Friday, May 21, 2010

This Fine Life by Eva Marie Everson & My Review

Mariette Puttnam, society girl, has just returned from four years at a private, girls-only Catholic high school. Her parents argue over the direction Mariette's life should take; marry someone high on the social ladder or go to college. Mariette can't get excited about either choice. She agrees to take the summer to think about it. Both choices become mute when she meets Thayne Scott, one of her father's employees. To her parents' dismay she chooses another option.

Mariette and Thayne are confronted with the results of their hasty decision. Mariette feels like a failure when she realizes she hasn't learned domestic skills. Thayne struggles to make enough money for them to live on while he attends college. Their lives take yet another turn when Thayne's wise and loving Aunt Harriet, his greatest advocate and mentor, becomes his inspiration for another life-changing decision.

Circumstances threaten to sever the bond between Thayne and Mariette. Will their love endure in spite of their many trials?

Eva Marie Everson is a successful speaker, a popular radio personality, and the award-winning author of Things Left Unspoken. She is coauthor of The Potluck Club series and The Potluck Catering Club series. She lives in Florida.

**Available May 2010 at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group**

My Review: 
This was great! Mariette was very sweet in that she wanted to please her parents. 
I appreciated that she tried to obey them, and that they weren't portrayed as the 'bad guys' in her life. She truly loved them, and you could see that.
I also loved that the story wasn't cliche. Mariette and Thayne really worked at their marriage and truly loved each other.
They both act like idiots at times, but that only serves to make them seem more real and human.
I'll definitely be recommending this book to my friends!

Morning for Dove by Martha Rogers & My Review

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:

Realms (May 4, 2010)
***Special thanks to Anna Coelho Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Book Group | Strang Communications for sending me a review copy.***


Martha Rogers is a former schoolteacher and English instructor with experience writing both fiction and nonfiction including Not on the Menu, a part of Sugar and Grits, a novella collection with DiAnn Mills, Janice Thompson, and Kathleen Y’Barbo. Rogers has a master’s degree in education and has worked as a secondary teacher and an instructor of English composition. She lives with her husband in Houston, Texas.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.99
Paperback: 297 pages
Publisher: Realms (May 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599799847
ISBN-13: 978-1599799841


Oklahoma Territory, June 1897

Today was not a good day for a wedding. It was Lucinda Bishop’s wedding day, and he wasn’t the groom. The sun may be shining outside, but Luke Anderson’s insides rolled

and tumbled like the dark clouds before a storm. His feelings should have been under control by now, and they had been up until this moment. Now Lucy’s image rolled through his mind like pictures on a stereo-optic machine.

He shook his head and snatched off his tie. Anger filled his heart. His eyes closed tightly, and he prayed for God to take away his negative feelings. All thoughts of Lucinda must be put away as part of his past and not his future. Calm swept through him as he felt the Lord’s peace take over. Still, he’d rather do anything else, like stay behind and keep the store open. Pa didn’t worry about the business he’d be losing by closing down for the day because most of the townsfolk would be at the church. Luke shrugged his arms into the sleeves of his jacket. He hated having to wear a suit in this heat. With his tie

now securely back in place, Luke headed downstairs to meet his parents.

His mother tilted her head and looked him over from head to foot. “I must say you do look especially handsome today.” She nodded her approval and turned for the door.

Luke tugged at his collar and forced himself to smile. She must have thought he’d come down in his work clothes.

His sister beamed at him. “You are handsome, even if you are my brother.”

Luke shook his head and followed her outside. “You look very pretty yourself, Alice.”

She looked up at him and furrowed her brow. “Thank you, I think.”

Luke relaxed at his sister’s comments. He usually ridiculed or teased her, but she did look pretty today with her blonde curls dancing on her shoulders. At sixteen, she had the notice of a few boys in her class at school.

The tightness in his chest loosened. He’d get through this day.

Since the church was only a few blocks down the street, they would walk, but his younger brother, Will, ran ahead. When they reached the churchyard, wagons, surreys, and horses filled the area. Pa had been right. People from all over were here, paying tribute to the niece of one of the most powerful ranchers in the area, Mr. Haynes.

He followed the rest of his family into the church and down to a pew. The sanctuary filled quickly, and the music began. Instead of paying attention, Luke tugged once again at the demon collar and tie and wished for relief from the early summer heat. The organ swelled with a melody, and everyone stood. Dove, Lucy’s best friend, walked down the aisle followed by the bride.

Never had Lucy looked more beautiful. Mrs. Weems, the dressmaker, had made many trips to the store for the ribbons and laces that adorned the dress and slight train now trailing behind it. The white satin enhanced Lucy’s dark hair and fair face, and her eyes sparkled with the love she had for Jake.

Luke had to admit deep in his heart that she’d never been his. Even when he courted her, her heart had belonged to Jake. Luke should have known he’d never make her forget that cowboy.

Then his gaze fell on Dove, and his throat tightened. Although he’d known her for years, he’d never seen her as any more than the part-Cherokee daughter of Sam Morris. Now

her bronzed complexion and dark eyes glowed with a beauty that stunned him. He had looked right through her when they had been at the box social last spring and on other social occasions. At those events, she’d been with someone else, and he’d seen only Lucinda. Dove was quiet and didn’t say much when around others their age, and he had spoken directly to her only a few times at church. Today he saw her with new eyes.

When Lucy reached the altar on the arm of her uncle Ben, Luke sat down, as did the congregation. Ignoring the words of the minister, he stared at Dove. How could he not have noticed her before?

Luke glanced to his left and right. Pa had been right when he said most of Barton Creek would attend the wedding. Even Chester Fowler had come. He’d been less than friendly with Ben Haynes and Sam Morris the few times Luke had seen them together. Something about the man bothered Luke, but he couldn’t quite put a finger on it.

From the corner of his eye he noticed Bobby Frankston staring to the side of the altar. Luke followed the boy’s gaze to find Becky Haynes at the other end. She stood with Dove beside Lucy as an attendant. Her attention had been drawn to Bobby, and a faint bloom reddened her cheeks. That blush didn’t come from the heat. Luke chuckled to himself. It looked to him like another boy had fallen in love.

When the ceremony ended, the couple left the church and headed to the hotel where the Haynes had planned a lavish celebration for their niece.

When Luke joined the other guests there, tables laden with thin slices of beef, chicken, and ham, along with a variety of breads, vegetables, and fruit, filled one end of the room and beckoned to him. After filling his plate, he moved to the side of the room and bit into a piece of chicken. At least the food tasted good.

His gaze swept around the room. The hotel dining hall had been cleared of almost all its tables, and people milled about talking with one another and balancing plates of food.

In his perusal of the room, his gaze came to rest on Dove Morris. The pale yellow dress she wore emphasized her dark hair and almost black eyes. He’d never seen such a flawless

complexion on anyone besides Lucy. But where Lucy’s was fair, Dove’s reflected the heritage of her Indian blood. As she chatted with a guest, a smile lit up her face. At that moment she turned in Luke’s direction, her eyes locking with his and widening as though surprised to see him. A sharp tingle skittered through his heart. Before he could catch his breath, she turned back to the woman beside her. The tightness in his chest lessened, but

he still stared at her even though she no longer looked at him.

Twice now something had coursed through his veins as he observed her. An explanation for those feelings eluded him because nothing like that had happened with Lucy when he was with her. Whatever this feeling happened to be, one thing was certain—he had to speak to Dove. Still, after what happened with Lucy, he would take his time and not rush into a relationship so quickly this time.

He made his way in her direction, not allowing his eyes to lose contact with her face. When he stood by her side, her head barely reached his shoulder. He had never truly paid any attention to how tiny and petite she was, even when he’d seen her in the store and at church. A sudden urge to stand taller and make a good impression overcame him.

Finally he caught her eye. “Miss Morris, what a pleasure to see you this afternoon,” he said.

Her lips quivered then broke into a smile. “Luke Anderson. It’s a pleasure to see you too. Wasn’t the wedding lovely?”

“Yes, it was.” But not as lovely as the girl standing before him. “Would you like some refreshment?”

“I would like that; thank you.” Her soft voice melted his resolve. He had to know more about this beautiful young woman. How her beauty had escaped his notice was something

he didn’t understand. He straightened his shoulders and grasped her hand to tuck it over his arm. She’d certainly grown up while he had been so smitten with Lucy Bishop.

The warmth of Luke’s arm beneath Dove’s hand sent a shiver through her body despite the heat. He was the last person she expected to pay attention to her today. As long as she had known him and wanted his admiration, he had spoken only a few words directly to her. His noticing her today sent currents of excitement through her as well as questions about why he chose this day to show any interest in her.

He offered her a cup of punch, and the sunlight streaming through the windows glistened on the crystal in her hand, turning it into shimmering sparkles. In fact, everything about

the day had become brighter. She sipped from her cup then smiled at Luke. “This is very good.” Her face warmed. Not a

very exciting topic of conversation.

Luke raised his cup to his mouth and swallowed. “Yes, it is.” He glanced around the room. “Would you save a dance for me, Miss Morris?”

Words first stuck in Dove’s throat and then came forth in a squeak. “Yes, I will.” Her face grew even warmer. She would like nothing more than to be whirling across the dance floor with Luke’s arms about her, and he would probably be her only partner except for Martin, who had asked earlier.

At that moment the young man in question stepped up. “Don’t forget you promised me a dance today, Miss Morris.”

“Of course I won’t forget.” Two young men seeking her companionship today was twice as many as she had even imagined. Because of her Cherokee heritage, she never expected young men to take much notice of her or spend time with her. Today would be a more lovely day than she had believed it would be.

Martin glanced at Luke. “Miss Morris, if you’ll excuse us, I must speak to Luke alone.”

Dove nodded as the two young men made their way across the room. With both being so tall, she had no trouble seeing them as they stopped by the door. Once their gaze turned

toward her, and she averted her eyes. Her cheeks once again burned at the thought they could be discussing her. Luke was the one she wanted by her side, and she prayed he wouldn’t back out of his request.

An arm slipped around Dove’s shoulders. Turning to find Clara Haynes beside her, she beamed at the elderly lady everyone called Aunt Clara. “Oh, didn’t Lucy look lovely?”

“She certainly did, and Mellie and Mrs. Weems did a wonderful job with the dress, but you look just as beautiful.”

The compliment unnerved her because no one but Ma or Pa had ever called her beautiful before. “Thank you.” Her hand trembled, and she had to set her punch cup down. “It’s been a wonderful day for a wedding, and so many are here to honor Lucy and Jake.” Anything to change the topic.

The ploy didn’t work with Aunt Clara, who leaned close and whispered, “Next thing is to find a suitable young man for you, and that may be sooner than we think.”

Dove blinked. The elderly woman meant well, but no young man in town wanted to court a half-breed girl. Men like her father were few and far between. With his prominence and

wealth, he had paid no attention to what others thought when he chose his Cherokee bride. He’d said more than once that a man should be judged on his treatment of others, his honesty, and his reliability, not on his race or skin color. If only Luke could see her that way.

Aunt Clara squeezed Dove’s arm then patted it. “I believe it’s time to get some life into this party.” She headed toward the newly married couple.

Dove wished she were more adventuresome like Lucy, who had left her native Boston to come west to live with the Haynes family. Everything here was new and strange to Lucy, but she adapted, even shortening her name from Lucinda to Lucy. Dove sighed, wishing for some changes in her own life.

At that moment, Luke returned, and her hopes rose in anticipation. Perhaps those changes could begin in a friendship with Luke.

As Bea Anderson stared across the crowded room, she nudged her husband. “Carl, look over there. Luke’s talking with Dove Morris.”

Carl nodded in their direction. “She looks very pretty today.”

“She does, but that still doesn’t mean I like his talking with her.” Indeed her son could do much better than the half-breed Morris girl. As pretty as she may be, she wasn’t the kind Luke should even think of courting.

“Now, Bea, they’re just having a polite conversation.”

Polite conversation or not, this would not go any further if she had any say in the matter. All her childhood memories of Indian raids and attacks could not be erased by a few years of peace with one tribe. The horrors she’d seen were forever etched in her memory, and the very sight of Dove and her mother or her brothers sent them all flooding into her soul again. No matter that everyone else recognized the girl’s mother as Emily Morris—she’d always be White Feather to Bea.

She had tried to be civil, but always the images that couldn’t be forgiven lurked in the background. They were as much a part of her being as every thought or emotion she ever had.

Now she simply avoided the Morris family as much as possible and let Carl take care of their needs when they came into the store. She had chosen to keep her distance and ignore them. Even though most of the town knew her story and would understand her feelings toward the Morris family, Bea didn’t want to say something that might embarrass the Andersons in front of strangers who might be in the store. That wouldn’t be good for business.

Carl placed his arm around her and hugged her close. “Bea, Luke is a grown young man. He’s all ready to take over the store when the time comes. He’s smart, and he’s a good son. You have to let him make his own decisions and choose his own life.”

Bea swallowed hard. Knowing and letting it happen were two different things. She wished Luke had been the one to marry the Bishop girl today, but Lucy chose Jake, a cowboy turned rancher who had joined the ranks of men like Ben Haynes and

Sam Morris.

Carl patted her arm. “See, Martin Fleming is drawing Dove’s attention now. We don’t have to worry about Luke. He’ll make the right decision.”

“I should hope so. He knows our history, and any Indian, especially a half-breed girl like Dove, would never fit into our family.”

My Review:
This was great! The storyline flowed along smoothly and I really empathized with the characters.
I didn't agree with some of the choices they made, but I appreciated that they still tried to make things as right as they could. Luke and Dove aren't perfect, but they try to treat others with respect. Luke's mum annoyed me, but I could also see how that was hard for her to forgive.
This was a great sequel to the first book, and I'm looking forward to anymore books that Martha writes!

So Sorry!!

I'm so sorry that I'm so behind on my reviews!
I'm working on getting a few up at the moment :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Let's Have A Daddy Day by Karen Kingsbury

Sorry that this is so late! This is a great book for many ages. It's very sweet and loving :) I'm really looking forward to reading it to my nephew :)

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:

Zonderkidz (April 13, 2010)
***Special thanks to Pam Mettler of ZonderKidz for sending me a review copy.***


New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury has written more than forty of her Life-Changing Fiction titles and has nearly sixteen million in print. Dubbed by Time magazine as the Queen of Christian Fiction, Karen receives hundreds of letters each week and considers her readers friends. Her fiction has made her one of the country’s favorite storytellers, and one of her novels, Like Dandelion Dust, is under production for an upcoming major motion picture release. Her emotionally gripping titles include the popular Baxter family novels, the 9/11 Series, Even Now, Ever After, and Between Sundays. Karen and her husband, Don, live in the Pacific Northwest with their six children, three of whom are adopted from Haiti. You can find out more about Karen, her books, and her appearance schedule at her website.

Dan Andreasen lives in Medina, Ohio, with his wife and three children. He has illustrated more than thirty picture books. When his daughter was asked by her first grade teacher, “What kind of work does your daddy do?” she replied, “He colors.”

Product Details:

List Price: $15.99
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz (April 13, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310712157
ISBN-13: 978-0310712152


Let's Have a Daddy Day

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Finding Jeena by Miralee Ferrell & My Review

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:

Kregel Publications (March 8, 2010)
***Special thanks to Cat Hoort of Kregel Publications for sending me a review copy.***


Miralee Ferrell and her husband, Allen, live in a rural community in Washington State. She serves on staff at their local church as a licensed minister and is actively involved in ministry to women, as well as speaking to women’s groups. She’s always been an avid reader and dabbled in writing, but never considered it as a serious calling until 2005 when she felt the Lord directing her to write. Since then she’s had several magazine articles published, two in book compilations, and four full-length novels released with a fifth releasing in early 2011. Miralee loves working in her flower beds, riding horseback with her daughter, and sailing with her husband.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (March 8, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825426456
ISBN-13: 978-0825426452


Jeena Gregory chewed on her lip as she stared at the red silk dress hanging in the closet. Would it be enough? She wiped her sweaty palms down the legs of her jeans, trying to vanquish the knot in her stomach. The same feeling she’d experienced as a ten-year-old hit her. She’d walked into her new school and tried to ignore the snickers as some of the students eyed her worn-out sneakers and hand-me-down clothes.

She refused to let fear or insecurity take control. Fear couldn’t hurt her—only men could do that. And Sean loved her.

No way would she believe the rumor she’d heard from Connie, the biggest gossip in her small group of friends. Sean couldn’t be seeing someone else. He was close to proposing; she’d sensed it more than once. Jeena shook her head, trying to dislodge the disquieting thoughts. He’d have a good explanation.

Her confidence level soared after applying makeup and slipping into the dress. It had cost her two days’ salary, but it was worth every cent. Hugging her in all the right places, the dark red silk accented her long black hair and green eyes. Working out at the club kept her figure where she wanted it.

Sean’s car flashed past Jeena’s window and halted in front of her small condo. Jeena ran a hand over her trim hips. She’d be thirty later this year, and her body still looked like that of a twenty-year-old—she’d maintain it if she had to work out every day.

The doorbell chimed, but this time Jeena didn’t rush to answer. Sean Matthews needn’t think her life revolved around his arrival, even if it did. Playing a little hard to get might work in her favor.

The bell chimed a second time, and Jeena imagined its tone changed to one of impatience. Better not overdo it. She opened the door and stepped back into the glow of the entry light to give him the full effect.

A small frown turned down the corners of Sean’s mouth, giving a serious aspect to his rugged face. His tapping toe stilled, but his lowered brows didn’t lift until he stepped across the threshold.

The smile Jeena expected didn’t appear. Apprehension flickered through her mind. “Something wrong, Sean?” She touched his arm.

He ran his fingers through his dark blond hair, giving a slightly rumpled look to a man who prided himself on his appearance. “Our reservation is in fifteen minutes. We’re going to be late.”

He hadn’t seemed to notice the gown or the accentuated curves. “I had a bit of a struggle zipping up this dress.”

“You might need a jacket. That looks a little skimpy for a chilly evening.”

The small wisp of fear grew, fanned by the coolness of his impatience.

“Skimpy? That’s it?” She stepped back, folding her arms.

He shot a quick, cool look at the dress. “You look great. Is it new?”

She pursed her lips. Something was up. “Yes, it’s new.” She swung toward the closet. “Fine. I’ll get a jacket.” She yanked open the door and pulled a black cape off the rack. Great start to our evening.

He helped her into his silver Lexus, then slipped into his seat and turned the key. “You really do look stunning.” Sean paused. “It’s been a crazy day, and I’ve had a lot on my mind.” He gave her a soft smile before turning his attention back to the road.

They pulled out into the street and headed through the residential area toward the edge of town. Silhouetted against the skyline, tall fir trees flanked the elegant homes along the way. Kids still played in front yards, and a couple of eager homeowners mowed their yards. Jeena sighed. She missed having a yard and flowerbeds. The new townhouse she’d put a deposit on boasted a small backyard and window boxes in the front, so she could indulge her gardening hobby on her days off.

She sank deeper in the seat and released a small breath. Peaceful silence enveloped her as the quiet car snaked around the curves and the sun glinted off the nearby Columbia River. Sean loved her. Losing sight of that was foolish. Sure, he’d neglected to kiss her when he’d arrived, but she understood the stress generated by work. His job as a financial consultant to a large corporation in Portland often kept him distracted.

Connie was being catty and nothing more.

Jeena gave a low laugh. “You had me worried. I thought aliens had taken over your body when you didn’t react to this dress.”

He pulled away from a stop sign and glanced in his mirror, then reached over and took her hand. “Never fear. If aliens attempt a takeover, I’ll shoot ’em dead.” His quick smile flashed. “Hungry?”

“Very.” She’d been foolish to listen to Connie. An hour earlier, she couldn’t have eaten a thing, but now she was ravenous.

Sean had chosen a small, rather exclusive restaurant, a rarity in River City, Oregon. They could have driven an hour up I-84 to Portland, but the recent growth of tourism in the Columbia River Gorge had birthed new hot spots, popular with locals and tourists alike.

They were seated by a window that afforded a breathtaking view of the river, and Jeena could see the colorful sails of windsurfers kiting along in the evening breeze, the soft glow of the late April sunset bronzing the multi-colored sails. Candles glowed against the damask tablecloth, giving off a subtle air of luxury. Strains of low music added to the ambiance, creating a soothing background for the trickle of diners still drifting in.

Sean had requested a quiet spot in the corner, giving a sense of privacy that still allowed a good view. While he ordered, Jeena glanced around the room, wondering if any of their friends might be here tonight. No familiar faces appeared within her line of sight. Good. She wanted this evening to be theirs alone. Maybe they could sort out the nasty rumor starting to circulate and kill it before it morphed into something worse.

Sean leaned back in his seat and sighed, stretching his legs out from under the heavy brocade cloth.

“Long day?” Jeena reached across to stroke the side of his face. He didn’t pull away, but he didn’t wrap his long fingers around hers as she’d expected. A small alarm went off in the back of her mind.

He gave a small shake of his head, dislodging her hand. “Not really. It feels good to sit across the table from a beautiful woman, instead of looking at bored businessmen all day.”

She sat back in her chair and relaxed. “Something going on at work that’s bothering you?”

“Very little. How about you? When does your lease start on the new townhouse?”

“In ten days, so I’m boxing everything up now. I’ve got my final interview a week from Monday with Browning and Thayer.”

“It’s too bad it’s only a temporary job, but with your expertise in design, they can’t go wrong contracting you.” He straightened in his chair and leaned toward her, an affectionate smile flickering across his lips.

She flashed him a grateful look. “Thanks. I hope they feel the same. But being a private contractor has its advantages, and the project is big—it should last at least a year.”

The waiter arrived, placing steaming plates of fragrant pasta in front of them and gathering the empty salad dishes. A few minutes passed in comfortable silence, and Jeena’s misgivings evaporated in the relaxed intimacy.

Candlelight cast a warm light across Sean’s face, accentuating his masculine good looks. Jeena smiled and settled deeper into her chair. “So tell me about your family. Last time we talked, you were concerned about your mom living alone, now that your dad’s gone. How’s she doing?”

“Great, from what I gather when I have time to call.” He wound the last strand of pasta onto his fork and took a bite, then wiped his mouth with a napkin. “I’m sorry—I see a client I need to speak to. I’ll only be a minute. Do you mind?” He nodded across the room to a silver-haired man sitting with an elegantly dressed woman.

“Not at all.” She smiled, then watched him make his way through the tables.

She’d first spotted him at a party a little over a year ago. Tall, mid-thirties, dressed in an Italian three-piece suit, and built like a model, he stood out in the crowd of older businessmen. An air of sophistication clung to him, enhanced by vivid blue eyes set in a deeply tanned face. A striking blonde who’d had too much to drink was hanging on his arm. He looked slightly disgusted and appeared to be searching for an escape.

Setting aside her drink, Jeena strolled across the room, knowing she’d captured his attention even before she approached.

She extended her hand and smiled when he held it longer than necessary. “I don’t think we’ve been introduced. I’m Jeena Gregory, a friend of our hostess.”

“Sean Matthews. This is . . . I’m sorry, what’s your name again?” His bored gaze turned to the blonde.

The woman released her grip on his arm and glared at Jeena. “Angie.”

Sean cocked his head toward the woman. “Right. Sorry. This is Angie.”

Angie’s lips turned down in a pout. “I’m getting something to drink. I’ll find someone more interesting to take me home.” Angie flounced across the room without looking back.

Sean’s blue eyes shone with something more than amusement. “I didn’t bring her, but she’s had too much to drink and must have forgotten. She latched onto me when I arrived. Thanks for the rescue.”

Jeena spent the rest of the evening in his company—and many evenings after that. Within a few weeks, she knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life with this man. Intelligent, witty, generous, and advancing up the corporate ladder at a fast pace, he possessed much that she found attractive.

Sean, however, remained an enigma. While engaging and attentive, he had yet to commit to a permanent relationship. Jeena sensed his frustration at her adamant refusal to move in together. She enjoyed the party life and didn’t judge others for their lifestyle choices, but she drew the line at moving in with a man before marriage. She deserved more. Besides, too many of her crowd had gone that direction, and she’d seen disaster strike more than once.

“Jeena? I’m sorry I took so long. I hope you weren’t bored.” Sean’s deep voice woke her from the memories.

She brushed the hair from her eyes. “Not at all. Just remembering our first meeting.”

“Ah, yes. The party.”

Jeena tried to suppress a smile but failed. “And poor Angie.”

Sean laughed outright. “Poor Angie, nothing. That woman clung like a leech with no encouragement from me. You came along just in time.”

She leaned toward him and stroked the back of his hand. “Did I?”

He slowly pulled back, and the smile disappeared.

“What’s wrong?” Her heart rate accelerated.

He cleared his throat and picked up a napkin. “There’s something I want to tell you.”

Tell. Not ask. Jeena leaned back and crossed her arms. “Yes?”

“I’ve been offered a new job. It means a huge increase in pay and could lead to a partnership.”

“That sounds wonderful. I didn’t realize you were looking.”

“I didn’t mention it until I knew something would come of it. I didn’t want to worry you.”

“Why would I care?” Her palms grew clammy, but she refused to give in to fear.

His lips set in a firm line; then he took a deep breath and plunged forward. “It’s taking me out of the States. A large construction conglomerate wants me in the Middle East.”

A small shiver of fear traveled up her back. “But that’s dangerous. Tell me you’re not going to take it.”

“I’ve said yes. I’ll be living in Kuwait and going across the border occasionally, and then only to areas that are deemed safe. I leave in two weeks.”

“Two weeks,” she whispered. “What about us?”

He shifted in his chair and looked at his hands, then raised his eyes. “I’m sorry, Jeena.”

“What do you mean, you’re sorry? You’re not asking me to come with you or wait? How long will you be gone?” She tried to keep the pain out of her voice, but her words rose in tone and volume.

An irritated look flashed across his face. The small, secluded spot he’d chosen closed in around her. No longer did the flickering candles on the table give off an aura of romance—instead, they gleamed with an ominous light.

“I’ll be gone at least a year, maybe two. You didn’t want to live with me here in the States, so I didn’t think you’d be willing to move to Kuwait.” Sean leaned back in his chair, holding her gaze.

She’d probably hold onto him if she gave in, but something inside protested. Her parents’ marriage had been lousy, no doubt about that. But her mother had saved herself for the man she married and had often urged Jeena to do the same. Besides, Grammie would be be horrified if Jeena made that decision. A deep love for both her mother and grandmother had prompted Jeena to walk the same path.

“But if we were married . . .” She could have bitten off her tongue for letting the words slip.

Sean’s lips twisted in a wry smile. “I have no desire to get married.”

“So all of this has been what . . . a game? You aren’t in love with me? Never have been?”

He shrugged. “I think a lot of you. But marriage isn’t part of my plan. I thought we’d have a good time. Frankly, I hung around hoping you’d change your mind.”

“You knew how I felt about living together. It’s not something I’m comfortable with.”

Sean smirked. “You told me your dad was a religious Jekyll and Hyde and you had no use for God. I never expected you’d stick with your decision and be such a prude.”

His words brought the chaos in her mind to a halt. An icy calm washed over her. “Prude. I see. So, who is she?”

His face flamed red, then faded to a dirty white. “Who?”

She rose quickly, her chair sliding into the waiter who was walking behind her. Pride stiffened her spine and held her head high. “I nailed that one. Never mind. I’m sure you’ll be very happy together, and my prudish life will be better off without you.”

She slipped around the table and started to walk past him, but he reached out and grasped her wrist. “Jeena. Don’t be that way. I’ll drive you home. I’m sorry.”

Shaking off his hand, she stepped out of his reach and lowered her voice, conscious of the curious looks from the tables nearby. “I’ll get a taxi. Have a great life, Sean.”

Somehow she managed to exit the restaurant without calling more attention to herself. Humiliation at making a scene while leaving the table forced her to increase her pace and not look back. The poor waiter—she’d nearly bowled him over while rushing from the table. But no way could she allow Sean to see her cry. She needed to get home and face this. The tears would come later, and no telling when they’d stop.

Men. Anger bubbled inside, momentarily pushing aside the sting of tears. Her father had proven men couldn’t be trusted—he hadn’t loved her, either. Why had she forgotten? Never again would a man suck her in with promises and lies. From now on, her career would come first. She’d show them all. The only person in the world who mattered was her grandmother. She’d neglected her recently, but tomorrow was a new day. Grammie would be happy to see her, and Sean was no longer important.

My Review:
Miralee is a really good writer. This was a good follow-up to 'The Other Daughter', but you don't need to read 'The Other Daughter' in order to follow the story of 'Finding Jeena'.
Jeena bugged me at times with her snobbiness, but I really appreciated that she was quick to apologize for incorrect assumptions.
Very well-written and very enjoyable :)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Witness by E.G. Lewis & My Review

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:

Cape Arago Press (November 9, 2009)
***Special thanks to E. G. Lewis for sending me a review copy.***


Edward (E. G.) Lewis was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. A former newspaper editor and publisher, his articles have appeared in many national and regional magazines. He also wrote and directed corporate training films.

Mr. Lewis holds a graduate degree in Economics from Ohio State University and worked in Planning and Corporate Management before choosing to become a fulltime novelist. He writes both Biblical fiction and Commercial fiction.

A lifelong Christian with a burning interest in the life and times of the early Church, he feels we are privileged to follow in the footsteps of these earliest believers in the teachings of Christ. He and his wife, Gail, also a writer, live on the Southern Oregon Coast.

Visit the author's website.
Visit the publisher's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $18.99
Paperback: 318 pages
Publisher: Cape Arago Press (November 9, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982594909
ISBN-13: 978-0982594902


I would have seen the lion if those clods of dirt flying past my head had not distracted me.

There I was, relaxing on a hill, bothering no one. The sheep poked around the sparse pasture for the last clumps of edible forage while I sang Psalms and wove a basket. The summer sun had browned the grass and baked the Judean hills, turning them tan as barley bread.

My tongue swept around my mouth tasting the gritty dryness of the afternoon as another clod sailed overhead. It struck the ground in front of me and broke apart in a spray of dust.

All sorts of strange objects took flight whenever I tended the sheep. Overripe figs, half-eaten pomegranates, sticks, and now clods of dirt had sprouted wings and flew through the air.

The boys did it to upset me, to make me cry. Once upon a time it had worked, but no longer. If I cried, they won. And I would never let them win.

Jumping to my feet, I spun to face them.

Two more clods headed toward me.

Ducking under them, I rested my hands on my hips and glared across the ravine at the boys throwing them. “Stop, or you will be sorry,” I yelled and adjusted my headband.

Like the bigger shepherds, I carried my shebet, a small club, and my sling tucked in my sash. I tugged the sling out and stooped to gather stones. Imagining myself David, I threw my shoulders back and rolled the stones in my hand. Seeing their startled faces when one of these rocks bounced off their forehead would do my heart good.

But there would be no rocks to the head this day, I thought with a sigh. No matter how angry they made me, there was little I could do. On Mt. Sinai, the Lord gave Moshe the stone tablets containing the Law which commanded, Thou shalt not commit murder. The boys had nothing to fear and they knew it. Gavriel and Simeon could throw things, call me names, and torment me without fear of retaliation.

“Go sweep floors, little maiden,” Simeon hollered. “Comb wool, weave cloth, bake loaves.”

“Perhaps you should go to Jerusalem and apprentice yourself to a fuller.”

Simeon’s head snapped back. His eyes popped open wide.

Beside him, Gavriel snickered at the idea of seeing his friend removing lanolin from wool cloth by plodding knee-deep in a vat of stale urine.

Simeon’s face reddened.

Gavriel’s snickers became laughs. They grew louder until he doubled over, holding his sides and choking.

“Go away! You do not belong here,” Simeon shouted. He stuck out his tongue and did a little dance, daring me to do something about it.

“Do too belong here. I am tending my flock.” The smooth stone slid between my thumb and fingers.

Where to hit him?

“Sheep are for shepherds.” He gestured toward his loins. “Shepherds. Understand little girl?” He spat on the ground, clearing his mouth of the despicable word girl.

“There are shepherds and there are shepherdesses, you evil little boy. Take a look. What do you see? A shepherdess with her flock. Now go away, you are making the sheep anxious.”

A rock to where he pointed would give him good reason to dance. I gritted my teeth in frustration. Not only did Yahweh’s law rule my life, but Abba’s did as well. My father would never approve of me hitting a boy in the loins with a stone.

Abba’s stern voice echoed in the back of my mind. “Rivkah, my little dove, will you never learn? A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger. Do not fight with the boys. Exhibit the comely behavior and feminine demeanor befitting a daughter of Avraham.”

Easy enough for him to say.

“There is no such thing as a shepherdess,” Gavriel hollered.

I shook my fist at him. “Did an unclean spirit turn you into a goy?” He glared at me for calling him a gentile, not that I cared. “What about Laban’s daughters, Leah and Rachel? Have you never heard of Jethro’s seven daughters, of Zipporah the shepherdess and wife of Moshe?”

Behind me the sheep bleated nervously. I ignored them. The boys and their dirt balls not only upset me, they bothered my sheep as well. Sometimes they threw things into the midst of the flock scattering them. It took a lot of effort to chase after those sheep and bring them back together.

We stared daggers at each other across the narrow gully.

I fit a stone into the pouch of my sling and let it dangle at the end of its straps. Shepherds used their slings to drive off small beasts and vermin. Gavriel and Simeon qualified.

Swinging it up in a practiced arc, I whipped it around in a tight circle. The whirling blur above my head buzzed like a hoard of locusts.

The boy’s mouths dropped. They glanced at each other nervously, at me, and then at each other again.

My warning shot smacked the ground in front of their feet, boring into the dry soil and scattering dust over their bare toes.

Gavriel laughed. “Ha! You shoot like a girl, little shepherdess. You would miss the side of a camel if it were standing right in front of you.” He stuck his fingers in the corners of his mouth and made a face.

“May the Lord will your face to remain like that for the rest of your life.”

There were several more stones in my left hand. If they wanted war, war they would get. The boys jumped when they saw me reloading my sling.

But I never threw that second stone.

Shemu’el appeared behind them while they scoured the ground for ammunition. He is three years older than we are, almost twelve and soon to become a man. Shemu’el is tall, and stronger than Gavriel and Simeon put together. And, most importantly, he is my friend. It upsets him when the boys bother me.

They were so busy hunting for rocks, his footsteps went unnoticed.

Taking long strides, he marched up behind them and grabbed each of them by a shoulder.

I grinned when the boys winced and howled as he shook them.

“Go take care of your sheep, you little fools. They are beginning to stray.” He spun them around and gave them a shove.

Today’s battle may have ended, but our war had not. The boys shot me a look that promised revenge, then slunk away.

Shemu’el swung out his staff spanking them as they left. He turned, glanced up at the ridge behind me, and gave a start.

The expression on Shemu’el’s face made my stomach quiver.

He studied the hillside a moment longer, then, quick as a gazelle, leaped the ravine and ran to where I stood. “Look, Rivkah,” he whispered. “A lion.”

Cape Arago Press

North Bend, OR

My Review:
I really enjoyed this! I didn't really know what to expect, but it was different than any small, preconceived notions I had about it.
Rivkah is a spunky, sweet girl who experiences a lot in a short span of time.
She stands up for what she believes even when it's hard.
The only thing that I didn't like was that it's hard to tell how much time has elapsed during chapters etc. It made it a tiny bit hard to follow at times, but the book is still great!