Friday, September 30, 2011

Month in Review: September 2011

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What did I do? 
  • I decided to change my blog URL and ended up losing my 50+ followers. I felt so dumb! Lol! I'm over it now...kinda. 
  • Savanah at Ridiculous Reviews featured me in her 'Every 20th Follower Feature' 
  • I joined the 'September is Read Your Own Books Month' challenge. I chose to do the Giraffe level, which was 4-6 books. I was able to reach 5! 
  • I joined in on the amazingly fun read-along event, Waterfall Wednesdays. It was 5 awesome weeks of discussing Lisa Bergren's fabulous book, WATERFALL. I had a blast and wish it lasted longer =( 
  • I only posted two reviews this month. SO sad! I'll try harder to post more in October. 
Books Read
  • Water's Edge by Robert Whitlow
  • Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin 
  • Conception(Future Savior, Book 1) by Jennifer Hartz 
  • Cascade by Lisa Bergren 
  • Torrent by Lisa Bergren* 
*My Favorite Book of the Month

Books Reviewed (title,author, rating)

Blog Awards Received 


Thanks ladies!





Giveaway Winners
  • Kathy, winner of Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin 
  • Carol, winner of a $10 Amazon Gift Card 

That's my Month in Review. How did your September go?

FIRST Blog Tour: 40 Days to Better Living

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:

Barbour Books (September 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


From the time Scott Morris was just a teenager, he knew he would do two things with his future—serve God and work with people. Growing up in Atlanta, he felt drawn to the Church and at the same time drawn to help others, even from a very young age. It was naturally intrinsic, then, that after completing his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia he went on to receive his M.Div. from Yale University and finally his M.D. at Emory University in 1983.

After completing his residency in family practice, Morris arrived in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1986 without knowing a soul, but determined to begin a health care ministry for the working poor. He promptly knocked on the doors of St. John’s Methodist Church and Methodist Hospital in Memphis inviting them to help, and then found an old house to refurbish and renovate. By the next year, the Church Health Center opened with one doctor—Dr. Scott Morris—and one nurse. They saw twelve patients the first day and Morris began living his mission to reclaim the Church’s biblical commitment to care for our bodies and spirits.

From the beginning, Morris saw each and every patient as a whole person, knowing that without giving careful attention to both the body and soul the person would not be truly well. So nine years after opening the Church Health Center, he opened its Hope & Healing Wellness Center. Today the Church Health Center has grown to become the largest faith-based clinic in the country of its type having cared for 60,000 patients of record without relying on government funding. The clinic handles more than 36,000 patient visits a year while the wellness center, which moved to its current 80,000-square-foot location on Union Avenue in 2000, serves more than 120,000 member visits each year. Fees are charged on a sliding scale based on income.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Millions experience high blood pressure—and 40 Days to Better Living: Hypertension provides clear, manageable steps for you to manage it, through life-changing attitudes and actions. If you’re ready to really live better, select one or more elements of the 7-step Model for Healthy Living—Faith, Medical, Movement, Work, Emotional, Family and Friends, and Nutrition—and follow the 40-day plan to improve your life, just a bit, day by day. With plenty of practical advice, biblical encouragement, and stories of real people who’ve taken the same journey, this book—from the Church Health Center in Memphis, the largest faith-based clinic of its type in the U.S.—may be the most important book you read this year!

The 40 Days to Better Living series offers clear, manageable steps to life-changing attitudes and actions in a context of understanding and grace for all people at all points on the journey to optimal health. With plenty of practical advice, spiritual encouragement, and real stories of those who have found a better life, this simple and skillfully crafted book inspires readers to customize their own path to wellness by using the 7-Step Model for Healthy Living as a guide:

  • Nutrition: pursuing smarter food choices and eating habits

  • Friends and family: giving and receiving support through relationships

  • Emotional life: understanding feelings and managing stress to better care for yourself

  • Work: appreciating your skills, talents, and gifts

  • Movement: discovering ways to enjoy physical activity

  • Medical care: partnering with health care providers to optimize medical care

  • Faith life: building a relationship with God, neighbors, and self

Along with tips from the Model for Healthy Living, the easy-to-read format features a Morning Reflection and an Evening Wrap-Up as well as a place for documenting plans, progress, and perspectives. Targeted scriptures and prayers that undergird the focus of each day’s message make this compact book an excellent choice for a daily devotional.

Subsequent titles in the Better Living series will be released bi-monthly and address key health topics including hypertension, diabetes, depression, weight management, stress management, aging, and addiction. All promise substantial support to those who are ready for a newer, better way of living—body and spirit.





Product Details:

List Price: $7.99
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (September 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616262656
ISBN-13: 978-1616262655

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

























Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Waterfall Wednesdays - Week 5

Waterfall Wednesdays - A Read-Along Event 
Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren 
Discussion 5 - Chapters 24-28
Today's questions hosted by Irresistible Reads

I am so sad Waterfall Wednesdays has come to an end =( Tina sure wasn't kidding when she said the 5 weeks would fly by. I'm gonna miss waiting for Wednesday to come each week and reading everyone's hilarious answers. Hopefully we get to do this again with Cascade and Torrent! I want to thank Lisa Bergren for writing such an amazing series. I just can't get these books outta my head!

After Gabi is injured, the doctor gives her a tonic. Gabi questions the doctor several times what is in it but he refuses to tell. Would have you taken the tonic in Gabi situation?

I probably would have questioned what was in the tonic too. The doctor's refusal to say what was in it would have definitely raised my suspicions, but who knows, maybe the pain from the wound would have made me desperate enough to just gulp that nasty stuff down.

Before the games Gabi asks Lia to let Lord Forabosch win in the archery event as people especially Lord Forabosch are becoming suspicious of them. But during the games Lord Forabosch upsets Lia trying to throw her off her game. So Lia decides to win. Do you think she did the right thing by not letting Lord Forabosch bully her or do you think she took an unnecessary risk? 

I'm not much of a competitive person, but the way Lord Farabosch was taunting Lia would have made me want to show him up even more, too. Yes that whole incident probably added to the danger she and Gabi were already in, but I was glad she took that risk and beat him.

When Gabi is dying and she and Lia decide to return to the tombs so they can get the cure at home but they have to tell Marcello the truth. Even though Marcello thinks that it is madness that they are from the future he believes in Gabi because he loves her. Do you think this is believable? What would you have done if you were Marcello?

Yeah I think it was believable. Marcello knew the girls were different, and given all the unusual things he's already seen from them, it probably made it easier to consider their story as a possibility. Then again, his love and desperation alone were probably enough for him to set all doubts aside and take her to the tomb.

In the end Gabi and Lia return home. Do you think Gabi will return to Marcello? Would you go back?

Oh yeah, she'll be back. Heck yes! If I had a handsome knight who loved me that much waiting on the other side of those hand prints, I'm pretty sure I'd go back. The wimp in me would be screaming STAY and reminding me of all the luxuries of the 21st century, but to have a love as true as theirs, it'd definitely be worth trading a flushing toilet for a chamber pot.

Looking back at Waterfall what was your favourite moment?

There are sooo many to choose from! I loved all the moments between Gabi and Marcello. The kiss, oh that sweet first kiss! *sigh* So romantic! I just love this book so freakin' much! I've read it 3 times already =D

Those are my answers for the last Waterfall Wednesdays! If you wanna join in the discussion this final week, head over to Irresistible Reads and link up your answers!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

FIRST Blog Tour: Cherished

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:


Thomas Nelson (August 30, 2011)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kim Cash Tate was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area. Her mother, a manager with AT&T, and her father, an educator, divorced when she was young. Even after the divorce, one thing her parents agreed on was the importance of education. She attended both public and private Catholic schools, and college was a given. Tate chose the University of Maryland.

After completing her undergraduate degree, she distinguished herself as a law student at George Washington University. She was invited to join the Journal staff, and a summer job at a respected law firm in her beloved Washington, D.C. followed by a one-year clerkship with a federal judge in Madison.

Tate’s law career took off in Madison. Once the clerkship ended, she was hired on at a large firm. In spite of her success, she was plagued by constant feelings of discontentment and loneliness for the racially diverse environment she left behind in D.C. She began seeking faith, simply as a means of maintaining sanity. After she and Bill married, the couple began attending a local AME church, and they both felt Jesus calling.

When her children were young, Tate left her thriving law career to stay home. A passionate and persuasive communicator, she tried her hand at writing. More Christian than African-American shares her story of finding her identity in Christ rather than in her race, which had been a major focus for her. Her first novel was Heavenly Places, followed by Faithful and her newest release, Cherished. Tate was a speaker for Women of Faith in both 2010 and 2011.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Kim Cash Tate explores Psalm 103:12 as she takes her readers down the path to God’s forgiveness and reconciliation in her newest novel, Cherished. Readers will discover that God can still use them in spite of their worst choices. And He doesn’t just forgive them, but they are truly cherished!

Tate’s story will show her readers how God can bring beauty from ashes. She has a unique way of weaving her characters’ lives together, leading back to one great point—God’s tremendous mercy and grace. In the words of one of her characters, “I wasn’t sure what to expect. I felt like it would take a while to work my way back into God’s good graces, but it was like…”—she flung wide her arms—“…He just embraced me.” We too can be embraced by the same great love when we learn that true forgiveness for ALL of our sins is right before us.

Growing up in Saint Louis, Kelli London dreamed of becoming a songwriter and glorifying God with her songs of praise. But after falling into sin, she walks away from her dreams. Heather Anderson’s life has spun out of control—first an affair with a married man and then a one-night stand with the drummer of a popular Christian band. Broken and alone, she discovers the only one who can save her. Brian Howard grew up as a science geek. But after making the worst mistake of his life after high school, he finds forgiveness in Christ and is being led down a completely different path. Now he must choose whether to continue pursuing his PhD in biochemistry or to become a full time Christian rapper.





Product Details:

List Price: $15.99
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (August 30, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595548556
ISBN-13: 978-1595548559

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Kelli London took her place on the piano bench and waited for her cue, grateful that her jittery hands were hidden from the crowd. She shouldn’t have agreed to do this, but she loved her brother and had never seen him happier. How could she say no to singing at his wedding?

But it was the song Cedric had asked her to sing, one he’d heard only by chance. He had no idea what it meant to her. He didn’t know that singing it would unleash memories of the last person she ever wanted to think about.
Laughter rose from the pews, and Kelli looked up, wondering what she’d missed.
“. . . and I’m sure Cedric wants me to get to the vows ASAP,” Pastor Lyles was saying, “so they can get to that kiss they’ve been waiting for.”
Kelli had only met the pastor once before, at her brother Lindell’s wedding last fall, but it didn’t take long to love his spirit and his style. A black man in his late fifties, he’d started Living Word Community Church decades ago and watched it grow into a multi-ethnic megachurch. At least a couple hundred members were here today. Kelli guessed none of them thought twice about the various hues and accents that had gathered to see this black couple wed. She loved that spirit too.

Cedric was shaking his head with a shamefaced grin as the pastor called him out. Cyd was smiling up at him, gorgeous, beaming like the bright light she’d become in Cedric’s life.

Pastor Lyles continued. “But I don’t think he’ll mind one last song, and it’s a special one, written by his sister.”

Kelli drew a deep breath as Cedric and Cyd smiled over at her, Lindell and Stephanie too—the flip side of last fall. Then Stephanie and Lindell were the bride and groom, and Cyd and Cedric were maid of honor and best man, which was how they met. Kelli loved the story, how Cyd turned forty on her younger sister’s wedding day, thinking she’d never marry herself. Now here she was—a June bride. It was romantic that her brothers would now be married to sisters, but it somehow added to her melancholy, that each of them had found the love of his life.

Kelli gazed at the piano keys, and knowing they had to, her fingers tapped the first notes. She fought to stay in the moment, in the church. Her eyes swept Cyd and Cedric, imagined the lyrics were just for them . . .
I will love you till the stars don’t shine

And I will love you till the oceans run dry

I will love you till you know every why

I will, I will

Her eyes closed, and he was there. A shiver of remembrance danced down her arms. She could still see that distant look in his eyes, could even hear him, that tone of indifference that echoed forever in her head. Kelli opened her eyes to capture another image—any image—but he was everywhere now. And her heart allowed itself to be crushed all over again.
I will love you like an endless stream

A million miles won’t take your heart from me

I will love you every breath you breathe

I will, I will

Almost to the bridge, Kelli could feel her emotions cresting with the song. She closed her eyes again as they took over, filling her voice, magnifying her range, powering her through. She played the final chords with the salt of tears on her lips and bowed her head at the last note . . . and heard—applause? She looked out and saw the guests on their feet and Cedric and Cyd fully turned, facing her—Cyd wiping tears from her cheeks. With her own anxiety about singing it, Kelli hadn’t given thought to whether people might actually like the song.

She pulled a tissue from the box atop the piano, dabbed her cheeks, and blew her nose, then muscled a heart-heavy smile to acknowledge everyone’s kindness. When she moved back to the front pew beside her mother, only then did the guests stop clapping and sit.

“When did you write that?” her mother asked, patting her thigh. “That was beautiful.”
“Thanks, Mom. I wrote it . . . a long time ago.”

She turned her gaze to the ceremony, her heart beating a little faster still, puzzled by the response to the song. It coaxed a different memory to the surface, and as Cyd and Cedric exchanged vows, Kelli thought about her long-ago dream of writing music that God would somehow use. Then the better part of her brain kicked in,

reminding her that she’d left songwriting behind, that she knew better than to dream.
That all those dreams had turned to dust.

“Kelli! Girrrl . . .”
Kelli looked up—midpivot in the Electric Slide—and saw Stephanie threading her way through the line dancers in her champagne-colored dress. Soon as the song started, it seemed everybody left tables and mingled to claim a spot on the parquet floor. Kelli waved her sister-in-law over.

“I’ve been looking for you.” Stephanie scooted between Kelli and Devin, a nine-year-old cousin, as rows of people sidestepped to the right. “I haven’t had a chance to tell you . . . girl, you sang that song. I had no idea—hold up, am I doing this right?” She was headed a different direction from everyone else. “Why am I even

out here? I hate this stupid dance.”

Kelli laughed. “Back, Steph. We’re going back.”

“Oh.” Stephanie checked Devin to get in sync, then leaned her head Kelli’s way again, her voice elevated. “Anyway, I told Lindell I couldn’t believe he didn’t tell me about that song, ’cause I would’ve had you sing it at our wedding. And he said he’d never heard it . . . and then I couldn’t believe that.”
“I know. Crazy, right? This way, Steph. Pivot left.”

Stephanie was behind her now, and Kelli turned to make sure she was following, but Devin had it under control.

Like a traffic cop, he moved his hands left, then right to direct her which way to go next. “And pivot,” he announced, to the amusement of those around them.
Side by side with Stephanie again, Kelli continued. “Lindell and Cedric had already moved out of the house by the time I started writing songs in high school, so it was easy to kind of keep my music to myself.” She shrugged. “Cedric overheard it because I didn’t know he was there.”
“Hmph,” Stephanie said. “If I had that kind of talent, everybody would know about it. They’d have to tell me to be quiet.”

The music switched, and they could hear people near the center of the floor cheering, “Go, Cyd! Go, Cedric! Go, Cyd! Go, Cedric!”

Kelli and Stephanie craned their necks, moving toward the action.

“Oh, goodness,” Stephanie said, laughing. “Look at your brother. He’s at it again.”
Kelli laughed too, remembering Cedric and Cyd on the dance floor at Stephanie and Lindell’s reception. Now the two had cut a wide swath in the middle of the floor with a different line dance, this one a little livelier.

Kelli and Stephanie worked their way to a spot in the inner circle.

“Have you seen this version?” Stephanie asked.

Kelli nodded. “But you know Cedric’s gonna add his own twist.”

Instead of a simple sidestep, Cedric led Cyd in bouncy moves to the left, with a slide before going right. And instead of a normal pivot, they did some kind of kick, kick, turn—with Cedric twirling Cyd into a two-step before moving back to the line dance, all of it seamless. The crowd was fired up.
After a couple of rounds, Cedric spotted Kelli and pulled her to the center.
“I don’t know if you can hang with a twenty-five-year-old, big brother.” Although Cedric was a fit forty-two, Kelli didn’t miss an opportunity to tease him about his age. “I’d hate to embarrass you in front of your guests.”
“Oh, you got jokes? We’ll see about that, baby sis.”

Cyd led the cheers this time as Kelli whipped some different moves on him. Cedric paused, then mimicked every last one to let her know she couldn’t show him up. Lindell dragged Stephanie out there—literally—and Kelli was in stitches watching them try to copy what she and Cedric were doing. Soon everyone on the

floor had joined in again, and then the music switched to Motown, which got its own cheers.
Cedric draped one arm around Kelli and the other around Cyd and led them off the floor. They stopped at the bridal party table, which had emptied of all but Dana, one of Cyd’s bridesmaids.

“Why aren’t you on the dance floor?” Cedric asked. “We need all the forty-and-over folk representing.”

Dana glared at him. “Let’s see how well you ‘represent’ with some heels on. My feet are killing me.” Then she nodded toward the dance floor. “My husband left me. He’s out there with the kids. And last I saw, Scott wasn’t representing too well either. He looked almost as bad as Stephanie with that Electric Slide.”

“I heard that, Dana,” Stephanie said, walking up with Lindell. “I could learn the dumb dance if I cared to. And since you’re trying to clown me, I might do it just to keep my black rhythm points. Can’t have a white guy showing me up.”

Dana got a kick out of that, laughing as auburn wisps fell about her face. “How about a white girl? Let’s tell the deejay to play it again and see who’s got it.”
Stephanie eased into a seat. “Uh, no thanks. I always told you, you’re one of those black white girls. You can go on the dance floor.”

Dana eyed the dancers out there. “Well, pray for Mackenzie. I think the poor thing takes after Scott. Look at them.”

Kelli’s heart was smiling. Because she lived out of state, she didn’t know these women well—not even her sisters-in-law—but from her brief interactions, including last night’s rehearsal dinner, she could tell she would like them.
Cyd pulled out a chair and sat, her beautiful gown, passed down from her mother, swishing over the sides. “Ahh . . . think I can get away with sitting like this for maybe five minutes?”

Cedric massaged her shoulders. “You’re good. The Jackson Five’s got everybody occupied.”
Dana touched Kelli’s arm. “The bridal table was talking about you earlier.”
“Me? Why?” Kelli took a seat.

“Are you kidding? That song. It was beautiful.”

Kelli blushed. “Thank you.”
“That’s my little sister.” Cedric beamed.

“Mine too!” Lindell said, giving her shoulder a squeeze. “So proud of you, girl.” He looked at the others. “Just got her master’s too, from UT–Austin.”
“I heard,” Dana said. “Is your degree in music?”

Kelli shook her head. “One’s in communications and the other’s in public relations.”
“Wow, two?” Dana nodded. “That’s awesome.”

“Well . . . not really. Just means I didn’t know what I wanted to do.” Kelli didn’t mind admitting it. “But I’m done being a professional student. I’m looking for a job now—”

“—in Texas.” Cedric’s tone made clear what he thought of that. “What part of Texas?” Stephanie asked. “Are you trying to stay in Austin?”

“I’ve been looking at possibilities in Austin and Houston . . .and Dallas.”
“Mostly Dallas, I’d bet,” Cedric said. “That’s where her boyfriend is.” He looked around playfully. “Where is he anyway? I wanted to meet him, see if he measures up. What’s his name? Miller?”

Kelli smirked at her big brother. “Miles. Miles Reed. He wanted to meet you all too, but he had a conflict.”

“I’m sure we’ll get another opportunity,” Cedric said, “if I can get you to move back to St. Louis.”

Cyd perked up. “Ooh, Kelli, I’d love that. Any chance?”

“I . . . doubt it.” Kelli hedged to be polite; her mind had said a fast no. She hadn’t lived in St. Louis since she left for college, and the distance had been good. Her mother had relocated to Little Rock to care for her mother, so Kelli had gone there on school breaks.

“How’s the job market in Texas?” Cedric asked. “Improved any?”

Cedric knew the answer perfectly well. He was a VP at a head-hunting firm. He’d made some calls for her, but nothing had materialized.

“Not exactly,” Kelli admitted. “I’ve been looking since early in the year, and, well . . . it’s nearing the end of June.”

Lindell rubbed his chin. “I’m thinking you can be unemployed in St. Louis just as well as in Austin.”

Cedric gave a big nod to his brother. “Better than in Austin. In St. Louis, you can be unemployed and hang out with your brothers.”
Cyd raised a hand. “And sisters. Don’t forget about us.”

“All of us,” Dana said. “We’d love to plug you into Daughters’ Fellowship.”

“What’s that?” Kelli asked.

“It started years ago with Dana, Phyllis, and me.” Cyd pointed toward the dance floor at her other bridesmaid. “Real informal. We’d do potluck and talk about—sometimes cry about—what God was doing in our lives. Stephanie crashed the party last year.” Cyd smiled at her younger sister. “It’s evolved into kind of a Bible study/gabfest.”

“Emphasis on gab,” Cedric said. “Amazing how two hours can turn into five—every single time. You’d think you’d run out of things to talk about.”
“Now, now, brother,” Lindell said, “don’t exaggerate. I think it was four and a half hours last time.”

Cedric and Lindell shared a laugh as the women pounced.

“We’re praying too, you know,” Dana said. “Getting that fuel we need to be the best we can be.”

“Lindell knows.” Stephanie gave him the eye. “I left the house with an attitude before that last meeting. Came back changed. Didn’t I?”

Lindell threw up his hands. “Hey, I’m not complaining. I might be the biggest DF fan at the table. Stephanie’s not the same woman I married.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Babe, that’s a good thing! I’m just sayin’.”

Kelli laughed as Lindell backpedaled. For years her brothers had been busy with their careers, living the bachelor life. Hadn’t occurred to them or her that they should live near one another, be a part of each other's lives. But now they were both settled down, with wives Kelli would love to know better. She’d always wanted sisters. And it was strange that she, Cyd, and Stephanie kind of looked alike—all of them tall with honey brown skin and long brown hair.

And Daughters’ Fellowship sounded great. Her own relationship with God wasn’t where it should be. She’d known that for some time. Just wasn’t sure how to get it back on the right track. The thought of getting together with these women, talking and learning from them, felt like water to her parched soul.

If only it were in another city . . .

Kelli sighed as she looked around the table at the laughter, the ribbing, the love. Did she really want to stay in Austin, away from all of this?

And what about Miles? They’d been dating almost a year. Although he’d graduated from UT–Austin last December and moved back to Dallas, the distance didn’t seem so great with them both in Texas. Still, they were already several hours apart. Would a few more make a huge difference?

Kelli looked up as her mother stopped at their table.

“Hey, it’s my gorgeous mother,” Cedric said, placing an arm around her.
“No, it’s my gorgeous mother,” Lindell said, hugging her other side.

Francine London glowed with pride. “You boys are something else,” she said. “And I didn’t come to see y’all. I came to see how my daughters-in-law are doing.”
“Oh, it’s like that now?” Cedric asked. “I get married, and I get kicked to the curb?”
Francine laughed, keeping her arms around her sons’ waists. “I’m wondering what’s gonna happen when you all start having my grandchildren. I’m not gonna like being all the way in Little Rock.”

“You need to move back too,” Lindell said.

Francine dismissed it with a shake of the head. “Your grandmother’s not doing well, can’t get around, so we’re better off staying put.”
“Well, help us convince your daughter to move back,” Cedric said. “We’ve been working on her.”

Francine looked at Kelli, nodding. “I was thinking about that today, how nice it would be if you could be around your brothers and their wives. You know I’m big on family.”

“Yes, I know, Mom.” Kelli cut them off at the pass. “So . . . which one of you would be willing to let your little sister move in?”

Thursday, September 22, 2011

RYOBM Progress


 Code Blue by Richard Mabry was the second book I chose to read for Read Your Own Books Month. I've only had it for about 2 months, but I just couldn't wait to read it. I didn't like it as much as I thought I would, but it was still a great read. I'll probably be posting a review for it in the near future.



 

 Conception(Future Savior Book 1) by Jennifer Hartz is the 3rd book I read. I didn't plan on reading it for RYOBM. I've actually only had it for about 4 days now. I won it in a book giveaway and I finished it the next day. I couldn't help myself! It was so good!



The book I'm reading now is The Last Thing I Remember (Homelanders, Book 1) by Andrew Klavin. I got it sometime in June but never got the chance to read it. I'm not too far along, but I'm liking it so far. 


Yay!! I reached four books! Maybe I can surpass my goal =D

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Waterfall Wednesdays - Week 4


Waterfall Wednesdays - A Read-Along Event 
Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren 
Discussion 4 - Chapters 18-23 
Today's questions hosted by Supernatural Snark

Discussion Questions

Gabi and Lia both face several life and death situations in these chapters, having to pick up weapons in defense of those they love and experiencing first hand the brutality of close combat. If you had the choice between picking up a weapon and standing on the front lines or staying behind to tend to the wounded as necessary, which would you choose?

My choice would definitely be to tend to the wounded. The thought of being in a battle doesn't sit well with me. I've always wanted to be a nurse so I think I'd be a lot more help tending to the brave, wounded soldiers.

Both girls get to wear extraordinary gowns to their victory celebration; what would your dream medieval gown look like?

Those medieval gowns are so beautiful! I don't know what my dream gown would look like though. I know I'd want it to be a pretty blue, but that's about as far I've come to envisioning one for myself.

Gabi has crude stitches put in and must endure both their removal as well as the cauterization of the wound. How is your threshold for pain? Do you think you would have simply gritted your teeth as Gabi does?

I think I can handle pain pretty good. Then again, I've never actually gone through a lot of physical pain like from broken bones, burns, really deep cuts, or childbirth. I do get bad headaches every now and again. I don't like taking anything for them so I just suck it up and get through them.

If I ever had to experience the pain Gabi went through I probably would have been screaming the whole time and praying that I'd pass out sooner than later.

Marcello wants to properly court Gabi after they express mutual feelings of affection, wanting to speak with her mother about his intentions. What do you think is the most romantic aspect of medieval courtship?

I think that's my favorite and most romantic part of medieval courtship. When the guy would go and talk to the father and ask his permission to court his daughter. It shows the respect he has for the girl and her parents.

The guy my best friend is dating went to her parents a few weeks ago to ask their permission to date her. I just love that there are still guys out there who are willing to do that.

Gabi and Lia find themselves with conflicting desires toward the end with Lia wanting to return home and Gabi hoping to stay. Do you think that Gabi is being unfair to Lia for wanting to stay, or is Lia being unfair to Gabi for demanding they go? A little of both?

In this case I think it was a little of both. Lia wasn't being understanding of her sister and her growing feelings toward Marcello. Gabi was being selfish for expecting her sister to leave everything else in her life behind(ahead?) and start a new life in the fourteenth century. I think they both had good reasons for being a little selfish about what they wanted.

Those are my answers for this week's Waterfall Wednesdays! If you'd like to join in, head on over to Supernatural Snark and link up your answers!

Amazon GC Winner

Hey guys! It's time to announce the winner of the $10 Amazon gift card. Thanks so much to everyone who entered. I will be having a monthly Amazon GC giveaway from now on, so you will have a lot more chances to win one =D Yay!

The lucky winner of the gift card this month is... 

Carol (carolnwong@..)
 
Congrats to the winner!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Giveaway Winner

Thanks so much to those who entered this giveaway. Keep checking back here for more chances to win great books!

The winner of Blue Skies Tomorrow is..
Katklaw777

(The winner has already been emailed. If I don't get a reply within 48 hours, I will have to choose someone else.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

RYOBM Progress

Disaster Status by Candace Calvert is the first book I've read for Read Your Own Books Month. I've had it in my Kindle since May. I know! It took me forever to finally get to it and after finishing on Sunday I couldn't believe I didn't read it sooner. I'll post my review as soon as I can.

My goal for this month is Giraffe(4-6 books) and even though I'm moving at a slow pace, I'm still going to try and reach it.

Right now I'm reading now Code Blue by Richard Mabry. I'm loving these medical dramas!

Waterfall Wednesdays - Week 3

Waterfall Wednesdays - A Read-Along Event 
Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren 
Discussion 3 - Chapters 12-17 
Today's questions hosted by Edgy Inspirational Romance 

Discussion Questions 

In Siena, on her way to the ball at Palazzo Pubblico, Gabi likened her experience to being on the red carpet at the Academy Awards, the goal being "to see and be seen." If you were a peasant, watching from the crowd, what would you be thinking as this procession passed by?

I'd probably be a little(or a lot!) jealous of all the girls wearing the beautiful dresses and being escorted by the good looking guys. I don't know what I'd be thinking. Maybe just fantasizing about how awesome it'd be trading places with them for a day.

Though quite nervous about dancing at the ball, Gabi discovers a strange feeling of connection to the time, the people, and the society through the unified beauty of the dance. Have you ever been in a position where you felt out of your element, but, in one, pinpointed moment, became a part of or connected to something bigger than your fear?

As of right now, I can't think of a time when I felt that way. I'm sure at some point I have experienced a moment like that though! I'll come back to this question later =D

The kiss. Oh, the kiss. When Marcello finally kisses Gabi, he believes the experience to be proof that they are meant to be together. What did you think about his assumption? Were you surprised at Gabi's reaction to it? Have you ever experienced a kiss that seemed to be prophetic in a similar (or opposite!) way?

This was one of the moments I was waiting for and I loved it!

I've actually never been kissed =D I know the time will come for me to have my first kiss, but I'm just hoping it's not ruined by a burp, fart, sneeze or any other possible bodily noise. Ugh! That would be bad.

Many go through their teen years with a subdued sense of immortality. Do you think Gabi has a sense of this teen feeling? And did you think Gabi's converse observation, "Sometimes death came hunting and there was no way to cut it off at the pass." was informed more by the experience of losing her father, her self-admitted closet hypochondria, or the forced maturation of being transported to a different time? How does this observation show Gabi's growth as a character?

Maybe Gabi did think that way at first... but I'm sure that attitude was thrown out the window after she saw all those men die brutal deaths. After she did seem to be aware of what could happen to her each time she was in the middle of another battle. She also knew that in order to save her sister she'd have to be willing to do it at whatever cost.

In the span of a few moments, Gabi goes from sword-wielding teen beauty to man-killing warrior. Did you think her realization of the finality of death -- and her justification for its necessity -- was realistic? And, in her slippers, could you have done the same? 

I think anyone's reaction to killing a man for the first time would be the same as Gabi's. I probably wouldn't be able to fight with a sword as good as she did. I know I would be the one that would try to stay hidden behind a tree and let the strong, hunky men fight off the bad guys.

But then again, there's no way to know how I  might react. When your adrenaline's pumping and someone you care about is at risk of being killed, fear would probably be the last thing I'd be thinking about or giving in to.

This week's question were hard! Head on over to Edgy Inspirational Romance to link up your answers!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Review: Water's Edge

Water's Edge by Robert Whitlow
Thomas Nelson (July 19, 2011)
Christian Fiction/Thriller

Sometimes the smallest towns hold the biggest secrets. Ambitious young attorney Tom Crane is about to become a partner in a big-city law firm. One final matter has to be cleared from his docket—the closing of his deceased father’s law practice in the small town of Bethel. Killed in a tragic boating accident, John Crane didn’t leave his son anything except the hassle of a bankrupt estate.

Then, within twenty-four hours, Tom loses his job, his girlfriend, and his cat. Job didn’t have it much worse.

Returning to Bethel with his pride ground to powder, Tom’s plan to quietly shut down his father’s practice and slink out of town runs into an unexpected roadblock—two million dollars of unclaimed money stashed in a secret bank account. Tom follows the money into a tangled web of lies, theft, and off-shore financial transactions manipulated by powerful men who will do anything to stop him from discovering the truth.

..My Thoughts..

I don’t think I’ve read a legal thriller before this one, probably because they’ve always seemed like they could be boring. I decided to give Water's Edge a try and I’m glad that I did, but I still have mixed feelings for it. On one hand, I really liked the mystery it had and that we got to see the main character, Tom, grow so much spiritually. On the other hand, the pace of the story was pretty slow until the last half of the book. I drifted off a few times while reading it and would get a little bored of the legal talk between the characters. It got to a frustrating point where I had to put it down and continue later. About halfway through I got interested all over again because of the nonstop thrill, mystery, and twists.

One of the characters I really liked was Tom's great-uncle, Elias. He was a sweet old man with a big heart and an even bigger passion and love for God. Unlike Elias, Tom had no faith in God at first. His struggles and heartache led him to eventually search for Him and his faith and dependance on Him grew. The spiritual aspects didn't take away from the story and it didn't feel too "preachy" like some people have said. I thought it was weaved seamlessly into the rest of the story and added a wonderful message.

This book deals with theft, murder, lies, and betrayal, with a teensy weensy bit of romance that I would have liked to see blossom into something more. Maybe there'll be a sequel that'll tie up some of the loose ends. Overall, I enjoyed the story and Whitlow's refreshing writing style. I look forward to reading more of his work.

Rating - 4 stars

(This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers through their BookSneeze program.)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

One Lovely Blog Award!

Yay! It was a wonderful surprise to see that I was awarded my second blog award, twice! Melanie at Christian Bookshelf Reviews and Katie at Legacy of a Writer have awarded me with the "One Lovely Blog Award". How sweet is that?! Thank you two so much for this fabulous award =)


Now for the rules. They're two very simple ones, but required in order to accept the award.

Rule #1 - Share 7 facts about yourself
Rule #2 - Award 15 other blogs!

Okay, here are 7 random things about me.

I...

1. hate big roller coasters, mainly because of that nasty stomach drop feeling.
2. have a fish named Winston.
3. have two dogs, Pumpkin and Penelope(penny for short.)
4. had all four wisdom teeth taken out at the same time on September 15, 2010.
5. have known my best friend since we were 10.
6. have never been in an airplane before.
7. hope to someday become a nurse.

Now it's time to award 15 other bloggers. Here are my picks in no particular order ;)

1. My Only Vice
2. Ridiculous Reviews
3. The Overweight Bookshelf
4. BookBag Lady
5. Deco My Heart
6. Faith Hope and Cherrytea
7. i blog 4 books
8. itsJUSTme
9. THE BORROWED BOOK
10. Cover To Cover... and Everything In Between

For now I've just come up with 10 because a few of the other blogs I wanted to give this award to were already awarded with it more than once =/

I hope you visit the blogs I've listed because they are all so very lovely. I'm sure you'll enjoy them as much as I have.

Featured at Ridiculous Reviews!

Hey everyone! I just wanted to let you know that I'm being featured over at Ridiculous Reviews today. This is my first time being featured on another blog so it's pretty exciting. It was so fun answering all of Savanah's questions and you can find them here if you'd like to read them.

So if you wanna show a little love head on over there and leave a comment or something =D

Friday, September 9, 2011

Women of Faith - Anaheim, Ca


As you may already know from my first post about this event, I was selected by BookSneeze to be a blogger at the Women of Faith conference in Anaheim, Ca. I'm so excited!!

We weren't able to make it to the morning session today,  but we'll definitely be there for the one tonight and all day tomorrow. Right now I'm almost done getting ready to head on over there with my mom who is just as excited as I am. I've never gone to one of these conferences before but I can already tell that it's going to be an amazing experience.

If you aren't near the Anaheim area there's  still a chance that there will be a Women of Faith conference near you. This is a national event and they are in two cities a week from now through November. I encourage you to check out the WOF site and find an event near you!

You can follow me on twitter @Abooklovingirl and get in on all the updates with Hashtag #WOFOTT. I'll be tweeting pictures too!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Waterfall Wednesdays - Week 2

Waterfall Wednesdays - A Read-Along Event
Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren 
Discussion 2 - Chapters 7-11
Today's questions hosted by The Unread Reader

Discussion Questions

1. Gabi's search for her sister is made increasingly difficult by the fight for territory between Castello Forelli and Castello Paratore. At this point, do you think the rivalry is warranted? Why or why not? 

I can only imagine how scary things were in those times. All that bloodshed for territory might seem pointless to some of us, but I guess it was something important and worth it back then.

2. Gabi aids Fortino by having his sickroom cleaned out and using steam to loosen the phlegm inside his lungs so he could breathe better. Have you ever found yourself in a situation that required you to rely on home remedies to aid yourself or another? What are some of your favorite home remedies? 

Gabi is a smart girl. Using steam to loosen up all the yucky stuff in your lungs works wonderfully. I've done it plenty of times when I've gotten sick and adding vick's vaporub helps a lot too.

This summer we finally got to use aloe vera on my sister after she stayed out in the sun a bit too long. I was surprised that it worked so well!

3. Marcello and his men don't hide their surprise when they learn that Gabi is skilled with a sword. What did you think of this development? Has your initial impression of Gabi changed? Do you have any secret skills? 

Um, yeah! It made Gabi even more of an awesome chick! At that point, she became a character that I just couldn't get enough of.

I actually do have a secret skill! I've noticed that the moment I walk through a spider web, my inner ninja comes out. Ha! Those webs have no chance against me ;)

4. "Our lips were so close, I could feel the heat of his breath on my skin." Gabi and Marcello's feelings for one another are beginning to stir. What do you think of Marcello as a romantic interest thus far? What do you think of his intended? 

I think from the moment they saw each other, feelings stirred up between Marcello and Gabi. At this point, I'm rooting for them to end up together. As for Lady Rossi, I don't like her at all. There's something about her that seems two-faced. She just isn't the one for Marcello.

5. Marcello and Luca take turns teaching Gabi the dances of Toscana. Would you have liked to attend a ball like the one Gabi was practicing for? Do you like to dance? Do you know any cool dance moves? Extra (not really) points if you YouTube yourself dancing and share the video. Come on, it will be fun! :) 

It'd be so cool to go to a ball like that and be able to wear one of those beautiful dresses.

I don't really like to dance because I'm just plain bad at it. You know what I've always wanted to see?? A flash mob in action =D that would be so awesome!! If I ever find myself in the middle of one I would try and join along like if I was with them lol!

Since I can't dance I'd probably look more or less like the guy in this video hahaa!

WWW Wednesdays

Hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading

What I'm currently reading
ER charge nurse Erin Quinn escaped personal turmoil to work on the peaceful California coast. But when a hazardous material spill places Pacific Mercy Hospital on disaster status and stresses staff, she’s put to the test. And thrown into conflict with the fire department’s handsome incident commander, who thinks her strategy is out of line.

Fire captain Scott McKenna has felt the toxic effects of tragedy; he’s learned to go strictly by the book to advance his career, heal his family, and protect his wounded heart. When he’s forced to team with the passionately determined ER nurse, sparks fly. As they work to save lives, can they handle the attraction kindled between them . . . without getting burned?  

What I recently finished reading 
Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit, but at least his stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life. As he courts Helen Carlisle, a young war widow and mother who conceals her pain under a frenzy of volunteer work, the sparks of their romance set a fire that flings them both into peril. After Ray leaves to fly a combat mission at the peak of the air war over Europe, Helen takes a job in a dangerous munitions yard and confronts an even graver menace in her own home. Will they find the courage to face their challenges? And can their young love survive until blue skies return?

 What I think I'll read next
In the first book of the Prescription for Trouble series, Code Blue means more to Dr. Cathy Sewell than the cardiac emergency she has to face. It describes her mental state as she finds that coming back to her hometown hasn't brought her the peace she so desperately needs. Instead, it s clear that someone there wants her gone...or dead.

Cathy returns to her hometown seeking healing after a broken relationship, but discovers that among her friends and acquaintances is someone who wants her out of town...or dead. Lawyer Will Kennedy, her high school sweetheart, offers help, but does it carry a price tag? Is hospital chief of staff Dr. Marcus Bell really on her side in her fight to get hospital privileges? Is Will s father, Pastor Matthew Kennedy, interested in advising her or just trying to get her back to the church she left years ago? When one of Cathy s prescriptions almost kills the town banker, it sets the stage for a malpractice suit that could end her time in town, if not her career. It s soon clear that this return home was a prescription for trouble.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Blue Skies Tomorrow Giveaway!

Now that I have this wonderful book on my Kindle, I want to give someone else the chance to enjoy it. I'm giving away my review copy, which is in great condition =)

Giveaway Details -
To enter you must follow this blog at least one way - GFC(publicly), Twitter, or via an email subscription.
- U.S. residents only please.
- Leave a comment on this post letting me know you want to be entered and how you are following.
- Leave a valid email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. Remember to disguise it! (If there is no email in your comment you will not be entered.)
- The giveaway ends next Tuesday, September 13th.
- I'll be using Random.org to choose the winner and will announce who that is on the 14th.
- The winner will have 48 hours to respond. If I don't get a response from them after that I will have to choose someone else.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Blog Tour: Blue Skies Tomorrow

Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin
Revell (August 1, 2011)
Christian - Historical - Romance

Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit, but at least his stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life. As he courts Helen Carlisle, a young war widow and mother who conceals her pain under a frenzy of volunteer work, the sparks of their romance set a fire that flings them both into peril. After Ray leaves to fly a combat mission at the peak of the air war over Europe, Helen takes a job in a dangerous munitions yard and confronts an even graver menace in her own home. Will they find the courage to face their challenges? And can their young love survive until blue skies return?

..My Thoughts..
 
Blue Skies Tomorrow was such a wonderful, enjoyable read. This is a beautifully written story filled with action, drama, suspense, and romance. Sarah takes readers back to the 1940’s with a descriptive writing style that makes you feel like you’re part of that time experiencing all the joys and hardship it had to offer. The characters came across as real people and I loved watching them grow both spiritually and mentally through the course of the story. I actually felt like I knew some of them personally. I was rooting for Helen and Ray the whole time, hoping their romance would grow and that everything turned out great for them.

The WWII setting was one of the main reasons I wanted to read this because it’s one of my favorite times to read about. I really didn’t expect to fall in love with the story and characters as much as I did. Even though I started reading this late into the series, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. I still really want to go back and read the first two in the series so I can get to know the other two Novak brothers a little better. I can't wait to see what other fantastic stories Sarah has in store for us next!

Rating - 4 stars

About the author -
Sarah Sundin received the 2011 Writer of the Year Award from the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, and her second novel A Memory Between Us is a finalist for an Inspirational Readers' Choice Award. Her stories are inspired by her great-uncle who flew with the U.S. Eighth Air Force in England during World War II. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.

Visit with Sarah online at www.sarahsundin.com.

You can buy a copy of this book HERE

(I was provided a copy of this book for review by Litfuse Publicity Group.)

To celebrate the release of Blue Skies Tomorrow, the final installment of the Wings of Glory series, Sarah is giving one lucky winner A Vintage Kindle Prize Package!  Read what the reviewers are saying here.
 
One winner will receive:
* Kindle with Wi-Fi * Handmade vintage apron for you and a friend (see a photo here) * Blue Skies Tomorrow (for Kindle)
To enter just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, giveaway ends on 9/10. Winner will be announced on 9/12 at Sarah Sundin's blog. Details and official rules can be found when entering the contest.
Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Friday, September 2, 2011

Read Your Own Books Month

Read Your Own Books Month is such a great idea!

My stack of review copies never seems to get smaller, so that means I'm hardly ever able to read books that I purchased. Well, this month that's gonna change! A few bloggers, now including me, have declared September Read Your Own Books Month. You can find out more about this fun challenge over at Chick Loves Lit.

There are five different commitment levels to choose from.

Mouse – One book 
Cat – 2-3 books 
Giraffe – 4-6 books 
Tiger – 7-10 books
Dragon – 11+

I'm choosing to do Giraffe but hopefully I can reach Tiger.
What are you waiting for? Go on over to chick loves lit and sign up!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I started over...

As you can see, my followers went down to zero. Since I didn't actually start a new blog, I just changed the blog's url, I thought the followers might remain right where they were. I was wrong! I really don't know what happened and I'm so upset with myself right now.

So, if you want to, can you follow my blog again?? I'd really appreciate it! If you had an email subscription, you'll have to update that too. Thanks so much!

-Crystal

P.s.
Boy have I learned my lesson! You won't find me messing with any links, url's, or HTML codes anymore. Do you think I can get to 50 followers faster then I did last time? Lol!

20 random facts about me

Photobucket


1. My heart belongs to Jesus!
2. I turned 20 this year =D
3. I have 3 sisters and a niece
4. I have asthma
5. I still haven't gotten my driver's license =/
6. I ADORE dogs
7. I don't think I know how to swim. (It's been a long time!)
8. I'm a shy person
9. I had a bunny named 'Bunny Boy' for six years (He passed away last october)
10. I love photography
11. I went to a private Christian school since I was 10
12. I want to go back to school for nursing
13. My best friend lives in Arizona
14. I live in Southern California
15. I attempted to learn how to play the piano.. notice how I said ATTEMPTED.. yeah, it wasn't pretty
16. I'm afraid of heights
17. I had braces for 2 1/2 years
18. I love action movies more than chick flicks
19. My favorite chapstick flavor is strawberry
20. I like to make people laugh

If you want to do your own '20 Random Facts About Me' post, you can go ahead and snatch the pic too! Oh yeah and can you leave a comment so I can check it out??
 
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