Monday, August 30, 2010

The Vigilante's Bride by Yvonne Harris

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Vigilante's Bride
Bethany House (August 1, 2010)

Yvonne Harris


Yvonne Harris earned a BS in Education from the University of Hartford and has taught throughout New England and the mid-Atlantic. Unofficially retired from teaching, she teaches writing at Burlington County College in southern New Jersey, where she resides. She is a winner and three-time finalist for the Golden Heart, once for The Vigilante's Bride, which is her debut novel.


Montana Territory, 1884...Is Her Kidnapper the Only Man Who Can Keep Her Safe?

Robbing a stagecoach on Christmas Eve and abducting a woman passenger is the last thing Luke Sullivan expected to do. He just wanted to reclaim the money stolen from his pa, but instead ended up rescuing a feisty copper-haired woman who was on her way to marry Sullivan's dangerous enemy. Emily McCarthy doesn't take kindly to her so-called rescue. Still, she's hoping Providence will turn her situation for good, especially when it seems Luke Sullivan may just be the man of her dreams. But Luke has crossed a vicious man, a powerful rancher not used to losing, and Emily is the prize he's unwilling to sacrifice.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Vigilante's Bride, go HERE

Fatal Convictions by Randy Singer and a giveaway

Book description:
Alexander Madison is part lawyer, part pastor, and part con artist. When a Muslim imam is accused of instigating honor killings, Alex must decide whether to take the case that every other lawyer in town is running away from. He doesn’t realize until it’s too late that defending the imam may cost him the one thing in life he cares about most. Fatal Convictions is the story of a lawyer willing to risk it all and the women who must choose between faith and love.

My review:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. In my opinion, Randy Singer passes up John Grisham in his writing of legal thrillers, and this is one of his better ones.

The main character is an interesting person: pastor and lawyer, what a combination. Singer always uses likable and believable characters, and this book is no exception.

When Alex is asked to defend a Muslim suspected of murdering a woman for converting to Christianity, he is thrown into the limelight and gets a lot of negative reactions. Not only did I enjoy the plot, but I also enjoyed learning more about Muslims. The author does a great job of his portrayal of Muslims. He doesn't set out to show them all as murderous terrorists, but he also does not try to paint them all as peaceful either.

I had one issue with the book. I know it is fiction, but the main character who pastors a church in addition to being a lawyer, has no problem with lying and does it several times. This should not be the norm for any Christian, but especially a pastor, so I do take issue with that. It was never indicated that he shouldn't lie, or that there are consequences of lying. Other than that, this was an excellent read, and I highly recommend Randy Singer's books, especially to people who enjoy the John Grisham type of book.

About the author:

Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned ten legal thrillers, including his award-winning debut novel Directed Verdict. In addition to his law practice and writing, Randy serves as a teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He calls it his "Jekyll and Hyde thing"—part lawyer, part pastor. He also teaches classes in advocacy and ethics at Regent Law School and serves on the school's Board of Visitors. He and his wife, Rhonda, live in Virginia Beach. They have two grown children. Visit his Web site at


Courtesy of the author's publicist, I have a certificate good for a free copy of Fatal Convictions, redeemable at any Christian bookstore, or by mailing it to Tyndale Publishing. To enter, comment whether you have ever read one of Randy's books. Ten days from now, I will use to pick a winner, and the certificate will be mailed to the winner.

Thanks to Debbie at Side Door Communications for the review copy.

Fatal Convictions is available from Tyndale Publishing.

Chhosing To See by Mary Beth Chapman

Book Description

From the beginning, Mary Beth Chapman's life was not how she planned. All she wanted was a calm, peaceful life of stability and control. Instead, God gave her an award-winning singer/songwriter husband, crazy schedules, and a houseful of creatively rambunctious children. Most difficult of all, God's plans for her also included

In Choosing to SEE, Mary Beth unveils her struggle to allow God to write the story of her life, both the happy chapters and the tragic ones. And as the story unfolds, she's been forced to wrestle with some of life's biggest questions: Where is God when things fall apart? Why does God allow terrible things to happen? How can I survive hard times?

No matter where you find yourself in your own life story, you will treasure the way Mary Beth shows that even in the hard times, there is hope if you choose to SEE.

My review:

I am not an official Steven Curtis Chapman fan. I have all of his Christmas CDs and have some of his songs on my Ipod. I listen to primarily Southern Gospel, but he is one of the CCM artists I listen to. I was still shocked and felt sorrow for he and his family when they had a tragedy happen in 2008. One of their teenage sons hit and killed one of their little girls with his vehicle, a tragic accident.

This book is not only about that accident and how the family coped through those terrible days, but the author does start out the book with it, and mentions it throughout the book. There are also excerpts from the memorial service they had.

I enjoyed this book. Not that we take pleasure from others' pain, but it is refreshing and encouraging to read and see how God works in others' lives, even in the midst of tragedy. The focus of the book is that even in serving God, our lives don't always take us where we want, and sometimes some pretty bad things still happen to us, but He is still in control. A very encouraging read.

About the author:

Mary Beth Chapman is the wife of Grammy and Dove Award winning recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman. Together they began Show Hope, a nonprofit organization dedicated to caring for the world's most vulnerable children by providing financial assistance to families wishing to adopt, as well as increasing awareness of the orphan crisis and funneling resources to orphans domestically and internationally.

Mary Beth serves as president of Show Hope and is a speaker for Women of Faith 2010 with her husband. She is also coauthor with Steven of the Shaoey and Dot series of children's picture books. Mary Beth and Steven have six children: Emily, Caleb, Will Franklin, and adopted daughters Shaohannah Hope, Stevey Joy, and Maria Sue, who is now with Jesus. The Chapmans live in Tennessee. Visit Mary Beth's website at:

Choosing To See is avaiable from Revell, an imprint of Baker Book House.

Thanks to Donna at Revell for the review copy.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My favorite soapbox, and bringing sex along this time......

Anyone who pays attention to my blog knows that I am totally against cursing in a Christian book. There is absoultely no reason for it. Beside the fact that a Christian should not be using those words, they sure shouldn't put them in a Christian book and subject others to it. Anyway, I have had this idea running through my head, and decided to throw it out there. First off, let me start off with a recap of a discussion on facebook by Christia fiction author Eric Wilson. I like his books, his writing style, but was diappointed in his stance on this - for two reasons, actually.

#1 That he, a Christian, feels it is ok to use curse words. He stated there are some types of books he would probably use them in. Why? We as Christians are supposed to be different. But I am not out to slam him in this post. The second reason is actually what has brought about my newest post on this subject......

#2 I cannot remember if he first stated this, or if someone else in the discussion did, and he agreed. Regardless, there was an agreement between he and some others that sometimes, depending on the fictional character, it is more real to have the person curse. And that saying "he cursed" can take away from the realism.

Wow. Have we come so far as Christians that an absence of cursing in a book doesn't seem real to us? Newsflash: compared to the world, what we believe isn't real, so why should we view the absence of cursing as an absence of being real?

I have said all that to get to my point. I know. I tend to ramble. My point is sex. Go into a bookstore and buy a romance book. A general market romance novel. There is a 99.999999% chance that there will be at least one sex scene in the book. A graphic sex scene. (I digress here, but we hear so much about men and pornography, but I believe women have just as much of a problem with their porn - romance novels with sex in them). Also, not as prevalent as romance novels, there are some Westerns, usually series Westerns, that also have graphic sex scenes in them. How do I know this? I have not always been a good little boy......

Anyway - if it doesn't seem real to read a book where the character would curse, and does not - then does that same rule not apply to sex? That if the character is loos morally, and has sex and it isn't described out in detail, then that does not seem real? Or if there is a married couple in the book and they have a passionate moment, and the sex scene is not described, then it also is not real?

Don't roll your eyes. I have a good point. No one needs to curse. No Christian book should have a curse word in it. People have sex. People need to have sex if they are married. No book needs a description of the sex act. But, if we are going to say cursing is necessary in a book for the scene/character to be real, then if sex is implied or a love scene, then the sex act should be described as in a general market novel. A far stretch? Only if you are a supporter of cursing in Christian books and don't like to hear the truth. :-)

I have been working on a book. I have not worked on it for some time due to a couple of reasons, one being a certain friend of mine is supposed to help me, and has not........ :-) - anyway, the book is fiction, a tale of love and redemption. For part of the book, the main character is very immoral, and I show that in non-graphic ways. But...... if we hold the "real" argument up to it as has been held to cursing, then I should describe in graphic detail every sex act.

I really don't think that, but get real people....... we are supposed to be different. Live like Christ. Focus on what is pure, holy, good, etc. We are commanded not to offend our brothers. So what business does a Christian have of putting curse words in a Christian book and offending people? None. Let us leave sex and cursing to the general market books. If people want it, they can go there for it.

OK, getting off of my soap box for now.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Surrender The Heart by M.L. Tyndall

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Surrender the Heart
Barbour Publishing (August 1, 2010)

M. L. Tyndall


M. L. (MaryLu) Tyndall grew up on the beaches of South Florida loving the sea and the warm tropics. But despite the beauty around her, she always felt an ache in her soul--a longing for something more.

After college, she married and moved to California where she had two children and settled into a job at a local computer company. Although she had done everything the world expected, she was still miserable. She hated her job and her marriage was falling apart.

Still searching for purpose, adventure and true love, she spent her late twenties and early thirties doing all the things the world told her would make her happy, and after years, her children suffered, her second marriage suffered, and she was still miserable.

One day, she picked up her old Bible, dusted it off, and began to read. Somewhere in the middle, God opened her hardened heart to see that He was real, that He still loved her, and that He had a purpose for her life, if she'd only give her heart to Him completely.

She had written stories her whole life, but never had the confidence to try and get any of them published. But as God began to change her heart, He also showed her that writing had been His wonderful plan for her all along!

For the sake of her ailing mother, Marianne Denton becomes engaged to Noah Brennin---a merchantman she despises. But as the War of 1812 escalates, Jonah's ship is captured by the British, and the ill-matched couple learns vital information that could aid America's cause.

Relive the rich history of the War of 1812 through the eyes of Marianne Denton and Noah Brenin, who both long to please their families but neither one wishes to marry the other. Noah is determined to get his cargo to England before war breaks out, and Marianne is equally determined to have a wedding so that her inheritance can be unlocked and her destitute family saved. When their stubborn games get them captured by a British warship, can they escape and bring liberty to their country—and growing love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Surrender the Heart, go HERE.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Greatly Blessed by The Gaither Vocal Band

Time for a CD review. :-) Since the Gaither Vocal Band regrouped, I have been looking forward to their first offical release. They did release a CD of songs they did before, same tracks, different vocals - but this is a CD with all new songs by the new line-up: Bill Gaither - pseudo bass, David Phelps - tenor, Wes Hampton - tenor, Mark Lowry - baritone - and Michael English - lead. So what do I think? Overall, pretty good. Some songs better than others:

1) Better Day - a cool song with no Christian message, but a nice song regardless. Unfortunately, Michael English ruins the latter part of the song, as only he can ruin a song.

2) When He Blest My Soul - an older song that I never heard before. They do a good job on it. Bill isn't much of a bass, but he doesn't sound too bad. Would have been better with a real bass singer - other than that, a great cut.

3) Love Like I'm Leavin' - an "ok" song. The words are good, not overly crazy about the style of song.

4) You Are My All In All - this is the gem on the CD. This is actually a praise and worship song, written by Dennis Jernigan - awesome. They start it out with "Canon In D" being played. I find myself listening to this one more than any other on the CD.

5) Please Forgive Me - This song was done some time back by the Crabb Family. I wasn't sure if I would like it by anyone else, but the GVB do an excellent job on it. The arrangement is different and the orchestration really makes the song even better.

6) Greatly Blessed, Highly Favored - a great song with a country feel to it. I love it.

7) He's Alive - this song is typically done as a solo, and the verses are here by David Phelps, with the whole group joining on the chorus. This has got to be the best recording of this song. Ever.

8) Ain't Nobody - another "ok" song. Written coincidentally by Benjamin Gaither as the other "ok" one is. Maybe I just don't like the style of song he writes......

9) Clean - This is a slow song, very pretty. But..... I have issue with any song that makes it sound like baptism saves you. The words say "there was something in the water, there was power in the blood." - and "the preacher man took me under beneath that cleansing flood.." There is nothing in the water to save us, it is the blood of Jesus, and baptism is a sign that we have become a Christian - it does not save us. Other than my having a theological difference with the song, I do enjoy listening to it.

10) Muddy Water - I don't like it. Not even a little. And yes, another Benjamin Gaither song. I'm starting to see a trend...... (He does sing himself, but it is not Southern Gospel, perhaps that is why his songs don't sound SG)

11) That Sounds Like Home To Me - the old Goodman song, redone here in a great way. I keep listening to this one over and over also.

12) I Know How to Say Thank You - a slow, quiet song. Not one to hit replay on over and over, but I like it.

13) He Is Here - A Talley's song from the early 90's. They GVB does it differently, but with good results.

I am a bit disappointed in the CD - the song selection could have been better, but the songs that I like - I really like, and I love the group's sound. Two tenors add, not detract.

Muslims & Liberals

If you pay any attention to the news, it has become glaringly obvious that the liberal media and the Democrats bend overboard to paint Muslims in the best possible light. Just are a few examples of many:

The Fort Hood shooting - the media and Democrats insist on painting tha shooter's actions as post tramautic war syndrome and many in the media refused to call him a Muslim for the longest time.

The Time Square bomber - some in the media actually voiced concern that people would hear the man's name and immediately assume he was a Muslim terrorist - which he was.

And more recently, the Ground Zero Mosque - the same liberals who fight against our religious freedoms are suddenly worried about the freedom of Muslims concering their right to build a mosque at Ground Zero. The Associated Press gas gone so far as to issue a memo to their reporters to avoid the words "ground zero" when talking about the story. Nancy Pelosi is calling for investigations into anyone who oppose the mosque being built there.

Yet this same media and these same Democrats try as hard as they can to pin any kind of attack on a Christian or conservative, and seem to delight when they can.

Many may disagree with me, but I have read a lot, heard a lot, and I believe most Muslims want us dead. They want to take over the USA, and if things keep going the way they are going, the day could very well come that we are forced to become a Muslim or die. Not here in America? It could happen. We have a pro-Muslim president, and the media and Democrats are all pro-Muslim - so yes, it could happen.

My reason for this post is to ask what I think is a really good question. First off, keep in mind how the Muslims treat their women. Not too great. The women have no rights. Second, how the Muslims treat gay people - they kill them. Now put that up against the Democrat/liberal view of women's and gay rights - thet fight for them - ferociously. So here is the million dollar question:

Why do the liberals fight so hard to defend Muslims and paint them in the best light when the Muslims are so anti-woman and anti-gay - 2 things that are so important and big to the liberals? Do they not realize if the US became Muslim that they won't be fighing for gay marriage - the gays will be executed right and left - and Nancy will not be Speaker of the House, she will be wearing a burqua and be treated like a slave? So why fight for this religion with so much intensity?!

I was talking to my friend Steven about this, and his theory is that they hate Christianity so much, that they embrace anything that is anti-Christian, or the opposite of...... that could be, but still... what about the women and gays?

Any thoughts on this?

The Crimson Cipher by Susan Page Davis

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Crimson Cipher
Summerside Press (July 1, 2010)

Susan Page Davis


From Susan: I've always loved reading, history, and horses. These things come together in several of my historical books. My young adult novel, Sarah's Long Ride, also spotlights horses and the rugged sport of endurance riding, as does the contemporary romance Trail to Justice. I took a vocational course in horseshoeing after earning a bachelor's degree in history. I don't shoe horses anymore, but the experience has come in handy in writing my books.

Another longtime hobby of mine is genealogy, which has led me down many fascinating paths. I'm proud to be a DAR member! Some of Jim's and my quirkier ancestors have inspired fictional characters.

For many years I worked for the Central Maine Morning Sentinel as a freelancer, covering local government, school board meetings, business news, fires, auto accidents, and other local events, including a murder trial. I've also written many profiles and features for the newspaper and its special sections. This experience was a great help in developing fictional characters and writing realistic scenes. I also published nonfiction articles in several magazines and had several short stories appear in Woman's World, Grit, and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.

My husband, Jim, and I moved to his birth state, Oregon, for a while after we were married, but decided to move back to Maine and be near my family. We're so glad we did. It allowed our six children to grow up feeling close to their cousins and grandparents, and some of Jim's family have even moved to Maine!

Our children are all home-schooled. The two youngest are still learning at home. Jim recently retired from his vocation as an editor at a daily newspaper, and we’ve moved from Maine to Kentucky.



A female Navy cryptographer seeks to save lives...and uncover her father’s killers.

In 1915, German sympathizers escalated acts of sabotage in the United States to keep the nation from joining in the war. With enemies lurking at every turn, whom can Emma trust? Is romance the true motive behind her tow suitors advances? Or could one-or both of them-have traitorous intentions in mind?

Following the mysterious murder of Emma Shuster’s father, Lt. John Patterson invites Emma to become a Navy cryptographer because of the expertise she gained in helping her father develop a cipher system.

Emma races to discover the nefarious plans of her country's foes and unmask their leader before others are killed. She finds new strength in her faith as she strives to outwit her adversary, known only as Kobold - German for goblin.

And yet, her greatest challenge may be deciphering the cryptic messages her heart sends whenever she encounters a certain navy lieutenant... Can Emma and John find love in the midst of turmoil as America plunges toward war?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Crimson Cipher, go HERE.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Solitary by Travis Thrasher

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:

David C. Cook; New edition (August 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings Senior Media Specialist
The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Travis Thrasher is an author of diverse talents with more than twelve published novels including romance, suspense, adventure, and supernatural horror tales. At the core of each of his stories lie flawed characters in search of redemption. Thrasher weaves hope within all of his tales, and he loves surprising his readers with amazing plot twists and unexpected variety in his writing. Travis lives with his wife and daughter in a suburb of Chicago. Solitary is his first young adult novel.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (August 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434764214
ISBN-13: 978-1434764218


1 . Half a Person

She’s beautiful.

She stands behind two other girls, one a goth coated in black and the other a blonde with wild hair and an even wilder smile. She’s waiting, looking off the other way, but I’ve already memorized her face.

I’ve never seen such a gorgeous girl in my life.

“You really like them?”

The goth girl is the one talking; maybe she’s the leader of their pack. I’ve noticed them twice already today because of her, the one standing behind. The beautiful girl from my second-period English class, the one with the short skirt and long legs and endless brown hair, the one I can’t stop thinking about. She’s hard not to notice.

“Yeah, they’re one of my favorites,” I say.

We’re talking about my T-shirt. It’s my first day at this school, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think carefully about what I was going to wear. It’s about making a statement. I would have bet that 99 percent of the seven hundred kids at this high school wouldn’t know what Strangeways, Here We Come refers to.

Guess I found the other 1 percent.

I was killing time after lunch by wandering aimlessly when the threesome stopped me. Goth Girl didn’t even say hi; she just pointed at the murky photograph of a face on my shirt and asked where I got it. She made it sound like I stole it.

In a way, I did.

“You’re not from around here, are you?” Goth Girl asks. Hersparkling blue eyes are almost hidden by her dark eyeliner.

“Did the shirt give it away?”

“Nobody in this school listens to The Smiths.”

I can tell her that I stole the shirt, or in a sense borrowed it, butthen she’d ask me from where.

I don’t want to tell her I found it in a drawer in the house we’re staying at. A cabin that belongs to my uncle. A cabin that used to belong to my uncle when he was around.

“I just moved here from a suburb of Chicago.”

“What suburb?” the blonde asks.

“Libertyville. Ever hear of it?”


I see the beauty shift her gaze around to see who’s watching. Which is surprising, because most attractive girls don’t have to do that. They know that they’re being watched.

This is different. Her glance is more suspicious. Or anxious.

“What’s your name?”

“Chris Buckley.”

“Good taste in music, Chris,” Goth Girl says. “I’m Poe. This is Rachel. And she’s Jocelyn.”

That’s right. Her name’s Jocelyn. I remember now from class.

“What else do you like?”

“I got a wide taste in music.”

“Do you like country?” Poe asks.

“No, not really.”

“Good. I can’t stand it. Nobody who wears a T-shirt like that would ever like country.”

“I like country,” Rachel says.

“Don’t admit it. So why’d you move here?”

“Parents got a divorce. My mom decided to move, and I came with her.”

“Did you have a choice?”

“Not really. But if I had I would’ve chosen to move with her.”

“Why here?”

“Some of our family lives in Solitary. Or used to. I have a couple relatives in the area.” I choose not to say anything about Uncle Robert. “My mother grew up around here.”

“That sucks,” Poe says.

“Solitary is a strange town,” Rachel says with a grin that doesn’t seem to ever go away. “Anybody tell you that?”

I shake my head.

“Joss lives here; we don’t,” Poe says. “I’m in Groveton; Rach lives on the border to South Carolina. Joss tries to hide out at our places because Solitary fits its name.”

Jocelyn looks like she’s late for something, her body language screaming that she wants to leave this conversation she’s not a part of. She still hasn’t acknowledged me.

“What year are you guys?”

“Juniors. I’m from New York—can’t you tell? Rachel is from Colorado, and Jocelyn grew up here, though she wants to get out as soon as she can. You can join our club if you like.”

Part of me wonders if I’d have to wear eyeliner and lipstick.


“The misfits. The outcasts. Whatever you want to call it.”

“Not sure if I want to join that.”

“You think you fit in?”

“No,” I say.

“Good. We’ll take you. You fit with us. Plus … you’re cute.”

Poe and her friends walk away.

Jocelyn finally glances at me and smiles the saddest smile I’ve ever seen.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified.

I might look cool and nonchalant and act cool and nonchalant, but inside I’m quaking.

I spent the first sixteen years of my life around the same people, going to the same school, living in the same town with the same two parents.

Now everything is different.

The students who pass me are nameless, faceless, expressionless. We are part of a herd that jumps to life like Pavlov’s dog at the sound of the bell, which really is a low drone that sounds like it comes from some really bad sci-fi movie. It’s hard to keep the cool and nonchalant thing going while staring in confusion at my school map. I probably look pathetic.

I dig out the computer printout of my class list and look at it again. I swear there’s not a room called C305.

I must be looking pathetic, because she comes up to me and asks if I’m lost.

Jocelyn can actually talk.

“Yeah, kinda.”

“Where are you going?”

“Some room—C305. Does that even exist?”

“Of course it does. I’m actually heading there right now.” There’s an attitude in her voice, as if she’s ready for a fight even if one’s not coming.


She nods.

“Second class together,” I say, which elicits a polite and slightly annoyed smile.

She explains to me how the rooms are organized, with C stuck between A and B for some crazy reason. But I don’t really hear the words she’s saying. I look at her and wonder if she can see me blushing. Other kids are staring at me now for the first time today. They look at Jocelyn and look at me—curious, critical, cutting. I wonder if I’m imagining it.

After a minute of this, I stare off a kid who looks like I threw manure in his face.

“Not the friendliest bunch of people, are they?” I ask.

“People here don’t like outsiders.”

“They didn’t even notice me until now.”

She nods and looks away, as if this is her fault. Her hair, so thick and straight, shimmers all the way past her shoulders. I could stare at her all day long.

“Glad you’re in some of my classes.”

“I’m sure you are,” she says.

We reach the room.

“Well, thanks.”

“No problem.”

She says it the way an upperclassmen might answer a freshman. Or an older sister, her bratty brother. I want to say something witty, but nothing comes to mind.

I’m sure I’m not the first guy she’s left speechless.

Every class I’m introduced to seems more and more unimpressed.

“This is Christopher Buckley from Chicago, Illinois,” the teachers say, in case anybody doesn’t know where Chicago is.

In case anybody wonders who the new breathing slab of human is, stuck in the middle of the room.

A redheaded girl with a giant nose stares at me, then glances at my shirt as if I have food smeared all over it. She rolls her eyes and then looks away.

Glancing down at my shirt makes me think of a song by The Smiths, “Half a Person.”

That’s how I feel.

I’ve never been the most popular kid in school. I’m a soccer player in a football world. My parents never had an abundance of money. I’m not overly good looking or overly smart or overly anything, to be honest. Just decent looking and decent at sports and decent at school. But decent doesn’t get you far. Most of the time you need to be the best at one thing and stick to it.

I think about this as I notice more unfamiliar faces. A kid who looks like he hasn’t bathed for a week. An oily-faced girl who looks miserable. A guy with tattoos who isn’t even pretending to listen.

I never really fit in back in Libertyville, so how in the world am I going to fit in here?

Two more years of high school.

I don’t want to think about it.

As the teacher drones on about American history and I reflect on my own history, my eyes find her.

I see her glancing my way.

For a long moment, neither of us look away.

For that long moment, it’s just the two of us in the room.

Her glance is strong and tough. It’s almost as if she’s telling me to remain the same, as if she’s saying, Don’t let them get you down.

Suddenly, I have this amazingly crazy thought: I’m glad I’m here.

I have to fight to get out of the room to catch up to Jocelyn.

I’ve had forty minutes to think of exactly what I want to say, but by the time I catch up to her, all that comes out is “hey.”

She nods.

Those eyes cripple me. I’m not trying to sound cheesy—they do. They bind my tongue.

For an awkward sixty seconds, the longest minute of my sixteen years, I walk the hallway beside her. We reach the girls’ room, and she opens the door and goes inside. I stand there for a second, wondering

if I should wait for her, then feeling stupid and ridiculous, wondering why I’m turning into a head of lettuce around a stranger I just met.

But I know exactly why.

As I head down the hallway, toward some other room with some other teacher unveiling some other plan to educate us, I feel someone grab my arm.

“You don’t want to mess with that.”

I wonder if I heard him right. Did he say that or her?

I turn and see a short kid with messy brown hair and a pimply face. I gotta be honest—it’s been a while since I’d seen a kid with this many pimples. Doctors have things you can do for that. The word pus comes to mind.

“Mess with what?”

“Jocelyn. If I were you, I wouldn’t entertain such thoughts.”

Who is this kid, and what’s he talking about?

And what teenager says, “I wouldn’t entertain such thoughts”?

“What thoughts would those be?”

“Don’t be a wise guy.”

Pimple Boy sounds like the wise guy, with a weaselly voice that seems like it’s going to deliver a punch line any second.

“What are you talking about?”

“Look, I’m just warning you. I’ve seen it happen before. I’m nobody, okay, and nobodies can get away with some things. And you look like a decent guy, so I’m just telling you.”

“Telling me what?”

“Not to take a fancy with the lady.”

Did he just say that in an accent that sounded British, or is it my imagination?

“I was just walking with her down the hallway.”

“Yeah. Okay. Then I’ll see you later.”

“Wait. Hold on,” I say. “Is she taken or something?”

“Yeah. She’s spoken for. And has been for sometime.”

Pimple Boy says this the way he might tell me that my mother is dying.

It’s bizarre.

And a bit spooky.

I realize that Harrington County High in Solitary, North Carolina, is a long way away from Libertyville.

I think about what the odd kid just told me.

This is probably bad.

Because one thing in my life has been a constant. You can ask my mother or father, and they’d agree.

I don’t like being told what to do.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Malacca Conspiracy by Don Brown

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Malacca Conspiracy
Zondervan (June 4, 2010)

Don Brown

DON BROWN, a former U.S. Navy JAG Officer, is the author of Zondervan’s riveting NAVY JUSTICE SERIES. a dynamic storyline chronicling the life and adventures of JAG officer ZACK BREWER. In 2003, Don began writing Treason, his first novel in the NAVY JUSTICE SERIES.

Paying no homage to political correctness, DON BROWN’S writing style is described as “gripping,” casting an entertaining and educational spin on a wide-range of current issues, from radical Islamic infiltration of the military, to the explosive issue of gays in the military, to the modern day issues of presidential politics in the early 21st Century.

In November of 2009, four years after it was released, and in the wake of Fort Hood, TREASON rocketed to the top-selling in the nation on the bestseller list for fiction, and remained there for over a week. On Thanksgiving Day of 2009, all four of Don’s novels were ranked in the top 5 on the Amazon bestseller list for fiction!

DON BROWN graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1982, and after finishing law school, continued his post-graduate studies through the Naval War College, earning the Navy’s nonresident certificate in International Law.

During his five years on active duty in the Navy, Don served in the Pentagon, was published in the Naval Law Review, and was also a recipient of the Navy Achievement Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.

A rogue Indonesian general and his army of terrorists attack oil tankers in the Strait of Malacca in order to profit from oil futures and buy nuclear weapons to establish an Islamic superpower.

Navy JAG officers Zack Brewer and Diane Colcernian race against the odds and a 24-hour deadline before nuclear attacks hit the United States. Departing from the sea of books barely better than soap opera romance and using the frantic pacing of suspense fiction, Brown glides flawlessly among global hotspots of terrorism--including the United States--and the book's principal settings in Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

The President of the United States orders ships of the U.S. Seventh Fleet towards the Malacca Straits to reassert control over the sea lanes, but with time quickly ticking away, will they arrive in time for Zack and Diane to survive this dangerous and final high-stakes drama of life and death?

Sign up for the contest above! And if you would like to read the first chapter of Malacca Conspiracy, go HERE.

My review: (I posted a review already for Zondervan, but am also reviewing it for the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance here)

Great book, the type that is right up my alley: suspense, a lot of action, very pro-military and pro-American.

This book is not part of Brown's Naval Justice Series, but contains the hero and heroine of those books, Zack Brewer and Diane Cocernian, whose relationship finally gets resolved in this book.

This book had a great, but scary plot. There is a takeover of Indonesia by radical Muslims, who then make unreasonable demands on the USA. There is a lot of action going on in different places, and the book bounces around a lot, but it is easy to keep up as the author always states the where and time of what is going on.

I started reading this book on Monday when it came in the mail, and also finished it Monday. It was an awesome read, and not only was I pulled into the story by the action and suspense, but also by the realization that the things in the book could happen - a scary, but true fact. This is one of those books where bad things happen, but also good.

I have been impressed with all of Don Brown's books. As a former JAG officer, I feel he presents a realistic look at what goes on in the Navy and also in the realm of JAG, yet he keeps a strong Christian element in his book, and there are no bad language issues in his books.

His books are probably more something men would enjoy, but any woman who enjoys military action novels will enjoy them.

And one last note: although two characters from his series are in this book, and reference is made to previous actions of theirs, this book could be read without reading the series.

A very highly recommended book.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Book giveaways

My friend Molly is having a blogoversary with daily book giveaways. Check out her blog:


Amish Proverbs by Suzanne Fisher Woods...... and a giveaway

Note: Giveaway instructions after review. You MUST follow instructions to be entered.

Book description:
Through firsthand research and personal relationships, Suzanne Woods Fisher has collected more than 200 proverbs that uncover the rich heritage, folklore, faith, values, history, and essence of the Plain People. These proverbs serve as teaching tools and maxims for practical living--but they're not just for the Amish. They're for anyone who seeks God's wisdom and truth for everyday circumstances.

Ranging from the simple to the profound, from the serious to the humorous, these sayings will stick with you through life's joys and sorrows. With beautiful full-color photos throughout, Amish Proverbs is the perfect gift for any occasion.

My review:

This is a delightful book that would make a great coffee table book. It is a small hardcover, 6" by 6", and 205 pages, but is packed with insightful proverbs from the Amish, and great photographs. The author has also devoted some pages throughout to telling about different aspects of the Amish life such as faith, money, work ethic, and more. Proverbs dealing with that topic then follow.

Though not fiction, I enjoyed this book. Some of the proverbs were famliar to me, while others were not. It was neat to read more, and learn more about the Amish, and I also enjoyed the photographs throughout the book. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Amish, and it would make a great gift.

About the author:

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the CBA bestselling author of The Choice, The Waiting, Amish Peace, and Amish Proverbs. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W. D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Benedict eventually became publisher of Christianity Today magazine. Suzanne is the host of a radio show called Amish Wisdom and her work has appeared in many magazines. She lives in California.

Thanks to Revell Publishers, I have a copy of Amish Proverbs to give away to one winner. You MUST follow these instructions to be eligible to win.

To enter: Comment with a proverb or saying that is common in your family. If you cannot come up with one that is common in your family, then comment with a proverb or saying you like.

Using, I will pick a winner 10 days from today on August 25.

Thanks to Revell Publishers for the review and giveaway copies.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Sin of Gluttony.........

It has happened more than once. I point something out as being wrong, cigarette smoking, cursing, for example - and someone starts harping about gluttony being a sin. They point out that there are even overweight preachers. News flash: Just because something else is wrong, does not make the first thing ok. Now onto gluttony. I have a couple of questions for thought:

1) Does gluttony only involve food?

2) Can a skinny person be a glutton with food?

And.... Just because someone is overweight, can it automatically be assumed that they are a glutton?

Now, here is what I think, and I welcome input.

1) Gluttony can involve an excess in ANYTHING. The dictionary has two definitions for gluttony:
 a person who eats and drinks excessively or voraciously - and
a person with a remarkably great desire or capacity for something

Ironically, one of the people who threw this gluttony argument at me is a glutton themself. In DVDs. This person over the years has spent untold money in DVDs. Movies, TV series on DVD - which are not cheap - not to mention untold trips to the movie theater. Needless to say, they have always had money problems. Is it a stretch to say they are gluttonous with DVD buying? I don't think so.

The possiblities are endless: Internet, CDs, books, sex, facebook..... TV, and of course food. So yes, gluttony can involve far more than food.

2) Yes, a skinny person can be gluttonous with food, and no, just because someone is overweight does not mean they are a glutton.

One big word: metabolism. It plays a big part in body weight. Some people can eat like a horse and look like a fence post. Someone else can eat the exact same amount and look like the horse. There are other factors too - lifestyle, thyroid, and more.

I was off work for several months, but got a job in February. I work in a grocery store, putting stock away, and running all over the store. Without dieting, I have lost 26 pounds since February by a lifestyle change. Was I a glutton then, and not now since I have lost weight?

I love to read. I love books. Seeing them, feeling them - and that is why I can't see how a true book lover could buy into the electronic book readers. What sacrelige! You are not a true book lover if you buy one of those!!!!  :-) - Anyway, I have a lot of books. Am I a glutton with books? I don't know. There have been times in my life where I spent way too much $$ on books. That isn't an issue anymore. Since I get so many books to review, there aren't many that I buy. I enjoy sharing my books, as long as the borrower takes good care of them, so I guess the question remains if I am a glutton in books. ;-) I have a dream: That one day my children will be judged not by the color of their skin....... oops, wrong dream
:-) Seriously..... I do dream of having a large room filled with bookcases, filled with books. The room has a fireplace, a comfortable recliner, a small table to set a drink on. A stereo to play music...... A place where I can take my gluttonous self and enjoy my books......

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Licensed for Trouble by Susan May Warren

Book description:

PJ Sugar receives shocking news that she’s inherited the Kellogg family mansion. Though she has no idea why, the timing is perfect—PJ has clearly worn out her welcome at her sister’s house. Unfortunately, the mansion is in shambles, and PJ is short on cash. Rescue comes in the form of Max Smith, a mysterious handyman willing to trade his services for PJ’s investigative skills. But PJ already has a full docket with cramming for her PI license and nurturing a growing romance with her boss, Jeremy Kane. Can she take on Max’s case without dropping the ball?

My review:

A great read. I really enjoyed this book. This is one of those mystery/suspense novels that aren't too scary/nail biting, but more of a "cozy" suspense novel. I love Warren's characters in this book, and the two that it follows. The book has humor, mystery, suspense, and even romance. By calling it a "cozy" suspense novel, I in no way am trying to say it isn't suspenseful - for it is, it is just a tamer sort of suspense novel.

I highly recommend this series to lovers of suspense novels, and also to readers who usually don't get into that type of book - you folks would enjoy this series, I promise.

About the author:

Susan May Warren served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota. Susan and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church.

Susan holds a BA in mass communications from the University of Minnesota and is a the author of several novellas and many novels with Tyndale House Publishers, including Happily Ever After, the American Christian Fiction Romance Writers' 2004 Book of the Year and a 2003 Christy Award finalist. Other books in that series include Tying the Knot and The Perfect Match. Following that, Susan wrote Team Hope, a three-book romantic-adventure series about a team of search-and-rescue workers. Reclaiming Nick, Taming Rafe, and Finding Stefanie comprise Susan's romantic Noble Legacy series set in Montana.

Visit Susan's Web site at

Licensed For Trouble is available from Tyndale House Publishers.

Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for the review copy.

Check out the contest on the sidebar.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Gathering Storm, by Brock & Bodie Thoene

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Gathering Storm
Summerside Press (August 1, 2010)

Bodie and Brock Thoene


Bodie and Brock Thoene (pronounced Tay-nee) have written over 50 works of historical fiction. Over twenty million of these best-selling novels are in print. Eight ECPA Gold Medallion Awards affirms what millions of readers have already discovered—the Thoenes are not only master stylists but experts at capturing readers’ minds and hearts.

Bodie began her writing career as a teen journalist for her local newspaper. Eventually her byline appeared in prestigious periodicals such as U.S. News and World Report, The American West, and The Saturday Evening Post. She also worked for John Wayne’s Batjac Productions (she’s best known as author of The Fall Guy) and ABC Circle Films as a writer and researcher. John Wayne described her as “a writer with talent that captures the people and the times!” She has degrees in journalism and communications.

Brock has often been described by Bodie as “an essential half of this writing team.” With degrees in both history and education, Brock has, in his role as researcher and story-line consultant, added the vital dimension of historical accuracy. Due to such careful research, The Zion Covenant and The Zion Chronicles series are recognized by the American Library Association, as well as Zionist libraries around the world, as classic historical novels and are used to teach history in college classrooms.

Bodie and Brock have four grown children—Rachel, Jake, Luke, and Ellie—and seven grandchildren. Their sons, Jake and Luke, are carrying on the Thoene family talent as the next generation of writers, and Luke produces the Thoene audiobooks.

Bodie and Brock divide their time between London and Nevada.


As Nazi forces tighten the noose, Loralei Kepler, daughter of a German resistance leader, must flee her beloved Germany. But is any place safe from Adolf Hitler's evil grasp? Loralei's harrowing flight leads her into the arms of needy child refugees, who have sacrificed everything in exchange for their lives, and toward a mysterious figure, who closely guards an age-old secret.

Explore the romance, the passion, and the danger of the most anticipated series of the last twenty years.

Born from the highly acclaimed and best-loved novels of three generations of readers -- The Zion Covenant series and The Zion Chronicles series -- Zion Diaries ventures into the lives of the inspiring and intriguing characters who loved intensely, stood up for what was right, and fought boldly during Hitler's rise to power and the dark days of World War II.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Gathering Storm, go HERE

Monday, August 9, 2010

Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites.... And Other Lies You've Been Told

Book description:

What if all the bad news you've been hearing about Christians isn't true?

Here are some facts that may surprise you:

Evangelicals are more respected by society today than they were twenty years ago.

Divorce rates of Christian couples are lower than those of nonbelievers.

The percentage of young people who attend church has held steady over the past twenty years.

All these statements are true, yet we've been told the opposite time and time again. Why is the church being misled? And what is the true state of Christianity in America today?

Sociologist Brad Wright shatters popular myths by sifting through the best available data. He reveals how Christians are doing when it comes to everything from marriage and morality to church growth and public perception. While not all the news is good, it turns out there is a wealth of encouraging information that we're not being told.

Get the truth behind the statistics you've been hearing and how the numbers are being manipulated, and discover what is really happening in American Christianity.

My review:
This book intrigued me, so I grabbed a copy to review, and it didn't disappoint. The author really knows his stuff. His research and study shows throughout the book.

I was pleasantly surprised to read some of the statistics on things we have been told, and find out that they aren't true. The author tackles several of the ideas that the media and others have thrown up as truth and shows that they aren't really true at all. I have to admit that the book gave me a boost in seeing that Christianity isn't on the verge of being extinct, as the world would have us believe.

I'd recommend this book for any Christian, but especially those who are believing some of the lies we have been told.

About the author:

Bradley R.E. Wright, PhD is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut. After receiving tenure, he switched his academic focus from crime to religion in order to research American Christianity. Brad received his PhD in sociology from the University of Wisconsin, the top-ranked sociology graduate program in the United States. He has a popular blog ( based on his research. Brad is married with two children and lives in Storrs, Connecticut.

Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites.... And Other Lies You've Been Told is available from Bethany House Publishers.

Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

More Precious Than Silver by Lynn Deshazo

Book description:

Millions of believers know her worship songs, especially the classic, “More Precious Than Silver,” written over 30 years ago. Recorded on a worship tape by Christ for the Nations Institute in 1980, this much beloved song was created from the ashes of a spiritual fast gone wrong. In More Precious Than Silver, author Lynn DeShazo shares the history behind her songs, including the scriptures that provided the inspiration.

Come alongside DeShazo and learn about the origins of some of today’s most well known praise and worship songs. There’s a story behind every song; there is also a story behind every songwriter. Much like an onion, More Precious than Silver, removes the layers of DeShazo’s life and reveals an ordinary woman with an extraordinary faith. DeShazo’s music and lyrics have blessed the body of Christ for over three decades; her journey as a songwriter reveals a God with an amazing plan for each of His children, regardless of their strengths or weaknesses.

My review:

I don't listen to much Praise & Worship music, so I was not familiar with this writer or much of her music. I am familiar with More Precious Than Silver, which was used as the title for this book.

Even though Lynn was new to me,, I still found the book an interesting read. She relates how she was called to use her guitar and writing talents for God. She relates what led her to write different songs, and each chapter is titled with the name of one of her songs, followed with information on what was going on in her life at the time and inspiration behind the song, ending with the lyrics to that song. I did enjoy the book - I have always enjoyed reading what led to the writing of a song, even ones I am not familiar with.

Anyone would enjoy this book, but especially listeners/lovers of Praise and Worship music.

About the author:

Lynn DeShazo is the author of some of the Church's most loved worship songs of today, many of which have been featured on the live praise and worship recordings produced by Integrity Music. Lynn is best known for such songs as "More Precious Than Silver," "Lead Me to the Rock," "Turn My Heart," "Be Magnified," "Be Unto Your Name," "Stand Up and Give Him the Praise," "In Your Presence, O God," and "Ancient Words."

Her songs have been performed by a diverse and distinguished group of worship leaders and vocalists that have graced the popular Integrity's Hosanna! Music series from its inception. They include Leanne Albrecht, Rita Baloche, LaMar Boschman, Scott Wesley Brown, Travis Cottrell, Brian Doerksen, the Women of Faith worship team, Bob Fitts, Kent Henry, Graham Kendrick, Robin Mark, Don Moen, Michael Neale, Marty Nystrom, Ross Parsley, Randy Rothwell, Paul Wilbur, and Kelly Willard.

Lynn’s songs have also found their way onto countless other worship recordings, including independent productions as well as the works of artists such as Michael W. Smith, Fred Hammond, Kim Hill, and John Tesh. Lynn has been involved in worship ministry on the local church level for over twenty-five years as a worship leader, a songwriter, and a musician. Her songs have been sung in worship throughout the Body of Christ since the early 1980's, and she has been an exclusive songwriter for Integrity Music since 1989.

Lynn has also produced ten of her own music recordings to date. The latest CD was released in 2007 (More Precious Than Silver – the Songs of Lynn DeShazo). Lynn has traveled frequently as a guest worship leader, instructor, and minister to a wide variety of churches, retreats, and conferences within the USA and abroad. As a psalmist in the Body of Christ, she helps connect worshipers to the flow of God's Spirit, bringing times of refreshing and healing to God's people. Lynn is a native of Alabama, graduated from Auburn University, and has lived in Birmingham nearly all of her life.

More Precious Than Silver is available from Winepress Publishing.

Thanks to Abigail at Winepress for the review copy.

Love Has Come by Kevin Orr

                                  Book description:

Love Has Come is a twenty-eight day study of Matthew’s Gospel. With focal topics such as faith, trust, love, and conflict, author Kevin Orr incorporates personal testimonies from his years as a music minister to help examine Matthew in a fresh and meaningful way. Through introspective observations, Love Has Come is a devotional journey that encourages readers to dig deeper into the fertile soil of God’s Word and discover the greatness of Jesus.

Love was the preeminent motivation behind Jesus’ ministry, and Calvary was the ultimate representation of that love. Jesus loved people the world deemed unlovable, healed people the world cast away, and comforted people the world had written off. His message renewed troubled spirits, and His compassion revived broken hearts. The relevance for truth-seekers is undeniable.

In Love Has Come, we see that God isn’t a silent, dispassionate, distant Being but rather a vocal, passionate God who draws near. The Book of Matthew is the history, legacy, and ministry of the God-man who forever changed history. The world was lost in spiritual darkness. Jesus revealed heaven’s light. Into this pain-stricken world entered the Prince of peace, and life on earth would never be the same. Love had come.

My review:

The author takes a chapter a day and makes a 28-day study out of the book of Matthew. In each chapter, he focuses on a few verses, gives some application/thoughts, and ends asking a question for reflection. Also included after each chapter is a page for the reader to write their thoughts and reflections.

My contact at Winepress asked me if I would actually do the book in 28 days, which I did - well, it took me a bit longer than that, but I did a chapter a day. I enjoyed the book, and it opened up some new insights into the book of Matthew. The chapters in the book aren't long and are easy to read, leaving plenty of time to read the corresponding chapter in Matthew.

The book would make an excellent study tool for either personal study and devotions, or for a small group study. I don't review this type of book often, but I would recommend it for someone wanting to study the book of Matthew.

About the author:

Kevin Orr serves as Orchestra Director for Meadowood Baptist Church in Midwest City, Oklahoma and has been involved in music ministry for over ten years. Kevin’s passion for music began at a young age when he played trumpet in junior high and, eventually, on scholarship at Oklahoma City University (OCU) where he earned his BA in instrumental music education. During his education, Kevin began arranging and composing music and was asked to join Heritage Baptist Church in Oklahoma City to develop an instrumental praise band program. At Heritage, Kevin rehearsed and arranged for the brass ensemble and played trumpet with the praise band. The experience at Heritage served as the foundation for Kevin’s call to music ministry and, not long afterwards, Dickson Baptist Church asked Kevin to consider their music minister position.
Kevin was initially reluctant to leave the security and comfort of the music program at Heritage, but God convicted him to take a leap of faith and follow God’s calling. At Dickson, Kevin directed the adult choir and led worship on Sunday morning and evening services. During his tenure as music minister Kevin started a praise band which was soon incorporated into Sunday morning worship. This was the first of several praise band building opportunities.

Over the years, Kevin has served as music minister for four metropolitan churches: Dickson Baptist (1998-1999), North Pointe Baptist (1999-2002), Crestview Baptist (2002-2006), and Oakdale Baptist (2006-2009). Each opportunity has taught him something greater about the power of praise.

In July 1999, Kevin accepted a position at Tinker Air Force Base where he presently works fulltime, and in July 2000, he married Dawn Miller whom he met while attending Heritage Baptist. Currently they reside in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with their two children, Jayden and Abigail.

Love Has Come is available from Winepress Publishing.

Thanks to Abigail at Winepress for the review copy.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

18 things your grocer will never tell you.....

The Reader's Digest has had a series of articles going on for some time where they got input from dozens of people in certain fields of work, and then publish them with titles such as  "30 things your waiter will never tell you", etc, so I decided to do my own since I currently work at a gocery store. Read for amusement, enlightenment, or just to ease your boredom......

1) Take the grocery cart back to the building. It could be your car that is damaged by one next time, and it is really rude and lazy to use it and not put it back where you got it. Do you put stuff away at home after use? Then why do it differently when using our carts.

2) If you change your mind on an item and are too lazy to put it back where it belongs, give it to the cashier and tell them you changed your mind. Too many perishables are tossed wherever people want, and  you end up paying for it anyway in raised prices.

3) Put the cell phone away when checking out. It is really rude to be on it while the cashier is trying to ring up your groceries, give you a total, and collect your money.

4) If you walk out and leave a bag behind, it is YOUR fault, not the cashier's.

5) If you have to walk between a worker and his work, be polite and say "excuse me." Yes, we are here to put out things for you to buy, but that doesn't mean you need to be rude. Be courteous - you are no better than us.

6) If the coffee is a dollar more than it was last week, don't complain to us. We aren't the ones who set the prices.

7) If you break something and make a mess, please tell us. Don't let it there to be tracked all over the store.

8) If the store has a carousel bagging area and you have a lot of groceries, help the cashier out by putting your bags in the cart instead of standing there watching them do it. It will speed things up and get you on your way faster.

9) Please use the little plastic dividers that are provided to separate your groceries from the person's in front of you. We are not mind readers and don't know where their groceries end and yours start.

10) If you run onto a friend and want to chat, try not to block the whole aisle while you play catch up.

11) $100 bills are a pain if you are only buying a few groceries. All too often, we don't have the correct change and you will have to wait while we get it. Bring smaller bills.

12) Be friendly and courteous. We are trying to make a living too, and are people like you, not your servant.

13) Leave your "green bags" at home They are a royal pain in the neck. They slow us down. And if you must use them...... clean them once in a while.

14) Grapes and some other fruits are sold by weight. Eating them as you shop IS stealing, as you will not be paying for what you ate.

15) Clean up! Don't come to the grocery store straight from changing your car or mud wrestling.

16) Shut your brat up. Don't let them scream all through the store. Or run throughout the store.

17) Don't leave garbage in your cart. Take it with you or throw it away.

18) Don't throw your cancer stick, aka cigarette on the store property. Someone will have to sweep it up. If must smoke, use the ash tray in your car. And by the way, just because you smoke, it does not give you a special right to litter, no matter if you do think that.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Bishop by Steven James

                                  Book description:

FBI Special Agent Patrick Bowers's cutting-edge 21st-century geospatial investigative techniques and impeccable logic have helped him track some of the country's most grisly killers. But those skills are pushed to the limit in this new installment of the highly-acclaimed, award-winning The Bowers Files series. This time it's a congressman's daughter who is found dead even as her killers launch a spree of perfect murders in the Northeast. With nothing to link the crimes to each other, Agent Bowers faces his most difficult case yet--even as his personal life begins to crumble around him. Known for his intricately woven, masterfully plotted novels of high-octane action and spine-tingling suspense, Steven James delivers once again. The Bishop is a gripping, adrenaline-laced story for readers who are tired of timid thrillers. Strap on your seatbelt and get ready for a wild ride. The game is on.

My review:

I'm not a big fan of first person point of view books - never have been. That said, I have enjoyed this series the most of any of that type that I have read. It may help that the author switches back and forth between first and third point of view, or it could be because they are so well-written.

This book, and the 3 that come before it, are not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of action, suspense, mystery, and violence, although as the author states, some of that is left to the reader's imagination. Despite the first person point of view, this series ranks right up there with my favorite suspense/mystery books.

This book, The Bishop, is the fourth book in the Patrick Bowers Thriller Series, or the "Chess Pieces Mysteries", as I like to refer to them since all of the books have the name of a chess piece. The books have only gotten better the further the series has gone, and this book is no different - even better than the last.

I like the characters in these books, especially the hero of the story, Patrick Bowers, and the reader gets to know him better as each book comes out. In this book, he is faced with one of his most puzzling and dangerous cases yet. I read the prologue before lunch - a mistake, for I was drawn back to the book after lunch, and next thing I knew, I was set on finishing it, so yes, this book gets my read in one sitting nod.

I not only enjoy suspense and mystery, but I also enjoy reading about how investgations are done - the way they figure things out, how they examine crime scenes and put things together, and this book - and series - has a lot of that.

I have one complaint with the series - though classified as Christian fiction, there is not much mention of God, and the main character doesn't seem to be a Christian. This book did skirt around the topic of Christianity and God a little, but I do miss that in a Christian book. However, the books are clean, curse-free, and are a very entertaining read. I highly recommend not only The Bishop, but the whole series, which I would recommend reading in order.

About the author:

Critically acclaimed author Steven James has written more than twenty books, including the bestselling thriller series The Bowers Files. One of the nation's most innovative storytellers, Steven developed his skill as a performer at East Tennessee State University (MA in storytelling). He lives in Tennessee with his wife and three daughters.

More on the series and main character here:
The Bishop will be available from Revell Publishing on August 1.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.