me!”

“You should have said please,” her brother said. He drew his arm back and flung the airplane down the stairs.

“No!” cried Alexis. She bounded toward the stairs.

She could see the important paper circling toward the living room. Here, like everywhere else in her house, were countless stacks of paper. Her mother and father were both lawyers. They worked in the same office, and since that office was being renovated, all of their work had migrated to the Howell house. If that tiny paper airplane landed in the middle of that mess, she would never find it!

Alexis leaped down the first three stairs. On the fourth, however, her foot landed on a remote-control race car and flew out from beneath her. Alexis crashed down the rest of the stairs and slammed into the closest pile of files. It was a paper explosion.

“What on earth?” cried Mrs. Howell. She ran in from the kitchen and found Alexis knee deep in paper, searching. More paper still fell like rain from the ceiling.

“Oh no!” said Alexis. “Where is it? Where is it!”

“Calm down, Alexis,” said Mrs. Howell. “Where is what?”

“The e-mails! I printed out Kate’s e-mail and wrote her flight information on the back. If I can’t find it, we won’t know when to get her! And I’m running late!”

Her mom placed a hand on her shoulder.

“Calm down,” she said. “We have plenty of time. Here, I’ll help.” Alexis’s mom began stacking her files. In no time she uncovered a small, crumpled airplane. Alexis flattened it out and took a deep breath.

“Thanks, Mom.” Alexis read the page again just to be sure it was the right paper airplane.


Camp Club Update

From: Alexis Howell

Hey girls! How is everyone? I’m great, but things have been boring since I got home from camp. I have two more weeks until cheerleading starts, so I’m at home with my brothers way too often! The only investigating I’ve done lately involves a missing Spiderman sock and the cat from next door. Isn’t that sad?

Oh! I almost forgot! A lady at my church could use your prayers. Her name is Miss Maria, and she runs a nature park outside the city. It’s a great place to see the local plants and animals, but lately not many people have been visiting. If Miss Maria can’t get some big business she’s going to have to close the park. The park is all she has. It would be awful if she had to sell it. She rented some fake dinosaurs that look real and really move, like the animals at Disneyland. Maybe this will bring more business! Pray that it does!

Kisses, Alex


Alex,

It was so good to get your update! I’m sorry to hear about Miss Maria. Is she really getting mechanical dinosaurs? That is so awesome! Are you up for a visitor? Sounds like you could use a little excitement, and I can get there easily. My grandpa is a pilot and gets me great deals to fly all over the country. That really comes in handy when I get the urge to visit California! LOL!

I would love to see you, and besides, I’ve never seen animatronics that close up before! Do you think Miss Maria would let me touch them? Let me know what your mom says!

Love, Kate


Alexis must have read Kate’s e-mail forty-three times, but her heart was still racing. She had thought she wouldn’t see any of the other Camp Club Girls until next summer, but in less than an hour Kate would be there! Alexis was sure this week would be amazing. How could it not be? They would find some crazy case to solve; maybe a stolen piece of art, or a break-in at the Governor’s Mansion. Whatever they did would be ten times better than doing nothing—as she had done for the last month.

On her way to the kitchen Alexis poked her head into the bathroom to glance in the mirror. She pulled her loose brown curls into a quick ponytail and wiped the sleep from her eyes. They were an electric blue, and Alexis knew they clashed with her hair, but she liked being a little different.

She stepped back and scrunched her face. If only she could make her freckles disappear! They stood out on her pale skin like spots on a snow leopard, and she could never decide if she liked them or not. She had tried once to cover them with her mom’s makeup, but it had been the wrong color, and waterproof so she couldn’t remove it easily with water. She hadn’t known that her mother had special make-up remover. That day she had gone to school looking like a pumpkin.

Oh well. Sometimes she was proud of her freckles. They measured how good her summer had been. The more fun she had in the sun, the darker they got.

“Lots of fun in the sun this year, I guess,” she said, then she spun out of the bathroom. Her toasted blueberry waffles were waiting for her in the kitchen.

“Thanks, Mom,” Alexis said as she ate.

“You’re welcome, but do you really need to say it with your mouth full?”

Alexis swallowed. “Sorry.”

Her twin brothers, who were seven, had freckles just like Alexis but had also inherited the red hair from her mother’s side of the family. The boys finished eating and began playing hide-and-seek among the towering files in the living room. Alexis ignored the possibility of disaster and ate quickly. She was counting down the minutes until she would see Kate at the airport.

Twenty minutes until they left.

Forty minutes until they parked.

Forty-five minutes until—

The television caught her eye. She usually ignored the news, but the anchorwoman with big hair was showing a shot of her friend, Miss Maria, standing in front of the nature park. Alexis grabbed the remote and turned up the volume just in time to hear the introduction to the story.

“Let’s go to Channel 13 reporter Thad Swotter for more about this story.”

“Thank you, Nicky,” said the news man. He flashed the camera a cheesy smile. “Yesterday one more company refused to sponsor Aspen Heights Conservation Park. That makes them number 10 on the list of people who have denied the park money this year. You may ask, Thad, who’s counting? And I would say no one—except the park’s owner.”

Thad Swotter laughed into the camera, his mouth still stretched into a wide, fake smile.

“As a last-ditch effort to revive the park,” he continued, “Maria Santos has scattered a stampede of mechanical dinosaurs throughout the park. The exhibit opens to the public today and will be there through the end of this month.”

“Well, Thad,” said the woman with the big hair, “do you think this will bring in more visitors?”

“I know Miss Santos hopes so,” said the reporter. “It looks like she’s spent her life’s savings on the project. It certainly is creative, but I think it will take more than a bunch of toy dinosaurs to keep that park from becoming extinct!”

“Thanks, Thad. Now over to Chris for last night’s sports report.”

Alexis had forgotten about her waffles. None of her friends had ever been on the news before, but she wasn’t excited. She was worried. Had Miss Maria really spent the last of her savings on those dinosaurs? If so, things must be pretty bad.

Alexis whipped out her bright pink notebook and scribbled:

Mission: find a way to help Miss Maria.

Step One: Visit park with Kate and ask how we can help.

Going to the park was a great idea. It seemed like the perfect place to find an adventure. Kate really wanted to see the dinosaurs, and maybe they could help Miss Maria while they were there. Alexis shoved her notebook into her pink camouflage backpack. She never left home without it. Taking notes was one of the most important things an investigator could do, and Alexis considered herself an investigator. After all, the Camp Club Girls were regularly finding cases to solve.

Half an hour later Alexis and her mom were at the airport, waiting for Kate to pop through the exit gate of the security checkpoint. Mrs. Howell said that she used to be able to meet people at the door of the plane. Alexis couldn’t imagine that. For as long as she could remember she had waited for visitors here—next to the gift shop, and at a safe distance from the burly security guards. It would have been fun to meet Kate at her gate—they would already be having a blast. But Alexis was stuck waiting near a rack of over-priced California coffee mugs.

The first thing Alexis noticed was Kate’s new pair of glasses flashing through the crowd. They were bright green and came to a point at the sides. They made Alexis think of the Riddler, one of the best Batman villains. She laughed at the thought and met her friend with a hug.

“It’s so good to see you!” said Alexis. “How was your flight?”

“Long, and they wouldn’t let Biscuit sit with me! He had to go under the plane! Do you have any idea how cold it gets down there?”

Alexis caught her breath and stopped abruptly. She’d forgotten about Biscuit! How many times when the boys begged for a dog had Mrs. Howell firmly told them their house, especially now, with all its stacks of paper, was no place for a dog! Alexis suspected the real issue was that her mom didn’t like dogs. At all. She frowned when people walking their dogs didn’t clean up their droppings in the yard. She’d also opposed a neighborhood park being turned into a dog park.

What will Mom do! Alexis thought. Will she make Kate send Biscuit back home? Will she make Biscuit stay in the garage? But then Biscuit will cry all night.

“Alexis!” Mrs. Howell called. Kate realized that her mother and friend were far ahead of her. She glanced at her mother’s face. Mrs. Howell looked cheerful and friendly. Apparently she either hadn’t heard Kate’s words clearly or didn’t know that Biscuit was a dog.

Lord, please help Mom be nice about Biscuit! Alexis prayed silently.

Alexis’s mom led the girls to the baggage claim. They picked up a neat little suitcase and a not-so-neat black and white puppy. At the sight of Biscuit, Mrs. Howell’s smile faltered.

“Don’t worry, Mom,” said Alexis. “Biscuit can stay in my room—away from your files.” Mrs. Howell said that she wasn’t worried, but her face relaxed a bit. Alexis knew that she had been thinking of the endless stacks of paper that could easily become chew toys and chaos.

Thank You, God! Alexis mentally murmured. She knew if Mom didn’t say anything now, she never would. Now, if only Alexis and Kate could make sure Biscuit didn’t get in Mom’s way or cause trouble!

“We’re going straight to the park,” Alexis said to Kate as they arrived at the family’s green Durango. They buckled themselves into the back seat, and Mrs. Howell dug around in her purse for some cash to pay for parking.

“The dinosaur exhibit opens today, so tons of people should be there,” Alexis added as her mom pulled onto the highway.

Alexis was wrong. A half-hour later Mrs. Howell drove through the two towering redwoods at the entrance to Aspen Heights and frowned. Theirs was only the second car in the parking lot.

“I don’t understand!” said Alexis. “Where is everyone? It was on the news and everything!”

“Don’t worry, sweetheart,” said her mother. “I’m sure more people will come. It’s not even lunchtime yet.”

Lunchtime came and went, though, and only a handful of people were enjoying the park. Alexis and Kate walked the shade-speckled trails with Biscuit on his leash.

“Wow!” said Kate. “There are so many plants here!”

“I know,” said Alexis. “Miss Maria tries to keep a little of everything. She especially likes the endangered ones.”

“Oh look! Another dinosaur!” Kate ran up to a triceratops that looked like it was eating the fuzzy leaves of a mule ear. A miniature triceratops was feet away near an evergreen bush. Alexis figured it must be the baby.

Miss Marie had certainly arranged the dinosaurs well. Alexis and Kate had to look hard to see the electrical cords and power boxes hidden among the plants, feeding power to the animatrons.

Alexis had never been easily able to imagine what dinosaurs looked like. But these animatrons were full-sized. They had been meticulously fashioned to resemble the original animals as closely as possible. Alexis began to understand the fascination some people felt for the extinct creatures.

“They’re a lot different than in the Jurassic Park movies,” Alexis noted. “I thought they’d be taller than this. Some of them aren’t too much bigger than a large man.”

Kate laughed. “Alexis, you’re the one from California! You should be the first to know that movies aren’t always true to life!”

Alex grinned. “Actually, most of the movie stuff goes on around Los Angeles, and that’s quite a ways down the coast. We see movie crews around shooting sometimes. But other than that, we don’t have much more to do with the entertainment industry than you probably do in Philadelphia.”

“Well, most of the dinosaurs were actually probably smaller than the ones in those movies. And sometimes the movies weren’t accurate in recreating the dinosaurs.

“Like these velociraptors,” Kate said, pointing at the herd of creatures with their waving arms. “See how they’re kind of feathery looking? This is more accurate than the portrayals that show them with scaly, lizard-like skin. Just a couple of years ago some paleontologists found a preserved raptor forearm in Mongolia that proved it had feathers.”

“How in the world do you know all that?” Alexis asked.

“Discovery Channel,” Kate said with a grin. “And a teacher who spends her summer looking for dinosaur footprints!”

The girls walked along the pathway to the next creature, a dromaeosaurus lurking near a nest of eggs that looked like they came from a much larger beast.

“This one is even better than the raptor!” said Kate. “Look! Its eyes blink!”

“Actually, Kate, I think it’s winking! The other eye is stuck!”

The girls’ laughter was cut short. They jumped in alarm as another dinosaur nearby, a dilophosaurus, raised its head and bellowed. As the animatron swung its head around, Alex gasped.

“It spit at me!” she cried. “I’ve been assaulted by dinosaur spit! That must have sent out a gallon of water, and all on me! My shirt is soaked!”

Kate clutched her sides, laughing. “Well, at least they used water instead of adding more component to make the expectorant more realistic!”

“What?” Alexis asked.

“At least they didn’t make it slimy and mucusy like real spit might have been!”

“Oh, I’m sorry I asked,” Alex said. “Wait a minute while I throw up at that thought—and it wouldn’t be water, either!”

The rest of the animatron trail passed uneventfully. More bellows and eye blinks and movements, but thankfully, no more assaults by spitting dinosaurs.

As Alex’s shirt started to dry in the hot sun, the girls started giggling again about the spitting dinosaur.

“Sounds like a rock band,” Alex said. “The Spitting Dinosaurs.”

“Yeah, or maybe a little kids’ T-ball team!” Kate added.

The girls laughed all the way back to the visitors’ center. The entrance from the walking trails looked like an old log cabin with a green roof. That led into another larger building with the same log design. The larger building housed more exhibits and displays about nature and animals.

Alexis noticed that more cars were now in the parking lot, and her smile stretched even wider. It would be horrible if the dinosaurs turned out to be a waste of Miss Maria’s money.

When they walked into the visitors’ center, a lanky teenager greeted them from behind the desk.

“Hey, Alex, who’s your friend?” he called out.

“Hi, Jerry. This is Kate.” Jerry was tall and a little thin, as if the summer between eighth and ninth grade had stretched him out. His dark hair had light streaks from spending plenty of time in the sun. Between that, his flip-flops, and his tan, he looked as if he’d stepped right out of a surfing movie.

“Hi, Kate,” said Jerry. “It’s good to meet you!”

“You, too,” said Kate, looking at her shoes shyly.

Bam! The door to the visitors’ center flew open and Miss Maria stormed in.

“That news man from Channel 13 just got here,” she said. “Try to ignore him.” She stopped to hug Alexis with her wiry, suntanned arms and shook hands with Kate.

“But Miss Maria,” said Jerry, “don’t you want to be on the news? It might get more people to come to the park.”

“Yes, it might, but that young reporter isn’t very pleasant.” Miss Maria tucked a piece of short salt-and-pepper hair behind her ear. “More than toy dinosaurs, huh?”

Miss Maria grumbled to herself until a visitor stuck his head through the open door and called to her.

“Hey, Maria! Good job with the triceratops and raptor footprints. They’re so realistic! And I’m glad you put a raptor by the fountain. He looks good there. I’ll be back with my family, and I’ll encourage my students to come!”

Miss Maria thanked the man, who introduced himself as a biology professor from one of the local colleges. “But I’ve always longed to be a paleontologist!” he confessed.

As the professor waved good-bye, Alexis noticed that Miss Maria didn’t look too happy.

“He liked the dinosaurs!” Alexis said. “What’s wrong, Miss Maria? Didn’t you hear? He’s bringing his whole family! And he’s sending his students over!”

Miss Maria looked out the window and tapped a finger on the sill.

“Yes, I heard him,” said Miss Maria. “The question is, did you? He said he liked the footprints—what footprints is he talking about? Alexis, did you and your friend notice any footprints this morning?”

Alexis shook her head. “But we weren’t looking that closely,” she said.

“And there shouldn’t be a raptor near the fountain at all,” said Maria. “I put them all in the dogwood grove.”

“Someone must have moved him,” said Alexis.

“But why would they do that?” asked Kate.

“Why would anyone dig up my pansies, or carve their initials in a hundred year-old redwood tree?” said Maria. “Sometimes they do it because they have no respect for God’s creation. Sometimes they do it to cause trouble. And sometimes they do it to show off to their friends. Who knows why else they do it! But moving around some of those dinosaurs isn’t easy, and they’re liable to mess up the wires—to even get electrocuted. Let’s go take a look.”

Miss Maria had placed the six raptors together in a little herd. Sure enough, when they rounded the corner to the dogwood grove, the smallest one was missing. Little footprints led away through the trees. They had three toes, like a bird had made them, with two of the toes being longer than the third. The group followed the tracks along the trail until they reached the fountain. Then they saw him.

The diminutive dinosaur was posed on the edge of the fountain. Fortunately, he was one of the models that wasn’t animated or electric. He was about two feet tall and bright green. His long tail kept him balanced on his back legs as he leaned toward the water. He looked as if he’d simply left the herd to get a drink.

“Weird!” said Jerry.

“Yeah,” Alexis agreed.

She walked carefully around the fountain. She and Alexis had been laughing too hard earlier to notice the footprints if they’d been there. And this raptor hadn’t stood out when they’d seen it earlier—they didn’t know Miss Maria hadn’t put it by the water. Her mind kicked into overdrive just like it always did when she found something strange or out of place.

How did he get there? She wondered. If someone moved him, why are there only dinosaur footprints in the mud? Shouldn’t there have been human prints, too? Alexis pulled her notebook out of her backpack and instinctively began writing things down.

“Interesting, and irritating,” said Miss Maria. She scooped up the raptor and walked back toward the path holding him beneath her elbow. “You all go back to the visitors’ center to greet people as they arrive,” she said. “I’m going to go check around.”

When they reached the center, Jerry’s younger sister, Megan Smith, ran out to greet them. She was going into the seventh grade, like Alexis, and looked just like her brother, only with longer hair.

“Hi, guys!” Megan said. She pointed toward the parking lot. “Did you see the news crew?”

“Yeah,” said Alexis.

“Maria wants us to stay away from them,” said Jerry. Was Alexis imagining it, or was Jerry irritated?

“Oops. . .,” said Megan. “I gave the guy with the funny hair a tour. He said he was interested in seeing all of the dinosaurs.”

“That’s okay, Meg,” said Alexis. “A tour couldn’t have done any harm. Maybe he liked the park enough to do a big story for the evening news.”

Kate pushed her glasses up on the bridge of her nose and pointed toward the parking lot.

“I wonder why he’s coming back,” she said.

Sure enough, the reporter was striding across the parking lot. The wind tossed his bright blue tie around and lifted his hair up at an odd angle. Alexis wondered if he was wearing a wig. She would have thought he was too young for that, but then again, she also knew teachers and men at church who were way younger than her dad and hardly had any hair.

“Hi, kids!” he said. “I’m Thad. Thad Swotter—investigative reporter for Channel 13.”

Not quite as impressive as he is on TV, thought Alexis.

“Some place you guys have here,” Swotter said, looking around. His tone reminded Alexis of how her father greeted her great-aunt Gertrude. They visited her in Phoenix sometimes for Thanksgiving. He always said he was glad to be there, but Alexis didn’t think he meant it.

“Miss Maria has worked very hard to share California’s indigenous plants with our community,” said Alexis. Thad Swotter smiled, and Alexis thought his perfect teeth might be a little big for his mouth.

“Indigenous, huh?” said Swotter. “That’s quite a big word for such a little girl. You know, I was sure I saw some specimens that were definitely not native to California.”

“Well, yes,” said Megan. “On the tour I showed you the olive and the fig tree. Miss Maria works very hard to keep those alive through the winter. She likes to give people glimpses of other parts of the country, and even the world, too.”

“Yes, I remember,” said Swotter. “And the thorns were creepy. I’m glad we don’t really have those in the foothills of the Sierra-Nevada Mountains!”

“Thorns?” asked Kate.

“Yes,” said Alexis. “Miss Maria’s favorite plant is the Christ’s-thorn in her greenhouse. It’s planted next to a replica of the crown of thorns Jesus wore.”

“Cool!”

“Cool it may be,” said the reporter. “But I don’t see how those thorns have anything to do with us. They’re out of place.”

“That’s not true,” said Megan. “God created all of it, so everything belongs.”

“God created?” Swotter lifted his eyebrows in amusement. “You kids are almost as bad as the bat that runs this place!”

Alexis reared up, ready to defend Miss Maria, but she took a deep breath instead. She knew it would be disrespectful to argue with Mr. Swotter. She even resisted the urge to roll her eyes—which was not easy when she was annoyed.

“This is exactly why nobody comes here!” Swotter laughed. “No one wants to come to a park to get preached at!”

“No one’s preaching, sir,” said Jerry respectfully. “People don’t have to believe in God or Jesus to appreciate the plants. If it really bothers them, they can stick to the other parts of the park.”

“They could,” said Swotter, “but it’d be easier for them not to come at all. Look, kids, California has enough theme parks. If I want to hear a fairy tale, I’ll go to Disneyland.” He snickered again and walked off to examine a clump of poppies.

“He’s rude,” said Kate. “Good thing he doesn’t act that rude on TV.”

“He practically does,” said Alexis. She looked around the empty park entrance. Where was Miss Maria? She had been gone for a long time.

“Those footprints were weird, weren’t they?” Jerry laughed. “It’s like the dinosaurs just woke up and decided to explore the park!”

Thad Swotter stood up and scribbled furiously in his notebook. He headed toward his van, almost stomping on the poppies as he went. Alexis heard him yell something at his cameraman, who had fallen asleep on the steering wheel.

“What’s up with him?” asked Megan.

“Maybe he’s late,” said Alexis. The group turned back toward the visitors’ center. “I think we should check on Miss Maria.” Before anyone could agree with her, a scream ripped through the trees.

Then all was silent.

“It came from over there.” Jerry pointed toward the trail that led to the triceratops.

“Oh no! Miss Maria!” Alexis tore off through the trees and the others followed.

When they came around the last corner, Alexis almost screamed herself. Miss Maria was lying on her back in the mud, next to the mother triceratops. She wasn’t moving.

Her large eyes stared unblinking into the cloudless sky.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

McKenzie's Montana Mystery

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 (March 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Angie Brillhart of Barbour Publishing, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Shari Barr lives on a farm in southwest Iowa with her husband and teenage son and daughter. She writes inspirational fiction as a mission to spread the gospel while creating Christian role models for children. She has also published two non-fiction books as well as numerous articles for adults.


Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $5.97
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (March 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602602697
ISBN-13: 978-1602602694

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


A Surprise for McKenzie!

Chapter 1


Aaaaaahhhh!

McKenzie screamed and clutched the reins with sweaty palms. She tugged firmly, trying to control her horse.

Please, God, help me, she prayed as Sahara bolted down the arena.

McKenzie’s heart pounded and her auburn hair whipped behind her.

Something’s wrong! she thought.

She leaned forward and pulled the reins with all her strength. The tightness she usually felt in the reins was missing. She had no control over her horse! Sahara raced straight toward the barrel in the middle of the arena.

“McKenzie!” a voice screamed from the sidelines. “Hold on.”

The reins slipped between her fingers. McKenzie started to slide from the saddle. She grasped the saddle horn, but Sahara’s galloping bounced her up and down until she could hold on no longer.

McKenzie hit the ground with a thud as thundering hooves barely missed her. She laid with her face on the ground. Sahara raced by and finally slowed to a trot.

“McKenzie! Are you okay?” A pair of cowboy boots appeared in front of her face.

Rolling over, McKenzie pushed herself into a sitting position. She coughed from the dust Sahara had stirred up and looked into the eyes of Emma Wilson, her riding instructor. “I-I don’t know yet,” she stammered as she stretched her legs.

She felt a strong hand support the back of her head. Turning, she saw Emma’s hired hand, Derek, holding up two fingers. “How many?” he asked.

“Four,” McKenzie answered.

Emma and Derek stared at her. No one said anything for a minute.

“But two fingers are bent over,” she added.

After a second, Derek’s face broke into a grin. He unbuckled her riding helmet and slipped it off her head.

“She’s okay,” a familiar voice announced. The girl with a fringe of black

bangs fluttering on her olive skin popped a red gummy worm into her mouth.

“Bailey! What are you doing here?” McKenzie screeched as the girl approached her. “Hey, can I have one of those?”

“Yep, she’s definitely okay,” Bailey said as she dangled a green and orange worm in front of McKenzie.

McKenzie grabbed the worm and pulled her legs forward, trying to stand up. But Emma placed a firm hand on her shoulder. “Not so fast. Sit for a minute.”

“What happened anyway?” McKenzie watched as her horse sauntered back across the arena and nuzzled her face. “I had no control over Sahara. I just couldn’t hold on.”

Derek reached his hand out to the chocolate brown mare. “Here’s the problem,” he said as his fingers touched a dangling strap. “Her bridle is broken.”

McKenzie tried again to stand. Emma and Derek each put a hand beneath her arms and helped her to her feet. Feeling slightly light-headed, she stepped forward and grabbed Bailey in a tight hug.

“So, how did you get here?” McKenzie asked.

“When you told me you were coming to Sunshine Stables to train for the rodeo and help with Kids’ Camp, I convinced Mom and Dad to let me fly out with Uncle Troy on a business trip. He rented a car and drove me out from the airport. He didn’t have time to stick around, so he’s gone already.”

“Why didn’t you tell me you were coming?” McKenzie asked.

“Well, I signed up for the camp, since I’m not that good on horses. When Miss Wilson found out we were friends, she invited me to stay here, but she wanted to surprise you. Then after camp, she’s going to train both of us for the rodeo.” Bailey’s dark eyes flashed.

“Oh, Emma, this is the best surprise ever!” McKenzie turned to her instructor.

“Think of it as a thank-you for coming to Kids’ Camp on such short notice,” Emma said with a smile. “I didn’t expect so many kids to sign up. You’ll be a big help with the younger ones. But, let’s get you up to the house to sit for a minute. If you can walk, that is.”

“I’m fine,” McKenzie assured Emma as she brushed dirt from her face with the sleeve of her t-shirt. “I’d better take care of Sahara first, though.”

“I’ll do that,” Derek said as he grabbed Sahara’s halter. “I’ll take her to the stable and find her a new bridle. You go on to the house.”

Emma and the girls walked to the large, white farmhouse. A sign reading “Sunshine Stables” stood in the front yard. Several sheds and a huge red barn stood beyond the house. The riding arena was next to a matching red stable. A dozen or so horses grazed in the lush, green pasture.

McKenzie sighed with contentment. She had met Bailey at Camp Discovery, where they had shared a cabin with four other campers. The six girls, or the Camp Club Girls, as they called themselves, had become fast friends by solving a mystery together. Though they all lived in different parts of the country, they had kept in touch and gone on to solve another mystery together. Bailey was the youngest of the group at nine years old, four years younger than McKenzie.

The girls stepped onto the huge porch that wrapped around the house. They dropped onto the porch swing while Emma slipped inside. Emma quickly returned with cold drinks.

“Emma, this is so perfect.” McKenzie reached out to pet Buckeye, Emma’s brown and white terrier. “This will be so fun having Bailey here. Now, we can work on barrel racing together.”

“Don’t forget you have to save time for the Junior Miss Rodeo Queen contest, too,” Emma said as she ran her fingers through her short blond hair.

McKenzie groaned. She wasn’t sure she wanted to compete in the contest. Emma had competed when she was younger and had told McKenzie’s mom what a wonderful experience it had been. Now, Mom had talked McKenzie into competing. McKenzie didn’t like the thought of wearing fancy riding clothes for the contest. And she especially dreaded the thought of standing on stage in front of hundreds of people.

McKenzie got slightly nervous in riding competitions, but just thinking about the queen contest made her want to throw up.

“Are your parents coming for the rodeo and the queen contest?” Bailey scratched Buckeye’s ears.

“Yes, they’ll be here,” McKenzie answered, sipping her lemonade. “My family doesn’t live too far away. I usually come over here and train a couple of days a week. But, now that I’m helping with Kids Camp, I get to stay here until the rodeo next week. I’ll have a lot of extra time to train.”

After the girls finished their lemonade, Emma asked McKenzie to show Bailey their bedroom. The girls stepped inside the front door where Bailey had left her bags. She grabbed her pink and green striped pillow and tucked it under her arm along with a monster-sized black and white panda. McKenzie grabbed the two bags and led the way upstairs to their bedroom. A set of bunk beds stood against one wall.

McKenzie turned to her friend. “I knew you were hoping to visit, but I didn’t think you’d be able to come.”

“I didn’t either.” Bailey dropped her pillow and panda on the floor. “When Uncle Troy found out about his trip, Mom and Dad decided at the last minute that I could come along.”

“We’ll have a blast.” McKenzie pointed to Bailey’s bags. “Do you have cowboy boots in there somewhere? And, you might want to change into jeans so we can go horseback riding as soon as Derek finds a new bridle for Sahara.”

Bailey changed her clothes. Then the girls headed back downstairs and went outside with Emma.

“I’ll help you saddle your horses,” Emma said as she led the way across the yard. “Bailey, you can ride the Shetland pony, Applejack. Then you two can go for a ride while I work. How does that sound?”

“Great.” McKenzie said. “When do we need to be back for chores?”

“About an hour or so.” Emma said as they walked through the stable to Applejack’s stall.

First Emma helped saddle the horse for Bailey, while McKenzie put the bridle on. Emma grabbed a riding helmet for the younger girl and led Applejack out of the stable.

Derek met them at the doorway holding Sahara, who was fitted with a new bridle. Derek was Emma’s newest stable hand. He had only been working at Sunshine Stables for two months. Even though Derek was an adult, he reminded McKenzie of her eight-year-old brother, Evan. Both were always full of mischief.

“You look better than you did a while ago,” Derek told McKenzie. “You’re not even limping.”

“Nope. I told you I was fine.” She patted Sahara’s neck.

“McKenzie, why don’t you introduce your friend to Derek? I didn’t have a chance to do that when you were taking your wild ride,” Emma teased.

McKenzie pulled Bailey to her side. “Bailey Chang, meet Derek McGrady. Bailey lives in Peoria, Illinois.”

“Nice to meet you, Bailey. You ready to hop on Applejack? He’s ready for you.” He grabbed the horse’s reins and opened the gate.

McKenzie followed with Sahara. She placed her boot in the stirrup and swung herself up onto the saddle. Then with ease, Bailey hopped onto Applejack’s back.

“Your mom said you’ve done quite a bit of riding, Bailey. Is that right?” Emma asked as she closed the gate behind them.

“Yes. But I’m not as good as McKenzie.” Bailey swept her long bangs away from her forehead and slipped on her helmet. “I’ve done some racing at county fairs but never a rodeo.”

“You’re a lot younger than she is. You have plenty of time to improve.” Emma smiled at Bailey.

“Is it okay if we ride to Old Towne?” McKenzie put her helmet on and fastened the chinstrap.

“Sure. You have your cell phone with you, right?” Emma asked. “After you look around for awhile, head back for chores. Both of you can help with Diamond Girl when she comes in from pasture.”

Diamond Girl was Sunshine Stable’s most famous horse. She was Emma’s prize horse and a rodeo winner. For the last three years, Emma had ridden Diamond Girl in the barrel-racing competition, and each year Emma brought home the first-place trophy. McKenzie couldn’t wait to show Diamond Girl to Bailey.

Eager for a ride, the girls waved to Emma and Derek and headed for the dirt track behind the house. A warm summer breeze rustled the pine trees lining the trail.

“What is Old Towne?” Bailey asked as her horse plodded beside McKenzie’s.

“It’s a bunch of Old West buildings. There’s an old-time Main Street with a general store, post office, and stuff like that. But it’s more like a ghost town now. It belongs to Sunshine Stables and is open during June, July, and the first week of August. It’s closed now for the season. But we can still go look around.” McKenzie shielded her eyes against the sun and peered into the distance.

Pointing her finger, she continued, “See that old wooden windmill way out there? That’s Old Towne.”

“It looks kind of creepy.” Bailey wrinkled her nose.

“You know, there is a spooky story about Old Towne.” McKenzie flicked her reins at Sahara who had stopped to munch some grass. “A long time ago, a mysterious rider was seen riding out there at dusk. Some people say it was a ghost rider.”

Bailey looked quizzically at McKenzie. “Is that for real?”

McKenzie chuckled. “That’s what they say.”

“Has anybody seen the ghost rider lately?” Bailey nudged Applejack forward.

“I haven’t heard anything about it. Emma said the ghost rider story started years before she bought Sunshine Stables. She says someone just made it up to get visitors to come to Old Towne. It worked. Old Towne used to rake in the money. People paid to ride horses from the stables, hoping to see the ghost rider.”

“That’s spooky. A fun kind of spooky, that is,” Bailey said as she leaned over and scratched Applejack’s neck.

“Well, let’s go check the place out. I’ve never been here after it was closed for the season.”

McKenzie nudged Sahara with her heels. The girls galloped down the trail. The horses’ hooves stirred up little puffs of dust.

“Here we are,” McKenzie said as she arrived at the top of a small hill. She halted Sahara and waited for Bailey to catch up.

“Wow! This is neater than I thought it would be!” Bailey exclaimed, her eyes wide.

The girls continued down the trail leading to Main Street. Old storefronts lined both sides of the dirt street. A weathered school building and a church were nestled on a grassy lawn at the edge of town, away from the other buildings.

“Let’s tie our horses at the hitching post and look around.” McKenzie hung her helmet on the post and fluffed her sweaty curls.

After tying both horses, the girls stepped on the wooden sidewalk. Bailey ran ahead, her boots thumping loudly on the wood. She stopped and peered through a streaked windowpane. A tall red and white barber pole stood beside it.

“I can just imagine a cowboy sitting in there getting his hair cut,” Bailey said with a giggle.

“Yeah and then he could head across the street to the general store for a piece of beef jerky and a new pair of chaps.” McKenzie stuck her thumbs in her belt loops and walked bow-legged across the street.

Bailey laughed and raced to catch up with McKenzie. She stopped suddenly in the middle of the street and looked at the dusty ground. “Hey, did cowboys eat candy bars?”

McKenzie picked up the wrapper and shoved it in her pocket. “Maybe the ghost likes the candy. Whooo-ooooh!” McKenzie wailed eerily.

The girls headed to the general store and peered through the window. McKenzie pointed out different items in the darkness. They saw old wooden rakes, hand plows, and row after row of tin cans on the shelves. A headless mannequin wore a long, lacy white dress and a pair of men’s bib overalls hung from a hanger.

Both girls jumped when McKenzie’s cell phone rang. She pulled the phone from her pocket, answered, and listened to the caller for a minute. Then she quickly said “Okay. ’Bye,” and flipped the phone shut.

“That was Emma,” she said. “She wants us to hurry home. Diamond Girl is missing!”

Friday, March 26, 2010

What's In The Bible? review & GIVEAWAY!! CLOSED

This giveaway is now CLOSED. Congratulations to Sarah B. for winning.



Product Description

-information taken from ChristianBook.com

Presenting a 13-DVD series from the creator of VeggieTales, Phil Vischer! Each DVD is filled with original music, animation, puppets, and creative writing that will teach kids about God and his Word. Volume 1 introduces kids to the Bible and the book of beginnings, Genesis. Volume 2 introduces kids to the book of Exodus: the oppression of the Israelites and the birth and rise of God's chosen leader, Moses.





MY REVIEW

First of all let me just say I am a fan of Phil Vischer and his creations. I really like what he is trying to do with this series. I think the concept of What's In The Bible? is great. I must admit that my kids were not super impressed at first glance but the DVD I was sent is a promotional copy and has a whole bunch of talking and intro stuff and they were kind of tuned out by the time I found the actual show!! Note to self: find starting point BEFORE telling kids about new show.

Personally I think that if they really gave it a try they would like it. I think these DVD's would be excellent to show in Sunday School as well. The characters are pretty funny and do an excellent job teaching in kid-friendly language.

Obviously the shows are completely 100% family friendly. They are narrated some by Phil Vischer himself and I think that is great. Seriously, the guy is funny! I quite like What's In The Bible? and am more than happy to recommend it to kids everywhere.

Thanks so much to Tyndale for sending me a review copy of this DVD.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO WIN COPIES OF THESE TWO DVD's?
I have redeemable gift certificates for one winner.

~ just leave me a comment telling me you want to win. That's it!

FOR EXTRA ENTRIES


~Subscribe to this blog via email

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~ publicize this giveaway in any way on any site and let me know that you did ex. adding it to a Mr. Linky on a giveaway site etc.  ( I am very easy to please!)


This giveaway is open to readers in Canada and the USA . I will choose the winners on April 15, 2010.

Winners will be notified and will have 48 hours to reply to my email or I will choose a new winner. Please make sure you leave an email address or way to contact you in case you win!


Don't forget to enter my other great giveaways...
  1. Win Hey Dude Aftershave HERE. (ends March 29, open to Canada/USA)
  2. Win Finding Inner Peace by William Moss HERE. (ends March 30, open to Canada/USA)
  3. Win Cake Milk Made Velveteen Hand Creme HERE. (ends March 31, open to Canada/USA)
  4. Win an aden + anais dream blanket HERE. (ends April 2, open to Canada/USA)
  5. Win $100 in Gift Cards HERE. (ends April 27, open to CANADA ONLY)
  6. Win How To Grow Practically Everything HERE. (ends April 9, open to CANADA ONLY)


Official Stop On The What's In The Bible Blog Tour

Here Burns My Candle



by Liz Curtis Higgs

Summary:

A mother who cannot face her future.
A daughter who cannot escape her past.

Lady Elisabeth Kerr is a keeper of secrets. A Highlander by birth and a Lowlander by marriage, she honors the auld ways, even as doubts and fears stir deep within her.
    Her husband, Lord Donald, has secrets of his own, well hidden from the household, yet whispered among the town gossips.
    His mother, the dowager Lady Marjory, hides gold beneath her floor and guilt inside her heart. Though her two abiding passions are maintaining her place in society and coddling her grown sons, Marjory’s many regrets, buried in Greyfriars Churchyard, continue to plague her.
    One by one the Kerr family secrets begin to surface, even as bonny Prince Charlie and his rebel army ride into Edinburgh in September 1745, intent on capturing the crown.
    A timeless story of love and betrayal, loss and redemption, flickering against the vivid backdrop of eighteenth-century Scotland, Here Burns My Candle illumines the dark side of human nature, even as hope, the brightest of tapers, lights the way home.


LIZ CURTIS HIGGS is the author of twenty-seven books with three million copies in print, including: her best-selling historical novels, Thorn in My Heart, Fair Is the Rose, Christy Award-winner Whence Came a Prince, and Grace in Thine Eyes, a Christy Award finalist; My Heart’s in the Lowlands: Ten Days in Bonny Scotland, an armchair travel guide to Galloway; and her contemporary novels, Mixed Signals, a Rita Award finalist, and Bookends, a Christy Award finalist. Visit the author’s extensive website at www.lizcurtishiggs.com.

Book Trailer:


You can read an excerpt of this book HERE.
 
This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.

MY REVIEW

I enjoyed this book. I have read several of Higgs' books in the past and I think she is a fabulous story-teller. I appreciate the honesty portrayed in her characters. I love that they are not all perfect! It makes the story much more realistic. Here Burns My Candle kept my interest with its colourful characters and fascinating setting. I am happy to recommend this book to the Christian fiction lovers out there.

I think this looks really cool....

Finding Inner Peace During Troubled Times

*You can read my personal review and enter a giveaway for this book HERE*


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

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


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

The Barnabas Agency (December 4, 2009)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Moss has become an important figure in the Republican Party and has been entrusted with several key responsibilities. In 1988 he served as Vice Chairman for the George H. W. Bush the President’s National Finance Committee. He also served on the George H. W. Bush for President National Steering Committee, was founder of Team 100, and also a member of the National Republican Senatorial Trust Committee.

In 1989, at the request of President George H. W. Bush, Moss organized and was chairman of the President’s Drug Advisory Council, which functioned as part of the Executive Branch of the White House. The Council was formed to advise the President on ways to involve the private sector in the war on drugs, ultimately resulting in the “Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America,” which is currently operating in approximately 40 states and communities across the nation. Having worked closely on several occasions with pollster George Gallup, Moss continues to research moral and ethical trends among voters—particularly young voters.

William Moss counts presidents, prime ministers, and other world influencers among his many friends. His career has been an unqualified success. But neither the friends nor the achievements could fill the spiritual void in Moss’s life. In recent years, he has found true inner peace in Christ and through the practice of Christian meditation. Moss joined Alcoholics Anonymous at the age of 85 and will soon celebrate 5 years of sobriety.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $5.99
Paperback: 64 pages
Publisher: The Barnabas Agency (December 4, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0578042444
ISBN-13: 978-0578042442

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


The Biblical Writers


It is evident that the biblical writers want us to find peace because the Psalmist says,

“Turn from sin and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”1 In Romans Paul says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”2 In Ephesians the author says, “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.”3 In Colossians it says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.”4 In John Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”5



However, there are many difficulties, distractions and hardships that stand in the way of our inner peace. As Paul said to the Galatians, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under laws of Moses.”



Paul says “that the acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” Today there are some

distractions Paul did not include such as: worry, self preservation, hunger, lack of money,

arrogance, competitiveness, criticism and illness, to name a few.


Paul continues. “I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is by practicing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking

and envying each other.”6


Through prayer and meditation we can transcend all these distractions and difficulties

if we live by the Spirit and put God’s love and presence first.


1 Psalm 34:14; 2 Romans 5:1; 3 Ephesians 2:14; 4 Colossians 3:15; 5 John 16:33 6 Galatians 5:15-26

Thursday, March 25, 2010

CFBA- On The Road Home


This week, the



Christian Fiction Blog Alliance



is introducing



On The Road Home



Port Yonder Press; 1st edition (March 3, 2010)



by



Terry Burns






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Terry has over 30 books in print, including work in a dozen short story collections and four non-fiction books plus numerous articles and short stories.



His last book Beyond the Smoke is a 2009 winner of the Will Rogers Medallion for best youth fiction and a nominee for the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. He has a three book Mysterious Ways series out from David C Cook, and Trails of the Dime Novel from Echelon Press.



A graduate of West Texas State he did post graduate work at Southern Methodist University. Terry plans to continue writing inspirational fiction as well as working as an agent for Hartline Literary Agency. Terry is a native Texan Living in Amarillo, Texas with his lovely wife Saundra.





ABOUT THE BOOK



In our sound-byte society, short stories and poems will always have a place, especially when they've been penned by the likes of Terry Burns. This, the first of four in The Sagebrush Collection, is a compilation of fictional, autobiographical, and fiction-based-on-fact shorts and poems.



Through fluent cowboy-speak, author Terry Burns shares his heart with these sometimes somber, often humorous, always engaging glimpses of life. From short stories about time machines and troubled marriages to poems of roses and hauntingly cold winds, you’ll find much to savor on the pages within.



A born storyteller, Burns style is natural, conversational, and above all real. He’s a fifth generation Irish tale-weaver and a fourth generation Texas Teller of Tall Tales. Storytelling comes as natural to him as breathing.



Come along with Terry as he journeys “On the Road Home”. You’ll be glad you did.



If you would like to read the first chapter of On The Road Home, go HERE.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Depression: Your Questions Answered


Take control, boost your energy, and vitalize your life

by Melvyn Lurie M.D.

-information taken from the DK Canada website

An accessible, practical question-and-answer guide to living with and overcoming depression, this important reference includes information on the causes and types of the disease, different kinds of treatments, and how to best improve quality of life.


  • Provides practical hints and tips to get the most out of life
  • Contains up-to-date research on the latest treatments and complementary therapies
  • Features comprehensive sections on diet and exercise
You can take a look inside the book HERE.

MY REVIEW

I have struggled with depression for years and have been taking anti-depressants for the past 3 years. I found this book absolutely fascinating. It was actually quite encouraging to read about something I have experienced so personally. It is a good reminder that depression is REAL and that I am not the only person to have dealt with it.

I also learned quite a bit reading this book. I found it incredibly thorough and very very easy to read. If you, or someone you know, suffers from depression than I would strongly recommend getting this book. I would just love for everyone I know to read it as soon as possible!

Thanks so much to DK Canada for sending me a review copy of this book.

Everything On Earth


Everything on Earth
An up-close look at the world of nature

-information taken from DK Canada

Bringing together the best of the DK Guides series, Everything on Earth is an absorbing survey of our planet and its wildlife, with an emphasis on the extreme-from hurricanes to coral reefs, glaciers to crocodiles. Providing just enough detail to fascinate children without confusing or overloading them, Everything on Earth supplies a solid grounding in its subject, picks out the most awe-inspiring details, and inspires readers to explore further.

From the back cover:


Come on an eye-opening tour of the natural world's most incredible features.
 
Meet some of Earth's most fascinating mammals and birds, experience its most extreme weather, explore the depths of its oceans, and witness the extraordinary power of volcanoes and earthquakes.
 
Discover the dramatic forces that have shaped our planet, and the huge variety of creatures that call it home. 
MY REVIEW
This is another fabulous book from DK! It is geared to ages 7-12 but really it is interesting for every age category. This book talks about everything from Marine Archaeology and Dust Storms to Life in Water and Deserts. The photography is incredible. Every page is packed full of interesting information and amazing sights. Both of my sons (ages 6 & 7) have enjoyed looking through this book and discovering more about our world. Everything On Earth is definitely a keeper!
 
Thanks so much to DK Canada for sending me a review copy of this book.


Imagia and the Magic Pearls

Imagia and the Magic Pearls

Tales from the Mapmaker

by Monroe S. Tarver

Product Description

(description taken from Amazon.com)

Dear Listener,

Let me tell you a tale of a world with three suns...of a gleaming pearl palace...and the elf-princess, Imagia, who dreams of playing with friends, like any other child. But she can t be like other kids she s a princess. Imagia's time is filled with the lessons that will allow her to rule one day. She isn't allowed to leave the palace, where her only contact is with grownups. So, she is left to imagine what it might be like if she could be like other elf kids.

That imagination is the princess s best gift (although she is also rather fond of a certain bag of magic pearls). Imagia's imagination is very strong, and she uses it to understand the world around her. She really does try to be good, and she respects her parents. But, when yet another birthday comes along, and she is again stuck inside the palace, Imagia is frustrated. She gives in to temptation when she stumbles upon a way to sneak out of the palace and meet some friends.

Imagia does find friends in the forest, but finds scary stuff too. She learns that both friendship and danger can come in strange forms, as her seemingly innocent excursion takes unexpected twists and turns. The princess journeys to the Green Towers along with her new friend, Flutterwalk. Together, they must outwit the evil witch-queen, Baddora, and her winged pet. During her adventures, Imagia makes many discoveries the most important being the true power of imagination.

Come inside and grab a comfy chair while I tell you the story. Would you care to join me for a sweet potato?

Signed,
M.T., Mapmaker and Storyteller 

MY REVIEW

This is a delightful story, full of wonderful imagination and fantasy. I especially liked the illustrations scattered throughout the book- they complemented the story perfectly. I read the book to my sons (ages 6 & 7) and even though it was about a GIRL they still liked it.  My daughter listened in a few times and I think she will love it when she gets a bit older.  Imagia and the Magic Pearls is the perfect complement to a child's beautiful imagination. I am happy to recommend this book to any young readers out there.

CFBA- Heart of Stone


This week, the



Christian Fiction Blog Alliance



is introducing



Heart Of Stone
Zondervan (March 1, 2010)



by



Jill Marie Landis






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jill Marie Landis is the bestselling author of over twenty novels. She has won numerous awards for her sweeping emotional romances, such as Summer Moon and Magnolia Creek. In recent years, as market demands turned to tales of vampires, erotica, and hotter, sexier historical romances, Jill turned to writing Inspirational Western Romances for Steeple Hill Books. She truly feels back in the saddle again, working on stories that are a joy to write. With her toes in the sand and head in the clouds, Jill now lives in Hawaii with her husband, Steve.











ABOUT THE BOOK

Laura Foster, free from the bondage of an unspeakable childhood has struggled to make a new life for herself. Now the owner of an elegant boardinghouse in Glory, Texas, she is known as a wealthy, respectable widow. But Laura never forgets that she is always just one step ahead of her past.



When Reverend Brand McCormick comes calling, Laura does all she can to discourage him as a suitor. She knows that if her past were discovered, Brand’s reputation would be ruined. But it’d not only Laura’s past that threatens to bring Brand down─it’s also his own.



When a stranger in town threatens to reveal too many secrets, Laura is faced with a heartbreaking choice: Should she leave Glory forever and save Brand’s future? Or is it worth risking his name─and her heart─by telling him the truth?



If you would like to read the first chapter of Heart Of Stone, go HERE
 
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