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Monday, February 24, 2014

Sadie's Secret First Wild Card Tours

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour! 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:

Harvest House Publishers (FEB 1st 2014)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of fifty novels with almost two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad and nominations including a Career Achievement Award, Reader’s Choice Awards, Romantic Times Book of the Year, and several Romantic Times Top Picks. A proud military wife and tenth-generation Texan, she now cheers on her beloved Aggies from north of the Red River.

Visit the author's website.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Sadie Callum is a master of disguise. Undercover agent William Jefferson Tucker is not looking for marriage—pretend or otherwise—but he needs the cover of a wife to clear his name and solve the art forgery case that has eluded him for years. But what will happen to his heart?

Product Details:
  • Series: The Secret Lives of Will Tucker (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0736952152
  • ISBN-13: 978-0736952156


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

May 10, 1889
Louisiana State Penitentiary
Angola, Louisiana
Detective William Jefferson Tucker of the Criminal Investigations Division, London Metropolitan Police, stepped across the threshold of the sewer pit known as the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola with one purpose in mind. To see his brother, also named William.
William John Tucker.
His twin. His polar opposite.
With his first order of business being an explanation of exactly what John had done this time, he turned toward Major Samuel James’s office. When in doubt, go to the top, that was his motto. And Major James was the top dog around here.
“Hold on there,” someone called. Jefferson turned to see a uniformed guard coming toward him, one hand on his holster and the other pointing in his direction.
“Just paying a visit to the warden,” he said with all the charm his mother had taught him. “Nothing to get upset about.”
“We’ll just see about that,” the guard said as he nodded toward the other end of the dimly lit hall. “Just come on back here and sign in, and then we will see if the warden’s interested in visiting today.”
Shaking his head, Jefferson tried not to show amusement at the man’s pompous behavior. While he had seen the other side of a jail cell on many occasions, it had always been in the position of arresting officer and not prison guard. To spend day after day in this place would cause anyone to own an ill temper.
When the papers were produced, Jefferson signed them. “Anything else you need?” he asked as politely as he could manage.
“Any kind of proof you are who you say you are would be appreciated,” he said in a tone that just barely toed the line between polite and sarcastic.
“Gladly.”
“And I will be needing your weapon.”
Routine procedure in prisons, and yet Jefferson hated it. Reluctantly, he removed his revolver and handed it to the guard.
“That all you got?” He gave Jefferson a sweeping look. “Nothing else you can hurt anybody with?”
“Just a folding knife.”
“Hand that over too.”
Jefferson offered up his knife and then reached for his identification, carefully selecting the papers that would not give away his current undercover role in London. Placing what he had on the rough slab of wood that served as a desk between them, he stood back and waited while the guard examined the documents.
“And what brings you here?” The guard took in an exaggerated breath and then pretended to cough. “Sure can’t be the fresh air and sunshine.”
Jefferson played along, pretending to find the gag amusing. “I am here to see my brother.”
“Your brother?” The guard clutched the papers as he looked up at Jefferson. “And just who would your brother be?”
“John Tucker.”
“John Tucker,” the guard echoed as he opened an oversized leather book that sent a cloud of dust into the already rancid air.
The odd idea that this process was beginning to feel very much like checking into a hotel occurred. Jefferson decided he would keep that thought to himself.
“Don’t see any John…”
William John,” he amended, irritated not for the first time that his father had insisted on giving both his sons the same first name and then calling them by their middle name.
The guard’s grimy finger paused below a line of scribbling. “Tucker. Well, here we go. William J. Tucker.” He looked up at Jefferson, his face now unreadable. “Wait here.”
Without another word of explanation, he hurried off down the hall, Jefferson’s credentials still clutched in his hand. A door shut somewhere off in the distance and then opened again.
“Initial for your property here,” he said when he returned.
Jefferson noted the date and the items he had just surrendered and then placed his initials on the line beside them to indicate agreement.
“All right. Come with me, Mr. Tucker,” the guard said, not quite making eye contact.
Detective Tucker, he almost said. Instead, Jefferson kept silent. Better not to make enemies of anyone in this place. “Yes, of course.” He followed the guard past the warden’s office and around the corner, stopping at an unmarked door.
“Right in there,” the guard said as he used a key from his vest pocket to open the door.
The room was dark, but a lamp in the passageway sent a weak shaft of light across what appeared to be a table and a bench. “I would be much obliged if you would turn on a light in here,” Jefferson said, the last of his patience with the ridiculous situation disappearing fast.
“Just go on in and a light will come on.”
He was about to protest when the guard shoved him inside and turned the lock.
“Open this door!” Jefferson demanded. “This is not funny. I demand to see either my brother or the warden immediately.”
“You just wait right there, Tucker. You will see the warden for sure.”
Jefferson felt along the edge of the wall, his fingers sliding across a combination of dirt and slime held together by something so foul smelling he refused to contemplate its source. A moment later he found the bench and managed to sit.
Outside the door footsteps approached and then halted. He heard voices arguing, their words indistinguishable through the thick walls.
Finally, the door opened and a man whose attire told Jefferson he might be the warden stepped inside. The guard shadowed Major James, as did another underling of some sort.
“Look,” Jefferson said, “all I wanted was to see my brother. Is this how you treat all your visitors, Major?”
“The major isn’t here today, but I am the man in charge. You can call me Butler. Won’t need any name other than that. And as to your question, no. This is the way we treat those who belong inside a cell.”
“Inside a cell? What are you talking about?”
Butler thumped Jefferson’s credentials with his free hand. “These here papers say you are Jefferson Tucker. Is that correct?”
He gave the man a curt nod. “It is.”
“So what you’re saying is that you are indeed the man whose name you have given to the guard?”
“Yes,” he said, this time with far less respect.
“And that you have a brother currently incarcerated in our fine facility.” When Jefferson nodded, he continued. “And what is that inmate’s name?”
“His name is John Tucker,” Jefferson snapped as he sensed a shakedown of some sort in the offing. It was time to tell them who he really was. “William John Tucker. Look, I know how these things work, and I am not someone you can play around with. I have credentials that prove I am a detective with the London Metropolitan Police.”
The man’s eyes narrowed. “I’m not sure I would believe that. You certainly don’t sound like no foreigner, so I suggest you change your tune and own up to the truth.”
“Here’s the truth for you. Either let me see my brother or the warden, or you can give me the reason why.”
Butler chuckled. “Oh, we will do better than that.” He nodded to the two men, who approached Jefferson. Though he tried to resist, they slapped handcuffs on him. “We are going to put you in his cell.”
“What are you doing?” he demanded as the two men jerked him out into the passageway.
“Taking you to where you belong, Jefferson Tucker,” said the guard who was still in possession of his revolver and the folding knife.
“I do not belong in a cell!” Jefferson protested even as he was being dragged through the doors into a cellblock that smelled worse than it looked. And that was saying something.
Instantly a deafening noise began as prisoners shouted and banged whatever they could grab against the iron cell bars. The guard took out his pistol and fired one shot.
Silence quickly reigned.
Up ahead a door swung open. “Looky here, Tucker,” the other guard sneered. “Your room is ready. Welcome home.”
“Wait,” the man in charge said. “Let’s let these boys say their howdys first.”
A prisoner stepped out of the cell. He was dressed in clothing so dirty that Jefferson could not discern a color or what kept it from shredding into rags. Legs shackled, the prisoner shuffled toward them. And then Jefferson knew him.
“John? Is that you?”
His brother heaved himself against Jefferson. Though the smell caused Jefferson’s eyes to water, he stood his ground as John held him tight.
“What have you done, John?” he said to the man who, under different circumstances, would be nearly a mirror image of him.
“Just what I had to,” was John’s quiet reply. “I hope someday you will forgive me, Jeff, but I wasn’t built for a place like this.”
“Neither of us were. And rest assured Mother has no idea her boy’s in trouble. It would kill her if she knew.”
“She always did see the good in me,” John said.
“She still does.”
“Even though she never could see to give me Father’s gold pocket watch when I asked for it first.” John looked down at Jefferson’s vest. “I see you’re wearing it now.”
He glanced over at the man calling the shots. It took Butler only a moment to reach down and rip the watch from Jefferson’s pocket.
“Neither of you’ll get it now.”
“The major will hear about this,” Jefferson said, earning him a punch in the gut that took his breath away.
The warden’s underling fixed John with a glare that shut him up quick. “All right, Will Tucker,” he said to Jefferson. “Are you verifying that this man is your brother, John Tucker? And that he is your twin?”
“I am,” Jefferson said through the pain in his gut as he took in the sight of his always well-groomed brother with streaks of dirt on his face, his hair coated with grease and, from the look of this place, thick with lice.
“Well, I believe that is proof enough for me.” Butler tapped John on the shoulder. “You were right in saying you were not Will Tucker, John. On behalf of the state of Louisiana, I hereby declare you to be a free man.”
John grinned like a fool and then nudged the bully. “Does that mean I get the watch that is rightfully mine?”
“Don’t press your luck, son. Just get yourself out of here while I am still in a mood to let you. Major James might insist on a trial to settle the facts, and you know how long those things take.”
“I know when I’ve been bested, so you can keep the watch.” John shuffled off behind the guards without so much as a backward glance.
A moment later, the cell door clanged shut behind Detective Jefferson Tucker of the London Metropolitan Police, leaving him once again in the middle of a mess his brother had created.

*Review to come! ~ASC

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Smitten Book Club Reviews!!!

Smitten Book Club Reviews by
Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, & Denise Hunter

Book Description:
The century-old Gentlewoman's Guide to Love and Courtship is no ordinary book club choice. But for the little book club in Smitten, Vermont, it might be their best pick yet!
The thick, leathery tome Heather pulled out of the dusty cardboard box was definitely coming home with her. Not only was The Gentlewoman's Guide to Love and Courtship an appealing curiosity by virtue of its title; it was also written by Smitten, Vermont native Pearl Chambers, a local gentlewoman from three generations back.
Little did Heather know the repercussions this little curiosity would have on her and her friends' romantic exploits.
When Heather and her fellow book club members begin passing the book around, their respective interpretations are unleashed on their respective love lives . . . for better or for worse. Is it a mystery? An idealist fantasy? An intimation of Jane Austen? As romantic love finds its way to each woman, the Guide proves itself both surprisingly prescient and hilariously irrelevant.
What's more, a handwritten inscription indicates that the arcane book might hold the only extant clues leading to buried gold---exactly what one of the members needs to keep her house. How could they not go treasure hunting?
In this remarkable collaborative novel, besties Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Denise Hunter, and Diann Hunt tackle the tale of theGentlewoman's Guide by writing for one book club member apiece.Smitten Book Club is a hopeful, hilarious story of friendship and healing, written by friends for friends.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/t7BO1

Meet the authors: 


RITA-finalist Colleen Coble is the author of several best-selling romantic suspense novels, including Tidewater Inn, and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series.  

Christy Award finalist and two-time winner of the ACFW Book of the Year award, Kristin Billerbeck has appeared on The Today Show and has been featured in the New York Times. Her books include A Billion Reasons Why and What a Girl Wants.  

Denise Hunter is the award-winning and best-selling author of several novels, including A Cowboy's Touch and Sweetwater Gap. She and her husband are raising three boys in Indiana. 

Diann Hunt has lived in Indiana forever, been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, her dog, and, well, chocolate. Diann lost her courageous battle with cancer in December 2013.

My Opinion:
A great read!  Smitten Book Club is the first of the Smitten books I've read.  And to tell you the truth the main reason I REALLY wanted to read this book is because of the treasure hunt mentioned in the description! :D  Smitten Book Club is set up into four stories with an author writing for the main character in each.  Colleen's name is the one that jumped out at me when I first got the invite to this tour.  She is a GREAT author and I have come to LOVE her stories!!!  Her descriptions are nice and full without being too full and making the book lag.  I LOVE these characters and enjoyed the Gentlewoman's Guide to Love and Courtship with it's quirky little advice.  I really loved how this first story got the ball rolling!  
I had never read anything from Kristin before and I found that I REALLY enjoy her writing!  I felt there was one little thing that didn't match up with the story before it about the passing of the book, but after that the second story was great.  I actually wish this story was longer! LOL!  I wanted more and it seemed to be over too fast! ;)  I love Kristin's scenes and I wanted more!!! :D
The third story by Diann was one of my favorites!  This is the first from Diann that I've read and I really thought this was a sweet one!  From the beginning she had me laughing so hard my sides ached.  Her style is GREAT!!!  Very expressive and I LOVE the spiritual messages woven throughout!  I LOVE the whole plot and all the characters!
Denise is an author that I've wanted to read before, but hadn't gotten the chance.  She wraps up this whole journey with a satisfying end!  I really love the humor she puts in her story and the whole plot twists are highly entertaining!  Denise's writing is very witty and I loved it!!!
Overall the mystery is GREAT and I really like the range of what the book club reads, from Anne of Green Gables to Gone with the Wind!!!  This is a very interesting and entertaining read!  The only editing that kinda bothers me is "He" when referring to God isn't capitalized, but that's something that bothers me personally.  All of these characters and stories are bonded with the same kind of story base.  A relationship with a major rift that needs to be fixed and healed.  How the authors take this base and grow a unique story from it is really cool!  I highly recommend this book and these authors with their amazing range of characters and plots!  

Songs: "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" by Chris Tomlin,
"America The Beautiful" by Twila Paris,
"Tara's Theme (Gone With The Wind)" by The Boston Pops Orchestra,
"He Leadeth Me" by The Cluster Pluckers,
"Que Sera Sera" by Doris Day,
"I Need Thee Every Hour" Mike Curb Congregation,
"Forgiveness" by Matthew West,
"Blessed Assurance" by Alan Jackson
"Joy to the World" by Whitney Houston with The Georgia Mass Choir,
"Silent Night" by Martina McBride,
"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" Carrie Underwood,
"All You Can Do Is Wait" by Peter Deiwick,
"Mozart: Piano Sonata No.16 in C, K.545 "Sonata facile" - 1. Allegro" by Christoph Eschenbach,
and
"Doumka - Russian Country Scene, Op. 59" by Yuri A. Rozum

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

~ASC 

*I received this book for the purpose of reviewing it this in now way affected my opinion and the above are my true thought and feelings about Smitten Book Club. ~ASC

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

For Every Season Review!!!

For Every Season by Cindy Woodsmall

Book Description:
Working hard to develop a new Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is fully committed to rehabilitating an orchard with business partner Samuel King. But an impulsive decision has created an unexpected strain in her relationship with her beau, Samuel’s brother, Jacob, threatening plans for the orchard. Amidst mounting tension in matters of the heart and business, Rhoda finds that this fledging settlement feels like the home she has always longed for, and she begins to embrace the God-given, heightened intuition that has always felt like a burden to her. She longs for Jacob to fully be free of his past, so they can work towards the future together.
 
But as Rhoda uses her gift to unpack an old secret with her Englisch neighbors, it is not her beau but an unlikely ally that cheers her on. With the orchard on shaky ground and Jacob’s plans in question, Rhoda is determined to see things through to harvest. But can she trust her insight to direct her path in matters of the heart?


My Opinion:
Very interesting. :)  This is a book of changes!  I enjoyed parts but others frustrated me.  Of the series as a whole I think I prefer the other two to this installment.  The ending is very interesting and it leaves me REALLY wanting the next book!  New characters come as well as new trials, but there's also joy woven in.  I really enjoyed the new characters and am interested to see what Cindy does with them.  There are mainly two major things going on in the book.  The first being the (in my opinion VERY frustrating) love triangle of Samuel, Rhoda, and Jacob, and the second being Leah's choice on whether or not to stay Amish.  Landon helps Leah and the rest as much as possible and even though I really loved his character in the beginning this book really made me love him all the more! :)  This book really drives home it's title as well as the scripture that goes with it: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.  For everything there is a season and this book shows it.  Overall I have mixed feelings.  I REALLY loved some things while others were just too frustrating...I can't wait for the next book to see what happens!!!

Songs: "Steady My Heart" by Kari Jobe and "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" by Chris Tomlin
Songs may be added later.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

~ASC

Cindy's Web site

Cindy's Facebook
Cindy's Pinterest
Cindy on Goodreads
More Info about For Every Season and Cindy Woodsmall
Read Chapter One of For Every Season
Cindy's Bio

*I received this book for the purpose of reviewing it.  This in no way affected my opinion and the above are my true thoughts and feelings about For Every Season.  ~ASC

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

SMITTEN BOOK CLUB | KINDLE FIRE GIVEAWAY, FACEBOOK PARTY, AND SATURDAY BRUNCH

The Smitten gals are back with their newest release, Smitten Book Club! Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, and Denise Hunter are celebrating with a Kindle Fire giveaway, a Facebook party on February 20, and a nationwide book-club brunch on March 22.


smittenbookclub-400-click
 
One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • The Smitten books (Smitten, Secretly Smitten, Smitten Book Club)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 20th. Winner will be announced at the Smitten Book Club Facebook Author Chat Party on February 20th. Connect with Colleen Coble, Denise Hunter, and Kristin Billerbeck for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! The Smitten gals will also be taking questions from the audience, giving away books and gift certificates, and sharing news about their upcoming nationwide Smitten Book Club brunch on March 22nd. (Sign up to host today!)

So grab your copy of Smitten Book Club and join Colleen, Denise, Kristin, and friends on the evening of February 20th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 20th!

Sign up to host a Smitten Book Club Brunch on March 22nd!
Smitten Book Club Brunch Coble, Hunter, Billerbeck, Hunt
Enter Today | 2/3 - 2/20!

HOPEFUL by Shelley Shepard Gray | Win a copy!

Welcome to the blog tour for Hopeful, the first book in Shelley Shepard Gray's new series, Return to Sugarcreek. Critics have already given their thumbs up for Hopeful: “Lovable characters and a good story, full of romance and suspense . . . a must read." (Library Journal)

Enter to win one of FIVE copies of the book. 

hopeful-400-click

Five winners will receive:
  • Hopeful by Shelley Shepard Gray
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 23rd. All winners will be announced February 24th at Shelley's blog.

Enter today and be sure to visit Shelley's blog on the 24th to see if YOU won one of the books!

Shelley Shepard Gray Hopeful
Enter Today - 2/4-2/23!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Miracle of Hope Review!!!

A Miracle of Hope by Ruth Reid

Book Description:
Book One in the Amish Wonders series.

How far can God's mercy reach?

Lindie Wyse is pregnant out of wedlock and thinks an arranged marriage is the only way to preserve her future. Josiah Plank is certain he'll never love again, but he needs someone to care for his eight-year-old daughter, Hannah. The two take on their arrangement tentatively at first but soon realize they are each in for more than they imagined.

Lindie experiences a breakthrough with Hannah when she recognizes Hannah's special gifts, but a risky pregnancy and serious health issues threaten to demolish the foundation Josiah and Lindie are building. Will their growing love survive despite their struggles, or will their hearts become as cold as the northern winter?

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/sABNg

About the author: Ruth Reid is a CBA and ECPA best-selling author of the Heaven on Earth series. She's a full-time pharmacist who resides in Florida with her husband and three children.

Find out more about Ruth at:http://ruthreid.com




My Opinion:
This is a fabulous book!!!  I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!  Ruth is a great writer that has come up with an excellent plot and a great set up. This is the first book from her that I've read and I'm hooked!  If I didn't want to read her other books before (which I did LOL!) I sure do now!!!  From the beginning this book had me hooked!  I didn't want to put it down.  The whole concept is great.  The secrets that come out are shocking and the whole journey is amazing.  It is a story with Faith, hope, love, fear, pain, healing, secrets, miracles, and understanding.  Lindie is a fabulous character strong and brave, I LOVE Josiah he is everything a husband and dad should be, and I love Hannah a child wise beyond her years yet so innocent and sweet!  I love how they rise above hardships as their Faith grows. The messages are great, from God's faithfulness, unending love, and mercy to His's will and plan always being far better than we could have ever realized. A Must Read that has made it to My Favorite Books list!!!  

Songs: "Worn" by Tenth Avenue North, "Lily Of The Valley" by The Cluster Pluckers, "God Gave Me You" by Dave Barnes

P.S. more songs may be added later.

James 4:10

~ASC

*I received this book for the purpose of reviewing it.  This in no way affected my opinion and the above is what I really think about A Miracle of Hope. ~ASC


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