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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

In the Mirror by Kaira Rouda









About the Book:
 
What choices would you make if you knew you might die soon?
From the multi award-winning, best-selling author of four books, including Here, Home, Hope, a gripping and heart wrenching novel about a young mother who has it all. The only problem is she may be dying.
In her previous works including All the Difference, Rouda's characters "sparkle with humor and heart," and the stories are "told with honest insight and humor" (Booklist). "Inspirational and engaging" (ForeWord), these are the novels you'll turn to for strong female characters and an "engaging read" (Kirkus).
In the Mirror is the story of Jennifer Benson, a woman who seems to have it all. Diagnosed with cancer, she enters an experimental treatment facility to tackle her disease the same way she tackled her life - head on. But while she's busy fighting for a cure, running her business, planning a party, staying connected with her kids, and trying to keep her sanity, she ignores her own intuition and warnings from others and reignites an old relationship best left behind.
If you knew you might die, what choices would you make? How would it affect your marriage? How would you live each day? And how would you say no to the one who got away?

For More Information

My Review:
 
This was an emotionally charged book, and even though it wasn't very long, it packed a huge punch.  This book gives a wonderful glimpse of what it would be like to be suffering from a terminal illness, from the perspective of the person suffering and the person's loved ones.  This was a well written book that flowed well.  The only problem I have with the book, is that I want to know more.  I say great job Kaira, I really enjoyed this book, it is one that will stay with me for a while to come.
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
 
About the Author
 
Kaira Rouda is an award-winning and bestselling author of both fiction and nonfiction. Her books include: Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs; Here, Home, Hope; All the Difference; In the Mirror; and the short story, A Mother's Day.  She lives in Southern California with her husband and four children and is at work on her next novel.
Her latest novel is the women’s fiction, In the Mirror.

For More Information

 
Book Excerpt:
 
 
Rolling over to get out of bed, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and cringed. My reflection said it all. Everything had changed.
I looked like death.
I blinked, moving my gaze from the mirror, and noticed the calendar. It was Monday again. That meant everything in the real world. It meant groaning about the morning and getting the kids off to school. It meant struggling to get to the office on time and then forcing yourself to move through the day. It meant the start of something new and fresh and undetermined. But Mondays meant nothing at Shady Valley. We lived in the “pause” world, between “play” and “stop.” Suspension was the toughest part for me. And loneliness. Sure, I had visitors, but it wasn’t the same as being surrounded by people in motion. I’d been on fast-forward in the real world, juggling two kids and my business, struggling to stay connected to my husband, my friends. At Shady Valley, with beige-colored day after cottage-cheese-tasting day, my pace was, well –
I had to get moving.
I supposed my longing for activity was behind my rather childish wish to throw a party for myself. At least it gave me a mission of sorts. A delineation of time beyond what the latest in a long line of cancer treatments dictated. It had been more than 18 months of treatments, doctor’s appointments, hospitalizations and the like. I embraced the solidity of a deadline. The finality of putting a date on the calendar and knowing that at least this, my party, was something I could control.
I noticed the veins standing tall and blue and bubbly atop my pale, bony hands. I felt a swell of gratitude for the snakelike signs of life, the entry points for experimental treatments; without them, I’d be worse than on pause by now.
I pulled my favorite blue sweatshirt over my head and tugged on my matching blue sweatpants.
Moving at last, I brushed my teeth and then headed next door to Ralph’s. He was my best friend at Shady Valley—a special all-suite, last-ditch-effort experimental facility for the sick and dying—or at least he had been until I began planning my party. I was on his last nerve with this, but he’d welcome the company, if not the topic. He was paused too.
 My thick cotton socks helped me shuffle across my fake wood floor, but it was slow going once I reached the grassy knoll—the leaf-green carpet that had overgrown the hallway. An institutional attempt at Eden, I supposed. On our good days, Ralph and I sometimes sneaked my son’s plastic bowling set out there to partake in vicious matches. We had both been highly competitive, type-A people in the “real” world and the suspended reality of hushed voices and tiptoeing relatives was unbearable at times.
“I’ve narrowed it down to three choices,” I said, reaching Ralph’s open door. “’Please come celebrate my life on the eve of my death. RSVP immediately. I’m running out of time.’”
“Oh, honestly,” Ralph said, rolling his head back onto the pillows propping him up. I knew my time in Shady Valley was only bearable because of this man, his humanizing presence. Even though we both looked like shadows of our outside, real-world selves, we carried on a relationship as if we were healthy, alive. I ignored the surgery scars on his bald, now misshapen head. He constantly told me I was beautiful. It worked for us.  
“Too morbid? How about: ‘Only two months left. Come see the incredible, shrinking woman. Learn diet secrets of the doomed,’” I said, smiling then, hoping he’d join in.
“Jennifer, give it a rest would you?” Ralph said.
“You don’t have to be so testy. Do you want me to leave?” I asked, ready to retreat back to my room.
“No, come in. Let’s just talk about something else, OK, beautiful?”
Ralph was lonely, too. Friends from his days as the city’s most promising young investment banker had turned their backs—they didn’t or couldn’t make time for his death. His wife, Barbara, and their three teenage kids were his only regular visitors. Some days, I felt closer to Ralph than to my own family, who seemed increasingly more absorbed in their own lives despite weekly flowers from Daddy and dutiful visits from Henry, my husband of six years. Poor Henry. It was hard to have meaningful visits at Shady Valley, with nurses and treatments and all manner of interruptions. We still held hands and kissed, but intimacy—even when I was feeling up to it—was impossible.
So, there we were, Ralph and I, two near-death invalids fighting for our lives and planning a party to celebrate that fact. It seemed perfectly reasonable, at least to me, because while I knew I should be living in the moment, the future seemed a little hazy without a party to focus on.
“Seriously, I need input on my party invitations. It’s got to be right before I hand it over to Mother. I value your judgment, Ralph; is that too much to ask?”
“For God’s sake, let me see them.” Ralph snatched the paper out of my hand. After a moment, he handed it back to me. “The last one’s the best. The others are too, well, self-pitying and stupid. Are you sure you can’t just have a funeral like the rest of us?”
I glared at him, but agreed, “That’s my favorite, too.”
Mr. & Mrs. E. David Wells
request your presence at a
celebration in honor of their daughter
Jennifer Wells Benson
Please see insert for your party time
Shady Valley Center
2700 Hocking Ridge Road
RSVP to Mrs. Juliana Duncan Wells
No gifts please—donations to breast cancer research appreciated.
#
 At first, I had been incredibly angry about the cancer. Hannah’s birth, so joyous, had marked the end of my life as a “normal” person. Apparently, it happened a lot. While a baby’s cells multiplied, the mom’s got into the act, mutating, turning on each other. Hannah was barely two weeks old when I became violently ill. My fever was 105 degrees when we arrived in the ER. I think the ER doctors suspected a retained placenta or even some sort of infectious disease, although I was so feverish I can’t remember much from that time. All I remember was the feeling of being cut off from my family—Henry, two-year-old Hank, and newborn Hannah—and marooned on the maternity ward, a place for mothers-to-be on bed rest until their due dates. That was hell.
At 33, I was a pathetic sight. My headache was so intense the curtains were drawn at all times. I didn’t look pregnant anymore, so all the nurses thought my baby had died. That first shift tip-toed around me, murmuring. By the second night, one of them posted a sign: “The baby is fine. Mother is sick.” It answered their questions since I couldn’t. It hurt my head too much to try.
By the third day, my headache had receded to a dull roar. Surgery revealed that there was no retained placenta after all. I was ready to go home to my newborn and my life. So with a slight fever and no answers, I escaped from the hospital and went home to a grateful Henry and a chaotic household. I was weak and tired, but everyone agreed that was to be expected. I thanked God for the millionth time for two healthy kids and my blessed, if busy, life.
And then, not two weeks later, I found the lump.
 
 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin

About the book: Bold, sophisticated, and flirtatious, Army Air Force flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, leaving men pining in airfields all across Europe. So how can ruggedly handsome C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper be all but immune to her considerable charms? In fact, he seems to do everything he can to avoid her.

Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer to where they don't want to go.
Can they confront the fears and misunderstandings in their pasts?
 
Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/zt6iH 
 
My Review:
 
This book was okay.  I didn't connect with the characters in this story as I did with the characters in the book On Distant Shores.  This series tells the stories of the flight nurses in Army Air Force during World War II.  This is the story of Kay and Roger.  I have only read On Distant Shores in this series, and Kay and Roger were both minor characters in that story.  I just didn't enjoy their story as much as the story of Georgie and Hutch.  The writing was superb and I liked the setting, as I enjoy stories about WWII.  As always, there was a great faith element in this book and it showed that GOD forgives anyone and that his salvation is for everyone.  If you are interested in WWII and enjoy good faith-based books, then this is the book for you.
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
 
About the author: Sarah Sundin is the author of With Every Letter and the Wings of Glory series. In 2011, A Memory Between Us was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards, and Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist's mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.

Find Sarah online: website, Facebook, Twitter
 
 
Don't miss Sarah Sundin's hot-off-the-press novel, In Perfect Time. Publishers Weekly gives it an enthusiastic thumbs up: “Sundin excels at well-researched historical detail . . . with such accurate depictions of culture and setting that we are fully immersed in the times as well as in the story. The strength of relationships forged in war and the apprehension of God in times of trouble infuse this well-crafted novel with substance and light.”



perfecttime-400-click
Sarah is celebrating the release of her book with a fun giveaway!





One grand prize winner will receive:


  • A Kindle HDX
  • The Wings of the Nightingale Series (With Every Letter, On Distant Shores, and In Perfect Time)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 24th. Winner will be announced August 25th at Sarah's blog.



Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Sarah's blog on the 25th to see if you won! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

Murder at the Breakers by Alyssa Maxwell

Murder at the Breakers (Gilded Newport Mysteries #1)  Pictures, synopsis and author info from Goodreads

Newport, Rhode Island, August 1895: She may be a less well-heeled relation, but as second cousin to millionaire patriarch Cornelius Vanderbilt, twenty-one-year-old Emma Cross is on the guest list for a grand ball at the Breakers, the Vanderbilts’ summer home. She also has a job to do—report on the event for the society page of the Newport Observer.

But Emma observes much more than glitz and gaiety when she witnesses a murder. The victim is Cornelius Vanderbilt’s financial secretary, who plunges off a balcony faster than falling stock prices. Emma’s black sheep brother Brady is found in Cornelius’s bedroom passed out next to a bottle of bourbon and stolen plans for a new railroad line. Brady has barely come to before the police have arrested him for the murder. But Emma is sure someone is trying to railroad her brother and resolves to find the real killer at any cost…


My Review:

This was a very well written novel that kept my attention throughout.  I really liked the character, Emma, she never gave up, even after being threatened.  This story gives a good glimpse into the lives of Newport, RI society in late 19th century.  This was a great mystery that kept me guessing till the very end, which is what I like in a good mystery.  I liked the setting of the novel and look forward to reading more in this series.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Alyssa Maxwell

Alyssa Maxwell began a love affair with the city of Newport while visiting friends there back in her high school days. Time and again the harbor‑side, gas‑lit neighborhoods drew her to return, and on one of those later visits she met the man who would become her husband. Always a lover of history, Alyssa found that marrying into a large, generations‑old Newport family opened up an exciting new world of historical discovery. From the graveyards whose earliest markers read from the seventeenth century, to original colonial houses still lived in today, to the Newport Artillery Company whose curator for many years was her husband’s grandfather, Newport became a place of fascination and romantic charm. Today, Alyssa and her husband reside beneath the palms and bright skies of Florida, but part of her heart remains firmly in that small New England city of great significance, a microcosm of American history spanning from before the Revolution through the Civil War, the Industrial Age, the Gilded Age, and beyond.

https://www.facebook.com/alyssa.Maxwell

Remains of Innocence by J. A. Jance Book Spotlight

Remains of Innocence


by J.A. Jance

on Tour August 2014





Tour Info:


Book Formats: Print Only

Hosting Options: Review or Showcase

Giveaway: 1 Physical Book for each Reviewing Host

Series: Joanna Brady #16 (Stand Alone)

Additional Info:










Book Details:


Genre: Mystery/Detective

Published by: William Morrow

Publication Date: July 22nd 2014

Number of Pages: 400

ISBN: 0062134701 (ISBN13: 9780062134707)

Purchase Links:



Synopsis:

Sheriff Joanna Brady must solve two perplexing cases that may be tied together in New York Times bestselling author J. A. Jance’s thrilling tale of suspense that brings to life Arizona’s Cochise County and the desert Southwest in all its beauty and mystery.

An old woman, a hoarder, is dying of emphysema in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In cleaning out her house, her daughter, Liza Machett, discovers a fortune in hundred dollar bills hidden in the tall stacks of books and magazines that crowd every corner.

Tracing the money’s origins will take Liza on a journey that will end in Cochise County, where Sheriff Joanna Brady is embroiled in a personal mystery of her own. A man she considers a family friend is found dead at the bottom of a hole in a limestone cavern near Bisbee. And now there is the mystery of Liza and the money. Are the two disparate cases connected? It’s up to Joanna to find out.




Author Bio:

A voracious reader, J. A. Jance knew she wanted to be a writer from the moment she read her first Wizard of Oz book in second grade. Always drawn to mysteries, from Nancy Drew right through John D. McDonald's Travis Magee series, it was only natural that when she tried her hand at writing her first book, it would be a mystery as well.
J. A. Jance went on to become the New York Times bestselling author of the J. P. Beaumont series, the Joanna Brady series, three interrelated thrillers featuring the Walker family, and Edge of Evil. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.

Catch Up With the Author:








Friday, August 15, 2014

The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani



 
 
 
 

 
About the book:In The Supreme Macaroni Company, Adriana Trigiani transports readers from the cobblestone streets of Greenwich Village to lush New Orleans to Italy and back again while exploring the tricky dynamics between Old World craftsmanship and New World ambition, all amid a passionate love affair that fuels one woman's determination to have it all.

For over a hundred years, the Angelini Shoe Company in Greenwich Village has relied on the leather produced by Vechiarelli & Son in Tuscany. This ancient business partnership provides the twist of fate for Valentine Roncalli, the schoolteacher turned shoemaker, to fall in love with Gianluca Vechiarelli, a tanner with a complex past . . . and a secret.

But after the wedding celebrations are over, Valentine wakes up to the hard reality of juggling the demands of a new business and the needs of her new family. Confronted with painful choices, Valentine remembers the wise words that inspired her in the early days of her beloved Angelini Shoe Company: "A person who can build a pair of shoes can do just about anything." Now the proud, passionate Valentine is going to fight for everything she wants and savor all she deserves—the bitter and the sweet of life itself.

Romantic and poignant, told with humor and warmth, and bursting with a cast of endearing characters, The Supreme Macaroni Company is a sumptuous feast of delights: an unforgettable narrative about family, work, romance, and the unexpected turns of life and fate.
 
My Review:
 
If you haven't read any of Adriana's work, then don't start with this book.  I was a little lost because I never read the other two in this trilogy.  I have read Adriana's work before, and enjoyed it.  I didn't really connect with this book.  I didn't care for the characters.  The settings were good and he writing was great, but I just didn't enjoy the story or the people in it.  Adriana is a great author, so definitely read one of her other books first, and I would also suggest that you read the other two in this trilogy also. 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
 


About the author:
Adriana Trigiani is an award-winning playwright, television writer, and documentary filmmaker. Her books include the New York Times bestseller The Shoemaker's Wife; the Big Stone Gap series; Very Valentine; Brava, Valentine; Lucia, Lucia; and the bestselling memoir Don't Sing at the Table, as well as the young adult novels Viola in Reel Life and Viola in the Spotlight. She wrote the screenplay for Big Stone Gap, which she also directed. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

Connect with Adriana here: adrianatrigiani.com
Twitter: @adrianatrigiani
Facebook: facebook.com/adrianatrigiani


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Secrets of Hallstead House by Amy Reade






Title: Secrets of Hallstead House
Author: Amy M. Reade
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp.
Pages: 255
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format: Kindle
Purchase at AMAZON


About the Book:

 

“You are not wanted here. Go away from Hallstead Island or you will be very sorry you stayed.”

 

Macy Stoddard, a nurse from Manhattan, comes to Hallstead Island in the North Country of New York to escape a haunting pain.  It is here that Macy discovers secrets that were not meant to be shared – secrets that reach back into Macy’s past and that will change her future and the futures of the people on Hallstead Island.  There are those, however, who will stop at nothing to keep the secrets that are hidden there

For More Information


 
My Review:
 
This was an amazing first novel by Amy Reade.  Once I started it, I almost, literally, could not put it down.  It kept my attention from the moment I started it, till the chilling ending.  This book was very well written and that made it very easy to read.  It was set in a great place and the descriptions were wonderful.  It was also filled with believable characters.  If you are looking for a suspenseful read that reminds you of Victoria Holt or Phyllis Whitney, then this is the book for you.  Great job Amy, I am anxiously awaiting your next novel!
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
 
 
    About the Author
     
    Amy M. Reade is a debut author of romantic suspense.  A native of upstate New York, she grew up in the Thousand Islands region and was inspired by the natural beauty of that area to write her first novel, Secrets of Hallstead House.  She now lives in New Jersey with her husband, three children, a Bouvier des Flandres named Orly, and two rescued cats who refuse to answer to their names of Porthos and Athos.
     
    Having practiced law in New York City, Amy soon discovered that her dream job was writing.  In addition to volunteering with school, church, and community groups, Amy is currently working on her second novel, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, set in the area around Charleston, South Carolina.
     
    Though Amy lives within sight of the Atlantic Ocean, she is partial to the blue waters of the Pacific and spends as much time as possible on the Big Island of Hawaii, which is the setting of her as-yet-unwritten third novel.
     
    For More Information

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Clam Wake by Mary Daheim


Clam Wake


by Mary Daheim






Book Details:


Genre: Mystery

Published by: William Morrow

Publication Date: 8/12/2014

Number of Pages: 240

ISBN: 9780062317728

Purchase Links:




Synopsis:

Innkeeper and irrepressible sleuth Judith McMonigle Flynn and cousin Renie face off against a cold-blooded killer in a beach community in this delightfully charming Bed-and-Breakfast mystery from USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Mary Daheim.
With the holidays gone and Hillside Manor almost empty, Innkeeper Judith McMonigle Flynn has a bad case of the blues. A housesitting stint at her aunt and uncle’s retirement home on Whoopee Island with cousin Renie seems like the ideal pick-me-up. Surrounded by retirees in the off-season sounds peaceful and pleasant--or so the duo thinks. But it isn’t long before a dead body pops up in their vicinity. Not surprising in an area full of older folks—until they learn it wasn’t a bad ticker that did in the victim, but a very sharp knife. With clouds of suspicion hovering over her and Renie, Judith reluctantly begins sleuthing—if only to prove they didn’t commit the crime.

But what she finds is puzzling. The victim reputedly didn’t have an enemy in the world--except for the killer. Digging for clams and answers, the cousins discover that retirement can be deadly—at least among the eclectic, eccentric residents of Obsession Shores.

My Review:

Well, Mary has done it again.  I love the Bed and Breakfast Mystery Series and I love Judith and Renie.  This is probably one of my favorite series of cozy mysteries.  This book did not disappoint me.  Judith and Renie continue to get themselves into some sticky and often times funny situations.  This cozy kept my attention from the time I started it, till I finished it.  It was fast paced and kept me guessing till the end, and the ending is something totally unexpected, so a grab a copy so you can find out what Judith and Renie are up to now.  Great job, as always, Mary.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.


Author Bio:

Seattle native Mary Richardson Daheim lives three miles from the house where she was raised. From her dining nook she can see the maple tree in front of her childhood home. Mary isn’t one for change when it comes to geography. Upon getting her journalism degree from the University of Washington (she can see the campus from the dining nook, too), she went to work for a newspaper in Anacortes WA. Then, after her marriage to David Daheim, his first college teaching post was in Port Angeles where she became a reporter for the local daily. Both tours of small-town duty gave her the background for the Alpine/Emma Lord series.

Mary spent much of her non-fiction career in public relations (some would say PR is fiction, too). But ever since she learned how to read and write, Mary wanted to tell stories that could be put between book covers (e-readers were far into the future and if she hadn’t seen her daughter’s iPad, she might not know they exist). Thus, she began her publishing career with the first of seven historical romances before switching to mysteries in 1991. If Mary could do the math, she’d know how many books she’s published. Since she can’t, she estimates the total is at least 55. Or something. See below—count ‘em if you can.

At the time of her husband and mentor’s death in February 2010, David and Mary had been married for over 43 years. They have three daughters, Barbara, Katherine and Magdalen, and two granddaughters, Maisy and Clara. They all live in Seattle, too. Those apples don’t move far from the tree…literally.


Catch Up With the Author:




Tour Participants:




Mission to Murder by Lynn Cahoon, Review and Guest Post






Mission to Murder
(A Tourist Trap Mystery)

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Release Date: July 31, 2014
Kensington Publishing
230 Pages
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Synopsis
In the California coastal town of South Cove, history is one of its many tourist attractions—until it becomes deadly…
Jill Gardner, proprietor of Coffee, Books, and More, has discovered that the old stone wall on her property might be a centuries-old mission worthy of being declared a landmark. But Craig Thomas, the obnoxious owner of South Cove’s most popular tourist spot, The Castle, makes it his business to contest her claim. When Thomas is found murdered at The Castle shortly after a heated argument with Jill, even her detective boyfriend has to ask her for an alibi. Jill decides she must find the real murderer to clear her name. But when the killer comes for her, she’ll need to jump from historic preservation to self-preservation …
 
 
My Review:
 
I really enjoyed this book, it kept my attention from the time I started reading till I finished it.  It is a fast read that flows well.  The writing in this book is superb and it is filled with likable and realistic characters.  I also liked the setting of this book, as I love settings that are by the ocean and the beach.  This is the first book by Lynn Cahoon that I have read, but it won't be my last as I have her first book in this series in my TBR pile.  If you are looking for a fast-paced, page-turner that will keep you guessing till the end, then this is the book for you. 
 
Great job, Lynn.  I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
 


About This Author
USA Today and New York Times, best-selling author, Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho native. If you’d visit the town where she grew up, you’d understand why her mysteries and romance novels focus around the depth and experience of small town life. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and four fur babies.
Goodreads -http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5857424.Lynn_Cahoon
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/LynnCahoon
Facebook -https://www.facebook.com/LynnCahoonAuthor
Websitehttp://lynncahoon.wordpress.com/
Amazon author pagehttp://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Cahoon/e/B0082PWOAO/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Purchase Links:
AMAZON            B&N

Excerpt –
Some people like to hear their own voice. That jewel of wisdom hit me as I filled the coffee carafes for the third time. As chamber liaison, I’d volunteered my shop, Coffee, Books, and More, to serve as semi-permanent host site for South Cove’s Business Basics meeting. The early morning meeting was scheduled to run from seven to nine but the clock over the coffee bar showed it was already twenty minutes past. With more items to cover on the agenda, we’d be ordering lunch, maybe dinner, before the end.
All because the newest committee member, Josh Thomas, owner of the new antiques store down the street, had issues. He didn’t like the agenda, the city’s promotion plan, and he especially didn’t like the fact the city didn’t have a formal animal control office. These subjects were not part of the regular list of discussion topics for the eclectic mix of owners of gift shops, art galleries, inns, and restaurants. I usually loved feeling the creative energy and listening to wacky ideas members brought to the table. Today, the meeting droned on and I couldn’t wait for it to end.
“I wonder why he even moved here,” Aunt Jackie fake-whispered to me as she sliced a second cheesecake. “He hates everything.”
“Hush.” I elbowed my aunt, trying to quiet her.
“Jill Gardner, don’t tell me you weren’t thinking the same thing.” She started plating out the cheesecake.
A couple of the council members snickered, and Josh’s face turned a deeper red than normal. His wide girth barely fit into the black suit he wore. From what I could tell, he wore the same threadbare suit every day. Watching the buttons on his off-white shirt, I worried one would pop off each time he took a labored breath.
“As I was saying, we must press the police department to deal with felonious teenagers running the streets.” Josh didn’t acknowledge he’d heard Jackie, a tactic I’ve often used with my aunt. She’s overbearing, opinionated, speaks her mind, and I love her to death.
“There’s no problem.” Sadie Michaels replied, the words harsh and clipped. “There’s not a lot for kids to do around here, so they hang out at the park. They don’t cause problems for local businesses. We’ve raised them better than that.”
“I beg to differ. Craig Morgan, the manager over at The Castle, has caught kids breaking in after-hours. They’ve been having drinking parties, swimming in the pools, and he’s even caught a few couples in the mansion’s bedrooms, doing heavens knows what.” Snickers from the rest of the members floated around the room as Josh wheezed in another breath. “We must stop these criminals before there’s real trouble. The antiques housed at The Castle are priceless.”


Guest Post:


I’m always asked if my characters are based on real people, mostly me.  One friend asked me if I was Aunt Jackie in the Tourist Trap mysteries. (If you haven’t read GUIDEBOOK TO MURDER (yet)– Aunt Jackie is in her seventies and I’m not.) I didn’t un-friend her for asking. J

But there are similarities between Jill and I so I thought I’d set the record straight.

Jill and I share a last name. Or at least we did. Gardner is my maiden name.  I was a Gardner, then a Salisbury, and now a Cahoon. I’m always going to be a Gardner and I’m glad to share the name with my heroine. (I had a fortuneteller ask during a reading if I liked working in the garden, I believe she was picking up on my former name…)

We both love reading. Of course, she owns a book store/coffee shop combo and I work at an administrative job in the automobile industry when I’m not writing stories.  I think Jill got the better of this trait. I’ve always been a reader, or at least since I got glasses in first grade.  I remember being surprised at returning home with my new specs and seeing the kitchen floor had spots on the linoleum.  Yes, I’m blind without my lenses.

We both have an Aunt Jackie who loves to travel. That’s where the similarities stop. Jill’s Aunt Jackie is a character, loving life and, now, tolerating Josh Thomas.  She ran a coffee shop in San Francisco as her EDJ (evil day job.)

OMG, we both love a good potato soup.  Diamond Lille’s has the best loaded potato soup on the central California coastline. I make a mean sausage and potato soup (think Olive Garden knock off) to which I add drop dumplings to the pot.  Yum. A great soup for wintery Saturdays where all you have to do is read.

And sadly, we both fight with naturally curly hair with a mind of it’s own. Although as I age, my hair had become easier to control.

Five ways we’re different?

Jill was a family law lawyer before she cashed in her life savings to open Coffee, Books, and More in South Cove.  I took the LSAT (law school entrance test) then let my ex-husband talk me into going straight into a job with the state.

Jill loves to run. You may see me walking, but if I’m running, call 911 because someone’s chasing me.

I’m more of a thinker than a doer. Jill goes where no (wo)man has dared to go before.  She’s strong and willing to give the shirt off her back for a friend.

Jill manages the council’s Business to Business community partnership.  I started my career in public service, worked in the non-profit field, then in medical services, and now, finally, in private business. 

Jill’s dating a local law enforcement detective – I’ve always been drawn to the bad boy. Nuff said.  J

 


Friday, August 8, 2014

Woman of Courage by Wanda Brunstetter

Woman of Courage  Picture, Synopsis, and author info from Goodreads

Jilted by her fiancé, Amanda Pearson gives up on romance and turns to her Quaker faith for reassurance. She becomes determined to follow the Rev. and Mrs. Spalding into the western wilderness to minister to the Nez Percé Indians.

But a three-thousand-mile journey in 1837 is fraught with danger for anyone, and soon Amanda finds herself recovering from near death in a trapper's cabin. His Indian wife becomes Amanda's first convert--and friend. But the trapper and his intriguing half-Indian friend want nothing to do with Christians.

Buck McFadden has received nothing but pain from white men who claim Christ as their lord. He wants only to be left to his solitary life, but he can't seem to walk away from Amanda.

Amanda fears she'll never reach the mission in the Lapwai Valley. This journey has become life-changing for her--and those she meets--and the choices she must make are almost unbearable.


My Review:

When I started this book I thought, oh I really am not going to enjoy this, but boy was I wrong.  I really don't like books about the west and books about American Indians, but this book was so well written that it was very enjoyable.  I felt like I really connected with the characters and really related to their struggles, and they have many struggles in this book.  I really liked the faith connection of this book.  Even though the characters had extreme problems, most of them still relied on God and didn't turn their backs on Him.  Wanda is such a crafted storyteller and this story flowed so well.  This book goes to show that if you follow God, anything is possible.

Great job Wanda.  I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Wanda E. Brunstetter
A nationally recognized authority on the Amish community, Wanda E. Brunstetter has sold more than seven million copies of her fiction and nonfiction books. Wanda enjoys an uncommon kinship with the Amish and continues to visit their communities throughout the country. Her books have won numerous awards and topped several bestselling charts.