About Me

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I'm a librarian by day, a writer by night, and a reader and amateur photographer in between. I love to share books and other things that interest me. My own book - The Marshal Meets His Match - released January 2013. You can also find me at www.facebook.com/ClariDees

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Next up...

A package arrived in the mail this afternoon. Some exciting reading coming up!

(Ronie Kendig's Firethorn. Denise Hunter's The Accidental Bride. LTG William G. Boykin's Kiloton Threat.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Natural Goodies

I am a research librarian, and that talent/curse spills over on every area of my life, not just my workday job. I enjoy researching natural ways to treat illnesses and health problems, and how to use the things God made to prevent disease, illnesses, etc. Because of that, I use a lot of different vitamins, supplements, and herbal products to stay well during cold and flu season, and help me function better and feel healthier in a variety of areas year round.

Unfortunately, I live in a town that doesn't have a health food store, and the closest one is about a forty minute drive. That store also happens to be a brand name health food store with prices that are more than a little steep.

But then I found this place: http://www.swansonvitamins.com/

To a budget conscious, natural supplement lover like myself, this place is a HUGE treasure trove full of goodies.

I have been ordering from Swanson Vitamins about once a month for over a year now, and I have yet to be dissatisfied with service or product. Not only do they carry just about any brand you've ever seen in a health food store, they also have their own brand, which is usually a bit cheaper, and just as high quality, if not a bit better then the brand name you might have used before.

I get things from them like:

Emergen-C.  http://www.swansonvitamins.com/AC063/ItemDetail
A powdered vitamin C drink mix that has 1,000mg of C plus B vitamins and other minerals and electrolytes. It's several dollars cheaper than the box stores sell it for, and we love using it!

Vitamin D-3. http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SW1210/ItemDetail
The more I hear in health news about this supplement, the more I think we've caused a lot of our own health problems by being deficient in this area. (There is a lot of research out there that points to this being the best flu preventative.)

Tart Cherry. http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SWH112/ItemDetail
My dad suffered with terrible gout attacks until I found this. Since he started taking it over a year ago, he has only had one very mild flare. Before that, the attacks were so bad in his feet, knees and hips, they prevented him from being able to walk, much less go work. I use it now too, because it is a great source of antioxidants, flavonoids, and is good for your joints, heart, etc.

MSM Cream. http://www.swansonvitamins.com/SWCS008/ItemDetail
My sisters and I love using this on our face after a shower. It not only feels good, it has evened out skin tone while it moisturizes. (MSM has a lot of benefits, and it's a supplement we give in powder form to our horses as well as ourselves.)

Another favorite to get for everyone in my family is essential fatty acids, which come from several sources. Swanson's carries a large variety; fish, flax seed, krill, etc. We try to always have this on hand, and I've seen an improvement in the general health of my family with a side benefit of skin being clearer with the consistent addition of essential fatty acids in the diet.

Swansons doesn't limit itself to just vitamins and herbals, though. They have things like natural soaps, shampoos, deodorants. Things like raw honey, organic teas, skin care items, organic herbs & spices, etc. They literally carry thousands upon thousands of products, and all for a lower price than you can get in a store. Their shipping is great, too. Price and timing are excellent. They also run specials such as buy-one-get-one, percentages off your order, or free shipping on orders over a certain amount. If you like them on Facebook or sign up for their emails, they'll alert you when they are running one of these specials.

Have you ever had a flyer in your mailbox for a "new" natural supplement that promises all kinds of health benefits, but the price is just a little...well...pricey? I get them all the time, but now, I just go to Swanson Vitamins and look the particular supplement up. So far, they have had it every time. Either in their own Swanson brand, or some other health food brand, or both. And, the best part is, the price is much more affordable.

So. If you like to use natural products, do yourself a favor and check out Swanson Vitamins. I just placed a new order this morning to replenish my family's supply of natural goodies and am eagerly awaiting its delivery.

(P.S. This advertisement was entirely my idea and totally unsolicited. I just had to share my satisfaction with this company and their products.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Earl's Mistaken Bride

I love a good Regency romance, especially if it falls into the Christian fiction category, and I've found a new-to-me author that fills that niche rather nicely.

The author's name is Abby Gaines, and the book is The Earl's Mistaken Bride.

Marcus Brookstone, Earl of Spenford, has made a bargain with God. If God will heal his mother, Marcus will take a wife, and a daughter of the Parson Somerton will fill the bill nicely. Though they are beneath his lofty station in life, at least they have an impeccable pedigree, and the beautiful daughter he met in the stable yard fits the image of the type of Countess his pride demands.

But the girl he finds under the wedding veil at the end of the ceremony is NOT the beautiful daughter he planned to marry. He unwittingly married Constance. The stubborn, irritating, PLAIN daughter. If this was God's idea of a joke, Marcus wasn't laughing!

Marcus doesn't want love, it's messy and completely undignified, so as long as his new wife will remember her place, he'll swallow the bitter pill of a mistaken marriage for the sake of his mother. Unfortunately, Constance not only doesn't remember her place, she turns his world completely upside down by having the audacity to fall in love with him!

When a handsome stiff-necked, prideful Earl marries a plain, stubborn, opinionated Parson's daughter by mistake, his troubles are only beginning. In fact, he didn't even know how to spell trouble until he met Miss Somerton. But now he knows trouble is spelled with a capital C O N S T A N C E!

This book is out in stores now and of course available online. Grab a copy for yourself. It's an entertaining read with a great cast of chacters (I loved the sub-story line of Tom and Miriam!) and a not-too-subtle message about the ways pride can trip us all up.

If you like historicals, especially Regency historicals, check this one out. You'll be glad you did!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Surrender the Dawn

And now, the conclusion of the Surrender to Destiny series by MaryLu Tyndall...
Surrender The Dawn.

Cassandra Channing became the head of her household by default when her father and brothers disappeared into the mists of the War of 1812. It is unheard of for a woman to invest her money into a privateer, and no one wants to do business with her for fear of bad luck. But Cassandra is desperate to save her family's finances, and desperate times call for desperate measures.

Luke Heaton has a ship, if you can call it that, and plenty of experience being a privateer, but he needs funds, and that's where Miss Channing comes in. She has the money, he has the ship and the know-how. He may be the town rogue with a more-than-slightly tarnished reputation, but he's willing to do business with Cassandra, which is more than the other privateers can say.

So, Cassandra takes a chance and it pays off. The first voyage is wildly successful, and it looks like their future and finances are saved.

a jealous suitor doesn't want Cassandra Channing to be independent.
someone's out for revenge on Luke Heaton.

When these two join forces, they lay a clever trap, and Luke's brother is kidnapped and used to blackmail him into providing supplies to the British. Cassandra really wants to trust Luke because she's falling in love with him, but she's suspicious of his recent activities. When she sets out to discover the truth for herself, she's caught in the toils of the massive British invasion and held prisoner.

The British may see Luke and Cassandra as mere pawns to be sacrificed on the altar of war, but to God, they are priceless treasures, and He rules their destinys as well as the destiny of a new nation!

Check out what happens in Surrender The Dawn. A great wrap up to the Surrender to Destiny series.

I love history, so these books are right up my alley. But even if you're not a fan of history, you'll enjoy these well-written stories. Who doesn't like a good love story with some swasbuckling adventure thrown in?! Who knows, you might even find that history is not as dry as you thought it was! 

Surrender The Night

Surrender The Night is book two in MaryLu Tyndall's Surrender to Destiny series.

Rose McGuire has the nightmares to prove why she doesn't trust men, but when an enemy soldier protects her from a brutal attack and is wounded in the process, she can do no less than hide him and treat his wound.

British 2nd Lieutenant Alexander Reed has no reason to trust these backwoods, illiterate Americans, but he also couldn't stand by and see an innocent woman raped, and now that he's been shot, he doesn't have much of a choice but to trust this skittish American.

As you can imagine, hiding a British soldier has all sorts of pitfalls. Not the least of which is an annoyingly persistent suitor of Rose's who is only after her land and will do anything it takes to get it, including blackmailing Rose and Alexander.

Even as war swirls around them and loyalties pull them apart, Rose and Alex begin to wish they had the freedom to fall in love.

Step back in time with Surrender The Night and see what happens to a wounded American woman and a wounded British soldier. It's a wonderful story full of powerful truths about God's ability to use us, wounds and all.

(Warning: You might also learn some things about how God was working in our country to preserve our freedom from British rule.)

This one is on my keeper shelf, so grab your own copy! :-)

Stay tuned for book three in the Surrender to Destiny series.

Surrender The Heart

Surrender The Heart by MaryLu Tyndall is the first book in the Surrender to Destiny series and stars Marianne Denton and Noah Brenin in the days of the War of 1812.

Marianne's family is keeping up the pretense of wealth, but in reality they are destitute until Marianne marries and can obtain her inheritance.

Noah Brenin's family needs money for their shipping business, and they see a marriage with the Denton family as advantageous to the family coffers. The problem is, Noah doesn't want to marry Marianne. He believes he can provide the needed funds by getting a shipload of supplies to England to sell.

(There's always a but in a good story.)
Marianne refuses to let him get away with humiliating her and walking out on their engagement party, and she stows away on his ship to convince him to marry her.

American has just gone to war with England, and Noah and his ship become collateral damage when the ship is captured by an English man-of-war, and Marianne and Noah are impressed into the British navy.

How they survive a crazy British naval captain and learn that God has not forsaken them even amid a world at war is a story well worth reading.

MaryLu Tyndall makes 1812 American history come alive, if you are at all interested in the early years of this great country. But even if you're not a history fan, this story will keep you on the edge of your seat during intense battles at sea and battles of the heart.

Grab a copy of Surrender The Heart for yourself, because my copy is going on my keeper shelf!

Stay tuned for book two in the Surrender to Destiny series...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

San Antonio

My sister and I went to San Antonia a couple of weekends ago, and I thought I'd share a few of the pictures I snapped. It was a whirlwind trip, but we did get to snag a couple of hours to sightsee.

Monument to the men who died in the Alamo.

This 100+ year old Live Oak stands in the courtyard of the Alamo and guards the well (which you can see just to the left of the tree trunk).

The purple asters were in full bloom, and the honey bees were quite busy.

Across the street from the Alamo you can go down to the Riverwalk. I took some video of our short time down there, but neglected to take any still photos. Oh, for more time to explore that beautiful spot!

We ate at a barbecue cafe alongside the water. It would have been a beautiful spot except for the pigeons. They were roosting in the trees above the heads of the diners, and they bombed our table more than once. Thankfully, they missed our food and drinks. Yuck!

We were on the road for 22 hours coming home due to road construction delays and detours. Round trip, we covered over 2200 miles. It was good to see that part of the world, but I am thankful I don't have to live and work with the kind of traffic we got snarled up in through Austin, Tx. Yikes! How do people live like that? It took us two hours to make it through Austin's rush hour traffic on the way down, but only 30 minutes on the way back up because we missed rush hour.

There is definitely something to be said about rural, small-town life! No Traffic!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My new toy...

I have a new digital camera, and I've been playing. Here are some of my results:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Run for your life!

When Her Highness Princess Isabelle of Lydia steps into the limousine to go to a routine state dinner, she never imagines her life is about to be turned upside down. The only thing she’s worried about is her enigmatical new bodyguard. She doesn’t trust him, but her father, the King, refuses to replace him or explain the sudden change.

But then an explosion rips through the limousine carrying her brother and Isabelle’s world is shattered. Her bodyguard gets her away from the immediate danger, but can he be trusted, or is he kidnapping her? Is her family all dead? Who can be trusted in this new world where friend is foe and foe is friend?

An assassination attempt. A missing, presumed dead royal family. A country in chaos. A usurper to the now-empty throne. A princess on the run for her very life. These are only a few of the dangers in the new book by Rachelle McCalla; Princess in Peril.

Book one in McCalla’s new Reclaiming the Crown series started out fast and sped up! The plot was intriguing and believable, the characters well-written, and the suspense edge-of-your-seat. I couldn’t wait to get to the end of the story to see what happened, and yet, I didn’t want the story to end. This book will go on my keeper shelf, and I eagerly await the next book in the series.

In stores now. Princess in Peril by Rachelle McCalla. Pick up a copy for yourself, grab a comfy seat, and buckle up for a fast-paced, won’t-want-to-put-it-down read.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Guardians of Justice

I've just finished book two in the Guardians of Justice series, and Irene Hannon continues to be a favorite suspense writer.
The Guardians of Justice series tells the stories of the three Taylor siblings. In book one, Fatal Judgement, we meet U.S. Marshal Jake Taylor who is on protection detail for Federal Judge Liz Michaels. An unknown enemy wants Liz dead, and it's Jake's job to protect her. However, Liz's husband was Jake's best friend, and he died under rather suspicious circumstances. Jake believes Liz is ruthlessly obssessed with her career to the point of allowing her marriage to fail, but he just might find he's jumped to some wrong conclusions. But will he figure that out before danger strikes one last, fatal time?

This story leaves you wanting to know more about the other Taylor siblings, and that's where book two comes in. :-)

In Deadly Pursuit, we meet Jake's sister, Alison Taylor, a social worker with a heart for helping children. But this soft-hearted woman has made someone mad, and that someone is gunning for her. Enter Ex-Navy SEAL, Mitch Morgan. He's the new partner of Alison's brother, Cole Taylor. Alison Taylor has caught his eye, and he's not about to let someone hurt his partner's sister; that would ruin a perfectly good partnership! Not to mention, he wants to get to know Alison better for purely personal reasons...

Deadly Pursuit was a fast read, and even though you know pretty quick who the bad guy is, it still keeps you on the edge of your seat as the story climaxes. I like that this author can tell a story that keeps me in suspense without being graphic when it comes to details of the crimes. (I don't need the gory details described to know that evil is evil.)

If you like romantic suspense, check out the Guardians of Justice series. Books one and two are sitting proudly on my shelf waiting for book three: Cole's story.

The Guardians of Justice series is set in and around St. Louis, Missouri. Since I'm a Missouri girl, it was fun to read about places I had been and could picture in my mind.

(Irene Hannon has another series of three books called The Heroes of Quantico. Each book follows an FBI Agent and are more great reads if you like suspense.)


Saturday, October 1, 2011


Have you seen this movie yet?

Last night I sat in a crowded theatre and marvled at the amount of people around me. I was at a theatre in the next town over and it was a considerably larger venue, but I've never been in a movie theatre where nearly every single seat was filled and I was elbow-to-elbow with strangers. I was thrilled to see so many people out in support of a Christian Film! The crowd was lively, and as the movie played across the screen, the laughs and gasps filled the room. At one point the audience and I were laughing so hard we nearly missed hearing the next scene in the movie. (My sisters and I walked out quoting some of the funny scenes and still laughing over them.)

I've been following the making of this movie since they started filming, enjoying the behind-the-scenes clips they would post every week last year, and the movie MORE than exceeded my expectations. There was comedy. There was drama. There were absolutely hysterical moments. There were heartbreaking moments. And there was action; plenty of action. I wasn't ready for the movie to end and am already plotting when I can see it again.

I was entertained. I was encouraged. I was convicted. I was challenged. I laughed. I cried. And in the immortal words of Veggie Tales' Larry the Cucumber..."It moved me, Bob!"!

If you haven't seen Courageous yet...GO!
It's the must-see movie of the year!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Aristocrat’s Lady

Working in a library environment for about ten years now, I occasionally run across what I privately term, “Book Snobs.” They are the ones who won’t deign to pick up a mass-market paperback book; they will only read hardcover, bestseller fiction and/or nonfiction.

I, on the other hand, am always trying different sources for new authors and good reads. Hardback, paperback, new books, out-of-print books, trade paperbacks, mass-market paperbacks, e-books; I try them all. And some of my absolute, all time, go-back-and-read-them-again-and-again stories are those little paperback books. The ones small enough to stick in my purse or pocket and carry with me.

And this week, I found a new author with an absolutely delicious book. ----- Introducing, Mary Moore’s The Aristocrat’s Lady from the Love Inspired Historical line.

Lady Nicole Beaumont is enduring her first London Season at the urging of her mother, but she doesn’t want to be seen as an invalid and insists that her handicap be kept secret; even if that means making herself inconspicuous and sitting in the darkened corners of the ballroom.

Lord Devlin is tired of being fawned over and pursued by women interested only in his title and wealth, but he’s intrigued by the beautiful women he meets on a dark terrace outside the ball room. She doesn’t simper and flirt and can actually carry on an intelligent, witty conversation and unlike most females, is more than willing to excuse herself from his presence.

Lady Nicole is hiding a secret and believes God only has one particular path for her future. Lord Devlin has learned to mistrust women and their secrets and doesn’t believe in a loving God.
Will Lady Nicole and Lord Devlin learn that God’s plans may not be their plans, and let the light of His truth shine on both their secrets and their hearts?
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.                  (Jeremiah 29:11-12.)
I love Regency romances but there are not very many Christian Regency romances and this was both Christian and wonderfully Regency; along with being a well-written, engaging story. It is full of extremely likable secondary characters, too. My favorite was Toby! He needs his own story, in my humble opinion.

If you like historical romances or Regency romances (hint: think Jane-Austen-type stories if you’re not familiar with Regency as a classification), then you need to try this book. I think you’ll like it. It’s going on my to-be-read-again, I-have-to-share-this-one-with-my-friends shelf.

(Psst…it’s currently sitting on Walmart’s bookshelves as part of September’s Love Inspired Historical line, and the price is only about $4.31.) It’s also available at Amazon.com and other booksellers.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Road to Unafraid

Do you struggle with fear? I do. And if you're honest, you do, too.
Fear is one of Satan's many tools against us in our battle as Christians in a fallen world. That's why God tells us so many times in His Word: Fear not. Do not fear, nor be afraid.

Over and over again, God promises us His Peace, His Comfort, His Protection, and yet, like silly little sheep, we run bleating at the first sign of trouble. And by we, I mean, me, myself and I.

Maybe that's why I like to read about people facing scarier things than I ever have; people who lived to tell about it. People like Marcus Luttrell of Operation RedWing, Lone Survivor fame and Jeff Struecker, author of The Road to Unafraid, survivor of Black Hawk Down in Mogadishu.

Jeff Struecker, winner of Army's Top Ranger competition and now an Army Chaplain, was a Ranger on the front lines in Mogadishu. He saw things, lived through things, faced dangers and terrors, the likes of which most of us will never see. He had things to fear; terrifying things, like death, capture, torture, maiming...

So when he talks about how to be unafraid, you can bet I'm going to listen because this guy knows what fear is. He's lived through situations where there was a high possibility he wouldn't live through the day.

Reading The Road to Unafraid, I learned that fear is fear, whether real or imagined, and soldiers face the same kinds of fears I do. Will my family be okay while I'm away. How will I pay the next bill? What if I lose my job? What if I get hurt or sick? and etc. But we don't have to be immobilized by fear, we don't have to live in fear. God will walk with us and give us peace and comfort in the place of fear when we place our complete trust in Him.

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Isaiah 26:3) That's a promise! And it's a promise Jeff Struecker learned and illustrates so clearly in his book.

Are you struggling with fear? Do you want an inspiring read? Looking for a story about a hero, not only in the world's eyes but in God's? Look no further than The Road to Unafraid. It's well written and will keep you on the edge of your seat; but the best part is learning that if God can keep you safe when the bombs and bullets are falling all around you, He can keep you when the trials of this life are rocking your boat, whatever they may be. He's in the boat with you if you are His child, and He promised never to leave you or forsake you.

Thank you, Captain Jeff Struecker, for showing us the road to Unafraid!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ships Ahoy!

I admit it.

I am a Christian Fiction lover. 
I love historical Christian fiction. I love contemporary Christian fiction. I even like suspense Christian Fiction.
And I love...”Argh, Matey!”… pirate stories!

I loved the seafaring adventures that Linda Chaikin wrote in the nineties called “The Buccaneers”, and I loved MaryLu Tyndall’s series, “Legacy of the King’s Pirates.” And now we have Kaye Dacus’The Ransome Trilogy.” 

I just finished reading Ransome’s Quest, the final book in the Ransome Trilogy and I must say, it’s the best of the three. What’s not to love about it? Adventure on the high seas, mistaken identities, hidden identities, dangerous secrets, kidnapping, romance, and of course, PIRATES.

The first two books in this trilogy are seafaring stories featuring ships and officers of His Majesty’s Royal Navy. But in the book that ties up all the loose ends, finishing the series, we get to have some good, old fashioned pirates. Or should I say bad? Nope, I’ll say good and bad pirates; because there’s both.

Ransome’s Quest is such a fun read and the characters so well drawn that I found myself wanting a separate book just to tell the story of El Salvador de los Esclavos. He wound up as my favorite character by the end of the story. And he managed to do that without detracting anything from the characters I’d loved since the very first book. That’s a pirate for you. Always stealing the show!

Check out Ransome’s Quest; it’s a great summer read; especially if you’re like me and enjoy reading stories with a little more adventure in them. This one’s going on my keeper shelf. I’ll have to reread the entire trilogy sometime. It’s that entertaining.

(Thank you, Harvest House Publishers, for providing me with a copy to preview/review.)
(I was not required to give a positive review of this book. All the opinions expressed above are my own. Seriously! They came out of my own little brain. Can't you tell?)

Thursday, August 11, 2011


The funerals for our warriors killed last weekend in Afghanistan are beginning today, and while I'm incredibly heartsore when I think about their loss and the sacrifice their families are dealing with, I'm also incredibly proud of these heroes. In honor of their service and sacrifice, I'd like to share this poem written by my youngest sister about three years ago.

by Lyndee Joy Dees 

He fought a good fight,
For his country and flag.
But when it came to his deeds,
He dared never brag.
Though he had medals,
He'd give them all back,
Or at least he would have,
When he served in Iraq,
But there was one medal,
Which would not depart
From his mother's possession,
It was his purple heart.
He earned it the hard way;
Many others did too.
So we laid him in Arlington,
By the Red, White and Blue.
'Tis a place for our Presidents,
But hardly just that.
It's where we honor our heroes
Who died in combat.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


My prayers go out to the family, friends and teammates of those special forces soldiers killed last night when a Chinook helicopter crashed in Afghanistan.

My heart hurt when I heard it on the news this morning, and my first prayer was that the early reports of 31 killed was wrong.

May God cover those working the crash site with protection, and may He give their families support and comfort.

Once again, our freedom is paid for with the blood of those willing to put their lives on the frontlines. May God bless their sacrifice and use us at home to continue to keep our country free.

God Bless our Soldiers! God Bless America! Home of the Free, because of the Brave!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Follow up.

After reading Lone Survivor, I was in the mood for more information on Navy SEALs, so I picked up this:

The Warrior Elite by Dick Couch.

Former Navy SEAL, Dick Couch, followed and wrote about SEAL Class 228, the same class Lone Survivor Marcus Luttrell graduated alongside.

It isn't exactly a light read, but it only took me an evening and the following morning to read the book from cover to cover. If you've ever wanted a fairly in-depth look at what it takes to be a SEAL, this book will give it to you.

It takes a special breed of men to make it all the way through SEAL training; to actually pin on the SEAL Trident. SEAL Warriors aren't some back-woods, country hicks that couldn't make it anywhere else. SEAL Warriors aren't muscle-bound dumb jocks. No...if they were, they couldn't be, wouldn't be SEALs. There are so many levels and kinds of training these men not only have to master, but exell at, it's mind boggling to me.

Yes, they have to be excellent with all kinds of weapons. Yes, they have to have a very high level of physical can-do like jump out of planes into water, in the dark, with a Zodiac, swim underwater for miles... They also have to know things like...medicine...photography...demolitions...satellites...oceanography...physics...etc.  And they have to be able to do these things while cold, wet, in pain and even under fire.

Nope! I couldn't cut it. But they can. And Do! On a daily basis! And that impresses me to no end!

Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a Warrior? Check out The Warrior Elite, and find out what it means to "Never Quit."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Promise Kept!

Have you ever promised yourself you'd do something, but put it off? Then when you accomplished your goal you kicked yourself for not doing it sooner?

I have.

Many times.

One of those promises to myself that I kept procrastinating on was to read Marcus Luttrell's Lone Survivor.

I always have a stack of books waiting, but last week I made time to read Lone Survivor. Wow! I don't read much non-fiction, but this one was well worth my time.

I've known the basic information about Operation Redwing since the book first came out. I've seen Marcus Luttrell interviewed on a few news programs and I've looked up articles online. I think I put off reading the book because although Marcus Luttrell survived Operation Redwing, his comrades did not. I knew the story would be somewhat hard to read.

I was right. To some extent. The book was actually very easy to read but extremely hard to put down when I needed to do something else, like go to work. Marcus Luttrell has a wicked sense of humor and since I've always enjoyed learning about anything to do with our Special Forces, the background on Marcus' SEAL training was informative, entertaining and made me even more impressed with the men who make it through.

Then came the hard part. The events of Operation Redwing. Marcus Luttrell is the only survivor after his team is surrounded by Taliban forces in the mountains of Afghanistan. They are severely outnumbered and although his team mates fight on long after the majority of us would have quit/died/surrendered, they are eventually killed. Even the reinforcements that are called in are taken out by a Taliban rocket.

I cried when reading about the actions of these brave American Warriors. They weren't trying to be heroes. They were doing their job as American soldiers in the face of overwhelming odds. I am absolutely honored to meet these men who loved and fought and died for their country and their comrades; to read about their courage under fire.

I haven't been able to stop thinking about this book since I finished it. What an insight into the lives and actions of our men in uniform. These unsung heroes in a day and age of Hollywood starlets and scandals. Our men and women in uniform who quietly go about the business of keeping this country safe against a violent enemy.

I kept a promise to myself to read this book and in doing so, read about greater promises kept. The promise our men and women in uniform make to defend this country. The promise Marcus Luttrell made to a team mate to live to tell his wife he loved her. 

This book touched me like few books have ever done. I am in awe of the 'never quit' attitude of a lone Navy SEAL. I am humbled by the bravery of our soldiers. I have a deeper respect and gratitude then I've ever known. They are in my prayers more then ever before.

God Bless our Soldiers! God Bless the USA!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Got Light?

Psalm 119:105
Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

I love homegrown roses, so when I pruned a storm-damaged rosebush a month ago, I displayed a few of them on my desk. Little did I know my brother's camera would come looking for a photo shoot. When I saw the pic he'd snapped, the above verse came to mind.

Need direction in your life? Need encouragement?
God's Word will give encouragement and direction, but only if you open it and read it.

(Thanks for the pic, bro. As you can see, I like it :-)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Her Best Catch

I ran across a new author last month and decided to try her book, Her Best Catch. I'm glad I did. It is a very light, entertaining read and just in time for summer.

Allison Doll isn't looking for romance. In fact, she's a little aggravated that her best friend's romance has begun to ruin a perfectly good threesome. On top of that, she's busy keeping an eye on her mother who hasn't been the same since the death of her husband. She's also a little busy juggling a hectic work schedule. But at Sunday School one morning, life suddenly takes a turn when a famous ball player walks in and sets his sights on her. 

This story isn't deep or heavy, which is why I picked it up. I like light reading, and this story hooked me from the first. I finished it in less then 24 hours because I didn't want to put the book down. The cast of characters are well drawn, and I found myself laughing several times throughout the story.

I read one review where the reviewer disliked the fact that in the story the 30-year-old Allison was worried about what her mother (and others) would say if she went on an overnight trip with a man even though they would have seperate rooms. The reviewer thought that was ridiculous. I, on the other hand, appreciated that. I am a 30+, single, Christian female, and I would not go on an overnight trip with a man I wasn't married to, even if there were seperate rooms. The exception, as in the story, is a mission trip, etc., where there are others along. So, it was nice to read about a character who thinks there is value in a good reputation and appreciates the opinions of those that have been in authority over her even though she's now a grown adult.

If you want to find out what happens to Allison Doll, you'll need to grab a copy of Her Best Catch by Lindi Peterson. If you're looking for a quick, light, wholesome read for this summer, check out Her Best Catch. I did, and I'm glad I did. All in all, a fun read and an author I'm looking forward to hearing from again!

I would like to thank the publishers of Her Best Catch for providing me with a review copy via NetGalley. I was not asked or required to give a positive review, and all the opinions in the above review are strictly my own. :-)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride

I've just finished reading the galley for Sandra D. Bricker's newest book entitled Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride. What a fun read on a long drive home!
I was introduced to Sandra Bricker's writing through her previous title, Always the Baker, Never the Bride. This book will make you hungry as you read it. A diabetic pastry chef creates award-winning desserts, but is unable to eat them herself. She is hired as the new pastry chef for a hotel that is becoming the newest destination wedding spot; however, life is never simple. There are many funny twists and turns, and lots of hilarious characters along the way before the happy ending.

 When I saw that there would be a sequel, I was eager to read it and was not disappointed. When we meet the main character in Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride, she is already engaged to be married, but the wedding planner extraordinaire's path to her own wedding is anything but smooth. Lost wedding dresses (yes, I said dresses, plural), old flames, allergic reactions, fierce mother-in-law-to-be, a destructive, homeless dog and a crazy actor are just a few of the problems that befall our heroine. Will love survive the seemingly endless onslaught? Is her fiance the right man for her? You'll have to read it yourself to find out!

The publisher graciously allowed me access to the galley for Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride, and I am very grateful. It is a well-written, funny yet tender story. I fell in love with the characters and wasn't ready to leave them when the book ended. Hopefully, she'll revisit these characters in a future story. Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride will be released in October by Abingdon Press. If you haven't already tried any of Sandra D. Bricker's books, it's time to give them a read.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pride and Prejudice Revisited

My sisters and I have always loved watching the Jane Austen movies; I think we've seen every version made. I've also read several variations on the theme, but...I've found my favorite variation to date.

I ran across Darcy's Voyage as a "you might also like this" on Amazon, and I started reading its reviews. I finally got my hands on a copy this week, and, with some trepidation, started reading. By chapter two, I was hooked.

The author, Kara Louise, takes a totally different approach in the story. She places the characters in new settings and situations, and Darcy has so much more depth in this version as we see life from his viewpoint. He is even more likeable here then in the original story because we know more about him, and we hear from him as much as we hear from Elizabeth.

In the original Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice, I always wanted more Darcy and less silly sisters, less irritating mother, and less annoying Mr. Collins. In Darcy's Voyage, I got just that; much more of the likeable characters and way less of the annoying ones. Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy are the main characters, the main focus of the story.

If you like anything Pride and Prejudice, you'll like Darcy's Voyage. If you like a good, clean, romantic read, you'll like Darcy's Voyage. You don't have to have read P&P or have seen a P&P movie. This story will stand on its own. I'll be clearing a spot on my shelves for this one because I'll want to read it again.

Kara Louise has several other titles available, and Only Mr. Darcy Will Do is the next one on my reading list. Check out her books, I think you'll like what you find.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pearl In the Sand

I like to browse through the Christian book catalogs we receive at work to keep an eye out for new books and/or authors that our local stores may not be carrying. I am able to read a short description and then find more information online. If it is a new author or new to me, I may try to borrow it from another library to read. If I really like the book and decide I'll want to read it again, or it's something I want to share with my family, I then purchase the book.

That's what happened about a month ago when I ran across an intruguing excerpt about a brand new author and her new book, Pearl In the Sand. I borrowed the book from another library, but before I was halfway through I knew I needed my own copy. The next order I placed through Amazon included this book.

Pearl In the Sand, by Tessa Afshar, is a fictional account of Rahab's story. The Biblical account of Rahab is found beginning in Joshua Chapter 2 of the Bible. Rahab, a harlot in Jericho, hid two Jewish men sent by Joshua to spy out the land and because of her faith, she and her family were saved when God destroyed the city of Jericho. Rahab and her family became part of the Jewish nation, and she is mentioned as being part of Christ's lineage in Matthew 1:5.

Author Tessa Afshar has taken that basic information from God's Word along with her knowledge of Middle Eastern customs and filled in the blanks of Rahab's story. We see Rahab forced into a soul and body destroying profession and abandoned by the family who sold her into prostitution; see her longing for a God bigger than the cruel gods of her country; her courage in hiding the Jewish spies; her belief that the God of the Jews, Who has defeated every other nation's gods so far, might be worth believing; and we see the difficulties of integrating with a nation whose laws are so foreign to anything she's ever known.

Bible history comes alive in this book and made me eager to re-read those portions of Scripture that dealt with Rahab. God's mercy, grace and redemption are the red cord that tie the Old and New Testament together, and these truths run deep through Pearl In the Sand. Rahab comes to learn that God forgives the deepest sin, heals the deepest hurts and, if allowed to, will restore and bless us in ways we never dreamed possible.

I shared this book with my father who pastored churches for over 30 years and has a deep love and understanding of Old Testament history. He thoroughly enjoyed the book; reading it twice before giving it back to me. I also shared it with my brother. He enjoyed the story as well and mentioned how appreciative he was of the discreet way the author handled the subject of Rahab's prostitution.

By the way, did you know that the Bible tells us who Rahab married? Did you ever wonder how and why a Jew would marry a Canaanite harlot; someone they would normally despise and were told to shun? This book will give you an idea as to how that came about and does it in a way that is heart warming and memorable.

I highly recommend you get your own copy of Pearl In the Sand. It is definitely a bookshelf keeper; a gem I'll be re-reading for a long time to come.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Meet Jake

Meet Jake, the newest resident at our house.

Jake wears many hats...but mostly, he's a bearded dragon. He's not a very cuddly creature, and no, he's not very cute. He is, however, friendly and quite the character. He's also pretty gutsy. He took on our bossy cat in a staredown contest and won. (Kitty went and hid!)

We see great things ahead for Jake's future. He's already starred in several short films (see below). Who knows? He might be the next star of a Pixar 3-D Movie!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Coming soon to a bookstore near you!

Ronie Kendig is pure dynamite and her newest addition to the Discarded Heroes series, Wolfsbane, delivers non-stop, edge-of-your-seat action and the timeless truths that God forgives, heals and restores the deepest wounds.

 The story of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Demiltion Expert Danielle Roark and Former Green Beret Canyon Metcalfe, AKA Wolfsbane, has it all: Betrayal and Redemption; Secrets and Surprises; Mistakes and Forgiveness.

Danielle survives and escapes from a devastating captivity only to be forced to return and face her worst nightmare to prove her innocence. Canyon vows to protect her despite his own deep scars, but unsuspected forces are determined to bring them and the entire Nightshade team down no matter the cost.

I was reminded of King David as I read this story. King David was a man of war who had great victories, but knew the sting of betrayal. He was a man after God's own heart, but he still sinned and reaped the consequences. Ronie Kendig shows through Wolfsbane that although sin is damaging and has consequences that affect everyone around us for the rest of our lives, God can and will forgive us when we repent, and He is able to heal and restore what has been destroyed.

Wolfsbane's fast-paced action and gripping story line kept me constantly surprised by the unexpected twists and turns. Anything that can go wrong...Does! Mudslides, Murder, Mayhem...Will Danielle survive her return to this jungle nightmare? Will Canyon be able to keep his promise and overcome his past? Will Team Nightshade be able to survive the political firestorm? I urge you to find out! Get your copy of Wolfsbane ordered today. You won't regret it. Wolfsbane has a permanent home on my BookShelf!

Friday, May 6, 2011

My Foolish Heart

I discovered Susan May Warren when I read the first book in the Deep Haven Series entitled Happily Ever After when it came out in 2007. After reading it, I placed it on my "Keeper" shelves. (If I like a book enough that I know I'm going to read it again it gets placed on my book shelves. Otherwise, I pass it on to my library or used book store.)

After Happily Ever After came Tying the Knot and The Perfect Match. Each book was as good if not better then the last with a lot of sweet romance and a little touch of suspenseful "who's-the-bad-guy" danger. I was sad to have to leave Deep Haven, even though I have enjoyed each book/series that Susan's written since. So, of course, I was very excited to hear that once again I would be able to return to the town of Deep Haven in Susan May Warren's My Foolish Heart.

When the mail delivered my copy of My Foolish Heart, I didn't waste any time cracking it open and beginning. I felt like I was visiting with long-lost friends, getting caught up on all the day-to-day happenings as well as meeting and making new friends.

Issy, the battling-back-from-trauma late-night-talk-show host meets...Caleb, the Knight next door (yes, he has a white steed), who knows what it takes to battle through trauma and broken dreams. And Lucy; the donut-girl-who-hates-donuts, reunites with old flame Seb, the returning hero. Or is he?

And then there's the upcoming football game. Who will win? What will be the outcome? Will fancy plays save the day? Or will it take good, old-fashioned fundamentals? I don't enjoy watching football, in fact, I never watch it, but this story line hooked me, and I found myself rooting for first one team then the other.

If you haven't already visited Deep Haven, I encourage you to give it a try. You can start with My Foolish Heart even if you haven't read the previous titles, but I think after you've spent a little time in this charming town, you'll want to stay as long as you can.

My Foolish Heart nowresides on CDees' bookshelf along with Susan May Warren's other titles. I will be re-reading this one!