Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Vigilante's Bride


This week, the



Christian Fiction Blog Alliance



is introducing



The Vigilante's Bride
Bethany House (August 1, 2010)



by
Yvonne Harris






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Yvonne Harris earned a BS in Education from the University of Hartford and has taught throughout New England and the mid-Atlantic. Unofficially retired from teaching, she teaches writing at Burlington County College in southern New Jersey, where she resides. She is a winner and three-time finalist for the Golden Heart, once for The Vigilante's Bride, which is her debut novel.



ABOUT THE BOOK



Montana Territory, 1884...Is Her Kidnapper the Only Man Who Can Keep Her Safe?


Robbing a stagecoach on Christmas Eve and abducting a woman passenger is the last thing Luke Sullivan expected to do. He just wanted to reclaim the money stolen from his pa, but instead ended up rescuing a feisty copper-haired woman who was on her way to marry Sullivan's dangerous enemy. Emily McCarthy doesn't take kindly to her so-called rescue. Still, she's hoping Providence will turn her situation for good, especially when it seems Luke Sullivan may just be the man of her dreams. But Luke has crossed a vicious man, a powerful rancher not used to losing, and Emily is the prize he's unwilling to sacrifice.



If you would like to read the first chapter of The Vigilante's Bride, go HERE

Monday, August 30, 2010

You're Not the Boss of Me *review*


You're Not the Boss of Me
Brat-Proofing Your 4- To 12-Year-Old Child
by Betsy Brown Braun

Book Description (taken from HarperCollins.com)

"Save me! My child is acting like a brat!"

What parent hasn't thought her child was a brat at one point or another? Whether your child really is a brat, is at risk of becoming one, or is simply trying to grow up in a world filled with temptations and distractions, you'll love this book! It's the ultimate hands-on guide to cultivating character traits that are tried-and-true "bratbusters." Full of no-nonsense, practical "Tips and Scripts," You're Not the Boss of Me offers just the help you need to deal with many of the more challenging behaviors typical of four- to twelve-year-olds. With Betsy Brown Braun's humorous, supportive, and authoritative voice as a guide, navigating some of the most exasperating aspects of these formative years with confidence and laying the groundwork for your child's future just got a whole lot easier!

It's All Here—What to Say and Do to Help Your Child:

* Get Over the Gimmes
* Tell the Truth
* Be Self-Reliant
* Develop Empathy
* Show Gratitude
* Be Respectful
* Take Responsibility
* Be Independent
* Exercise Humor
* and Not Be Spoiled!

MY REVIEW

I thought You're Not the Boss of Me was an excellent book. I found it very easy to read with manageable chapters and straight-forward advice. I loved Braun's down to earth writing style. She seems like someone I would enjoy talking to in person which is always a bonus when reading parenting books.  I hate it when authors write in such a way as you feel belittled or like they think their readers are total morons. There was none of that with this book.

Each chapter has tips and conversation script suggestions for teaching your kids things like honesty, respect and responsibility. My sons are right in the age-range for this book (and my daughter almost is) so this book was very relevant for our family.

I really have no complaints but since I have a special needs kid I always appreciate it when parenting books include even small amounts of information on how their methods would work in that situation- because no matter what anyone thinks parenting a kid with Autism is different than parenting a neurotypical child.

If you are struggling with bratty behaviour in your children than You're Not the Boss of Me is definitely a good choice for you.

Thanks so much to HarperCollins and Betsy Brown Braun for sending me a review copy of this book.

Friday, August 27, 2010

That's Where God Is

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

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


Today's Wild Card authors are:


and the book:

David C. Cook; New edition (August 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:



Dan and Ali Morrow are parents of two wonderful daughters. When they’re not writing children’s books, they like to go on adventures around their Colorado home.

Visit the authors' website.



Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 36 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (August 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434764346
ISBN-13: 978-1434764348

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER (Click on the pictures to see them larger):









Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Surrender the Heart


This week, the



Christian Fiction Blog Alliance



is introducing





Surrender the Heart
Barbour Publishing (August 1, 2010)



by
M. L. Tyndall






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





M. L. (MaryLu) Tyndall grew up on the beaches of South Florida loving the sea and the warm tropics. But despite the beauty around her, she always felt an ache in her soul--a longing for something more.



After college, she married and moved to California where she had two children and settled into a job at a local computer company. Although she had done everything the world expected, she was still miserable. She hated her job and her marriage was falling apart.



Still searching for purpose, adventure and true love, she spent her late twenties and early thirties doing all the things the world told her would make her happy, and after years, her children suffered, her second marriage suffered, and she was still miserable.



One day, she picked up her old Bible, dusted it off, and began to read. Somewhere in the middle, God opened her hardened heart to see that He was real, that He still loved her, and that He had a purpose for her life, if she'd only give her heart to Him completely.



She had written stories her whole life, but never had the confidence to try and get any of them published. But as God began to change her heart, He also showed her that writing had been His wonderful plan for her all along!





ABOUT THE BOOK



For the sake of her ailing mother, Marianne Denton becomes engaged to Noah Brennin---a merchantman she despises. But as the War of 1812 escalates, Jonah's ship is captured by the British, and the ill-matched couple learns vital information that could aid America's cause.



Relive the rich history of the War of 1812 through the eyes of Marianne Denton and Noah Brenin, who both long to please their families but neither one wishes to marry the other. Noah is determined to get his cargo to England before war breaks out, and Marianne is equally determined to have a wedding so that her inheritance can be unlocked and her destitute family saved. When their stubborn games get them captured by a British warship, can they escape and bring liberty to their country—and growing love?



If you would like to read the first chapter of Surrender the Heart, go HERE.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Masquerade


This week, the



Christian Fiction Blog Alliance



is introducing



Masquerade
Bethany House (August 1, 2010)
by



Nancy Moser






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Nancy Moser is the award-winning author of over twenty inspirational novels. Her genres include contemporary stories including John 3:16 and Time Lottery, and historical novels of real women-of-history including Just Jane(Jane Austen) and Washington's Lady (Martha Washington). Her newest historical novel is Masquerade. Nancy and her husband Mark live in the Midwest. She’s earned a degree in architecture, traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in numerous theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She gives Sister Circle Seminars around the country, helping women identify their gifts as they celebrate their sisterhood. She is a fan of anything antique—humans included. Find out more at

www.nancymoser.com and www.sistercircles.com.





ABOUT THE BOOK



They risk it all for adventure and romance, but find that love only flourishes in truth...


1886, New York City: Charlotte Gleason, a rich heiress from England, escapes a family crisis by traveling to America in order to marry the even wealthier Conrad Tremaine.



She soon decides that an arranged marriage is not for her and persuades her maid, Dora, to take her place. She wants a chance at "real life," even if it means giving up financial security. For Charlotte, it's a risk she's willing to take. What begins as the whim of a spoiled rich girl wanting adventure becomes a test of survival amid poverty beyond Charlotte's blackest nightmares.



As for Dora, it's the chance of a lifetime. She lives a fairy tale complete with gowns, jewels, and lavish mansions--yet is tormented by guilt from the possibility of discovery and the presence of another love that will not die. Is this what her heart truly longs for?



Will their masquerade be discovered? Will one of them have second thoughts? There is no guarantee the switch will work. It's a risk. It's the chance of a lifetime.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Masquerade, go HERE.



View the book trailer:



Sunday, August 22, 2010

Brilliant Disguises *review*


Brilliant Disguises by William Thornton

-information from the press release

"With this stunning debut novel, William Thornton joins the ranks of the mystic Christian writers of the past, such as C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L'Engle. As a bonus, Brilliant Disguises is a great read, with enough plot twists to keep the reader up late, turning pages!"
                                                                      - Cassandra King, author of The Sunday Wife
William Thornton makes his fiction debut with BRILLIANT DISGUISES, the tale of a man who poses so well as a Christian that he fools everyone - everyone, that is, except for himself and the One he cannot escape from. In the process, he seemingly works miracles but cannot satisfy the hunger inside himself to find out who he really is.

Thornton's novel concerns the life of Cameron Leon, a newly-hired worker for the Forster Foundation, a world-wide charitable organization led by a reclusive billionaire. To get the job, Cameron has to join a church. However, Cameron, still mourning the recent death of his brother Peter, decides he will only pretend to "get saved." In the process, he impersonates not only a Christian, but on occasion, his brother. Cameron continues to receive tearful phone calls from Peter's widow, Cecelia, who wants to hear her late husband's voice. Cameron, a born mimic like his brother, flawlessly impersonates him but feels the need for a personal kind of cleansing. Cameron discovers not only how many faces he has, but how many there are among the people around him. In the end, he finds he has been impersonating someone - or Someone - all along.

According to Thornton, BRILLIANT DISGUISES grew from a longing to see the inner life of a Christian in a fictional setting. But the only way to make such a familiar setting appear unfamiliar to Christian readers was to have the story told by someone posing as one. Thornton says, "Probably anyone who has attended an evangelical church, or any church for that matter, has a story of someone who volunteers for everything, is there for every service, has been a model of prayer and devotion for what seems like generations. It could be the Sunday School director or the lady who helps out in the kitchen or the organist. Then one Sunday, they come forward during the invitation and announce that they've never felt they were saved. I wondered how that could happen, and I figured it would help if we were dealing with a character who was a born mimic."

By turns comic and probing, dark and daring, BRILLIANT DISGUISES is about trying to hide behind the Light, and seeing things as they really are.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


William Thornton is an award-winning writer who has been a newspaper reporter for the past 21 years. He teaches a Sunday School class and is a deacon in a Southern Baptist church. He also maintains a blog on Christian themes in religious fiction, non-fiction and popular culture. He lives in Alabama with his wife and daughter.

You can read the first chapter HERE

MY REVIEW

I found the premise of this book interesting because I think there is a lot of truth to it. The storyline was pretty good. It took me quite awhile to read the whole book because I wasn't fully absorbed in it but it was an ok read- fairly good for a debut novel.  Brilliant Disguises definitely had a great message and could probably stir up some excellent discussions in church :).




Thanks so much to William Thornton for sending me a copy of his book to review.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Blue Notebook *review*


ABOUT THIS BOOK (taken from RandomHouse.ca)

An unforgettable, deeply affecting debut novel, The Blue Notebook tells the story of Batuk, a precocious fifteen-year-old girl from rural India who is sold into sexual slavery by her father. As she navigates the grim realities of Mumbai’s Common Street, Batuk manages to put pen to paper, recording her private thoughts and writing fantastic tales that help her transcend her daily existence. Beautifully crafted, surprisingly hopeful, and filled with both tragedy and humor, The Blue Notebook shows how even in the most difficult situations, people use storytelling to make sense of and give meaning to their lives.






MY REVIEW

The Blue Notebook is an absolutely riveting book. It broke my heart. It gave me a renewed sense of amazement at the resiliency of children. It gave me a renewed sense of disgust at how some adults treat those same children. I cried more than once while reading this book- but there was also some hope and that made me smile.

The Blue Notebook is incredibly well written. From the first sentence I was completely absorbed in the story. I have nothing but good things to say about it. I highly recommend it to everyone.

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

I Am Hutterite *review*


I Am Hutterite
by Mary-Ann Kirkby

Mary-Ann Kirkby revisits a hidden past and weaves it into her ground-breaking memoir “I Am Hutterite: The Fascinating True Story of a Young Woman’s Journey to Reclaim Her Heritage.” This compelling story will keep you glued to every page vicariously reliving the memories of Kirkby as a young child, now a storyteller in her own right as an award-winning author and news reporter. She was awarded the Saskatchewan Book Award for Best Non-Fiction and received notable acclaim in the first edition of “I Am Hutterite,” published for the Canadian audience in 2007. With outstanding reviews and affection from readers who were awed by her courageous story, she has partnered with Thomas Nelson Publishers to bring her book to the United States. Releasing in the U.S. in May 2010, Kirkby’s memoir will resonate with anyone who has ever experienced a desire to fit in. But perhaps those who will enjoy this book best are those eager to peel away their own defenses and embrace the simple truth that beneath every human exterior beats a heart longing for understanding and acceptance.

MY REVIEW

I found I Am Hutterite to be a well written, interesting read. It is a memoir so there is a lot of details about family members and family history and I found myself wishing it were a bit more story-like sometimes. I really appreciated the look into the world of the Hutterites. Kirkby writes with honesty and I loved that.

Mary Ann Kirkby is a Canadian author and actually lives about an hour from where we used to live so I was very familiar with the places and scenes that she describes in the book. Anyone who has lived in Saskatchewan would find a lot of the book very familiar. I know there were many times when I would wonder about the Hutterites I saw in Wal-Mart when we were shopping and this book answered all my questions.

If you are interested in all with the Hutterite culture than this is a must-read for you.







Thanks so much to Thomas Nelson for sending me a review copy of this book.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Crimson Cipher


This week, the



Christian Fiction Blog Alliance



is introducing



The Crimson Cipher
Summerside Press (July 1, 2010)



by
Susan Page Davis




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





From Susan: I've always loved reading, history, and horses. These things come together in several of my historical books. My young adult novel, Sarah's Long Ride, also spotlights horses and the rugged sport of endurance riding, as does the contemporary romance Trail to Justice. I took a vocational course in horseshoeing after earning a bachelor's degree in history. I don't shoe horses anymore, but the experience has come in handy in writing my books.



Another longtime hobby of mine is genealogy, which has led me down many fascinating paths. I'm proud to be a DAR member! Some of Jim's and my quirkier ancestors have inspired fictional characters.



For many years I worked for the Central Maine Morning Sentinel as a freelancer, covering local government, school board meetings, business news, fires, auto accidents, and other local events, including a murder trial. I've also written many profiles and features for the newspaper and its special sections. This experience was a great help in developing fictional characters and writing realistic scenes. I also published nonfiction articles in several magazines and had several short stories appear in Woman's World, Grit, and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.



My husband, Jim, and I moved to his birth state, Oregon, for a while after we were married, but decided to move back to Maine and be near my family. We're so glad we did. It allowed our six children to grow up feeling close to their cousins and grandparents, and some of Jim's family have even moved to Maine!



Our children are all home-schooled. The two youngest are still learning at home. Jim recently retired from his vocation as an editor at a daily newspaper, and we’ve moved from Maine to Kentucky.





ABOUT THE BOOK



IT'S 1915, AND EMMA SHUSTER HAS FAR TOO MUCH ON HER MIND TO ENTERTAIN NOTIONS OF ROMANCE...


A female Navy cryptographer seeks to save lives...and uncover her father’s killers.



In 1915, German sympathizers escalated acts of sabotage in the United States to keep the nation from joining in the war. With enemies lurking at every turn, whom can Emma trust? Is romance the true motive behind her tow suitors advances? Or could one-or both of them-have traitorous intentions in mind?



Following the mysterious murder of Emma Shuster’s father, Lt. John Patterson invites Emma to become a Navy cryptographer because of the expertise she gained in helping her father develop a cipher system.



Emma races to discover the nefarious plans of her country's foes and unmask their leader before others are killed. She finds new strength in her faith as she strives to outwit her adversary, known only as Kobold - German for goblin.



And yet, her greatest challenge may be deciphering the cryptic messages her heart sends whenever she encounters a certain navy lieutenant... Can Emma and John find love in the midst of turmoil as America plunges toward war?



If you would like to read the first chapter of The Crimson Cipher, go HERE.

Solitary

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

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


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

David C. Cook; New edition (August 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings Senior Media Specialist
The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Travis Thrasher is an author of diverse talents with more than twelve published novels including romance, suspense, adventure, and supernatural horror tales. At the core of each of his stories lie flawed characters in search of redemption. Thrasher weaves hope within all of his tales, and he loves surprising his readers with amazing plot twists and unexpected variety in his writing. Travis lives with his wife and daughter in a suburb of Chicago. Solitary is his first young adult novel.


Visit the author's website.



Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (August 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434764214
ISBN-13: 978-1434764218

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


1 . Half a Person


She’s beautiful.

She stands behind two other girls, one a goth coated in black and the other a blonde with wild hair and an even wilder smile. She’s waiting, looking off the other way, but I’ve already memorized her face.

I’ve never seen such a gorgeous girl in my life.

“You really like them?”

The goth girl is the one talking; maybe she’s the leader of their pack. I’ve noticed them twice already today because of her, the one standing behind. The beautiful girl from my second-period English class, the one with the short skirt and long legs and endless brown hair, the one I can’t stop thinking about. She’s hard not to notice.

“Yeah, they’re one of my favorites,” I say.

We’re talking about my T-shirt. It’s my first day at this school, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think carefully about what I was going to wear. It’s about making a statement. I would have bet that 99 percent of the seven hundred kids at this high school wouldn’t know what Strangeways, Here We Come refers to.

Guess I found the other 1 percent.

I was killing time after lunch by wandering aimlessly when the threesome stopped me. Goth Girl didn’t even say hi; she just pointed at the murky photograph of a face on my shirt and asked where I got it. She made it sound like I stole it.

In a way, I did.

“You’re not from around here, are you?” Goth Girl asks. Hersparkling blue eyes are almost hidden by her dark eyeliner.

“Did the shirt give it away?”

“Nobody in this school listens to The Smiths.”

I can tell her that I stole the shirt, or in a sense borrowed it, butthen she’d ask me from where.

I don’t want to tell her I found it in a drawer in the house we’re staying at. A cabin that belongs to my uncle. A cabin that used to belong to my uncle when he was around.

“I just moved here from a suburb of Chicago.”

“What suburb?” the blonde asks.

“Libertyville. Ever hear of it?”

“No.”

I see the beauty shift her gaze around to see who’s watching. Which is surprising, because most attractive girls don’t have to do that. They know that they’re being watched.

This is different. Her glance is more suspicious. Or anxious.

“What’s your name?”

“Chris Buckley.”

“Good taste in music, Chris,” Goth Girl says. “I’m Poe. This is Rachel. And she’s Jocelyn.”

That’s right. Her name’s Jocelyn. I remember now from class.

“What else do you like?”

“I got a wide taste in music.”

“Do you like country?” Poe asks.

“No, not really.”

“Good. I can’t stand it. Nobody who wears a T-shirt like that would ever like country.”

“I like country,” Rachel says.

“Don’t admit it. So why’d you move here?”

“Parents got a divorce. My mom decided to move, and I came with her.”

“Did you have a choice?”

“Not really. But if I had I would’ve chosen to move with her.”

“Why here?”

“Some of our family lives in Solitary. Or used to. I have a couple relatives in the area.” I choose not to say anything about Uncle Robert. “My mother grew up around here.”

“That sucks,” Poe says.

“Solitary is a strange town,” Rachel says with a grin that doesn’t seem to ever go away. “Anybody tell you that?”

I shake my head.

“Joss lives here; we don’t,” Poe says. “I’m in Groveton; Rach lives on the border to South Carolina. Joss tries to hide out at our places because Solitary fits its name.”

Jocelyn looks like she’s late for something, her body language screaming that she wants to leave this conversation she’s not a part of. She still hasn’t acknowledged me.

“What year are you guys?”

“Juniors. I’m from New York—can’t you tell? Rachel is from Colorado, and Jocelyn grew up here, though she wants to get out as soon as she can. You can join our club if you like.”

Part of me wonders if I’d have to wear eyeliner and lipstick.

“Club?”

“The misfits. The outcasts. Whatever you want to call it.”

“Not sure if I want to join that.”

“You think you fit in?”

“No,” I say.

“Good. We’ll take you. You fit with us. Plus … you’re cute.”

Poe and her friends walk away.

Jocelyn finally glances at me and smiles the saddest smile I’ve ever seen.



I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified.

I might look cool and nonchalant and act cool and nonchalant, but inside I’m quaking.

I spent the first sixteen years of my life around the same people, going to the same school, living in the same town with the same two parents.

Now everything is different.

The students who pass me are nameless, faceless, expressionless. We are part of a herd that jumps to life like Pavlov’s dog at the sound of the bell, which really is a low drone that sounds like it comes from some really bad sci-fi movie. It’s hard to keep the cool and nonchalant thing going while staring in confusion at my school map. I probably look pathetic.

I dig out the computer printout of my class list and look at it again. I swear there’s not a room called C305.

I must be looking pathetic, because she comes up to me and asks if I’m lost.

Jocelyn can actually talk.

“Yeah, kinda.”

“Where are you going?”

“Some room—C305. Does that even exist?”

“Of course it does. I’m actually heading there right now.” There’s an attitude in her voice, as if she’s ready for a fight even if one’s not coming.

“History?”

She nods.

“Second class together,” I say, which elicits a polite and slightly annoyed smile.

She explains to me how the rooms are organized, with C stuck between A and B for some crazy reason. But I don’t really hear the words she’s saying. I look at her and wonder if she can see me blushing. Other kids are staring at me now for the first time today. They look at Jocelyn and look at me—curious, critical, cutting. I wonder if I’m imagining it.

After a minute of this, I stare off a kid who looks like I threw manure in his face.

“Not the friendliest bunch of people, are they?” I ask.

“People here don’t like outsiders.”

“They didn’t even notice me until now.”

She nods and looks away, as if this is her fault. Her hair, so thick and straight, shimmers all the way past her shoulders. I could stare at her all day long.

“Glad you’re in some of my classes.”

“I’m sure you are,” she says.

We reach the room.

“Well, thanks.”

“No problem.”

She says it the way an upperclassmen might answer a freshman. Or an older sister, her bratty brother. I want to say something witty, but nothing comes to mind.

I’m sure I’m not the first guy she’s left speechless.



Every class I’m introduced to seems more and more unimpressed.

“This is Christopher Buckley from Chicago, Illinois,” the teachers say, in case anybody doesn’t know where Chicago is.

In case anybody wonders who the new breathing slab of human is, stuck in the middle of the room.

A redheaded girl with a giant nose stares at me, then glances at my shirt as if I have food smeared all over it. She rolls her eyes and then looks away.

Glancing down at my shirt makes me think of a song by The Smiths, “Half a Person.”

That’s how I feel.

I’ve never been the most popular kid in school. I’m a soccer player in a football world. My parents never had an abundance of money. I’m not overly good looking or overly smart or overly anything, to be honest. Just decent looking and decent at sports and decent at school. But decent doesn’t get you far. Most of the time you need to be the best at one thing and stick to it.

I think about this as I notice more unfamiliar faces. A kid who looks like he hasn’t bathed for a week. An oily-faced girl who looks miserable. A guy with tattoos who isn’t even pretending to listen.

I never really fit in back in Libertyville, so how in the world am I going to fit in here?

Two more years of high school.

I don’t want to think about it.

As the teacher drones on about American history and I reflect on my own history, my eyes find her.

I see her glancing my way.

For a long moment, neither of us look away.

For that long moment, it’s just the two of us in the room.

Her glance is strong and tough. It’s almost as if she’s telling me to remain the same, as if she’s saying, Don’t let them get you down.

Suddenly, I have this amazingly crazy thought: I’m glad I’m here.



I have to fight to get out of the room to catch up to Jocelyn.

I’ve had forty minutes to think of exactly what I want to say, but by the time I catch up to her, all that comes out is “hey.”

She nods.

Those eyes cripple me. I’m not trying to sound cheesy—they do. They bind my tongue.

For an awkward sixty seconds, the longest minute of my sixteen years, I walk the hallway beside her. We reach the girls’ room, and she opens the door and goes inside. I stand there for a second, wondering

if I should wait for her, then feeling stupid and ridiculous, wondering why I’m turning into a head of lettuce around a stranger I just met.

But I know exactly why.

As I head down the hallway, toward some other room with some other teacher unveiling some other plan to educate us, I feel someone grab my arm.

“You don’t want to mess with that.”

I wonder if I heard him right. Did he say that or her?

I turn and see a short kid with messy brown hair and a pimply face. I gotta be honest—it’s been a while since I’d seen a kid with this many pimples. Doctors have things you can do for that. The word pus comes to mind.

“Mess with what?”

“Jocelyn. If I were you, I wouldn’t entertain such thoughts.”

Who is this kid, and what’s he talking about?

And what teenager says, “I wouldn’t entertain such thoughts”?

“What thoughts would those be?”

“Don’t be a wise guy.”

Pimple Boy sounds like the wise guy, with a weaselly voice that seems like it’s going to deliver a punch line any second.

“What are you talking about?”

“Look, I’m just warning you. I’ve seen it happen before. I’m nobody, okay, and nobodies can get away with some things. And you look like a decent guy, so I’m just telling you.”

“Telling me what?”

“Not to take a fancy with the lady.”

Did he just say that in an accent that sounded British, or is it my imagination?

“I was just walking with her down the hallway.”

“Yeah. Okay. Then I’ll see you later.”

“Wait. Hold on,” I say. “Is she taken or something?”

“Yeah. She’s spoken for. And has been for sometime.”

Pimple Boy says this the way he might tell me that my mother is dying.

It’s bizarre.

And a bit spooky.

I realize that Harrington County High in Solitary, North Carolina, is a long way away from Libertyville.

I think about what the odd kid just told me.

This is probably bad.

Because one thing in my life has been a constant. You can ask my mother or father, and they’d agree.

I don’t like being told what to do.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Malacca Conspiracy




This week, the





Christian Fiction Blog Alliance





is introducing





Malacca Conspiracy
Zondervan (June 4, 2010)





by
Don Brown






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



DON BROWN, a former U.S. Navy JAG Officer, is the author of Zondervan’s riveting NAVY JUSTICE SERIES. a dynamic storyline chronicling the life and adventures of JAG officer ZACK BREWER. In 2003, Don began writing Treason, his first novel in the NAVY JUSTICE SERIES.



Paying no homage to political correctness, DON BROWN’S writing style is described as “gripping,” casting an entertaining and educational spin on a wide-range of current issues, from radical Islamic infiltration of the military, to the explosive issue of gays in the military, to the modern day issues of presidential politics in the early 21st Century.



In November of 2009, four years after it was released, and in the wake of Fort Hood, TREASON rocketed to the top-selling in the nation on the Amazon.com bestseller list for fiction, and remained there for over a week. On Thanksgiving Day of 2009, all four of Don’s novels were ranked in the top 5 on the Amazon bestseller list for fiction!



DON BROWN graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1982, and after finishing law school, continued his post-graduate studies through the Naval War College, earning the Navy’s nonresident certificate in International Law.



During his five years on active duty in the Navy, Don served in the Pentagon, was published in the Naval Law Review, and was also a recipient of the Navy Achievement Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.



ABOUT THE BOOK



A rogue Indonesian general and his army of terrorists attack oil tankers in the Strait of Malacca in order to profit from oil futures and buy nuclear weapons to establish an Islamic superpower.



Navy JAG officers Zack Brewer and Diane Colcernian race against the odds and a 24-hour deadline before nuclear attacks hit the United States. Departing from the sea of books barely better than soap opera romance and using the frantic pacing of suspense fiction, Brown glides flawlessly among global hotspots of terrorism--including the United States--and the book's principal settings in Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.



The President of the United States orders ships of the U.S. Seventh Fleet towards the Malacca Straits to reassert control over the sea lanes, but with time quickly ticking away, will they arrive in time for Zack and Diane to survive this dangerous and final high-stakes drama of life and death?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Malacca Conspiracy, go HERE.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Flanimals Pop-Up



Flanimals Pop-Up
- information taken from the website
author: Ricky Gervais
illustrator: Rob Steen
They're grotesque. They're absurd. They're so ugly they're cute - and they could only be spawned by the mind of award-winning comedian Ricky Gervais. From a planet far away, these bizarre and whimsical beasts - from the ferocious airborne Bletchling to the badly behaved Grundit to the fatally timid Splunge - spring to life in the droll and off-the-cuff prose of a writer who some may liken to a latter-day Edward Lear. Then again, some may find these grossly amusing creatures simply-gross. And whose fault is that? Just remember: don’t pull a tab just because you’ve been told to!
From the unique mind of comic master Ricky Gervais comes... 3-D Flanimals! The ghastly stars of a wildly popular book series are about to pop up everywhere.

age range:
5 yrs and up
grade range:
Kindergarten and up
 
author’s comments:
Ricky Gervais, author of the best-selling, award-winning Flanimals series, is well known as the creator and star of The Office and Extras. He has acted in numerous Hollywood films, has been nominated for an Emmy, and has earned many top media awards. He lives in London.
illustrator’s comments:
Rob Steen is a comics artist whose illustrations appear in Afterlife and Elephantmen. He has also illustrated all the Flanimals books. He lives in New York.

MY REVIEW

Flanimals is a super-fun fabulous book. The pop-up "Flanimals" are so well done that I was truly impressed. All three of my kids LOVE this book... however Olivia is a little young for it and promptly wrecked one of the pop-ups.

Both of my sons (ages 6 & 8) found the descriptions hilarious. The whole book is really so creative. I love it. Several of the descriptions even made me laugh out loud.

I asked my kids what they thought of it and here is their responses:

Aiden (age 8): I love the monsters *insert imaginary monster sounds and much laughter here*

Owen (age 6): those guys are so funny and I like how I can move them *insert long explanation of how each one moves here*

Olivia (age 3): that book is MINE *insert younger sister grabbing book from older brothers and the ensuing fight here*

Anyway, Flanimals is a huge hit in our house and is already very well loved.

Thanks so much to Candlewick Press for sending me a review copy of this book.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Vacation Bible Snooze

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review!


Today's Wild Card author is:

Mike Thaler (Author)
and
Jared Lee (Illustrator)

and the book:

Zonderkidz (April 13, 2010)



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Known as the Riddle King of America, Mike Thaler is the author of the popular Black Lagoon books and the Heaven and Mirth series. He lives in Portland, Oregon, and travels nationally, speaking in schools, libraries, and churches.

Visit the author's website.


Jared Lee is an accomplished illustrator with experience working for the likes of L.L. Bean, Procter and Gamble, Hasbro, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, and the U.S. Postal Service. He currently resides in Lebanon, Ohio.


Visit the illustrator's website.



Product Details:

List Price: $4.99
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz (April 13, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310715962
ISBN-13: 978-0310715962

Press the browse button to view the first chapter:


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Catwalk

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review!  Enjoy your free peek into the book!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Zondervan (May 7, 2010)



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books for teens, women, and children. Before publishing, Melody traveled around the world, volunteered in teen ministry, taught preschool, raised two sons, and worked briefly in interior design and later in international adoption. “I think real-life experiences inspire the best fiction,” she says. Her wide variety of books seem to prove this theory.


Visit the author's website.



Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (May 7, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310717876
ISBN-13: 978-0310717874

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Monday, August 9, 2010

The Gathering Storm


This week, the



Christian Fiction Blog Alliance



is introducing



The Gathering Storm
Summerside Press (August 1, 2010)



by
Bodie and Brock Thoene






ABOUT THE AUTHORS:



Bodie and Brock Thoene (pronounced Tay-nee) have written over 50 works of historical fiction. Over twenty million of these best-selling novels are in print. Eight ECPA Gold Medallion Awards affirms what millions of readers have already discovered—the Thoenes are not only master stylists but experts at capturing readers’ minds and hearts.



Bodie began her writing career as a teen journalist for her local newspaper. Eventually her byline appeared in prestigious periodicals such as U.S. News and World Report, The American West, and The Saturday Evening Post. She also worked for John Wayne’s Batjac Productions (she’s best known as author of The Fall Guy) and ABC Circle Films as a writer and researcher. John Wayne described her as “a writer with talent that captures the people and the times!” She has degrees in journalism and communications.



Brock has often been described by Bodie as “an essential half of this writing team.” With degrees in both history and education, Brock has, in his role as researcher and story-line consultant, added the vital dimension of historical accuracy. Due to such careful research, The Zion Covenant and The Zion Chronicles series are recognized by the American Library Association, as well as Zionist libraries around the world, as classic historical novels and are used to teach history in college classrooms.



Bodie and Brock have four grown children—Rachel, Jake, Luke, and Ellie—and seven grandchildren. Their sons, Jake and Luke, are carrying on the Thoene family talent as the next generation of writers, and Luke produces the Thoene audiobooks.



Bodie and Brock divide their time between London and Nevada.





ABOUT THE BOOK



As Nazi forces tighten the noose, Loralei Kepler, daughter of a German resistance leader, must flee her beloved Germany. But is any place safe from Adolf Hitler's evil grasp? Loralei's harrowing flight leads her into the arms of needy child refugees, who have sacrificed everything in exchange for their lives, and toward a mysterious figure, who closely guards an age-old secret.



Explore the romance, the passion, and the danger of the most anticipated series of the last twenty years.



Born from the highly acclaimed and best-loved novels of three generations of readers -- The Zion Covenant series and The Zion Chronicles series -- Zion Diaries ventures into the lives of the inspiring and intriguing characters who loved intensely, stood up for what was right, and fought boldly during Hitler's rise to power and the dark days of World War II.



If you would like to read the first chapter of The Gathering Storm, go HERE

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fatal Loyalty


This week, the



Christian Fiction Blog Alliance



is introducing



Fatal Loyalty
Kregel Publications (April 23, 2010)



by



Sue Duffy






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





Sue Duffy is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in Moody magazine, The Presbyterian Journal, Sunday Digest, and The Christian Reader. Her first novel Mortal Wounds was published in 2001 and she has also contributed to Stories for a Woman’s Heart (Multnomah). She and her husband, Mike, have three grown children. Find out more at www.sueduffybooks.com



ABOUT THE BOOK



Where do you run when you know you cannot hide?



Andie Ryborg has nowhere else to go. Her father's campaign for governor and his aggressive war on drugs has chased her from their family home. Drawn to Miami's exotic Coconut Grove, Andie hopes to find a quiet refuge where she can discover herself apart from the public eye. But even in that seclusion, even with an officer assigned to protect her, Andie's privacy has been violated. Someone is watching



Evan Markham's entire life has been a tug-of-war between what is and what could be. He is drawn to a life that is beyond his reach and emotions have clouded his judgment. Evan knows that earning someone's trust isn't easy, especially when he plans to break it. But in the secret corridors of the criminal underworld, he knows what must be done, and he is determined to see it through. Whatever the cost



When enemies close in, a sudden turn of events leaves them both questioning. Where is God in all of this? Who is this enigmatic stranger who offers to help? They both know their lives are in danger. But what about their hearts?



If you would like to read the Prologue of Fatal Loyalty, go HERE.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Final Touch

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! Enjoy your free peek into the book!



Today's Wild Card authors are:


and the book:

Zondervan (May 7, 2010)
***Special thanks to Krista Ocier of Zondervan for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:


Brandilyn and Amberly Collins are a mother/daughter team from northern California.

Brandilyn Collins, known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense, is the bestselling author of Violet Dawn, Coral Moon, Crimson Eve, Eyes of Elisha, and other novels.

Visit the Brandilyn's website.

Amberly Collins is a college student in Long Beach, California, majoring in marketing. She’s active in her Alphi Phi sorority and dotes on her Yorkie puppy, Bear.


Here's a video about the first book in the Rayne Series:



Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (May 7, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 031071933X
ISBN-13: 978-0310719335

Press the browse button to view the first chapter:


Monday, August 2, 2010

Katy's Debate

This book is part of a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Zondervan (May 7, 2010)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Bestselling, award-winning author Kim Vogel Sawyer has many titles besides “writer.” As a wife, mother of three, grandmother of six, Sunday school teacher, and speaker, her life is full and happily busy. In her spare time she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband make their home in Kansas, the setting for many of Kim’s novels.


Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (May 7, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310719232
ISBN-13: 978-0310719236

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


 
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