Friday, June 29, 2012

Audio book Week - where oh Where do I find a good book?



AudiobookWeek2012 picture
 Where do you learn about great
audiobook titles? Find reviews? Buy your audiobooks? Share your secrets with the rest of us!

As I have mentioned before this week, I have an Audible membership.Which I adore.  Even though I have quite a back log of audios in my library I still love every month when I can go and pick a new book.  I use to have a membership to christianaudio.com but I didn't like the fact that your purchases were deleted after a matter of time so I had to either download all those books to my computer or burn them onto cds.  That took up alot of space whether physically or digitally.  I have the Audible app on my phone so I can just delete or download whenever I want straight to my phone which is where I listen to most of my audiobooks.  It also has a neat little feature that I can set it to go to sleep and it will turn itself off.  This is nice when I listen before I go to sleep.  I have also gotten books from the library.  I have gotten several books in audio to review from publishers and I belong to the audio program for Christian audio.com (I don't mind the books being deleted so much if I didn't pay for them).   I get my list of books for my wishlists mostly from other bloggers.  I got Ready Player One because Sheila from Book Journey liked it so much.  Alot of times I will look for a book in audio first if I have read alot of good reviews on it.  Audio books are most times non review books so they don't have a time constraint on them and I can read (listen) to them on my timetable but I hope to go back to posting an audio book review once a week on here. Since I had that horrible experience with that one narrator I try to read the reviews before I buy a book on audible because that narrator was referenced several times  and I should have taken the reviews to heart.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Audio Book review of Christy by Catherine Marshall Narrated by Kellie Martin

Christy | [Catherine Marshall]
Christy by Catherine Marshall
Narrated by Kellie Martin
length 19 hours

from Audible.com:
 In the year 1912, 19-year-old Christy Huddleston leaves home to teach
school in the Smoky Mountains – and comes to know and love the resilient people of the region, with their fierce pride, their dark superstitions, their terrible poverty, and their yearning for beauty and truth. But her faith will be severely challenged by trial and tragedy, by the needs and unique strengths of two remarkable young men, and by a heart torn between true love and unwavering devotion. And don't miss another heart-soaring best seller from Catherine Marshall: Julie.

My Take:  I had read this book many years ago and I really liked the tv series based on the book.  I was excited when I saw that the book was narrated by Kellie Martin as she played the main character in the tv show.  I have always liked Kellie Martin ever since she was in the tv show Life Goes On.  I am sorry to say that the narration of this book fell a bit flat for me.  I thought that Miss Martin could have put a  little more emotion into the reading of the book but instead just read it straight .
The book itself is a great story.  Naive Christy Huddleston leaves her sheltered life in Ashville, Tn to teach school to mountain children in the Smoky Mountains.  She learns many harsh life lessons along the way but grows to love the people that she has come to teach.  There is a bit of romance in the book and the tv series leaves you hanging so I would highly recommend reading or listening to the book.  Good Wholesome entertainment.  I highly recommend. it.

I want to listen to Catherine's other book Julie sometime. 

This was from my personal audio library.

Audio Book Week - narrators the good the bad and the ugly

 AudiobookWeek2012 picture

Who are your favorite narrators and why? What do you look for in a narrator? Have a preference between male or female narrators?
Alternate suggestion: Narration preferences – single narrator, multiple narrators, full cast, etc.

I guess my all time favorite narrator is Davina Porter.  I couldn't imagine listening to the LONG  outlander books without her reading them.  She really brings all the characters to life and makes them each indiviual.  She is consistant throughout the series.  I also enjoyed Rob Reiner's reading of the Princess Bride.  I thought he did an excellent job and knowing that he directed the movie just added to the experience in some way for me.  I mentioned before that I really liked Wil Wheaton's narration of Ready Player One.  He did an excellent job. 

I like reader's that don't distract from the story.  I mentioned in an earlier post that one narrator I listened to totally made the experience almost painful.  She would pause in the middle of sentences and and her reading was just totally distracting from the story.  I was really disappointed as I had read the first book in the series and wanted my husband to listen to it as he is not a reader but loves audio books.  I was hoping to listen to the rest of the series but she narrates and I don't know if I can force myself to listen to her.

I really don't have a preference between male and female narrators but it depends on the book.  I think if the main character is female then the narrator should be  female and vice versa is main character is Male. 

I really liked the way that they narrated The Help with the different narrators for the different characters.  I really like full cast narration. but if a narrator is good they could be the only one and it feels like a full cast.

Five Miles South of Peculiar by Angela Hunt

Five Miles South of Peculiar


Five Miles South of Peculiar Cover
Darlene Caldwell has spent a lifetime tending Sycamores, an estate located five miles south of a small town called Peculiar. She raised a family in the spacious home that was her grandfather's legacy and she enjoys being a pillar of the community . . . until her limelight-stealing twin sister unexpectedly returns.

Carlene Caldwell, veteran of the Broadway stage, is devastated when she realizes that a botched throat surgery has spelled the end of her musical career. Searching for a new purpose in life, she retreats to Sycamores, her childhood home.

Haunted by a tragic romance, Magnolia Caldwell is the youngest of the Caldwell girls. Nolie spends her days caring for her dogs and the magnificent gardens she's created, but when she meets a man haunted by tragedy, she must find the courage to either deny her heart or cut the apron strings that tie her to a dear and familiar place.


About Angela Hunt

Angela Hunt PhotoWith nearly 4 million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the bestselling author of more than one hundred books, including The Tale of Three Trees, Don't Bet Against Me, The Note, and The Nativity Story. Her nonfiction book Don't Bet Against Me, written with Deanna Favre, spent several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. She and her husband make their home in Florida with their dogs. Learn more about Angela at AngelaElwellHunt.com.



My Take:  I haven't finished this book yet as I didn't receive it till late last week and I had other books to finish. To find out what others are saying about this book please go to the goodreads page found here.  It sounds like a good book and I will post my opinion as soon as I read it. 

I received a copy of this book for review purposes.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lucy Come Home by Dave and Neta Jackson

About the book:

Litfuse

Lucy Come Home
| Dave and Neta Jackson

Fifteen-year-old Cindy worked long days beside her migrant worker family in Michigan's sugar beet fields in the early 1940s -- the "war years" -- until she met a dashing young man from a traveling carnival, bringing some joy and fun into her hard-scrabble life. But a tragic twist of fate -- and a dead field boss-- sent the two young people on the run, leaving behind family and everything she'd ever known.

Lucy Tucker, the crotchety old bag lady from the popular Yada Yada House of Hope series, is a veteran of Chicago streets and not about to give up her independence, even as she approaches her 80th birthday.

Until, that is, a young displaced woman with her gentle aging mother and a dog named Dandy seem to need her -- unsettling the secretive Lucy, who doesn't let anyone get too close. But just when it seems her past is catching up with her to bring her in out of the cold... Lucy disappears again. How these two tales intersect and intertwine between past and present gradually shines light into the dark corners of Lucy's murky past. But... why won't Lucy come home?

About Dave and Neta: 

LitfuseDave and Neta Jackson are award-winning authors living in the Chicago area where their parallel novels from the Yada Yada House of Hope and Harry Bentley series are set.

As a husband/wife writing team, Dave and Neta Jackson are enthusiastic about books, kids, walking with God, gospel music, and each other! Together they are the authors or coauthors of over 100 books.

Visit http://www.daveneta.com for more info.





My Take:  This book reminded me alot of an old tv movie starring Lucille Ball called Stone Pillow.  I think statistics show that alot of Americans are very close to being homeless.  Just one or two paychecks away.  Every person has a story and the Jacksons do an excellent job of telling Lucy's.  Although I haven't read any of the Ya Ya Hope series I have read the first in the Ya ya prayer group series and really enjoyed it. So I was hoping for a wonderful ride with this book which I was given.  This isn't a everything is rainbows and candy story but one that grabs you and holds on until the end.  Great book.

A Received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  To find out what others thought of this book please go here

Audio Book Review of The Sword by Bryan M Liftin

The Sword
The Sword by Brian M. Liftin
Read by Ray Porter
length 14.6 hours
published by Christianaudio.com

from christianaudio.com:
 This novel of page-turning action and adventure poses the question, "If a society had no knowledge of Christianity, and then a
Bible were discovered, what would happen?" Four hundred years after a deadly virus and nuclear war destroyed the modern world, a new and noble civilization emerges. In this kingdom, called Chiveis, snow-capped mountains provide protection, and fields and livestock provide food. The people live medieval-style lives, with almost no knowledge of the "ancient" world. Safe in their natural stronghold, the Chiveisi have everything they need, even their own religion. Christianity has been forgotten--until a young army scout comes across a strange book. With that discovery, this work of speculative fiction takes readers on a journey that encompasses adventure, romance, and the revelation of the one true God. Through compelling narrative and powerful character development, The Sword speaks to God's goodness, his refusal to tolerate sin, man's need to bow before him, and the eternality and power of his Word. Fantasy and adventure readers will be hooked by this first book in a forthcoming trilogy.

My Take:  I struggled alot with this book.  I really wanted to like it but it just didn't grab me.  I kept thinking about not finishing it but I hate to give up on books because I have had books not grab me till the very end.  This one never did.  I never found myself wanting to listen more as a matter of fact I was relieved several times when my commute was done so I could quit listening.  I think part of the problem might be that this was not really my type of genre.  Although it does have alot of action.  I do agree with several other reviewers that the characters weren't very realistic.  The hero and heroine were both good to the point of I was afraid I was going to get cavities because they were so sugary good.  I like my characters draw more realistic as having some faults and not so good.
The narrator did a very good job with the material he was given.  He had convincing voices for both males and females and distinct voices for each character.
 I think that if you like action adventure set in a middle ages setting you would enjoy this book.

I was given a copy for an honest review by
christianaudio.com

Audio Book week Mid Week Meme




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 Current/most recent audiobook:
I just finished The Sword by Bryan Liftin last night and started The 11th Hour by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro.  I love the Women's Murder Club.


Favorite narrator you’ve discovered recently:  Not recently discovered but favorite narrator is Davina Porter.  She has made the Outlander series come alive and worth the many hours each book takes. 


One title from your TBL (to be listened) stack, or your audio wishlist:
Deadline by Mira Grant.  I listened to Feed and I am looking forward to returning to that world again. 

Your audio dream team (what book or author would you LOVE to see paired with a certain narrator, can already exist or not):  I would have to agree with Jen at Devourer of Books on this one.  I thought it was great listening to Wil Wheaton reference himself in Ready Player One.  It was a real trip. 
 
  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline Audio book



Ready Player One | [Ernest Cline]
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Read by Wil Wheaton

From Audible.com
At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.
It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of 10,000 planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late 20th century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

My Take:  I really enjoyed this audio book. I think that listening to it in audio lent something more to the experience.  Wil Wheaton did an excellent job of narrating and it was kinda fun listening to him talk about himself as the 80's icon that he is as part of the story.  I grew up in the 70's but I still got the whole 80's references.  I wasn't a big video game player but I was able to follow along when it got to those various parts.  I think that this would be an excellent book for boys as it has everything that a boy would probably like, video games, mystery, action fighting.  Girls would like it too because there are girl gamers and a bit of romance is thrown in.  Highly recommend but there is a bit of language so not for youngsters.  

Aduio Book Reviewing what's important

AudiobookWeek2012 picture
 Discuss the essentials of audiobook reviewing. What do you make sure to include? What do you want to see when you read other people’s reviews?

This weeks second discussion question is about reviewing audio books.  When I first started writing reviews of audio books there wasn't much difference between them and my reviews of print books.  I would say that there probably isn't much difference now either except I always try to mention who the narrator is and if I thought they did a good job or not.  As I have read on other blogs today and I totally agree a narrator can make or ruin a book.  I remember listening to a book that I had read before and I really enjoyed the book but because the narrator paused at the wrong spots and you could audibly hear her swallow I hated that audio.  Unfortunately she narrates the rest of the series and even though I would really like to hear that series I have stayed away from it because she is the narrator.  Hopefully I will write more about narrators on Thursday.  If the narrator is outstanding I will try to bring that out as well in my review.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Audiobook Week WooHoo

AudiobookWeek2012 picture


This is Audiobook week.  I am late to the event but not to audiobooks.  To find out all the nitty gritty of this week head over to Devourer of Books to find out all you need to know.

I have a few Audio books that I have listened to that I haven't gotten around to reviewing yet so those may be popping up on the blog this week.  There are also going to be some discussion questions that will be coming up this week. 

Here is the first one.

Are you new to audiobooks in the last year? Have you been listening to them forever but discovered something new this year? Favorite titles? New times/places to listen? This is your chance to introduce yourself and your general listening experience. 

Hello My Name is Mindy and I am an Audiobook aholic.  I have been listening to audio books regularly for about 6 years now.  My Husband bought me a MP3 player that came with a free trial of audible and I have been hooked ever since.  I mostly listen to and from work and for about 15 minutes before I go to sleep.  I have gotten my husband to start listening to books over the last couple of years also.  Depending on the length of the book I usually finish a book week in audio.  But I have listened to some chunksters too like just recently I listened to 11/22/63 by Steven King.  I have been able to listen to books that I know that if I would have tried to read them I wouldn't have been able to finish them.  My favorite books to listen to are books by James Patterson, Diana Gabaldon, Lauraine Snelling, Shelley Gray, and Ted Dekker.  I think listening to books takes us back to our first experiences with books when our parents first read to us.  My Audible membership is one of my favorite things as I get to discover new audio books each month for a low price.  I have over 200 books in my audio book library and that doesn't count books that I have on cd. 

It's Monday What are You Reading?









It's Monday What are You Reading/ is hosted by Sheila over at Book Journey.  This is meme where we share what we are reading and what we have read over the last week or so. 

It has been a while since I have participated in this meme but I wanted to get back into the fun. 

Last Week on the Blog

First Chapter Peak of





ChameleonChameleon by Jillian Kent
















Book Review of

Finding Our Way Home: A NovelFinding Our Way Home by Charlene Ann Baumbich

Book review of
Glamorous Illusions by Lisa Bergren  








 Glamorous Illusions


First Chapter Peak of


The Telling
The Telling by Mike Duran

Coming up on the blog this week






The Fiddler

The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis



Lucy Come Home (A Yada Yada Journey of Hope)

Lucy Come Home by Dave and Neta Jackson


Five Miles South of Peculiar: A Novel
Five Miles South of Peculiar by Angela Hunt

Currently Reading


Lucy Come Home (A Yada Yada Journey of Hope)
Lucy Come Home by Dave and Neta Jackson

Audio:

The Sword (Chiveis Trilogy #1)
The Sword by Bryan M Liftin

Ebook: 
By the Light of the Silvery Moon
By the Light of the Silvery Moon by Tricia Goyer

Coming up in July 

 Legacy Road by Graham Garrison




Legacy Road

 Inescapable by Nancy Mehl



Inescapable

Submerged by Dani Pettrey

Submerged (Alaskan Courage, #1)

A Promise for Miriam by Vannetta Chapman
A Promise for Miriam























Friday, June 22, 2012

First Chapter Peak of The Telling by Mike Duran

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Realms (May 15, 2012)

***Special thanks to Althea Thompson | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mike Duran was a finalist in Faith in Fiction's inaugural short story contest and was chosen as one of ten authors to be published in Infuze Magazine’s 2005 print anthology. He is author of the short story “En Route to Inferno,” which appeared in Coach’s Midnight Diner: Back from the Dead edition, and received the Editor’s Choice award for his creative nonfiction essay titled “The Ark,” published in the Summer 2.3 Issue of Relief Journal. In between blogs, he also writes a monthly column for Novel Journey and has served as editor on the Midnight Diner’s editorial team. Duran is an ordained minister and lives with his wife and four grown children in Southern California.
Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A prophet never loses his calling, only his way.

Disfigured with a hideous scar from his stepmother, Zeph Walker lives his life in seclusion, cloistering himself in a ramshackle bookstore on the outskirts of town. But Zeph is also blessed with a gift—an uncanny ability to foresee the future,to know peoples’ deepest sins and secrets. He calls it the Telling, but he has abandoned this gift to a life of solitude, unbelief, and despair—until two detectives escort him to the county morgue where he finds his own body lying on the gurney.

On the northern fringes of Death Valley, the city of Endurance is home to llama ranches, abandoned mines, roadside attractions...and the mythical ninth gate of hell. Now, forced to investigate his own murder, Zeph discovers something even more insidious behind the urban legends and small-town eccentricities. Early miners unearthed a megalith—asacred site where spiritual and physical forces converge and where an ancient subterranean presence broods. And only Zeph can stop it.

But the scar on Zeph’s face is nothing compared to the wound on his soul. For not only has he abandoned his gift and renounced heaven, but it was his own silence that spawned the evil. Can he overcome his own despair in time to seal the ninth gate of hell?

His words unlocked something deadly,
And now the silence is killing them.





Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Realms (May 15, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616386940
ISBN-13: 978-1616386948



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


He used to believe everyone was born with the magic, an innate hotline to heaven. Some called it intuition, a sixth sense; others called it the voice of God. Zeph Walker called it the Telling. It was not something you could teach or, even worse, sell- people just had it. Of course, by the time their parents, teachers, and society got through with them, whatever connection they had with the Infinite pretty much vanished. So it was, when Zeph reached his twenty-sixth birthday, the Telling was just an echo.
That's when destiny came knocking for him.
It arrived in the form of two wind-burnt detectives packing heat and a mystery for the ages. They flashed their badges, said he was needed for questioning. Before he could object or ask for details, they loaded him into the backseat of a mud-splattered Crown Victoria and drove across town to the county morgue. The ride was barely ten minutes, just long enough for Zeph Walker to conclude that, maybe, the magic was alive and well.
"You live alone?" The driver glanced at him in the rearview mirror.
Zeph adjusted his sunglasses. "Yes, sir."
"I don't blame you." The detective looked at his partner, who smirked in response.
Zeph returned his gaze to the passing landscape.
Late summers in Endurance were as beautiful as a watercolor and as hot as the devil's kitchen. The aspens on the ridge showed gold, and the dogwoods along the creeks had already begun to thin. Yet the arid breeze rising from Death Valley served as an ever-present reminder that beauty always lives in close proximity to hell.
They came to a hard stop in front of a white plaster building. The detectives exited the car, and Zeph followed their cue. A ceramic iguana positioned under a sprawling blue sage grinned mockingly at him. Such was the landscape decor of the county coroner's building. The structure doubled as a morgue. It occupied a tiny plot of red earth, surrounded by a manicured cactus garden complete with


2 | Mike Duran


indigenous flora, bison skulls, and birdbaths. Without previous knowledge, one could easily mistake the building for a cultural center or art gallery. Yet Zeph knew that something other than pottery and Picassos awaited him inside.
The bigger of the two detectives, a vaquero with a nifty turquoise belt buckle and matching bolo tie, pulled the door open and motioned for Zeph to enter. The man had all the charm of a cage fighter.
Zeph wiped perspiration off his forehead and stepped into a small vestibule.
“This way.” The cowboy clomped past, leaving the smell of sweat and cheap cologne.
They led him past an unoccupied desk into a corridor. Bland southwestern prints adorned sterile white walls. The stench of form- aldehyde and decay lingered here, and Zeph’s stomach flip-flopped in response. The hallway intersected another where two lab technicians stood in whispered conversation. They straightened as the detectives approached. After a brief nod from one of the white-jacketed men, Zeph’s escorts proceeded to an unmarked room.
“We got someone fer you to ID.” The cowboy placed his hand on the door and studied Zeph. “You don’t get sick easy, do ya?”
He swallowed. “Depends.”
“Well, if you’re gonna puke, don’t do it on these.” He pointed to a set of well-polished eel-skin boots. “Comprende?”
“No, sir. I mean—yes! Yes, sir.”
The detective scowled, then pushed the door open, waiting. Zeph’s heart was doing double-time. Whose body was he about to
see? What condition was it in? His mind raced with the possibilities. Maybe a friend had suffered a car accident. Although he didn’t have many friends to die in one. Perhaps the Hitcher, that mythical appari- tion who stalked the highway in his childhood, had claimed another victim. More likely Zeph’s old man had finally keeled over. However, he was convinced that his father had stopped living a long time ago.
Zeph drew a deep breath, took two steps into the room, perched his sunglasses on the top his head . . . and froze. In the center, framed under a single oval swath of light, lay a body on a autopsy table—a body that looked strangely familiar.
“Take a good look, Mr. Walker.” The detective’s boots clicked with precision on the yellowed linoleum. He circled the rolling metal


th e te ll i n g | 3


cart, remaining just outside the reach of the fluorescent light. “And maybe you can help us figger this out.”
Zeph remained near the door, hesitant to take another step.
“Go ahead.” The second detective sauntered around the opposite side, gesturing to the body. “He ain’t gonna bite.”
The detectives positioned themselves on either end of the table. They watched him.
A black marble countertop, its surface dulled by a thin blanket of dust, ran the length of one wall. In front of it sat a single wooden stool. The low-hanging lamp bleached the body monochrome. Zeph had seen enough procedurals and CSI knock-offs to know this was not an autopsy room. Perhaps it was used for viewings, maybe occa- sional poker games. But as the detectives studied him, he was starting to wonder if this was an interrogation room. Scalpels, pincers, saws. Oh, what exotic torture devices one might assemble from a morgue! Nevertheless, this particular room appeared to have not been used in a long time. And by the fevered sparkle in their eyes, these men seemed inspired about the possibility of doing so.
Zeph glanced from one man to the other, and then he edged toward the corpse.
Its flesh appeared dull, and the closer he got, the less it actu- ally looked like skin. Perhaps the body had been drained of blood or bleached by the desert sun. He inched closer. Sunken pockets appeared along the torso, and he found himself wondering what could have possibly happened to this person.
The head lay tilted back, its bony jaw upturned, cords of muscle taut across a gangly neck. A white sheet draped the body at the chest, and just above it a single bloodless hole about the size of a nickel notched the sternum. He crept forward, trying to distin- guish the person’s face. First he glimpsed nostrils, then teeth, and then . . . something else.
That something else brought Zeph to a standstill.
How could it be? Build. Facial features. Hair color. This person looked exactly like him. There was even a Star of David tattooed on the right arm, above the bicep—the same as Zeph’s.
What were the chances, the mathematical probabilities, that one human being could look so identical to another? Especially in a town the size of Endurance.


4 | Mike Duran


“Is this . . . ” Zeph’s tone was detached, his eyes fixed on the body. “Is this some kinda joke?”
The detectives hunkered back into the shadows without responding.
Goose bumps rose on Zeph’s forearms as the overhead vent rattled to life, sluicing cool air into the room. He took another step closer to the cadaver until his thigh nudged the table, jolting the stiff and bringing Zeph to a sudden stop. He peered at the bizarre figure.
Their similarities were unmistakable. The lanky torso and append- ages. The tousled sandy hair. Thick brows over deep-set eyes. This guy looks exactly like me!
However, it was one feature—the most defining feature of Zeph Walker’s existence—that left him teetering in disbelief: the four-inch scar that sheared the corpse’s mouth.
Zeph stumbled back, lungs frozen, hand clasped over the ugly scar on his own face.
“Darnedest thing, ain’t it?” The cowboy sounded humored by
Zeph’s astonishment. “Guy’s a spittin’ image of you, Mr. Walker.” Zeph slowly lowered his hand and glanced sideways at the man.
“Yeah. Except I don’t have a bullet hole in my chest.”
The detective’s grin soured, and he squinted warily at Zeph. “Indeed you don’t.” The second man stepped into the light. “But
the real question, young man, is why someone would want to put one there.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren







About the book:

Litfuse

Glamorour Illusions
| Lisa Tawn Bergren

The first book in the Grand Tour series, Glamorous Illusions will take readers on a pilgrimage through Europe-and straight into the soul.

It's the summer of 1913 and Cora Kensington's life on the family farm has taken a dark turn. After burying the only father she's ever known, she lost her beau in a tragic accident. Then a stranger comes to call. In one fateful afternoon, Cora discovers that her birth father is a copper king-a man who invites her to tour Europe with her new family. As she travels from England to France, Cora faces the hardships as well as the privileges of assuming the family name. And though now she knows more of her true identity, she soon discovers the journey is only beginning.

About Lisa: 

LitfuseLisa Tawn Bergren is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 30 books, with more than 1.5 million copies sold. She just finished writing a Colorado historical trilogy (the first book, Breathe, Sing and Claim), and has begun a teen series called River of Time.

Lisa's time is split between managing home base, writing (including a fair amount of travel writing), consulting and freelance editing (with a little speaking here and there). She's married to Tim, a liturgical sculptor, graphic designer and musician. They have three kids-Olivia (15), Emma (12) and Jack (7).

All five of the Bergrens make their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

For more information on Lisa and to view other books written, please visit her website: http://lisatawnbergren.com

My Take:  A New Series has begun.  This book is another great start to what appears to be another great series by another great author.  The book starts out with Cora returning home from teaching school to find that the farm isn't doing so well and that her father has fallen ill. and she can't help but feel guilty as her parents have given up so much to send her to school.  Her father defies the doctors expectations and gets better only to once again fall ill.  Then one morning as they are trying to figure out what to do a mysterious stranger appears in a fancy buggy at their door.  Cora finds out that this stranger is really her father who just so happens to be one of the richest if not the richest men in the state.  He offers to get them out of their debt and to pay for the finest care for her dad if she comes with him and takes her place as his daughter and goes with his other children on a grand tour of Europe.  Cora reluctantly agrees and is thrown head first in another world that she knows nothing about. 
Can you imagine how you would feel if this were to happen to you?  Everything you know was a lie and you are thrust into a world that is foreign to you and forced to try to get along with people who really only  see you as a threat.
My favorite parts of the book are when Cora tries to get her privileged siblings to see things from a lower classes opinion and not just from their spoiled perspectives. 

I received a book in exchange for my honest review.  If you would like to see what others thought of this book please go here.  http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/13465876/glamorousillusions

check out the book trailer below. 
 





Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Finding Our Way Home by Charlene Ann Baumbich


Finding Our Way Home by Charlene Ann Baumbich

From Goodreads.com:


Finding Our Way Home: A Novel
 

Finding Our Way Home: A Novel

When the road home becomes daunting—sometimes a very capable girl on a bicycle can help find the way.

“Charming, surprising, familiar, and just downright wonderful.”
—Allie Pleiter, author of Yukon Wedding and Bluegrass Blessings

When principal ballerina Sasha Davis suffers a career-ending injury at age thirty-eight, she leaves her Boston-based dance company and retreats to the home of her youth in Minnesota. But Sasha’s injuries limit her as much as her mother’s recent death haunts her. Concluding she can’t recover alone, Sasha reluctantly hires a temporary live-in aide.

Enter the ├╝bercapable Evelyn Burt. As large-boned as Sasha is delicate, Evelyn is her employer’s opposite in every way. Small town to Sasha’s urban chic, outgoing to Sasha’s iciness, and undaunted where Sasha is hopeless, nineteen-year-old Evelyn is newly engaged and sees the world as one big, shiny opportunity.

Evelyn soon discovers Sasha needs to heal more than bones. Slowly, as the wounds begin to mend and the tables tilt, the two women form an unlikely alliance and discover the astounding power of even the smallest act done in the name of love. Finding Our Way Home is a story of second chances and lavish grace.
My Take:  I was interested in this book from the moment I first read the description.  Both of my girls are dancers.  I am aware first hand of how susceptible dancers are to injuries and how any one of them can be a dancers last one.  
I liked the way the author contrasts the two women through out the story but brings us to the conclusion that people are people and we all need the same basic things no matter what our position  in life or our age. 
I especially enjoyed the character of Evelyn.  I liked the way she took life head on.  She acted impulsively many times but that isn't always a bad thing.  As a parent I could understand where her  parents were coming from but it was nice to remember back to that age and what it was like to have your whole future in front of you.
This is Christian fiction book but it isn't one that is overbearing with that aspect of the story line. This book was a good clean read that I would not hesitate to give to either of my daughters or to my mother to read. 
In terms of Sasha, it has always amazed me that we tend to push people away in our times of need.  Sasha does have quite a bit of emotional baggage with the dealing with her mothers death and with her career ending injury.   She at first doesn't know how to take Evelyn but grows to appreciate her for herself.  
This book would be a great book for anyone who likes books that brings two opposite characters together and have them grow together.  
I received this book from Blogging for Books program in exchange for a honest review .
The following are some sites you may be interested in

Monday, June 18, 2012

Chameleon by Jillian Kent First Chapter Peak

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Realms (May 15, 2012)

***Special thanks to Althea Thompson | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Jillian Kent has been a member of American Christian Fiction Writers for several years. She has also been a member of Romance Writers of America for 20 years and a member of The Beau Monde, Kiss of Death, and Faith, Hope, and Love specialty chapters of RWA. With a master’s degree in social work, Jillian is employed as a counselor for nursing students, which reflects within the pages of her first novel, Secrets of the Heart, which won the 2009 Inspiration for Writers contest and was a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier; the Noble Theme; and Faith, Hope, and Love’s Touched by Love contests.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:







Lady Victoria Grayson has always considered herself a keen observer of human behavior, but when she finds herself involved in a sinister plot targeting the lords of Parliament she is forced to question how much anyone can really know about another human being.





Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Realms (May 15, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616384964
ISBN-13: 978-1616384968



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character.
-HENRY DAVID THOREAU

London, 29 March 1818

ST. JAMES PARK loomed in front of them, shrouded in a heavy mist that created difficulty for horse and driver as the coach and four maneuvered its way into the park.
Inside the vehicle Victoria leaned toward the window, straining to see the outline of trees. "Such a disappointment," she sighed. "This is not what I expected my very first morning in London. I'd so hoped to see more on the ride through the park, something exciting to tell Devlin when we get to his home."
"Don't despair, my lady." Nora, her maid, pulled a heavy shawl tighter about her shoulders. "'Tis sure to be the same mist that abounds in Yorkshire. This nuisance will lift eventually. It always does."
Victoria patted the sleek head of her dog. "Even Lazarus grows bored." She marveled at her best friend, a behemoth of a mastiff, as he lowered his bulk to the floor of the coach with a loud groan and laid his head across her slipper-covered feet, creating a comfortable warmth. He'd been with her for years, and she couldn't leave him behind. The poor dear would cry himself to sleep every night.


Victoria allowed the clip-clop of the horses’ hooves and Nora’s penchant for humming songs to lull her into a light sleep. Nora’s humming had comforted her all those years she’d been sick at Ravensmoore. While everyone else lived their busy lives out around her, she’d done little but survive, taking comfort in the small things that brought her joy.
A sudden crash caused the coach door to vibrate. Victoria screamed and bolted upright as Lazarus pressed his nose and giant paws against the carriage window. A low growl rumbled in his throat.
She grabbed the dog by the collar. Heart pounding, she turned to
Nora. “What was that?”
“Highwaymen!” Nora’s hand crept to her neck, and fear filled her eyes.
The coachman drew the horses to a halt and opened the top hatch. “I fear I may have run someone down, my lady, but in this fog I can’t tell.”
“We must find out at once. Someone may be hurt.” Victoria threw open the door, and Lazarus bounded into the mist. “Lazarus! Find!” She called after him, but he was already well on his way. She stepped from the coach, nearly tripping in her haste.
“Wait, my lady,” Nora cried. “’Tis not safe. Come back!”
The driver’s voice echoed through the mist. “You’ll lose your way, my lady. Stop where you are.”
But the warning wasn’t necessary. Victoria could hear Lazarus snuffling the ground someplace nearby. She bit her lip and told her- self to be brave, even as her heart slammed against her chest.
At the same time Lazarus let out a warning bark, the mist shifted. Victoria’s hand clamped over her mouth.
A man lay on his side only a few feet in front of her.
She shouted back to the coach. “I’ve found him! I need help.” She dropped to her knees and touched his shoulder. He didn’t move.


2


She touched his arm and gently shook it. “Sir, are you conscious? Are you injured?” But before she could investigate further, strong arms lifted her and turned her away from the sight. She assumed it was Mr. Smythe, the carriage driver.
“This is not something a lady should see,” the man said.
But as he turned her from the body, she caught a glimpse of the man’s head. She gasped. There was just enough light to see streaks of blood upon one deathly pale cheek.
“We hit him,” she cried. “The coach—” She lifted her head expecting to see the kind eyes of Mr. Smythe and met the warm, brilliant, gray eyes of a stranger. “Who . . . who are you? Who is he? Did we kill him?” She buried her face in her rescuer’s shoulder to rid her mind of the sight.
“It does not appear so, my lady,” he said, his voice low and comforting.
He deposited her inside the coach. Before she could speak, Lazarus bounded in next to her, rocking the vehicle precariously. She patted his head to calm him, and when she looked up at the man again, she saw only icy gray eyes and a rigid jaw line.
She studied those eyes momentarily and heard Nora say, “You poor dear. What is it that you saw?”
“Not the sight any young woman should witness, miss,” the stranger said. “But I believe I prevented her from viewing the worst of the man’s injuries.” He hesitated, then added, “This was no fault of the driver. Take care of this young woman. I’ll get help for the gentleman. Carlton House is nearby.”
“Nonsense,” Victoria whispered. “Use the coach. Our driver will take you.”
He nodded and bowed. “You’re very kind.”
She wondered if it had been her imagination or if his eyes fre- quently switched from an icy gray coolness to a warm molten gray


3


in only moments.. She wondered what this meeting might have been like under different circumstances.
“Be still,” Nora said. “You’ve had a shock.”
She heard the stranger and Mr. Smythe lifting the injured man to the driver’s seat. “God have mercy,” the driver said.
“I’ll show you to Carlton House through this heavy fog. He can get the help he needs there. Who am I indebted to?”
“I’m taking Lady Victoria Grayson and her maid to the lady’s brother.”
“And that would be?” “Lord Ravensmoore, sir.”
They approached Carlton House a few minutes later. Victoria clutched the edge of the seat, attempting to recover from what had happened and what she’d witnessed. As if he understood, Lazarus licked her hand. The coach came to a halt.
The fog still lay heavy on the ground. Victoria could barely make out the two figures moving toward the door and into the palace. But even as their images faded, her thoughts returned to the stranger who’d lifted her away from the bleeding man and carried her back to the coach. The stranger with strong arms and fascinating gray eyes.
Victoria found her strength as the fog lifted and patches of sun- light appeared through the trees, dappling the ground with their shadows. London came alive. Though her curiosity remained keen, she turned her thoughts to her brother and kept her mind on the joy it would be to see him again. He’d only been absent from their home at Ravensmoore for two months, but it seemed far longer.
She stared in unabashed awe at the sea of activity that sur- rounded them as their coach merged with others, making its way through the muddy, rutted streets. The crowded sidewalks teemed with people of all classes. Women in brilliant gowns of color swirled


4


past street urchins and beggars, meshing into an ever-shifting tap- estry of humanity.
She’d stepped into a world bigger than York, a world she’d only dreamed about. Victoria leaned back against the banquette and sighed. “Now that I can see it properly, London is magnificent.”
“I think it best if you have your brother examine you when we arrive, my lady Victoria. You know how he worries. You know how I worry. ’Tis a blessing to have a brother who is both a lord and physician.”
Victoria turned away from the window and assessed her maid. “I am no longer an invalid, Nora, and well you know it.” She lifted her chin a notch. “I’m stronger than either you or my brother realize.” Nora met her gaze, her brow furrowed with worry. Victoria lifted her hand to dismiss the words of warning she knew were sure to come. But Nora, having been her constant companion the past eleven years and knowing her so well, caught Victoria’s hand.
“Child, you’re pale and weary from our travels and that horrid incident in the park. ’Tis a good thing we’ve made this journey, but I think your brother will agree with me that you need to rest.”
“I’ve been resting my entire life. It’s time to live and catch up on the adventures that God has in store for me. How many times did you read Jeremiah twenty-nine, eleven to me throughout the years? Did you not believe those words yourself?”
Nora nodded, keeping her lips firmly pressed together in an obvious effort to curb her tongue. A difficult feat, Victoria under- stood and appreciated.
As if sensing the tension and hoping to break up an ensuing argument, Lazarus nuzzled and nudged Victoria’s attention away from her maid and back toward the window to watch a group of young boys chasing each other down the street. He barked and strained against the coach door. Victoria couldn’t move him from his place of entertainment if she’d tried.


5


“Such a window hound you are, Lazarus.” Victoria rubbed her hand over his big, sleek head, ruffling his ears. “If you wanted my attention, you would more readily share your window.” She smiled and turned her gaze toward the window on the opposite side. Men and women hawked their wares and called to them in hopes of making a profit. “You can do no wrong in my eyes, Lazarus. If you hadn’t been with us earlier, that poor man might still be lying in the park.” She tried to shake off the sense of dread that seeped through her pores. She refused to allow the upset of the morning to ruin her reunion with her brother.
“I’m sorry, Nora.” She studied the dark-haired, blue-eyed woman who was eleven years her senior. Nora had always seemed more of an aunt to her than a maid and companion.
“You’re forgiven.” A smile quirked the corners of her mouth. “You really are too pretty to continue caring for me much longer.
Why is it you haven’t yet married?”
Now Nora chose to gaze out the window to escape further inquiry. “I will when the time and the suitor are right.”
Victoria ended that line of questioning, and they rode in com- panionable silence the rest of the way, each lost in thought.
The busy streets gave way to quieter and more prestigious ave- nues as they made their way to Grosvenor Square and her brother’s London townhome. The quality of the air improved as they moved farther from the central streets and into the areas of the upper crust. The coach slowed and then pulled to a halt in front of number three, Devlin’s home.
“I cannot wait another moment.” Grabbing the handle of the coach door, Victoria stepped out onto the curb. Lazarus bounded out after her and onto the street.
“Good heavens! It’s a bear,” an elderly woman said, clinging to her husband.
Victoria smothered a grin. “He’s quite harmless.”


6


The couple hurried away from the dog.
Nora bolted from the coach and grabbed Lazarus by the collar, holding him fast as he strained to make chase.
“Thank you, Nora. Just in time.”
Victoria gathered her blue velvet traveling skirts and ran up the five steps to the entrance. She reached for the gilded knocker, hesi- tated, and then, after adjusting her gloves, started to grab the handle instead. But the door opened before her hand reached it.
Devlin’s butler appeared. A smile lit his face when he saw Victoria. “Lady Victoria,” he said, and then executed a most noble bow. When he straightened, his pleasure at seeing her was still apparent. “Welcome to London.”
“Henry!” Victoria said. “It is good to see you. Do you mind taking Lazarus? He adores you almost as much as I do.”
“For you I would take Lazarus on a walk to the ends of the earth,”
he said with cheerful amiability.
“Who is it that you are taking for a walk, Henry?” Devlin appeared in the doorway, tall and handsome with that brotherly smile of his and assessing green-eyed gaze. “Ah, there she is. My favorite imp. What took you so long? I expected you yesterday.” He held out his arms. “Are you well?”
“I believe so. We stopped at a nearby inn last evening. The rain made travel a bit difficult.” Victoria burrowed deep into her brother’s warm, comforting embrace. “I’ve missed you, Dev,” she whispered into his chest and squeezed him tight. “I’ve missed you so much.”
“And I, you.” Devlin held her at arm’s length. “It’s good to see you. Now, come in and tell me all about your journey and how my wife is doing at home without me.” He looked up at Nora. “Has she behaved herself on this trip, Nora?”
Her companion grinned. “Nothing out of the ordinary for Lady
Victoria, yer lordship.”


7


“That speaks volumes.” Devlin gently pinched his sister’s cheek. “Henry, I believe Nora would love to hear about town.”
“Of course, yer lordship. Welcome to London, Nora. Would you care to accompany me? And allow me to take Lazarus off your hands.”
“Bless you for that, Henry. He wears me down too quickly.” “Come along, Lazarus.” He accepted the leash from Nora and
quickly fastened it to the dog’s collar.
Nora nodded. “It will help me find my balance again after a long, bumpy, and perilous ride in the coach. I’ll catch you up with all that’s happened back at Ravensmoore.”
Devlin started to enter the house with Victoria and then turned back to Henry. “And Henry,” he called, “don’t forget to feed the beast before you return him to Victoria.”
“Feed him, sir? And just who should be the sacrifice? Lazarus has a shine to his eyes, and I’m thinking it is for me.”
“Get creative, man. Start with Cook.”
“Now, there’s a right smart answer,” Henry said and laughed. “Mrs. Miller will faint dead away.”
Devlin grinned, a wicked glint in his green eyes. “If Cook has the nerve to faint, let Lazarus nibble at her.”
“Devlin!” Victoria feigned horror. “What an outlandish thing to say.” She covered a grin. “That would bring her around faster than smelling salts.”
She turned to watch Lazarus leading Henry and Nora down the street. Her thoughts fled to what might be happening at Carlton House. A shudder crept up her spine. She decided to wait to tell Devlin of her experience in the park. Guilt niggled, but she just wasn’t ready to divulge that bit of information. After all, her freedom was at stake. One thought of her in danger, and Devlin would ship her back to York before she got settled in. No doubt


8


Nora would reveal all if she didn’t stop her maid when she returned from the walk.
“Are you cold?” Devlin asked, assessing her carefully. “Come in. You must be exhausted.”
“Not really. The ride was but a couple of hours.” “No adventures during your journey, Snoop?”
She loved his pet name for her. She was more than a bit curious about everything life had to offer, and Devlin used her nickname more often than her given name. “Adventures? What could possibly happen on a two-hour ride into town?” She swallowed hard, hoping her expression didn’t give her away. She would tell him when the time was right.
“Knowing you, just about anything.”
“I promise to give you a full report.” Eventually. And as she stepped into her brother’s townhome, she wondered how she could discover more about her gray-eyed stranger and the bloodied man he’d taken to Carlton House.





Jonathon Denning, Lord Witt, nearly collided with the guard on duty while carrying Lord Stone into Carlton House.
“Send for the regent and his physician immediately,” he ordered. “There’s been an accident. I need a place where Lord Stone can be treated, and privacy is a must. Not a word of this leaves your lips. Do you understand?”
The guard nodded and headed toward one of the pages standing nearby. “You heard Lord Witt. Be off with you, and hurry, Thomas.”
Witt watched as the page fled down a long corridor.
“Follow me, Lord Witt. We’ll take him upstairs to the guest lodg- ings. Allow me to carry him.”
“I can manage,” Witt muttered. “Go, man. Lead the way, and make sure you choose a room that is not easily found.”


9


The guard wasted no time, and after climbing to the second floor, Witt lay Stone on a four-poster bed surrounded by green drapes. Out of breath, Witt collapsed into a chair, mentally taking stock of all that had happened in the period of a mere half hour.
The guard paled when he saw the severity of Lord Stone’s wounds. “Not a word. Remember that, or I’ll have your post. Now draw those drapes and leave. Send a decanter of brandy. I need a drink.
Better yet, send two.”
Witt sat in a chair near the bed and tried to think about what to do next, as the regent was sure to ask his opinion. He’d been a valued spy during the war, and the regent frequently asked his advice. He sat forward and rested his head in his hands. He’d simply gone out for an early morning walk before Parliament, heard the coach approaching, and scrambled to get out of the way before he was run down.
The muffled sounds of an obviously disturbed dog had fired him to action. He ran a short distance through the mist and then had come upon a well-dressed lady, her massive dog, and Lord Stone. One look at the huge dog had almost caused him to retreat, but he couldn’t leave a young woman to deal with what he’d seen of Stone’s face.
The driver had said the woman was Ravensmoore’s sister. Ironic, since he’d been keeping an eye on the “Lord Doctor” at Prinny’s request.
Prinny, as the regent was known amongst the ton, didn’t know if he liked the idea of one of his lords working as a physician. A nobleman working a trade drew suspicion. What was the point? Although Ravensmoore’s reputation had been spotless when he’d come into his title, it was anticipated that he would leave the study of medicine to manage his estate. Instead he’d pursued this obses- sion that he referred to as a calling and allowed his man of affairs


10


to run his estate when he was forced to be absent. Prinny wanted to know if there was more to it or if Ravensmoore was simply eccentric.
He heard the unhappy growling of the regent and his doctor as they neared the suite of rooms. Witt steeled himself.
“What in the name of all that is reasonable has caused this incon- venience?” roared Prinny when he burst through the outer sitting room. He was still steaming as he entered the bedroom with his physician in tow.
Witt stood. “Your Royal Highness.” He bowed. “Lord Stone has been attacked. I found him in the park. He needs your physician’s immediate attention.”
The overstuffed physician huffed. “I’ll decide what necessitates immediate attention, Lord Witt.”
“Then I suggest you make the determination.” Witt nodded toward the bed. The physician hesitated.
The regent said, “Get on with it. I’m busy today. For the love of good food, Parliament reconvenes this afternoon.”
The physician huffed again and went to the bed, grabbing the drapes and pulling them back. “Great heavens. What’s happened to the man?” He opened the black bag he carried with him. “I’ll need a nursemaid.”
Prinny then stepped closer to evaluate Stone’s condition himself. He sucked in a breath. “The poor devil! Get on with it, doctor. Do everything you can to save him.” The regent, visibly shaken, looked at Witt. “Tell me everything. What happened? We must find out who did this to Stone.”
“Your Majesty.” The physician turned from the bed with a bloody missive in his shaking hand. “I found this pinned to his waistcoat. A warning.”
“Who dares?” He snatched the paper away and read it. “Lord
Witt, today’s session of Parliament must be canceled.” Witt arched a brow.


11


Prinny handed him the blood-stained parchment.
Witt read the note aloud. “‘You have been found guilty of con- spiring with sinful men for sinful purposes. I will now handle the situation as I see fit. Stone is only the first. Repent, you lords of par- liament.’ And it’s signed, ‘Lord Talon.’”
“Curse this Lord Talon.” Prinny looked to Witt for direction. “We must decide the best course of action, and soon. No one has dared attack a member of Parliament since Bellingham assassinated our prime minister, and that was six years ago.”
Ravensmoore came to mind, but Witt faltered for just a moment. No doubt the man was the best there was, and his skills badly needed. But his sister had only just arrived in London, and this sit- uation could put her and her brother in danger. An edge of uneasi- ness rippled down his back.
“Witt,” the regent said. “What is your recommendation?”
Witt took charge. “We must proceed with caution. Tell no one about the note. Not yet. And don’t say anything to anyone about the signature of this Lord Talon. I suggest we ask Lord Ravensmoore to join us immediately. Having a physician who is a peer can prove most helpful.”
The regent paced and mumbled to himself, seemingly in a struggle to make a decision. Finally he said, “Send for him.”


12

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Blood sugar Solution by Mark Hyman First Chapter Peak

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:

Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (February 28, 2012)

***Special thanks to Rick Roberson The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


An internationally respected physician, researcher, educator, activist, and five-time New York Times best-selling author, including The Blood Sugar Solution (also a PBS special), The UltraMind Solution (also a PBS special), The UltraSimple Diet, UltraMetabolism, and UltraPrevention (winner of the Books for a Better Life Award), Dr. Hyman has dedicated his life and career to ensuring optimal health - UltraWellness - for all individuals. His new book and PBS special, The Blood Sugar Solution, will be released March 2012 to address the global epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular and other related diseases.

His revolutionary "secret" to achieving UltraWellness? Dr. Hyman is the world's leading pioneer and practitioner of a ground-breaking and emerging approach to medicine that treats our system, not our symptoms. This new health paradigm is a systems-based, patient-centered method (called Functional Medicine) to preventing and treating disease and promoting health that works on two intertwined platforms: identifying and addressing the underlying causes of disease instead of just managing and masking symptoms and employing emerging trends in science and medicine, and integrative medicine.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:



In the new #1 New York Times bestseller, The Blood Sugar Solution (Little, Brown and Company February, 2012), Dr. Mark Hyman - Chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine and founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center - reveals the secret to losing weight and preventing diabesity. According to Dr. Hyman, a staggering one in two Americans suffers from diabesity, the condition of metabolic imbalance and disease that ranges from mild blood sugar imbalance to full-blown diabetes. Diabesity is one of the leading causes of chronic disease in the 21st century, including heart disease, stroke, dementia, and cancer, and the numbers of sick people keep growing. One in three children born today will have diabetes. We are now raising the first generation of Americans to live sicker and die younger than their parents.

Genre: Health & Fitness




Product Details:
List Price: $27.99

Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (February 28, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 031612737X
ISBN-13: 978-0316127370



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Introduction
Diabesity: What You Don't Know May Kill You
What's in a name: insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, syndrome X, obesity, pre-diabetes, adult-onset diabetes, type 2 diabetes. These are all essentially one problem; some vary by severity but all can have deadly consequences. The diagnosis and treatment of the underlying causes that drive all these conditions are actually the same.

Diabesity is a more comprehensive term to describe the continuum from optimal blood sugar balance toward insulin resistance and full-blown diabetes. If you answered yes to any of the questions in the quiz on page xxi, you may already have diabesity.

Nearly all people who are overweight (over 70 percent of adult Americans) already have “pre-diabetes” and have significant risks of disease and death. They just don't know it. Even worse, while the word “diabesity” is made up of the concepts of obesity and diabetes, even those who aren't overweight can have this problem. These are the “skinny fat” people. They are “underlean” (not enough muscle) instead of “overweight” and have a little extra weight around the middle, or “belly fat.” Currently there are no national screening recommendations, no treatment guidelines, no approved medications, and no reimbursement to health care providers for diagnosing and treating anything other than full-blown diabetes. Think about that. Doctors are not expected, trained, or paid to diagnose and treat the single biggest chronic disease in America, which, along with smoking, causes nearly all the major health care burdens of the twenty-first century, including heart disease, stroke, dementia, and even cancer. But here is the good news--there is a scientifically proven solution that I have mapped out for you in this book.

Our current medical practice has not caught up with our knowledge. In 2008, the American College of Endocrinology and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists gathered twenty-two experts and reviewed all the scientific data on pre-diabetes and diabetes. They heralded a wake-up clarion call for individuals, the health care community, and governments around the world.1 Their conclusions were as follows:
The diagnosis of pre-diabetes and diabetes is arbitrary. A fasting blood sugar over 100 mg/dl is considered pre-diabetes, and a blood sugar over 126 mg/dl is considered diabetes. However, they found these cutoffs don't reflect the whole spectrum of risk-- including heart disease, cancer, dementia, stroke, and even kidneyand nervedamage--whichstartsat much lower numbers, numbers most people consider normal.
The DECODE study of 22,000 people2 examined the continuum of risk measured not by fasting blood sugar, but by blood sugar after a big sugar drink (the best way to diagnose the problem). The study found that even starting at blood sugar levels that were perfectly normal (95 mg/dl), there was a steady and significant risk of heart disease and complications well below the accepted abnormal of less than 140 mg/dl for pre-diabetes and long before people reached the diabetic cutoff of 200 mg/dl.

Bottom line: Even if you have perfectly normal blood sugar, you may be sitting on a hidden time bomb of disease called diabesity, which prevents you from losing weight and living a long healthy life. Insulin resistance is the major cause of aging and death in the developed and most of the developing world. This book will help you identify and reverse this explosive situation for yourself. It also lays out a comprehensive action plan for greater collective action to solve this problem individually and collectively by getting healthy together.




Part I
Understanding The Modern Plague
For this we must make automatic and habitual, as early as possible, as many useful actions as we can, and guard against the growing into ways that are likely to be disadvantageous to us, as we should guard against the plague.
-- William James,
“The Laws of Habit,” The Popular Science Monthly (February 1887)
It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.
-- Mark Twain
1
a Hidden epidemic: The United States of Diabetes
Diabesity, the continuum of health problems ranging from mild insulin resistance and overweight to obesity and diabetes, is the single biggest global health epidemic of our time. It is one of the leading causes of heart disease, dementia, cancer, and premature death in the world and is almost entirely caused by environmental and lifestyle factors. This means that it is almost 100 percent preventable and curable.

Diabesity affects over 1.7 billion people worldwide. Scientists conservatively estimate it will affect 1 in 2 Americans by 2020, 90 percent of whom will not be diagnosed. I believe it already affects more than 1 in 2 Americans and up to 70-80 percent of some populations.

Obesity (almost always related to diabesity) is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and around the world. Gaining just 11-16 pounds doubles the risk of type 2 diabetes, while gaining 17-24 pounds triples the risk. Despite this, there are no national recommendations from government or key organizations advising screening or treatment for pre-diabetes. We are becoming the United States of Diabetes.

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes in America has tripled since the 1980s. In 2010 there were 27 million Americans with diabetes (25 percent of whom were not diagnosed) and 67 million with pre-diabetes (90 percent of whom were not diagnosed). African-Americans, Latin Americans, and Asians have dramatically higher rates of diabesity than Caucasians do.1 By 2015, 2.3 billion people worldwide will be overweight and 700 million will be obese. The number of diabetics will increase from 1 in 10 Americans today to 1 in 3 by the middle of this century.

A Childhood Problem
Perhaps most disturbing, our children are increasingly affected by this epidemic. We are raising the first generation of Americans to live sicker and die younger than their parents. Life expectancy is actually declining for the first time in human history.
Here are some startling statistics:
One in three children is overweight in America.
Childhood obesity has tripled from 1980 to 2010.
There are now more than 2 million morbidly obese children above the 99th percentile in weight.
In New York City, 40 percent of the children are overweight or obese.
One in three children born today will have diabetes in their lifetime.
Childhood obesity will have more impact on the life expectancy of children than all childhood cancers combined.

A Global Problem
Diabetes is just as widespread in other parts of the world: In 2007, it was estimated that 240 million people worldwide had diabetes. It is projected to affect 380 million by the year 2030, about 10 times the number of people affected by HIV/AIDS.2 Sadly this is a gross underestimate. Estimates in 2011 put the worldwide total at 350 million. In China alone, rates of diabetes were almost zero 25 years ago. In 2007, there were 24 million diabetics in China, and scientists projected that by 2030 there would be 42 million diabetics in China. However, by 2010, there were 93 million diabetics and 148 million pre-diabetics in China,

Special Note: Childhood Obesity and Diabetes --The Blood Sugar Solution for Children
The biggest tragedy is the global spread of childhood obesity and “adult”onset or type 2 diabetes in little children. We are now seeing eight-year-old children with diabetes, fifteen-year-olds with strokes, and twenty-five-yearolds who need cardiac bypass. While The Blood Sugar Solution is a program mostly for adults, it is also powerful and effective for children. The whole family must be part of the solution, and we have to make our homes, communities, and schools safe for our children.

The Blood Sugar Solution includes many child-friendly recipes. And when it comes to supplements, there is something for everyone, even infants and children. In fact, any child over twelve years of age with diabesity can follow the basic Blood Sugar Solution plan. Children younger than twelve or those who qualify for the Advanced Plan should work with an experienced functional medicine practitioner. See www.bloodsugarsolution.com for how best to support your children's health if they are overweight or have type 2 diabetes.

almost all of whom were previously undiagnosed. Imagine if we had 148 million new cases of AIDS overnight in one country.

Sixty percent of the world's diabetics will eventually come from Asia because it is the world's most populous region. The number of individuals with impaired glucose tolerance or pre-diabetes will increase substantially because of increased genetic susceptibility to the harmful effects of sugar and processed foods. Interestingly, people in this Asian population (who are uniquely susceptible to diabetes even though they may not be obese) are increasingly affected as they adopt a more Western diet. Weaker environmental laws and regulations also expose them to increasing levels of toxins, which, as we will see later, are a significant cause of diabesity.3



Ponder this: From 1983 to 2008, the number of people in the world with diabetes increased sevenfold, from 35 to 240 million. In just three years, from 2008 to 2011, we added another 110 million diabetics to our global population. Shouldn't the main question we ask be why is this happening? instead of what new drug can we find to treat it? Our approach must be novel, innovative, and widely applicable at low cost across all borders. Billions and billions have been wasted trying to find the “drug cure,” while the solution lies right under our nose. This is a lifestyle and environmental disease and won't be cured by a medication.

Diabesity: The major cause of chronic disease and decreased life expectancy.
Diabesity is one of the leading causes of chronic disease in the twenty-first century, including heart disease, stroke, dementia, and cancer.4
Consider the following:
One-third of all diabetics have documented heart disease.5
It is estimated that nearly everyone else with type 2 diabetes has undiagnosed cardiovascular disease.
People with diabetes are four times more likely to die from heart disease, and the rate of stroke is three to four times higher in this population.
Those with pre-diabetes are also four times more likely to die of heart disease.6 So having pre-diabetes isn't really “pre” anything in terms of risk.
There is a fourfold increased risk for dementia in diabetics.7 And pre-diabetes is a leading cause of “pre-dementia,” also known as mild cognitive impairment.
The link between obesity and cancer is well documented and is driven by insulin resistance.8
Diabesity is the leading cause of high blood pressure in our society. Seventy-five percent of those with diabetes have high blood pressure.
Diabesity is also the leading cause of liver failure from NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis), also known as fatty liver. It affects 30 percent of our general population (about 90 million) and 70-90 percent of those who have diabesity. Those with fatty liver are at much greater risk of heart attack and death.9
Diabesity is an important cause of depression and mood disorders. Women with diabetes are 29 percent more likely to develop depression, and women who took insulin are 53 percent more likely to develop depression.10
Nervous system damage affects 60-70 percent of people with diabetes, leading to a loss of sensation in the hands and feet, slow digestion, carpal tunnel syndrome, sexual dysfunction, and other problems. Almost 30 percent of people age forty or older with diabetes have impaired sensation in their feet, and this frequently leads to amputations.
Diabesity is also the leading cause of blindness among people ages twenty to seventy-four.
Diabesity is the leading cause of kidney failure --accounting for 44 percent of new cases each year.
People with poorly controlled diabetes are three times more likely to have periodontal or severe gum disease.

A recent remarkable study published in the New England Journal of Medicine examining 123,205 deaths in 820,900 people found that diabetics died an average of six years earlier than nondiabetics and 40 percent of those did not die from heart disease or the usual diabetes-related causes.11 They died from other complications not obviously related to diabetes, complications most wouldn't necessarily correlate with the disease. Yet it makes perfect sense given that diabesity is the underlying cause that drives most chronic illnesses.
Diabesity: A major global threat to economic development.
Direct health care costs in the United States over the next decade attributable to diabetes and pre-diabetes will be $3.4 trillion, or one in every ten health care dollars spent. Obese citizens cost the U.S. health care system 40 percent more than normal-weight citizens. In a sample of 10 million commercial health plan members, those without diabetes cost $4,000 a year compared to $11,700 for those with diabetes, and $20,700 for those with complications from diabetes.

Diabesity places a large economic burden on our society. The direct and indirect costs of diabetes in America in 2007 amounted to $174 billion. The cost of obesity is also significant, and amounts to $113 billion every year. From 2000 to 2010, these two conditions have already cost us a total of $3 trillion. That's three times the estimated cost of fixing our entire health care system!12

Are we getting our money's worth? Is our current approach winning the battle against these completely preventable and curable diseases? Clearly the answer is no!
The Impact of Diabesity on Developing Nations
Diabetes is not just a problem for rich countries with too much food; it is also a disease of poverty13 that is increasing in developing countries as well.14 In India, diabetes carries a greater risk of death than infectious disease. In the Middle East, nearly 20-25 percent of the population is diabetic. When I helped in Haiti (the poorest country in the Western hemisphere) after the earthquake in 2010, I asked the director of Haiti's main public hospital what the major medical problems were prior to the earthquake. His answer surprised me: heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes--all caused by diabesity.

By 2020, there will be fewer than 20 million deaths worldwide from infectious disease, but more than 50 million deaths from chronic preventable lifestyle diseases--heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. These are all fueled by the same preventable risk factors: high blood pressure, overweight, physical inactivity, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and smoking. But strikingly, 95 percent of private and public efforts and funding focus almost exclusively on combating communicable or infectious disease.15
The Solution: Take Back Our Health
There is a solution available, one that is accessible and scalable, one that is available to everyone and prevents, treats, and reverses diabesity at a fraction of the cost. This book provides that solution for individuals, communities, and nations. It will require significant change at all levels, but each of us has the power to transform this problem.

In addition to curing diabesity on an individual level, we need a movement. I call it Take Back Our Health, and in Part V, I explain how we can all join this movement so we can get healthy together. It starts with the individual, but moves into families, communities, workplaces, schools, and faith-based organizations and filters through us to government and corporations.

In the next chapter, we will look at the true causes of diabesity, and why current treatments aren't working.