Monday, November 30, 2009

God Gave Us Christmas" & "God Gave Us Love" Book Reviews"

Lisa Tawn Bergren has a real gift for children's books. She can take concepts and make them easy to grasp and understand. My kids, Philip (11) and Chloe (9) read these two books for me because I was curious to see how they did with them. They both did great and really enjoyed them. I think Chloe only needed help with one or two words so they are written in a way that is easy for kids to read. I asked them what their favorite book was and these are their comments...

CHLOE'S REVIEW: I liked God Gave Us Love best because the polar bears she uses in the books are cute and cuddly. She uses otters to show how we should love each other. My favorite part was when the polar bear family did a group hug because our family does that sometimes too. I would like to read more of Lisa's polar bear books, I really like them.

God Gave Us Love: As Little Cub and Grampa Bear’s fishing adventure is interrupted by mischievous otters, the young polar bear begins to question why we must love others… even the seemingly unlovable.
In answering her questions, Grampa Bear gives tender explanations that teach Little Cub about the different kinds of love that is shared between families, friends, and mamas and papas. Grampa explains that all these kinds of love come from God and that it is important to love others because…
“Any time we show love, Little Cub, we’re sharing a bit of his love.”
This sweet tale will warm the hearts of young children as they learn about all the different sorts of love, while the gentle explanations of each provide a valuable opportunity to encourage children to share with others a “God-sized love.”


I liked God Gave Us Christmas the best because it talks about Jesus' birth. The Polar bear cub wanted to know who invented Christmas so his mama took him on a little trip. They went down a mountain, saw an iceberg, the northern lights and many more wonders of God's nature. Little cub learned that Jesus was the best present of all and he was given just for him. That was the most important part of the story. I like the polar bear characters because they are cute. I would definitely read more of these polar bear books, they tell great stories.

God Gave Us Christmas: As Little Cub and her family prepare to celebrate the most special day of the year, the curious young polar bear begins to wonder… “Who invented Christmas?” Mama’s answer only leads to more questions like “Is God more important than Santa?” So she and Little Cub head off on a polar expedition to find God and to see how he gave them Christmas. Along the way, they find signs that God is at work all around them. Through Mama’s gentle guidance, Little Cub learns about the very first Christmas and discovers that… Jesus is the best present of all.
This enchanting tale provides the perfect opportunity to help young children celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and to discover how very much God loves them.

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the award-winning author of nearly thirty titles, totaling more than 1.5 million books in print. She writes in a broad range of genres, from adult fiction to devotional. God Gave Us Love follows in Lisa’s classic tradition of the best-selling God Gave Us You. She lives in Colorado, with her husband, Tim, and their children, Olivia, Emma, and Jack.

*I'd like to thank Ashley at Multnomah Books, a division of Random House for the copies of God Gave Us Love and God Gave Us Christmas. To learn more about these and other titles from Multnomah and Random House visit:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

In honor of Thanksgiving weekend - WINNERS, WINNERS, WINNERS!!!



Are you a winner this Thanksgiving weekend? Check this list and see. If you are then email your address to me at ryanx6 at msn dot com and I will get it out to you. If you don't contact me by Sunday evening I will contact you :-)

The Call of Zulina goes to ... Charity (esterried...)

The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow goes to... Kim (kimofthepatch...)

It's Not About Him goes to... Deborah (dleathers36)

Sound of Sleigh Bells goes to... Mystica (mystica123...)

Trial by Fire goes to... Cheryl (shryack...)

The Last Word goes to... Carol (choco1950...)

Slow Burn goes to... Deb (deb55106...)

Silent Gift goes to... Julie (aunteegem...)

White Picket Fences goes to... Hope (onepilgrim86...)

And the 5 winners of Bo's Cafe go to...

Cheryl (shryack...)
Charity (esterried...)
Deborah (dleathers...)
Cherie (cherierj...)
hippmom (angelahipp...)


Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Touched By A Vampire" Book Review and Giveaway!

Book: Touched by a Vampire

Author: Beth Felker Jones



People around the world are asking the same question, enraptured with Edward and Bella’s forbidden romance in the Twilight Saga, a four-book serial phenomenon written by Stephenie Meyer. The bestsellers tell the story of a regular girl’s relationship with a vampire who has chosen to follow his “good” side. But the Saga isn’t just another fantasy–it’s teaching girls about love, sex, and purpose. With 48 million copies in print and a succession of upcoming blockbuster films, now is the time to ask the important question: Can vampires teach us about God’s plan for love?

Touched by a Vampire is the first book to investigate the themes of the Twilight Saga from a Biblical perspective. Some Christian readers have praised moral principles illustrated in the story, such as premarital sexual abstinence, which align with Meyer’s Mormon beliefs. But ultimately, Beth Felker Jones examines whether the story’s redemptive qualities outshine its darkness.

Cautionary, thoughtful, and challenging, Touched by a Vampire is written for Twilight fans, parents, teachers, and pop culture enthusiasts. It includes an overview of the series for those unfamiliar with the storyline and a discussion guide for small groups.


With the release of the movie, "New Moon" this week, the hype surrounding the Twilight series is at a high right now. I have not read the books myself, I have too many great Christian books in my to-be-read pile to spend time on non-Christian books, but I did break down and see Twilight after it came out on dvd, and I'll probably do the same for New Moon. But I was really curious as to what this book, "Touched by a Vampire" would have to say about the series when I got it. I was not disappointed. What Beth offers the reader in this book are some great thought provoking questions and statements regarding Stephanie Meyers' books and movies. A lot of people defend the books with the argument that there is no pre-marital sex between Edward and Bella, Beth goes into that with some great insight. She also looks in depth at marriage, parenting, dangerous romance, the ideal family, abstinence and more.

This book is a valuable tool for sparking discussion within yourself and also teens and friends you may have that have read the books. I wouldn't take everything in this book as gospel, anymore than I would take everything Stephanie Meyer's writes as gospel... but it is fantastic for getting you to really think about what you are reading!

***********Thanks to Liz Johnson from Multnomah for my review copy of this book. If you would like an opportunity to win it then leave me a comment telling me who this book would be good for in your life (you, a daughter, friend, sister, etc..) and leave an email and I will enter you. Good luck!

"Love Finds You In Lonesome Prairie, Montana" Book Review

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

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

Today's Wild Card authors are:

and the book:

Love Finds You In Lonesome Prairie, Montana

Summerside Press (December 1, 2009)

***Special thanks to Amy Lathrop of LitFUSE Publicity Group for sending me a review copy.***

Have you read one of the "Love Finds You In..." books from Summerside Press? There is a whole line of them and they are each as unique and creative as the authors and the locations. There are contemporary, historical, mystery, comedy, tragedy and all of them wrap up with a great dose of romance. In Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie, Montana we have a historical romance set in the wild west prairie and we enter on the orphan train with Julia and the girls in her charge. Julia is seeing off the last of the orphan girls in her care and then she is heading back to New York City. Oh, except that she misses the train because a dirty old prospector holds her up when he demands that she become his wife because he paid for her. Um, what??? It turns out that she does not have a return ticket and her "husband" is intent upon claiming her, but she has leanings toward the Preacher even though he has sworn himself to a life of singleness. In the meantime, Julia is learning that maybe the prairie isn't as lonesome as she first thought as she befriends many of the ladies in the area. Could God finally have a home for an orphan like her?

This is a good classic historical western and adds a great title to the Love Finds You In... line of books. If you haven't read any yet, this is a great place to start.


Tricia Goyer was named Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference "Writer of the Year" in 2003. Her book Night Song won Book of the Year from ACFW in the Long Historical Fiction category. Her book Life Interrupted: The Scoop On Being a Young Mom was a Gold Medallion Finalist. Tricia has written hundreds of articles, Bible Study notes, and both fiction and non-fiction books.

Visit the author's website.

Ocieanna Fleissis a published writer and has edited six of Tricia Goyer's historical novels. She lives with her husband and their four children in the Seattle area. Connect with Ocieanna on Facebook!

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Summerside Press (December 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1935416294
ISBN-13: 978-1935416296


The sound of little girls’ voices and the sight of the sun streaming through the tall, second-story window of the Open Door Home for Destitute Girls, a privately owned orphanage on upper Manhattan, told nineteen-year-old Julia Cavanaugh that the day had started without her. Julia, an orphan herself, now running the place for the owner, brushed a strand of dark hair from her eyes. She submitted to a second yawn as a twelve-year-old girl hopped onto her bed.

“He’s gonna ask her to marry him, don’t you think, Miss Cavanaugh?”

“Oh, Shelby.” Julia wiped the sleep from her eyes and smiled into the freckled face staring eagerly at her. “Give me a moment to wake before you go asking such things.” Julia stroked the girl’s cheek, her heart seeming to double within her chest with love for the youngster.

The embroidery sampler she’d fallen asleep working on still lay at the end of her bed. She picked it up and eyed the image of a small house she’d copied from Godey’s Lady’s Book. Above the house, she’d stitched the words Home Sweet Home in fancy script. Gazing around the broad room lined with small metal cots and bustling with little-girl chatter, Julia noted the embroidered pillowslips, carefully pressed—albeit dingy—curtains, and dandelions smiling from scavenged jam-jar vases. She’d done her best to make the room pleasant for the girls—and herself. She glanced at their faces and smiled, gladly embracing her role as caretaker.

A less-than-subtle “ahem” from Shelby reminded Julia she’d been asked a question. She glanced at her young charge, still perched on the end of her bed. “What did you ask?”

“Finally.” Shelby eyed her with mock frustration. “I said, do you think they will get married—Mrs. Hamlin and Mr. Gaffin? Haven’t you noticed the way they look at each other?” Shelby’s cheeks hinted of red. Her golden hair was already fixed in a proper bun, her hands and face washed, and her simple dress clean and pressed despite its patches and stray threads.

“Shelby Bruce.” Julia shook her head, as Shelby’s two-year-old sister Beatrice wiggled onto Julia’s lap with a squeal. Julia planted a firm kiss on the top of Bea’s head.

“Married? I don’t think so,” Julia continued. “Mrs. Hamlin would’ve told us—told me—if she was being courted. Mr. Gaffin’s just an old family friend.” Julia wondered where on earth the girl got the notion that their headmistress wished to marry.

Although they have been spending a lot of time together. Julia pushed the thought out of her mind as little Bea shuffled to a stand, planting her pint-sized feet on Julia’s thighs. “Fammy fend!” She pointed a chubby finger at her older sister, Shelby.

“All right, Bea.” Julia plopped the toddler on the floor and swiveled her toward the small bed she shared with Shelby. “Time to straighten your bed.” Then Julia eyed the twins. “Charity, Grace, would you two virtuous girls fetch fresh water for the basin?”

Shelby pushed away from the bed, wrinkled her brow, and thrust her hand behind her as if to support her back—a perfect imitation of their middle-aged headmistress. “Now where did I put my spectacles?” Shelby clucked her tongue as she waddled forward.

Laughter spilled from the lips of the girls around the room. Encouraged, Shelby scratched her head. She plopped down on her bed then hopped up again as if surprised, pulling imaginary spectacles from under her rump. “Oh!” she squealed. “There they are.”

The laughter grew louder, and Julia pursed her lips together to smother the impulse to laugh along with them. She planted her fists on her hips. “That’s enough. All of you know what must be done before breakfast.” The girls’ laughter quieted to soft giggles hidden behind cupped palms as they scattered to do their chores.

Shelby lingered behind, her form now straight and her eyes pensive. “Maybe she forgot to tell you, Miss Cavanaugh.” The young girl gazed up at her. “The way they look at each other—it’s like my ma and pa used to, that’s all.”

Julia folded a stray sandy blond curl behind the girl’s ear. “Don’t worry, my sweet. If Mrs. Hamlin was getting married, we’d be the first to know.”

Julia hoped her own gaze didn’t reflect the sinking disquiet that draped her. Mr. Gaffin was a rich world traveler. If there was any truth to Shelby’s suspicion, Julia couldn’t imagine he’d let Mrs. Hamlin continue to work with orphans. Perhaps they’d get a new headmistress.

Or maybe the girls would be separated, moved to new homes…

If Mrs. Hamlin got married, all their lives would be radically changed. And if Julia had to leave the orphanage, she had no idea what she would do. Julia swept that painful thought away and steadied her gaze at Shelby. She couldn’t hide her true feelings from this girl. Julia took Shelby’s hand and answered as honestly as she could.

“I don’t think she’ll get married, but if she does, God will take care of us, like He always has.” Julia lifted her chin in a smile. “And really, Mrs. Hamlin may be forgetful, but no one could forget that. I sure wouldn’t.”

Ardy, a shy Swedish girl, removed her dirty sheets from a small bed and then approached, taking Julia’s hand. “Don’t ya think you’ll ever be gettin’ married?”

“Actually, there is something I’ve been wanting to tell you all….” Julia leaned forward, resting her hands on her knees.

The two girls eyed each other in surprise, and Shelby’s brow furrowed.

“Come closer.” Julia curled a finger, bidding them.

“What is it?” Shelby asked, her eyes glued to Julia.

The girls leaned in. “I’d like to tell you…that there’s a wonderful man who’s asked me to marry him!”

The squeals of two girls erupted, followed by the cheers of nearly three dozen others who’d been quietly listening from the stairwell.

“There is?” Shelby reached forward and squeezed Julia’s hand.

Julia let out a hefty sigh and giggled. “No, you sillies. Well, at least not yet. Someday. Maybe.”

Shelby pouted “But you said… ”

“I said I’d like to tell you I had a man. I’d sure like to, but of course since I don’t, I’m happy to stay here with all of you.”

The girls moaned.

The squeak of the front door down on the first floor of the Revolutionary War–era home-turned-orphanage drew their attention. They waited as Mrs. Hamlin’s familiar chortle filled the air, along with a bash and clang of items—hopefully food and supplies that she’d picked up.

“Julia!” Mrs. Hamlin yelped. “Julia, dear, where are you?”

“Coming.” Julia hurried down the stairs to help the older woman.

Julia neared the bottom of the steps and paused, trying to stifle a laugh at the sight of the twinkly-eyed woman sprawled flat on her back. Scattered boxes and bags covered the donated rug.

“Mrs. Hamlin! What on earth? Why didn’t you get a steward to help you?”

“Oh, I didn’t want to be a bother.” She cheerfully picked herself up. “I was in such a hurry to show you all what I’d bought. And to tell you my surprise. Such a wonderful surprise.” Julia eyed the boxes and noted they were from R.H. Macy & Co. More than a dozen boxes waited to be opened, and she couldn’t imagine the cost.

“I found just what the girls need, and on sale!” the headmistress exclaimed.

What they need is more food—vitamin drops, too—and maybe a few new schoolbooks. But Julia didn’t dare say it. And somehow God’s hand of providence always provided.

“New clothes, I gather. That is a surprise.”

“But only half of it, dear.” Mrs. Hamlin rubbed her palms expectantly. “I also must tell you my news. The best news an old widow could hope for.”

Julia followed Mrs. Hamlin’s gaze toward the idle youngsters who’d gathered on the staircase to watch. Her eyes locked with Shelby’s, then she quickly looked away. “News?” The muscles in Julia’s stomach tightened.

“Girls,” Julia shooed them away with a wave of her hand, “you know better than to eavesdrop. Off to chores with you. We’ll have breakfast soon.”

The girls started to scurry off, but Mrs. Hamlin halted them with her words.

“No, no,” her high-pitched voice hailed. “Come back. This news is for all of you.” They circled around her, and she tenderly patted their bobbing heads.

“What is it?” Julia wasn’t sure she’d ever seen Mrs. Hamlin’s cheeks so rosy or her eyes so bright.

“I’m getting married!”

"Eternity Falls" Book Review

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Eternity Falls

Marcher Lord Press (October 1, 2009)


Kirk Outerbridge


Marcher Lord Press is a new publisher that has only been around for a year, but is taking the speculative fiction genre by storm. They have had 3 sets of titles release so far and with each set they release 3 books. This most recent set included "Eternity Falls" by Kirk Outerbridge. I have read 3 other MLP books so far and have been very impressed with the quality of books they are publishing, but Eternity Falls is a Cyberthiller... say what? Hmm, Cyberthriller. Well, if Eternity Falls is an example of a Cyberthriller than I think I have a new favorite genre.

Eternity Falls sets us in the future where a new genetic formula is being used by the public called "Miracle Treatment" which alters the dna back to a younger you, so an 85 might look 25. This is very popular among the rich and famous but then one of their spokespeople, actress Greta Darling dies, of natural causes... except of course that is not possible because she is a Miracle Treatment user. One of the heads of Gentec, Sheila Dunn, hires Rick Macey to figure out what happened since she is sure that the treatment itself could not have failed.

We set out on a trip to the truth with Macey and Sheila as they try to determine whether it is a religious conspiracy, espionage, or murder and who is behind trying to ruin Sheila. People start dying and the past comes back to haunt Macey, his secrets start rearing their ugly heads and in the midst of everything can he remember Who has been there for him all along?

Great book and an excellent addition to the Marcher Lord Press releases to date.


Kirk Outerbridge developed a passion for storytelling at an early age. Through years of reading Fantasy and Science Fiction novels, comics, table top gaming and watching endless hours Japanese anime, he developed a keen sense for what made stories enjoyable and more importantly—what didn’t.

While pursuing an engineering degree in college, Kirk endeavored to tell his own stories, choosing writing as the easiest and cheapest medium to master—or so he thought. Several years and several hundred thousand words later, he produced a Sci-fi trilogy that shall never (God willing) see the light of day, but that did teach him much needed lessons about the craft of writing fiction.

After college Kirk returned to his homeland of Bermuda where he reunited with his childhood friend and future wife, Ria. But before marrying his lovely wife, Kirk entered an even greater marriage and devoted his life to Christ in 2002.

With a new found direction in life, writing fell by the wayside but the urge to tell futuristic stories never left. After much prayer and contemplation, Kirk purposed his writing for God’s Will, seeking to draw to Christ those who shared his passions for all things futuristic and Sci-fi.

Kirk currently lives with his wife Ria and 18 month old son Miles in beautiful Bermuda. He is a faithful member of the Church of Christ and is a professional engineer employed by the government.


In the future, death is only a problem if you can’t afford the price. Such is the promise of Gentec Corporation’s “Miracle Treatment”, a genetic anti-aging elixir that grants eternal life—or does it?

When a Gentec client suddenly dies of natural causes, the powers that be will stop at nothing to ensure their version of eternity remains unchallenged; even if it means concocting a religious sabotage conspiracy to cover a lie.

With the media about to blow the story wide open, the credibility of Gentec and the lives of millions of clients rest on one man’s ability to uncover the truth.
Enter detective Rick Macey, religious counterterrorist expert and Gentec executive Sheila Dunn’s last hope for salvation.

Now with the clock ticking and the corporate brass seeking their own solution at any cost, Macey must track down a religious zealot out to destroy the Miracle Treatment for good.

But when Macey finds himself not only falling for his client, but confronted with the possibility that the culprit could hold a connection to his shaded past, the truth suddenly becomes a dangerous thing.

Only through a test of faith can he stop the crisis before it’s all too late and eternity falls.

If you would like to read an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Eternity Falls, go HERE

Monday, November 16, 2009

"Thirsty" Book Review & Giveaway!

Book: Thirsty

Author: Tracey Bateman

There's no place like home, they say.
"Hello, I'm Nina Parker…and I'm an alcoholic."
For Nina, it's not the weighty admission but the first steps toward recovery that prove most difficult. She must face her ex-husband, Hunt, with little hope of making amends, and try to rebuild a relationship with her angry teenage daughter, Meagan. Hardest of all, she is forced to return to Abbey Hills, Missouri, the hometown she abruptly abandoned nearly two decades earlier–and her unexpected arrival in the sleepy Ozark town catches the attention of someone–or something–igniting a two-hundred-fifty-year-old desire that rages like a wildfire.

Unaware of the darkness stalking her, Nina is confronted with a series of events that threaten to unhinge her sobriety. Her daughter wants to spend time with the parents Nina left behind. A terrifying event that has haunted Nina for almost twenty years begins to surface. And an alluring neighbor initiates an unusual friendship with Nina, but is Markus truly a kindred spirit or a man guarding dangerous secrets?

As everything she loves hangs in the balance, will Nina's feeble grasp on her demons be broken, leaving her powerless against the thirst? The battle between redemption and obsession unfold to its startling, unforgettable end.

Can the Twilight phenomenon cross over into the Christian Bookseller Association? Forays have been made, but I think that Tracey Bateman's book "Thirsty" may be the most likely to make a successful transition.
What happens when you take some incredible characters, unique plot points, fantasy and reality and throw them all together... shake them up and add in a dash of past history and you come out with a great book!

I have read and watched a lot of fantasy stuff with vampires and such and so I was curious how Tracey would handle the subject matter for the CBA market. The fact remains that if you have issues with vampires then you do not want to read this book. If you, however, like that subject matter or have people in your life that do (like Twilight and New Moon lovers), than this is the book for you. I don't want to go into details... you know if you want to read it or not, I don't want to spoil a thing. I just want to encourage you to read this book yourself and use it as a ministry tool this holiday season... as everyone rushes out to watch New Moon in the theater, buy some copies of "Thirsty" and spread some holiday spirit.

*****************I actually have a copy to giveaway so leave a comment telling me why the subject of vampires is interesting to you and I will enter you. Don't forget to leave an email so I can reach you - good luck!*************** I was given a copy to review and giveaway by the publisher :-)

Friday, November 13, 2009

"A Prisoner of Versailles" Book Review

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Prisoner of Versaille

Thomas Nelson (September 1, 2009)


Golden Keyes Parsons

The French Hugenots are a piece of history that most people don't know about. During the time of King Louis the XIV, he believed that everyone should be Catholic and the Hugenots were persecuted for their faith. Prisoner of Versilles is the sequel to Shadow of the Sun King and is even more gripping than the first one. Golden Keyes Parsons has created a family that is so real you will feel like you on going on their journey with them. Madeline grew up with the King and they once loved each other, now he wants her back even if its by force. With no regard for her family or home. In book one she travels to Versailles to beg for her family and home in the name of the old days. The King is not convinced and she must flee.

Now we follow Madeline as she tries to get her family out of the country and away from the King's reach. She is thwarted and is taken back to Versailles, against her will and with her oldest son. Can she be like Esther and save her family at the cost of herself? Is her son really the heir to the throne?

I was completely swept away by this story. The only good thing about this book ending is that I know there will be a third book to come out and I can't wait. Step back into history and walk the pathway of the past as you read this book and fall in love with Madeline's story!


In her deep plowing of the heart, moving from tears one moment to laughter the next, Golden will touch your heart with her dynamic Bible teaching, combined with her vivid personal examples, moving from tears one moment, to laughter the next, all the while communicating the message that God is faithful--keep trusting Him. She has a passion to communicate the Word of God in such a manner that will lead to godly living.

Golden, and her husband, Blaine, have just retired as pastors at Faith Mountain Fellowship Church in Red River, NM. They have three grown daughters and eight grandchildren. Her testimony and myriad of life experiences lend a touch of authenticity to her teaching. She loves to speak for women's conferences, seminars, luncheons, retreats and Mother/Daughter events.

If deep Bible teaching that brings the Scriptures alive is what you want, Golden is the speaker you need.


Madeleine's faith puts her at odds with an intimidating rival: King Louis XIV.

Having fled their homeland of France because of the persecution by Louis XIV, the Clavell family seeks refuge in Switzerland. However, the king is not about to let the recently widowed Madeleine, his childhood sweetheart, escape that easily. He sends musketeers to kidnap her and her oldest son, Philippe, holding them captive in his opulent palace. King Louis is suspicious that Philippe could be his son, and he's enraged by the growing affection of one of his courtiers for Madeleine.

Will Madeleine escape the king with her life or lose everything that she's fought so hard to keep?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Prisoner of Versaille , go HERE

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"White Picket Fences" Book Review Giveaway!

Story Summary:

When the storybook-perfect Janvier family temporarily "adopts" their teenaged niece, Tally, they assume they'll be helping her. But when Tally befriends her cousin, Chase, she soon realizes that he badly needs encouragement, too. When the troubled teens interview two holocaust survivors for a sociology project, will they trigger the healing process that everybody needs?

I really liked Susan's book, "The Shape of Mercy" but it raises the bar awfully high for any future books she has come out. She does not disappoint. In White Picket Fences we meet Neil and Amanda and their kids Chase and D who live the perfect life in a house with a white picket fence. They take in Amanda's niece, Tally, when her dad disappears. Tally turns the family life upside down (not intentionally) by befriending Chase and all kinds of issues arise to the surface. Is Neil and Amanda's perfect marriage really perfect? What really happened when Chase was in a fire at age 4? Why is Tally's dad in Europe when his daughter needs him?

Chase and Tally have a school project that leads them to interview two old men at a nursing home that survived Treblinka during the Holocaust. This opens doors to the past that no one new existed. Susan Meissner has a gift for bringing the past to the present in an inspiring way. She does it again in this book and I loved it! Secrets are exposed, mysteries unravel and darkness comes to light in "White Picket Fences".

**************Special thanks to Staci Carmichael for the review and giveaway copies of this book!*****************************
For a chance to win a copy of this great book leave a comment telling me if you have read a book by Susan Meissner and what you thought... be sure to leave your email address. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"A Silent Gift" Book Review & Giveaway!

The Director of Love Comes Softly Films

Pens New Heartwarming Story

The Silent Gift

by Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley


It is almost 3:00 in the morning as I write this review. Why? Because I just finished the last page of a book that gripped my heart from the first paragraph and didn't let go until the last sentence had me in tears. I was swept away into the life and times of the 1930's with such abandon that I would have sworn for a short while that I could smell the circus, see the sunlight reflecting off the windows at the Edmundson's estate, glimpse the red skin barely peeking out from under Mary's white kid gloves and feel Jack sitting next to me in comfortable silence, sharing companionship with an old friend. The fact that the storyline was fresh and original and always left me wondering what was around the corner was sheer bonus.

The story opens with Jerry driving his young wife Mary to the hospital in labor. On the way there things go horribly awry and we are left wondering if Mary and Jack even survive. From there we move forward seven years and things aren't good. Mary finally sees an opening to leave Jerry and she does just that, taking Jack and fleeing to safety... maybe. Along the way she discovers that Jack has a gift... of prophecy, but he can't speak. This is incredibly interesting and then suddenly the world is turned on its head and Jack is taken away from Mary. Time passes and Mary can finally go looking for Jack, but her search does not reveal what she was hoping for. Is God really watching out for her? Who can she trust? Has Mary let down her son when he had no one else?

Venture carefully into this story because you may not want to leave after meeting Mary and Jack, and I dare you not to love them and sob at the last sentence in this wonderful book.

**************************Special thanks to Elliot at Edify Media for a review copy of this book!

If you would like a chance to win a copy of this book (also provided by Elliot) then leave a comment telling me which of the spiritual gifts has always intrigued you the most. Be sure to leave your email address in case you are the winner - good luck!

Minneapolis, MN. With over ten million DVDs sold of the hit Love Comes Softly movie series, director Michael Landon Jr. is known for his ability to capture characters and themes on film. A feat he couldn't do without the help of his longtime screenwriting partner Cindy Kelley. Now they bring their creative teamwork to the world of books. A bittersweet story of hope in the midst of suffering, The Silent Gift follows the story of a devoted mother and her disabled son trying to survive the Great Depression-and the discovery of the boy's unusual gift. "We wanted to tell a story to illustrate that one's worth isn't dependent upon what society deems valuable, but that our intrinsic worth comes from our Creator;' said Landon Jr. and Kelley. Yet the book explores another theme-one that isn't often found in the pages of fiction. And one that the authors didn't take lightly. "The uniqueness of this story is that it focuses on a child who is both deaf and mute, but everyone believes has the gift of prophecy;' said the authors. "It was intriguing to delve into the spiritual gift of prophecy and its own unique implications." With prophecy as a hot-button issue with some denominations, Landon Jr. and Kelley wanted to give an accurate but thought-provoking portrayal of this special gift. As a result, they conducted in-depth research as well as interviewed some of the top theological minds of today. "The challenge was trying to find clarity between actual prophecy and what we typically call 'psychic' today;' they said. With research balanced by story, Landon Jr. and Kelley weave a beautiful narrative of love and enormous sacrifices that lingers long after the last page has been read.


The decade of the thirties was a time of enormous uncertainty¬ for the world, for America, and in particular for one lonely, struggling mother and her disabled son. But then The Gift appears...where has it come from, and why? How can a young boy who cannot communicate provide comfort and direction to seekers who learn of the special ability? Whatever the source, its presence brings a single shaft of light and hope to Mary and her beloved son, Jack.. .. Will it be enough?

About The Authors

Michael Landon Jr., son of the Little House on the Prairie star, has been building his own reputation in the film world and beyond with his highly successful Love Comes Softly movies. His Christian worldview illuminates all his work. He and his wife make a home for their three children near Austin, Texas. Cindy Kelley and Michael have co-written fIlm scripts together for over a decade, including the screenplays for most of the beloved Love Comes Softly films. Cindy and her husband, Jim, have three children and a granddaughter and make their home in Tucson, Arizona

Monday, November 9, 2009

"Fit To Be Tied" Book Review

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Fit to Be Tied

Zondervan (November 1, 2009)


Robin Lee Hatcher

I enjoyed the first book in this series, "A Vote of Confidence", where we are introduced to Gwen and her not so identical twin sister Cleo. I liked Gwen and following her in book #1 was great, but I have to say that I love Cleo and "Fit To Be Tied" is so fun! Cleo is an independent woman living on her dad's ranch, breaking horses and dressing like the guys in a time when that is not typical. Guess what? She doesn't care! But she is lonely. And now that her sister is married (and expecting) she feels the desire to find Mr. Right more than ever. But is there a Mr. Right for someone as unique as Cleo?

One of the best things about Cleo is the way she loves unreservedly, with no holds barred. I thought this was so true, but for so few people anymore. She also has something very unique in our day and time... very little regard for what others think of her, she is comfortable in her own skin... for most of the book anyway. The journey with Cleo in this book is a romp that you will not soon forget. I am excited for book #3, Robin Lee Hatcher is a wordsmith and if you have never read her book "Ribbon of Years" I encourage you to get that book as well.


Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Whispers from Yesterday), the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance (Patterns of Love and The Shepherd's Voice), two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 50 novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She is passionate about the theater, and several nights every summer, she can be found at the outdoor amphitheater of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, enjoying Shakespeare under the stars. She makes her home outside of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon


Cleo Arlington dresses like a cowboy, is fearless and fun-loving, and can ride, rope, and wrangle a horse as well as any man. In 1916, however, those talents aren’t what most young women aspire to. But Cleo isn’t most women. Twenty-nine years old and single, Cleo loves life on her father’s Idaho ranch. Still, she hopes someday to marry and have children.

Enter Sherwood Statham, an English aristocrat whose father has sentenced him to a year of work in America to “straighten him out.” Sherwood, who expected a desk job at a posh spa, isn’t happy to be stuck on an Idaho ranch. And he has no idea how to handle Cleo, who’s been challenged with transforming this uptight playboy into a down-home cowboy, because he has never encountered a woman succeeding in a “man’s world.”

Just about everything either of them says or does leaves the other, well, fit to be tied. Cleo Arlington knows everything about horses but nothing about men. And though Cleo believes God’s plan for her includes a husband, it couldn’t possibly be Sherwood Statham. Could it?

Their bumpy trot into romance is frustrating, exhilarating, and ultimately heartwarming.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Fit to Be Tied , go HERE.

Watch the book video Trailer:

Friday, November 6, 2009

"Limelight" Book Review


Melody Carlson

What a unique book. This book is about a Hollywood has-been in her 80's that is suffering from a case of... if I can't have what I want, then I'd rather die! So she tries to... die that is. After a failed suicide attempt we meet Claudette Fiore in a mental hospital trying to figure out how she is going to leave when she has no where to go after a recent visit from the IRS, which is what led to attempt in the first place. She calls upon her step-son Michael for help and he comes to her rescue. Only one problem, with the Beverly Hills mansion sold for back taxes that leaves her with her mother's old house back home in a town that she swore she'd never go back to. Could death be worse than this? Claudette doesn't think so. Can Michael change her mind and help her see that her life isn't over yet?

What does she do to take care of herself and her new little bungalow without the staff that has waited on her hand and foot for the last 60 years? Heavens, Claudette doesn't know how to do the dishes, wash clothes or make a bed - how is she ever going to stay alive let alone clean? When people from her past start popping into her life how will she ever survive the humiliation?
Can you really teach an old dog new tricks? Come take a journey with Claudette and see.

I really enjoyed this book and seeing how the other half lives, and I don't mean the rich and famous, I mean the elderly! Good book coming from an author who writes a lot of young adult books, it was kind of nice seeing a different side.

*************Special thanks to Liz Johnson from Waterbrook/Multnomah for the review copy of this book.**********************

Claudette Fioré used to turn heads and break hearts. She relished the glamorous Hollywood lifestyle because she had what it takes: money, youth, fame, and above all, beauty. But age has withered that beauty, and a crooked accountant has taken her wealth, leaving the proud widow penniless and alone.

Armed with stubbornness and sarcasm, Claudette returns to her shabby little hometown and her estranged sister. Slowly, she makes friends. She begins to see her old life in a new light. For the first time, Claudette Fioré questions her own values and finds herself wondering if it’s too late to change.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"What Matters Most" Book Review

What Matters Most

by Melody Carlson

"What Matters Most" is the latest and last in Melody Carlson's Diary of a Teenage Girl series. It is book 16 I believe though the series follows four different girls and all of them show up in this book. I think the concept is great, we read the whole book through the eyes of Maya's diary which is actually kind of fun, with the exception that I don't know anyone that is THAT detailed when they write in their diary! I mean, goodness, she writes entire conversations down word for word :-) Maya is a great character - a smart girl with a rock star dad who is never around and an incarcerated mom who has never been a mother to her, she lives with her uncle and is in the process of trying to get emancipation when her mom is released from jail. She has boy issues, girl issues with the snotty cheerleader and the girls from youth group, lots of irons in the fire and now she is starting jam sessions with this Christian Girl Band, Redemption, that lost one of their members to college. Does she really want to be a rock star? Great premise... here is where it goes wrong...

I read the last chapter and look to see when the next book comes out to wrap up all the loose ends in this book... um, try never??? As great as this book is and the series is... I can't believe all the things that are left undone. I was left feeling unsatisfied. It would be a great book if there were another one following, as it is I enjoyed it, I just wish there was more to it.

**************Special thanks to Liz Johnson from Waterbrook/Multnomah for a review copy of this book****************

Maya’s Green Tip for the Day: Recycled fashion is one of the most fun ways to go green. A pair of jeans could be transformed into a denim skirt. A sweater into a vest. A bunch of old ties into a dress. A blanket into a poncho. Accessorize it in new way–with beads, buttons, appliqués, buckles, stencils, or ribbons…your imagination is only the limit.

Sixteen-year-old Maya Stark has a lot to sort through. She could graduate from high school early if she wants to. She’s considering it, especially when popular cheerleader Vanessa Hartman decides to make her life miserable–and Maya’s ex-boyfriend Dominic gets the wrong idea about everything.

To complicate matters even more, Maya’s mother will be released from prison soon, and she’ll want Maya to live with her again. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. And when Maya plays her dad’s old acoustic guitar in front of an audience, she discovers talents and opportunities she never expected. Faced with new options, Maya must choose between a “normal” life and a glamorous one. Ultimately, she has to figure out what matters most.

Be sure to visit this website for more info on these books :

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"Leaving Carolina" Book Review


Piper Wick left her hometown of Pickwick, North Carolina, twelve years ago, shook the dust off her feet, ditched her drawl and her family name, and made a new life for herself as a high-powered public relations consultant in LA. She’s even “engaged to be engaged” to the picture-perfect U.S. Congressman Grant Spangler.

Now all of Piper’s hard-won happiness is threatened by a reclusive uncle’s bout of conscience. In the wake of a health scare, Uncle Obadiah Pickwick has decided to change his will, leaving money to make amends for four generations’ worth of family misdeeds. But that will reveal all the Pickwicks’ secrets, including Piper’s.

Though Piper arrives in Pickwick primed for battle, she is unprepared for Uncle Obe’s rugged, blue-eyed gardener. So just who is Axel Smith? Why does he think making amends is more than just making restitution? And why, oh why, can’t she stay on task? With the Lord’s help, Piper is about to discover that although good PR might smooth things over, only the truth will set her free.

Tamara Leigh is just simply one of my favorite authors. One of a few select authors where if they write a book I want to read it - period. The only issue is that I loved her last book, "Faking Grace" SO much that it is going to take a lot to improve on that book in my opinion.

Enter "Leaving Carolina" and its heroine Piper Pickwick, oops, I mean Piper Wick. When she left home she left behind as much as she possibly could including her full last name. Home was a place that carried some awful, horrible memories and she just wanted a fresh start. Now her re
cluse of an Uncle (and about the only family member that was every good to her and her mother) wants to change his will to make restitution for all the wrongs that her has done to others over the years, but in the process those secrets will all get spilled in the wide open... including one of Piper's very own secrets. She must go home and try to persuade him otherwise. Let the fun begin...

The big question here is "Can people really change?" Tamara does a great job of searching out that question and all the possible answers and I enjoyed taking the trip to truth with Piper. The characters around her are great and the premise really is wonderful. I really liked this book and am looking forward to the fact that this is just book #1 in this series and more will follow with these great characters... but for me personally, Faking Grace still stands at the top of the list!

About the Author

Tamara Leigh has been writing since 1994. Leigh’s first novel, Warrior Bride, was followed by six more best-selling, award-winning romances in the general market. Her inspirational Chick-Lit debut, Stealing Adda, was published in 2006 to great critical acclaim. Her twelve novels include Faking Grace; Splitting Harriet, an American Christian Fiction Writers "Book of the Year" winner and RITA Award finalist; and Perfecting Kate. She holds a master’s degree in speech and language pathology, is a stay at home mom, and lives near Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and sons.

Please visit the Waterbrook/Multnomah website for more info on this great book!

*******Special thanks to Liz Johnson for a promotional copy of this book to review******

"The Bride Backfire" Book Review

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

The Bride Backfire

Barbour Publishing, Inc (October 1, 2009)

***Special thanks to Angie Brillhart of Barbour Books for sending me a review copy.***

This book actually surprised me with how much I liked it. I read book #1 in this series, but they really stand alone, most of the same characters, but we are learning all about different people in this book. Opal Speck and Adam Grogan are unwilling participants in the Speck/Grogan feud that has been going on for generations. They are actually not participants as much as they are peacemakers, both trying to make sure that their family members don't do something stupid to the other family and get everyone killed. Then the unthinkable happens, Adam is caught on the Speck's property looking for a missing cow and to spare his life Opal announces that her dad and brothers can't possibly kill the father of her unborn baby!

After a shotgun wedding (literally) life is changed for Opal as she is now wanted by no one. Her family disowns her and the Grogans won't accept her. Adam wants to make it work, he just asks one thing, that Opal tell him the name of the actual father of her baby. Only one problem, there is no baby. She can't lie to him, he won't trust her til she tells him and she is worried he'll annul the marriage and get them all killed. Chaos ensues and lies of partial truth are spun in webs around everyone. Can Opal and Adam find a way out of this mess without World War 3 breaking out?

Great book, my only issue was that I felt that I was being spoon fed the scenario over and over again, I was kind of like, okay - I get it... Opal needs Adam to sleep with her so he won't annul the marriage and he won't sleep with her til he knows the name of the baby's father and she can't tell him the name of the baby's father because there isn't one... I got it already! That was the only flaw I found in the entire book. Great characters (good and bad!), clever storyline and excellent writing style. I am really looking forward to the last book in this series!


Kelly Eileen Hake is a reader favorite of Barbour Publishing’s Heartsong Presents book club, where she has released several books. A credentialed secondary English teacher in California, she also has her MA in Writing Popular Fiction. Known for her own style of witty, heartwarming historical romance, Kelly is currently writing the Prairie Promises trilogy, her first full-length novels. Hake is a CBA bestselling author and has earned numerous Heartsong Presents Reader’s Choice Awards. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.97
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc (October 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602601763
ISBN-13: 978-1602601765


Nebraska Territory, March, 1857

“Not again!” Opal Speck breathed the words on a groan so low her brothers couldn’t hear her—a wasted effort since the entire problem lay in having no one around but Larry Grogan.

Even Larry, despite having the temperament of a riled skunk and a smell to rival one, kept the oily gleam from his eyes when the men of her family were in sight. No, the appraising leers and occasional advances were Opal’s private shame. Hers to handle whenever he tried something, and hers to hide from everyone lest the old feud between their families spring to life once more.

“Figured you’d come by here sooner or later, since Ma and Willa are making dandelion jelly.” Larry levered himself on one elbow, pushing away from the broad rock he’d lounged against. He gestured toward the abundance of newly blooming dandelions bordering Speck and Grogan lands, but his gaze fixed on her as he spoke. “Let’s enjoy the sweetness of spring.”

“No.” Opal kept her voice level though her fingers clamped around the handle of her basket so tightly she could feel the wood bite into her flesh. Letting Larry know he upset her would only give him more power, and false bravery to match. Lord, give me strength and protection. “Not today.”

“Look ripe for the plucking to me.” Larry sauntered closer, but Opal wouldn’t give an inch. Everyone knew that when animals sensed fear, they pressed their advantage.

“Dandelion jelly may be sweet, but it takes a lot of work to make it that way. Do it wrong, it’ll be bitter.”

“I like a little tang.” He reached out and tweaked a stray strand of her red hair as he leaned closer. “Keeps things interesting.”

Opal fought not to wrinkle her nose as his breath washed over her. Instead, she tipped her head back and laughed, the note high and shrill to her ears as she stepped away. “Then I’ll leave them to you, Mr. Grogan.”

“Wait.” His hand snaked out and closed around her wrist, but it was the unexpected note of pleading in his voice that brought her up short. “Won’t you call me Larry?”

“I—” Opal couldn’t have found any words had they been sitting in the strawberry patch. She and Larry both stared at where his hand enfolded her wrist. “I don’t think that’s wise.”

“We can’t always be wise.” With a wince, he used his other hand to trace the long, thin scar bisecting his cheek. His hand dropped back to his side when he noticed her watching the motion, but something softened in his face. “You must like me a little, Opal. Otherwise you would’ve left me to die like everyone would expect a Speck to do.”

Not really, no. She didn’t speak the words, her silence stretching thin and strained between them. Larry’s sly innuendos were a threat Opal expected, but Larry Grogan looking as though he cared what she thought of him. . . How could she be prepared for that? Why didn’t I notice his advances only began after his accident—that Larry must have interpreted me helping Dr. Reed patch him up as something more than kindness?

Surprise softened her words when she finally spoke. “I would have helped anyone thrown from the thresher.” Opal’s reference to the incident didn’t need to be more detailed. The man before her would never forget the cause of his scar, just as she’d never forget it was his animosity toward her father that caused him to mess with that machine in the first place.

“Even a Grogan?” He shook his head. “I don’t believe you.”

She would’ve backed away at the desperation written on his face if she could, but she summoned all her courage to stay calm. “Believe it, Larry.”

“What if I don’t want to?” His grip turned painful, bruising her arm. “I know you’d do anything to protect your family. Even deny your own feelings.” Larry moved closer. “And I can prove it with one kiss.”

“My family would kill you.” She tried to tug her wrist free, only to have him jerk her closer.

“We both know you wouldn’t tell them.” Darkness danced in his eyes. “This is between you and me.”

Panic shivered down Opal’s spine at the truth of his words. The one thing she could never do was put her family in danger, and if she told Pa or her brothers, blood would flow until there wasn’t a Speck—or a Grogan—left standing. She stayed still as he leaned in, his grip loosening slightly as his other hand grabbed her chin.

“No!” Exploding into action the second she sensed her opportunity, Opal sent a vicious kick to his shins with one work boot. A swift twist freed her wrist from his grasp, letting her shove her basket into his stomach with all her might.

She barely registered the crack of wood splintering as she sprang away, running for home before Larry caught his breath enough to catch her.


“Pa ain’t gonna like this.” Nine-year-old Dave poked his head around the stall partition like a nosy weasel sniffing out trouble.

“That’s why you’re not mentioning it to him.” Adam didn’t normally hold with keeping things from one’s father, but telling Diggory Grogan that another one of their milk cows had fallen prey to the strange, listless bloat that had plagued their cattle for the past few years without explanation would be akin to leaving a lit lantern in a hayloft. The resulting blaze would burn more than the contents of the barn.

“But didn’t he say that the next time one of those Specks poisoned one of our cows he was goin’ to march over there an—”

“We don’t know that anyone’s been poisoning our cows, Dave.” Adam pinned his much younger brother with a fierce glower. “But we do know the Specks have had sick cattle, same as us. The last thing either of us needs is to start fighting again.”

Confusion twisted Dave’s features. “When did we ever stop fighting?”

“There’s different kinds of fighting, Squirt.”

“I know!” Dave scrambled after him as Adam left the barn to go find the meanest rooster he could catch. “There’s name-calling and bare-knuckles and knock-down drag-outs and slaps—”

His list came to an abrupt end when Adam rounded on him. “That’s not what I meant.” He squatted down so he could look his little brother in the eye. “There’s fighting for what you believe in, fighting to protect what’s yours, and there’s fighting just because you like fighting. That’s never a good enough reason, understand?”

“Kind of.” Dave squinted up at him when Adam straightened once more. “How come we fight the Specks, then?”

“A mix of all three.” Willa’s voice provided a welcome interruption. “Our granddaddies both thought the east pasture belonged to them. Then each of our families believed the other was wrong, and now we’re so used to fighting that we blame each other when anything goes wrong.”

“Like the cows?” Dave processed their sister’s explanation so fast it made Adam proud.

“Yep.” He didn’t say more as the three of them each chased down a chicken, ignoring the angry squawks and vicious pecks as best they could. When everyone’s arms were loaded down with feathers and flailing spurs, they headed back to the barn.

“Then I guess it’s a good thing Pa and Larry are out hunting today.” Dave spat out a stray feather. “So we can scare some of the bloat out of Clem before he finds out and blames the Specks?”

“That’s right.” Willa set her jaw. “Because no matter what Larry says or how Pa listens, the Specks aren’t poisoning our cows. And the last thing we need is for him to stir things up over nothing!”

That was the last any of them said for a while, as everyone knew it was useless to try to talk over the sounds of a cow belching. Since Dr. Saul Reed had first tried the treatment two years ago on Sadie—when the bloats began—the Grogans had perfected the process to a fine art.

If a cow grew listless, went off her feed, stopped drinking water, and generally gave signs of illness, they watched for signs of bloat. When baking soda didn’t help, the last hope for expelling the buildup of gas before it stopped the animal’s heart was to get it moving at a rapid pace. On the Grogan farm, that meant terrorizing the cattle with riled roosters.

Dave darted toward the stall and thrust his bird toward the back, spurring Clem to her feet for the first time that whole morning. She rushed out of the partition, heading toward a corner plush with hay, only to be headed off by Willa, whose alarmed chicken made an impressive display of thrashing wings to drive the cow out the barn door.

From there it was a matter of chasing her around the barnyard and up the western hill—the theory being that elevating her front end made it easier for the gas to rise out—until the endeavor succeeded or the entire group dropped from exhaustion. Thankfully, they’d yet to fail.

To an outsider, Adam Grogan would be hard-pressed to explain why leading a slobbering, stumbling, belching cow back to the barn would put a smile on his face, but Willa and Dave shared his feeling of triumph. Sure, Clem might not look like much of a prize at the moment, but she’d been hard-won. Better yet, they’d averted having Pa and Larry ride over to the Speck place with fired tempers and loaded shotguns.

Much the way Murphy and Elroy Speck were riding toward them right now. Adam tensed, taking stock of the situation. With Pa and Larry out for the day, it was up to him to take care of things.

“Stay here.” He snatched the shotgun from the wall of the barn and rolled the door closed, pushing Dave back inside when he tried to squirm out. “I said stay. And don’t go up in the hayloft either, or I’ll tan your hide later.” With the door shut, Adam slid the deadbolt in place, effectively locking his sister and younger brother in the barn. . .and hopefully out of trouble.

He strode to meet the Specks, intent on putting as much distance from their stopping place and his family as humanly possible. While Adam didn’t hold with the idea of a feud and did everything in his power to maintain peace, he wouldn’t stake the safety of a single Grogan on any Speck’s intention to do the same.

“Ho.” Murphy Speck easily brought his horse to a halt, followed closely by his second-eldest son. The two of them sat there, shotguns laid across their saddles, silent as they looked down on Adam.

Adam, for his part, rested his firearm over his shoulder, vigilant without being hostile, refusing to offer false welcome. Specks had ventured onto Grogan land; it was for them to state their business. Adam wouldn’t put himself in the weaker position by asking, and only a fool would provoke them by demanding answers.

Good thing Larry’s not here. The stray thought would have earned a smile under any other circumstance.

“Where’s your brother?” Murphy’s gaze slid to toward the corners of his eyes, as though expecting someone to sneak up on him.

Not a good beginning. He sure as shooting wasn’t about to tell two armed Specks he was the only grown Grogan around the place. Adam just raised a brow in wordless recrimination at the older man’s rudeness.

“What Pa means to say,” Elroy’s tone held a tinge of apology, though his stance in the saddle lost none of its steel, “is that Pete’s seen your brother on our land a few times this past week.”

“Oh?” I knew he’d been up to no good when he hadn’t been helping fertilize the fields. Something else stank. Adam’s jaw clenched.

“Some of our cattle have the bloat.” Murphy’s statement held accusation, though his words didn’t. The man walked a fine line.

“Ours, too.” Adam lifted his chin. “Must be a common cause.”

“Common cause or no, seemed maybe a reminder was in order.” Elroy’s level gaze held a deeper meaning.

His father wasn’t half so diplomatic. “The next time a Grogan steps foot on Speck land without express invitation, he won’t be walking away from it.”

Adam ignored the sharp drop in his stomach at the irrefutable proof tensions were wound tight enough to snap. “Good fences make good neighbors.” He gave Speck a curt nod.

“Fences and family, Grogan.” Murphy’s parting words came through loud and clear. “Watch yours a bit closer.”