Thursday, July 30, 2009

Why Didn't I Leave "The Ugly Truth"?

My friend, "L" and I went to see the movie "The Proposal" tonight. She and I rarely get to hang out so I was thrilled we had the chance to go to the early evening show. I saw this movie a couple weeks ago and knew she and I had to go see it together. It's just that funny!

We should've known things weren't going so well when we were watching the previews and the before-the-movie-begins commercials were playing on top of them. As soon as I got up to tell the theater workers what was going on they fixed it.

About 1/2 way through "The Proposal" it did a split screen 1/2 horizontally. I went to tell them at the front counter and by the time I came back, the lights were up and the movie was off. Apparently, the movie fried while I was gone. We waited to see if it would be fixed and then I heard the side door open. I knew that was bad news. We were told the movie wasn't going to be fixed and they'd give us tickets to come back again.

The following opinion states some information that is NOT appropriate for children!!!!!!!

Well, "L" and I decided to go see "The Ugly Truth". I love Gerard Butler, at least I did in "PS I Love You". Not so much in "300", which I couldn't even watch all of. The previews for "The Ugly Truth" looked very comical and I figured it would be a cute rom-com. Was I entirely wrong!!!

I can't even tell you how many times I heard the "F" word. Well, to be honest, they swore pretty much through the entire film. That's not even the worst part. For me it was hearing Gerard Butler talk "honestly" about sex to Katherine Heigl. He tells her what men are constantly thinking, which bra to wear (and the reason was disgusting), and masturbation. I can't even begin to tell you how many times Katherine says a derogatory word for the male anatomy in one sentence. One reference Gerard makes about a man doing something to a woman made me want to get up right then and leave!

There was a teenage boy in this theater for heaven's sake!! I called my 18 yr old and told her I didn't think this movie would be appropriate at all for her to see. They talk about stuff she's never even heard of before. Then I called my friend who my 16 yr old is staying with and told her to not allow Ber to see the movie.

Reading reviews on Yahoo I had to agree with the critics this time. Reading viewers thoughts on the movie surprised me. Many of them liked it. One person who didn't care for it said they believed the positive reviews were stuffed by the producers. I'd have to agree. It was so quiet in our theater you could've heard a pin drop. I think we were all that uncomfortable.

I wish I would've gotten up and left. I'd say about 15 minutes into the movie I was ready to go, but I didn't know what "L" would think. Silly me, I should've just told her we'd go to a different movie!! She would've high tailed it with me. We could've gone to see "Funny People". Good thing we didn't have to pay to see this crass, unromantic movie!
Don't waste your time, money or brain cells on this dud of a movie! Go see "The Proposal" again!

Maggie Rose by Sharlene MacLaren ~ FIRST WildCard

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:

Sharlene MacLaren

and the book:

Maggie Rose – 2nd in the Daughters of Jacob Kane series
Whitaker House (June 8, 2009)


Born and raised in west Michigan, Sharlene MacLaren graduated from Spring Arbor University, married her husband Cecil, and raised two daughters. She worked as a school teacher for over 30 years, then upon retirement began writing fiction, and now has six successful novels under her belt. The acclaimed Through Every Storm was Shar’s first novel to be published by Whitaker House; in 2007, the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) named it a finalist for Book of the Year. The beloved Little Hickman Creek series consisted of Loving Liza Jane; Sarah, My Beloved; and Courting Emma. Faith, Hope, and Love, the Inspirational Outreach Chapter of Romance Writers of America, announced Sarah, My Beloved as a finalist in its 2008 Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest in the category of long historical fiction. Her other books include Long Journey Home, and Hannah Grace, the first in her Daughters of Jacob Kane series.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Paperback: 429 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (June 8, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603740759
ISBN-13: 978-1603740753


Maggie Rose Kane settled her temple against the smudged window, blinked hard, and fought back another wave of nausea as the smoke from her seatmate’s cigar formed cloud-like ringlets before her eyes and floated past her nose. Why, her lungs fairly burned from the stench of it, as if she’d been the one chain-smoking the stogies for the past five hours instead of the bulbous, gray-haired giant next to her. Even as he was dozing this afternoon, slumped with one shoulder sagging against her petite frame, the vile object hung out the side of his mouth as if permanently attached. She couldn’t even count the number of times she’d wanted to snatch it from him and snuff it out with the sole of her black patent leather shoe.

“Next stop, Albany,” announced the train conductor, making his way up the aisle.

With a quick intake of air, Maggie lifted a finger and leaned forward. “Excuse me, sir.”

The conductor stopped, turned, and tipped his hat to her in a formal manner. “Yes?”

“Is this where I should disembark in order to change over to the New York Central?”

Tilting his head to one side and slanting a reddish eyebrow, he released a mild sigh that conveyed slight annoyance. “If that’s what your ticket says. You’re goin’ to New York, aren’t you?”

She gave a hasty shake of her head and adjusted the plume hat that had barely moved in all these many hours. Surely, by now, the slight wave in her hair, as well as the tight little bun at the back of her head, would be flatter than a well-done pancake. “Someone’s to meet me at Grand Central,” she explained.

He nodded curtly. “Get off here then and go to the red line, then put yourself on the 442.” This he said with a matter-of-fact tone, as if anyone with a scrap of common sense ought to know about the 442.

Sweaty fingers clutched the satchel in her lap as she peered up at him, debating whether or not to admit her ignorance. “Oh, the 442.” She might have asked him at least to point her in the right direction once she disembarked, but he hurried down the aisle and pushed through the back door that led to the next car before giving her a chance. The train whistle blew another ear-splitting shriek, either indicating that the train was approaching an intersection or announcing its scheduled stopover in Albany.

“What’s a pretty little miss like you doin’ going to the big city all by yourself?” asked the man beside her. Not wanting to invite conversation with the galoot, especially for all the smoke he’d blow in her face, she had maintained silence for the duration of the trip. Still, it was her Christian duty to show him respect, so she pulled back her slender shoulders and tried to appear pleasant—and confident. After all, it wouldn’t do to let on how the combination of her taut nerves and his rancid cigar smoke had stirred up bile at the back of her throat. For the twentieth time since her departure on the five a.m. that very morning—when her entire family, including her new brother-in-law and adopted nephew, had bid her a tearful farewell—she asked herself, and the Lord Himself, if she hadn’t misinterpreted His divine call.

“I’ve accepted a position at the Sheltering Arms Refuge,” she replied with a steady voice. “I’m to assist in the home, and also to work as a placing-out agent whenever trips are arranged.”

He quirked a questioning brow and blew a cloud of smoke directly at her. She waved her arm to ward off the worst of it. “It’s a charitable organization for homeless children. Using the U.S. railway system, we stop in various parts of the Middle West and place children in decent families and homes, mostly farms. Surely you’ve heard announcements about trains of orphans coming through?”

He looked slightly put out. “’Course I heard of ’em, miss, just haven’t never run across anyone actually involved in the process of cartin’ them wild little hooligans clear across the country.” He took another long drag and, fortunate for Maggie Rose, blew it out the other side of his mouth so that, this time, it drifted into the face of the man across the aisle. Apparently unruffled, he merely lifted his newspaper higher to shield his face.

“Where you from, anyways?”

“Sandy Shores, Michigan.” Just saying the name of the blessed lakeshore town made her miss her home and family more than she’d imagined possible. Goodness, she’d left only this morning. If she was feeling homesick already, what depths of loneliness would the next several months bring?

“Ah, that near Benton Harbor?”

“Quite a ways north of it, sir.”

He seemed to ponder that thought only briefly. “What made you leave? You got home problems?”

“Certainly not!” she replied with extra fervor, offended he should think so. In fact, she might have chosen to stay behind and continued life as usual, helping her dear father and beloved sisters at Kane’s Whatnot, the family’s general store. But God’s poignant tug on her heart would not allow her to stay. I sincerely doubt Mr.—Mr. Smokestack—would follow such reasoning, though, so why waste my breath explaining? she thought.

“Well, you can see why I asked, cain’t you? It’s not every day some young thing like yourself up and moves to a big place like New York, specially when she don’t even know her way around.”

“I’m sure I’ll learn quickly enough,” she said, trying to put confidence in her tone. “I hear there’s to be a big subway system opening soon, which should help in moving folks around the city at great speeds.”

He nodded and took another long drag from his dwindling cheroot. “Sometime in the next month or two, is what I hear,” he said, blowing out a ring of smoke. “That’ll be somethin’, all right. Before you know it, there’ll be no need for any four-legged creatures.” He chuckled to himself, although the sound held no mirth.

As they approached the station, the train’s brakes squawked and sputtered, and the mighty whistle blew one last time. Outside, steam was rising from the tracks, and Maggie Rose noticed a couple of scrawny dogs picking through a pile of garbage. Folks stood in clusters, perhaps anxious to welcome home loved ones or to usher in long-awaited guests. A tiny pang of worry nestled in her chest at the sight of such unfamiliar surroundings.

When the train came to a screeching halt, the passengers scrambled for their belongings, holding onto their hats as they snatched up satchels and crates bound in twine. Some of them were dressed formally; others looked shoddy, at best, like her seatmate with his week-old beard and soiled attire. Another puff of smoke circled the air above her, and it was all she could do to keep from giving him a piece of her mind—until the Lord reminded her of a verse she’d read the night before in the book of Proverbs: “He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor” (Proverbs 14:31).

Was she not traveling to New York out of a sense of great compassion for the city’s poor, lost children? And if so, what made her think the Lord exempted her from caring for people of all ages? Moreover, why had she spent the better share of the past several hours judging this man about whom she knew so little?

My child, you are tempted to look on his countenance and stature, whereas I look on the heart. The verse from 1 Samuel came to mind—oh, how the truth of it struck her to the core. Without ado, she looked directly at her seatmate, smoke and all. “And where might you be headed, sir?”

“Me?” A look of surprise washed over him. “My sister just passed. I’m goin’ to her funeral in Philly.”

A gasp escaped. “Oh, my, I’m…I’m sorry to hear that.” Silently, she prayed, Lord, give me the proper words, and forgive me all these many hours I might have had the chance to speak comfort to this poor soul.

He dropped what remained of his cigar on the floor and ground it out with his heel, stood to his feet, and retrieved his duffle from under the seat with a loud sniff. “Yeah, well, we weren’t that close. She quit speakin’ to me after I married my wife, her bein’ a Protestant and us Catholics.” He followed that up with a snort. “My brother died last year, and she still refused to acknowledge me at his funeral, even though my wife passed on three years ago.”

Blended odors of sweat, tobacco, and acrid breath nearly knocked her over as she stood up and hefted the strap of her heavy leather satchel over one shoulder, but newfound compassion welled up in her heart, lending her fortitude. The line of people in the aisle was moving at a snail’s pace, and she decided to make use of their extra seconds together.

“But you’re going to her funeral anyway?”

He nodded halfheartedly. “It’s my duty to pay my respects. She won’t know it, but I will.”

“Yes, and you’ll feel better afterward for doing so.” Suddenly, she had more to say to the man, but the line of anxious passengers was picking up speed, and he squeezed into the tight line. She followed in his wake, doing her best to keep her footing as folks shoved and jabbed. My, such an impetuous, peevish lot, she thought, then quickly acknowledged her own impatience.

“Watch your step, ladies and gentlemen,” the conductor said. One by one, folks stepped down from the train. Her fellow rider took the stairs with ease, then turned abruptly and offered her his hand. Another time, she might have pretended not to notice and used the steel hand railing instead. Now, however, she smiled and accepted his grimy, calloused palm.

“Thank you.”

Drooping eyes looked down at her. “New York, eh? You sure you don’t want to purchase your ticket back home? Ticket booth’s right over there.” He hooked a thumb over his shoulder, and for the first time, she sensed that he was toying with her.

“Absolutely not!” Pulling back her shoulders, she gave her head a hard shake, losing a feather from her hat in the process. She watched it float away, carried by the breeze of passengers rushing by. “When the Lord tells a body to do something, you best do it, if you want to know true peace,” she said, lifting her eyes to meet his. “This is something He told me to do—to come to New York and see what I can do about helping the deprived, dispossessed children, just as I’m sure He prompted you to attend your sister’s funeral.”

Surprisingly, he chuckled and bobbed his head a couple of times. “Can’t say for sure it was the Good Lord Hisself or Father Carlson, but one of ’em convinced me to come, and now that I think on it, I’m glad.”

Out the corner of her eye, Maggie Rose sought to read the myriad signs pointing this way and that, hoping to find one to point her in the right direction. Slight queasiness churned in her stomach. Dear Lord, please erase my worries about finding my next train, she prayed silently. The man ran four grimy fingers through his greasy hair. Absently, she wondered if he intended to clean himself up before attending his sister’s burial service.

“You take care of yourself, little lady. It’s a mighty big world out there for one so fine and dainty as you.”

A smile formed on her lips. Fine and dainty. Had he made a similar remark to one of her sisters, Hannah Grace or Abbie Ann, an indignant look would have been his return. She extended her hand. “I’ll do my best, Mr.….”

He clasped her hand and gave it a gentle shake. “Dempsey. Mort Dempsey. And you are?”

“Maggie Rose Kane.”

He gave a thoughtful nod. “Has a nice ring to it.” Then, tipping his head to one side, he scratched his temple and raised his bushy brows. “At first glimpse, you look a bit fragile, but I’d guess you got some spunk under that feathery hat o’ yours.”

Now she laughed outright. “I suppose that’s the Kane blood running through me.

We Kane sisters are known for our stubborn streak. It runs clear to our bones.”

Several seconds ticked by. Mr. Dempsey glanced around. “You got any more baggage, miss?”

“My trunk’s due to arrive at the children’s home the day after tomorrow.” She gave her black satchel a pat. “I’ll make do with what I have till then.”

In the next silent pause that passed between them, a pigeon swept down to steal a crumb, a stray dog loped past, and in the distance, a mother hushed her crying babe. Mr. Dempsey removed his pocket watch. “Well, listen, little lady, my train for Philly don’t leave for another hour yet. What say I take you over to the red line? Number 442, was it?”

“Oh, but you needn’t….”

He’d already looped his arm for her to take. The man’s stench remained strong, yes, but Maggie Rose found that, somehow, in the course of the past few minutes, her nose had miraculously adjusted.

My, but the Lord did work in wondrously mysterious ways! Why, just this very morning, Jacob Kane, her dear father, had prayed that God might send His angels of protection to lead and guide her on her way, and now look: Mort Dempsey was taking her to her next connection.

Imagine that—Mort Dempsey, God’s appointed “angel.”

They parted ways at the Albany platform where she could board Number 442.

When she arrived at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, Maggie Rose saw a confusing mass of railroad lines converged in a place that also contained more people than she thought inhabited the earth.

Mr. Dempsey may have been an unlikely angel, but her next escort fit the bill with utmost perfection. She scanned the crowd and saw a pleasant-looking man, probably not much older than she, standing to one side and holding up a hand-printed sign that read: “Miss M. Kane.” Dressed in an evening suit, a bowler cap, and a bright-red bow tie that was almost blinding, he was searching the crowd with expectant eyes. When their gazes met, a broad smile formed on his face.

“Miss Kane?” he asked, greeting her with the warmth of a clear summer morning.

“Yes!” She had to tell her feet to walk in ladylike strides, even though her travel-worn body wanted to slump into the nearest bench with relief. They shook hands, and he introduced himself as Stanley Barrett, an employee—but more of a lifelong resident—at the children’s home. The Binghams had welcomed him through their doors many years ago when he’d lost both his parents in a fire.

“You must be tired,” he said, freeing her of her satchel without a moment’s hesitation, which suited her just fine. As it was, her shoulder ached from the weight of the bag, which held important papers, several personal possessions, some toiletry items, and the changes of clothing she would need until her trunk arrived.

Dusk had settled on New York City, so, without ado, Mr. Barrett led her like a pro through the throngs and straight to their carriage, waiting with numerous sets of nearly identical horses and black carriages lined up in long rows outside the terminal. Such efficiency impressed Maggie Rose, and she told him so. “I grew up here, so getting around is easy for me,” he explained, helping her onto the carriage. “You’ll catch on, especially once the subway station opens. But don’t worry; we usually travel in pairs or larger groups, anyway.”

Driving the carriage, he kept up his constant prattle as he dodged fast-moving streetcars, stray dogs, scurrying pedestrians, and the occasional motorcar. Even at this late hour, the city buzzed with activity such as Maggie had never seen. Why, in Sandy Shores, everything closes up tighter than a drum at five-thirty, she thought—that is, everything but the several saloons and restaurants. Here, though, people of all genders, races, sizes, and ages roamed the streets. Some were selling wares, others begging for quarters; some were huddled on street corners, others sitting on crates or boxes, perhaps looking for a place to lay their heads for the night.

“I can imagine what you’re thinking,” Stanley said as he maneuvered the carriage onto Park Avenue, heading north, and clicked his horse into a slow trot. “You’ve probably never seen anything like this place. Mrs. Bingham says you hail from some little town in Michigan. What part?”

“The west side, smack on the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan, about halfway up the state. The town is small, yes, but thriving. We have one main street running east and west—Water Street—with lots of little stores and businesses on either side. Don’t be running your horse too fast going west, though, or you’ll fall into the harbor,” she joked. “’Course, the railroad docks and barges would stop you first, I suppose.”

He chuckled, and she decided she liked the smooth tenor of his quiet laughter. “Of all the orphanages in the city, how’d you decide on the Sheltering Arms Refuge?” he asked. “We’re a lot smaller than the Foundling Hospital and the Children’s Aid Society.”

“Someone seeking financial support for your fine organization spoke at our church more than a year ago. I believe his name was Mr. Wiley.”

“That’d be Uncle Herbie—Mrs. Bingham’s brother.”

“He showed us a few pictures and talked a great deal about the destitute children wandering the city—‘street Arabs,’ he called them. Ever since then, the Lord has kept up His constant nudging, so after much correspondence back and forth, not to mention the process of convincing my father to let me loose, I’ve finally arrived!”

Stanley glanced casually in both directions before urging his horse through the intersection at East 50th and Park Streets, crossing streetcar tracks and skirting a good-sized pothole. Their amiable conversation continued, but she had to concentrate to drown out all the commotion going on around her, not to mention the smells—a blend of fried food, gasoline, manure, and rancid garbage. And the sounds! Why, the very streets seemed to reverberate with the clamor of loud conversations, tinny barroom music, thudding horses’ hooves, barking dogs, and the occasional baby’s cry from some upstairs flat.

Stanley Barrett veered the carriage onto East 65th Street, crossed Lexington, 3rd, and 2nd, and made a right on Dover, driving another couple of blocks before directing the horse up a long drive to a stately three-story brick structure. Maggie’s very senses seemed to stand on end. “Is this it?” she asked, feasting her eyes on the edifice, which appeared bigger than what she’d imagined from looking at the few photos she’d received.

Stanley guided his horse to a stop, breathed a sigh, and tossed the reins over the brake handle, turning to her with a smile. She decided he had a pleasant one, tainted only partially by a set of crooked teeth. “This is it. What do you think?”

She gazed at her surroundings—a brick house situated on a sprawling plot of land and surrounded by numerous trees, a stable, and several outbuildings. Who would believe that just blocks from this serene setting lay a whole different world? “I think—it’s beautiful.” Unexpected emotion clogged her throat. She looked up to see a head poke through the curtains of one of the upstairs windows. One of the orphans?

“Beautiful? Well, it’s old, I’ll give you that. Ginny, er, Mrs. Bingham inherited the historic place from her wealthy grandfather back in the 1880s. She and the Mr. have been operating it as an orphanage for the past seventeen or so years. In fact, I was one of their first residents. But I’m sure you’ll get the whole story, if you haven’t already, when you’re more rested.” He winked, gave another low chuckle, and jumped from the rig with ease. “Come on, I’ll help you down.”

With his assistance, her feet soon landed on solid ground. She lifted her long skirts and stepped away from the carriage, eyes fastened on the three-story structure and the aging brick fence that surrounded the property’s borders and was covered by lush blankets of ivy.

Stanley allowed her a moment’s peace as she stood before her new “home” and tried to picture its interior. Suddenly, the front door swung open. In its glow stood a portly woman with an apron tied about her waist; grayish hair hung haphazardly about her oval face, and a smile stretched from cheek to cheek as she lifted her hand to wave.

“Well, glory be, come and look who’s here, Henry. It’s the little miss from Michigan!”

Having read Hannah Grace earlier this year and reviewing it for FIRST, I could hardly contain myself for book 2 in The Daughters of Jacob Kane to become available. I was absolutely not disappointed.

I would've read this book so much faster if I hadn't had so much time on my hands. All I wanted to do was read Sharlene's book, but every time I started reading it, I fell asleep. Now, one might wonder if I really thought it was such a great book. Don't let my napping fool you.

My kids were gone for several days and that meant I had a lot of time on my hands. When the kids are here, I'm constantly doing something as a single mom. All this free time left me a bit lost. I took more naps in those several days than I have in the last year!! It was divine, except for my lack of reading, which I had planned on reading mulitple books.

But I digress. As soon as I came back to life, I couldn't put the book down, one night staying up til nearly 3am reading. That's how drawn into the story I was.

Maggie Rose, Jacob Kane's 2nd daughter has followed God's leading and has headed to New York City to help at an orphanage. She has no concern for the city life, only that she follows God's will for her life. There she meets more than 20 children who all claim her heart. How will she keep herself emotionally distant and yet provide the love and nurturing these waifs need?

Luke Madison has dived in to finding out all the details he can about the deaths of his fiance, her mom Zelda, and his Aunt Fran. So much so that his job as a reporter has soured. His boss asks him to take a break from the story for several months and do a report on the street arabs. Luke can hardly fathom letting go of the General Slocum tragedy.

This story involves so many people, more than I can list and they all play an important part of the whole. Little Rose Marie, who instantly claims Maggie's heart. Ginny and Henry, who run Sheltering Arms Refuge. Stanley, who's one of the first children in the orphanage and is now a worker. Ricky, a street kid with a chip on his shoulder. Our hearts are drawn to each of these people.

Sharlene has a wonderful way with words and easily convinces us that we should care more about those around us. Those we tend not to see. There are kids living on the streets even now that many of us only give a cursory glance. By the end of this novel, I challenge each reader to not have their hearts softened and have a strong desire to help out at an orphanage! There's no way you'll make my challenge.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

2009 ACFW Book of the Year Contest Finalists

Congratulations to all the finalists!!
Books with "*" are ones I've read.
Books with "*" are ones I have, but haven't read.


*A Passion Most Pure (Julie Lessman)
Courting Miss Adelaide (Janet Dean)
Every Good and Perfect Gift (Sharon K. Souza)
Hero, Second Class (Mitchell Bonds)
In the Shadow of the Sun King (Golden Keyes Parsons)


Faking Grace (Tamara Leigh)
Picket Fence Promises (Kathryn Springer)
*Single Sashimi (Camy Tang)
*Sweet Caroline (Rachel Hauck)
Truffles by the Sea (Julie Carobini)


*Lookin Back Texas (Leanna Ellis)
One Holy Night (J.M. Hochstetler)
*Stuck in the Middle (Virginia Smith)
Summer of Joy (Ann H. Gabhart)
Symphony of Secrets (Sharon Hinck)


*Along Came a Cowboy (Christine Lynxwiler)
Controlling Interest (Elizabeth White)
The Convenient Groom (Denise Hunter)
Finding Stefanie (Susan May Warren)
Zora and Nicky: A Novel in Black & White (Claudia Mair Burney)

LONG HISTORICAL (6 finalists due to a tie)

*The Apothecary's Daughter (Julie Klassen)
Calico Canyon (Mary Connealy)
Deep In the Heart of Trouble (Deeanne Gist)
From A Distance (Tamera Alexander)
I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires (Cathy Gohlke)
My Heart Remembers (Kim Vogel Sawyer)


The Case of the Bouncing Grandma (A.K. Arenz)
Death on a Deadline (Christine Lynxwiler, Sandy Gaskin, and Jan Reynolds)
Drop Dead Diva (Christine Lynxwiler, Sandy Gaskin, and Jan Reynolds)
For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls (Nancy Mehl)
Of Mice . . . and Murder (Mary Connealy)


The Cookie Jar (Janet Lee Barton in A Connecticut Christmas anthology)
Dressed in Scarlet (Darlene Franklin in Snowbound Colorado Christmas anthology)
Santa's Prayer (Diane Ashley in A Connecticut Christmas anthology)
Snowbound for Christmas (Gail Sattler in A Connecticut Christmas anthology)
Stuck On You (Rhonda Gibson in A Connecticut Christmas anthology)


Buffalo Gal (Mary Connealy)
Clueless Cowboy (Mary Connealy)
Family Treasures (Kathryn Springer)
Her Unlikely Family (Missy Tippens)
White as Snow (Janice Thompson)


Bayou Paradox (Robin Caroll)
Broken Lullaby (Pamela Tracy)
Countdown to Death (Debby Giusti)
Forsaken Canyon (Margaret Daley)
Killer Cargo (Dana Mentink)


Family of the Heart (Dorothy Clark)
*Masked by Moonlight (Allie Pleiter)
Reckless Rogue (Mary Davis)
Return to Love (Susan Page Davis)
Sandhill Dreams (Cara Putman)


*The Book of Names (D. Barkley Briggs)
*DragonLight (Donita Paul)
*The Restorer’s Journey (Sharon Hinck)
Shade (John B. Olson)
Summa Elvetica: A Casuistry of the Elvish Controversy (Theodore Beale)


Anathema (Colleen Coble)
The Black Cloister (Melanie Dobson)
Fossil Hunter (John B. Olson)
Lonestar Sanctuary (Colleen Coble)
Perfect (Harry Kraus)

WOMEN'S FICTION (7 finalists due to a tie)

A Month of Summer (Lisa Wingate)
Every Good and Perfect Gift (Sharon K. Souza)
*My Sister Dilly (Maureen Lang)
The Perfect Life (Robin Lee Hatcher)
*The Shape of Mercy (Susan Meissner)
Stepping into Sunlight (Sharon Hinck)
*Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon (Debbie Fuller Thomas)


*The Big Picture (Jenny B. Jones)
*The Fruit of My Lipstick (Shelley Adina)
*It’s all About Us (Shelley Adina)
The Owling (Robert Elmer)
Trion Rising (Robert Elmer)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner Interview & Giveaway

The Shape of Mercy

by Susan Meissner

WaterBrook Press / 2008 / Paperback

Number of Pages: 320

ISBN: 1400074568

Susan, I thoroughly enjoyed your book. Thank you, thank you! I don't believe I've ever read anything dealing with the Salem witch trials. The Shape of Mercy was so fascinating to me. The emotional tug from the story absolutely drew me in.

When Lauren was talking about wanting to read to the end without stopping was exactly how I felt! I wanted to bypass Lauren's part of the story and just read the diary entries. You definitely made me "feel" what Lauren was going through. That’s just about the best compliment you can give a novelist. That means a lot to me.

I also felt like Lauren in that I knew what she knew she was going to read. So I was intense because I knew that she knew what was going to happen to Mercy. It was like doubled emotions. There she is, anticipating what was coming and here I am anticipating what she's anticipating and knowing Mercy has no clue what's about to happen!

I found myself thinking about Mercy's story throughout the day when I was at working wanting to get back and read more of the diary myself! I haven't done it yet, but I want to learn more about the trials. What an interesting and devastating time!

Lauren also didn't give herself any grace. I couldn't believe how upset she was with herself because of her assumptions of other people. We all do that, right or wrong. Very true. Firstborns, generally speaking, are driven people; they demand much from themselves and typically seek personal perfection, so it seemed a natural reaction for Lauren to be kind of hard on herself. I am not a firstborn but I know quite a few, and while there are always exceptions to the rule, I have found this to be true for many of the firstborns I know; that they don’t extend much grace to themselves. I can tell you first hand that I have a hard time extending grace to myself and I am a firstborn. I am the exception to the rule when it comes to personal perfection though. My younger brother is the typical firstborn, where I'm more like a middle child. So not fair!

I didn't think Lauren was preposterously out of line. Her roommate was pretty harsh! Heck, I thought Clarissa was into Cole and would've come to the same assumption that she was in to him.

1876 illustration of the courtroom; the central figure is usually identified as being Mary Walcott

Can I be candid with you? YES! I'm not one of those people who finds the deeper meaning in stories unless it's totally spelled out for me. Was there a parallel between Lauren's life and Mercy's in regards to the way Lauren viewed people, or was that just part of Lauren's storyline?The main story point here was to reveal how snap judgments transcend time; we’ve always excelled at making them – as much as in the current 21st century as the 17th century. And we too often let fear and groupthink fuel our decision-making process. It’s usually not a very good combination.

I know both deal with snap judgments but Mercy's is different with how it's forced on her. Mercy was the one figure - in both her own time and in Lauren’s time as we met Mercy and heard her story - who didn’t let the contagion of making false accusations get to her. She was my Melanie Wilkes (a la Gone With The Wind); the one person in the story who showed us we don’t always have to cave in to our unpretty side.

What did you want people to take away from this story? My goal when I write a book is always to entertain and enlighten. If I can keep you turning pages, and then thinking on my characters long after you’ve read the last page, I am happy. With this book, I wanted to explore how I think, how I relate to people different than me, how I respond to fear and the unknown. I can only hope readers do the same when they read it.

Why did you write about the Salem witch trials? I was in a play when I was in junior high where I played the role of young woman falsely accused of witchcraft, who later turns on the other girls in her prison cell and orchestrates her release by claiming to be bewitched. I hated the way I felt when I played the role, even now, 35 years later, I still remember how horrible it felt to be accused falsely and then to falsely accuse. Any emotion that powerful is worth channeling into a story. I also wanted to give some honor to those actual people who were accused of witchcraft in Salem and went to the hangman’s noose refusing to confess to something they were not. If they had confessed, they would’ve lived. Yes, they would have been driven from the village, but they would’ve lived. I find that incredibly brave. Were you taken by the people who lost their lives? It'd be interesting to see a book from the perspective of the accusers and the ones who are passing judgement. What kind of research did you do? I noted in the back of the book the resources I used if anyone would like to learn more about this time in our history. I read, searched, and researched for about four months before I wrote a word. Is Mercy a real person from the trials? She is not, nor are the people closest to her, like her father, John Peter, Goody Trumball and Prudence. But the others are real. The list of names of the 19 who died - which the Professor finally shows to Lauren in his office at UC Santa Barbara - is real.

Did you find this to be an emotionally hard book to write knowing what you would be writing? I admit writing the diary made me cry at times. I know that sounds a little trite, but it’s true. Mercy was not a real person, but there were people like her who were real who faced what she faced. And it was hard knowing from the very beginning of the diary that I would not be saving her. There would be no rescue. It was imperative to the story that her life should end. And yet, I knew the ending I had planned was to be redemptive. Not “And they all lived happily ever after,” but certainly redemptive.

Were there parts of the story that didn't make it in because it was too intense? I never wanted to go into great detail in describing the hangings. I didn’t need to to tell the story and I didn’t want to. And I didn’t spend a great deal of time describing the court room scenes, which were chaotic and frightening, because this was going to be a story about Mercy from her perspective. I wanted people to feel a connection to her and not the sensationalism in the courtroom. So, really, everything that I wanted to be in the story, was in the story.

Thank you so much for visiting with me Susan and for giving my visitors an insight into your novel The Shape of Mercy.

These were great questions!! Thanks for letting me “visit” your blog!

Readers, if you'd like to learn more about Susan and her other books, please visit her site Fiction for the Restless Reader. If you are interested in purchasing her book, enter the title in the box on the right side of my blog.

To enter to win Susan's book, leave a comment letting me know what you know or have heard about the Salem witch trials. In all honesty, I had no clue about the trials other than women being blamed as witches. Please leave an email so I can contact you if you win. Contest open to US residents at this time. Contest will run through 8/3/09.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Books That Make You Laugh ~ FnFS

Today's Question

I always think there's a lack of books that are genuinely funny, that make me laugh through the book. It's probably why I so enjoy chick lit. But Christian chick lit lacks that light natural feeling humor and so there aren't many books (apart from Josey and Theodora!) that make me laugh.

Tell Me

Are there some good Christian fiction books that made you laugh out loud and just feel really good about life? I can't wait to hear your recommendations.

Two of my favorite authors that make me laugh are Trish Perry and Cathy Marie Hake.

The first book I read by Trish Perry was Too Good To Be True. I laughed out loud several times throughout the story! Things her character did are absolutely something I could see myself doing. I get myself into situations that leave a lot to be desired.

Cathy Marie Hake's first book that I read was Letter Perfect. The first page of the first chapter had me laughing, and it's only 1/2 a page. The young lady reminds me of my oldest daughter so I thought the entire book was fabulous. Cathy's novels have been labeled "hysterical historical" for good reason!

Vote for my photo :) PHOTO CONTEST

Actually, you can vote for any photo you'd like. There are some really awesome ones. I didn't realize voting had already started and it ends by 11am, Wednesday morning. This will probably go out too late, but that's ok. It was fun to enter anyhow.

Here's what my photo of what summer is to me:

The Sword and the Flute by Mike Hamel ~ FIRST WildCard

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

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

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

The Sword and the Flute (Matterhorn the Brave Series #1)

Amg Publishers (January 22, 2007)


From Mike's Blog's About Me:

I am a professional writer with over a dozen books to my credit, including a trilogy of titles dealing with faith and business: The Entrepreneur’s Creed, Executive Influence and Giving Back.

My most enjoyable project to date has been an eight-volume juvenile fiction series called Matterhorn the Brave. It’s based on variegated yarns I used to spin for my four children. They are now grown and my two grandchildren will soon be old enough for stories of their own.

I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado with my bride of 35 years, Susan.

In July of 2008 I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer—Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma of the Diffuse Large B-Cell kind. I started this blog to chronicle my journey toward the valley of the shadow of death. I wanted to de-mystify the disease by sharing what I was learning and experiencing.

After several rounds of chemo I was tumor free for the first few months of 2009, but the cancer has returned so the adventure continues.

As you read this blog, remember that I’m a professional. Don’t try this level of introspective writing at home. You might suffer a dangling participle or accidentally split an infinitive and the grammarians will be all over you like shoe salesmen on a centipede.

Mike's Blog, OPEN Mike, is an online diary about Wrestling with Lymphoma Cancer.

To order a signed edition of any of the 6 Matterhorn the Brave books, please email the author at

His website: Matterhorn the Brave Website is temporarily down.



Personalized Autographs

Matterhorn Readers – In addition to lowering the price on the six books in print, I am making the last two volumes available as e-books for the same low price of $7.

AMG is not going to publish books 7 and 8 but I will no longer keep my readers in suspense while I look for a new publisher.

E-books of volumes 7 and 8 are now available at

#7 – Tunguska Event

Matterhorn and his friends travel to Siberia to try and prevent the largest natural disaster in history: The Tunguska Event! But despite help from a legion of fairy folk, they fail to stop the blast, which hurtles Matterhorn and Nate into the distant past.

The Baron, Jewel, Sara, Kyl, and Elok search through the centuries for their missing friends, taking incredible risks that will leave two of them dead! Queen Bea and Rylan return to First Realm to persuade the Curia to send the elite Praetorian Guard to Earth.

The inevitable showdown comes inside the sealed tomb of the Chinese Emperor Zheng. The future of the human race will be determined by what happens inside this eight wonder of the ancient world.

#8 – The Book of Stories

The thrilling conclusion of the struggle to control Earth’s destiny between the heretics from First Realm and the human Travelers: Matterhorn, the Baron, Nate the Great, and Princess Jewel.

The year is 1983. The setting is Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois; location of the most powerful machine in the world, the Tevatron particle accelerator. The heretics plan to use the Tevatron to make Carik the unchallenged ruler of the planet! Learning of this plot, Matterhorn and his friends must save themselves before they can save the world.

The Book of Stories is full of surprises, including the most important revelation of all—the identity of the Tenth Talis!

Order copies of all eight books by emailing the author at as his website,, is temporarily down.

And spread the word!

~Mike Hamel

Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 181 pages
Publisher: Amg Publishers (January 22, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0899578330
ISBN-13: 978-0899578330


Emerald Isle

Aaron the Baron hit the ground like a paratrooper, bending his knees, keeping his balance.

Matterhorn landed like a 210-pound sack of dirt.

His stomach arrived a few seconds later.

He straightened his six-foot-four frame into a sitting position. In the noonday sun he saw they were near the edge of a sloping meadow. The velvet grass was dotted with purple and yellow flowers. Azaleas bloomed in rainbows around the green expanse. The black-faced sheep mowing the far end of the field paid no attention to the new arrivals.

“Are you okay?” the Baron asked. He looked as if he’d just stepped out of a Marines’ recruiting poster. “We’ll have to work on your landing technique.”

“How about warning me when we’re going somewhere,” Matterhorn grumbled.

The Baron helped him up and checked his pack to make sure nothing was damaged. He scanned the landscape in all directions from beneath the brim of his red corduroy baseball cap. “It makes no difference which way we go,” he said at last. “The horses will find us.”

“What horses?”

“The horses that will take us to the one we came to see,” the Baron answered.

“Are you always this vague or do you just not know what you’re doing?”

“I don’t know much, but I suspect this is somebody’s field. We don’t want to be caught trespassing. Let’s go.”

They left the meadow, walking single file through the tall azaleas up a narrow valley. Thorny bushes with loud yellow blossoms crowded the trail next to a clear brook. Pushing one of the prickly plants away, Matterhorn asked, “Do you know what these are?”

“Gorse, of course,” the Baron said without turning.

“Never heard of it.”

“Then I guess you haven’t been to Ireland before.”

“Ireland,” Matterhorn repeated. “My great-grandfather came from Ireland.”

“Your great-grandfather won’t be born for centuries yet.”

Matterhorn stepped over a tangle of exposed roots and said, “What do you mean?”

“I mean we’re in medieval Ireland, not modern Ireland.”

“How can that be!” Matterhorn cried, stopping in his tracks. “How can I be alive before my great-grandfather?”

The Baron shrugged. “That’s one of the paradoxes of time travel. No one’s been able to figure them all out. You’re welcome to try, but while you’re at it, keep a lookout for the horses.”

Matterhorn soon gave up on paradoxes and became absorbed in the paradise around him. The colors were so alive they hurt his eyes. He wished for a pair of sunglasses. Above the garish gorse he saw broom bushes and pine trees growing to the ridge where spectacular golden oaks crowned the slopes. Birdsongs whistled from their massive branches into the warm air. Small animals whispered in the underbrush while larger game watched the strangers from a distance.

The country flattened out and, at times, they glimpsed stone houses over the tops of hedgerows. They steered clear of these and any other signs of civilization. In a few hours, they reached the spring that fed the brook they had been following. They stopped to rest and wash up.

That’s where the horses found them.

There were five strikingly handsome animals. The leader of the pack was from ancient and noble stock. He stood a proud seventeen hands high—five-foot-eight-inches—at the shoulders. He had a classic Roman face with a white star on his wide forehead that matched the white socks on his forelegs. His straight back, sturdy body, and broad hindquarters suggested both power and speed. A rich coppery mane and tail complemented his sleek, chestnut coat.

The Baron held out an apple to the magnificent animal, but the horse showed no interest in the fruit or the man. Neither did the second horse. The third, a dappled stallion, took the apple and let the Baron pet his nose.

“These horses are free,” the Baron said as he stroked the stallion’s neck. “They choose their riders, which is as it should be. Grab an apple and find your mount.”

While Matterhorn searched for some fruit, the leader sauntered over and tried to stick his big nose into Matterhorn’s pack. When Matterhorn produced an apple, the horse pushed it aside and kept sniffing.

Did he want carrots, Matterhorn wondered? How about the peanut butter sandwich? Not until he produced a pocket-size Snickers bar did the horse whinny and nod his approval.

The Baron chuckled as Matterhorn peeled the bar and watched it disappear in a loud slurp. “That one’s got a sweet tooth,” he said.

The three other horses wandered off while the Baron and Matterhorn figured out how to secure their packs to the two that remained. “I take it we’re riding without saddles or bridles,” Matterhorn said. This made him nervous, as he had been on horseback only once before.

“Bridles aren’t necessary,” Aaron the Baron explained. “Just hold on to his mane and stay centered.” He boosted Matterhorn onto his mount. “The horses have been sent for us. They’ll make sure we get where we need to go.”

As they set off, Matterhorn grabbed two handfuls of long mane from the crest of the horse’s neck. He relaxed when he realized the horse was carrying him as carefully as if a carton of eggs was balanced on his back. Sitting upright, he patted the animal’s neck. “Hey, Baron; check out this birthmark.” He rubbed a dark knot of tufted hair on the chestnut’s right shoulder. “It looks like a piece of broccoli. I’m going to call him Broc.”

“Call him what you want,” the Baron said, “but you can’t name him. The Maker gives the animals their names. A name is like a label; it tells you what’s on the inside. Only the Maker knows that.”

Much later, and miles farther into the gentle hills, they made camp in a lea near a tangle of beech trees. “You get some wood,” Aaron the Baron said, “while I make a fire pit.” He loosened a piece of hollow tubing from the side of his pack and gave it a sharp twirl. Two flanges unrolled outward and clicked into place to form the blade of a short spade. Next, he pulled off the top section and stuck it back on at a ninety-degree angle to make a handle.

Matterhorn whistled. “Cool!”

“Cool is what we’ll be if you don’t get going.”

Matterhorn hurried into the forest. He was thankful to be alone for the first time since becoming an adult, something that happened in an instant earlier that day. Seizing a branch, he did a dozen chin-ups; then dropped and did fifty push-ups and a hundred sit-ups.

Afterward he rested against a tree trunk and encircled his right thigh with both hands. His fingertips didn’t touch. Reaching farther down, he squeezed a rock-hard calf muscle.

All this bulk was new to him, yet it didn’t feel strange. This was his body, grown up and fully developed. Flesh of his flesh; bone of his bone. Even hair of his hair, he thought, as he combed his fingers through the thick red ponytail.

He took the Sword hilt from his hip. The diamond blade extended and caught the late afternoon sun in a dazzling flash. This mysterious weapon was the reason he was looking for firewood in an Irish forest instead of sitting in the library at David R. Sanford Middle School.

Parents, tell your kids to strap themselves in because they're heading on an adventure! I read my book last night and couldn't put it down. I was so into the story that I didn't realize until I was several chapters in before I realized there were titles to the chapters!

I read this book as though through the eyes of my boys. Man, will they love this book! It is such a boy book. Yes, girls will like it, too, but oh this is such a boy book. I am thankful for that since my oldest has such a hard time getting into his reading. I loved that Mike Hamel used Matterhorn as an example of reading a book every week and more in the summer!

Speaking of Matthew Horn, aka Matterhorn, he's a 12 yr old boy who is drawn into another dimention through a portal. He arrives in the First Realm and meets Queen Bea who sends him on an adventure with Aaron the Baron retrieve a stolen flute. At first Matthew thinks he's dreaming. When he comes into possession of the Maker's sword, he finds out differently.

Matterhorn and the Baron meet King Ian who had his flute stolen. They're told it was stolen by a man who used to be Ian's close friend, Bonehand. In fact, Bonehand is being blamed for many occurances happening in the forest.

Matterhorn and the Baron run into rogue Dwarves, horses that appear out of nowhere, a water nymph, and pirates!

Kids will learn that the Maker (God) will take care of us in this book. They also learn the value of friendship and not jumping to conclusions. The Sword and the Flute is a great adventure with a wonderful life lesson. I can't wait to get more into the series.

If you'd like the chance to win more books in this series, head to Cornhusker Academy where Jana is giving away several of the next books! Please mention that I sent you to her site. Thanks so much!

Cruise with Angela Hunt and Lori Copeland


January 28 – February 1, 2010

Do you need a break after the holidays?

Do you yearn for some fun in the sun during January?

Would you like to meet authors, Angela Hunt and Lori Copeland?

If your answer is yes, then this is the cruise for you!

You are invited to join your fellow Dazers (any fans of Angela or Lori) onboard the beautiful Grandeur of the Seas

for a 4 night Western Caribbean cruise round trip from Tampa, FL
We will depart Tampa, Fl, late afternoon on January 28.
The next day we will spend cruising at sea.

On January 30 we will be in Cozumel, Mexico all day.

Then we will spend Sunday at sea and arrive back in Tampa
on Monday, February 1st, in the morning.
Passports are required.

Please contact Linda Gordon for prices and availability.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Tina Ann Forkner Summer Giveaway

Author Tina Ann Forkner, author of Ruby Among Us and Rose House, is having an amazing giveaway. Click on her name to link to her site. Click on "Ruby Among Us" to read my review from last November. I remember her last one and it had quite the offering as well! Visit Tina's website to get all the details, but I'll give you a taste of what she's offering here.

1st Prize:
If Tomorrow Never Comes, by Marlo Schalesky
Maire, by Linda Windsor
The Silver Sword, by Angela Elwell Hunt
A Gathering of Finches, by Jane Kirkpatrick
Rose House, by Tina Ann Forkner (autographed)Ruby Among Us, by Tina Ann Forkner (autographed)
Saturday’s With Stella, by Allison Pittman
Dear Mom, by Melody Carlson
Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight, by Karen Linamen
The Friends We Keep, by Sarah Zacharias Davis

This is only the first level of winning. Tina has 3 other prizes as well! Tina has many ways to earn extra entries and they're all easy and fun! Head to Tina's blog and learn more and enter!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Birthday Book Giveaway Final Day

Today is the last day of my Birthday Week celebration. The last 2 books I'm going to be giving away are non-fiction. The first is "mom NEEDS chocolate" by Debora M. Coty (click the title to see the review of this book). The second book is "The Friends We Keep: A Woman's Quest for the Soul of Friendship" by Sarah Zacharias Davis. Even if these aren't books you might be interested in, they'd make great gift books!

To win the final Giveaway, tell me your favorite chocolate or one of the friendships that means the most to you.

I'll give you an answer for chocolate. Lindor Truffles chocolate is the best I've ever had! Those big round balls of chocolate, who can pass them up? My daughters love them, too. Wish they were under $3 for the little bag. I see at their website they even have raspberry & mint!!! UGH, to die for.

To enter to win today's books, leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you if you win. US residents only at this time. Thank you so much. I've had a great week giving away all these books! It's hard doing these giveaways because I can't choose everyone. I want everyone to know how much I appreciate the time everyone spent leaving comments here. I wish I had a book to give to all my commenters. You are precious to me! Thanks for spending the week celebrating my 40th Birthday online!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!! 2 Book Giveaway

The two books I will be giving away are by a couple of my favorite authors. I'd like to start by thanking Jim at Bethany House for providing these books for my Birthday Bash on my Blog! My first book that I'm giving away is Letter Perfect by Cathy Marie Hake. The second book is by Julie Klassen Lady of Milkweed Manor. Cathy is well known for her hysterical historical novels and Julie has had great success with her Regency novels! I've loved both of her books!

To win today's books, just tell me what the best birthday is you've ever had. I will randomly pick a winner.

My best bday was a couple years ago when my girls threw me my one and only surprise party! It was amazing and overwhelming. They were only 13 and 15 yrs old! How cool is that? It's very rare that anyone can surprise me, but they pulled it off along with my girlfriends who where in cahoots with my girls.

When you leave a comment be sure to leave me your email address so I can get hold of you if you win. If you'd like an extra chance at winning, share about my giveaway and the link on your blog, FB, Twitter, or anywhere else then leave me a comment so I can give you your extra entry. At this time I can only ship books in the US. Thank you for understanding. The giveaway will end at 9pm Thursday night.

Birthday Book Giveaway Day 3

We're on day three of my All Week Giveaway! Our next set of books up for grabs are:

You Make Me Feel Like Dancing by Alison Bottke and This Side of Heaven by Karen Kingsbury.

To win this set of books, tell me the craziest thing you've ever done in public (as long as it's G-rated!). I will draw a random comment.

My sister-in-law, Liz, brings out the goofy in me. If there's a song on in a public setting that we both know, neither of us has a problem doing some boogie-ing or singing along. I'll even call her in the middle of the grocery store if I hear a fabulous song from the 70's or 80's that I just have to share with her!
You know the drill. Leave me your email address before 9pm. US Residents only because I can't afford to send it anywhere else at this time. Sorry. If you'd like an extra entry, post about my giveaway this week on your blog. You can also go to one of my last 2 bday giveaways, copy the picture, make a link and put up a button for the rest of the week. If you do, leave me a comment.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Birthday Book Giveaway Day 2

Alrighty, on to day 2 of the giveaways! I'd like to start by congratulating Christine. She won the books from day 1! The next set of books are:

Scrapping Plans by Rebecca Seitz and Talking to the Dead by Bonnie Grove. To read my reviews of these books, click on the title and you'll also be able to read the FIRST chapter!

If you'd like a chance to win this set of books, tell me what book you've read in the last 3 months that you've enjoyed the most and would recommend to others.

My favorite book, gosh I don't know if I can pick. I didn't realize how many books I'd read in the last couple months. I guess I'd pick Tracie Peterson's Brides of Gallatin County series. I've always enjoyed Tracie's books whether she's writing on her own or with another author.

So, you know the drill. Leave your email address so I can contact you if you win. If you'd like an extra chance to win Tuesdays books, put my "button" with a link to today's giveaway on your blog. Leave me a comment letting me know you've done so and you'll get an extra one day entry. If you'd like to be entered all week with an extra entry for each day aside from your daily comment, put a post on your blog about my Birthday week giveaway. :) You have until 9pm to leave me a comment.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Birthday Book Giveaway Day 1

Today's (Monday) giveaways are signed copies of Mary Connealy's Calico Canyon and Carol Cox's A Bride So Fair.

To Enter:
If you'd like a chance to win these books as a set, let me know who you favorite author is from the 19th century or earlier. I'm pretty sure I can safely say Charlotte Bronte. The first book I read in my early 20's that got me back on the road to reading was Jane Eyre. LOVED THAT BOOK! I started buying old Bronte sister novels! Who is your favorite?
Commenters have until 9pm to leave a comment with your email, and I'll draw a name that night. Come back tomorrow for a new giveaway!! If you take the photo from my initial announcement and place it with a link on your site, I'll give you an extra entry for Monday's giveaway. If you post an entry about my giveaway with a link, you'll get an entry for every day this week!! You just need to leave me a comment (once) that you've done so and a link to let me know. Blessings

Birthday Giveaway coming up this week!

Ok, so it's that time of year, or decade to celebrate yet another birthday. This year, I plan to hit the Hill running. I refuse to believe that I've reached the color of black celebrations. I was born the day the Apollo 11 took off, July 16. Apparently I was due the day they walked on the moon. This was the only time I've ever been early to anything.

My ex-sister-in-law brought in a pile of dirt along with an over-the-hill sign. Me, this year I won't have any family around. Brie will be gone to Sonshine (lucky!), Amber is camping, and both boys will be up at grandma n grandpa's. Hmmm, leaves a lot of time for reading!!
PhotobucketHere's the button I've been trying to create. Have never made one before and have no idea if I've done it correctly. :)

Now for the Giveaway info...I'll be giving away a set of books every day this week. All you have to do is leave a comment before 9pm and leave your email address so I can get in touch with you if you win! Want an idea of the books that will be offered? How about a sneak peek? The giveaway will begin Monday and end Friday night! Come back every day for a new giveaway!!

If you add a post about my giveaway to your blog, I will give you an extra entry each day. You need to leave a comment letting me know you've posted about the giveaway.

If you are able to use my "button" on your blog I will give you one extra entry to the first giveaway!! Again, leave me a comment to let me know! :)

Summer 2009 Photo Contest!!

Karen at Write From Karen has a really cool contest running right now. Here are the details from her site:
Photo Contest at

Show us your favorite summer photograph! But wait, it doesn’t HAVE to be a summer photograph. It can something that represents summer to you in your part of the world. Be creative, be fun – the more original the photo, the better chance you’ll have of winning!

To learn more about the contest click on the button above. Good luck to all the entrants. Here's my photo for the contest. It's the close-up of the Iris. These blooms were huge this year! My Iris were the only color I had in my garden for over a month! I'm stil waiting for the color explosion!

I had a hard time picking what theme I wanted to capture. I went with gardening. I had a lot of options though: 4th of July at night, the carnival rides, son's baseball, daughter's graduation, etc. For me personally, gardening is the biggest thing I look forward to in the spring and summer. The iris were the only flowers that came to bloom for the longest time in my gard

My perennial garden:
hostas, lillies, gayfeather, iris, lupine, coneflower, balloon, Jacob's ladder, bee balm and several annuals

This is my first year planting annuals in my garden. For the most part I wonder, "what's the point?" I like plants that do the work on their own, meaning, they come back every year. With my daughter's graduation and the plants not blooming on time this year, I decided to bring in color, especially pink since it's her favorite. Well, I'm now going to plant Portulaca every year! This Peppermint variety! I love it and it's doing so well.
I'm waiting for my Liatris (gayfeather) to start showing some color. I can't believe how late it is this year. It's huge this year!! Wish I could move my garage and make my garden bigger. I gave one of my Liatris bushes to my friend because it was hidden under my bee balm. I have a feeling I may have to do some rearranging next year!!!!

Creative Commons License
Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.