Rook by Stella McDonald – Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

rook updated
Rook

Could you be the monster to save who you love?

Two women, separated by generations, must leave what they know to start a new life. Seventeen-year-old Kate’s senior year is ruined when she’s moved from the only home she’s ever known. After an isolating month alone in her apartment, school starts, but neither her classmates nor her teacher are who they seem. Kali, a single mother living in the nineteenth century wilds of Montana, is stalked by a malicious past. She fights to keep her daughter safe while her freedom is threatened by her less than benevolent benefactor. Both find love, and with it hope, but that is quickly ripped away as one woman must learn the lessons of the other — before it’s too late to save either.

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Praise for Rook:

“This book also drew me in. I couldn’t let go of what was happening and when life intervened and forced me to close my computer I kept looking for a few moments to sit down and read some more.” Brookeworm, a Blog 4 Stars

“Rook had me hooked from the first page. It all started so mysteriously that I just had to know what it was all about. “ Jannat Bhat, Obsessive Compulsive Reader 4 Stars

“Rook is an amazing story that had me at the edge of my seat.” Tee Loves Kyle Jacobson Blog, 5 Stars

Excerpt

Is that him? Is he back?

My legs jerked, kicking and twitching me around to face the sound. I managed to roll slightly, knocking against a soft, solid object at my feet. It grunted weakly, and immediately I recoiled as though I had been bitten. Squinting, I stared, willing my eyes to find light in the dark, but there was nothing.

The sound of the runner drew closer, as if they would trample me any moment. A dim, swaying light appeared through the trees, burning away the inky edges of the deep shadows. When light and sound were almost upon me, branches above me snapped, spraying me in a shower of dried pine needles and snow.

Rook copy

Monica MAuthor Stella MacDonald

Stella is a married graduate student with three boys. Utah is home right now, but the need to wander has extended beyond the fantasy world of writing and into real life. She’s lived all around the US and even into the Middle East. The world is really a small place, only made bigger through imagination.

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BookBlast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 12/30/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Bound To A Promise – A True Story of Murder, Love and Redemption by Bonnie Floyd

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:
Bound To A Promise
Creative Enterprises Studio; 1ST edition (2013)
***Special thanks to Rick Roberson for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Real, relatable and refreshing are words often used to describe Bonnie L. Floyd. Perhaps it is because she could easily be a next door neighbor to any of us. Bound to a Promise is a true story of tragedy and redemption that unexpectedly resulted in the opportunity to share that story with others and ultimately, the birth of Bonnie Floyd Ministries.

For more than seventeen years, Bonnie has taken her contagious zeal for the Lord and her authentic love for people to various conferences, retreats and churches throughout the United States and beyond. Her powerful and dynamic messages bring the Scriptures alive to audiences of all ages and offer useful and practical ways to apply them to everyday living. For several years, Bonnie served in various capacities with Women of Faith and is currently an administrator for Barry & Sheila Walsh. More importantly, she has a deep love and respect for God’s Word that is born out of her service as a teacher and small group leader for over 23 years.

Bonnie has been married to “her Donnie” since 1987. Both California natives, they now make their home in Celina, TX – a home which provides a perfect setting to delight children and to share Bonnie’s passion for cooking by entertaining family and friends. They make their church home at Genesis Metro Church in Frisco, TX where Donnie serves as an elder and Bonnie, who was ordained a Minister of the Gospel in 2010, is an active member in women’s ministries.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Bound to a Promise tells the amazing true story of God’s faithfulness in the face of unimaginable loss. Bonnie Floyd’s father and stepmother had been living a dream life-serving as caretakers of a private tropical island and traveling the world in a sailboat. That life was cut short when three young men boarded their yacht as it was anchored off the coast of Antigua. Determined that there should be “no witnesses” of their theft and brutality, the assailants shot all four people on board. Bound to a Promise includes the fascinating account of the Antiguan trial that brought her parents’ killers to justice, featuring some dashing Scotland Yard detectives, a criminal in search of redemption, and many other memorable characters from the island. Bonnie’s colorful descriptions of her parents’ adventures abroad and her time in Antigua lighten the mood and add a touch of travelogue to the true crime drama. In a truly inspirational twist, Bonnie arranges a meeting with one of the confessed attackers, a man who would eventually claim her as family.

Product Details:

List Price: $22.99

Paperback: 336 pages

Publisher: Creative Enterprises Studio; 1ST edition (2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 098905215X

ISBN-13: 978-0989052153

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Prologue
February 1, 1994: It was six o’clock in the morning on what seemed a normal, cold, foggy day in Fresno, California. Then the phone rang. Donnie was already up and in the shower, so I sprang up in bed, cleared my throat, and answered the phone with my cheery, “Good morning!” as though I had been up for hours.
“Is this Mrs. Bonnie Clever-Floyd?”
I suddenly froze as a cold chill of fear crawled up my spine.
The voice on the other end of the phone was unfamiliar, his question strange, and it sent a shiver through me. For the first time in my thirty-three years, the last person I wanted to be was Bill Clever’s daughter.
“Mrs. Floyd, my name is Paul Howard, and I’m calling from the United States embassy in Antigua. I’m sorry, ma’am, but I need to ask you again, are you Bonnie Clever-Floyd?”
I stood motionless, still confused about why I was afraid to admit to this man who I was. I knew his question must pertain to my dad. Why else would he have been asking if I was Bonnie Clever-Floyd? I had never hyphenated my name, and as hard as it was to give up the name Clever, when I married Don Floyd, I became a Floyd through and through.
After a long pause, I firmly replied with a cracking voice, “No!”
By that time, I was sure Mr. Howard had discerned that the phone call was not going to go well. But then again, do those types of calls ever go well? “Mrs. Clever-Floyd, are you the daughter of William Norman Clever?”
He asked for the third time.
I simply could not reply. I was pacing the floor; dread had filled the room, fear had taken up residency, and confusion had consumed my mind. I heard Mr. Howard say, “Mrs. Floyd, Mrs. Floyd, are you still there?”
I knew I had to answer this Mr. Howard. I could not hang up and pre- tend the phone had never rung; it was far too late for that now.
“Yes, Mr. Howard, I am still here.”
With relief in his voice, he asked for the last time, “Mrs. Floyd, are you the daughter of William Norman Clever?”
After a long silence, I answered solemnly, “Yes, Mr. Howard, I am.”
So now the inevitable was about to be spoken. My life was about to change in ways no one in their wildest imaginations could have ever dreamed. But it was not a dream; it was a nightmare, and I was wide awake!




Chapter 1
Growing Up In Two Different Eras
As I stood paralyzed in time by the dread of what was coming next, highlights of my life that led to this terrifying moment played through my mind like a B-rated movie trailer in the old theater on a Saturday afternoon.
I grew up in Columbia, California, which is a historic state park in the Mother Lode Country. Columbia was founded during the gold rush days back in 1850 by a small party of prospectors who discovered the lode or main vein of gold in that region, the mother lode. News of their discovery spread, and a flood of miners soon joined them.
Unlike many settlements that have changed with the times, Columbia seems to be frozen in the 1800s. Growing up there was wonderful! How many kids get to grow up in two different eras at the same time?
Within the state park my family owned two popular saloons and the Columbia House restaurant, which was opened by my grandpop in 1958. Then in 1960 Dad took it over after moving to California from New Jersey with Mom and my two sisters, Susan and Linda. I came along in December of 1961, so unlike the rest of my family, I am a native Californian.
The Columbia House was a favorite place among the locals as well as visiting tourists. Everything on the menu was scrumptious, and all our recipes were originals and made from scratch. Dad’s navy bean soup actually made him a local celebrity—so much so that the townspeople called him “Billy Bean Soup.”
Dad began calling me “Bonnie Bean Soup” after himself, and eventually I became just “Bean.” I loved being called Bean better than Bonnie. Every time Dad called me Bean, I heard him say, “I love you.” Since it was my dad who nicknamed me Bean, it was the same honor to me as a son who is named after his father. After all, I secretly wished I had been born a boy so I could be even more like my daddy!
One of my favorite spots in town was the stagecoach. You could always find me at the counter selling tickets, riding shotgun with the driver or on horseback with the stagecoach bandit. Robbing those unsuspecting tourists was so much fun. It’s a good thing I had to wear a bandana over my face because I couldn’t keep myself from laughing.
I had a great life as a child, and I cherish my memories of those days. I would not trade one moment of my childhood. I felt secure in my parents’ love for me and for each other. But the climate soon began to change.
To think their fighting could possibly lead to a divorce was definitely not a place I wanted to go in my mind. I had seen too many of my friends go through that, and the end result was always the same—the parents hated each other, and my friends wound up spending every other weekend with their dads. I was determined that was not going to happen to this “daddy’s girl.”
Don’t get me wrong; I love my mom. She is a wonderful mother who was always about her family and found her fulfillment in just being Mom. There has never been a time when Mom was not there for my two sisters and me. My dad was adventurous, handsome, intelligent, and successful. He was determined to live life to the fullest, and unlike my mom, he didn’t seem content with just being a dad. He was eternally yearning, trying new things.
To keep himself content, Dad began accumulating businesses. He also started buying “toys,” such as boats and motorcycles. His first purchase was a ski boat, and then a twenty-four-foot pleasure boat he and Mom named the Bonnie Sue Lin. One thing was becoming apparent—Dad was never content for long. Soon the Bonnie Sue Lin was not enough. He had to go for something bigger.
The Sarsaparilla was a beautiful, thirty-six-foot Grand Banks yacht, and because it was an ocean-going vessel, Dad started making plans for the big trip he always talked about taking. His dream was to go out hundreds, even thousands of miles beyond the Golden Gate Bridge. And what he really wanted to do was stay out for a few months, instead of a few days. His plan was to sail the coast of California into Baja, Mexico, down and around the tip of Cabo San Lucas, and up to La Paz into the Sea of Cortez.
And that is exactly what we did.
Our Mexico trip was more wonderful than any of us could have imagined. Even my sister Linda, who was in the prime of her teens and not one bit happy about taking an extended vacation, had the time of her life. We grew close as a family in ways we had never experienced before. All we had was each other, and we found that each other was all we needed. Laughter always filled the sea life air. I believe one of the greatest things children can experience is watching their parents laugh together and love on each other. Within just a few short months after returning home, our close-knit family started unraveling. How I wish we could have just returned to the sea.

I Won a Liebster Award!!

I Won a Liebster Award!!

 

A Book lover’s Retreat was nominated for a Liebster Award by PR Book Reviews! The Liebster Award recognizes and encourages new blogs and my blog is still very new by most standards so I am very thankful and so appreciative of this award!
 
Thank you PR Book Reviews!!
 
 

Rules to accept the award:

  • Link back to the blog that nominated you.
  • Answer the questions they set for the blogs they nominated.
  • Nominate 10 blogs of your own & let them know with a link to your post.
  • Ask 10 questions for the blogs you nominate to answer in their post.
  • Share a couple random facts about yourself.

Questions from PR Book Reviews:

1. How long have you been reading for?

I started reading when I was very young. I have always loved books but in the early 1990’s I developed a passion for them.

2. What was the first book that you fell in love with?

OK, I am embarrassed to say it was Green, Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Does that make me weird?

3. What are you currently reading?

Marriage in Middlebury by Anita Higman

4. How many book signings have you been to?

None. 😦

5. Do you prefer e books or paperbacks?

Hmmm this is a tough one. I love ebooks for the portability but I will always have a place in my heart for paper books. There’s just something about holding one in your hand and feeling connected with it.

6. What’s one tip/pointer you would give to a new blogger?

If you are a book reviewer don’t overwhelm yourself. Receiving new books from publishers and authors is exciting but remember to pace yourself. No matter how fast you can read you should always make a lighter schedule so you can have some “Me” time.

7. Why do you blog?

Honestly, I started blogging just to help and support the authors I love. I have read tons of books and I never realized how much a simple review helps an author. Once I realized the importance I knew I wanted to share my opinions and blogging seemed like the most logical way to do that.

8. How long does it take you to read a book?

Depending on the size 3-4 days.

9. Would you rather have something to drink or snack on while reading? (tea, popcorn, candy, coffee)

Drink – Diet Coke from McDonalds!

10. Did you feel welcomed to the book blogging community when first starting your blogging?

When I first started I have to admit it could be depressing. I couldn’t seem to get followers or commenters and that was a hard thing. But now it’s all good. I have to say that the authors have always been very supportive. My first comment on my FB fan page was from Author Miralee Ferrell telling me she would support me in any way she could. I have met some very sweet authors through reviewing books.

A few facts about myself:

  • My favorite type of book has always been 1800’s western romances. I’ll read most anything but this is where my heart is.
  • I LOVE animals. Kitties are my favorite cuddle buddies.
  • I prefer coffee over tea and cold tea over hot tea.
  • I would LOVE to visit Ireland and Hawaii. It’s a dream of mine.
  • I would LOVE to attend one of the big reader / writer conventions and meet my favorite authors!

My Nominees:

  1. High on Books
  2. Books, Etc.
  3. Queen Ella Bee Reads
  4. Just a Couple More Pages
  5. Stacey Nash
  6. Book Lovers for Life
  7. Read Love Laugh
  8. Live to Read, Love to Read!
  9. Fiction_TheNewReality
  10. Inspiring Insomnia

Questions for My Nominees:

  1. What book fueled your passion for reading?
  2. Who is your favorite author?
  3. Why did you start blogging?
  4. Have you ever been to a book convention?
  5. If you could turn any book into a movie what book would you choose?
  6. Historical or contemporary?
  7. Are you the only reader in your family or do other family members share your love of books?
  8. Do you prefer stand-alone books or series?
  9. What inspires you?
  10. Do you prefer author review requests or would you rather be in control of the books you review?
    

    The Reaping by Annie Oldham – Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

    reapingThe Reaping

    The government is on the verge of perfecting its loyalty serum, and Terra knows exactly what that means—the agents will have absolute control. Terra has survived the labor camp, the agents, and the soldiers who hound her as she brings nomads to the water’s edge. But now she faces her most daunting challenge yet: she must return to the colony to ask the council—and her father—to help her destroy the loyalty serum. With the aid of old friends and unexpected allies, Terra races toward a confrontation that will decide her fate on the Burn forever.

    Buy the ebook: Amazon * Apple * B&N * Smashwords
     
    Buy the paperback: Amazon * CreateSpace




    Excerpt
    The soldiers shrug and look around for a few seconds more before disappearing across the grove to cover more ground. The helicopter lifts into the air and flies above the forest. Our tree sways under its down draft. My foot loses its grip on the branch and I slip, my hands grappling the biting bark as my legs flail out from under me, and Jack catches my hand just in time to keep me from falling. We stay that way—me with one hand on the branch, Jack clinging to my other hand and the tree for all he’s worth—until the sweat is pouring into my eyes and both of our muscles are screaming for relief.
    I haven’t heard the soldiers for probably five minutes, and the helicopter sounds at least two miles away. I finally let myself relax and Jack pulls me back up onto the branch, and I let my cheek rest on the bark. I close my eyes and take a deep breath.
    Jack sits down on the branch, his legs dangling on either side as he leans against the trunk. “I knew it would be like this. I knew it would be. I just didn’t imagine it would start so soon. That first week in the colony, I checked my back after leaving and entering every room.” His shoulders slump. “It was so strange to feel safe again. Jessa teased me every time I did it.” He looks at me and arches an eyebrow. “For being twins, you two are completely different. After a couple of weeks, I finally relaxed. I’m going to pick up the habit again pretty quickly.”
    I nod, and the tree bark scratches my cheek. I don’t know if I’ll ever stop checking my back.

    annie
     
     
    Author Annie Oldham
    Annie Oldham grew up with an insatiable desire to read and came away with the insatiable desire to write. Away from her writing, she’s the mother of the three most adorable girls in the world, has the best husband in the world, and lives in the hottest place in the world (not really, but Phoenix sure feels like it).

    BookBlast Giveaway

    $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

    Ends 12/31/13

    Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Healing Grace by Beth Shriver – 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:
    Realms (October 1, 2013)
    ***Special thanks to Althea Thompson for sending me a review copy.***
    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Beth wrote her first novel in 2002 and a year later it was published. She was a caseworker before starting a family, grew up in Nebraska, and now lives in Texas.

    She became interested in writing about the Amish when researching her family history and found she was related to the the Glick families in Europe. Beth also freelances for the local papers in her area, writes columns, devotionals, and novels in a variety of genres in both fiction and nonfiction. Beth followed her passion and now writes full time.

    Beth has plenty of company when she writes, with her two cats and a beagle. She visits Amish communities in her area and Lancaster, Pennsylvania. When not spending time with her family or friends she helps feed the homeless in South Dallas.

    Visit the author’s website.

    SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

    Can Abby overcome the pain caused by her father and find acceptance among the Amish? Abby finds more than love and safety when she meets Mose, as she struggles with the faith she left behind after the death of her mother. After time spent with Mose and his family she knows she has to make a choice. Will Abby stay with Mose or go back to her sick father who needs her.

    Product Details:

    List Price: $14.99

    Series: Touch of Grace (Book 3)

    Paperback: 304 pages

    Publisher: Realms (October 1, 2013)

    Language: English

    ISBN-10: 1621362973

    ISBN-13: 978-1621362975

    AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

    “This is all I have.” Abby flashed the money at the horse trader. It was more than she had planned to spend, but the filly was worth it. Did this man know the value of what he had, or did he just feel sorry for her? It hadn’t been all that long since her mother passed away, but he and everyone else in town knew her dad was a swindler. He wouldn’t be empathetic.

    “That’s what they all say.” He grinned. “You know your horses.” He leaned back against a wooden post by the stall.

    She studied him for a moment, trying to decide if she trusted him. Abby did have a knack for picking horses. Focusing on conformation, temperament, and breed, she also had a good eye to go with her knowledge and experience. All of this told her that this equine had bloodlines for excellent breeding. Abby had learned the process from her father, Jim, who once was one of the best breeders around. But Abby’s dream was to train them for shows, something Jim thought was ridiculous. With a horse like this, they could make it happen.

    The last bit of sunlight disappeared, darkening the old barn. She didn’t like this part of town, and she was still unsure about this dealer, but he had the horse she wanted. She flipped her long blonde ponytail behind her and studied the filly before locking eyes with the trader. “She hasn’t been used on the track, has she?”

    When he hesitated, Abby moved toward the horse.

    “’Course not,” he scoffed.

    She lifted the filly’s upper lip. No tattoo, the mark of a racer. She didn’t want a three-year-old burned-out horse. “Just checking.”

    His dark eyebrows drew together, changing along with his demeanor. “I’m an honest horse seller, unlike your old man.”

    Abby froze and stared at the horse until the heat in her face cooled down. She tried to think of how to respond, but she knew he was right, so she decided to ignore the comment. “Can I see the papers?”

    “Sure.” He pulled some folded documents out of his back pocket and handed them to her. “Sign this one, and our business is done.” He pointed to the line where she was to write her name.

    Abby paused. This was all the money her mother had given her—money Jim didn’t know about. How would she be able to explain this?

    She looked over at the bay-colored mare. The brown tones contrasted beautifully with the white socks on all four of her legs, and her sleek body structure was the making of a fine competitor.

    “Second thoughts?” His tone was flat, not friendly, but not flippant either.

    “No…I—”

    “You can wait and come back another time and see if she’s still here.” He almost sounded sincere.

    She looked up at him to see a confident smirk appear. She knew the lines and had heard every spiel. Jim was the master of horse-selling tactics.

    “You know better.” There was something about him she didn’t trust, so she stuck the money back in her pocket. “And so do I.” He was getting a good deal, and Abby hoped she was too.

    He grunted, amused, then conceded with a nod.

    She signed the papers and kept her copy. “This way you’ll know I’ll be back,” she said. Abby took one more look at the filly. “Yeah, this is the one,” she whispered, and she walked out of the barn.