Everyday Tidbits...

"I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." - Anne Shirley

Friday, February 24, 2012

Creative Slow-Cooker Meals...Review

About the book:
From the celebrated coauthor of
The Marriage Miracle comes a new kind of cookbook and a new attitude toward planning meals. With an eye toward the whole menu, not just part of it, columnist Cheryl Moeller teaches cooks to use two crockpots to easily create healthy, homemade dinners.

Don’t worry about your dinner being reduced to a mushy stew. Each of the more than 200 recipes has been taste-tested at Cheryl’s table. Join the Moeller family as you dig into:

Harvest-time Halibut Chowder
Salmon and Gingered Carrots
Mediterranean Rice Pilaf
Indian Chicken Curry
Apricot-Pistachio Bread
Shrimp Creole
Rhubarb Crisp

... and many more! Perfect for the frazzled mom who never has enough time in the day,
Creative Slow-Cooker Meals gives readers more time around the table with delicious, healthy, frugal, and easy meals!

This was a cookbook that I was excited to review, but one that I ultimately have mixed feelings about.  I love the spiral binding which makes it so easy for the book to stay open. I also love the idea of using two slow cooker to prepare a meal.   I own two slow cookers and it seems so logical to use both, yet I've never considered it.  Cheryl Moeller also covers Gluten-Free, Dairy Free and Vegan recipes, which will be a big plus for many people.

Unfortunately, there were no recipes that appealed to me although I gained some ideas for meals I could fix in a slow cooker that I hadn't considered before.  The index is very general.  I wanted to find the recipe for Chicken Manicotti that I remembered looking at, but there wasn't a category for pasta or chicken and the chapter where I ultimately found the recipe was called, "For the Kitchen with the Revolving Door" which isn't very specific as far as it being about dinner or main dishes.  I hadn't remembered the recipe as being chicken anyway, just that it was a stuffed manicotti, so it took some thumbing to find it.  I do like the idea of cooking stuffed pasta in the slow-cooker, but I will probably use my own stuffed shell recipe instead of this one.

The book doesn't give sizes or servings.  I have two different sized crock pots and it would be nice if the recipes stated the appropriate size slow cooker to use.  Also, and this is a big one for me: none of the recipes gave serving sizes.  I like knowing that I'm going to have lots of leftovers or that I should double a recipe.  Obviously you can infer sizes or amounts, but it takes away a lot of guesswork to look at a recipe and see the words, "Serves 4" or "Serves 8".

While this isn't one that will get much use at my house, it is one that will appeal to many people, especially those looking to save time and use their crock pots a lot more.

Thanks to First Wildcard and Harvest House Publishers for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Cheryl Moeller here.  You can read one of the chapters here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 2/12

* *
2/5 Stars

Creative Slow-Cooker Meals...Wildcard!

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:


Harvest House Publishers; Spi edition (February 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Karri James, Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Cheryl Moeller is a seasoned mother and a standup comic. She is also a syndicated columnist with her own blog (www.momlaughs.blogspot.com) and contributes monthly to several online parent websites. Cheryl has coauthored two books on marriage with her husband and has written for www.mops.org and Marriage Partnership. Cheryl does comedy for parenting classes, MOPS groups, wedding or baby showers, church retreats, women’s conferences, and those in line at the grocery store.



Visit the author's website.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:



From the celebrated coauthor of The Marriage Miracle comes a new kind of cookbook and a new attitude toward planning meals. With an eye toward the whole menu, not just part of it, columnist Cheryl Moeller teaches cooks to use two crockpots to easily create healthy, homemade dinners.

Don’t worry about your dinner being reduced to a mushy stew. Each of the more than 200 recipes has been taste-tested at Cheryl’s table. Join the Moeller family as you dig into:


  • Harvest-time Halibut Chowder
  • Salmon and Gingered Carrots
  • Mediterranean Rice Pilaf
  • Indian Chicken Curry
  • Apricot-Pistachio Bread
  • Shrimp Creole
  • Rhubarb Crisp
... and many more! Perfect for the frazzled mom who never has enough time in the day, Creative Slow-Cooker Meals gives readers more time around the table with delicious, healthy, frugal, and easy meals!


Product Details:
List Price: $14.99
Spiral-bound: 272 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Spi edition (February 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736944915
ISBN-13: 978-0736944915


AND NOW...THE FIFTH CHAPTER (click on pages to enlarge): 






















Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall...Review

About the book:
Pampered Margaret Macy flees London in disguise to escape pressure to marry a dishonorable man. With no money and nowhere else to go, she takes a position as a housemaid in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, a suitor she once rejected in hopes of winning his dashing brother. Praying no one will recognize her, Margaret fumbles through the first real work of her life. If she can last until her next birthday, she will gain an inheritance from a spinster aunt--and sweet independence. But can she remain hidden as a servant even when prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall?

Observing both brothers as an "invisible" servant, Margaret learns she may have misjudged Nathaniel. Is it too late to rekindle his admiration? And when one of the family is nearly killed, Margaret alone discovers who was responsible. Should she come forward, even at the risk of her reputation and perhaps her life? And can she avoid an obvious trap meant to force her from hiding?

On her journey from wellborn lady to servant to uncertain future, Margaret must learn to look past appearances and find the true meaning of "serve one another in love."


Being pushed into marriage by her unscrupulous step-father, Margaret decides she's had enough and flees her home with the maid who was dismissed after being wrongly accused of theft.  With no idea of where to go and what to do, Margaret follows Joan and finds herself employed as a housemaid in the country home of a former suitor.  Unprepared for service, Margaret nevertheless fumbles her way into the position and learns what really goes on behind the scenes in an upper class home.

As her family searches for her, Margaret attempts to remain invisible and is able to observe Nathaniel Upchurch, her former suitor, and realizes that she misjudged him years previously.  As she learns what it is that God wants her to do with her life, she wonders if she could ever have another chance with Nathaniel.

While perhaps not completely plausible, this was a thoroughly enjoyable novel.  I enjoyed the peek into the world downstairs and what life was like for those in service.  It seems well researched and I loved the chapter headings which were actual quotes from books written about and for servants in the 19th century. I do wish there had been an epilogue or something that would have given us a little more detail, especially with what happened to Joan.

Julie Klassen has written a charming novel full of romance and a bit of intrigue.  The Christian elements are strong, but the story is not at all preachy.  It's a delightful read and a book that I didn't want to put down.

Thanks to Amy at Litfuse Publicity for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Julie Klassen here.  You can purchase your own copy here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here.

Read 2/12

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Words Spoken True...Review

About the book:
Adriane Darcy was practically raised in her father's newspaper offices. She can't imagine life without the clatter of the press and the push to be first to write the news that matters. Their Tribune is the leading paper in Louisville in 1855. Then Blake Garrett, a brash young editor from the North with a controversial new style of reporting, takes over failing competitor the Herald, and the battle for readers gets fierce.

When Adriane and Blake meet at a benefit tea, their surprising mutual attraction is hard to ignore. Still, Blake is the enemy, and Adriane is engaged to the son of a powerful businessman who holds the keys to the Tribune's future. Blake will stop at almost nothing to get the story—and the girl. Can he do both before it's too late?

Set against the volatile backdrop of political and civil unrest in 1850s Louisville, this exciting story of love and loyalty will hold readers in its grip until the very last page. Bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart once again delivers an enthralling and enduring tale for her loyal and ever-expanding fan base.


Raised by a newspaper editor father, Adriane knows her own mind and struggles with a world that relegates women to the the society pages and not the editorial ones.  Spunky and feisty, Adriane will do whatever it takes to get the story and get it ahead of the rival paper, even if that means dressing like a man and visiting the site of a serial killer's latest crime.

When her path crosses that of Blake Garrett, new editor of that rival newspaper, sparks fly.  Adriane is being forced to wed the son of a politician, and a man to whom her father is indebted.  Attracted to Blake, Adriane must do what is right for her peace of mind as well as what may save her father's paper.

Historically, this is a richly detailed account of life in pre-Civil War Kentucky with the clash of the immigrant Irish Catholics and the American Protestants. This was a period of history that I was unaware of before reading Words Spoken True and it fascinated me.  Ann Gabhart has done her research well and the story is enthralling and well written with well developed characters. Adriane and Blake are terrific and I love the supporting cast as well: Duff and Beck were wonderful.    

I have enjoyed every Ann H. Gabhart book I've read, but this one is definitely my favorite so far.  I'm glad to see her moving beyond the Shaker books.

Available February 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Thanks to Donna Hausler of Baker Publishing for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Ann H. Gabhart here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read

* * * * *
5/5 Stars

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pictures of the Past...Review

About the book:
Pictures of the Past is a compelling saga sweeping through Chicago, Paris and Berlin, reliving events from pre-World War II Europe, but beginning in contemporary times. An Impressionist painting, hanging for decades in the Art Institute of Chicago and donated by the charismatic philanthropist Taylor Woodmere, is challenged by an elderly woman as a Nazi theft. 


Taylor's gripping and passionate story takes us back to 1937. Sent to Paris on family business, he reluctantly leaves his girlfriend Emily, a spoiled debutante from Newport, Rhode Island. But once in Europe, he immediately falls in love, first with an Henri Lebasque painting, and then with the enchanting Sarah Berger of Berlin. After Taylor returns home, the Berger family becomes trapped in the Nazi web, and any attempts for the new lovers to be reunited are thwarted.

Interwoven with this narrative is the story of Rachel Gold, a beautiful and bright Chicago girl caught up in the times of the late 1960's. Pregnant and abandoned by her boyfriend Court Woodmere, Taylor's son, she moves to New York to live with her aunt, a Holocaust survivor. Years later, as the controversy surrounding the provenance of the painting becomes public, Rachel's grown son is disturbed by his inexplicable familiarity with the work of art. And it is only Taylor Woodmere who can unravel the complicated puzzle of their lives. 


With a heart-grabbing ending, Pictures of the Past is historical fiction, giving a personalized window to the powerful events and intriguing venues of the eras. From a world torn by the horrors of war, a love story emerges that endures through years of separation.

I enjoy historical novels.  The World War II years are a time that fascinate me.  I love art.  Package all three of those together in one novel and I'm hooked.  That the story is compelling is even better.

Taylor Woodmere's story begins in 1937 when he travels to France and Germany on business.  He leaves behind a girlfriend and doesn't anticipate falling in love with the daughter of his German associate or a painting.    What follows is a story I was quickly drawn into and one that spans oceans and generations.

Deby Eisenberg has crafted a terrific debut novel that has not only captured the essence of pre- and post-war Germany and the hate and fear that was so prevalent, but also the strength and resilience of the Jewish people.  Often books with chapters that alternate between characters and even past and present can be confusing.  However, here,  the alternating chapters and time periods merge together smoothly and the reader discovers a rich, heartwarming story of love lost and love found and family secrets. 

Thanks to Dorothy at Pump Up Your Book Promotion for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Deby Eisenberg here.  You can purchase your own copy here.  You can see other tour stops and reviews here.

Monday, February 6
Book reviewed at Year of Jubilee Reviews

Tuesday, February 7
Book reviewed at Book Nook Club

Wednesday, February 8
Book reviewed at Acting Balanced

Thursday, February 9
Guest blogging at Acting Balanced

Friday, February 10
Book reviewed at Moonlight, Lace & Mayhem

Monday, February 13
Book reviewed at True Media Solutions

Tuesday, February 14
Book reviewed at Bookworm Lisa

Wednesday, February 15
Book reviewed at Books in the Burbs

Thursday, February 16
Book reviewed at Hands and Home

Friday, February 17
Book reviewed at Everyday Is An Adventure

Monday, February 20
Book reviewed at 2 Kids and Tired Books

Tuesday, February 21
Book reviewed at Library of Clean Reads

Wednesday, February 22
Book reviewed at Bags, Books & Bon Jovi

Thursday, February 23
Book reviewed at Hey, I Wanna Read That

Friday, February 24
Book reviewed at Celtic Lady’s Reviews

Monday, February 27
Book review & interview at S.O.S. Aloha

Interviewed at Literarily Speaking

Tuesday, February 28
Book reviewed at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, February 29
Book reviewed at The Bookish Dame

Read 2/11

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Wings of Morning...Wildcard!

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:


Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Karri James, Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Murray Pura earned his Master of Divinity degree from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia and his ThM degree in theology and interdisciplinary studies from Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. For more than twenty-five years, in addition to his writing, he has pastored churches in Nova Scotia, British Columbia and Alberta. Murray’s writings have been shortlisted for the Dartmouth Book Award, the John Spencer Hill Literary Award, the Paraclete Fiction Award, and Toronto's Kobzar Literary Award. Murray pastors and writes in southern Alberta near the Rocky Mountains. He and his wife Linda have a son and a daughter.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Lovers of Amish fiction will quickly sign on as fans of award-winning author Murray Pura as they keep turning the pages of this exciting new historical romance set in 1917 during America’s participation in World War I.

Jude Whetstone and Lyyndaya Kurtz, whose families are converts to the Amish faith, are slowly falling in love. Jude has also fallen in love with flying that new-fangled invention, the aeroplane.

The Amish communities have rejected the telephone and have forbidden motorcar ownership but not yet electricity or aeroplanes.

Though exempt from military service on religious grounds, Jude is manipulated by unscrupulous army officers into enlisting in order to protect several Amish men. No one in the community understands Jude’s sudden enlistment and so he is shunned. Lyyndaya’s despair deepens at the reports that Jude has been shot down in France. In her grief, she turns to nursing Spanish flu victims in Philadelphia. After many months of caring for stricken soldiers, Lyyndaya is stunned when an emaciated Jude turns up in her ward.

Lyyndaya’s joy at receiving Jude back from the dead is quickly diminished when the Amish leadership insist the shunning remain in force. How then can they marry without the blessing of their families? Will happiness elude them forever?

Welcome a powerful new voice to the world of Amish fiction!





Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736948775
ISBN-13: 978-0736948777

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER: 


Lyyndaya Kurtz straightened her back and looked up at the blue  and bronze evening sky. It was that strange sound again, like a large swarm of bees at their hive, and it grew louder and louder. She leaned the hoe against the picket fence her father had built around the garden. Her mother, whose hearing was no longer very good, continued to chop at weeds between the rows of radishes and lettuce. She glanced at her daughter as Lyyndaya shielded her eyes from the slowly setting sun.

  Was ist los?” she asked, using Pennsylvania Dutch.

  “Can’t you hear them, Mama?” Lyyndaya responded. “There are aeroplanes coming.”

  Her mother stood up, still holding the hoe in her brown hands, and squinted at the sun and sky. “I don’t see anything. Is it a small one?”

  “No, it’s too loud for just one aeroplane. Do you see, Mama?” Lyyndaya pointed. “Coming out of the west. Coming out of the sun.”

  Now her mother shielded her eyes. “All I am seeing is spots in front of my eyes from looking into the light.”

  “Look higher. There are—three, four, six—there are half a dozen of them.”

  The planes were not that far from the ground, Lyyndaya thought, only a thousand feet, not much more. Each with two wings, the top wing longer than the bottom one, each plane painted a yellow that gleamed in the sunlight. As she watched, one of them broke away from the others and dropped toward them. It came so low that the roar of the engine filled the air and children ran from their houses and yards into the dirt road and the hay fields. They were soon followed by their mothers and fathers and older brothers and sisters.

  Lyyndaya laughed as the plane flew over their house. A hand waved at her from the plane’s open cockpit and she waved back with all her might. “Can you see the plane now, Mama?” she teased.

  Her mother had crouched among the heads of lettuce as the plane flashed past. “Ach,” she exclaimed with a cross look on her face, “this must be your crazy boy, Jude Whetstone.”

  “He’s coming back!”

  The plane had banked to the left over Jacob Miller’s wheat field and was heading back over the farmhouses while the other five planes carried on to the east. Its yellow wings dipped lower and lower. Lyyndaya’s green eyes widened.

  “He’s going to land in Papa’s field!” she cried. “Where the hay was cut on Monday!”

  She lifted the hem of her dress in both hands and began to run. The black kaap that covered her hair at the back, left untied, flew off her head.

  “Lyyndaya! This is not seemly!” her mother called after her.

  But the young woman had reached the old gray fence around the hay field, gathered the bottom of her navy blue dress in one hand, and climbed over, and with strands of sand-colored hair unraveling from their pins, she was racing over the stubble to where the plane’s wheels were just touching the earth. Others were running toward the plane from all directions, jumping the fence if they were spry enough, opening the gate to the field if they were not.

  The aeroplane came to a stop in the middle of the field and when the propeller stopped spinning a young man in a brown leather jacket and helmet pushed his goggles from his eyes and jumped from the cockpit to the ground. He was immediately surrounded by the several boys and girls who had outrun the adults in their rush toward the craft. He mussed the hair of two of the boys who came up to him and tugged the pigtail of a red-headed girl.

  “Jude!” Lyyndaya exclaimed as she ran up to him, the tan on her face flushed. “What are you doing here?”

  “Hello, Lyyndy,” the young man smiled, lifting one of the boys up on his shoulders. “The whole flying club went up and I convinced them to come this way to Paradise. I wanted to see you.”

  “To see me? You fly a plane from Philadelphia just to see me?”

  “Why not?”

  “But you were coming back on the train in a few days.”

  “A few days. I couldn’t wait that long.”

  Lyyndaya could feel the heat in her face as neighbors looked on. She saw one or two frown, but most of the men and women smiled. A very tall man in a maroon shirt wearing a straw hat laughed. She dropped her eyes.

  “Bishop Zook,” she murmured, “how are you?”

  Gute, gute,” he responded. “Well, Jude, what is all this? Why has a pigeon dropped out of the sky?”

  Bishop Zook was not only tall, at least six-foot-nine, but broad-shouldered and strong. He shook Jude’s hand with a grip like rock. The young man pulled his leather helmet off his head so that his dark brown hair tumbled loose. Lyyndaya fought down an overwhelming urge to take Jude and hug him as she had done so many times when they were nine and ten.

  “I wanted the children to see the plane, Bishop Zook,” said Jude.

  “Only the children?”

  “Well—” Jude stumbled. “I thought perhaps—I might ask Miss Kurtz—”

  “Ah,” smiled the bishop. “You want to take her up, as you flying men say?”

  “I thought—”

  “Are you two courting?”

  “Courting?”

  “You remember what is courting, my boy—you have not been among the English in Philadelphia that long, eh?”

  Everyone laughed, and Lyyndaya thought the heat in her face and hands would make her hair and skin catch on fire.

  Bishop Zook put an arm like a plank around Jude’s slender shoulders. “You know when there is the courting here, we let the boy take the girl home in the buggy after the Sunday singing. You remember that much after a week away?”

  “Yes—”

  “So your horse and buggy are where?” the bishop said.

  Jude continued to hunt desperately for his words. “In the barn, but I wanted—” He stopped, his tongue failing him as the whole colony stood watching and listening.

  The bishop waited a moment and then walked over and touched the top wing of the plane. He ran his hand over the coated fabric and nodded. “A beautiful buggy. Pulled by horses with wings, eh? How many, Master Whetstone?”

  Jude was trying not to look at Lyyndaya for help, but did anyway, and she was making sure she did not look at him or offer any by keeping her eyes on the stubble directly in front of the toes of her boots.

  “There are—” Jude stepped away from the crowd pressing in on him and Lyyndaya and turned around to look at the plane behind him as if he were seeing it for the first time—“there are—” He stood utterly still and stared at the engine as if it did not belong there. Then he looked at Bishop Zook’s thick black beard and broad face. “Ninety. Ninety horses.”

  The bishop nodded again and kept running his hand over the wing. “More than enough. There is the problem however—if God had meant us to fly, Master Whetstone, wouldn’t he have given us wings, hm?”

  He took his hand from the plane and looked at Jude directly. Several of the men and women murmured their agreement with the bishop’s question and nodded their heads. Most remained silent, waiting for Jude’s answer. Jude stared at the bishop, trying to gauge the look in the tall man’s blue eyes. He thought he saw a flash of humor so he went ahead with the answer he had used a hundred times in their own Amish colony as well as in dozens of the ones around it.

  “Bishop Zook,” he responded, “if God had meant us to ride a buggy he would have given us wheels and four legs.”

  “Ah ha!” shouted the bishop, slapping his huge hand against his leg and making most of the people jump, including Lyyndaya. “You have it, Master Whetstone, you have it.” He clapped his hands lightly in appreciation and a smattering of relieved laughter came from the small crowd. “So now take me up.”

  “What?”

  “As bishop, I must make sure it is safe for Miss Kurtz, ja? After all, who has ever had such a horse and buggy in our colony, eh?” He gave his hat to one of the men and climbed into the front of the two cockpits.

  “I only have a little time before I must head back to Philadelphia—” Jude began, again glancing at Lyyndaya for help, who had gone so far as to raise her gaze to stare fixedly at the bishop and the plane, but still refused to make eye contact with the young man.

  “Five minutes,” said the bishop with a gleam in his eye. “That is all I ask. I am not the one you are courting, eh?”

  The people laughed again. The thought passed through Jude’s head that the bishop was enjoying a lot of laughter at his expense. Then he shrugged and climbed into the rear cockpit. He saw his father in the crowd and gestured with his hand.

  “Papa, will you give the propeller a turn?” he asked.

  “Of course, my boy.”

  As Jude’s father, a tall, slender man with a short beard and warm brown eyes, walked toward the plane, Bishop Zook leaned his head back and asked, “Now, before the engine noise, tell me, what is the name of this aeroplane and where do they make such things?”

  Jude handed the bishop a leather helmet and goggles. “It’s a Curtiss JN-4, the Jenny, and they’re usually made in Buffalo, New York. But our flying club outside of Philadelphia was able to purchase these at a very good price from our Canadian friends just across the border. They are built there by Curtiss’s Canadian associate, the Canadian Aeroplane Company, so we call them the Canuck.”

  “But they are the same as the New York ones?”

  “Almost. They have one great advantage. I use a stick, a joystick, to control the aeroplane in these. The old American ones have a wheel that is not as good.”

  “Why don’t we put the stick in ours then?”

  “We will. The next model has the stick, the JN-4D. But they have only brought it out this month. There are not enough of them. Besides, it’s 1917 and they are all going to the army. Civilian clubs will not be able to purchase them while the war is on.”

  Jude’s father, in his brown summer shirt and straw hat, was standing in front of the plane and smiling. Jude played with a switch on the control panel in his cockpit. Then he pulled down his goggles and smiled back at his father and made a circle in the air with his hand. His father nodded, put both hands on the top blade of the wooden propeller, and swung it downward. The engine coughed twice and roared. His father’s hat went spinning into the sky with the prop wash.

  “Contact,” Jude said loudly. “Please buckle on your harness, Bishop Zook.”

  “Ah. So we truly do have something in common with the horses.”

  Jude’s father had caught up with his hat. He looked back at his son and pointed east. Jude turned the plane in that direction.

  “What is your father telling us?” shouted Bishop Zook.

  “The direction the wind or breeze is coming from. We take off into the wind.”

  “Why?”

  “It gives us lift to help get the aeroplane off the ground.”

  The craft moved ahead, slowly bouncing over the field, then gathering speed and rising into the air. Jude took it to a thousand feet and made sure he flew over the entire town of Paradise and especially the bishop’s dairy farm on the west end. The sun was still an hour or two over the horizon and covered the plane in light. The bishop began to laugh and slapped one of his hands against the side of the Jenny.

  “Too beautiful, too beautiful,” Jude heard him call out. “Mein Gott, what a gift you have given the birds, such a gift, such a world.”

  When they landed again and the propeller had spun down to a stop, Bishop Zook climbed out, pumped Jude’s hand like an excited boy, and then beckoned to Lyyndaya.

  “Come, come, my dear,” he smiled, “your buggy awaits.”

  Feeling every eye on her, the skin of her face burning, she stepped up to the plane and the bishop helped her into the front cockpit. She used one hand to manage her dress and the other to grab onto parts of the plane. When she was finally in her seat, the bishop gave her the helmet and goggles and showed her how to tighten the buckles of the shoulder harnesses. Then he walked to the front of the plane and bent his head at Jude’s father.

  “May I?”

  Jude’s father stood back from the propeller. “Of course.”

  “I just pull it downward?”

  Ja, just a sharp tug and then let it go. Do not hold on.”

  “Yes, yes, all right—when?”

  “My son will tell you.”

  Lyyndaya sat in her cockpit feeling an odd mixture of embarrassment, excitement, and fear. Suddenly Jude’s hand squeezed her left shoulder from behind.

  “You will be all right, Lyyndy Lyyndy Lou,” he said.

  She could not turn all the way around to see him, but she knew he would be smiling just as his use of the childhood nickname had made her smile as well. Now, ten years later, without having had a chance to discuss it between themselves, the plane ride had become a buggy ride and they were courting, thanks to Bishop Zook. Well, it would give them something to talk about besides the weather and the crops when he came back to Lancaster County from Philadelphia in a few days.

  She could not see what Jude was doing, but the bishop all of a sudden nodded, swung down on the propeller with his enormous hands and arms, and the engine burst into life. They began to roll across the ground faster than she had ever traveled in anything before, faster than galloping her mare, Anna, bareback. She felt her heart hammering and her mouth go dry.

  “Hang on!” shouted Jude.

  The wind was rushing against her face and body. The earth streamed past brown and green. The sky was a streak of blue and silver. Then the plane lifted into the air and her stomach seemed to turn inside out and upside down. She looked down and the men and women and children were like dolls and the wagons like toys and the houses like tiny boxes. Suddenly the plane banked to the right and she felt herself falling out of her seat. The leather flying helmet, unfastened, was torn from her head, her hair exploded in the rush of air, and as her arms dropped over the side into empty space she could not stop herself and started to scream.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

When the Smoke Clears...Review

About the book:
As a member of the North Cascades Smokejumpers, Alexia Allen always takes care of the equipment that keeps her safe. So when she nearly dies in a fire due to equipment failure, she knows something is up. Ordered to take time off while the investigation continues, Alexia makes a last-minute decision to recuperate at her mother's home and attend her high school reunion. Yet trouble seems to be following her, and within hours of arriving home she's involved with murder, arson--and a handsome detective. But the conflicts ahead are nothing compared to the ghosts of her past. As she strives to remember and forgive her family history, she must also decide if the secret she's been guarding for the last ten years must finally come to light.

Chock-full of the suspense and romantic tension readers have come to expect from Lynette Eason, When the Smoke Clears is the explosive first book in the Deadly Reunions series.

Growing up in a dysfunctional, abusive family, Alexia left home the day she graduated from high school.  Ten years later, after an accident at work, she somewhat reluctantly takes some time off to see her mother and attend her high school reunion.  Yet, once she arrives home, murder and mayhem follow her.  Reunited with old friends,she finds herself attracted to the detective handling her case, a man she knew in high school.

As she gets reacquainted with her mother, Alexia begins discovering answers to life long questions and learns that God does have a plan for her.   And, as she realizes that the incident with her equipment failure might not be a complete accident and is related to the new events surrounding her arrival at home, Alexia must face the fact that someone is trying to kill her.

I haven't read Lynette Eason before, but what a roller coaster.  From beginning to end, this is one wild ride.  I loved these characters.  I enjoyed the tension and suspense and was surprised at the ending.  The growth in Alexia from beginning to end as she comes to understand her mother and her childhood is touching.  I am anxious for the next novel in the series and discovering the senator and how his life relates to Alexia and Serena.

Available February 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Thanks to Donna Hausler of Baker Publishing Group for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Lynette Eason here. You can purchase your own copy here.

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4/5 Stars

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Amelia's Journey...Review

About the book:
For Ben Haynes it is love at first sight, but can a Boston socialite find true happiness with a cowboy from Kansas?

Once childhood friends, Ben Haynes is taken with Amelia Carlyle when he runs into her at her sister’s wedding. Although he will be returning to Kansas and life on his father’s ranch, Ben calls on Amelia several times, and they find they have more in common than they first realized. As he leaves for Kansas, they promise to write.

Back in Kansas, Ben begins to save money toward a home for Amelia even though he has not made his intentions known. He’s relying on God to make a way. Meanwhile, Amelia is presented to society and has several young men vying for her attention.

Although Ben has captured Amelia’s heart, her parents make every effort to discourage the relationship, even forbidding Amelia to correspond with him. Amelia tells Ben that she will wait for him as long as it takes, but will the love and loss they experience along the way bring them closer or drive them apart forever?


When Ben Haynes is reunited with his childhood friend, Amelia, it's love at first sight for both.  Ben is a rancher in Kansas and Amelia is a socialite in Boston with a father who refuses to even entertain the idea of his daughter living elsewhere.  But, even as Ben must return to Kansas and Amelia is presented to society, they are determined to be together and must learn to rely on faith and God to make it happen.

I really enjoyed Martha's Winds Across the Prairie series and loved getting to know the Haynes' in it.  I was thrilled to learn that Martha had written a prequel that shared Ben's and Mellie's story and it didn't disappoint.  We meet those who will become Lucy's parents (Becoming Lucy) and learn how Ben and Mellie met and we see shades of the strong matriarch that Amelia will become in future books.  Another delightful novel from Martha Rogers and one that made me want to go back and re-read the rest of the series!

Thanks to First Wildcard and Charisma Media for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Martha Rogers here.  You can read the first chapter here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 2/12

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4/5 Stars

Amelia's Journey...Wildcard!

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

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


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Realms (January 3, 2012)

***Special thanks to Jon Wooten of Charisma House for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Martha Rogers is the author of Becoming Lucy; Morning for Dove; Finding Becky; Caroline’s Choice; Not on the Menu, a part of a novella collection with DiAnn Mills, Janice Thompson, and Kathleen Y’Barbo; and River Walk Christmas, a novella collection with Beth Goddard, Lynette Sowell, and Kathleen Y’Barbo. A former schoolteacher and English instructor, she has a master’s degree in education and lives with her husband in Houston, Texas.

Visit the author's website.



SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

For Ben Haynes it is love at first sight, but can a Boston socialite find true happiness with a cowboy from Kansas?

Once childhood friends, Ben Haynes is taken with Amelia Carlyle when he runs into her at her sister’s wedding. Although he will be returning to Kansas and life on his father’s ranch, Ben calls on Amelia several times, and they find they have more in common than they first realized. As he leaves for Kansas, they promise to write.

Back in Kansas, Ben begins to save money toward a home for Amelia even though he has not made his intentions known. He’s relying on God to make a way. Meanwhile, Amelia is presented to society and has several young men vying for her attention.

Although Ben has captured Amelia’s heart, her parents make every effort to discourage the relationship, even forbidding Amelia to correspond with him. Amelia tells Ben that she will wait for him as long as it takes, but will the love and loss they experience along the way bring them closer or drive them apart forever?

Product Details:
List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Realms (January 3, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616385820
ISBN-13: 978-1616385828

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Saturday, August 19, 1876 

Amelia Carlyle's face ached from the smile pasted on it for the last three-quarters of an hour. Would this ceremony never end? She balanced first on one foot and then the other to relieve the pain caused by the white satin pumps Amanda had insisted Amelia must wear.

Amanda's face glowed with the radiance of the love she had for Charles Scott Bishop, the man who became her husband today. If that love ever happened to Amelia, and she decided to marry, it'd be a small and simple wed ding without all this pomp and circumstance.

 At last the minister pronounced them husband and wife, and Charles leaned forward to kiss his bride. Amelia's thoughts went immediately to the buffet to be served at the reception. Mama and Papa had spared no expense for their oldest daughter's wedding, and Amelia anticipated the spread of lobster, roast beef, croissants,  and wedding cake.

   Amanda and Charles made their way back up the aisle, and Amelia dreaded walking even that short distance in her shoes, but she put on another smile and made it to the front steps of the church where carriages waited to take them to the hotel for the reception.

   Once they arrived, guests mingled and  greeted the bride and groom, but Amelia found the closest table and sat down to slip off her shoes. Her white-stockinged toes wiggled in  great relief to  be free of  their bindings. She turned her back to the room to hide her most unseemly behavior, but comfort won over decorum. She lifted her skirts to run her fingers along the arch of one foot, which relaxed in contentment. Of course if anyone asked her to dance later, she may not be able to squeeze her feet back into the slippers, but she had seen no one with whom she cared to dance anyway.

“Excuse me, Miss Carlyle?”

   Amelia snatched the hem of her skirt and yanked it down to cover her legs and feet. She whirled around to find herself looking up into eyes so dark brown, they were almost black. The man towered over her with broad shoul- ders that blocked any view of the room behind him. A tingling started in her toes and progressed its way to her heart. Why had she not noticed this handsome young man before? “Yes, I’m Miss Carlyle, but I do believe you have the advantage.” His smile sent even more tremors through her bones. “I . . . I don’t recall having met you before.”

“Of course you don’t. You were twelve, and I was a skinny   fourteen-year-old.  Neither  of us paid much attention to the other when we last met at my grandparents’ home for dinner after church one Sunday. My name’s Benjamin Haynes.”

   Benjamin Haynes, of course, the son of her parents’ best friends of  school days, but what was he doing in Boston? His family lived in Kansas. “Oh, yes, that was a few years ago. Have you moved back here?”

He grinned, and his eyes sparkled with amusement. “No, but my parents found your sister’s wedding to be the perfect opportunity for a return trip, and I must say now I’m glad I came along.”

Heat rose in  her cheeks, and her tongue turned to mush. She simply stared back at him with what she hoped was not a stupid smile. What if he asked her to dance? Her feet crossed and rubbed against one another beneath her dress. She’d never get her feet back into those shoes.

“May I get you some refreshment?”

   Amelia nodded. “A . . . a cup of punch would be nice.” As he turned to carry out the request, she groaned. Another thing she’d forgotten, no buffet table without her shoes. If she dared walk across the floor without them, her skirt would drag and give away her secret. As if in protest, her stomach grumbled and sent a wave of hunger pangs to her brain. All that food so near, yet it may as well be in another town for all the good it did her seated across the room.

   Her gaze landed on Benjamin at the serving table. Although she vaguely remembered him from his last visit, he  appeared much taller and was certainly more hand- some than he had been then. His dark brown hair even curled slightly at the neckline. Of course she hadn’t been truly interested in boys at that time. Being noticed by him created a bit of delight in her now.

   Benjamin returned, not only with a cup of punch, but also with a plate filled with some of her favorites from the buffet array. “I thought you might not want to cross the floor to the serving table without your shoes, so I brought it to you. I hope you like what I selected.”

Heat again filled her face. He’d noticed her shoeless feet and had sought to save her further embarrassment by being so polite. For that her stomach thanked him. “Thank you, Mr. Haynes. This will do quite nicely, but what about you? When will you eat?”

“If you’ll allow me, I’ll get my plate and rejoin you.” “I’d like that very much, thank you.” Her heart beat in double time as he returned to the buffet and made his own selections. His broad shoulders hinted at the muscles and strength that must be hidden beneath the sleeves of the black suit he wore. The evening took on a whole new interest, and Amelia tucked her feet well beneath her skirts to keep them hidden from view.

   When he returned, he sat in the chair next to hers. Miracles of miracles, no one asked to join them, and they remained alone. Her father may have a few words about that later, but for the time being, Amelia planned to enjoy every minute she could have with Mr. Benjamin Haynes.

   He spread a napkin across his lap. “Tell me, Miss Haynes, what have you been doing since the last time I saw you?”

It had only been a little more than five years ago, but it may as well have been a lifetime for all Amelia could remember. Her mind a blank, she could only stare at him.

He must think her to be a complete ninny. She cleared her throat. “In school, but of what interest could that possibly be to you? I would imagine your life has been much more eventful and interesting.”

   Benjamin grinned at  her and sipped his punch. He set the cup back on the table and cocked his head to one side. “My life has been herding cattle and getting them to market as well as bustin’ broncos to have horses to ride.”

“Now that sounds a lot more exciting than going to school, taking piano lessons, and learning to embroider.” She pictured him herding cattle or riding a bucking horse. An appealing image.

A young  man  approached  the table,  and Amelia cringed. The last person she wanted to see wore a deter- mined expression on his face. Rudolph, Charles’s brother, wanted to dance, but his surly attitude the night before at a family dinner had frightened Amelia in a way she couldn’t quite explain.

He  stopped  beside  Amelia  and  Benjamin.  “Miss Carlyle, may I have the honor of this dance with you?” His dark eyes held nothing but malice even though his words were polite.

She stuck a shoeless foot out from under her dress. “I’m sorry, Mr. Bishop, but I don’t have my shoes on and have decided not  to dance this evening. I’m  sure you under- stand I can’t be on the dance floor in my stocking feet.”

He glared at her for a moment, then, without a word, swiveled on his heel and strode across the room. Amelia shivered, thankful she had removed her shoes.

“I must say, that was rude.”  Benjamin frowned after the man.

   Amelia nodded then smiled at  Benjamin. “He’s Charles’s brother, and I’m glad I didn’t have to dance with him.” She picked up a pastry. “Let’s enjoy ourselves and not think about rude men like Rudolph Bishop.” Indeed, she wanted to know everything she could learn about Benjamin Haynes.

Ben wanted to know more about this intriguing young woman he’d known in childhood. Until his father decided to pick up stakes and head west to start his own ranch, the  Carlyle and Haynes families had spent many week- ends together as his father and Mr. Carlyle had been close friends and schoolmates.

   How thankful he was now that he had not insisted that he be left behind to help the ranch hands with the herds. If he had, he would not be sitting across from the lovely young woman in a pink dress.

“Amelia, do you remember the week my family left for Kansas? Your parents gave a wonderful farewell party for us. Of course you were only five, but I hoped you might recall that night.” If she did remember, he might find him- self in trouble as he had delighted in pulling her golden brown curls more than once just to see her reaction, and she hadn’t disappointed. She had stomped her foot and hit him each time until his mother corralled him the third time and made him stay by her side.

Amelia chewed a  piece of pastry and narrowed her eyes at him. She swallowed and pursed her lips. “Was that the time you kept pulling my curls?”

Heat rose in his face. “You do remember. I apologize for my awful behavior that evening, but you looked so cute with those long curls hanging down from that big yellow bow.”

   Amelia laughed. “I forgive you, but it hurt that last time, and I wanted to cry. I wasn’t about to let you see me in tears, and I believe your mother took care of you. Mary Beth and I had fun after that.”

“Yes, Mama made sure I  stayed by her side, and I didn’t have much fun the rest of the evening. I’m glad you did though. Then your family came to the railway station to see us off on our adventure westward.” That had been some scene with both their mothers crying and their fathers promising to keep in touch.

   “Oh yes, I recall how afraid I was of that big engine with its smoke and loud whistle. When it started up and began rolling on the track, I hid behind Mama’s skirt, but I saw you wave at us from the window. I thought you were so brave to move away like that with your family.”

   “It was quite the adventure.” And one he would never forget. He held no regret at all for leaving Boston all those years ago.

   He glanced up to see his sister headed their way. He didn’t often get to see her so dressed up with her dark hair piled on her head. He grinned when she squealed and grabbed Amelia, her brown eyes dancing with pleasure. “I’ve been looking all over for you. I should have known Ben would have you all to himself.”

   Amelia hugged the girl in return. “Mary Beth, I’m so glad to see you. I spotted you at the church when we went back up the aisle. Sit down and join us.”

   Benjamin shook his head and glared at Mary Beth, but she paid him no mind and plopped down in the chair on the other side of Amelia. “I’d be delighted. What has my big brother been telling you? I could reveal a few of his secrets if you’d like to hear about some of his antics.”

   “We were just talking about one on the night we had that party before you left.”

   “Oh, yes, that was some fun watching him get into trouble.” Mary Beth grabbed Amelia’s hands. “How I wish you could have come out to visit us, and I wish we could have come back to Boston more often. Ben almost didn’t come with us, but Pa persuaded him. I’m really sorry we haven’t kept in closer touch.”

Amelia glanced at him and grinned in a way he could only call wicked. “To think we might have missed reminiscing about old times if you’d stayed back with the cows. What a shame that would have been, Mr. Haynes.”

Again heat rose in his cheeks, but he would not let her teasing get to him. “Since we’re such old friends, call me Ben; everybody else does.”

“All right, Ben it is.” Then she turned back to his sister. “Now, tell me what it’s like living on a ranch with all those cattle and horses.”

Ben groaned. Once Mary Beth started, he’d never get a word into the conversation. He may as well just enjoy his food and listen to their prattle. At least he could sit back and show interest in what Amelia had to say without being obvious with his attraction to her.

Her chestnut hair sat piled on top of her head in an elaborate arrangement that must have taken hours to accomplish. Two  long  curls like those of long  ago hung down in the back from the curls amassed atop her head. His fingers itched to reach over and pull one of them as he had when she was five. Now seventeen, she had become a beautiful young lady with a sense of humor and a smile that could melt the heart of any man in her presence.

   He blinked his eyes and shook his head as Amelia squealed with delight and clapped her hands. He stared at his sister. “What was that you said about staying in Boston?”

“Ma and Grandmama talked with me last night, and

Pa agreed. I can stay here for the social season this fall.” “Isn’t it wonderful, Ben? Mary Beth and I can do somany things together and have fun, and I’m sure there will be lots of parties.”

   Ben narrowed his eyes. “I’m sure there will be.” This was the first he’d heard of any desire from Mary Beth to come back here. She loved the ranch, or at least he’d thought so.

   “What will Ma and Aunt Clara do without you?” She’d been such a big help to them that he couldn’t imagine life without her around.

   “They’ll get along just fine. After all, there aren’t any more babies to care for. Gideon, Grace Ann, and Billy are old enough to care for themselves, so they don’t need me looking after them all the time.”

   That was true. With his youngest brother now eight years old and in school, no more children stayed at home needing care. Ma and Aunt Clara would manage just fine. Still, he had a difficult time believing his pa would let his oldest daughter live so far away.

Amelia and Mary Beth sat with heads close together discussing all the things they wanted to do in the coming months when Mary Beth would be presented to society just as her mother and grandmother had been before her. Then a bright side occurred to him. With Mary Beth here, that could mean Ma taking more trips to see her. Pa wouldn’t want to leave the ranch, so that would leave Ben to accompany Ma on such trips.

More trips to Boston meant more opportunity to see Amelia Haynes. Of course, he’d have to gain permission from her parents, but that shouldn’t be a problem since their families were longtime friends. The future began to look brighter and brighter. This had been the best trip he’d taken in a long time, and he looked forward to many more like it—that is, if Amelia agreed to his calling on her.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sonoma Rose...Review and Giveaway

About the book:
As the nation grapples with the strictures of Prohibition, Rosa Barclay lives on a Southern California rye farm with her volatile husband, John, who has lately found another source of income far outside the federal purview.

Mother to eight children, Rosa mourns the loss of four who succumbed to the mysterious wasting disease that is now afflicting young Ana and Miguel. Two daughters born of another father are in perfect health. When an act of violence shatters Rosa’s resolve to maintain her increasingly dangerous existence, she flees with the children and her precious heirloom quilts to the mesa where she last saw her beloved mother alive.

As a flash flood traps them in a treacherous canyon, only one man is brave—or foolhardy—enough to come to their rescue: Lars Jorgenson, Rosa’s first love and the father of her healthy daughters. Together they escape to Berkeley, where a leading specialist offers their only hope of saving Ana and Miguel. Here in northern California, they create new identities to protect themselves from Rosa’s vengeful husband, the police who seek her for questioning, and the gangsters Lars reported to Prohibition agents—officers representing a department often as corrupt as the Mob itself. Ever mindful that his youthful alcoholism provoked Rosa to spurn him, Lars nevertheless supports Rosa’s daring plan to stake their futures on a struggling Sonoma Valley vineyard—despite the recent hardships of local winemakers whose honest labors at viticulture have, through no fault of their own, become illegal.

Trapped in a loveless, abusive marriage, Rosa discovers that her husband is a bootlegger.  After one last beating, Rosa and her children finally leave with the help of Rosa's first love Lars.  Several of Rosa's children suffer from an unknown disease and after escaping John, Rosa and Lars learn that there is a specialist at Stanford hospital who can treat the children.  Eager for the chance to escape John's abuse and on the run from gangsters, they travel to San Francisco and a new life and new identities.

Looking for work while the children are being treated at Stanford, Lars and Rosa find themselves in the Sonoma Valley working for a vineyard struggling against prohibition.  Rosa discovers that she has an affinity for wine making and they take the chance on purchasing a vineyard of their own.

I always love Northern California settings as I am from the San Francisco Bay Area.  I enjoyed the historical aspect and the vintner's view of prohibition.

As I first started reading, much of the story sounded familiar and I realized that Rosa, Lars and Elizabeth were all characters from Chiaverini's novel The Quilter's Homecoming and it was nice to get some closure for Elizabeth and Henry's story as well as learn what happened to Rosa.  I think what I liked most is that while the novel is billed as an Elm Creek book (Jennifer Chiaverini hasn't written anything that isn't Elm Creek related), it can stand alone and doesn't have all the past Elm Creek characters in it.  I found that refreshing.

Thanks to Lisa at TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Jennifer Chiaverini here.  You can purchase your own copy here.  You can see other review here.

Monday, February 13th:  Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, February 14th:  2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
Wednesday, February 15th:  Unabridged Chick
Thursday, February 16th:  Christian Historical Fiction
Monday, February 20th:  Angler’s Rest
Wednesday, February 22nd:  All Grown Up?
Thursday, February 23rd:  Brimful Curiosities
Friday, February 24th:  Amused by Books
Monday, February 27th:  Col Reads
Tuesday, February 28th:  Life in Review
Wednesday, February 29th:  Reflections of a Bookaholic
Thursday, March 1st:  Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Monday, March 5th:  A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, March 6th:  Joyfully Retired
Wednesday, March 7th:  Colloquium 
Monday, March 12th:  Book Dilettante
Wednesday, March 14th:  A Cozy Reader’s Corner

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GIVEAWAY:
Because I enjoyed Sonoma Rose, thanks to the publisher, I'm offering a giveaway.

It really bugs me when you have to jump through tons of hoops in order to enter giveaways, so a comment with your email address will suffice.

However:
If you change your profile to have your email address visible, if it isn't already, you will gain an additional entry.

I ask this because it's so annoying to have someone leave a comment you would like to respond to, but can't, because their email is hidden. This is especially annoying if a question is asked in said comment.

If you choose to become a follower or tell me you already are, you can gain an additional entry too.

If you wanted to blog or tweet about it, that's great too, and you'd get an extra entry for that.

Just tell me in your comment if you've done any of the extras. You don't need to leave separate comments for each thing (too annoying!).  Seriously though, just commenting is enough for me.

U.S. or Canada addresses only and no P.O. Boxes. Sorry!



This giveaway is now closed.
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Read 2/12

* * * *
4/5 Stars