Where Hope Starts by Angela D. Meyer – Book Promo

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:

CrossRiver Media Group (August 9, 2013)
***Special thanks to Angela Meyer for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Angela D. Meyer lives in Omaha, NE with her husband of 22 years. They have two children whom they homeschool – recently graduating their son. She has taught childrens’ Bible classes for over 35 years. She loves God, her family, the ocean, good stories, connecting with friends, taking pictures, quiet evenings and a good laugh. Someday she wants to ride in a hot air balloon and vacation by the sea. Where Hope Starts is Angela’s debut novel.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

From New York City to the suburbs of Kansas City, a marriage struggles through the fallout of secrets and addictions.

Eight years after saying I do, Barry raises his hand against Karen and she discovers his addiction to pornography bringing their marriage to the edge of destruction.

Karen returns to her childhood home near Kansas City, MO to think through her options, but discovers her first love ready to pick up where they left off so many years ago.

Still in New York City, Barry attempts to fix the mess he has made of his life and his marriage. His choices take him on a downward spiral that leads to brokenness and the possible loss of his freedom.

Will they find their way back to each other or will they walk away from the future God has for them?

Product Details:
List Price: $17.99
Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: CrossRiver Media Group (August 9, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1936501155
ISBN-13: 978-1936501151

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Come home.

Karen Marino choked back a cry as she stared at the words scribbled on the front of the envelope. She slid her fingernail under the flap and gaped at the plane ticket nestled inside a letter. Why now? She gritted her teeth. Heat flushed from her neck to the top of her head as she remembered the look of disgust on her father’s face.

The clash of pans in the restaurant kitchen startled her back to the present. “What the…?”

She glanced at her watch. Almost eleven. She slid the ticket and letter back inside the envelope and tucked it into her purse. She took a deep breath before stepping out of her office.

“Steve, how does the schedule look?” Karen hired him straight out of culinary school. His lack of experience paled next to his talent, and within a year his specialties had drawn in customers from all over New York City’s five boroughs, earning the restaurant a five-star reputation.

“Perfect, my love.” He crossed his arms and smiled. “Now, when are you going to marry me?”

She laughed. “Your mother would be disappointed. I have more red hair than Irish blood.” She enjoyed the attention her hair brought in The City, where she no longer stood out like an apple on an orange tree.

“My ma would love you anyway.” Steve placed his hand over his heart.

She shook her head and waved him back to work, then strode through the kitchen inspecting the line cooks as they prepped for the noon rush. “Be sure and clean up as you go….No, not that dish. Use the glass one. And keep a towel nearby.…How long have you worked here?…Don’t wipe your hands on your apron.”

She stopped. “Jimmy,” she yelled above the din of the kitchen. Her voice carried to the break room where the young man sauntered out with a donut in one hand and a coffee cup in the other.

“Yeah?”

She glared at him. “What’s with all these dirty pots and pans?”

The guy shrugged. “Had somewhere to be last night, so I saved them.”

“Get rid of that donut now and finish your job in the next half hour, or you’re fired, no matter who your cousin is.”

He threw the donut and coffee in the trash can and plodded off to his station.

“Karen.”

“What!”

“You okay?” Her assistant manager, Cathy, raised an eyebrow.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to snap.” Karen took a deep breath. “Is the dining room ready?”

“No problems there. But…” Cathy glanced over her shoulder. “Barry’s at the bar.”

“Not with the new owner coming in.” Karen clenched her fists. If she talked to her husband now she would lose her cool. “Did you tell him I was busy?”

“Yes. But, he’s got that look.”

Karen rolled her eyes. That meant another of Barry’s money-making ideas. Ideas didn’t pay the rent. “I better go talk to him.”

Barry grinned as she approached and she paused at the sight of his dark wavy hair and strong jaw line. If life were a photo, he would take her breath away. But once you added sound and action, that fantasy vanished.

She bit her lip. A part of her longed for what they used to have. How does a man change so much? He used to lead people. Now he controlled them, like the other night. Karen shuddered, then closed the gap between them. “We’re about to open. You need to go. We can talk tonight.”

“Like all those other times? Please.” He leaned against the bar.

“I said, we’ll talk.”

Barry slid off the bar stool. Although he stood only a few inches taller than her five foot seven frame and didn’t work out enough to have an impressive build, he carried himself with a bravado that demanded attention. “We’ll talk now. You’ll like this idea. It’s a chance to get in on the ground floor of a start-up company.”

Karen caught a whiff of liquor on his breath. “A little early to be drinking, don’t you think?”

“Don’t change the subject.” He banged his fist on the bar.

She jumped. His eyes grew dark. She backed away, her eyes frozen on his hands. “You need to leave. Now.”

“Why?” Barry’s voice grew louder.

“So I won’t lose my job.” The new owner was a powerful man. Barry could blow it for her.

“Miss Indispensable? Lose her job?” His empty laugh bounced around the deserted room.

“Please.” Karen reigned in her hostility.

“I will do as I please.” He took a step toward her.

“If you hope to get your hands on my money, try honey not vinegar.” She crossed her arms and stared at him.

“What are you talking about?”

“This approach will not get you what you want.”

He looked behind her and backed away. “Yeah, maybe we should talk tonight.”

Karen wrinkled her brow. What’s got into him now? She turned. The new owner walked toward her. He reminded her of Danny Devito. Short, stout, and balding. Add a bit of swagger to his walk and you would have her new boss. She groaned. Glancing Barry’s direction she saw him leave through the kitchen. I hope he didn’t just cost me my job.

She turned to face the man. She mustered a smile and extended her hand. “Karen Marino. You must be Mr. Simon.”

The man stared at her. “You’re fired.” He smiled like a kid who just lifted a trinket from the store and got away with it.

“You can’t do that.” Her throat closed up. Breathe.

“I own this place, I can and will clean house as I see fit.”

His reputation was well earned. She forced herself to unclench her hands. “I built this restaurant into what it is today.”

“There’s no place in any of my restaurants for what I just witnessed. Home stays at home.”

“You’d get rid of me for one incident?”

“It’s not just one incident.”

She bit her tongue and glared at the man. Who talked?

“Leave now. Come back and clear out your desk after lunch.”

“Fine, I don’t need you or your restaurant. I have my reputation.” She regretted the words as soon as she said them.

“When I’m done, you won’t have a reputation.”

She turned and fled to her office. A man that powerful didn’t make idle threats. She grabbed her purse, squared her shoulders, and marched through the kitchen. She would not be shamed out of here. She did nothing wrong.

Her assistant manager barked orders at the staff. The new owner smiled while he watched. So Cathy betrayed me. An old pain grabbed at Karen’s heart. Why do people turn on me?

Letting the door slam on her way out, she rushed into the flow of human traffic. The wall of buildings hid the breadth of the sky and pressed in around her. Exhaust fumes mingled with the aroma of pizza from a nearby kiosk. She jumped when a taxi blared its horn. Two people shoved each other to get in, arguing over appointments. She picked up her pace, needing to escape the surroundings that for the last fifteen years had made her feel so alive. An image of the family orchard in Missouri filled her heart.

Her past caught up to her present and the old emotions, released from their prison, pinballed around inside her. She ducked into a nearby alley and leaned against the wall. Pressing her hands against the wall, she took several calming breaths against the tears welling up in her chest. She needed to think, not cry.

She pressed her fingertips against her eyes. I don’t want to go back to the apartment yet, and I don’t have an office anymore. Where can I go? She fought the desire to throw things and stomp her feet. She would not lose control.

Something brushed against her elbow and she jerked away. A pungent odor assaulted her nose as a man in a tattered jacket stepped closer.

“Some money for food?” He reached out his hands.

She pushed the man away and tucked her purse close to her body as she stumbled out of the alley and hurried away. Her thoughts latched onto her husband and the impossibility of the situation. Lost in a daze she walked several blocks before her stomach growled, reminding her of the time. She paused and looked around. Carnegie Deli looked like a good choice. Crossing the street, she stood in line for her turn, anxious for the line to move, yet longing for a slower pace.

Pressure built up in her right eye and tension grew between her shoulders. She dug through her purse for some pain reliever and popped two in her mouth.

“Next.”

She looked up at the man behind the counter. “Uh, I’m not sure, what—”

“I’ll take a Woody Allen and a coffee.” A construction worker shouldered his way past Karen, slapping some bills on the counter.

Karen glared at him, then raised her voice above the next person trying to steal her place in line. “Give me a Woody Allen, too.”

Within minutes her order sat next to the construction worker’s sandwich. She grabbed her plate and cup of coffee, and turned to find a seat in the crowded dining room. From across the room, she saw two women get up from their table. She rushed to grab one of the empty chair.

She settled in to her seat and thought of the first time she came here. She was on a blind date, and he wanted to share his favorite place to eat. Crowded elbow to elbow with strangers at the shared table, it was not exactly romantic, but the food was delicious and plentiful. Her sandwich was piled so high with meat she ate for several days off of the leftovers.

Now, the deli gave her the anonymity she needed.

Cradling the coffee mug in her hands, she allowed the heat to calm her nerves. The day had not gone the way she planned. Lately, not much had. She rubbed her temples then scooted her plate forward to make room for her note pad. Avoiding the glares of her table mates, she pulled out a pen and began to list her options.

Find a job. In this economy? Right.

Barry find a job. She laughed.

Dip into her savings. She ripped the paper off the pad and wadded it up. Not again. That money was for the future.

Her head pounded as she fought back the tears. Barry’s scheme might be all they had. Maybe not.

She reached into her pocket and pulled out the letter. Karen remembered how special it felt to be a daughter of Charles and Annibel Hannigan. They were well respected in the community and at church, and then everything changed.

What’s so important that they want me to come home now? She laid the ticket aside and unfolded the letter.

Dear Karen,

Please come home. Your mother is dying and she needs to see you. She needs to know you understand. You need to hear what she has to say.

We are both sorry for the past and ask your forgiveness. I’ve enclosed a plane ticket. Change the date to what works best.

Love, Dad

Her hands trembled as she held the letter. Mom’s dying?

She laid the letter down and leaned her head onto her hands. She lost their favor with no explanation, and now they offered it to her again on a silver platter. It felt fake. What had she done to lose their favor in the first place? She wiped at tears she couldn’t stop. Did they think an apology could make up for everything?

“Hey lady, if you’re done, why don’t you move on. There’s folks waiting for a seat.”

Looking the bus boy directly in the eye, she reached for her sandwich and took a bite. He waved at her in dismissal and went back to work.

She glanced out the window as a mother bent down to look her child in the eye. She pointed at a large bulldozer across the street. The little boy smiled, looked back at her and nodded. They hugged. She grabbed his hand and continued walking.

She and her mother used to have a relationship like that. Carrying on like they were the only two people in the world. She looked away. Maybe going home wasn’t a viable option either.

She bit her lip. Am I supposed to just forgive them? How could they ask that of her? She hit the table with her fist and the coffee mug jumped, spilling onto the letter.

“Hey, watch it!” The man next to her grabbed his paper and picked it up ahead of the offending liquid.

“Sorry.” She grabbed some napkins and sopped up the mess. Blowing out a hard breath and tapping her fingers on the table, she checked her phone for the time before dialing her best friend.

Megan and Robert Fletcher reserved a table every Tuesday night at the restaurant Karen managed. Over time she became friends with Megan despite her penchant for religion. She always listened and gave good feedback.

And she’s the only person I trust.

Karen wouldn’t get the same attentive ear once Megan and Robert had their baby. The call went straight to voice mail, so she left a message. Megan must be at the women’s shelter she managed.

Karen picked up the letter and airline ticket and stuffed them in her purse. A walk might help her think better. Catching the waitress’ attention, she asked for a to-go bag.

Back on the street, her mind quickly turned to what her lack of employment meant for her life. Stay in New York and try to find another job without a reference. Give Barry’s scheme a chance. Or go home.

She cringed at all of those options. Like it or not, she had to consider them or maybe…her steps faltered as she did some quick mental calculations.

It would be risky and Barry wouldn’t like it, but she didn’t care. She quickened her step. She needed to stop by the bank.

Living Seperate Lives by Paulette Harper – Cover Reveal

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Title: Living Separate Lives
Four Friends, One Secret and The Weekend That Changed Their Destiny
Author: Paulette Harper
Publisher: Thy Word Publishing
Genre: Christian Fiction, Novella
Hosted by: Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tour
ISBN-13: 978-0-9899691-0-9
Release Date: Nov 5, 2013 e-book and paperback
Blurb:

Candace Walker, Kaylan Smith, Jordan Tate, and Tiffany Thomas have their share of sorrows, but neither of them realizes how deep the sorrow goes.  What happens when they agree to meet for a weekend of relaxation in beautiful Napa County? Which one will leave the same or worse?

For Candace Walker, life has left her battered and bruised.  Kaylan Smith has struggled with prejudice from her in-laws. After fifteen years of marriage, bitterness is trying to raise its ugly head for Jordan Tate, whose husband wants to call it quits. And for Tiffany Thomas, dealing with rejection has never been one of her greatest feats.

Although they have been friends for years, they thought they knew each other well. But will a secret destroy their relationship and bring the sisterhood to a complete halt? Will they be able to forgive and allow God to mend that which might be torn?





Author Bio:

Paulette Harper is an award-winning and best-selling author. She is the owner of Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tours and is passionate about helping authors succeed in publishing and marketing their books. Paulette has been writing and publishing books since 2008. Paulette is the author of That Was Then, This is Now, Completely Whole and The Sanctuary. Her articles have appeared on-line and in print.

You can find Paulette Here:
Website  *  Facebook  *  Twitter  *  
LinkedIn  *  Pinterest  *  Email











Book Trailer:





Excerpt:

“Stop preaching to me. I don’t want to hear it anymore. I’ve had enough of your self-righteousness.” The words continued to cut Jordan’s heart; words that she never heard before coming from the mouth of her husband, Eric. “You knew how I was before we got married.” His tone deepened with every word.

Standing in front of the sink, Jordan was frozen and motionless in the middle of the kitchen. She held the dish towel in one hand and a plate in the other. She turned and faced Eric, whose eyes were cold and hard. The verbal blows kept coming. Her mouth opened wide, but no words could be formed when he uttered the deadly words, “I want a divorce.”



Hosted by:

Review: Holy Estrogen by Carol McLeod

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Cover Rating:


Date Published: August 10, 2012
Pages: 224
Publisher: Harrison House Inc
Author: Carol McLeod
Genre: Christian Fiction, Women’s Fiction
ISBN-10: 1606833987
ISBN-13: 978-1606833988
Book Source: The book was provided by the publisher through Bookfun.org for my honest opinion.

Blurb:

Holy Estrogen is THE book for women. It will target your emotional fluctuations and challenge you to discover the purpose for which God gave us emotions. Did God really want women to live a roller coaster life ordered by some hormone that is absolutely out of your control? The truth is, God gave you estrogen so that you would be a woman fully alive inside and fully engaged with the life that He has given to you. Through this book, you will begin to live powerfully and learn what it means to be a woman who flourishes in all of life’s situations. You will learn to move beyond the pain, the disappointment, the fears and the princess persona and you will change your emotional clothes! Some chapters include: * OCD, Chicken Doo-Doo and Worship! * An Emotional Enemy * Fingernails on the Chalkboard of Life * Time for a Change * 1440 Reasons Why * Who Do You Mend a Broken Heart? * Earthly, Natural or Demonic? * It’s All About Me! And lots more.

You can purchase it Here:
Deeper Shopping  *  Amazon  *  Barnes & Noble  *  Christianbook.com  *  Parable.com   *  Family Christian  *  BAM





Author Bio:

Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women’s conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. She also host the highly successful Just Joy! outreaches. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. Carol is the author of Defiant Joy! and The Rooms of a Woman’s Heart. Her teaching DVD The Rooms of a Woman’s Heart, won the Telly Award, for excellence in religious programming. She is a 1977 graduate of Oral Roberts University with a degree in Music and English. She is married to Craig McLeod, they serve as Senior Pastors of Life Church near Buffalo, NY.

You can find Carol Here:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads



Reflections:

“Many christians make the very same mistake as did our affluent farmer friend in the parable of Jesus. We continuously feed our soul and ration the nutrition of our spirit.”


If you have been guilty of this, raise your hand. I know mine is raised high above my head at the moment. Guilty as charged! Carol points out that by feeding your soul more than your spirit, your soul will grow out of control. This helped me to realize how devestating the outcome could be if I don’t nourish my spirit enough by feeding it the Word of God. Very eye-opening.


“However, a spirit that has known the strength and focus of a life lived wholeheartedly for christ will look at the past with this wisdom and peace, “I have not encountered one obstacle that hod has not used for His purposes. In every challenge and through every heartache, He has been with me.””


This quote really spoke to my heart. I am a testimony for this statement. No matter what I have been through in my life, God has carried me through to a victorious ending. This is such a powerful statement and really awakened my spirit to how truly Blessed I am.


“If you have a problem with fear and worry, I can tell you exactly where it care from! Women who have downloaded fear and worry onto their mental hard drive get their primary information from the devil himself. Ladies, let me be blunt here…you are listening to the wrong voice! You have bought the wrong newspaper! Put that gossip rag where it belongs…in the trashcan!You are accepting gifts from the wrong person! Change the channel! Press the mute button and open the Bible!”


Fear and worry…they can sure clutter your mind. I have struggled with both over the years and still do at times. Carol helped me to see they have no place in my life and only wear me down. Like dragging a suitcase full of baggage everywhere I go. If you’re battling worry and fear, this section of Holy Estrogen will certainly help you win the battle.


“If I was a doctor, and I supposed that I am…I am a doctor of the soul, so let me write you a prescription for loneliness. Give to someone else at least 3 times a day. Your loneliness will be cured when you are more concerned about someone else’s needs rather than your solitary life.”


This is a tip I will definitely take with me wherever I go. I sometimes get the “blahs”, as most people do. I enjoy giving as much as I can and love it when I manage to brighten someone’s day. This helped me to realize that when I’m giving, in whatever way, my loneliness scatters. I’m so caught up in the other person’s joy that I don’t feel the loneliness. This is a great tip that can be applied to the lives of everyone.



Synopsis:

Holy Estrogen is full of advice on how to give yourself over to God so He can help you overcome the daily stumbling blocks in your life. It’s very informative and Carol’s tips are spot-on. I also found it brought out several of my emotions. I was very touched and thought of special times with my own dad when she told the story of working in the garden with her dad. And I laughed out loud when she told the story of her friend, Kathy, and how she handled a situation with a thoughtless driver. Bottom line, Holy Estrogen is a very helpful, scriptural based book that packs quite a punch. If you need help battling and reigning in your emotions this book can do just that. It’s not just for women. Men can benefit from Carol’s advice just as easily. I would recommend it to anyone who battles such emotions as anger, fear or loneliness.



My Rating:



Review: Fed Up with Flat Faith by Kathy Howard

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Cover Rating:

Book Info:

Date Published: February 5, 2013

Publisher: New Hope Publishers

Author: Kathy Howard

Desperate. Tired. Flat. Dry. Do those words ring any bells? Do those words describe your faith when what you really want is a fiery, passionate, connected faith? You’re not alone in your struggle with flat faith. What you need is to pump up your faith and let God create the roaring blaze you so desperately long for in your daily walk.

Fed Up with Flat Faith will equip you with five attitudes and five behaviors that prepare your heart and life for God’s work. Author and teacher Kathy Howard shares practical and foundational spiritual truths and faith principles that will help shift your attitude and behavior so you are positioned for God’s activity in your life, ready to receive what He has for you—a fiery faith. With personal reflection questions, biblical truths, and the power of the Holy Spirit, your faith will become dynamic and you’ll no longer have to live fed up with flat faith.

You can order it Here:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Christianbook.com

Meet The Author:


Kathy, a minister of adult education at a church in west Texas, has been teaching the Bible to adults for more than 20 years. In addition to discipling Christians, she also has an exciting teaching ministry for spiritual seekers and new believers. Actively involved in women’s ministry, Kathy is often invited to speak at women’s events and conferences. She holds a master’s degree in religious education and a certificate in women’s ministry from the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary. Married for 25 years, she and her husband, Wayne, have three children and currently reside in Houston, Texas.

You can find Kathy Here:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  YouTube

Reflection:

“Do you long for more in your relationship with Christ? Do you crave the abundant life He promised? Fiery faith is not only possible, God wants it to be yours.”
Kathy shares insight on how to bring your faith from flat and boring to a fiery passion. I know my faith has felt flat for awhile now and this insight helped me to realize the fact that I need help in some areas.
“The more we partake or experience God, the more we will desire Him. We won’t be able to get enough of Him. Experience with Him fuels our passion. Someone with a fiery passion for God will be satisfied in Him yet always seeking more of Him.”
Very good point. I have noticed in my own personal relatioship with God that when I “get slack” in my relatioship with Him, things seem to fall apart more readily. I seem to fall apart more readily! This quote really jumped out at me and made me realize I need to spend more time with Him. He is always there, it’s me that pulls away.
“Don’t let a lifetime of religion hinder a true,saving relationship with Jesus.”
I know in my journey with God I have been guilty of letting “Religion” get in the way. This one quote made me realize that it’s all about Who we know and NOT what we do! Jesus wants us to KNOW HIM through a constant relationship and not let the doing get in the way of the being.
“As I approached the Bible with this new desperation, the spirit of God illuminated truths I had read before, yet had never internalized. As I continued to study, excitment over what God was teaching me blossomed into passion for His word. This passion kept driving me back to the Bible. Now, almost three decades later, my love affair with the Bible is still going strong.”
Another great point and one I have experienced personally. When I make time every day to dive into my Bible I come to look forward to it. But, on those occasions when I get a little slack, I notice my passion dims. This is a personal reflection point for me and something I hadn’t really realized until I read Kathy’s book.

My Thoughts:

Fed Up With Flat Faith is a step-by-step guide of sorts to help you develope a better relationship with God. If your relationship seems stale, this book can point you to areas you might need to work on. Kathy Howard uses scriptural references to “back up” the information she provies as a basis for stregthening your faith. She uses Bible characters as examples and quotes from several pieces of literature she has read over the years. The thing that opened my eyes the most, I think, were the real-life stories of people that have been on similay journeys and those that are an example for all of us. All-in all, it comes together to be a very influentual guide that will help you in your areas of need if you will approach it with an open mind.


This review was published on: My Blog  |  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  GoodReads  |  Christianbook.com  |  Bookfun.org  |  Tumblr

**A copy of this book was provided by New Hope Digital through Bookfun.org for my honest review**