”The Tutor’s Daughter” by Julie Klassen! Enter to win a “Downton Abbey” Kindle Prize Pack

I loved this book!  This is one of the best books I've read in a long time.  Emma Smallwood is the tutor's daughter.  She and her father travel to Ebbington Manor to teach the younger two Weston sons.  Emma remembers the elder two brothers, Phillip and Henry, from their years at her father's academy.  Soon after the Smallwoods arrive at the Westons, strange things start to happen.  Someone is playing pranks and entering Emma's room, and it seems that everyone has secrets.  As the pranks escalate, the secrets start coming to light, and some are rather disturbing.

This novel has everything that I look for in a book:  spiritual truth, family, relationships, romance, mystery, suspense, intrigue.  The characters are wonderful; the setting is beautiful.  The story is well-paced with many surprises.  The christian element is strong.  I enjoyed it from beginning to end, and I would highly recommend it!
       I did receive a free copy in exchange for my honest review.  

Julie is celebrating by giving away one of the new Paperwhite Kindles, Downton Abbey (season 3) and hosting a fun Author Chat Party on Facebook. (January 31st)


One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Paperwhite
  • Downton Abbey, Season 3
  • A Julie Klassen library (The Tutor’s Daughter, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Silent Governess)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on January 30th. Winner will be announced at "The Tutor's Daughter Author Chat Party on January 31st. Connect with Julie, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at the trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be great giveaways - gift certificates, books and season 3 of Downton Abbey!

So grab your copy of The Tutor's Daughter and join Julie on the evening of the January 31st for a chance to connect with Julie and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 31st!


Waiting for Spring

"Waiting for Spring?"  Why, yes, we are!  And a great way to pass the time while waiting is reading!  This is a fun book.  

It is the second book in the Westward Winds series, but it can be read alone.  Madame Charlotte is a young widow with her own dress shop and is working to provide for and protect her son David.  Her friends Gwen and Miriam fall in love and plan marriage, but Charlotte is afraid her past will find her.  Her fear doesn't stop her from working to help those around her and encouraging others to do so as well.  One of people she challenges to make a difference is Barrett Landry.  Barrett and Charlotte get to know one another, but is their future together?  Will Barrett become senator? Will the baron find Charlotte and David?    

This book has relationships, history, and a hint of suspense.  The characters are engaging and real.   The settings and detail add interest and fun to the quick-moving story.  This is a delightful story for your libraries, especially fans of historical fiction.  I did receive a free copy in exchange for my honest review.  

A Daughter's Redemption: FIRST Tour

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:

Love Inspired (December 18, 2012)

***Special thanks to Georgiana Daniels for sending me a review copy.***


 Georgiana Daniels resides in the beautiful mountains of Arizona with her super-generous husband and three talented daughters. She graduated from Northern Arizona University with a bachelor's degree in public relations, and now has the privilege of homeschooling by day and wrestling with the keyboard by night. She enjoys sharing God's love through fiction, and is exceedingly thankful for her own happily ever after.

Visit the author's website.


Inheriting her estranged father's property isn't the reason Robyn Warner wanted to come back to Pine Hollow. She thought she'd make amends with her father—but his sudden death made that impossible. And when she learns the identity of the handyman fixing the run-down cabins, Robyn is ready to flee Pine Hollow again. Caleb Sloane, the cop responsible for her father's accident, just wants to uphold his promise and then return to the force. But he can't seem to walk away. After all, he understands about guilt and regret. And he'll do everything he can to help Robyn find healing, happiness and—just maybe—a lifetime of love.

Product Details:
List Price: $5.75
Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired (December 18, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0373877927
ISBN-13: 978-0373877928


If the rest of the property was in the same sad condition as the front porch with its missing rails and bowed floorboards, Robyn Warner would be in Pine Hollow, Arizona, far longer than she'd anticipated. She wheeled her suitcase over the flagstone walkway and paused at the foot of her father's home to absorb the onslaught of memories.

It wasn't too late to turn around and hand the keys back to the lawyer managing her father's estate, though the sad huddle of cabins hardly qualified as such. What had once been a cozy mountain resort now looked pitiable and highly susceptible to a stiff wind. Her father certainly hadn't done her any favors by willing the property to her, but after more than a dozen years of silence, she was glad to be remembered at all.

Gravel crunched near cabin two—Robyn's favorite during her summer vacation stays as a child. A man in work pants and a paint-splattered T-shirt meandered out from between the ramshackle buildings. "Can I help you? It's easy to get lost out here."

"It certainly looks different than I remember, but this is the right place." She shaded her eyes to get a better look at the man who was tall and muscular without being imposing. He was the most clean-cut maintenance man she'd ever seen—and a nice contrast to the surfers with sand in their hair she was used to back at the surf shop she managed in California. She propped up the suitcase. "I'm Robyn Warner. And you are?"

"Caleb." He gestured toward the road. "Pine Hollow Resort is on the other side of the wash, about five miles down. Are you sure that's not where you were headed?"

"I'm here to check out.. " She caught herself before referring to Lakeside Cabins as hers. "I'm staying here. Dan Dawson was my dad." She fished the keys from her pocket and held them up. "I'll just let myself in."

The handyman scrutinized her as though assessing her legitimacy, much the same way her half siblings, Brad and Abby, had during the funeral last week. Gauging her motives and questioning her right to be there. Her right to grieve.

He swiped his brow with his arm and slid on a pair of sunglasses. "No one told me you were coming or I'd have cleared out."

"If it makes you feel better, the lawyer didn't tell me about you, either." She offered a tentative smile. "Or maybe he did, and I was still in shock." She recalled her conversation with Phil Harding, who'd upended her world when he contacted her after the funeral and said Lakeside Cabins was hers, though all her father's personal items would go to Brad and Abby. "Do you work here?"

Caleb shuffled the paintbrush from one hand to the other. "I've been fixing Lakeside up, but I can leave if you'd rather have the place to yourself." His tone held a hard edge.

"Not at all. I'll be glad to have your help. It looks like we have a lot of work to do." Though she didn't have a clue how to pay him. She made a mental note to ask the lawyer if there were provisions of some kind. After taking an unpaid leave from the surf shop, she was living on savings—meager ones, at that. "The sooner Lakeside is all fixed up, the sooner I can sell it."

"It could take a while." Caleb's neck bobbed with a hard swallow, as though he wanted to say more. His sunglasses kept her from further reading his expression, though it was becoming clear she made him uncomfortable.

"With the two of us working together, it'll speed things along." She smiled, hoping to defrost his stoic demeanor. Having an easy rapport with the handyman would make the work and the memories of Lakeside less painful. "Either way, I'll be here as long as it takes. But please, keep doing whatever you were doing." She gestured toward cabin two. "Every little bit helps."

Caleb offered a curt nod before he crossed back over the clearing and disappeared behind the small building.

Wind moaned through the trees, sending birds skittering from the branches. Robyn rubbed a chill from her arms. Something about being in the quiet space where her father lived so many years without her, so many years without birthdays and Christmases and simple phone calls, left her unsettled. She wished she'd disregarded her mother's repeated warnings to leave her dad and his family alone, that she was no longer welcome to visit. She should have at least tried to make peace. Now she'd never have the chance.

Robyn drew a fortifying breath before inserting the key into the lock. She worked the key and turned the knob several times, but it refused to budge. Before she could shimmy it out and try again, the phone in her pocket rang. Her thumb hovered over the button until she finally worked up the courage to answer. "Abby, how are you?"

"As good as can be expected. Listen, Brad and I haven't finished moving everything out yet, so he wants to make sure you don't take the armoire in the bedroom." Abby's voice had matured and no longer resembled the giggly pre-teen Robyn remembered.

She plugged her ear to drown out the wind. "I haven't even been inside yet. Trust me, I wouldn't have a way to move the furniture out even if I wanted to." She glanced at the rental car she'd put on her painfully thin credit card.

"Sorry, I know it's awkward." A long pause stretched over the line. "Brad just wants me to remind you that the furniture and personal belongings are ours. We'll be back to get them."

"I haven't forgotten." She swallowed her sadness. She and Abby had once been close until the argument that drove Robyn away from Pine Hollow—an argument with their father about how she felt less important than his other children. Lately she'd begun to crave the closeness of a real family, and now that circumstances had brought her back, she'd do whatever it took to restore her relationship with Brad and Abby. To find some sort of normalcy.

"Good. We wouldn't want any misunderstandings."

"Abby, I would never take what doesn't belong to me." She fingered the cross on her necklace and prayed for wisdom. "Maybe when you come out for the furniture we can have dinner. We have a lot of catching up to do."

Silence pulsed between them until Abby cleared her throat. "I'm not sure that's a good idea. We're still shaken up."

So was she. The tragedy of losing a parent—even an estranged one—was overwhelming.

"I mean, why would Dad leave Lakeside Cabins to you? No offense, but you haven't exactly been around."

The words stung with truth, and her face heated from the rejection. "I understand. Give me a call when you're ready to come by."

The line went dead. "Is everything okay?"

She whipped around, disconcerted. "Caleb, you startled me." She scanned his face to figure out how much he'd overheard. His expression remained neutral behind the sunglasses, which left her even more flustered.

"I heard voices and thought maybe you were talking to someone."

"I was. It was a private conversation." She jammed the phone into her pocket.

"I was only trying to help." Caleb held up his hands in surrender, then turned and stalked off.

"Wait." She scrambled down the stairs, her sandals slapping the wood. Exactly why she chased after the maintenance man or even cared what he thought, she'd have to reason out later. "I didn't mean to snap at you."

Caleb angled toward her, his mouth quirked. The masculine scent of turpentine and hard work drifted off him, and for some reason, it wasn't entirely unpleasant. "Apology accepted." His somber tone seemed to say otherwise.

Robyn ran her hand through her hair, snarled from the wind. "Really—I'm sorry. I'm not exactly great company right now after what happened to my dad. I'm normally easy to get along with—you'll see when we fix this place up, and before you know it I'll be long gone."

Judging from Caleb's formidable posture and the twitch of his jaw, her departure wouldn't be soon enough.

Caleb stormed into the office of Harding and Company and bypassed the receptionist. Without knocking, he entered the office of Phil Harding, attorney-at-law. "Why didn't you tell me she was coming?"

Phil tapped the keys on his computer without missing a stroke. "Almost finished. Then we can talk."

"You should've at least given me a heads-up." He pulled the door closed with a thud. "Didn't you think I might need that bit of information?"

All the way from the outskirts of Pine Hollow, he had rehearsed the diatribe he wanted to unleash on his so-called friend. But none of his imagined scenarios included Phil calmly pecking away at the keyboard.

Phil closed the program and spun around in his leather chair. "I presume you're talking about Robyn."

"Who else?" He dropped onto the cushioned seat, and if he dirtied the upholstery with his paint-stained pants, so be it.

"What'd she do?"

"She showed up." Simply arriving at the cabins was enough to infuse him with a jolt of reality. What originally seemed like a brilliant way to fulfill his promise quickly turned into the single worst idea he'd ever had the moment Robyn, with her sun-bleached hair and sorrow-filled eyes, told him she was Dan's daughter.

"Look, Caleb, I realize it's a little awkward."

"You think?" He blew out a frustrated breath. "I tried to play it cool in front of her, but you have no idea what that was like."

Phil removed his wire-rimmed glasses and wiped them with a handkerchief. In a placating tone, he resumed. "I can't control every variable. Did it occur to you I might have other projects I'm working on?"

He pushed out of the chair. "A phone call, Phil. That's all I needed."

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.



Interrupted: Life beyond Words, is about Allie Everly.  Allie has her mother (and the neighbor boy, Sam Carroll) and that is all she needs.  When her mother passes away, Allie is all alone.  Sent to live with Miss Beatrice Lovell in Maine, Allie writes poetry and letters to her mom in her journal, trying to cope.  One summer, Sam comes to visit and Allie starts feeling again.  She must decide what to do with those feelings.

This is a quick and enjoyable read, with a solid Christian theme.  There were a few little typos and problems with the story.  The character development/ turn around was a little fast, but there is a solid Christian theme.  It is a nice young adult novel, and it is truly remarkable that it was written by a fourteen year old.  Rachel Coker will be someone to watch for as she grows and hones her craft!



Irene Hannon has created another gripping romantic suspense.  Her plotlines all follow a similar pattern, but it is a pattern that works; especially with the incredible characters that Irene creates.  I have enjoyed all of her books, but this is one of my favorites.  Once I started reading, I couldn't wait to find out what was happening.  Moira Harrison is driving on a dark, rainy night when she sees a woman standing in the middle of the road. She tries to stop but slides on the slick roads.  When her car comes to a stop after hitting a tree, a good samaritan stops to help right before Moira passes out.  An hour later, she wakes up alone and calls 911 herself. No one believes her story until she talks to P.I. Cal Burke and his team at Pheonix, Inc.  As they start to suspect humanitarian and world renown doctor Ken Blaine, things start to get even more unbelievable and just a little dangerous.

Filled with mystery, drama, and relationship, Vanished moved quickly to a satisfying ending.  I look forward to the next book in the series.  I would definitely recommend this book and author.  I received my copy free in exchange for my honest review.

Here are the links to my reviews of some of Hannon's other books: Against All Odds,  An Eye for an EyeIn Harm's WayFatal JudgementDeadly Pursuit, and Lethal Legacy.

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Raider's Vendetta

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:

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 18, 2012)

***Special thanks to Karen Arnpriester for sending me a review copy.***


Karen Slimick Arnpriester, author of Anessia’s Quest, a graphic artist, wife and mother, lives in central California.  She has four adult children and seven grandchildren. Karen and her husband Don, made the decision to become foster parents, and are thrilled to be adopting their two daughters. Karen looks forward to sharing her imagination and faith with you through her writing.

Visit the author's website.
Visit the book website.


Charley knew what God wanted from her. She was willing to trust and obey as she protected the others in the bank. Then He would save her from her captor. But she could not have anticipated the rage that would be unleashed in response to her prayers and her faith in God.

Raider was desperate, hardened, and his past had set the stage for an insane game of survival and spiritual warfare. The vendetta was in motion and Charley discovered that she needed her God to provide extraordinary miracles to keep her alive.

Product Details:
List Price: $30.35

Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 18, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1466274743
ISBN-13: 978-1466274747


Long Ago

He tried many times to escape, but Itchy couldn’t figure out how to undo the latch from the inside. How long will she keep me in here this time? he wondered.

It was a simple mistake; he hadn’t meant to see Mrs. Anton naked. Itchy was just hanging out with his best friend, Marty Anton. When he threw open the unlocked bathroom door to relieve himself, he saw her standing in the tub. She hadn’t removed the towel from the bar yet and Itchy saw all of her nakedness. Itchy quickly looked down and fell backwards as he scrambled to get away. The screams from Mrs. Anton blasted his ears as he peed his pants. The uncontrolled release was horrific for a fourteen-year-old boy.

Mrs. Anton was enraged. She threw on her robe and telephoned his Aunt Rose, screaming that Itchy was a pervert and Rose needed to keep him away from her son. She insisted that he would corrupt Marty and turn him into a “Peeping Tom.” Itchy panicked and ran from the house as Marty’s mom shrieked at him to never come back.

Itchy was afraid to go home. He knew that his Aunt Rose would use his latest misfortune to punish and shame him, but if he didn’t go home right away, the punishment would be even harsher. She had a way of stacking sins on top of each other. He could already hear her screeches in his head. “It wasn’t bad enough that you lusted after a grown woman, but then you refused to face your foul sin and suffer the consequences. God sees your filthy heart. You can’t run away from Him!”

When Itchy slunk into the house through the back door, Aunt Rose was waiting for him. She looked at his soiled crotch and clucked with distain. Itchy didn’t understand that his Aunt had mistakenly assumed the worst. The wooden paddle that she used for pulling bread from the oven was spinning in her hands. He knew what was coming next – he unzipped his pants and they, along with his boxers, fell around his ankles. She nodded toward the kitchen table and he placed both hands flat on the surface. The beating was vicious this time. He tried not to cry, but the repeated swings of the paddle became unbearable. The tears rolled down his cheeks and puddles formed on the table.

While he endured her wrath, she quoted scripture to him. She always pulled scriptures out of context and Itchy was convinced that God expected him to suffer to be worthy of forgiveness and salvation. Aunt Rose would alternate scripture with demeaning statements, telling him that his pain was only a small measure of what he deserved. He was born a bastard to a mother who was cheap and easy with filthy men. Aunt Rose would do whatever it took to save him from himself.

After Aunt Rose felt the punishment had suited the crime, she stopped and opened the cabinet door to the vegetable bin, an outdated storage area for fresh produce. It was the cell Itchy must endure until he repented for his wrongdoings. Itchy carefully pulled up his pants. There was no longer enough room to sit, as there had been when he was smaller. He had to squat, bend over, and squeeze in to fit. The blisters on his backside were on fire and wet. Itchy was sure they were bleeding. This was typical when she suspected his punishable infraction was sexually motivated, which was more frequent as he became older.

The door closed and latched from the outside. There was no air circulation except for small holes drilled into the cabinet door. Originally, they had been drilled to keep the produce from rotting as quickly. Now, the holes were small windows into a kitchen filled with pain and horror.

Each time Aunt Rose walked past the bin, she would kick the door and scream at him to pray louder for forgiveness. This was the angriest she had ever been. It was quite evident to Itchy that she felt he had crossed over to a new level of depravity. When he was young, his prayers were heartfelt. He wanted to be clean, but after years of belittlement and reinforcement of his undeserving and vile nature, his prayers were hollow and solely to pacify this enraged woman. His knees and legs began to ache and his muscles throbbed.

Aunt Rose’s rantings over the years filled in the holes of Itchy’s history. His mother, June, had become pregnant at the age of sixteen. She was the youngest and the wild child in her family of staunch believers. She had run off to California with Itchy’s daddy, Arthur, who was seventeen. They didn’t have the decency to get married and lived in lustful sin. His father was blonde, handsome, and charming, like all demons were, and he’d tempted June beyond her strength to resist.

When Itchy was only six years old, his mother escaped and left Itchy to survive his father’s brutality alone. No one heard from June again and Itchy didn’t know if she was alive or dead. Most days, he hoped she was dead, a long, painful, lonely death.

Itchy had earned his name by contracting a severe case of head lice when he was young. His father’s abuse included extreme neglect. When he did go to school, the kids were relentless with their taunting. Itchy hated the nickname, but hated his real name even more. His real name, Arthur, was his father’s name.

Eventually, his father was arrested for manslaughter, a bar fight gone bad, and the police officers took Itchy to Langston Hall. Most kids would be scared in a children’s home, but Itchy felt safe there. He had three meals a day, a clean bed, and clean clothes. He didn’t make many friends but there was one girl who touched him deeply. Her name was Pagne. He didn’t know her for long, but she would always be in his heart, one of the three females he would ever trust.

The county eventually located his widowed Aunt Rose and she begrudgingly agreed to take Itchy to live with her. “It is the Christian thing to do,” she told the social worker. He was flown back to Boston to live with her and her son, Darrell. Itchy was excited to have a new home and an older brother. Darrell, however, was indifferent. He was too busy avoiding his mother’s wrath and quickly learned that having Itchy around proved to be an advantage. If he lay low, Itchy caught most of the hell.

Before arriving, Itchy had no idea of the loathing his aunt harbored or the horror that awaited him.

Chapter 1 - Friday

When Charley Abrams pulled into the bank’s parking lot, Charley was relieved to find it empty. There was no one at the ATM. When she walked up to the machine, she saw an electronic message on the screen announcing that the ATM was offline for programming updates and would be offline for several hours. Charley was annoyed. She hated going into the bank for simple transactions. There was always a wait, but she needed to deposit a large check today. When she approached the reflective doors, Charley stared at her reflection. She had become her mother over the years. There were wrinkles, but they weren’t deeply etched like a lot of women her age. Her body build was always meaty, gradually heavier as she got older. She liked to say that she wasn’t overweight, just too short. When asked how tall she wasn’t, Charley would smile and say, “four-twelve.”

Charley kept her hair in a spiky short style and had recently allowed it to remain gray. This was a big adjustment in her appearance. Though she had watched the face of an old woman slowly appear as the years passed, she still admired her eyes. They were large and gray. They weren’t as bright as they used to be, but still unique. Charley had never liked her mouth. She had thin lips and always envied women with pouty, full mouths. She had entertained the idea of Botox injections when younger, but it required needles and that was a definite deal breaker. When she pulled open the mirror of herself, she was glad to see that she was the only customer in the bank.

When her transaction was complete, Charley tucked her receipt into her pocket. As she turned toward the door to leave, she heard a loud commotion and looked up. Charley saw two men with ball caps pulled down low, bandanas over their mouths and noses, pushing a young woman through the doors. One of the men shoved the woman and she fell to the floor, landing on her hands and knees. Charley grimaced with sympathy pain. She had fallen recently and remembered how it had jarred her whole body. The second man, who was quite tall and had a large build, turned the dead bolt, pointed a gun at the group of tellers, and bellowed, “Everyone behind the counter, take three steps back with your hands over your head! Now!” The shorter man grabbed the fallen woman’s arm and drug her further into the bank, then snarled at her to lay down flat on the floor.

“You,” the larger man said, glaring at Charley, “get down on the floor.” Charley slid down the front of the counter and sat down. “Down flat, face on the floor,” the man screamed at her. Charley quickly lay down, staring at the floor.

The shorter man, thin but muscular, moved behind the counter and raised his gun so everyone saw it. He also had a large, open black garbage bag. He swiftly moved from station to station, making each of the tellers step up and open their drawer. The money moved quickly from the drawers into the bag.

Once the drawers were emptied, the robber behind the counter herded all the tellers around to the front. Charley hoped that someone had triggered the silent alarm. She sensed the movement of bodies close to her as the tellers were told to lie flat on the floor. She was curious, but didn’t look up. She wondered why the bank didn’t have an armed security guard. Weren’t all banks supposed to have a guard? If she survived this, she would find a new bank with big guards and big guns.

The shorter man made his way to the doors while pointing the gun at the group of people on the floor. “Let’s get going!” he hollered at his companion.

No response.

“Man, we gotta go. Now!”

“We got time… wanna check the vault,” the taller man threw back as he knelt by the teller closest to Charley.

“Who can open the vault?” he sputtered as he grabbed the young woman by her hair. His other hand held the gun next to her skull and tapped it hard. Charley heard her yelp in pain.

“The manager, Mr. Mitchell.” Since there was only one man working in the bank, it was obvious who he was. Charley heard the masked man jump up and move to her right. She positioned her head slightly so she was able to see where the manager was lying. The robber grabbed him and pulled him up, holding the gun next to his chest. The tension was building as the shorter man continued to scream and curse at his partner who was dragging the manager back to the vault.

“Shut up! We’re almost done here,” the taller man yelled back.

Charley slowly shifted herself to get a better view of the room. The woman next to her looked like she was going to pass out. Charley smiled, hoping it would reassure her. Charley saw the man closest to the door. She had time to take in details now. Muscular, but not big, jeans, Nike tennis shoes, long sleeved blue shirt, red print bandana, and an Oakland Raiders cap. It was too hot to be wearing a long sleeved shirt. Charley assumed he had tattoos he was covering, but enough skin was showing to know that he was Caucasian. His hair was tucked under the hat, but a little blonde still showed. She decided to label that one Raider.

Once the vault was opened, the manager turned to face the bank robber. In that moment, the bandana slipped down off the robber’s face. The two men locked eyes and the realization that the robber could now be identified registered with both men. The robber’s eyes narrowed with an evil determination. Mr. Mitchell had only one option, to take the gun.

Charley jerked as she heard struggling and then the blast of the gun as it went off. She saw Raider move to the center of the bank and lift his gun. She squeezed her eyes shut, a natural reaction, as another shot rang through the bank. She heard the loud wail of a man and then the thud as he went down. “Darrell!” Raider bellowed. Charley heard another man cursing and moaning. “Damn it, Darrell, what did you do?”

Raider demanded that they all slide to the left wall and sit with their hands on their heads as he made his way to the counter. He kicked the young woman he’d pushed down earlier and screamed at her to move over with the others. She managed to make it to the wall without throwing up. Raider kept his gun pointed at the stricken group of women. He looked over the counter and saw the manager in a crumpled heap and Darrell sitting on the floor. His hand clutched his chest as the blood oozed between his fingers.

“Holy crap, Darrell.  How bad is it?”

“Bad enough to kill me I expect,” Darrell managed to say with sarcasm. Darrell tried to stand but fell onto his back. “Get the hell outta here, I’m done.”

“You ass, I should leave you,” Raider snarled.

Raider moved around the end of the counter to get to Darrell, still trying to keep all the hostages in view. His partner lay on his back, unblinking eyes staring at the ceiling. He was obviously dead. Raider looked at the front doors, his expression frantic, like that of a trapped animal looking for a way to escape.

Charley, trying to make sense of what happened, assumed that Mr. Mitchell had grabbed the gun, killed the robber in the scuffle, and was shot by Raider before he got off another round. The coppery smell of blood filled the bank.

When Raider came around to the front of the counter, he saw several cars pulling in. They appeared to be customers. Charley could see that he had no idea what to do now. “In and out quick, you stupid idiot,”  he mumbled under his breath.


Books Reviewed in 2012

1. Ten by Terry Smith
3. Growing Great Kids by Kate Battisteli
4. Wayward Son by Tom Pollack
5. Not in the Heart by Chris Fabry
7. Asenath by Ann Patricio
8. Embrace by God by Babbie Mason
9. The Beautiful Wife by Sandy Rayla
10. Blue Moon Promise by Colleen Coble
11. Love Amid the Ashesby Mesu Andrews
12. Mystery of Puzzle Bones by TA Smith
13. You're Already Amazing by Holley Gerth
14. Love's Sacred Song by Mesu Andrews
15. The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen
16. The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen
17. Stand by Me by Neta Jackson
18. The Discovery by Dan Walsh
19. The Chasm by Randy Alcorn
20. Need You Now by Beth Wiseman
21. Garden of Madness by T.L. Higley
22. The Pursuit of Lucy Banning by Olivia Newport
25. The Anniversary Waltz by Darrel Nelson
26. Lucy Come Home by Dave and Neta Jackson
27. Chameleon by Jillian Kent
28. Annie's Truth by Beth Shriver
30. The Telling by Mike Duran
31. Mary Magdalene by Dianne Wallis Taylor
34. Five Miles South of Peculiar by Angela Hunt
35. Tales of the Not Forgotten by Beth Guckenberger
36. Mindful of Him by Hollis Hughes
37. Hide and Seek by Jeff Struecker and Alton L. Gansky
38. Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble
41. High Desert Haven by Lynnette Bonner
42. 31 Days to a Happy Husband by Arlene Pellicane
43. House of Mercy by Erin Healy
44. Millie Fierce by Jane Manning
45. The Reunion by Dan Walsh
46. Unending Devotionby Jody Hedlund
48. With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin
49. Mother of Pearl by Kellie Coates Gilbert
51. A Love Surrenderedby Julie Lessman
53. Life with Lily by MaryAnn Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher
54. The Memory Jar by Tricia Goyer
56. Straight Talk with your Kids about Sex by Josh and Dottie McDowell
57. A Light in the Window by Julie Lessman
58. Placebo by Steven James
59. Soul's Gate by James Rupart
60. Christmas Pony by Melody Carlson
61. The Breath of Dawnby Kristen Heitzmann
62. No Safe Harbor by Elizabeth Ludwig
63. Courting Cate by Leslie Gould
64. The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek by Jane Myers Perrine
65. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
66. A Widow's Redeemer by Philippa Jane Keyworth

Come to the Table

The second installment of The Souled Out Sisters series by Neta Jackson has me hooked.  I can't wait to read more about Kat and Nick and the rest of the crew from Souled Out Community Church. In Come to the Table, Nick and Kat each recognize their own changing feelings for each other, but hesitate to say anything.  Meanwhile, Rochelle sees how much her son Connie looks up to Nick and wonders if they could be a real family.  Nick joins the church and begins his internship, and Kat feels called to open a food pantry.  As a new Christian, Kat is learning and growing.  She has a couple of Spiritual milestones during this chapter of her life and learns more about loving God's people.

Even the minor characters in this novel are lovable.  I know many of them are featured in the Yada Yada books, and the House of Hope books.  Thankfully, I have most of those books!  I'll just have to read them to learn everyone's history!  The characters are so real.  I enjoyed the storyline, also, especially the spiritual growth.

Neta Jackson is a fun author and I would definitely recommend her books.