5.22.2010

I've completed my very first Reading Challenge!!


Hooray!!  I've finally completed a Reading Challenge, and it's my first one ever!  *doing happy dance*  I know what you're thinking, "Well DUH!, how hard could it be to complete this challenge when all you read is romance?"  That's true, but I'm still happy!  =D

Here are the Romance books I've read so far this year:
(the links will take you to PBS, where you can also read my reviews, instead of having to look for them on my blog)

Becoming Lucy (Winds Across the Prairie) :: Martha Rogers

The Lightkeeper's Daughter (Mercy Falls) :: Colleen Coble 


Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania :: Cerella Sechrist

One Perfect Gift :: Kathleen Morgan

Jenna's Cowboy: A Novel (The Callahans of Texas) :: Sharon Gillenwater 

Beguiled :: J. Mark Bertrand, Deeanne Gist  (Romantic Suspense - with a cute romance thrown in)

The Husband Tree (Montana Marriages, Bk 2) :: Mary Connealy

Swinging on a Star: A Novel (Weddings by Bella) :: Janice Thompson

The Silent Governess :: Julie Klassen

Menu for Romance (Brides of Bonneterre, Book 2) :: Kaye Dacus

 
The Blue Enchantress (Charles Towne Belles, Bk 2) :: Marylu Tyndall

The Raven Saint (Charles Towne Belles, Bk 3) :: Marylu Tyndall

A Distant Melody (Wings of Glory, Bk 1) :: Sarah Sundin

A Case for Love (Brides of Bonneterre, Book 3) :: Kaye Dacus

Paper Roses (Texas Dreams Trilogy, Bk 1) :: Amanda Cabot


Scattered Petals (Texas Dreams Trilogy, Bk 2) :: Amanda Cabot

Forget Me Not (Crossroads Crisis Center) :: Vicki Hinze  (Fiction/Suspense with a little romance thrown in - didn't  count toward this Challenge)

In Harm's Way (Heroes of Quantico, Bk 3) :: Irene Hannon  (Romantic Suspense - quite romantic, imo)

It Had to Be You (Weddings by Bella) :: Janice Thompson 

Code Blue (Prescription for Trouble) :: Richard L. Mabry  (Medical Suspense w/a healthy dose of romance - didn't count toward this Challenge)

Morning for Dove: Winds Across the Prairie, Book Two :: Martha Rogers

Fine Life, This: A Novel :: Eva Everson

Don't think I'm gonna stop reading Romance though, just because I've completed this challenge.  No way!  I still have TONS to read/review.  YAY!

Another award!!


Thank you soooo much, MJ!  I love it!

Isn't this award just too cute?  It was given to me by MJ over @ Creative Madness.  Be sure to stop by her blog to check out all of her super, interesting reviews.  She reviews everything from books, to baby paraphernalia, to everyday products you can use around your home.   I love dropping by to see what she's up to!

Here's what this award consists of:

If you are given this award you must first accept it by leaving a comment on the post you were nominated on. Then copy and paste the post and add it to your own blog. Make a list of the last 5 books you read and pass the award on to 5 other bloggers (no backsies!). Please also identify the blog from which you got the award and don’t forget to tell them they have a blog award!

Here are the last 5 books I've read (highlighted ones will take you to my reviews):

This Fine Life
Kentucky Cowboy (loved it!)
Code Blue  (loved it!)
It Had to be You

Here are the 5 "Bodacious" bloggers I'm passing this award along to:

Angie @ Never a Dull Moment




My Review: This Fine Life by Eva Marie Everson


by Eva Marie Everson

Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance

Revell Publishing
Copyright 2010
Pages:  343
ISBN:  9780800732745


(from Amazon):

It is the summer of 1959 and Mariette Puttnam has just graduated from boarding school. When she returns to her privileged life at home, she isn't sure where life will take her. More schooling? A job? Marriage? Nothing feels right. How could she know that the answer is waiting for her within the narrow stairwell of her father's apparel factory, exactly between the third and fourth floors?

In this unique and tender story of an unlikely romance, popular author Eva Marie Everson takes readers on a journey through the heart of a young woman bound for the unknown. Readers will experience the joys of new love, the perseverance of true friendship, and the gift of forgiveness that comes from a truly fine life.


What I thought:

This Fine Life is different from most romance books I read, and I almost decided not to finish it.  Let me try to explain.  The first 100, or so pages read like a YA romance (which I so do not read!) and it was really hard for me to make myself keep reading.  However, I was determined to give it a try because some of you had already posted reviews, raving over what a good book it was (thanks for that!).  Once the story picked up, it definitely got better and better.

Another thing about this book that was different for me is, I didn't really like most of the characters, which is really odd.  Mariette Puttman acted like a spoiled brat throughout most of the book, and her mother got on my last nerve what with trying to "run" Mariette's life.  Thayne Scott came across as pretty selfish at times -- I couldn't stand the fact that he made BIG decisions without even trying to discuss them with his wife first -- she was usually the last person to find out!  In his defense, maybe things were done differently back then.  Don't even get me started on the hateful biddies of Logan's Creek.  UGH!  However, there were a couple of folks I really liked, such as, Mariette's best friend, Missy, who isn't afraid to tell her exactly what she thinks, and Rowena is just such a sweet person, that you can't help falling in love with her.

I didn't start to really enjoy this book until over halfway thru, which by then, you're so invested in what's going on that you can't help but root for everything to turn out okay in the end.  Don't get me wrong, I did end up really liking it, but it took me reading it in it's entirety to understand why the beginning was so important.

If you haven't read any of Eva Marie Everson's books, This Fine Life, would be a great place to start.  To find out more about her and/or her books, be sure to visit her website.

One last thing, I have to mention how awesome it was to see my hometown of LaGrange, GA briefly mentioned in passing, as well as a neighboring city, Columbus, GA!  This is probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing for me!  Thanks Eva!  =D

Available May 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.






*** My review copy was provided by Donna Hausler @ Revell Publishing -- thank you! ***

5.17.2010

My Review: Morning for Dove (Winds Across the Prairie, Bk 2) by Martha Rogers


(Winds Across the Prairie, Bk 2)
by Martha Rogers

Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance

Realms Publishing
Copyright 2010
Pages:  297
ISBN:  9781599799841


(from back cover):

When Luke Anderson falls in love with Dove Morris, he is aware of her Native American heritage.  What he is not prepared for is the prejudice suddenly exhibited by his mother against Dove.  Torn between the people he loves most in the world, Luke struggles with his feelings until a wildfire on the prairie threatens Morris Ranch.

As Luke joins the battle to stave off the fire as it approaches, he must risk his life to save Dove.  Will his parents see that love knows no boundaries of race or culture when it is rooted in God's love for His people?

Book two in the Winds Across the Prairie series brings you back to the town of Barton Creek in Oklahoma Territory, providing a glimpse into everyday life at a time when Oklahoma was drawing homesteaders to its territory before the days of statehood.


What I thought:

The first thing I noticed about this book is that it moves along a little quicker than the first book, Becoming Lucy.  Though there were some slow parts, overall, it was a pretty good story.  Don't let the synopsis from the back cover fool you -- most of this excitement happens during the last few chapters of the book.  

The rest of the time, you're watching Luke and Dove try their best to figure out a way to pursue their newfound feelings for one another, without his very prejudice mother finding out.  She is dead-set against them having any kind of contact, much less a serious relationship.

Dove's parents think Luke would be a wonderful match for her, but aren't too sure about her spending too much time with him, as they're sure her heart is going to be broken if Mrs. Anderson doesn't have a complete change of heart.

I enjoyed getting to know Martin and Sarah a little better, as well as, being able to catch up with Jake and Lucy.  There are some townspeople I would have preferred not seeing again, or even meeting to begin with, but they did add extra 'spice' to the story.

If you're interested it reading this series, I highly recommend that you read them in order.  Morning for Dove pretty much picks up where Becoming Lucy left off.  To find out more about Martha Rogers, be sure to visit her website.






 *** Thank you to LeAnn Hamby @ Strang Book Group for providing me with my copy to review. ***








 




Book 1 in the Winds Across the Prairie series

5.15.2010

My Review: Code Blue (Prescription for Trouble, Bk 1) by Richard L. Mabry, MD


(Prescription for Trouble, Bk 1)
by Richard L. Mabry, MD

Christian Ficiton / Medical Suspense / Romantic Suspense

Abingdon Press
Copyright 2010
Pages:  288
ISBN:  9781426702365


(from Amazon):

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

Cathy returns to her hometown seeking healing after a broken relationship, but discovers that among her friends and acquaintances is someone who wants her out of town...or dead. Lawyer Will Kennedy, her high school sweetheart, offers help, but does it carry a price tag? Is hospital chief of staff Dr. Marcus Bell really on her side in her fight to get hospital privileges? Is Will's father, Pastor Matthew Kennedy, interested in advising her or just trying to get her back to the church she left years ago? 

When one of Cathy's prescriptions almost kills the town banker, it sets the stage for a malpractice suit that could end her time in town, if not her career. It's soon clear that this return home was a prescription for trouble. 


What I thought:

First of all, I gotta tell you, Richard L. Mabry has been added to my "must read" authors list -- I loved this book!  It's a very fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat,  medical suspense, with a healthy dose of romance.  Just what the doctor ordered *pun intended* to get me out of my reading slump.  ;)

As y'all know, I'm not big on in-depth reviewing for mystery/suspense books as I don't want to give away any key, or surprise, elements of the story, but I'll do my best.  Honestly, the synopsis from Amazon (posted above) pretty much says it all.

When I requested this book to review, it was with mixed feelings.  I wondered if I would be able to understand what was going on since I'm not all that knowledgeable on medical jargon (though I did take a Medical Terminology class a couple of years ago, and am now working in a medical environment); this book is written by a retired physician/medical school professor.  I thought Dr. Mabry did an excellent job with making everything understandable for the average person; I found it very easy to follow along with Dr. Cathy Sewell's life-threatening journey.

I'm already looking forward to the second book in this series, Medical Error, set to release in September 2010.  Not long to wait -- yay!!  If you're interested in finding out more about Dr. Richard L. Mabry, MD, or his publications/books, be sure to check out his website.






*** I received my review copy compliments of Susan Salley @ Abingdon Press.  Thank you! ***

5.14.2010

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Code Blue (Prescription for Trouble) by Richard L. Mabry, MD

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:

Abingdon Press (April 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Susan Salley of Abingdon Press for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


After his retirement from a distinguished career as a physician and medical educator, Richard turned his talents to non-medical writing. Code Blue is his debut novel, the first of the Prescription For Trouble series, featuring medical suspense. Richard and his wife, Kay, make their home in North Texas, where he continues his struggles to master golf and be the world’s most perfect grandfather.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press (April 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1426702361
ISBN-13: 978-1426702365

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


The black SUV barreled out of nowhere, its oversized tires straddling the centerline. Cathy jerked the steering wheel to the right and jammed the brake pedal to the floor. Her little Toyota rocked as though flicked by a giant hand before it spun off the narrow country road and hurtled toward the ditch and the peach orchard beyond it.

For a moment Cathy felt the fearful thrill of weightlessness. Then the world turned upside down, and everything went into freeze-frame slow motion.

The floating sensation ended with a jolt. The screech of ripping metal swallowed Cathy’s scream. The deploying airbag struck her face like a fist. The pressure of the shoulder harness took her breath away. The lap belt pressed into her abdomen, and she tasted bile and acid. As her head cleared, she found herself hanging head-down, swaying slightly as the car rocked to a standstill. In the silence that followed, her pulse hammered in her ears like distant, rhythmic thunder.

Cathy realized she was holding her breath. She let out a shuddering sigh, inhaled, and immediately choked on the dust that hung thick in the air. She released her death-grip on the steering wheel and tried to lift her arms. It hurt—it hurt a lot—but they seemed to work. She tilted her head and felt something warm trickle down her face. She tried to wipe it away, but not before a red haze clouded her vision.

She felt a burning sensation, first in her nostrils, then in the back of her throat. Gasoline! Cathy recalled all the crash victims she’d seen in the emergency room—victims who’d survived a car accident only to be engulfed in flames afterward. She had to get out of the car. Now. Her fingers probed for the seatbelt buckle. She found it and pressed the release button. Slowly. Be careful. Don’t fall out of the seat and make matters worse. The belt gave way, and she eased her weight onto her shoulders. She bit her lip from the pain, rolled onto her side, and looked around.

How could she escape? She tried the front doors. Jammed—both of them. She’d been driving with her window partially open, enjoying the brisk autumn air and the parade of orange and yellow trees rolling by in the Texas landscape. There was no way she could wriggle through that small opening. Cathy drew back both feet and kicked hard at the exposed glass. Nothing. She kicked harder. On the third try, the window gave way.

Where was her purse? Never mind. No time. She had to get out. Cathy inched her way through the window, flinching as tiny shards of glass stung her palms and knees. Once free from the car, she lay back on the grass and looked around at what remained of the orchard, blessing the trees that had sacrificed themselves to cushion her car’s landing.

She rose unsteadily to her feet. It seemed as though every bone in her body cried out at the effort. The moment she stood upright the world faded into a gray haze. She slumped to the ground and took a few deep breaths. Her head hurt, her eyes burned, her throat seemed to be closing up. The smell of gasoline cut through her lethargy. She had to get further away from the car. How could she do that, when she couldn’t even stand without passing out?

Cathy saw a peach sapling a few feet away, a tiny survivor amid the ruins. She crawled to the tree, grabbed it, and walked her hands up the trunk until she was almost upright. She clung there, drained by the exertion, until the world stopped spinning.

Something dripped into her eyes and the world turned red. Cathy risked turning loose with one hand and wiped it across her face. Her vision cleared a bit. She regarded the crimson stain on her palm. Good thing she was no stranger to the sight of blood.

Now she was upright, but could she walk? Maybe, if she could stand the pain. She wasn’t sure she could make it more than a step or two, though. A stout limb lying in the debris at her feet caught her eye. It was about four feet long, two inches thick—just the right size. Cathy eased her way down to a crouch, using the sapling for support. She grabbed the limb and, holding it like a staff, managed to stand up. She rested for a moment, then inched her way along the bottom of the ditch, away from the car. When she could no longer smell gasoline and when her aching limbs would carry her no farther, she leaned on her improvised crutch to rest.

Cathy stared at the road above her. The embankment sloped upward in a gentle rise of about six feet. Ordinarily, climbing it would be child’s play for her. But right now she felt like a baby—weak, uncoordinated, and fearful.

Maybe if she rested for a moment on that big rock. She hobbled to it and lowered herself, wincing with each movement. There was no way she could get comfortable—even breathing was painful—but she needed time to think.

Had the SUV really tried to run her off the road? She wanted to believe it was simply an accident, that someone had lost control of his vehicle. Just like she’d wanted to believe that the problems she’d had since she came back home were nothing more than a run of bad luck. Now she had to accept the possibility that someone was making an effort to drive her out of town.

She’d never thought much about the name of her hometown: Dainger, Texas. She vaguely recalled it was named for some settler, long ago forgotten. Now she was thinking the name seemed significant. Danger. Had the problems she’d left behind in Dallas followed her? Or did the roots lie here in Dainger? Possibly. After all, small towns have long memories. Of course, there could be another explanation. . . . No, she couldn’t accept that. Not yet.

Cathy turned to survey the wreckage of her poor little car. She saw wheels silhouetted against the sky, heard the ticking of the cooling motor. Then she picked up new sounds: the roar of a car’s engine, followed by the screech of tires and the chatter of gravel. It could be someone stopping to help. On the other hand, it could be the driver of the SUV coming back to finish the job. She thought of hiding. But where? How?

She watched a white pickup skid to a stop on the shoulder of the road above the wreckage. A car door slammed. A man’s voice called, “Is anyone down there? Are you hurt?”

No chance to get away now. She’d have to take her chances and pray that he was really here to help. Pray? That was a laugh. Cathy had prayed before, prayed hard, all without effect. Why should she expect anything different this time?

“Is someone there? Are you hurt?”

How should she react? Answer or stay quiet? Neither choice seemed good. She tried to clear the dust from her throat, but when she opened her mouth to yell, she could only manage a strangled whisper. “Yes.”

Footsteps crunched on the gravel shoulder above her, and an urgent voice shouted, “Is someone down there? Do you need help?”

“Yes,” she croaked a bit stronger.

“I’m coming down,” he said. “Hang on.”

A head peered over the edge of the embankment, but pulled back before she could get more than a glimpse of him.

In a few seconds, he scrambled down the embankment, skidding in the red clay before he could dig in the heels of his cowboy boots. At the bottom he looked around until he spotted her. He half-ran the last few feet to where she stood swaying on her makeshift crutch.

“Here, let me help you. Can you walk?”

Blood trickled into her eyes again, and even after she wiped it away, it was like looking through crimson gauze. Cathy could make out the man’s outline but not his features. He sounded harmless enough. But she supposed even mass murderers could sound harmless.

She gripped her makeshift staff harder; it might work as a weapon. “I don’t think anything’s broken.” Her voice cracked, and she coughed. “I’m just stunned. If you help me, I think I can move okay.”

He leaned down and Cathy put her left arm on his shoulder. He encircled her waist with his right arm, supporting her so her feet barely touched the ground as they shuffled toward the slope. At the bottom, he turned and swept her into his arms. The move took her by surprise, and she gasped. She felt him stagger a bit on the climb, but in a moment they made it to the top.

Her rescuer freed one hand and thumbed the latch on the passenger side door of his pickup. He turned to bump the door open with his hip, then deposited her gently onto the seat. “Rest there. I’ll call 911.”

Cathy leaned back and tried to calm down. His voice sounded familiar. Was he one of her patients? She swiped the back of her hand across her eyes, but the image remained cloudy.

The man pulled a flip-phone from his pocket and punched in three digits. “There’s been a one-car accident.”

She listened as he described the accident location in detail—a mile south of the Freeman farm, just before the Sandy Creek Bridge. This wasn’t some passer-by. He knew the area.

“I need an ambulance, a fire truck, and someone from the sheriff’s office. Oh, and send a flatbed wrecker. The car looks like it’s totaled.”

“I don’t need an ambulance,” Cathy protested.

He held up a hand and shushed her, something she hadn’t encountered since third grade. “Yes, she seems okay, but I still think they need to hurry.”

Cathy heard a few answering squawks from the phone before the man spoke again. “It’s Will Kennedy. Yes, thanks.”

Will Kennedy? If she hadn’t been sitting down, Cathy might have fallen over. She scrubbed at her eyes and squinted. Will? Yes, it was Will. Now even the shape of his body looked familiar: lean and muscular, just the way he’d been—. No. Don’t go there.

Will ended his call and leaned in through the open pickup door. “They’ll be here in a minute. Hang on.”

He took a clean handkerchief from the hip pocket of his pressed jeans and gently cleaned her face. The white cotton rapidly turned red, and Cathy realized that the blood had not only clouded her vision. It had masked her features.

“Will, don’t you recognize me?”

He stopped, looked at her, and frowned. “Cathy?”

“Yes.” There were so many things to say. She drew in a ragged breath. “Thanks. I appreciate your stopping.”

He gave her the wry grin she remembered so well, and her heart did a flip-flop. “I’d heard you were back in town, and I wondered when you’d get around to talking to me. I just didn’t know it would be like this.” He paused. “And forget about telling me not to have them send an ambulance. I don’t care if you are a doctor now, Cathy Sewell. I won’t turn you loose until another medic checks you.”

Cathy opened her mouth to speak, but Will’s cell phone rang. He answered it and walked away as he talked, while she sat and wondered what would have happened if they’d never turned each other loose in the first place.

* * *

As the ambulance sped toward Summers County General Hospital, Cathy wondered what kind of reception she would get there. Who would be on duty? Would they acknowledge her as a colleague, even though she hadn’t been given privileges yet? When her thoughts turned to recent events, she forced herself to shut down the synapses and put her mind into neutral.

The ambulance rocked to a halt outside the emergency room doors. Despite Cathy’s protestations, the emergency medical technicians kept her strapped securely on the stretcher while they offloaded it. Inside the ER, Cathy finally convinced her guardians to let her transfer to a wheelchair held by a waiting orderly.

“Thanks so much, guys. I’ll be fine. Really.”

At the admitting desk, the clerk looked up from her computer and frowned.

“Cathy?” She flushed. “I . . . I mean, Dr. Sewell?”

“It’s okay, Judy. I was Cathy through twelve years of school. No reason to change.” Cathy looked around. “Who’s the ER doctor on duty?”

“Dr. Patel. He just called in Dr. Bell to see a patient. Dr. Patel thought it might be a possible appendix.” She lowered her voice. “Dr. Bell took one look and made the diagnosis of stomach flu. I couldn’t see the need to call in another doctor for a consultation, but Dr. Patel is so afraid he’ll make a wrong diagnosis.” She pursed her lips as she realized her mistake of complaining about one doctor to another.

“Just be sure Dr. Patel doesn’t hear you say that.” Cathy tried to take the sting out of the words with a wink, but the blood dried around her eyes made it impossible. “Can you call him? I’ve been threatened with dire punishment if I don’t get checked out.”

Judy reached for the phone.

“Don’t bother, Judy. I’ll take care of Dr. Sewell myself.”

Cathy eased her head around to see Marcus Bell standing behind her. He wore khakis and a chocolate-brown golf shirt, covered by an immaculate white coat with his name embroidered over the pocket.

This was a trade Cathy would gladly make—finicky Dr. Patel for superdoc Marcus Bell. In the three years he’d been here, Marcus had built a reputation as an excellent clinician. He was also undoubtedly the best-looking doctor in town.

“Let’s get you into Treatment Room One,” Marcus steered Cathy’s wheelchair away from the desk. “Judy, you can bring me the paperwork when you have it ready. Please ask Marianne to step in and help me for a minute. And page Jerry for me, would you? Thanks.”

Cathy had been in treatment rooms like this many times in several hospitals. Now she noticed how different everything looked when viewed from this perspective. As if the accident and the adrenaline rush that followed hadn’t made her shaky enough, sitting there in a wheelchair emphasized her feeling of helplessness. “I feel so silly,” she said. “Usually I’m on the other end of all this.”

“Well, today you’re not.” Marcus gestured toward the nurse who stood in the doorway. “Let’s get you into a gown. Then we’ll check the extent of the damages.”

Marcus stepped discreetly from the room.

“I’m Marianne,” the nurse said. Then, as though reading Cathy’s mind, she added, “I know it’s hard for a doctor to be a patient. But try to relax. We’ll take good care of you.”

Marianne helped Cathy out of her clothes and into a hospital gown. If Cathy had felt vulnerable before this, the added factor of being in a garment that had so many openings closed only by drawstrings tripled the feeling. The nurse eased Cathy onto the examining table, covered her with a clean sheet, and called Marcus back into the room.

“Now, Cathy, the first thing I want to do is have a closer look at that cut on your head.” Marcus slipped on a pair of latex gloves and probed the wound.

Cathy flinched. “How does it look?”

“Not too bad. One laceration about three or four centimeters long in the frontal area. Not too deep. The bleeding’s almost stopped now. We’ll get some skull films, then I’ll suture it.” He wound a soft gauze bandage around her head and taped it.

Marcus flipped off his gloves and picked up the clipboard that Cathy knew held the beginnings of her chart. “Why don’t you tell me what happened?”

At first, Cathy laid out the details of the accident and her injuries in terse clinical language, as though presenting a case to an attending physician at Grand Rounds. She did fine until she realized how close she’d come to being killed, apparently by someone who meant to do just that. There were a couple of strangled hiccups, then a few muffled sobs, before the calm physician turned into a blubbering girl. “I’m . . . I’m sorry.” She reached for a tissue from the box Marcus held out.

“No problem. If you weren’t upset by all that, you wouldn’t be normal.” Marcus took an ophthalmoscope from the wall rack and shined its light into her eyes. “How’s your vision?”

“Still a little fuzzy—some halos around lights. I figured it was from the blood running into my eyes.”

He put down the instrument and rummaged in the drug cabinet. “Let’s wash out your eyes. I don’t want you to get a chemical keratitis from the powder on the air bag. I’ll give you some eye drops, but if your vision gets worse or doesn’t clear in a day or so, I want you to see an ophthalmologist.”

“Oh, right.” The fact that she hadn’t thought of that underscored to Cathy how shaken she still was.

“Now, let’s see what else might be injured.” Marcus took her left wrist and gently probed with his fingers. Apparently satisfied, he proceeded up along the bones of the arm. His touch was gentle, yet firm, and Cathy found it somehow reassuring. “We’ll need some X-rays. I want you to help me figure out the right parts.”

“I can’t help you much. I’m hurting pretty much everywhere,” Cathy said. “But, I haven’t felt any bones grating. I think I’m just banged up.”

Marcus turned his attention to her right arm. He paused in his prodding long enough to touch her chin and raise her head until their eyes met. “You’re like all of us. You think that because you’re a doctor you can’t be hurt or sick.”

“That’s not true. I don’t— Ow!” His hand on the point of her right shoulder sent a flash of pain along her collarbone.

“That’s more like it. We’ll get an X-ray of that shoulder and your clavicle. Seatbelt injuries do that sometimes. Now see if you can finish telling me what happened.”

This time she got through the story without tearing up, although Marcus’s efforts to find something broken or dislocated brought forth a number of additional flinches and exclamations.

“I really do think I’m fine except for some bruises,” she concluded.

“Really?”

“Okay, I’m also scared. And a little bit mad.”

A tinny voice over the intercom interrupted her. “Dr. Bell, is Marianne still in there?”

“I’m here,” the nurse replied.

“Can you help us out? There’s a pedi patient in Treatment Room Two with suspected meningitis. They’re about to do a spinal tap.”

“Go ahead,” Marcus said. “We can take it from here.”

No sooner had the nurse closed the door than there was a firm tap on it.

“Jerry?” Marcus called.

“Yes, sir.”

“Come in.”

The door creaked open, and Cathy turned. The pain that coursed through her neck made her regret the decision. A man in starched, immaculate whites strode into the room and stopped at an easy parade rest. A smattering of gray at the temples softened the red in his buzz-cut hair.

Marcus did the honors. “Dr. Sewell, this is Jerry O’Neal. Jerry retired after twenty years as a Marine corpsman, and he’s now the senior radiology technician at Summers County General. He probably knows as much medicine as you and I put together, but he’s too polite to let it show.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Doctor,” Jerry said.

Marcus handed the clipboard chart to Jerry. “Dr. Sewell’s been in an auto accident. She has a scalp laceration I’ll need to suture, but first, would you get a skull series, films of the right shoulder and clavicle?” He thought a bit. “Right knee. Right lower leg. While we’re at it, better do a C-spine too.”

“Yes, sir,” Jerry said. “Is that all?”

Marcus looked back at Cathy. “If you catch her rubbing anything else, shoot it. Call me when you’ve got the films ready.”

Cathy half- expected Jerry to salute Marcus. Instead, he nodded silently before helping her off the exam table and into a wheelchair.

“Don’t worry, Dr. Sewell. You’re in good hands.”

She tried to relax and take Jerry at his word. “Why haven’t I seen you around before this?”

Jerry fiddled with some dials. “I work weekdays as a trouble-shooter for an X-ray equipment company in Dallas. I’m only here on weekends. It fills the empty hours.”

That’s why I was taking a drive on Saturday afternoon. Filling the empty hours. That started a chain of thought Cathy didn’t want to pursue. Instead, she concentrated on getting through the next few minutes.

The X-rays took less time and caused less discomfort than Cathy expected. She could see why Marcus thought so highly of Jerry. Soon she was back in the treatment room, lying on the examination table. Jerry put up two of the X-rays on the wall view box and stacked the others neatly on the metal table beneath it.

“I’ll get Dr. Bell now. Will you be okay here for a minute?”

Cathy assured Jerry that she was fine, although she finally realized how many bumps and bruises she’d accumulated in the crash. Every movement seemed to make something else hurt.

When she thought about what came next, her anxiety kicked into high gear. Would Marcus have to shave her scalp before placing the stitches? She recalled her own experiences suturing scalp lacerations in the Parkland Hospital Emergency Room. Maybe it was a woman thing, but she’d felt sorry for those patients, walking out with a shaved spot on their head, a bald patch that was sometimes the size of a drink coaster. She hated the prospect of facing her patients on Monday in that condition. Truthfully, she even hated the prospect of looking at herself in the mirror. She was thinking about wigs when Marcus reentered the room.

“Let’s see what we’ve got.” He stepped to the view box and ran through the X-rays. “Skull series looks fine. . . . Neck is good. . . . Shoulder looks okay. . . .The clavicle isn’t fractured. . . . You are one lucky woman. Looks like all I have to do is suture that scalp laceration.”

Cathy was surprised when Marcus didn’t call for help, but rather assembled the necessary instruments and equipment himself. When he slipped his gloves on, she closed her eyes and gritted her teeth. The fact that she’d been on the other end of this procedure hundreds of times just made her dread it more.

Marcus’s touch was gentle as he cleaned the wound. Soon she felt the sting of a local anesthetic injection. After that, there was nothing except an occasional tug as he sutured.

Cathy processed what she’d just felt. “You didn’t shave my scalp.”

“Now why would I want to mar that natural beauty of yours? I didn’t paint the wound orange with Betadine, either. I used a clear antiseptic to prep the area and KY jelly to plaster the hair down out of my way. The sutures are clear nylon that won’t be noticeable in your blonde hair. When I’m finished, I’ll paint some collodion over the wound to protect it. In the morning, clean the area with a damp cloth, brush your hair over it, and no one will know the difference.”

Cathy couldn’t believe what she’d heard. “Natural beauty?” This was certainly at odds with what she’d been told about Marcus Bell. Since the death of his wife, Marcus apparently wanted nothing to do with women. Rumor had it he’d turned aside the advances of most of the single women in Dainger. Was he flirting with her now? Or was this simply his bedside manner?

Marcus snapped off his gloves and tossed them in the bucket at the end of the table. “See me in a week to remove the stitches—unless you want to stand on a box and look down on the top of your own head to remove them yourself.”

“Okay, I get it. I’ll stop being my own doctor,” she said.

“How about something for the pain?”

“I think I’ll be okay.”

“Tetanus shot?”

“I’m current.”

“Then how about dinner with me next Thursday?”

Once more, Cathy felt her head spin, but this time it had nothing to do with tumbling. about in a runaway auto.

* * *

Cathy had always dreaded Monday mornings, but none so much as this one. Today it was time to show her face to the world.

She took one last look in the mirror. Cathy had figured that her fair complexion would make her bruises show up like tire tracks on fresh snow, but the judicious application of some Covermark had done its job well. The redness she’d noticed in her eyes two days ago had responded well to the eye drops Marcus prescribed. And, true to his prediction, she’d been able to style her hair so that the blonde strands almost hid the stitches in her scalp. A little more lipstick and blusher than usual, drawing attention to her face instead of her hair, and maybe she could fake her way through the day.

No matter how successful she’d been in covering the outward signs of the accident, it was still impossible for her to move without aches and pains. She popped a couple of Extra Strength Tylenol, washed them down with the remnants of her second cup of coffee, and headed out the door to face another week. If the medication kicked in soon, maybe Jane wouldn’t notice that Cathy moved like an old woman. Maybe Jane hadn’t heard the news about the accident. Yeah, and maybe the President would call today and invite Cathy to dinner at the White House.

Cathy tried to sneak in the back door, but Jane’s hearing was awfully good for a woman her age. She met Cathy at the door to her office, clucking like a mother hen and shaking her head. “Dr. Sewell, what happened to you?”

What a break it had been for her when Jane—a trim, silver-haired grandmother with a sassy twinkle in her eye—answered her ad for a combination office nurse and secretary. She’d helped Cathy set up the office, given her advice on business, and provided a sympathetic ear on more occasions than she could count.

Cathy recognized Jane’s question as rhetorical. Having grown up in Dainger, Cathy knew how quickly news spread in her hometown. She’d bet that Jane had known about the accident before Cathy had cleared the emergency room doors on Saturday. By now, probably everyone in town knew.

“I was out for a ride in the country. I needed to relax and clear my mind. Then someone ran me off the road out near Big Sandy Creek. My car went out of control, flipped, and took out a row of Seth Johnson’s peach trees.” Cathy winced as she dropped her purse into the bottom drawer of her desk. “Dr. Bell sutured a laceration on my scalp.”

“Any other injuries? Do we need to cancel today’s patients?”

Cathy shook her head, aggravating a headache that the Tylenol had only dulled. “Other than the fact that I feel like I’ve just finished a week of two-a-day practices with the Dallas Cowboys, I’m okay.”

“It’s good that you have a nice light schedule today. You can take it easy.”

Cathy frowned. A “nice light schedule” for a doctor just getting started as a family practitioner wasn’t exactly the stuff she dreamed about. She needed patients. The money from the bank loan was about gone, and her income stream was anything but impressive. But, she’d do the best she could. Anything had to beat living in Dallas, knowing she might run into Robert.

Speak of the devil. Cathy actually shuddered when she saw the return address on the envelope sitting in the middle of her desk: Robert Edward Newell, M.D.

She clamped her jaws shut, snatched up a brass letter opener, and ripped open the envelope. Inside were two newspaper clippings and a few words scribbled on a piece of white notepad with an ad for a hypertension drug at the top of the page. The first clipping announced the engagement of Miss Laura Lynn Hunt, daughter of Dr. Earl and Mrs. Betty Hunt, to Dr. Robert Edward Newell. The second featured a photo of Laura Lynn and Robert, she in a high couture evening gown, he in a perfectly fitting tux, arriving at the Terpsichorean Ball. The note was brief and to the point: “See what you’ve missed?” No signature. Just a reminder, one that made her grit her teeth until her jaws ached. Leave it to Robert to rub salt in her wounds.

She forced herself to sit quietly and breathe deeply, until the knot in her throat loosened. Then she wadded the clippings and note into a tight ball, which she consigned to the wastebasket with as much force as she could muster.

No use rethinking the past. Time to get on with her life. “Jane,” she called. “May I have the charts for today’s patients? I want to go over them.”

Jane returned and deposited a pitifully small stack of thin charts on Cathy’s desk. The look in Jane’s eyes said it all. Sorry there aren’t more. Sorry you’re hurting. Sorry.

Cathy picked up the top chart but didn’t open it. “Do you think I made a mistake coming here to practice?”

Jane eased into one of the patient chairs across the desk from Cathy. “Why would you ask that?”

“I applied at three banks before I got a loan. When I mention to other doctors that I’m taking new patients, they get this embarrassed look and mumble something about keeping that in mind, but they never make any referrals. Several of my patients tell me they’ve heard stories around town that make them wonder about my capabilities. And my privileges at the hospital have been stuck in committee for over a month now.” Cathy pointed to the stitches in her scalp. “Now the situation seems to be escalating.”

“You mean the accident on Saturday?”

“It was no accident. I’m convinced that someone ran me off the road and intended to kill me.”

“Did you report it?” Jane asked.

“Yes, but fat lot of good it did. If Will Kennedy hadn’t insisted, I think the deputy who came out to investigate the accident would have written the whole thing off as careless driving on my part.” Cathy grimaced. “Of course, he may do that anyway.”

“What was Will Kennedy doing there?”

“He came along right after the wreck. When I couldn’t manage under my own power, Will carried me up the embankment. Then he insisted I go to the emergency room, and when they were loading me into the ambulance he slipped his card into my hand and whispered, ‘Please call me. I want to make sure you’re okay.’” Cathy pulled a business card from the pocket of her skirt, smoothed the wrinkles from it, and put it under the corner of her blotter.

“Did you phone him?”

Cathy shook her head. “I started to, but I couldn’t. I’m not ready to get close to any man. Not Will Kennedy. Not Marcus Bell. Not Robert Newell.” She took in a deep breath through her nose and let it out through pursed lips. “Especially not Robert Newell.”

“Who is—?”

Before Jane could finish, Cathy spun around in her chair and pulled a book at random from the shelf behind her. “Not now. Please. I need to look up something before I see my first patient.” She paged through the book, but none of the words registered.

Jane’s voice from behind her made Cathy close the book. “Dr. Sewell, you asked me a question. Let me answer it before I go. I don’t know if someone’s really making an effort to run you off. I’ve heard some of those rumors. They’re always anonymous, like ‘Somebody told me that Dr. Sewell’s not a good doctor.’ Or ‘I heard Dr. Sewell came back to Dainger because she couldn’t make it in Dallas.’ You have to ignore the gossip and rumors. They’re part of living here.”

Cathy swiveled back to face Jane. “I thought it would be easier to get my practice started in my hometown.”

“It might be, except that people here will compare you to your daddy, who was the best surgeon Dainger ever saw. In that situation a young, female doctor will come up short, no matter how qualified she is.”

Cathy tossed the book on her desk and held her hands up, palms forward. “If someone wants to get rid of me, they’re close to succeeding. I don’t know how much longer I can go on.”

“You’re a fighter, and I’m right here with you. Just stick with it.” Jane turned and walked toward the doorway.

“Thanks. I appreciate it.”

Jane stopped and faced Cathy once more. “Have you been out to visit your folks?”

“It won’t do any good. There’s nothing for me there. I don’t have anything to say.”

Jane shook her head. “Sometimes you don’t have to say anything. Sometimes you simply have to make the effort and go. It’s the only way you’ll ever put all that behind you.”





5.13.2010

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Morning for Dove (Winds Across the Prairie, bk 2) by Martha Rogers

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 (May 4, 2010)

***Special thanks to Anna Coelho Silva | Publicity Coordinator, Book Group | Strang Communications for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Martha Rogers is a former schoolteacher and English instructor with experience writing both fiction and nonfiction including Not on the Menu, a part of Sugar and Grits, a novella collection with DiAnn Mills, Janice Thompson, and Kathleen Y’Barbo. Rogers has a master’s degree in education and has worked as a secondary teacher and an instructor of English composition. She lives with her husband in Houston, Texas.


Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.99
Paperback: 297 pages
Publisher: Realms (May 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599799847
ISBN-13: 978-1599799841

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Oklahoma Territory, June 1897


Today was not a good day for a wedding. It was Lucinda Bishop’s wedding day, and he wasn’t the groom. The sun may be shining outside, but Luke Anderson’s insides rolled

and tumbled like the dark clouds before a storm. His feelings should have been under control by now, and they had been up until this moment. Now Lucy’s image rolled through his mind like pictures on a stereo-optic machine.

He shook his head and snatched off his tie. Anger filled his heart. His eyes closed tightly, and he prayed for God to take away his negative feelings. All thoughts of Lucinda must be put away as part of his past and not his future. Calm swept through him as he felt the Lord’s peace take over. Still, he’d rather do anything else, like stay behind and keep the store open. Pa didn’t worry about the business he’d be losing by closing down for the day because most of the townsfolk would be at the church. Luke shrugged his arms into the sleeves of his jacket. He hated having to wear a suit in this heat. With his tie

now securely back in place, Luke headed downstairs to meet his parents.


His mother tilted her head and looked him over from head to foot. “I must say you do look especially handsome today.” She nodded her approval and turned for the door.


Luke tugged at his collar and forced himself to smile. She must have thought he’d come down in his work clothes.


His sister beamed at him. “You are handsome, even if you are my brother.”


Luke shook his head and followed her outside. “You look very pretty yourself, Alice.”


She looked up at him and furrowed her brow. “Thank you, I think.”


Luke relaxed at his sister’s comments. He usually ridiculed or teased her, but she did look pretty today with her blonde curls dancing on her shoulders. At sixteen, she had the notice of a few boys in her class at school.


The tightness in his chest loosened. He’d get through this day.


Since the church was only a few blocks down the street, they would walk, but his younger brother, Will, ran ahead. When they reached the churchyard, wagons, surreys, and horses filled the area. Pa had been right. People from all over were here, paying tribute to the niece of one of the most powerful ranchers in the area, Mr. Haynes.


He followed the rest of his family into the church and down to a pew. The sanctuary filled quickly, and the music began. Instead of paying attention, Luke tugged once again at the demon collar and tie and wished for relief from the early summer heat. The organ swelled with a melody, and everyone stood. Dove, Lucy’s best friend, walked down the aisle followed by the bride.


Never had Lucy looked more beautiful. Mrs. Weems, the dressmaker, had made many trips to the store for the ribbons and laces that adorned the dress and slight train now trailing behind it. The white satin enhanced Lucy’s dark hair and fair face, and her eyes sparkled with the love she had for Jake.


Luke had to admit deep in his heart that she’d never been his. Even when he courted her, her heart had belonged to Jake. Luke should have known he’d never make her forget that cowboy.


Then his gaze fell on Dove, and his throat tightened. Although he’d known her for years, he’d never seen her as any more than the part-Cherokee daughter of Sam Morris. Now

her bronzed complexion and dark eyes glowed with a beauty that stunned him. He had looked right through her when they had been at the box social last spring and on other social occasions. At those events, she’d been with someone else, and he’d seen only Lucinda. Dove was quiet and didn’t say much when around others their age, and he had spoken directly to her only a few times at church. Today he saw her with new eyes.


When Lucy reached the altar on the arm of her uncle Ben, Luke sat down, as did the congregation. Ignoring the words of the minister, he stared at Dove. How could he not have noticed her before?


Luke glanced to his left and right. Pa had been right when he said most of Barton Creek would attend the wedding. Even Chester Fowler had come. He’d been less than friendly with Ben Haynes and Sam Morris the few times Luke had seen them together. Something about the man bothered Luke, but he couldn’t quite put a finger on it.


From the corner of his eye he noticed Bobby Frankston staring to the side of the altar. Luke followed the boy’s gaze to find Becky Haynes at the other end. She stood with Dove beside Lucy as an attendant. Her attention had been drawn to Bobby, and a faint bloom reddened her cheeks. That blush didn’t come from the heat. Luke chuckled to himself. It looked to him like another boy had fallen in love.


When the ceremony ended, the couple left the church and headed to the hotel where the Haynes had planned a lavish celebration for their niece.


When Luke joined the other guests there, tables laden with thin slices of beef, chicken, and ham, along with a variety of breads, vegetables, and fruit, filled one end of the room and beckoned to him. After filling his plate, he moved to the side of the room and bit into a piece of chicken. At least the food tasted good.


His gaze swept around the room. The hotel dining hall had been cleared of almost all its tables, and people milled about talking with one another and balancing plates of food.


In his perusal of the room, his gaze came to rest on Dove Morris. The pale yellow dress she wore emphasized her dark hair and almost black eyes. He’d never seen such a flawless

complexion on anyone besides Lucy. But where Lucy’s was fair, Dove’s reflected the heritage of her Indian blood. As she chatted with a guest, a smile lit up her face. At that moment she turned in Luke’s direction, her eyes locking with his and widening as though surprised to see him. A sharp tingle skittered through his heart. Before he could catch his breath, she turned back to the woman beside her. The tightness in his chest lessened, but

he still stared at her even though she no longer looked at him.


Twice now something had coursed through his veins as he observed her. An explanation for those feelings eluded him because nothing like that had happened with Lucy when he was with her. Whatever this feeling happened to be, one thing was certain—he had to speak to Dove. Still, after what happened with Lucy, he would take his time and not rush into a relationship so quickly this time.


He made his way in her direction, not allowing his eyes to lose contact with her face. When he stood by her side, her head barely reached his shoulder. He had never truly paid any attention to how tiny and petite she was, even when he’d seen her in the store and at church. A sudden urge to stand taller and make a good impression overcame him.


Finally he caught her eye. “Miss Morris, what a pleasure to see you this afternoon,” he said.


Her lips quivered then broke into a smile. “Luke Anderson. It’s a pleasure to see you too. Wasn’t the wedding lovely?”


“Yes, it was.” But not as lovely as the girl standing before him. “Would you like some refreshment?”


“I would like that; thank you.” Her soft voice melted his resolve. He had to know more about this beautiful young woman. How her beauty had escaped his notice was something

he didn’t understand. He straightened his shoulders and grasped her hand to tuck it over his arm. She’d certainly grown up while he had been so smitten with Lucy Bishop.



The warmth of Luke’s arm beneath Dove’s hand sent a shiver through her body despite the heat. He was the last person she expected to pay attention to her today. As long as she had known him and wanted his admiration, he had spoken only a few words directly to her. His noticing her today sent currents of excitement through her as well as questions about why he chose this day to show any interest in her.


He offered her a cup of punch, and the sunlight streaming through the windows glistened on the crystal in her hand, turning it into shimmering sparkles. In fact, everything about

the day had become brighter. She sipped from her cup then smiled at Luke. “This is very good.” Her face warmed. Not a

very exciting topic of conversation.


Luke raised his cup to his mouth and swallowed. “Yes, it is.” He glanced around the room. “Would you save a dance for me, Miss Morris?”


Words first stuck in Dove’s throat and then came forth in a squeak. “Yes, I will.” Her face grew even warmer. She would like nothing more than to be whirling across the dance floor with Luke’s arms about her, and he would probably be her only partner except for Martin, who had asked earlier.


At that moment the young man in question stepped up. “Don’t forget you promised me a dance today, Miss Morris.”


“Of course I won’t forget.” Two young men seeking her companionship today was twice as many as she had even imagined. Because of her Cherokee heritage, she never expected young men to take much notice of her or spend time with her. Today would be a more lovely day than she had believed it would be.


Martin glanced at Luke. “Miss Morris, if you’ll excuse us, I must speak to Luke alone.”


Dove nodded as the two young men made their way across the room. With both being so tall, she had no trouble seeing them as they stopped by the door. Once their gaze turned

toward her, and she averted her eyes. Her cheeks once again burned at the thought they could be discussing her. Luke was the one she wanted by her side, and she prayed he wouldn’t back out of his request.


An arm slipped around Dove’s shoulders. Turning to find Clara Haynes beside her, she beamed at the elderly lady everyone called Aunt Clara. “Oh, didn’t Lucy look lovely?”


“She certainly did, and Mellie and Mrs. Weems did a wonderful job with the dress, but you look just as beautiful.”


The compliment unnerved her because no one but Ma or Pa had ever called her beautiful before. “Thank you.” Her hand trembled, and she had to set her punch cup down. “It’s been a wonderful day for a wedding, and so many are here to honor Lucy and Jake.” Anything to change the topic.


The ploy didn’t work with Aunt Clara, who leaned close and whispered, “Next thing is to find a suitable young man for you, and that may be sooner than we think.”


Dove blinked. The elderly woman meant well, but no young man in town wanted to court a half-breed girl. Men like her father were few and far between. With his prominence and

wealth, he had paid no attention to what others thought when he chose his Cherokee bride. He’d said more than once that a man should be judged on his treatment of others, his honesty, and his reliability, not on his race or skin color. If only Luke could see her that way.


Aunt Clara squeezed Dove’s arm then patted it. “I believe it’s time to get some life into this party.” She headed toward the newly married couple.


Dove wished she were more adventuresome like Lucy, who had left her native Boston to come west to live with the Haynes family. Everything here was new and strange to Lucy, but she adapted, even shortening her name from Lucinda to Lucy. Dove sighed, wishing for some changes in her own life.


At that moment, Luke returned, and her hopes rose in anticipation. Perhaps those changes could begin in a friendship with Luke.



As Bea Anderson stared across the crowded room, she nudged her husband. “Carl, look over there. Luke’s talking with Dove Morris.”


Carl nodded in their direction. “She looks very pretty today.”


“She does, but that still doesn’t mean I like his talking with her.” Indeed her son could do much better than the half-breed Morris girl. As pretty as she may be, she wasn’t the kind Luke should even think of courting.


“Now, Bea, they’re just having a polite conversation.”


Polite conversation or not, this would not go any further if she had any say in the matter. All her childhood memories of Indian raids and attacks could not be erased by a few years of peace with one tribe. The horrors she’d seen were forever etched in her memory, and the very sight of Dove and her mother or her brothers sent them all flooding into her soul again. No matter that everyone else recognized the girl’s mother as Emily Morris—she’d always be White Feather to Bea.


She had tried to be civil, but always the images that couldn’t be forgiven lurked in the background. They were as much a part of her being as every thought or emotion she ever had.


Now she simply avoided the Morris family as much as possible and let Carl take care of their needs when they came into the store. She had chosen to keep her distance and ignore them. Even though most of the town knew her story and would understand her feelings toward the Morris family, Bea didn’t want to say something that might embarrass the Andersons in front of strangers who might be in the store. That wouldn’t be good for business.


Carl placed his arm around her and hugged her close. “Bea, Luke is a grown young man. He’s all ready to take over the store when the time comes. He’s smart, and he’s a good son. You have to let him make his own decisions and choose his own life.”


Bea swallowed hard. Knowing and letting it happen were two different things. She wished Luke had been the one to marry the Bishop girl today, but Lucy chose Jake, a cowboy turned rancher who had joined the ranks of men like Ben Haynes and

Sam Morris.


Carl patted her arm. “See, Martin Fleming is drawing Dove’s attention now. We don’t have to worry about Luke. He’ll make the right decision.”


“I should hope so. He knows our history, and any Indian, especially a half-breed girl like Dove, would never fit into our family.”











*** Read my review HERE. ***

5.10.2010

My Review: It Had to Be You (Weddings By Bella, bk 3) by Janice Thompson


(Weddings By Bella, bk 3)
by Janice Thompson

Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Romance

Revell Publishing
Copyright 2010
Pages:  330
ISBN:  9780800733445


(from Amazon):

Get ready for a double dose of wedding frenzy!
 
Bella couldn't be happier that two of her long-feuding relatives have finally admitted their love for one another and are getting married. Their forties-style wedding is sure to be a night to remember. But when the Rossi house begins to fill up with family from Italy--and an old mobster from New Jersey--life starts to get complicated. Will a friend from the past drive the happy couple apart once more? And will Bella ever have time to think of her own rapidly approaching wedding amid the chaos?


Full of humor, plenty of Italian passion, and a bit of Texas gumption, It Had to Be You will have you laughing out loud and wiping a tear from your eye.


What I thought:
***contains spoilers for those of you that haven't read books 1 and 2***

If you haven't had the pleasure of reading this series, you really don't know what you're missing!  I am so glad I decided to give it a try, as I have seriously fallen head-over-heels in love with the Rossi clan.  Let me tell you though, Fools Rush In is my absolute fave book of the series.  I like the fact that it focuses on just a few characters, mainly the Rossi family, whereas the other two books are much more hectic.

Go ahead and buckle up, because you're in for a roller coaster ride with It Had to Be You.  My emotions were all over the place with this one.  One minute, I'm on top of the world, celebrating with Laz and Rosa -- then, I'm ready to knock some sense into Sal's head for causing such an uproar right before the big day.

There were times when I really didn't like some of the Rossi family members, especially when it felt like they were completely ignoring Bella, and seemingly overlooking HER big day.  Everything worked itself out in the end, but it was an emotional ride for me (and her!).

It was wonderful making new friends -- I really liked getting to know Gordy, Lilly, and the Band of Gold.  Finally meeting 'Uncle Sallie' was great, too.  There is so much love in the air, it was all I could do to keep up with who was doing what!  Multiple weddings, an elopement, a birth, multiple engagements, and the list goes on.  :)  I won't say anymore -- I'll let you experience it all for yourself, when you get a copy of your own to enjoy.


To find out more about Janice Thompson, and/or her books, be sure to visit her at:
* Her website
* Her blog


Available May 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

*** Thanks to Donna @ Revell Publishing for providing my review copy. ***




    

5.09.2010

My Review: The Promise of Morning (At Home in Beldon Grove, bk 2) by Ann Shorey


(At Home in Beldon Grove, bk 2)
 by Ann Shorey

Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance

Revell Publishing
Copyright 2010
Pages:  324
ISBN:  978-0800733339


(from Amazon):

Ellie Craig grieves the loss of three infant children, and when long-hidden secrets are brought to light, she must find a way to contact the family of her long-lost father. 

Meanwhile her husband, Matthew, faces controversy in his church and competition from a new arrival in Beldon Grove, who claims to be both a minister and the son of the town's founder. Will Matthew find the courage to reclaim his church? And will his unexpected travel companion help Ellie's heart mend? 

Book two in the At Home in Beldon Grove series, The Promise of Morning engages readers with themes of overcoming tragedy, finding strength to meet daunting challenges, and trusting your heart to love again. 


What I thought:

Before I go any further, let me explain why I love to read.  I am easily stressed by everyday things, and reading is my way of getting away from the "real" world.  I read purely for pleasure, and am usually drawn towards light-hearted, make-you-feel-good romances.  

In case you're wondering why I chose to review The Promise of Morning in the first place, here's the reason  --  one of my New Year's resolutions for 2010 was to read books that are not in my normal "comfort" zone.  I am trying to push myself to try books I would normally never dream of reading.  So far, it's been hit or miss.  I've come across a few that are going on my keeper shelf, as well as, a few I unfortunately wasn't able to finish.

Having explained that, this book falls in the category of me not being able to finish.  I hate that I couldn't read this story in it's entirety, but Matthew and Ellie's story was just too depressing for my tastes.  Based on the part I did read, it felt like the characters were just so stilted, and distant, with one another.  I had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that Ellie's life seemed to have drastically changed with each child lost, while Matthew didn't seem overly concerned.  

Ellie's relationship with her older children was hard for me to swallow.  Maybe it improved later in the book, but she just seemed so distant with them, almost like they weren't even her children.  She went to the other extreme with Julia -- always smothering her, never seeming to let her be a 'normal' child. 

I don't want to be the cause of someone not picking this book up and reading it -- that's not the point of my review.  I just wanted to be honest with my feelings, but at the same time, I encourage you to give it a try for yourself; you never know, you may love it.

If you're interested in finding out more about Ann Shorey, or her other books, be sure to visit her website.

Available March 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.






*** I would like to thank Donna @ Revell Publishing for providing my review copy. ***












Book 1 in the At Home in Beldon Grove series.

5.07.2010

My Review: Scattered Petals (Texas Dreams, bk 2) by Amanda Cabot


(Texas Dreams, bk 2)
by Amanda Cabot

Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance

Revell Publishing
Copyright 2010
Pages:  382
ISBN:  9780800733254

(from Amazon):

Longing for adventure, Priscilla Morton leaves Boston and heads for Texas, never dreaming that the adventure she seeks will leave her badly injured and her parents dead. Priscilla is determined to rebuild her life and make a home for herself in the beautiful Hill Country. But the bandits who took her parents' lives also destroyed her hope for the future. 

Ranch foreman Zachary Webster knows what the future holds for him, and it's not a woman like Priscilla. She deserves a cultured East Coast gentleman, not a cowboy who's haunted by memories of his mistakes. The best thing he can do is leave her alone. 

When necessity draws them together, Priscilla and Zach begin to forge a life that, like the scattered petals of her childhood, is filled with promise. But then the past intrudes, threatening their very existence. 


What I thought:

Paper Roses (Texas Dreams, bk 1) was my first experience reading Amanda Cabot's writing, and I found it to be pretty boring, and it moved really slow.  Scattered Petals
turned out to be a lot better, in my opinion.  It held my interest much more, and moved right along.

We meet Priscilla Morton as she is travelling with her parents to attend her brother-in-law, Clay Canfield's, wedding.  An unfortunate tragedy, along the way, changes Priscilla's life forever, and also gives her a debilitating fear of men.  She is completely terrified for any man touch her, or even get too close to her.  Her new sister-in-law, Sarah, and Sarah's little sister, Thea, play an important role in helping Priscilla get her life back in order.

Zachary Webster was first introduced to us as a friend to Clay Canfield's father in Paper Roses.  He has taken over as foreman at the Bar C, the Canfield ranch, and become like a brother to Clay.  Once Priscilla arrives, and Zach realizes that she is absolutely terrified of him, he starts making plans to leave the ranch, and head back to his childhood home to try and make amends for mistakes he made in his past.

Through the grace of God, and the help of close friends and family, Zach and Priscilla slowly begin to form a lasting relationship.  I really enjoyed getting to know Priscilla and Zach, and finding out how their story played out.  My favorite character from both books is Thea, Sarah's five year old sister.  She is a real hoot!

If you haven't read either of these books, I recommend that you read them in order, since Scattered Petals pretty much takes up where Paper Roses left off.  Be sure to visit Amanda Cabot's website to find out more about her and her books.

“Available March 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”






***Thank you to Donna @ Revell Publishing for providing me with this review copy.***