Thursday, January 23, 2014

FIRST WILD CARD TOUR: Call of the Prairie by Vickie McDonough

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:

Whitaker House (January 1, 2014)

***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Vickie McDonough is an award-winning author of 30 works and a founder of the Christian Fiction Historical Society (www.christianfictionhistoricalsociety.blogspot.com).  Book 1 in her Pioneer Promises series, Whispers on the Prairie, was chosen by Romantic Times as a top “recommended read” last summer. A member of ACFW, Vickie served as treasurer for three years and treasurer for her local chapter. She and her husband, Robert, live in Oklahoma and have four grown sons, one daughter-in-law, and a granddaughter. When she isn’t writing, Vickie enjoys reading, shopping for antiques, watching movies, and traveling. The final book in her Pioneer Promises series, Song of the Prairie, releases the summer of 2014.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In her 22 years, Sophie Davenport’s overprotective parents have taken every possible measure to keep her from exacerbating her asthma—she feels like a prisoner in her own house with her activities limited to reading and needlework. Yet Sophie longs for adventure and love, so when an aunt living in Windmill, Kansas, falls ill, she volunteers to travel from St. Louis to help out. Sophie’s new role brings her into contact with two children boarding at her aunt’s home, along with their handsome uncle, Josh Harper. Josh has worked for his family’s stagecoach stop on the Santa Fe Trail for most of his life, but he’s far more bookish than his brawny brothers. It’s his book smarts that recently landed him a job in Windmill managing his uncle’s bank. Josh also looks after his niece and nephew who are living in Windmill to attend school. Josh loves spending time with them, but yearns for a family of his own.


Product Details:
List Price: $12.99
Series: Pioneer Promises (Book 2)
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (January 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603749624
ISBN-13: 978-1603749626

REVIEW

Call of the Prairie is a sweet Christian story about finding one's voice and love despite many obstacles including one's own family. Sophie wants more than anything to find a life outside of being constantly stuck in her parents house.  Her parents are highly overprotective and refuse to let her do anything that might trigger an asthma attack.  Going to help take care of her Aunt Maude who has broken her arm provides a sudden opportunity to experience life in a way she never has before.  But it turns out to be very different than she expected with multiple suitors and children to take care of, can she find a way to live her life or will her parents put her back in the cage she just escaped from? I quite enjoyed this book, the characters are likable and fun to read about. Recommended.

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

April 1873
St. Louis, Missouri
Sophie Davenport held back the curtain and peered out the front window, her heart jolting as a handsome man exited the carriage. He paid the driver, then turned and studied her house. He was taller and nicer looking than she’d expected. She dropped the curtain and stepped back, hoping he hadn’t seen her spying. She pressed her hands together and tapped her index fingers against her lips, unable to hold back her grin. Blake had finally arrived!
A knock of confidence, not apprehension, sounded at the main entrance. Sophie hurried to her bedroom door, which opened onto the main entryway, then held her breath and listened. Blake stood on her porch, introducing himself to the butler. Sophie could barely hold back her giddiness. She bounced on her toes as Blake told the butler he had an appointment with her. His voice, deeper than she’d imagined, floated through the open transom window above her like a beautiful cello solo at the symphony.
She patted her hair, hoping the humidity of the warm day hadn’t sent it spiraling in rebellious curls. The swish of silk accompanied her as she hurried across the room to the full-length oval mirror that stood in one corner. Pressing a hand over her chest to calm her pounding heart, she surveyed her deep purple gown. Was the fabric too dark? She’d chosen the violet silk taffeta because her brightly colored day dresses made her appear younger, but today, she wanted to look the twenty-two-year-old woman she was. Turning sideways, she checked her bustle and bow, making sure they were straight. Everything was as orderly as it could be. Would Blake like what he saw? Would he think her too short? Her light brown hair too nondescript?
Flicking a piece of lint off her bodice, she turned and faced the door. She would know soon enough. After more than a year of correspondence, Blake knew everything about her, and he had adamantly insisted that none of it mattered. He’d fallen in love with her through her enchanting missives, and he wanted her for his wife.
A vicious knock rattled the glass in the transom, and Sophie jumped. The apprehension racing through her was less about meeting Blake and more about the fact that she hadn’t told her parents about him. They would have cut off her correspondence faster than their gardener could lop off the head of a snake. But it was too late now. She attempted to swallow the lump lodged in her throat, but it refused to move.
Her mother walked in, her whole face pinched like a prune, and quickly closed the door. She stood there facing it for a long moment, her head down, then heaved a loud, exaggerated sigh.
Not a good sign.
Finally, her mother turned. “You have a guest, Sophia—a male guest.” One eyebrow lifted. “Would you care to explain to me how you are acquainted with this man, especially since neither your father nor I have ever met him?”
Sophie pressed a hand to her throat. She knew this wouldn’t be easy. “His name is Blake Sheppard. He and I have been corresponding for over a year.”
Her mother’s brown eyes widened. “A year? But how? I’ve never seen a letter from him in the mail.”
Ducking her head, Sophie stilled her hands and held them in front of her. “Ruthie sent and received them for me. Blake is her cousin—and a gentleman.”
“A gentleman doesn’t go behind the backs of a young woman’s parents to contact her.” Maintaining her stiff stance, her mother puckered her lips. “So, you’ve been deceiving your father and me?”
Wincing, Sophie turned toward the front window. “Would you have allowed me to correspond with Blake if I’d told you about him?”
“Proper ladies don’t exchange letters with men they’ve never been introduced to, and certainly not without parental approval.”
Drawing a steadying breath, Sophie turned to face her mother. She’d known this would be a battle. “Mother, please. Blake is a good man. Ask me anything about him.”
“There’s no need. We will go out to the parlor, share a cup of tea, and then you’ll make excuses that will send him on his way. Is that clear?”
Sophie gasped. “But he’s traveled so far, and I’ve waited so long to meet him.” She despised the pleading in her voice. Why couldn’t her parents let her grow up like her sister? A wheeze squeaked out of her throat. She had to stay calm. The last thing she wanted was to have an attack in front of Blake.
Her mother moved closer, her expression softening. She took Sophie’s hand. “You know how things are, dear. You had no business getting that young man’s hopes up.”
“That young man is my fiancé, Mother.”
“Fiancé—why, that’s absurd! You know you can’t lead a normal life.”
Closing her eyes, Sophie fought back tears. Why did her parents seek to limit her? Given the chance, she was certain she could be a proper wife and mother, but her parents just wanted to coddle her and keep her close. “You have to face the fact that I’m grown up. I want to live a normal life.” She hurried past her mother and reached for the door handle.
“But you are not normal, dear. Your father and I only want to protect you. We couldn’t bear to lose you, and you know we’ve come close to doing that very thing on several occasions.”
Sophie shuddered at the declaration. Her mother’s words rang in her ears: You are not normal. Yes, she had a breathing problem; but, as she’d gotten older, the spells had happened less often. Maybe in time, they’d go away altogether. Her parents were afraid to let her live as her sister did. If she didn’t get away from them, she’d become a spinster—if she wasn’t one already. She stiffened her back and pasted on a smile, trying to ignore the pain of her mother’s chastisement. Blake was waiting.
She opened the door and stepped into the entryway, her gaze searching for the man she’d dreamed about so many times. Blake stood in front of the parlor sofa, speaking with her father. He hadn’t noticed her yet.
“I’m sorry you’ve wasted your time traveling all this way, Mr. Sheppard,” her father said. “But, as I’ve already stated, my daughter is not in the habit of receiving male visitors.”
Blake’s eyebrows drew together, his shoulders slumping, as he looked down at the carpet. Sophie blew out several breaths and tried to calm herself, then hurried through the entryway into the parlor, avoiding her father’s glare. Her gaze latched onto Blake’s, and she saw the confusion in his hazel eyes. He offered a tentative smile. “Miss Davenport, a pleasure to finally meet you.”
She smiled, her cheeks warming, as she curtsied. “I’ve looked forward to this moment for a very long time.” She waved a hand toward her father, and noticed that her mother had followed her into the room. “I apologize, but I failed to tell my parents about your arrival.” Because I knew just how they would respond. “I fear they are both a bit surprised.” An understatement of mammoth proportions, if ever there was one.
Sophie gathered her courage and turned to her father. “I see you’ve met Blake, Father.” Her throat tightened at his stern stare. Another wheeze squeaked out. “B-Blake is my fiancé.”
Her father’s eyes widened, and his mouth dropped open. A pomegranate color climbed up his neck, turning his ears red. He turned his fiery gaze on Blake. “You presume a lot, young man. Did Sophie not inform you that she is not fully well? She is not in a position to accept an offer of marriage.”
Blake cleared his throat and straightened, as if he wasn’t ready to give up the battle. “Yes, sir, she told me, but I thought—” His gaze captured Sophie’s, and then he glanced at the floor again. He shuffled his feet, as if he were trying to figure out a new dance step. “I thought Sophie—uh, Miss Davenport—was free to make her own decisions, sir. I’m sorry that she failed to inform you of my interest in her.”
“Inform me?” Her father puffed up like a tom turkey whose hens were in danger. “A daughter doesn’t ‘inform’ a father that she is planning to marry a stranger. A decent fellow seeks permission before approaching a man’s daughter.”
Blake swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing. “I’m sorry, sir.”
As if an angry fist clutched Sophie’s throat, she felt it closing. She expelled a wheeze, and Blake shot a glance in her direction. Her father’s tirade blended with the words her mother had uttered, causing an ache within her so painful, she didn’t know if she could bear it. She was losing Blake, and they’d only just met. Was she doomed to live with her overprotective parents the rest of her life?
No!
She wouldn’t.
She’d fight for Blake. He was worth it.
She opened her mouth to defend her fiancé, but the sound that came out more resembled the bleat of an ailing goat than her own voice. Humiliation blistered her cheeks.
Blake took a step backward, away from her, his handsome face drawn in a scowl.
“You see, Mr. Sheppard, the slightest excitement can set off one of my daughter’s attacks.” Father turned to Sophie’s mother. “Ring for some coffee, if you will. It seems to help our Sophie’s spells.”
Spells. Attacks. What would Blake think?
Sophie held out her hand to him. Instead of taking it, he cast another worried glanced at her father. She sucked in another wheezy breath, struggling to stay clam in the midst of such turmoil. The room tilted. Sophie closed her eyes until the spinning stopped. All was silent for several long moments, except for her screeching breaths.
When her eyelids fluttered open, Blake met her gaze with an apology in his eyes. She knew in that moment she’d lost him.
He sighed. “Perhaps I have been too hasty. I sincerely apologize, Miss Davenport, but I must withdraw my offer of marriage. I hope you and your parents can forgive me for troubling you so.”
Tears stung Sophie’s eyes. She held out her hand again, hoping—praying—he’d take hold of it. “No, please—”
He skirted around her as if she were a leper, nodded to her mother, then snatched his hat off the hall tree and rushed out the door.
Sophie collapsed in the nearest chair and watched her dreams march down the sidewalk and out of sight. Tears blurred her vision as all hope of a future with Blake died. How could her parents be so cruel as to not even allow Blake to express his interest in her? How could they embarrass her so?
Her father walked to her and leaned over. “Try to calm down, Sophia.”
She jumped up so fast, her head almost rammed his chin. He stumbled backward. The room swerved as she struggled for a decent breath. “How c-could you, Father?”
A wave of guilt washed over his face. “It’s for your own good, you know.”
She clutched the end table for support for a moment, then stumbled past him.
He took her arm. “Here, let me help you, precious.”
“No! Please.” She yanked away. “I can…take care of…myself. I’m a grown woman, and you both need to f-face that fact.” She inhaled a decent breath and then charged on, by pure willpower. “I’m twenty-two and not your little girl anymore. Stop sheltering me…let me live my life. It’s mine to live, not yours to stifle.”
The flash of pain in her father’s eyes only made her feel worse. Her shoes tapped across the entryway as she hurried back to her room—the former library, where her parents had relegated her, as if she were a pariah. She shut the door and collapsed on her bed, wanting to cry but knowing that doing so would only make breathing harder. She slammed her fist against her pillow. “Why, God? Why can’t my parents let me grow up?”
She’d had such hopes. Thought that when her parents met Blake, they’d see what a quality man he was. But they hadn’t even given him a chance. Could she have been mistaken about him? She smacked the bed, a futile outlet for her frustrations and disappointments. Blake hadn’t bothered to fight for her one bit; he’d fled out the door the first chance he’d gotten. She’d tried to prepare him—to warn him about her episodes—but she must have failed.
She barked a cough that sounded like a seal she’d once seen at the menagerie in New York City’s Central Park. Sophie pushed up into a sitting position, in order to breathe better. Blinking, she attempted to force away her tears, but new ones came like the spring rains that flooded the banks of the Mississippi River. Why had God cursed her with this hateful condition?
The door opened, and her mother entered, carrying a tray. Coffee. She despised the foul-tasting stuff, but it was thought to be helpful to people with asthma, as were garlic, whiskey, and a number of other nasty-tasting concoctions.
“How are you, dear?”
Sophie slid back down on the bed and turned to face the wall. She didn’t want to talk—couldn’t talk.
“Don’t be that way. You need to drink this coffee.”
She shook her head.
“Turn over, Sophia.” Her mother’s tone left no room for refusal.
She obeyed but didn’t look at her mother. Instead, she started counting the thin, blue lines in the wallpaper—all nine hundred sixteen of them—as she’d done a thousand other times. Focusing on the task would keep her from weeping and from lashing out in anger.
Her mother blew out a loud breath, then held out the coffee cup. “Drink this.”
Sophie shook her head. “Doesn’t help.” She sucked in a breath, thankful that this episode was a mild one and already beginning to pass, in spite of the day’s traumatic events.
Her mother set the cup back on the tray with a loud clatter and stared across the room. “Whatever made you do such a thing? Don’t you know that young man must have spent hard-earned money to come here? Taken time away from his job, assuming he has one? You gave him false hopes, Sophia, and now he’s wasted a year of his life pursuing a woman he can never have.”
Sophie clenched her eyes shut, losing count of the lines. Did her mother not care that her heart was breaking?
Guilt nibbled its way into her mind like a mouse in a sack of grain. She hadn’t thought how things would affect Blake if they turned sour. She’d been so certain everything would work out in their favor. So certain that she could persuade her parents to let them marry, that she hadn’t considered the negative side. But her mother was right about one thing. Blake had taken leave from his job as bookkeeper for a shoe factory in Chicago so that he could travel to St. Louis to meet her. He had wasted his time and money to come here.
And it was all her fault.
She sucked in a sob.
Her mother patted her shoulder. “There, there. Things will work out.”
Yes, her father would go back to running his company. Her mother would attend her social clubs and church functions. Her sister would continue as a happily married wife and soon-to-be mother, while Sophie would continue her boring existence as a lonely spinster living in her parents’ home.
The bed lifted on one side as her mother stood and quietly left the room. After the door closed, Sophie sat up and stared out the window, at the very place she’d first seen Blake. She hated feeling sorry for herself, and she normally didn’t, but today, her emotions were raw.
She rose from the bed and crossed the room to her desk, where her Bible lay. She picked it up and hugged it to her chest as she gazed out at the garden. Bright yellow butterflies flitted from flower to flower. A big bumblebee disappeared in a clump of pink azaleas. The beauty of God’s creation never failed to cheer her, even on the saddest of days.
Sophie blew out a loud sigh. “Forgive me, Lord, if I’ve been selfish.” She hugged the Bible tighter. “But please, Father, make a way for me to break free from my parents. To prove to them—and to myself—that I can stand on my own. That I can take care of myself. And please, Lord, if it be Your will, send me a man someday who will love me for the woman I am and overlook my…flaws.”
Tears pooled in her eyes, and her throat tightened. “But if it is Your will for me to remain in my parents’ home and to never marry, help me to accept that and to be content.”
If that was the Lord’s will, He certainly had a monumental task ahead.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

BLOG TOUR/GIVEAWAY: Love Spell by Stan Crowe

Love spell tour

Love spell updated
LOVE SPELL
by Stan Crowe
Breezy Reads, 2013
ISBN: 9781938327117
e-book provided for review
All opinions expressed are solely my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Clint Christopherson’s love life is a running joke. When a crazed gypsy curses him with the best wish he could ever ask for, the punchline stops being funny. Now, even his barest touch drives girls mad for him. Desperate to reverse the curse, he turns to his last hope: an attractive private investigator who may be able to locate his missing gypsy. If only Clint knew who it was he just hired...


stan crowe
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stan had a pretty normal, middle-class American youth. He was lucky enough to change that by convincing an exceptional woman to marry him in 2000, setting him on a much more fulfilling life course. Four years later, Brigham Young University awarded him with a Bachelors of Science in civil and environmental engineering. He then he spent several years designing homes, prescribing work for bridges, and even exploring the mortgage industry. In the midst of all this, he produced two science fiction anthologies in 2006 and 2007. In 2012, Breezy Reads Publishing picked up his romantic comedy The Cinderella Project. And thus he transformed himself from Captain Kirk into Don Juan. Stan lives with his wife, children (final count to be determined) and two cats in Utah.

REVIEW

I'm still trying to figure out what I think about this book.  It's definitely different than anything I've read before. Starting with a dive out an open second story window, with car chases, unwanted wishes or is that curses, the story takes the reader for a whiplash inducing ride unlike any I've been on before. Clint and Lindsey are amusing main characters with quirks galore. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to finish this, but I just had to know what happened in this wildly twisting story.  Recommended for those who think they can hold on for a wild and crazy, not to mention imaginative, love story.

EXCERPT

Lindsay whirled on Clint suddenly, and pushed her face close to his. He flinched, but didn’t withdraw. She breathed in his scent for a moment, savoring it along with the fact that she had an ace to play at last. “Do you want to go to Seattle?” she quietly inquired.
“I want to find the old woman.”
“And do you know where she is?”
“If I did I wouldn’t be standing here.”
“And if I do?”
“Then I get this crazy feeling that I’m somehow even more indebted to you than I was forty-five seconds ago.”
She smirked. “I’ll get that in writing later. For now, how about a little road trip?”
He hesitated. “I can’t.”
She blinked. “Wait. What?”
Clint sighed sadly and looked away. “I can’t afford a road trip at the moment. I don’t even have a car, in case you’d forgotten.”
Lindsay winked at him. “It just so happens I got a Corolla recently. My Uncle Tom even brought it by. It’s over in visitor parking. I’ll have the valet bring it up.”
He paused, and she could see a war going on in his eyes. At length, he sighed. “Can you find her? For sure?”
“Absolutely.”
“No, I mean, if we drive to Seattle right now, or even in the next day or two, can you take me right to her? I can’t go forward on a ‘maybe.’”
Lindsay hedged. “I would certainly do my best.”
He shook his head and ran a hand through his hair. “You know, the road trip sounds great, and I really, really want to find her. But I’ve still got to see whether I can’t salvage something with Graphitti.” He pulled his phone from his pocket and dialed a number. Before he hit the send button, he looked back at her.
“This is a career with Graphitti Graphics we’re talking about. Curse or no curse, you just don’t pass up an offer like this.”
She was impressed. She’d seen the stuff he’d drawn in high school, and it was pretty good even then. He must have gotten leaps and bounds better, though, if no less than Graphitti Graphics was going to bring him on board. And yet, she wasn’t about to let his job get in the way of her job. Lindsay grinned wolfishly. “No problem. I drive you to the interview, you get the job, and we hit the road. I’m fairly sure they’re not going to start you in the middle of a week. We’d have at least until next Monday to catch Fey.”
Clint made to speak, and then stopped. “Sullivan. That’s a brilliant idea. I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of that.”
Lindsay could totally believe he hadn’t thought of it.
“Let’s go,” she said. “You call Graphitti to let them know you’re on your way, and you’ll be there soon. Their offices are downtown, aren’t they?”
He nodded. “Yeah. I’ll give them a call to let them know I’m going to be late.” he gestured. “We’d better hurry. Lead the way.”
“Right,” she said, and started again for the valet station. Clint pulled out his phone and tagged along behind her while waiting on hold, his eyes intense. He was so engrossed in his call that he strayed dangerously toward the curb. Lindsay turned just in time to see him stumble off the sidewalk and into the street. Of course he didn’t see the motorcycle.
“Clint! Wait!” She leapt for him, grabbing his shoulder just in time to rip him out of harm’s way. What happened next caught her utterly by surprise. Even before he stumbled back into her and knocked her to the ground, fire raced through her fingertips to fill her entire frame. Her body tensed and her breathing went shallow and rapid. Her eyes dilated, and the whole world seemed to glow before her in a vague, minimalistic way. A Clint-shaped blob clambered to his feet and jumped back. A distant, metallic voice wailed, “Why’d you have to go and do that?” She wasn’t certain she’d heard the words correctly, but she could tell it was him, and the sound was sugar to her ears.
Her mind’s eye filled with the vision of Clint’s face, and an overwhelming urge to possess him wrapped itself around her heart and mind like a boa constrictor. A sensation welled inside her, a lioness rising and stretching her legs before a day of hunting; and the only thing it saw was him. More than anything in the world, she desired him body and soul. She rose to her feet knowing beyond doubt that she must seize him now or lose him forever. After all these years, had she really been suppressing this much emotion with regards to him? The feelings of lust were frighteningly unnatural; she wondered if this was what it was like to be male.
No! her inner voice screamed. Lindsay, get a grip! But there was no shaking his face, or the burning desire to lose herself in him.
He ripped your heart out and let it bleed on the floor, Lindsay! Let him go! You don’t need this case! You don’t need him! The voice in her head made some annoyingly notable points. Clint had been a sham in high school. Was he likely any different now?
But he’s so cute!
She shook her head. Stop it, Lindsay. You sound like a middle-school girl.
Clint was now striding—no, jogging—away from her. The only logical course was to follow him, and tackle him if necessary. He must not be allowed to get away!
“Plans have changed a bit, Sully,” he called behind him. “You enjoy Seattle, and call me when you find her. I’ll get my own ride, cool?”
Then she refocused her mind. The case. That was what was important. There was no way she’d give in to Mom and Dad’s expectations that she would utterly fail without them. Clint was just another guy like any other. The real Lindsay was more than some freak storm of hormones. The real Lindsay Sullivan needed no man. Let him run. See if she cared.
Just get the car and get this over with, she told herself.

With an abrupt about face, Lindsay Sullivan tore herself away from the absolute need to have Clint Christopherson.

TOUR GIVEAWAY 

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 2/9/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or PayPal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

BLOG TOUR: Does this insecurity make me look Fat? by Michelle Wilson

Does_this_insecurity_detail

ABOUT THE BOOK

• Why do clothing stores hang fun-house mirrors in their dressing rooms?

• The laundry doesn’t cry when it’s not folded, so why should I?

• Can I be confident even if an elevator calls me fat?

Michelle Wilson’s humorous yet poignant insights help women examine the limitations we place on ourselves out of insecurity and self-doubt. We have faith in God, but do we know that He has faith in us?

When we see ourselves with God’s eternal perspective, we can feel confident and whole—even in our imperfection. Just think what we might accomplish if we truly believe that we are more important than we know, stronger than we realize, and extraordinary in every way.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michelle Wilson is a native of California. Through serving a full-time mission, teaching seminary, Sunday School classes, and speaking at various firesides and conferences, Michelle has developed a love of the power and simplicity of the gospel. She believes in the healing power of laughter and chocolate. She and her husband, Jerey, are the parents of three children and live in Washington State.

REVIEW

The minute I saw the title of this book and what it was about I knew I needed to read it. Like many women, I've spent much of my life struggling with my sense of self-worth.  I often only see the mistakes and imperfections and not the innate value our Heavenly Father see in us.  Michelle Wilson discusses these thoughts and feelings in this book in such an open and honest way that I immediately connected with what she has to say. It's incredibly self affirming to hear someone else express the thoughts and feelings that I have and struggle with every day.  It's also powerful to be reminded how much God loves me and all of us, no matter what I look like or how many mistakes I make or how dirty my house is, He still loves me. 

To anyone who wonders how to combat those things around us that make us devalue ourselves so severely, this book provides a leg up.  The author discusses and shares stories about some of the most devastating ways that women condemn themselves, whether through comparisons or criticisms from others, feelings of inadequacy and discouragement or just plain depression. I think for me the thing I appreciated the most was the feeling that I am not alone in my struggles and that there is a way to overcome these feelings: JESUS CHRIST. Learning to adjust our perspective and see things the way He would have us do, makes all the difference in the world.  Thanks to Michelle Wilson for sharing her thoughts and beliefs and stories so that all of us might learn and grow and learn to see ourselves 'through heaven's eyes.'


Friday, January 10, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The Guardian: To Run with the Swift by Gerald N. Lund


ABOUT THE BOOK

After Danni McAllister and her family escaped from El Cobra and his kidnapping ring, they thought life would basically return to normal. Little did they know that their peril had just begun.

As secrets from the past begin to unfold, it becomes evident that the motives driving the attacks on the McAllister family go much deeper than money—and they're not going to stop anytime soon. Now, as Danni faces evils even more sinister than before, she has to wonder if even the Guardian will be equal to the dangers ahead.

The whole family will love this page-turning conclusion to the story of Le Gardien, the enchanted pouch that guides, protects, and teaches those who have it in their keeping.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elder Gerald N. Lund received his B.A. and M.S. degrees in sociology from Brigham Young University. He also did extensive graduate work in New Testament studies at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, California, and studies Hebrew at the University of Judaism in Hollywood, California.

During his thirty-five years in the Church Educational System, the author served as a seminary teacher, an institute teacher and director, a curriculum writer, director of college curriculum, and zone administrator. His Church callings have included serving as stake president, bishop, and teacher. Elder Lund served as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy from 2002 to 2008.

Elder Lund is a prolific author; his novels include the Work and the Glory series, the Kingdom and the Crown trilogy, Fire of the Covenant, and The Undaunted. He has also written several books on gospel topics, including Hearing the Voice of the Lord and Divine Signatures.

He and his wife, Lynn, are the parents of seven children. For more information, please visit Gerald Lund’s website (Click Here)

REVIEW

Gerald Lund is one of my favorite authors.  His books always catch and hold my attention with well thought out characters and great stories to go with them. His Guardian series is no different. This series focuses on an enchanted pouch that carries with it great power and also great responsibility.  When Danni first receives the pouch when she turns thirteen she isn't thrilled, after all it just looks like an old worthless scrap of fabric, but when her families lives become endangered it soon becomes clear that the pouch may be all that stands between her family and death. 

Book two continues the excitement as Danni struggles to reconcile what she has learned with the troubles that continue to plague her family. And when it becomes clear that things are going to get worse before they get better, she has to decide what she can do about it.  A wonderful new two-part series from a fabulous author that I can heartily recommend.



Guardian5093740_detailBOOK ONE:

When Carruthers "Danni" McAllister receives an antique pouch as a birthday gift from her grandfather, her first reaction is disappointment. "Don't assume that something is empty just because there's nothing there," her grandfather warns. Danni learns that for nearly two hundred years, the mysterious pouch—with its astonishing hidden secrets—has been handed down from generation to generation, and each new owner has had to discover how to access the power it holds, or suffer the penalty of using the pouch unwisely.

While Danni struggles to understand the power of the pouch, her father's discovery of a rhodium mine makes her family the target of a deadly extortionist plot, and the strange pouch is Danni's only hope of saving her family.

In the spirit of The Alliance, The Freedom Factor, and Leverage Point, author Gerald N. Lund blends gripping, fast-paced suspense with a timeless message for readers of all ages.

 
Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the Beautiful Moments kit by Newlife Dreams