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FIRST: Morningsong by Shelly Beach

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:

Morningsong

Kregel Publications (February 24, 2009)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Shelly Beach is a Christian communicator who speaks at women’s conferences, retreats, seminars, and writers’ conferences. She is a college instructor and writing consultant in Michigan and the author of Precious Lord, Take My Hand and the Christy Award-winning Hallie’s Heart.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (February 24, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825425417
ISBN-13: 978-0825425417

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Chapter One

Halfway through her morning walk on the streets of Stewartville, Mona VanderMolen made her final decision to kill Miss Emily.

She pondered her decision as she stood at the edge of the lawn facing Glenda Simpson’s two-story, turn-of-the-century clapboard farmhouse.

What surprised her most was her numbness to the evil of it, even as her vision grew for how she’d carry out her plan. Sure, she’d done things she was ashamed of, things she and her girlfriends had laughed over at college reunions—things that kept her humble with memories of youth and stupidity. And then there were the years Ellen had blackmailed or manipulated her into being a silent accomplice to her rebellion—the times Mona had evaded her mother’s questions or pulled her drunk sister through a basement window in the dead of night.

But something intentionally evil, premeditated, and cold? Never in Mona’s forty-five years. Nothing like this. Since she’d moved to Stewartville, her public sins had been limited to an embarrassing unwillingness to observe the town’s forty-five-mile-per-hour speed limit and running up the highest tab in town for overdue library fines.

Killing Miss Emily would change everything. But then, that was the point of it, wasn’t it—to draw a line in the sand, to finally shut her up? Something in Miss Emily’s skittery eyes told Mona she knew she’d changed and could hear the voices that rang in her head.

Doubt. Fear. Indecision. Guilt.

Killing Miss Emily was the only way out of it, even if meant that everyone in Stewartville would know.

Mona VanderMolen was a good woman who had gone mad. Three months after she’d come out of her coma, she’d finally cracked.

The town would be stunned with the horror of it, and the sickening shame would separate her from the people she loved most: Elsie, Adam, Harold, Hallie, even Ellen. Mona pushed the thought from her mind.

The fact remained: it had to be done. She stared through the front window of Glenda’s house as the chill November wind bit through her black, French terry sweat suit and the lime green parka she’d layered over the top for extra warmth. Her thoughts rolled back to her first glimmering thoughts of murder. They’d drifted into her mind easily, like the russet oak leaves that had wafted downward to Stewartville’s lawns and sidewalks in gentle gasps and sputters of breeze as she’d headed west on Maple on her first lap that morning. By the time she’d turned north on Second, then east on Elm and south on Mercantile, the thought had grown to an idea, then to a resolve that hardened with the pain of each laborious step, until on her eighth lap, she found herself poised in front of Glenda Simpson’s bay window, holding a driveway paver brick in her right hand.

With one small twinge of pain, Mona’s vision had met flesh. The brick’s rough edges bit into the hammock of flesh between her thumb and index finger as she shifted its weight to get a better grip. She paused, then hefted it toward her shoulder, her arm trembling slightly as she drew it toward her chest. The weight was heavier than she’d expected, and she shifted her feet, then planted them wide apart for balance until the urge to lean to the right subsided.

Slowly, she closed her eyes and envisioned the throw. An overhand bullet that arched from her hand in a graceful swoop. The brick hurtling through the air and shooting through the pane of glass with perfect precision, raining glass shards into the juniper bushes below as the brick found its mark, leaving a starburst hole.

Then the sound of the thud, of stone meeting skull, and the sight of the body slumping to the living-room floor.

Mona opened her eyes and focused on the ripple of breeze through the juniper bush. If she thought about it another minute, she’d never follow through. It was pure evil, there was no getting around it, but some things in life weren’t to be tolerated. Tyranny came with a price, as Miss Emily was about to find out. And insurance would kick in and help with expenses, she was sure.

She raised her eyes and looked through the window at the face that had tormented her day after day.

You’re despicable, and I’ve taken all I’m going to take.

The face stared back silently. Mona could feel a trickle of blood running down the palm of her hand and the grit of the dirt on the tips of her fingers.

“I hate you.” She spoke the words out loud.

The face in the window continued to stare. Not even a blink broke the gaze. It was the staring Mona hated most, the fact that, to Miss Emily, the hard, violating gaze meant nothing, just like it meant nothing to the other faces who took in her stubble of auburn hair and the scarred scalp that still showed through. A few months ago her hair had fallen thick to well-muscled shoulders on a tall, athletic frame that could heft hay bales with the best of Stewartville’s men. But what did that matter now? Anger rose red-hot inside her like spewing lava, and she lifted the brick higher, staggering to regain her balance. But with the motion, her fingers lost their bite against the dirty chunk of concrete. She struggled to recover her grip, and the brick clattered to the sidewalk at her feet with a sonorous thud, landing inches from the raggedy hole where it had originally nested.

She blinked as she stood motionless and surveyed the streaks of blood on the palm of her right hand. Then she sighed, bent slowly to one knee, and nestled the brick back into place in the pattern of Glenda’s walkway where she’d found it kicked loose, like a half-dozen others.

So here I am, Lord, a pathetic crazy woman wasting your time, making you knock rocks out of my hand to save me from acts of insanity.

She eased the brick back and forth, working to make the edges lie even with the surrounding walkway.

This sure isn’t where I thought I’d be standing three months ago, after Elsie brought me home from the hospital. Of course, you know that. I was supposed to be finished with rehab by now, but your timetable and mine seem to be a little out of sync. And for some reason, praying and plowing through my agenda don’t seem to be working this time, even though they’ve worked pretty well in the past. I’m tired of all this, okay? I just want to lie down and sleep for a few weeks and wake up again when I’ll be able to walk again without staggering or read faster than a third grader or push three-syllable words through my brain.

She gave the brick a final smack, then lowered her head to her hands and rested on one knee before she slowly stood and blinked against the spinning. She fought against the swells that rose in her stomach and the flash of frustration that coursed through her veins.

Dr. Bailey’s warnings about post-craniotomy strokes and transient ischemic attacks, or TIAs, had simply been a doctor spouting medical protocol when he’d released her from the hospital. The headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and flashes these past few weeks were nothing, and she’d prove it to him if she had to. She’d fought every other hard thing in her life—her father, Stacy’s drowning, Hallie’s rebellion, her own near death—and she could fight this. She only had to get past her three-month MRI and hope that Dr. Bailey didn’t notice she’d already rescheduled it twice.

In the distance, the shriek of an ambulance approached as it headed in the direction of Stewartville Community Hospital’s emergency room.

With each bad day, I’m more exhausted and one step closer to losing it, Lord. Part of me wants to give up and crawl off into the dark with the doubt and fear that keep shouting that this is as good as it will ever get. The other part of me is outraged that I can’t control even the simplest things about my own body anymore. In five minutes, I swing from faith to depression to anger and then top it all off with a few ladles of guilt because I’m so weak.

And it’s no secret to you that I can’t walk by this house without fixating on killing Miss Emily because she’s the living, breathing embodiment of all the things I hate about myself. She’s as broken down and worthless as I’m becoming. Since we both know I’m losing it, what other excuse do I need to want her dead?

The calico with the flickering, crooked tail stared at her through the bay window that separated her from the outside world by a thin pane of glass. Mona had been told the story of Miss Emily soon after she’d moved to town. She was somewhat of a Stewartville celebrity, with her lightning-shaped tail, flinching fur, and skittery eyes that never rested anywhere for long unless she was shielded from the world in the protective recess of the bay window. Then, and only then, she would stare. She was one of Glenda Simpson’s six well-fed and pampered cats.

Rumor had it that one Saturday Miss Emily had ambled into Glenda’s dryer for an afternoon siesta, and Glenda had unknowingly tumbled both the cat and her husband’s Carhartts on permanent press for a good fifteen minutes before she’d figured out that the high-pitched shrieking she was hearing wasn’t coming from reruns of Cops in the next room. Miss Emily had emerged from the Kenmore with a walk that listed permanently to the left, a reengineered tail, and an aversion to anything remotely resembling the fragrance of Downy.

For the first time, Mona traced the lines of the lopsided tail and noticed the angles of the two breaks. Miss Emily’s eyes glared back, and Mona felt a surge of remorse.

“I’m sorry I’m staring, and I understand why you must have a deep-seated mistrust of humans. And I’m sorry I was planning your demise in kind of an . . . imaginative way. I was letting my mind play with how good it would feel to just hurl something . . . you know, let it all fly, inflict some pain because I’m hurting. We people commit murder like this dozens of times a day. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying we’re more messed up than we like to admit. But I think I at least owe you a peace offering of canned albacore.”

Mona tamped the brick with the toe of her tennis shoe as she glanced over her shoulder. The last thing she needed was for someone to have seen her apologizing to a cat. But no harm done. To the casual passerby, it would have appeared she’d taken a neighborly interest in replacing one of Glenda’s loose bricks. Not for one moment would anyone ever guess that Mona VanderMolen had contemplated an actual act of violence like pitching a brick through Glenda Simpson’s bay window in a random act of feline homicide.

She pulled a tissue from her jacket pocket, dabbed it on her tongue, and wiped the blood from her palm.

And what would Adam think if he realized he was dating a middle-aged wack job whose mind and body were disintegrating like cotton candy in a rainstorm? He was a good man who deserved a healthy, sane woman, not one who believed a cat could read minds and understand apologies.

Mona felt suddenly exhausted. After two months of laps around the same three blocks, she’d finally figured out why she hated Miss Emily so much. After all, she was just a beat-up calico with a busted tail and eyes that looked east and west at the same time. A cat with a mortal fear of household appliances. A cat that through a freak accident had been left to navigate the sea of life without a centerboard that went fully down, steering a little off-center and listing a bit to port.

Miss Emily was a reminder of who she’d become—one of the broken and dazed who listed a bit to port with a body that longed to be what it once had been. She wore her imperfections where everyone could see them, and people pitied her for it.

Mona shoved the blood-stained tissue back into her pocket. It was time to move on.

My thoughts:


This book is quite impacting!  As with just reading a few chapters I felt a closeness to each character mentioned. Through their struggles and seeking of the Lord, I felt hope and unconditional love that can be so often missed.

I appreciate how honest and real the writer has illustrated this story to her readers.
I highly reccommend this book and will definitely be on the look out for other books by Shelly Beach!

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FIRST: God Will Do the Rest: 7 Keys to the Desires of Your Heart By Catherine Galasso-Vigorito

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:

God Will Do the Rest: 7 Keys to the Desires of Your Heart

FaithWords (July 6, 2009)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Catherine Galasso-Vigorito’s nationally syndicated weekly column, “A New You”, has endeared her to readers across the U.S. for the last seven years. Known for her ability to uplift and encourage and for her warm engaging style and moving stories, Galasso is becoming American’s most beloved inspirational columnist. Catherine is a former Miss Connecticut; she makes her home in Connecticut with her husband and three young daughters.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $19.99
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: FaithWords (July 6, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446545694
ISBN-13: 978-0446545693

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Introduction

The Key to the Kingdom of Heaven Is Also Our Key to Happiness on Earth

A dear friend once told me that I am giving to others what I need the most. Those words rang true then and continue to ring true today. What began as a simple idea—to share with others the inspiration that helped me overcome my own challenging times—has become my life’s mission.

As I write this book, I am humbled by the opportunity that I have been given: to impart to you the same seven keys—faith, persistence, optimism, hope, gratitude, love, and forgiveness— that have shaped my daily life, and to help you achieve the very best, your own heart’s desires, in your precious time here on earth.

I know, all too well, how words of encouragement, given at just the right moment, can save a life . . . because they saved mine.

Could it be that more than twenty years have passed since the fateful morning that changed my life? Although time has rushed by, it is still difficult for me to write this, and my computer screen blurs as tears fill my eyes.

One late evening in the spring of 1987, I had just returned home from a friend’s house. Earlier that afternoon, I had appeared in my hometown’s Memorial Day parade. Only six weeks earlier, I had been crowned Miss Connecticut, USA, and I was feeling on top of the world.

As I walked into our kitchen to get a glass of water, I heard a noise behind me. Turning, I saw my mother approaching me. “Oh, you startled me,” I said as I turned toward her, happy to see her. Mother was caring and kindness at its best. As a child, I always felt her love surround me, and even when I grew up, she cuddled me when no one else did. She had the gentlest heart I have ever known, and to me she was a living example of generosity and inner beauty. Relying on her faith in God, she lived life with grace and dignity. I remember her smile most of all, for she was always full of joy and happiest with a life of simple pleasures.

That night, for some reason, she seemed oddly weak and fragile. But I dismissed the thought and we talked a bit before I headed upstairs to my bedroom. Mother followed and told me her plans for the next day. Again I thought, She looks so frail. . . .

In retrospect, I wonder if God was trying to tell me something. But there was no reason to question her good health. Her eyes were bright and shining with her usual tenderness and affection. I recalled, weeks before, that she had gazed often at me with a look of contemplation . . . maybe of unease. What was in that look? Was there love in her eyes? Yes, always. Was there concern for me? Most definitely.

Now, looking back, I believe she sensed that her time on earth was fast concluding. That dim May evening was the last time I saw my mother alive. The next morning when I walked down the hallway, I cautiously entered my mother’s bedroom. There I found her, lying still and unresponsive, her breath silenced forever.

The word devastated cannot begin to describe how I felt upon the sudden loss of my mother and best friend. There were moments that I doubted I could even breathe. But there would be more.

Only one week after the funeral, I was forced to leave the only home I had ever known with barely the clothes on my back. That could have been the beginning of a bitter and discouraged approach to life. But for me, survival would come in the form of heaven-sent inspiration.

My mother was close beside me as I entered the most traumatic period of my life. I felt her presence constantly as she guided me to the Bible to seek comfort and inspiration during those darkest of years.

Gratefully, I filled my mind with God’s affirmative and life-giving promises, which helped me prevail as I pored over the Scriptures and inspirational books. Often I would delight in stories about men and women who had triumphed over adversity, drawing ever closer to God’s light.

Gradually, these stories began to heal my heart. I learned that the secret to getting through life’s challenges is not what happens to you, but what you do with what happens. The way we respond to what occurs will determine whether we will open the door to God’s grace, doing what we can and leaving the rest to Him—or leave it tightly closed.

As I persevered, trying to create the right open door for me, I felt an inspiration: to help other people. I thought, If encouraging, hopeful words helped me survive, then they can surely help others. I wanted to share messages of hope with men and women who, like me, were seeking strength, direction, and courage.

When I became a syndicated columnist, I found myself writing of experiences we all share of both the spirit and the heart. It has been the greatest blessing for me to have received, over the past fifteen years, thousands of beautiful letters from worldwide readers of my columns and the book that followed.

These moments of sharing have brought me an overflow of joyful stories from other lives lifted up from despair and enriched by encouraging words and stories. It has delighted me to see how others have opened themselves to the love and faith hidden deep within them.

Regardless of the present or future challenges they face, these men and women are grateful for every breath they have been given. And with each breath, they are giving thanks for the bright future that awaits them.

Although I would not choose to relive those dark days of long ago, I do give thanks for them, recognizing that they were a test God had set before me. Today, I have a loving husband,

three delightful daughters, and work that inspires me and gives hope to others.

Our magnificent Lord has wondrous plans for your life, too, and I am here to help you unlock those treasures within. All you need do is take each one of the seven keys to your heart’s desires and unlock the storehouse of the Lord’s riches that await you.

And what is the source of this treasure? It is one of the best gifts of all—the strength and faith that allow us to accept every experience as for our good, no matter how it first appears. As Romans 8:28 states, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 NKJV).

Today, the times of change and challenge we face require more faith than ever before. When we support and uplift others, even in small ways, we are serving God. I rejoice in the Scripture that says, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40 NIV).

Like an old-fashioned lantern, the Word of God guides us as we take one step at a time. He sheds His light on the paths of our lives—a light of pure love, wisdom, and grace. Step-by-step, day after day, and year after year, the joy of the Lord grows brighter and brighter as we approach our home in His kingdom. Now, with these seven keys in hand, we can unlock the secrets to a life ablaze with the spirit of His love—right here on earth.

Blessings,

Catherine

Courtesy of FaithWords. Copyright © 2009 by Catherine Galasso-Vigorito and FaithWords.

FaithWords is a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

The FaithWords name and logo are trademarks of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

My Thoughts:

Author Catherine Galasso Vigorito has chosen various personal experiences from her own life as well as ones from others  overcoming obstacles that we all come across through out our lives. The 7 keys to the desires of our heart (i.e Keys” to living life faithfully) include faith, persistence, optimism, hope, gratitude, love and forgiveness all which the author sheds light on in a very powerful yet heartfelt way.

Key #2 stood out for me, Persistence. “God Blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will recieve the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12) Sometimes the goal ahead seems so far away but I was reminded in being patient and waiting on God’s timing, which sometime can be so hard, persitence pays off and the goal ahead will be here before I know it. His will be done.

This is a powerful book and I recommend it to everyone.

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FIRST: The Y Factor by Liam Roberts

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:

The Y Factor

Realms (June 20, 2009)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Liam Roberts’ fascination with genetics—particularly the Genographic Project sponsored by The National Geographic Society and the idea that the story of Noah’s flood might be recorded in our DNA—combined with an interest in Islamic terrorism, provide the impetus for this debut novel. Roberts has a popular blog where he writes on topics surrounding Christianity and Islam in America. He has been married for thirty-three years to his wife, Marsha, and they have been blessed with three incredible children.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 329 pages
Publisher: Realms (June 20, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599796236
ISBN-13: 978-1599796239

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

ONE

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

7 Jum?d? ‘l-?l?, 1426 AH

Atlanta, Georgia

Eric Colburn stared at the subject line in disbelief:
“IF ANYTHING HAPPENS TO ME?.?.?.?” How did this e-mail from Hamdi get in the junk folder? As he double-clicked the entry, he noticed the date. He couldn’t believe he’d overlooked it for a month, and he chided himself for not checking his junk folder more regularly.

From: Hamdi Tantawi

Sent: Tue 5/13/2005 1:02 PM

To: Eric Colburn

Cc:

Subject: IF ANYTHING HAPPENS TO ME?.?.?.

Eric:

I mailed you a DVD yesterday. It is important that you watch it?.?.?.

Eric remembered receiving a DVD from Hamdi, but he had set it aside. Where did I put it? He rummaged through his desk drawers but came up empty. It wasn’t in his CD rack or in his desktop in-basket. Then he remembered laying it on his entertainment center so he could watch it with Alana. He ran to the living room and rifled through the DVDs. No luck. Craning his head forward, he saw the edge of a DVD case in the dim shadows between the stereo equipment and the wall. He leaned forward, stretching his arm and probing with his fingertips until he pinched the case between two fingers. As he gently guided it upward, it caught in the wiring and dropped further into the recess.

Ignoring the precaution of unplugging something, he slid the stack of equipment forward, extracted the case, and held it up to the light. “Mapping Human Genetics.” No wonder he’d forgotten about it. He’d assumed Hamdi was still trying to convince him that macroevolution was a superior theory to intelligent design.

Eric slipped the DVD into the player. A lecturer began a presentation with a superimposed title bar, identifying the speaker as Steve Olson. “The DNA codebook for our species consists of literally billions of nucleotide bonds–these are the rungs on the ladder discussed in the last tutorial–and the whole thing is made up of only four different molecules. The elegance is in its simplicity! Here’s an analogy that will put the design into perspective.”

Eric sighed. He wanted to understand all this, especially since Alana loved it so much, but it could be so boring.

The lecture continued. “Imagine that you place a one-inch black cube in an empty field. Suddenly the cube begins to make copies of itself. Two, four, eight, sixteen. The proliferating cubes begin to form structures–enclosures, arches, walls, tubes. Some of the tubes turn into wires, pipes, structural steel, wooden studs. Sheets of cubes become wallboard and wood paneling, carpet and plate-glass windows. The wires begin to differentiate, connecting themselves into parallel but independent networks of immense complexity. Cranes are erected that are not part of the structure but are necessary to deliver the flow of materials throughout the complex entity. These cranes are then disassembled when their task is completed. Eventually, a one-hundred-story skyscraper stands in the field. It is unique from all others that have ever been assembled.”

Why did Hamdi make a big deal out of this? And what did he mean by “If anything happens to me”?

“That’s basically the process a fertilized cell undergoes, beginning with the moment of conception. How did that cube know how to make a skyscraper? How does a cell know how to make a human? Biologists used to think that the cellular proteins carried the instructions. But now proteins look more like pieces of brick and stone–useless without a building plan and mason. The instructions for how to build an organism must be written in a cell’s DNA, but no one has figured out exactly how to read the complex message.”

What is the point of all this? Eric lifted the remote but restrained himself.

“Each one of you started as a single cell. Billions of nucleotides were stored in the DNA that identifies you as unique from all humans who have ever lived. In one nucleus. In one cell. At the moment of conception. I call it the bar code of life.”

Eric’s patience finally wore thin. He pressed the fast-forward button, hoping something would look obvious. If not, he’d have to rewind and suffer through the lecture in order to figure out what Hamdi meant. Ten minutes into the lecture, the screen distorted into a series of horizontal bands, then rolled vertically. Eric hit the play button as the image slowly morphed into Hamdi sitting in front of a bare concrete wall in a dimly lit room.

Hamdi’s appearance was alarming. He sat with slumped shoulders, his sunken cheeks lean and hungry. The poor lighting accentuated the haunted look of his eyes, clouding them in deep shadow, a stark contrast to the gleaming beads of sweat on his forehead.

Eric rewound the segment to be sure he didn’t miss anything important.

Hamdi cleared his throat and reached forward, his hand disappearing at the edge of the screen. The image jerked, coming to rest at a slight angle with Hamdi’s head and shoulders in the lower-right portion of the screen. Hamdi began whispering, his voice too low to be heard.

Eric adjusted the volume and leaned forward, huddling with the monitor as if it were a coconspirator.

“Sorry for the intrigue, Eric. I had to anticipate this might be intercepted. I inserted the lecture so it would be dismissed as merely an educational DVD. But I know you well enough that I’m sure you will find this.

“Things have not gone well here, Eric. Cairo is not the same as when I left twelve years ago. I do not hear laughter any longer. Children no longer play outdoors with the same abandon.” Hamdi shook his head slowly, and then his stare intensified. “At first, I enjoyed my work in the Genographic Project, but soon I began to feel out of place there too. My co-workers are very devout, but they express extreme views. Most of them despise America and have been suspicious of me because of the time I spent there. I now realize that I will never earn their trust.

“Eric, bizarre things are happening in the lab, and there is no one to confide in. I brought my concerns to the lab director, but he rebuked me for being an informer. Then my co-workers began to utter threats. I tried to ignore them, but they have recently become more strident. I believe I have been followed and am starting to fear for my safety.

“I do not want to be melodramatic, but I wanted you to know what is happening in case anything happens to me. I have recorded my observations in my lab book and will read them to you in another DVD, when I am able to be alone in the lab–hopefully tomorrow. Perhaps you can help me get the information to our headquarters in Atlanta.

“Please give my regards to Alana–” Hamdi paused as his voice betrayed him. Eric detected a glimmer in the shadows and looked closer. Hamdi was crying.

“I wish I had not graduated early. I would give anything to be there and graduating with the two of–” A loud noise startled Hamdi and drowned out his comment. A look of fear swept over his features as he once again reached for the camera. “I must go now! Watch for the next DVD, and promise me you will get it to my headquarters!” The image faded to black.

Eric sat in stunned silence. He pressed the stop button and dropped the remote. “I promise, Hamdi,” he whispered to the darkened screen. Eric returned to his computer, where a quick check confirmed there had been no further messages from Hamdi. He typed out a quick reply and apologized for not having written sooner. He ended the e-mail by assuring Hamdi he would personally intercede with Hamdi’s employer but was concerned that he hadn’t yet received the second DVD Hamdi had promised.

Before shutting down his laptop, Eric needed to find the employer’s address. A Google search responded to his query before he could lift his finger from the enter key:

Your Genetic Journey – The Genographic Project – The

National Geographic Society

A 5-year study by the National Geographic Society, IBM, geneticist Dr. Miles Larson, and the Saud Family Foundation to compile a genetic atlas. Project?.?.?.

www.nationalgeographic.com/genographic – 34k –
Cached – Similar pages

Participate Globe of Human History
Your Genetic Journey Public Participation Kit
Atlas of Human Journey Genetics Overview

Eric had known the National Geographic Society was behind the project but was interested that IBM was also involved, since it was one of the firms he was pursuing. The Saud Foundation was meaningless, but Miles Larson was a name Eric recognized from somewhere. He sat back in his chair and clicked the various links below the introductory description. In a few minutes, he learned quite a bit about the firm Hamdi worked for. The headquarters of the Genographic Project were on the outskirts of Atlanta, not far from where he lived.

Another e-mail arrived. The subject noted “Delivery Failure.” With a sinking feeling, Eric opened the e-mail.

Your message has encountered delivery problems to the following recipient(s):

hamditantawi@gmail.com

Delivery failed

Error Code: 550; hamditantawi@gmail.com; User account is unknown

No recipients were successfully delivered to.

Eric stood in front of the massive Genographic Project headquarters, steeling himself for the expected confrontation. To bolster his courage, he flipped his cell open and called Alana at her summer job.

“This is Alana McKinsey.”

“We need to meet,” Eric blurted.

“Hi to you too!”

“I’m sorry. I have a lot on my mind. Have you had lunch yet?” Eric asked.

“No. Being the new girl means I get the worst time slot for lunch. I can’t go for another hour and a half.”

“That’s perfect. I have something I need to talk to you about,” Eric said.

“Sounds ominous. How about the sub shop down the street?”

“I’ll be there.”

Eric couldn’t get Hamdi off his mind. There’s no way Hamdi would cancel his e-mail account without sending out a new one to his friends. The ominous tone of the DVD had been alarming, and Eric had resolved what he needed to do. He had to tell Alana about this but wasn’t sure how it would be received.

If only Hamdi had not rushed to graduate early. He’d doubled up for a couple of semesters and got his degree from Georgia Tech a semester ahead of Eric and Alana. Then the job with the Genographic Project gave him the chance to return to his home country. When Hamdi left during the Christmas break, Eric was still fumbling for direction. He hadn’t had a clue what he would do after graduation, except he hoped it would involve Alana. As things stood right now, Alana was scheduled to begin the graduate program at Harvard in a couple of months. As unappealing as the idea of moving to Boston was, it seemed to be his only choice to be near her.

Suddenly, he’d decided to change direction and struggled with the best way to tell her.

He was certain she wouldn’t alter her plans without the assurance provided by a ring, but he wasn’t ready to produce such assurance. We’re just starting our careers, he told himself. There’s plenty of time to figure out our future.

Eric strode down the street to the sandwich shop and scanned the small seating area. Alana was in a booth by the window and glanced up as he approached. She beamed, her opaline green eyes flashing recognition. His breath caught, and he savored the moment. He was distracted by an alluring silhouette accentuated by the light that backlit her sheer blouse. His eyes dropped for the briefest flicker, and then he composed himself.

“Hi,” he said as he bent to kiss her. “You know, you take my breath away.” Alana blushed, her complexion infused in a warm roselike glow. Characteristically, she deftly turned the subject from herself.

“So, what did you want to tell me?” she asked. “I have to be back in forty-five minutes.”

“Sorry I’m late. Things took an unexpected turn.” Eric paused. “Alana, I have bad news.”

Alana looked at him warily. “OK?.?.?.?”

“I think Hamdi’s disappeared.” Eric quickly told Alana about Hamdi’s cryptic message, the DVD he’d overlooked, and the rejected e-mail to Hamdi.

Tears filled Alana’s eyes. “Oh, Eric! I can’t believe this. What could have happened to him? Who can we report this to?”

“I don’t know what could have happened, but I’m going to find out.”

“How?”

“I took a job with Hamdi’s company.”

Alana stared at him with a dumbfounded expression. “You lost me. What do you mean you took a job?”

“My first impulse was to go to the police, but that wouldn’t work. Hamdi’s out of the country. The State Department can’t help because he isn’t a U.S. citizen. So I drove to the company headquarters, thinking I would barge in and raise the red flag. But then I realized–I don’t have any evidence that anything has happened to Hamdi. And I started wondering how seriously they would take his unemployed former roommate.

“When I approached the guard desk at the headquarters, they asked me what I wanted. For a minute, I was speechless, trying to conjure up a believable story. I glanced down at the desk and noticed a brochure announcing job openings. The first one listed was in the IT department. Then the idea came to me. If I could get a job with the company, I might be able to get to the bottom of it.”

“Eric–that’s pretty impulsive,” Alana said.

“I know it seems that way, but there were so many coincidences that it seemed like the right thing to do.”

“What do you mean?”

“First, they were looking for someone with an IT degree, and my specialty fit their requirements exactly. Then, I just happened to have my résumé folder in my backpack with my transcript and letters of recommendation. It’s like a path was laid out in front of me. The next thing I knew, I was sailing through the interview, and they offered me the job–pending a background check.”

“What do you hope to accomplish by that?”

“I don’t know, but I figured they would blow me off if I rushed in there to tell them my friend is missing. Besides, something happened right before the interview that convinced me this is the right approach to take.”

“What?”

“A lady in the HR department was making sure I’d filled everything out correctly before my interview. She noticed that I’d made an entry in the spot where they ask if you know anyone currently employed by the NGS. She looked up and told me I should erase Hamdi’s name. I asked her why, and she said that he’d been a big disappointment–that he’d abandoned his job a month ago.”

“So, how did that convince you to go to work for them?”

“Don’t you see? If they thought Hamdi quit his job, they couldn’t care less whether something happened to him. And I’d sound like a conspiracy nut if I pressed the issue. This way, I might have a chance to figure out what happened and maybe even clear his name.”

“Well, that’s all well and good, but what about Boston? I thought you wanted to be near me.”

“I do!” he said. “I can’t tell you how much I want that. But I had another idea.” Eric passed a brochure to her. “Here’s the job listing sheet I picked up. The job right below the IT listing is for a research assistant to the director of the whole project–a job that’s a perfect fit for you.”

“I don’t think so, Eric,” Alana said, shaking her head for emphasis.

“Alana, don’t dismiss the idea until you hear me out.” He reached out and clasped her hands in his. “Alana, you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I want the chance to take us to the next level, and working together will let us see what that means.”

“You don’t know what you’re asking of me, Eric.”

“You’re right; I don’t know. But what I do know is that you are the most intelligent and talented woman I’ve ever known.” He squeezed her hands tighter. “And you are the loveliest woman I’ve ever known.” He held up a finger to silence the anticipated protest. “It’s no secret that I’ve played the field, but I don’t want that anymore, Alana. I want you.”

They sat holding hands for quite a few minutes. He couldn’t tear himself away from her penetrating stare, nor did he want to.

“Are you really willing to do that for me, Eric?”

“Yes.” He desperately hoped his sincerity was convincing. He couldn’t bear the thought of being separated from her.

“You don’t know how much I’ve wanted to hear that. It changes so much.”

His hopes buoyed. “Alana, all I’m asking is that you at least interview for the job. I recommended you to the HR department, and they were impressed with your credentials. I remember how excited you were for Hamdi when he got his job, and I think you were just a little envious of his chance to pursue genetic research, weren’t you?”

Alana shrugged her shoulders. “Just a little.”

“Well, this is a chance to get in on the ground floor of an exciting research project. And they don’t come any more prestigious than the National Geographic Society. Besides, with that caliber of real-world training, you could always go to Harvard later. They’d still jump at the chance to have you.”

Alana hung her head, and her long golden hair swept forward, partially obscuring her face. She gently pulled her hand from his grasp and with a graceful motion tucked her hair behind her ear. It was a simple gesture but one of his favorites. He loved the tilt of her wrist, the long slender fingers.

Eric sat in the car and eyed the front door of the Genographic Project headquarters nervously. He glanced at his watch. The music on the radio began to grate on his nerves, so he reached out and stabbed the power button. What’s taking her so long?

This had been the most incredible day in his life. He woke up unemployed, received a devastating e-mail from his best friend, landed an awesome job, and had just about convinced his girlfriend to abandon her academic dream in favor of a relationship with him. A day for the record books.

Alana had agreed to the employment interview, and now she’d been inside for over two hours. He didn’t know if it was a good sign or not.

The front door opened, and Eric sat up in anticipation. False alarm. A couple of young women exited and walked toward the parking lot, deep in conversation.

He reclined his seat and thought again about Hamdi. If only he could find his friend. Hamdi had left some of his things at the apartment, but there was no clue that would help Eric find Hamdi’s family. How difficult would it be to locate the right Tantawi family? How would he get past the language barrier? He had no idea where to start, but somehow he knew this job with the Genographic Project was key.

The passenger door opened abruptly, startling him. Alana dropped into the passenger seat. “Sorry to scare you, big guy.”

“I wasn’t scared, just startled to see such a beautiful woman trying to pick me up.” He leaned over and kissed her. “So, how did it go?”

“You didn’t tell me that Dr. Larson would be my boss.”

“I confess I couldn’t quite remember where I’d heard the name,” he said.

“Are you kidding me? Hamdi used to talk about him. He’s one of the chief scientists in the Human Genome Project.”

“Sounds impressive.”

“Impressive? They completely mapped the human DNA in ten years and finished years before they were expected to!”

“What d’ya know about that?” Eric tried to conjure up enthusiasm, but he wasn’t sure what she was talking about. “So did they offer you the job?”

“Of course they did,” she said with mock arrogance.

He searched her face anxiously but could not read her expression. “And what did you say?”

Alana shook her head slowly. “I told him I need a few days to think about it.”


My Thoughts:
If you are into action packed thrillers, this book is for you! Defianlty a fast paced page turner that will keep on the edge of your seat! I am eager to see what this author comes up with next!

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FIRST: Ransome’s Honor by Kaye Dacus

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:

Ransome’s Honor

Harvest House Publishers (July 1, 2009)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kaye Dacus has a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a minor in history, and a Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction. Her love of the Regency era started with Jane Austen. Her passion for literature and for history come together to shape her creative, well-researched, and engaging writing.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (July 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736927530
ISBN-13: 978-0736927536

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Portsmouth, England
July 18, 1814

William Ransome pulled the collar of his oilskin higher, trying to stop the rain from dribbling down the back of his neck. He checked the address once more and then tucked the slip of paper safely into his pocket.

He took the four steps up to the front door of the townhouse in two strides and knocked. The rain intensified, the afternoon sky growing prematurely dark. After a minute or two, William raised his hand to knock again, but the door swung open to reveal a warm light.

A wizened man in standard black livery eyed William, bushy white brows rising in interest at William’s hat, bearing the gold braid and black cockade of his rank. “Good evening, Captain. How may I assist you?”

“Good evening. Is this the home of Captain Collin Yates?”

The butler smiled but then frowned. “Yes, sir, it is. However, I’m sorry to say Captain Yates is at sea, sir.”

“Is Mrs. Yates home?”

“Yes, sir. Please come in.”

“Thank you.” William stepped into the black-and-white tiled entry, water forming a puddle under him as it ran from his outer garments.

“May I tell Mrs. Yates who is calling?” The butler reached for William’s soaked hat and coat.

“Captain William Ransome.”

A glimmer of recognition sparkled in the butler’s hazy blue eyes. In the dim light of the hall, he appeared even older than William originally thought. “The Captain William Ransome who is the master’s oldest and closest friend?”

William nodded. “You must be Fawkes. Collin always said he would have you with him one day.”

“The earl put up quite a fight, sir, but the lad needed me more.” Fawkes shuffled toward the stairs and waved for William to join him. “Mrs. Yates is in the sitting room. I’m certain she will be pleased to see you.”

William turned his attention to his uniform—checking it for lint, straightening the jacket with a swift tug at the waist—and followed the butler up the stairs.

Fawkes knocked on the double doors leading to a room at the back of the house. A soft, muffled voice invited entry. The butler motioned toward the door. It took a moment for William to understand the man was not going to announce him, but rather allow him to surprise Susan. He turned the knob and slowly pushed the door open.

Susan Yates sat on a settee with her back to him. “What is it, Fawkes—?” She turned to look over her shoulder and let out a strangled cry. “William!”

He met her halfway around the sofa and accepted her hands in greeting. “Susan. You’re looking well.”

Her reddish-blonde curls bounced as she looked him over. “I did not expect you until tomorrow!” She pulled him farther into the room. “So—tell me everything. When did you arrive? Why has it been two months since your last proper letter?” Susan sounded more like the girl of fifteen he’d met a dozen years ago than the long-married wife of his best friend. “Can you stay for dinner?”

“We docked late yesterday. I spent the whole of today at the port Admiralty, else I would have been here earlier. And I am sorry to disappoint you, but I cannot stay long.” He sat in an overstuffed chair and started to relax for the first time in weeks. “Where is Collin? Last I heard, he returned home more than a month ago.”

Susan retrieved an extra cup and saucer from the sideboard and poured steaming black coffee into it. “The admiral asked for men to sail south to ferry troops home, and naturally my dear Collin volunteered—anything to be at sea. He is supposed to be back within the week.” She handed him the cup. “Now, on to your news.”

“No news, in all honesty. I’ve been doing the same thing Collin has—returning soldiers and sailors home. I only received orders to Portsmouth a week ago—thus the reason I sent the note express, rather than a full letter.”

“But you’re here now. For how long?”

“Five weeks. I’ve received a new assignment for Alexandra.”

“What will you do until your new duty begins?”

“My crew and I are on leave for three weeks.” And it could not have come at a better time. After two years away from home, his crew needed some time apart from each other.

“Are you going to travel north to see your family?”

“At the same time I sent the express to you announcing my return to Portsmouth, I sent word to my mother telling her of my sojourn here. When I arrived ashore earlier today, I received a letter that she and Charlotte will arrive next Tuesday.”

“How lovely. Of course, you will all stay with us. No—I will brook no opposition. We have three empty bedchambers. I could not abide the thought of your staying at an inn when you could be with us.”

“I thank you, and on behalf of my mother and sister.”

“Think nothing of it. But you were telling me of your assignment. Your crew is not to be decommissioned?” Susan asked.

“No. I believe Admiral Witherington understands my desire to keep my crew together. They have been with me for two years and need no training.”

“Understands?” Susan let out a soft laugh. “Was it not he who taught you the importance of an experienced crew?”

William sipped the coffee—not nearly as strong as his steward made it, but it served to rid him of the remaining chill from the rain. “Yes, I suppose Collin and I did learn that from him…along with everything else we know about commanding a ship.”

Susan sighed. “I wish you could stay so that I could get out of my engagement for the evening. Card parties have become all the fashion lately, but I have no skill for any of the games. If it weren’t for Julia, I would probably decline every invitation.”

“Julia—not Julia Witherington?” William set his cup down on the reading table beside him. He’d heard she had returned to Portsmouth following her mother’s death, but he’d hoped to avoid her.

“Yes. She returned to England about eight months ago and has become the darling of Portsmouth society, even if they do whisper about her being a ‘right old maid’ behind her back. Although recently, Julia’s presence always means Lady Pembroke—her aunt—is also in attendance.” The tone of Susan’s voice and wrinkling of her small nose left no doubt as to her feelings toward the aunt.

“Does Admiral Witherington attend many functions?”

“About half those his daughter does. Julia says she would attend fewer if she thought her aunt would allow. I have told her many times she should exert her position as a woman of independent means; after all, she is almost thir—of course it is not proper to reveal a woman’s age.” Susan blushed. “But Julia refuses to cross the old dragon.”

“So you have renewed your acquaintance with Miss Witherington, then?” The thought of Miss Julia Witherington captured William’s curiosity. He had not seen her since the Peace of Amiens twelve years ago…and the memory of his behavior toward her flooded him with guilt. His own flattered pride was to blame for leading her, and the rest of Portsmouth, to believe he would propose marriage. And for leading him to go so far as to speak to Sir Edward of the possibility.

“Julia and I have kept up a steady correspondence since she returned to Jamaica.” The slight narrowing of Susan’s blue eyes proved she remembered his actions of a dozen years ago all too well. “She was very hurt, William. She believes the attentions you paid her then were because you wished nothing more than to draw closer to her father.”

William rose, clasped his hands behind his back, and crossed to the floor-to-ceiling window beside the crackling fireplace. His reflection wavered against the darkness outside as the rain ran in rivulets down the paned glass. “I did not mean to mislead her. I thought she understood why I, a poor lieutenant with seeming no potential for future fortune, could not make her an offer.”

“Oh, William, she would have accepted your proposal despite your situation. And her father would have supported the marriage. You are his favorite—or so my dear Collin complains all the time.” Silence fell and Susan’s teasing smile faltered a bit. “She tells the most fascinating tales of life in Jamaica—she runs her father’s sugar plantation there. Collin cannot keep up with her in discussions of politics. She knows everything about the Royal Navy—but of course she would, as the daughter of an admiral.”

A high-pitched voice reciting ships’ ratings rang in William’s memory, and he couldn’t suppress a slight smile. Julia Witherington had known more about the navy at age ten than most lifelong sailors.

“William?”

“My apologies, Susan.” He snapped out of his reverie and returned to his seat. “Did Collin ever tell you how competitive we were? Always trying to out-do the other in our studies or in our duty assignments.” He recalled a few incidents for his best friend’s wife, much safer mooring than thinking about the young beauty with the cascade of coppery hair he hadn’t been able to forget since the first time he met her, almost twenty years ago.

Julia Witherington lifted her head and rubbed the back of her neck. The columns of numbers in the ledgers weren’t adding properly, which made no sense.

An unmistakable sound clattered below; Julia crossed to the windows. A figure in a dark cloak and high-domed hat edged in gold stepped out of the carriage at the gate and into the rain-drenched front garden. Her mood brightened; she smoothed her gray muslin gown and stretched away the stiffness of inactivity.

She did not hear any movement across the hall. Slipping into her father’s dressing room, she found the valet asleep on the stool beside the wardrobe. She rapped on the mahogany paneled door of the tall cabinet.

The young man rubbed his eyes and then leapt to his feet. “Miss Witherington?”

She adopted a soft but authoritative tone. “The admiral’s home, Jim.”

He rushed to see to his duty, just as Julia had seen sailors do at the least word from her father. Admiral Sir Edward Witherington’s position demanded obedience, but his character earned his men’s respect. The valet grabbed his master’s housecoat and dry shoes. He tripped twice in his haste before tossing the hem of the dressing gown over his shoulder.

She smothered a smile and followed him down the marble staircase at a more sedate pace. The young man had yet to learn her father’s gentle nature.

Admiral Sir Edward Witherington submitted himself to his valet’s ministrations, a scowl etching his still-handsome face, broken only by the wink he gave Julia. She returned the gesture with a smile, though with some effort to stifle the yawn that wanted to escape.

He reached toward her. “You look tired. Did you rest at all today?”

She placed her hand in his. “The plantation’s books arrived from Jamaica in this morning’s post. I’ve spent most of the day trying to keep my head above the flotsam of numbers.”

Sir Edward’s chuckle rumbled in his chest as he kissed her forehead. He turned to the butler, who hovered nearby. “Creighton, inform cook we will be one more for dinner tonight.”

“Aye, sir,” the former sailor answered, a furrow between his dark brows.

That her father had invited one of his friends from the port Admiralty came as no surprise. Julia started toward the study, ready for the best time of the day—when she had her father to herself.

“Is that in addition to the extra place Lady Pembroke asked to have set?” Creighton asked.

Julia stopped and turned. “My aunt asked…?” She bit off the rest of the question. The butler did not need to be drawn into the discord between Julia and her aunt.

The admiral looked equally consternated. “I quite imagine she has somebody else entirely in mind, as I have not communicated my invitation with my sister-in-law. So I suppose we will have two guests for dinner this evening. Come, Julia.”

Once in her father’s study, Julia settled into her favorite winged armchair. A cheery fire danced on the hearth, fighting off the rainy day’s chill. Flickering light trickled across the volumes lining the walls, books primarily about history and naval warfare. She alone knew where he hid the novels.

He dropped a packet of correspondence on his desk, drawing her attention. She wondered if she should share her concern over the seeming inaccuracy of the plantation’s ledgers with her father. But a relaxed haziness started to settle over her mind, and the stiffness of hours spent hunched over the plantation’s books began to ease. Perhaps the new steward’s accounting methods were different from her own. No need to raise an alarm until she looked at them again with a clearer mind.

She loved this time alone with her father in the evenings, hearing of his duties, of the officers, politicians, and government officials he dealt with on a daily basis while deciding which ships to decommission and which to keep in service.

The sound of a door and footsteps in the hallway roused her. “Papa, how long will Lady Pembroke stay?”

Sir Edward crossed to the fireplace and stoked it with the poker. “You wish your aunt to leave? I do not like the thought of you without a female companion. You spend so much time on your own as it is.”

“I do not mean to sound ungrateful. I appreciate the fact that Aunt Augusta has offered her services to me, that she wants to…help me secure my status in Portsmouth society.” Julia stared at her twined fingers in her lap.

“It seems to have worked. Every day when I come home, there are more calling cards and invitations on the receiving table than I can count.” Going around behind his desk, he opened one of the cabinets and withdrew a small, ironbound chest. With an ornate brass key, he unlocked it, placed his coin purse inside, secured it again, and put it away.

“Yes. I have met so many people since she came to stay three months ago. And I am grateful to her for that. But she is so…” Julia struggled for words that would not cast aspersions.

The admiral’s forehead creased deeply when he raised his brows. “She is what?”

“She is…so different from Mama.”

“As she was your mother’s sister by marriage only, that is to be expected.”

Julia nodded. To say anything more would be to sound plaintive, and she did not want to spoil whatever time her father could spare for her with complaints about his sister-in-law, who had been kind enough to come stay.

Sir Edward sat at his desk, slipped on a pair of spectacles, and fingered through the stack of correspondence from the day’s post. He grunted and tossed the letters back on the desk.

“What is it, Papa?”

He rubbed his chin. “It has been nearly a year…yet every night, I look through the post hoping to see something addressed in your mother’s hand.”

Sorrow wrapped its cold fingers around Julia’s throat. “I started writing a letter to her today, forgetting she is not just back home in Jamaica.”

“Are you sorry I asked you to return to England?”

“No…” And yes. She did not want her father to think her ungrateful for all he had done for her. “I miss home, but I am happy to have had this time with you—to see you and be able to talk with you daily.” Memories slipped in with the warmth of the Jamaica sun. “On Tuesdays and Fridays, when Jeremiah would leave Tierra Dulce and go into town for the post, as soon as I saw the wagon return, I would run down the road to meet him—praying for a letter from you.”

His worried expression eased. “You looked forward to my missives filled with nothing more than life aboard ship and the accomplishments of those under my command?”

“Yes. I loved feeling as if I were there with you, walking Indomitable’s decks once again.”

His sea-green eyes faded into nostalgia. “Ah, the good old Indy.” His gaze refocused and snapped to Julia. “That reminds me. An old friend made berth in Spithead yesterday. Captain William Ransome.”

Julia bit back sharp words. William Ransome—the man she’d sworn she’d never forgive. The man whose name she’d grown to despise from its frequent mention in her father’s letters. He had always reported on William Ransome’s triumphs and promotions, even after William disappointed all Julia’s hopes twelve years ago. He wrote of William as if William had been born to him, seeming to forget his own son, lost at sea.

Her stomach clenched at the idea of seeing William Ransome again. “He’s here, in Portsmouth?”

“Aye. But not for long. He came back at my request to receive new orders.”

“And where are you sending him, now that we’re at peace with France?” Please, Lord, let it be some distant port.

Sir Edward smiled. “His ship is to be in drydock several weeks. Once repairs are finished, he will make sail for Jamaica.”

Julia’s heart surged and then dropped. “Jamaica?” Home. She was ready to go back, to sink her bare toes into the hot sand on the beach, to see all her friends.

“Ransome will escort a supply convoy to Kingston. Then he will take on his new assignment: to hunt for pirates and privateers—and if the American war continues much longer, possibly for blockade-
runners trying to escape through the Gulf of Mexico. He’ll weigh anchor in five weeks, barring foul weather.”

Five weeks was no time at all. Julia relaxed a bit—but she started at the thump of a knock on the front door below.

“Ah, that must be him now.” Sir Edward glanced at his pocket watch. “Though he is half an hour early.”

“Him?”

“Aye. Did not I tell you? Captain Ransome is joining us for dinner.”

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FIRST: The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children by Stormie Omartian

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:

The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children

Harvest House Publishers (July 1, 2009)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stormie Omartian is the bestselling author of The Power of a Praying® series (more than 11 million copies sold worldwide), which includes The Power of a Praying® Wife and The Power of a Praying® Husband. Her many other books include Just Enough Light for the Step I’m On, The Prayer That Changes Everything®, and The Power of a Praying® Woman. Stormie and her husband, Michael, have been married more than 35 years and have three grown children.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (July 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736920862
ISBN-13: 978-0736920865

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Pray That Your Adult Children Will
See God Pour Out His Spirit upon Them

Once you have released your adult children into God’s hands and dedicated—or rededicated—their lives to Him (as I described near the end of the introduction), then the first and most important way to start praying is to ask God to pour out His Spirit upon them. It doesn’t matter what else you need to pray about specifically; you will be heading upstream against a strong current if you and they are not moving with the flow of God’s Spirit.

Every day we want the Spirit of God to come upon us and carry us where we need to go. We want Him to open our eyes to the truth and open our ears to hear His voice. We want Him to fill us afresh with His Spirit so that our lives can be lived for Him and we can move into all He has for us. And that is exactly what we want for our adult children as well.

Ideally, our adult children will ask for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit themselves. But realistically, many young people don’t even think about doing that, or understand what it means or why they should. It would be wonderful if our adult children would pray for all the things suggested in this book over their own lives, but whether they do or don’t, they still need our prayer support.

Pray That They Will Welcome an Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

A glorious promise God proclaimed to His people was first heard in the Old Testament through the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28) and then quoted later in the New Testament by Peter. It says:

“It shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:17, emphasis added).

We are living in the last days God is talking about. If you are not sure about that, read your Bible and then turn on the TV and watch it for a week. You will see unmistakable signs of it everywhere. The promise for our adult children in the words “your sons and your daughters shall prophesy” is that, when the Holy Spirit is poured out on them, they will be able to hear from God. They will have a word from God in their hearts, and it will become the motivating factor in their lives. And God will be glorified in the process.

When our adult children can hear from God, then they will know where He is leading them, and they will understand how He wants them to serve Him. They may not know specifics, but they will have direction. Too often young adults can’t figure out the direction for their lives because they haven’t heard a word in their hearts from God about it. This can carry on for years until you have adult children who are aimless and don’t feel any sense of purpose or calling. But when the Holy Spirit is poured out upon them, they can sense direction from God, and He is able to lead them on the right paths and secure their steps in ways they couldn’t begin to do on their own.

I have known too many good, godly, believing parents who had an adult child who did nothing for years after he (she) graduated from high school. In each case he (she) refused to go to a college or a trade school and couldn’t or wouldn’t find a job. The parents prayed and prayed and threatened and prodded and begged to no effect. Then one day, after they had prayed that God would pour out His Spirit upon him (her), their adult child got up off the couch, turned off the TV, and went out and made a life for himself (herself).

You might be thinking, Why didn’t those parents just throw their lazy adult children out? But it is not as easy as it sounds. When you throw them out they can get into a lot of trouble. They can become more vulnerable to evil influences because they are afraid or desperate. You must have the mind of God about this. You have to be certain that throwing your adult child out of your house is what God wants you to do. In some cases it may well be, but it can’t be a decision born of human emotions, such as anger. I know some parents who shipped their adult child out because they thought it would do him good, and it turned out to be a terrible decision because he fell under some horrible influences.

We have to keep in mind that God can do far more for our adult children than we can ever do, and so we must ask Him to speak to their hearts by the power of His Holy Spirit. They need to be able to hear from God regarding every aspect of their lives, from decisions they make about where they go and what they do to the people they spend time with and perhaps try to emulate.

Some adult children are going to be more open to hearing from God and receptive to the move of His Spirit in their lives than others. Some will not be open or receptive at all. At least not at first. Whether they are open or not shouldn’t affect your prayers. You pray what needs to be prayed regardless of what your adult child’s attitude is toward the things of God. Your job is to pray, and it is God’s job to answer. Remember, you have released your adult child into God’s hands. That doesn’t mean you have given up on him or her. You’re not saying, “You take him, God. I can’t deal with him anymore.” Or, “That’s it, Lord. I’ve had it. She’s all Yours now.” It means you have surrendered the burden you have been carrying for your adult child to the Lord so He can take it off of your shoulders. Then the burden you carry is in prayer.

Pray That They Will Understand the Power of the Holy Spirit

I wrote The Power of a Praying Parent more than 15 years ago, and it has served me and others well in all those years. I have seen countless answers to prayer in my own children’s lives, and I have heard from thousands of readers about the wonderful answers to prayer they have experienced as well. Those of us who started praying for our small children back then have seen them grow into adults. And we have also watched the world change for the worse in some way every day. We must now have a new strategy in prayer for our adult children. Our prayers for the flow of the Holy Spirit in their lives will become a powerful protective shield from the flood of this toxic culture. They cannot navigate it successfully without God’s power.

Today’s cultural environment will chew our adult children up and spit them out if they are not strong enough to recognize the destructive, dark, and powerful forces that are in it and be able to resist them. No matter how horrible our own background might have been, we weren’t confronted with the outpouring of evil they are facing today. It is becoming so dangerous that even our adult children cannot successfully withstand it on their own. They need the power of the Holy Spirit, and they need our prayers to help them understand how He moves in power on their behalf.

We must not only politely ask God for an outpouring of His Spirit on our adult children, we must get on our knees and cry out for it from the depths of our being. We must recognize that already a spirit is being poured out on them right now—the spirit of darkness, death, perversion, lies, destruction, and evil—and only an outpouring of the Holy Spirit can negate that in their lives before it harms or destroys them. Only an outpouring of the Holy Spirit can connect them to the power of God.

Pray That They Will Be Influenced by the Holy Spirit of Truth

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). We all must have Him functioning in that capacity fully in our lives. And this is especially true for our adult children. The Spirit of truth will bring the truth to light and expose the lies.

I am deliberately not telling many stories about my own adult children in this book, and that is not because there aren’t any stories to tell. But Christopher and Amanda are adults, and these are their stories to tell. And I hope that someday they will, for the outcome in each case has been great to the glory of God. However, I will say that each one of my adult children at one point presented us with a challenge that made it necessary to confront them about some choices they had made with regard to the path they were on. They each had gotten off the path God had for them because of bad influences in their lives. I am not blaming the bad influences, because obviously something in each adult child allowed them to be drawn toward what they clearly knew was not right.

This happened in separate years and ages for each of them, and they were dealing with entirely different issues. However, in both cases I had previously sensed in my spirit that something was not quite right in their spirits. A parent can look into their adult child’s eyes and see if the Holy Spirit is reflected back in all His purity, or if something has come into their mind and soul that is competing with His presence. And this is especially true when you ask the Holy Spirit of truth to reveal what you need to know in order to pray effectively for their lives.

My husband and I felt something was not right, but we didn’t have any hard evidence. So we just prayed that God would reveal everything that needed to be revealed, and that He would not let them get away with anything. We asked God to pour out His Spirit upon them and convict them of whatever was in their lives that was not glorifying to Him. We asked the Spirit of truth to reveal the truth to them and to us.

In each case, not long after we prayed, someone called us to say they were concerned about our adult child and why. We went to each one and told them what the Holy Spirit had put on our hearts. We also told them what we had heard, although not whom we heard it from. (I never reveal my sources.) They each immediately admitted to what we suspected and were deeply and completely repentant.

This was a turning point for each adult child, because they were different from then on. They were more serious about their lives, their futures, and the Lord. They became far more careful and wise about their associations and actions. The Holy Spirit spoke powerfully to them, and their hearts were opened to a new level of His work in their lives. All this could not have happened without the Spirit of truth penetrating their lives and revealing what they needed to see.

Even though I am not using many stories from my own adult children’s lives—except in a few minor instances such as this, where their privacy is not compromised—there are countless parents of adult children with whom I have talked at great length about the problems they have faced with their adult children. These conversations have given me more than enough examples to illustrate what I need to in each chapter. However, so as to protect everyone’s privacy, I will not mention any real names or specifics that would allow someone to be identified. Plus, nearly every example I am citing is based on more than one case. So it could be any one of a number of adult children whom I am talking about in this book.

All that to say, I have seen countless answers to prayers for adult children. Were I to tell you all of them, you would be greatly encouraged in praying for your own. I hope the ones I mention will give you the encouragement you need.

If you have an adult child who has grieved or worried you, or caused problems for himself (herself) or for you or others, ask God to pour out His Spirit on him (her) right now. Don’t waste time blaming yourself, the other parent, or your child. I am not saying your adult children don’t bear any responsibility for what happens in their lives. They certainly do. But the overriding factor is that only an outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God on your adult children is powerful enough to withstand the onslaught of the spirit of evil coming against them. Asking God to pour out His Spirit upon your adult children is a simple prayer with powerful ramifications, both for you and for them.

I have asked God to pour out His Holy Spirit on you and speak to your heart as you pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on your adult children. I can’t wait to hear about the results.

Prayer Power

Lord, You have said that in the last days You will pour out Your Spirit upon all flesh. I cry out to You from the depth of my heart and ask that You would pour out Your Holy Spirit upon my adult children. Pour out Your Spirit upon me and my other family members as well. Pour out Your Spirit on all of their in-laws, both present and future. Pour out Your Spirit upon whatever difficult circumstances each of my adult children are facing. Be Lord over every part of their lives and every aspect of their being.

Speak to my adult child’s heart and help him (her) to hear from You. Enable him (her) to understand Your leading and direction for his (her) life. Open his (her) ears to hear Your truth so he (she) will reject all lies. Help him (her) to move by the power of Your Spirit. Enable him (her) to rise above the onslaught of evil in our culture.

Where he (she) has walked away from You in any way, stretch out Your hand and draw him (her) back. Don’t let him (her) get away with anything that is not pleasing in Your sight. Convict his (her) heart and bring him (her) back to where he (she) should be. May the Holy Spirit poured out on him (her) completely neutralize the power of the enemy attempting to pour out evil in his (her) life.

I know You can do far more in my adult child’s life than I can ever do, and I invite You to do so. But if there is anything I should do—or should not do—make it clear to me so that I will do the right thing. Holy Spirit of truth, reveal the truth that needs to be seen both to them and to me. Guide me in my response to them always.

I pray my adult child will never grieve Your Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) but will receive Him as a gift from You (Luke 11:13). Fill him (her) with Your Spirit and pour into him (her) Your peace, hope, faith, truth, and power. Let a spirit of praise arise in his (her) heart and teach him (her) to worship You in Spirit and in truth.

In Jesus’ name I pray.

Word Power

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!

Luke 11:13

You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.

Acts 1:8

Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

Matthew 12:32

Prophecy never came by the will of man,
but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 1:21

Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:38

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Book Review: The I Believe Bunny by Tish Rabe

_200_350_Book.63.coverThe I Believe Bunny by Tish Rabe
Illustrated by Frank Endersby
www.ibelievebunny.com
Thomas Nelson Publisher,
Juvenile Fiction, $9.99

This book is based on Philippians 4:13 : ‘I can do everything through him who gives me strength’ a favorite verse of my own. I couldn’t wait to read this book to my daughter and was not disappointed in the least bit. I like that this story encourages children to look to their Father God in times of trouble. I really enjoyed the lightheartedness feeling of this book but also the strong message in teaching children to seek God in times of trouble and the power of prayer.

This book is written in a style that all children both young and old will enjoy. My daughter at only 13 months enjoys looking at the clear and bright colored illustrations on each page as well as listening to me read through the fun rhyming style that the book was written in. I am encouraged knowing in the years to come when she is older, she’ll have questions pertaining deeper into this well-written story.

I’ll defiantly be looking for other titles in the I Believe Bunny series by Tish Rabe. I’m encouraged that her books are written with keeping in mind to
teach children to put their faith into action.

I review for Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers

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