Thursday, September 30, 2010

Teaser Tuesday 9/28/10

(Hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here is mine:
I have three this week:)) 

"But this was no social trip. It was a journey of gratitude. They came to thank the man who had saved their lives: a stooped centenarian who met them on a train platform just as he had in 1939."
                Pg 15 from Outlive Your life: You Were Made to Make a Difference by Max Lucado

"Omma's a good laying hen," Mona often says with a laugh when she feels like teasing our mother, and I remember waking up more than once in the morning to find a newborn baby in Omma's bed for her to cluck over. She'll never stop.
                Pg 27 from I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui

When Mozi Called that night, there was no reason at all to suspect that it was a setup. Perhaps if we had known more about the male relatives of the family, we would have been suspicious. 
                 Pg 24 of Which None Can Shut by Reema Goode

Booking Through Thursday

This was last weeks question but believe it or not , I haven't had an opportunity to do it yet. So today I do two.

(Hosted by Book Through Thursday)
Last weeks question was:
What are you reading right now? What made you choose it? Are you enjoying it? Would you recommend it? (And, by all means, discuss everything, if you’re reading more than one thing!)

My Answer:
A few books this time for me: 
  • I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui- I chose this because I read a review by BookJourney. It intrigued me because It is a true story and I love books like that and she is so young. I am about halfway through it but I can say yes, I would recommend this books. Her strength is inspiring and opens your eyes to what is still going on in the world today.
  • Which None Can Shut by Reema Goode- I am reading this for a review. But what I didn't know until it showed up is that it is full of true stories. I don't know why I didn't know that before but that for me puts icing on the cake:) Again, I am about halfway through this but I would recommend it. I don't want to say too much and give away spoilers. So I will tell you more in my review (it'll be up in about a week if all goes swimmingly.) 
  • And last but not least-Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference by Max Lucado. This is the book if you remember that I was nervous about because I was told to have it up by the 10 of September but I didn't receive it until the day after I had to have the review up I was nervous about that one.  I am reading this for review and I am so glad I am. I love Max's writing. As I think I have mentioned before, I have a few books by him already. He is a talented and gifted writer. Anyways... In his book, Max tells us that  God uses people like us to help others. We don't have to have nice clothes, big houses etc to be a servant, a helper to someone else. That's all I want to say because I don't wnt to give too much away andthe rest of it will be in my review (up in a couple weeks or less, we'll see;)
This weeks question for Book Through Thursday is:
If you read series, do you ever find a series “jumping the shark?” How do you feel about that?
And, do you keep reading anyway?
My Answer:
I am glad to say, I haven't. Though I have watched movie series or TV series that tend to do that.
I would be very disappointed if I was in a book series that did that. But I would want to to keep reading just in case things turn around. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Banned Books Week

Banned Book Week is officially today! Are you taking part? If so, which books are you going to read that are on the banned books/challenged list? I am taking part of it, but I don't have the time to necessarily sit down and read one of them, but I am going to mark each one off my list (and plan on reviewing each) as I am done. I posted a list of the reads I am going to read that are banned. I am sure you were shocked or surprised to see some of them on there as was I.
You can go to to see the top 100 banned/challenged books and find out why there are banned/challenged as well as other information. Banned Book Week starts today September 25 - October 2.
I am going to not only this week, but until my list is finished, read the 'banned/challenged' book and try to help get the word out there that there are a lot of books on the list like The Color Purple or Gone With The Wind or Huckleberry Finn that I think we can all agree shouldn't be on that list. What do you think of Banned/Challenged Books?
Have a great Saturday Everyone!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I WIll Not Be Silent by April Maley REVIEW

I Will Not Be SilentThis is a story of a nine-year-old girl whose life was altered forever by her father and his choices. at girl is me. I lived through years of physical, mental, and emotional abuse: alcoholism; rejection; murder; illness; and insanity. I have battled my own inner demons as a result of that fateful day. It is my greatest wish to create a broader awareness and preventative action for child abuse and domestic violence, and provide hope for those who find themselves trapped in those situations. The cycle can be broken.
"The consequences of your denial will be with you for a lifetime and will be passed down to the next generations. Break your silence on abuse "
-Patty Rase Hopson
"I had no idea that day would be the last time I would see her alive. Only through the void that I feel now and with my own adult, mother-mind, do I wish I could have had a chance to ask her why she stayed, and, God, oh God, why did she go back that day? Did she love me?" 

The book was a quick read but not an easy read. There were plenty of times I wish I had been there as their "saving grace" type. I wanted to jump into the pages of the book, yank April, her siblings and her mother from the man they called father and husband and show them what life could be like without living in constant fear of what's to come.
After the tragedy with their parents, I went from wanting to rescue the children and their mother to wanting to help the kids and their grandparents (the fathers parents). I did feel sympathy for their grandmother because she did lose her daughter in-law, son, husband and sister in a five year period so of course she went from a sweet grandmother to a bitter angry woman.
The kids used to love going to their grandparents because it was a refuge. After they moved in with their grandparents, it became another place of fear from both grandparents. After her husband died the kids dealt with verbal abuse from their grandmother.
April got the brunt for the blame of the death of her her mother from her grandmother.
    "If you were a better child..."
 I wanted to verbally smack most, if not all the people in the book for how they turned their backs on them because they didn't want to get involved or get in the middle of it. They would rather stick their head in the sand like ostriches and play dumb.
Besides the fact that this book was almost like a diary on what really happened, it opens peoples eyes to the fact that people can be and were cowardly when someone is in that kind of situation/environment. I felt proud of April and how she came around after what she went through and put herself through. I also pity her siblings because of the outcome of their life. 'The system' failed them miserably I think. This was a very good read. Good discussion book. One I would recommend and read again.
Those with domestic violence in their past or someone close to them, may find this book a bit uncomfortable.
I like that April said in the very beginning of her book that she started this book years ago and made sure to finish it because for her, it was a form of facing her giant and moving forward.


 I received this book for review from Bostick Communications

One Long Night and tomarrow

Tonight has been busy and somewhat  tough night for me *sigh*  I have been trying to find a picture as my ID on the web or of my own. I love books, coffee, chocolate...  but I also love to cook and eat:))...Thinking of taking a picture of myself with a pile of my books with my cup of coffee and a plate of chocolates or a piece of chocolate pie or cake or something...? Ideas? Suggestions?
Also I have been putting the finishing touches on my review for I Will Not Be Silent. I get it all typed up, then read over it, fix it....Add that, take that off. Is that spelled right? It doesn't look right. Ok better. Read it again....GAH! lol.  
Then I take a break to make dinner and watch the pilot episode of a new criminal show; a married couple who go back to working for the government. Real Good:) Also watch Hell's Kitchen. Real Good:) Then Law & Order SVU from 9-11pm. Oh soo good and I figured out who the bad guy was before they did!! I was so proud of myself:) Then I went to washing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen and living room and taking the garbage out before going back to finish up my review.
Then I can go lay in bed and read more of my book then bed. But I need to remember to set out Abigail's (my little girl, just turned a year a couple weeks ago:) clothing and get her diaper bag ready for tomorrow  because she has a doctor's appointment early tomorrow afternoon.  Then to the store for dinner supplies then stopping by to make sure my mother is doing good (Lives by herself and just had hand surgery) then home to make dinner. After idea. Well besides clean up from dinner doing some blog jumping and reading. Besides that, no idea. Now I am off to bed to do some reading at this early hour...* yawn*

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

WWW Wednesday 9/22/10

To play along, just answer the three questions below and link your post to MizB's blog.

* What are you currently reading?
* What did you recently finish reading?
* What do you think you'll read next?

Here is mine: 
I am reading a few books. And they are:
  • Your Money God's Way by Amie Streater reading for review
  • The Wife's Tale a novel by Lori Lansens this months Word Shakers read 
  • Money Hungry by Daryl Moore reading for review
  • Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Doctor by Jim Sutton & Sagar Nigwekar reading for review
  • Soul to Soul Parenting by Annie Burnside reading for review
  • Vexation by Elicia Clegg readng for review
  • I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui
  • Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado reading for review
I haven't recently finished anything; sadly. I have started a few books like Julie & Julia, but couldn't finish on time before it went back to the library; so that's back on my TBR. Besides I am organizing my reads. Meaning, I am tackling the books for review before continuing with other reads. I feel bad that I have had these books sitting for a while unread. When I receive a book to review, I want the review up within the month. But I also need more confidence in my reviews. I'm always afraid they're going to sound uneducated, boring, and a bunch of ramblings. Need to have more faith in myself.  

Next I am going to read:
  • Green Philanthropy by Helen, Justin, and Alexis Deffenbacher going to read for review
  • Which None Can Shut by Reema Goode going to read for review
  • Run to Overcome by Meb Keflezighi going to read for review 
  • Everything Hurts by Bill Scheft going to read for review
  • Women's Anatomy of Arousal by Sheri Winston going to read for review
  • Duckegg & Persons on Interest by NovaMelia going to read for review
  • Staying Fit After 60 by Calvin Hill going to read for review
I know what you must be thinking...that's a lot of book! But really, most of them are pretty thin. But I will be happy to get them read with the reviews up. It's not a chore or anything, but these people send me the book expecting to see a review in a timely manner and I am trying to show I'm not always like this (AKA getting a book read and review up 10 years later...)
So that's my plan...think it's good?

Banned Books List

I said I would have my list of books I am going to read that are banned, and I swear I did it already but it is nowhere to be found!? ARG! So, here is my list:

1. ( even though I didn't like the first book I read of hers, I will give her another try)
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou

2. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers

3. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris

4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker 

6. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee 

7. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

8. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham 

9. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume 

10. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain 

11. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez  
12. Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett (I don't know why, I can't get rid of the italic! lol)

13. Gone With The Wind by by Margaret Mitchell 

14. The Freedom Writers Diary by Zlata Filipovic with Erin Gruwell
(I saw the movie years ago, powerful and great movie. But at the time I didn't know it was a book first. I knew it was about a teacher (and I want to be a teacher, hence part of why I wanted to see it) and it is based on a true story (the other half of the reason to why I wanted to see it). 

Any suggestions?  Have you read any of these?

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading! 9/19/10

 (Hosted By BookJourney)
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

This week my reading is a bit more organized. I am buckling down on getting my books for review done. Plus, I finally got my husbands computer back from a friend of ours that had my review for I Will Not Be Silent by April Maley. SO Happy to get that up FINALLY! So that should be up by Wednesday or Thursday.

Here is what I am reading this week:
I am continuing The Wife's Tale a novel by Lori Lansens. <---Book Club read for Word Shakers hosted by BookJourney.
Go to her website to find out more. It's not too late to join the fun!

Your Money God's Way: Overcoming the 7 money myths that keep Christians broke by  Amie Streater

Money Hungry by Daryl Moore

Top 5 Questions To Ask Your Doctor: Important questions your doctor want you to ask about your medical condition by Jim Sutton, RPA-C and Sugar Nigwekar, MD

Soul to Soul Parenting: A Guide to Raising a Spiritually Conscious Family by Annie Burnside, M.Ed

That's it for now for this week. I am hoping to get all these read this week and maybe starting next week. Though a few of the books are on the thin side so they shouldn't take more than a day to read.

Fall Into Reading 2010

 I found out about Katrina’s blog through MizB. I also found out about this challenge through MizB. I'm glad I looked more into it because it's a challenge I know I can finish! And, it actually helps me complete a challenge or two because I can take a book or two from a challenge list and put it in my list here for this challenge.

The Fall Into Reading 2010 Challenge ask you to:
  • make up a list of books you’d like to read, and…
  • read them between the challenge dates, which are…
  • September 22 — December 20 , 2010
Here is my list:
My goal: 7 books
  1. Soul to Soul Parenting: A guide to raising a spiritually conscious family by Annie Burnside, M. Ed
  2. Outlive Your Life: You were made to make a difference by Max Lucado
  3. Your Money God's Way by Amie Streater
  4. Top 5 Questions To Ask Your Doctor: Important questions your doctor wants you to ask about your medical condition by Jim Sutton, RPA-C and Sagar Nigwekar, MD
  5. Money Hungry by Daryl, Moore
I am also keeping up with the Word Shakers online book club hosted by BookJourney as well which is:
  1. The Wife's Tale a novel by Lori Lansens
  2. Octobers Read for Word Shakers- unknown at the moment

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Booking Through Thursday 9/16/10

  (Hosted by Booking Through Thursday)
This weeks question, suggested by Mae, asks:
“I couldn’t sleep a wink, so I just read and read, day and night … it was there I began to divide books into day books and night books,” she went on. “Really, there are books meant for daytime reading and books that can be read only at night.”
- "The Unbearable Lightness of Being", Milan Kundera, p. 103.
Do you divide your books into day and night reads? How do you decide?
Funny you should ask. I do most of my reading at night; before I go to bed. I guess the reason for that is get busy during the day and there is always so much to do. So I read for a couple (or more;) hours before I go to bed. The funny part about that, which I'm sure you all can attest-iffy to, is at times I dream about what I have read. And I have had some weird dreams!
When I was in school, especially high school, we took the transit to school and i used that time to read. I can't read while on transit anymore because I'm too busy holding my daughter while hubby holds the stroller though. So my time to read is at night, when daughter is sleeping and all is quiet:)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Musing Mondays 9/13/10

 (Hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading)

This weeks Musing Monday question is:

Where do you buy / Get most of your books?
I can't afford to buy a lot of books, let alone all the books I want, etc. I get a lot of my books rented from the library. OR from doing book reviews. But I certainly don't do book reviewing for the free book(s). I do it because I have thoughts and opinions on books that I love to share and discuss; I think it is fun reviewing books though I certainly don't like giving bad reviews but I am being honest.

I honestly have never heard of an annual library book sale. I've never seen one from what I can recall, but the library I go to most often has a bookshelf in the main lobby where paperbacks are 50 cents and the rest are $1.00.  But I am definitely going to search those out!

I tend to barrow books as well, mainly from my mother, Christian self help, motivation, Bible study type books. And way back when (lol) before I met my husband and I was holding down two full-timers I never had time to go out to the actual book stores so I joined a few book clubs via mail and got some really good deals and now I have boxes of books. But there are so many more wonderful books out there that have come out in the last few years I need to catch up!!

Have you or did you ever join a book club via mail?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Banned Books Project

I've joined the Banned Books Project and I encourage you to do the same.
If you want to join, click here  to go to the banned books blog. There you will find out a lot more about this project and find out more about banned books and challenged books. The rules/guidelines are simple. Read banned/challenged books. For those book bloggers/reviewers out there, blog about the books, review them.I will a post up later with the list of books I am going to read. Have fun reading everyone!

WWW Wednesday

(Hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading)

To play along, just answer the three questions:
* What are you currently reading?
* What did you recently finish reading?
* What do you think you'll read next?

I am currently reading:

The  Wife's Tale by Lori Lansens
Julie & Julia: 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen by Julie Powell
Vexation by Elicia Clegg

It's taking me a while to get through Vexation I know but first I was gone for a couple weeks and left it behind on accident, then I came by to pick it up now I am back and I forgot it. ARG!!

I recently finished:
I haven't recently finished anything because for the first time in a while I am falling behind in my reading; looking for work and all.

My next read(s)
Next I am going to read the October read for WordShakers, along with Outlive Your Life: You were made to make a difference by Max Lucado, when I do receive that from BookSneeze, beyond that; I do not know:)

To see more answers and possibly your next read, check out the other WWW Wednesday participants! Have a great Friday!

Booking Through Thursday 9/9/10

 (Hosted by Booking Through Thursday)
 This weeks BTT question asks: You have just dropped your favorite out-of-print-book into the bathtub, ruining it completely...What do you do now?

First off, I would never take my favorite out-of-print-book into the bathtub...But lets say one night I felt a little crazy and did...I would jump frantically out of the bathtub, take my towel off the towel rack and start dabbing at the pages hoping to save my precious book even though I know the unthinkable just happened. I would then call for my husband, have him take over while I get my self dressed again then use my blow-dryer on low on each page and pray that does it. If it didn't, I would go on craigslist, ebay and other more likely websites to find another.

On a side note, This question prompted me to go to google and look up pictures of books and bathtubs. Here are a couple interesting and funny ones that I found.

Problem solved!

Are those real books...? ---->

To see more answers, go to the BTT blog! Have a great day!

Review Without A Book

I recently joined a few days ago. I signed up to review Outlive Your Life: You were made to make a difference by Max Lucado.
I am totally looking forward to it. I am a big fan of Lucado and already have a few of his books. So I was thrilled to review this book. Then I cruised around the site for more information on the book and author and I noticed something.
Oh. A due date. September 10th. OK. No worries. It'll probably be here in a few days and that still gives me a few days to read it and work on my review and get it posted. I can do that. Besides, his books are typically on the thinner side. Totally got this!

Except this is now the 9th and still no book! So I'm kinda freakin out here. So I email them to let them know it hasn't gotten here for the waiting game and being nervous game.

What would you do in my situation?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Teaser Tuesday 9/7/10

 (Hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here is mine:

" The state of her body was inseparable from the state of her marriage, and the universe.  If I could just lose the weight. For all her uncertainty about God, and in addition to the rule of three, Mary Gooch believed in miracles."
Pg. 8 in The Wife's Tale a novel by Lori Lansens 


Monday, September 6, 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading!

  It’s Monday! What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.
I love being a part of this and I hope you do too!  As part of this weekly meme I love to encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.
I love being a part of this and I hope you do too!  As part of this weekly meme I love to encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme.
I have bee working working through Vexation by Elicia Clegg. I'll have my review for that up in a couple weeks:)

I'm also working on Permanent Obscurity: or a cautionary tale of two girls & their misadventures with drugs, pornography and death by Richard Perez. I will have my review for that up probably in about a month.
Also just for fun, Julie & Julia: 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen by Julie Powell

Now for this week I am also reading The Wife's Tale a novel by Lori Lansens for this months book club read (Word Shakers)
And just for fun, because I saw the movie, I had to get the book, The Freedom Writers: How a teacher & 150 teens used writing to change themselves & the world around them with Erin Gruwell.
And Teaching Hope: Stories from the Freedom Writer teachers and Erin Gruwell.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Birthdays and Books

  So I'm sitting here with my lifewater and a ramen cup ( I know, healthy snack;) Thinking holy crap. Our daughter, Abigail turned one on the 3rd.
When people told me before that "the first year flies by, it'll feel like yesterday when you gave birth" I thought yea I know.
But I didn't.
Now I do.
My mother bought her a pair of pajamas (I'll have pictures up later) and when I took them out of the bag I said, " these are too long fer her." They looked like a pair of pajamas that a 2 or 3 year old would wear. And she fit into them!!
She looked adorable in them (of course;) but i was kinda sad and going through one of those moments like on the movie Father Of The Bride where they are playing basketball; but with Abigail. I feel like I have wasted time not playing with her and connecting with her enough. If this is what the first year felt like...oh Lord...
And when I was holding her piece of cake with the candle shaped as a one for her...don't get me started! I actually started to tear up.
Anyways, I needed to rant for a minute. In a daze over tonight and yesterday.
How did you handle it when your (first) child turned one?
Onto books....I have a couple handfuls of books I received for review and a handful of reviews done. But I can't get them up because of two reasons. Well three actually.
1. I'm a nerd and wasn't thinking ahead...shameful.
2. A couple of them are on my thumb drive.
3. A couple of them are on my husbands old laptop at our friends place where we were staying for a while to help out.
So I am hoping that I can get those back and get my reviews up this week. The first and foremost review to go up would be I Will Not Be Silent by April Maley. I have should have had my review for that up weeks ago. Anyway, it has been a long noisy day for me so I am off to bed for church in the morning.
Have a great Sunday everyone!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Teaser Tuesday 8/24/10

teasertuesdays31(Hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading )

 Teaser Tusdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here is mine: 

" When Julia and Paul moved to Paris in1948, Julia was just along for the ride - and to eat, of course. She really didn't know anything about food, not yet, but she was hungry - she could put more away than anyone (other than Paul) that Paul had ever met."

Page 48  from
       Julie & Julia: 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen by Julie Powell

The Wild Card

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:

Whitaker House (September 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling of Whitaker House for sending me a review copy.***


After over thirty years of teaching, with her children grown, “Shar” prayed for direction, asking God for a new mission that would fill her heart with the same kind of passion she’d felt teaching and raising children. She began to write fiction – stories filled with fallen heroes and redeemed villains, daring women and starry-eyed children – plotlines that ultimately brought her characters face to face with God’s grace and restorative power. That choice has proven to be an excellent career move as the prolific author is releasing her 9th novel in September 2010. Sharlene grew up in western Michigan and graduated from Spring Arbor University with a degree in education. She traveled the world with a musical group before returning home to marry Cecil MacLaren, whom she’d known since boyhood. The couple lives in western Michigan.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (September 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603740988
ISBN-13: 978-1603740982



Icy breezes whistled through the trees in Fairmount Cemetery, prompting the faithfuls gathered there to pull their collars tighter and button their coat fronts higher, as the tent that had been set up for the occasion did little to protect them from the elements. Just two days ago, northern Michigan had experienced a warm front, unusual for late November, but today’s temperatures made a mockery of it. Twenty-nine-year-old Jason Evans shivered, no longer feeling his fingers or toes, and wondered if the numbness came from the dreadful cold or from his deliberate displacement of emotion. He still couldn’t believe it—it was just two days after Thanksgiving, and his brother, John, two years older than he, was gone. Gone.

      As Pastor Eddie Turnwall from Harvest Community Church pronounced the final words of interment, sobs and whimpers welled up from the mourners. His mom’s guttural cry among them gouged him straight to the core. Jason’s dad pulled his wife closer while Jason placed a steadying hand on her shoulder. His girlfriend, Candace Peterson, stuck close by, her hand looped through his other arm. His sister-in-law—John’s widow, Rachel—stood about six feet away, clinging tightly to her father and borrowing his strength as tears froze on her cheeks. Her coat bulged because of her pregnancy of eight months, and Jason worried that the added stress of her grief might send her into early labor. Meagan, John and Rachel’s three-year-old daughter, was the only one oblivious to the goings-on; she twirled like a ballerina until Rachel’s fifteen-year-old sister, Tanna, bent down to pick her up. If she knew the significance of this day, Jason thought, she’d be standing as still as a statue. What a blessing God kept her shielded—at least, for the time being.

      “And now, dear Father, we commit John Thomas Evans into your hands,” Pastor Turnwall declared. “We know—”

      “No!” Rachel’s pitiful wail brought the reverend to a temporary halt. In the worst way, Jason wanted to go to her, but he had his mom to think about. Mitch Roberts supported his daughter, whispered something in her ear, and nodded for the reverend to continue. Pastor Turnwall hastened to a finish, but the last of his words faded in the howling winds.

      At the close of the brief ceremony, many of the mourners stepped forward to give the family some final encouragement. Jason went through the motions, nodding and uttering words of thanks. While he longed to linger at the bronze casket, the weather made it impossible, so, as the last of the small crowd left the tent, he followed, Candace’s quiet sniveling somehow disarming him. He didn’t have the strength to comfort her, especially since she’d barely known his brother; she barely knew his family, for that matter.

      “Are you all right?” Candace asked in a quavery voice.

      “I’m doing okay,” he muttered, his gaze pointed downward as they walked along the frozen path. How did one explain how he really felt on a day like this?

      In front of them, mourners scattered in various directions, heading for cars covered in a thin layer of freshly fallen snow. Despite the cold, Rachel walked with slow, faltering steps, sagging against her father. Even from ten or so feet back, Jason could hear her sobbing moans. The sound made his chest contract.

      Without forethought, he left Candace to her own defenses and raced ahead to catch up with them.

      “Rachel.” Breathless, he reached her side. “I’m so sorry.”

      “Jay.” She turned from her father’s supportive grip and fell into Jason’s arms, her sobs competing with the sighing winds.

      They stopped in the path, and he held her sob-racked body, feeling his eyes well up with tears. Through his blurred vision, he noted both families halting their steps to look on. One of Rachel’s girlfriends took Meagan from Tanna and headed toward one of the cars. “Shh. You can do this, Rachel,” he whispered. “Think of Meagan—and your baby.”

      “I—I c-can’t,” she stammered, her voice barely resembling that of the Rachel he’d known since high school, when he and John would argue over who was going to win her in the end. Of course, it’d been John, and rightfully so. And not for a second had Jason ever begrudged him. They fit like a glove, Rachel and John.

      “Sure, you can,” he murmured in her ear. “You are Rachel Evans, strong, courageous, capable—and carrying my brother’s son, don’t forget.” He set her back from him and studied her perfect, oval face, framed by wisps of blond hair falling out from beneath her brown, velvet, Chicago cuff hat. Her blue eyes, red around the edges, peered up at him from puffy eyelids without really seeing. Chills skipped up his spine, and he didn’t think they came from the air’s cold bite. “Come on, let’s get you to the car,” he urged her, thankful when Candace stepped forward to take Rachel’s other arm, and they set off together. Rachel barely acknowledged Candace, and he wondered if she even remembered her, so few were the times he had brought her home.

      “I can’t believe it, Jason, I just—I can’t believe it,” Rachel kept murmuring. “Just last week, we were making plans for our future, talking about John Jr. coming into the world, wondering how Meagan would feel about having a baby brother….”

      “I know.”

      “He just finished painting the nursery, you know.”

      “I’m glad.”

      She frowned. “Tell me again what happened.”

      His throat knotted. “What? No, Rach, not here.”

      She slowed her steps to snag him by the coat sleeve. “I need to hear it again,” she said, punctuating each word with determination.

      “We’ll talk later, but first, we need to get you out of the cold.”

      “Jason’s right, honey,” Mitch said, coming up behind them. “Let’s go back to the house.”

      “But I don’t understand how it happened. I need to understand.”

      “We’ve been over it,” Donna Roberts said as she joined them. Tanna came up beside her mother and held her hand as they walked. Like everyone else’s, Arlene Roberts’s face bore evidence of having shed a river of tears.

      “I don’t care!” Rachel’s voice conveyed traces of hysteria. She stopped in her tracks, forcing everyone else to do the same. “John was a good skier,” she said. “He knew the slopes on Sanders Peak like the back of his hand. You said yourself you guys used to ski out there every spring.” Her seascape-colored eyes shot holes of anguish straight through Jason—critical, faultfinding eyes.

      A rancid taste collected at the back of his throat. “We did, Rach, and he was the best of the best, but it takes a champion skier to navigate Devil’s Run. Come on, your car’s just ahead.”

      Her feet remained anchored to the frozen ground. “Did you force him, Jason?”

      “What?” The single word hissed through his teeth. “How could you even suggest such a thing?”

      “Rachel, now is not the time for such….”

      But Rachel covered her dad’s words with her own. “Did you provoke him into taking Devil’s Run? Witnesses heard you two arguing, Jay. Why would you be fighting on top of a mountain?”

      “We weren’t fight—”

      “You’ve always been the risk taker, the gutsy, smug one, ever looking for a challenge. You pushed him to do it, didn’t you?”

      “What? No! What are you saying, Rachel? It was a stupid accident, that’s all.”

      She stood her ground, her eyes wild now. “John isn’t like you, Jay, never was. Why drag him to the top of Devil’s Run if only a ‘champion skier’ can handle it? You of all people knew his capabilities—and his limitations.”

      Jason wanted to shake her but refrained, merely giving her a pointed stare instead. “I did not drag him anywhere, Rachel, and we’ve both navigated Devil’s Run before. It’s just…the conditions were extra bad that day. I told him not to try it. You have to believe me.”

      “Then why, Jason? Just tell me why he’d take the chance! Why?” she wailed, thumping him hard in the chest. Shock pulsed through his veins as he grabbed her fist in midair to prevent another assault. Everyone gasped, and Candace took a full step back, looking bewildered. Blast if he wasn’t dumbfounded himself. Where did she get off blaming him for the accident? Didn’t she realize his heart ached as much as hers over John’s death?

      Mitch stepped forward and put his arm around his daughter. “Witnesses say John went down of his own accord, honey, and the police ruled his death accidental. No one forced him down that slope.”

      Now she threw her father an accusatory glare. “How do you know that, Dad? Were you there?”

      Mitch frowned. “Well—of course not.”

      As if that should have settled it, Rachel pulled away and marched up the snowy walkway, albeit with stumbling steps. In robotic fashion, everyone else followed, shaking their heads in dismay. Taken aback by her insinuations, Jason fell in at the tail of the procession. “She blames me,” he muttered.

      “She’s completely rude,” Candace said, taking his gloved hand in hers with a gentle squeeze.

      “No, she’s just not thinking straight.”

      “I don’t see how you can defend her. She just hauled off and hit you square in the chest.”

      He cared very much for Candace, but she sometimes annoyed him with her snap assessments. “She just lost her husband, Candace.”

      Mitch reached the car ahead of Rachel and opened the front door for her. “Where’s Meaggie?” she suddenly asked, almost as an afterthought, turning full around to scan the cemetery.

      “Aunt Emily took her back to the house,” her mother said, climbing into the back with Tanna.


      Before climbing into the car, she glanced about, focusing on Jason. “He was a good skier, Jason.”

      Jason nodded his head in agreement. “Yes, he was, Rachel. No question about that.”

      “As good as you?” she questioned with a cynical hint.

      “Yes. As good as me,” he lied.

      Seeming pacified, she bent her awkward, pregnant body and eased into the seat. Mitch closed the door behind her and went around to his own side, nodding at Jason’s parents, Tom and Donna Evans, and the rest of his family before climbing into the driver’s side and starting the engine.

      When the car disappeared from view, Jason murmured again, “She blames me.”

      “It will pass,” said Tom, removing his keys from his coat pocket. “Give her time.”

      As they approached his dad’s late-model Chevrolet, Jason asked, “What about you, Dad? Do you think I’m to blame?”

      “Son, please, let’s not talk about this anymore.”

      “Well, do you?”

      “Get in the car,” his dad ordered in a tone Jason hadn’t heard since his youth. Even though he was a grown man, he felt compelled to obey. Candace climbed in ahead of him, and they all rode back to the house in icy silence.


Ten months later

“Mommy, will you play with me?” Meagan asked for at least the dozenth time.

      Rachel scanned the kitchen, overwhelmed by the sight of empty juice bottles, a spilled box of baby cereal, a pan of lukewarm potato soup, and a pile of several weeks’ worth of mail. A quick glance at the clock on the wall told her it was already 8:05 p.m. Her pounding head and jangling nerves were additional reminders of her upside-down life, and Rachel shot Meagan a weary look. “Mommy can’t play just now, honey. It’s already past your bedtime, and I still have to get you and your brother in the bathtub.” She wiped her damp brow with the back of her hand. It had been an unusually warm day for September, and the heat and humidity still lingered in the house, despite the open windows. In fact, the entire summer had been the hottest and driest Rachel could remember.

      “I don’t want a bath.”

      “I know, but you played hard today. A bath will feel good.”

      “Uh-uh. Baths stink,” Meagan whined.

      Rachel had a good comeback on the tip of her tongue, but she kept it to herself.

      “Can you read me a book?”

      “Not this minute, no.” Suddenly, it occurred to her that things were too quiet in the living room, where she’d left John Jr. Setting down her dishcloth, she headed toward the other room and found an assortment of magazines scattered about, their pages ripped out and thrown helter-skelter. Johnny looked up and grinned, his mouth jammed full with something. She ran across the room, knelt down beside him, and pried open his jaws, using her index finger to fish out a glob of wet paper. “Oh, Johnny-Boy, you little stinker, you’d better not have swallowed any of this.”

      “If he did, it’ll come out in his diaper,” Meagan stated.

      In spite of herself, Rachel laughed, something she’d rarely done since becoming a single parent. In fact, more often than not, she laid her exhausted self in bed each night and cried into her pillow, counting all the ways she’d failed at her mothering job that day, wishing John were there to ease the load.

      She whisked Johnny up and headed for the stairs, deciding to leave the kitchen mess alone for now. “Come on, Meaggie. It’s bath time.” She lifted the latch on the gate and allowed Meagan to pass ahead of her, patting her on the back to urge her up the stairs.

      “Noooooo,” came another expected whine.

      Mustering up a bright voice, she said, “Remember, Grandma and Grandpa Evans are picking you up in the morning to take you to the circus! You’ll see elephants, tigers, horses…and I bet you’ll even see some clowns. Won’t that be fun?”

      “Is Johnny goin’, too?”

      “Nope. Tomorrow is strictly a Meagan day.”

      “Yay!” she squealed, her mood instantly improved.

      Later, with the children tucked in bed, the kitchen cleaned, and the house put back into a semi-ordered fashion, Rachel collapsed into her overstuffed sofa and heaved a mountainous sigh. Her chest felt heavy, a sensation she’d come to expect these days.

      Be still, and know that I am God.

      “I know, Lord,” she whispered, breathing deeply. “But it’s hard. Sometimes, I don’t feel Your presence. I will never understand why You took John.”

      Be still….

      She leaned down and pulled John’s Bible from a stack of books beneath the coffee table, guiltily wiping off a fine layer of dust. “Lord, I’ve been so busy, I haven’t even opened Your Word for weeks. What kind of a Christian am I, anyway? Shoot, what kind of a parent am I? I can’t even find time in a day to read Meagan a book.”

      Be still….

      “I’m trying.”

      She opened the leather book, noting many highlighted verses interspersed throughout the slightly worn pages. John had been an avid reader, putting her to shame. She knew God more with her head than her heart, but John had known Him with both. She missed his wisdom, his courage, and his strength. Most days, it felt like she was floundering without her other half. If only she’d had the chance to say good-bye—then, maybe, she’d have fewer gnawing regrets. She gave her head a couple of fast shakes to blot out the memory.

      I will never leave you nor forsake you, came the inner voice. It sounded good, but could she truly believe it?


      Saturday morning dawned bright and full on the horizon, the skies a brilliant blue. The heady scent of roses wafted through her bedroom window. If John were still alive, he’d have headed out at daybreak and picked her a bouquet for the breakfast table. She smiled at the thought. Gentle, cool breezes played with the cotton curtains, causing shadows to dance jubilantly across the ceiling. She hauled her downy comforter up to her chin and turned her head to glance at the vacant pillow on the other side of the king-sized bed. His side always remained unruffled, no matter how much she tossed and turned in the night.

      Two doors down, Johnny stirred, his yelps for attention growing by decibels. On cue, her breasts sent out an urgent message that it was feeding time. “I’m coming, Johnny Cakes,” she called out, then sighed as she tossed back the blankets, donned her robe, and stepped into her slippers. She padded across the room, stopping briefly to touch the framed photo of her and John on their wedding day before continuing to the nursery, where her towheaded, nine-month-old baby was waiting in his Winnie-the-Pooh pajamas. Oh, how she thanked the Lord she still had her beloved children. Yes, they wore her to a frazzle, but they also kept her grounded.

      When the doorbell rang at nine o’clock on the dot, Meagan sailed through the house in her pink, polka-dotted shorts and matching shirt, her blond hair flying, and made a running leap into her grandpa’s waiting arms, wrapping her legs around his middle. Tom Evans laughed heartily and planted a kiss on her cheek, and Donna smiled, tousling the child’s head.

      “Grandpa Evans!” Meagan squealed, reaching up to cup his cheeks with her hands. “You and Grandma are taking me to the circus!”

      “No! Are you sure?” He feigned surprise. “I thought we were just going for a walk in the park.”

      “Uh-uh. Mommy says we’re goin’ to the circus. What’s a circus, anyway?”

      Tom laughed and began explaining what she should expect at the circus, while Donna took Johnny from Rachel’s arms and moved to the bay window for a look at the gleaming sunshine.

      While her father-in-law talked to Meagan, Rachel looked on, getting glimpses of John in his every gesture. Tom Evans’ manner of speech, his pleasant face, his lean, medium build, the way he angled his head as he spoke, and even his rather bookish, industrious nature put her in mind of John.

      She then thought of Jason, sort of the black sheep of the family, only in the sense that he was just the opposite with his tall, strongly built frame, cocoa-brown hair and eyes, and reckless, devil-may-care personality. And he was terribly likable to everyone—except Rachel, even though she, John, and Jason had been almost inseparable during their high school and college years. They had stuck together despite Jason’s penchant for weekend parties and John’s utter dislike of them; Jason had spent so much time socializing, it was a wonder he’d even graduated. But she and Jason had grown apart, especially after the accident, and she hadn’t seen him since last Christmas—her own choice, of course.

      Tom stepped forward to plant a light kiss on Rachel’s cheek. “How are you doing these days, Rachel?”

      “I’m all right,” she said with a mechanical shrug and a wistful smile. She never felt like discussing her innermost feelings.

      Tom narrowed his gaze as he set Meagan down. The child scooted over to her grandma, who smiled down at her, then looked up at Rachel and said, “Say, why don’t you stop by the house tomorrow afternoon? You haven’t been over for such a long time.”

      Visiting her in-laws’ home was like walking into yesterday, and Rachel didn’t know if she was ready to pass over the threshold again. The last few times had been too painful; she’d found herself glancing around the house and expecting John to come barreling out of one of the rooms. Silence followed as she bit down hard on her lip.

      “Jason is coming home,” Donna went on, bouncing Johnny as she moved away from the window. “He called yesterday, and I convinced him to come for dinner. He hasn’t been home for a couple of months. I know he’d love to meet little Johnny. He asks about him every time he calls, and you know how much he loves and misses Meagan.”

      Just hearing Jason’s name incited painful memories packed with guilt. For a time, Rachel had hated Jason, even blamed him for John’s death. Now, she just resented him for reasons she couldn’t define. In high school, the phrase “Three’s a crowd” had never applied to them. Instead, “All for one, and one for all” had been their motto—until she and John had become a couple, that is. After that, the chemistry among the three of them had changed. Oh, she’d had warm feelings for both brothers, and she’d even dated Jason off and on, but John ultimately had won her heart in his final two years of college with his utter devotedness to her, his promise of a bright future, and his maturity and passionate faith.

      “What do you say, Rachel?” Donna asked, turning her head to keep Johnny from pulling on one of her dangling, gold earrings.

      “Yes, you should come,” echoed Tom.

      “I—I’m not sure. I think my parents are stopping over.”

      “Oh, no; they’re coming straight from church to our place for lunch. They didn’t mention that?” Donna asked, bobbing Johnny in her arms. The two families had always been close, having lived in neighboring towns and attended the same church for years. Then, when Rachel and John had gotten married, the bond had grown tighter still.

      “Um, I guess they did, but I…I forgot.” Panic raced through Rachel from head to toe. She didn’t want to see Jason, couldn’t picture him in a room without John there, too.

      “Rachel.” Donna touched Rachel’s arm, her eyes moist. “We miss John more than you can imagine, but—we still have Jay. His birthday is Tuesday, remember? Won’t you come and help us celebrate it like old times?”

      Jason’s birthday. She’d forgotten all about it. Yes, she did recall celebrating it as a family, just as they’d celebrated hers, John’s, and every other family member’s.

      “I’m sorry; I just don’t feel like celebrating anything or anyone.”

      “But he’s your brother-in-law, sweetheart. Don’t you want to see him? Remember how the three of you used to be so inseparable?”

      “Mom, please,” Rachel warned her. “It’s all different now.”

      “Of course, I know that. But—”

      “Leave it be, Donna,” Tom said sternly. Meagan, growing as restless as a filly, tugged at her grandfather’s pant leg. “I can understand why Rachel wouldn’t want to see Jason. Too many memories, right, Rachel?” He reached up and touched her shoulder. “It’s probably for the best—you two keeping your distance, at least for now.”

      She swallowed a tight knot and released a heavy breath. “Thanks.”

      Donna blinked. “Well, if that’s how you feel…. But, at some point, I hope you’ll reconsider.” She shifted her fidgety body and frowned at her husband, then smiled down at Meagan and tweaked her nose. “Well, we should be getting to that circus, don’t you think, pumpkin?”

      “Yes!” Meagan jumped with unadulterated glee. Oh, to be that innocent, Rachel thought.

      “We’ll try not to be too late getting her home. How ’bout trying to get some rest when you put Johnny down?” Tom asked as Donna handed Johnny off to Rachel. “You look plain tuckered out.”

      It sounded wonderful, but also completely unrealistic, considering the overflowing baskets of dirty clothes in the laundry room, the teetering pile of dishes in the kitchen sink, and the brimming wastebasket in every bathroom. Whoever said “A woman’s work is never done” must have been a single mom, Rachel thought. Then, nodding with a forced smile, she saw the circus-goers to the door.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Friday Finds 9/3/10

(Hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading)

What great books did you hear about / discover this past week? Share with us your FRIDAY FINDS! :D


Here are mine:
I feel as though I have discovered/learned/been told about a truckload of books! So excited as my TBR piles up and up and up....:D

As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis Devoto by Joan Reardon

 Easy by Kerry Cohen Hoffmann

It's Not You, It's Me by Kerry Cohen Hoffmann

Julie And Julia: 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen by Julie Powell

Lightening by Dean Koontz

Slut by Kerry Cohen Hoffmann

The Good Girl by Kerry Cohen Hoffmann

(I know, a lot of Hoffmann this week. I fell in love with her after I rad her Loos Girl book. Couldn't put it down. She is a very good writer and I am proud of what she has done with her life and who she has become. So bear with me.)

(Hosted by Booking Through Thursday)

This Weeks question asks: Even though it’s usually a mistake (grin) … do movies made out of books make you want to read the original?

 My answer: Yes. Definitely. Every time I see a movie weather it be fiction or not and I find out it was based off a book, as long as I liked the movie, I look up the book and read that as well which gives me more story and detail but at times I am disappointed after I read the book and find out how much was left out. The same thing happened to me when I saw the movie Julie & Julia. I had no idea it was based off the book (I know....). After that I went crazy to find the book, Julie Powell's original blog (which I found yay:), the book of letters between Paul Child and his twin, the book of letters between Julia Child and Avis Devoto. It opened up a whole other corner of books I didn't know about. It has been exciting. But at the same time, I have a soft spot for cooking/foodie movies and memoirs/based on a true story. This movie and book put two of my favorites together.
 The book Julie & Julia by Julie Powell, about her journey with french cooking and blogging it to the world.

 The movie Julie & Julia based off the book (obviously). Very good movie:)

A-Z Wednesday 8/25/10

(Hosted by Reading At The Beach)

Welcome to A-Z Wednesday!!
To join, here's all you have to do: Go to your stack of books and find one with an author whose first or last name starts with the letter of the week.
1~ a photo of the book
2~ title and synopsis
3~ link(amazon, barnes and noble etc.)
4~ Come back here and leave your link in the comments.
If you've already reviewed this book you can add it also.
Be sure to visit other participants to see what book they have posted and leave them a comment.
(We all love comments, don't we?)
Who knows? You may find your next "favorite" book.

This is mine:
This is mine:
Loose Girl: A memoir of proisicurity
Some girls turn to alcohol. Some to drugs. Kerry Cohen turned to sex. This is her memoir.
The link to the book is Here for Amazon