Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy New Year?

If you're reading this right now and it's December 21--congratulations! You Survived! To mock celebrate this joyous occasion, here's a song I'm sure you're familiar with...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

You Tube Thursday

I know it's been awhile.  Let's just say that my life has been spiraling out of control because I haven't had much balance.  Work, work, and more work has made me into a shell of my former self.   I'll catch you up when I hopefully finally  get a bit of a break from my jobs.  (There's a lot to tell you.)

The good news is that I know God has been and is by my side, so I've been really listening to praise music here lately.  One of my favorite new songs is by The City Harmonic and is called Holy (Wedding Day).  Enjoy!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Denise Hunter's "The Trouble with Cowboys" Facebook Party & Kindle Fire Giveaway

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Litfuse Publicity Group book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

To celebrate the release of The Trouble with Cowboys Denise is hosting a fun Author Chat Party on Facebook. She'll connect with readers and give away some amazing prizes - including a Kindle Fire! 
Save the Date for October 11th!

Grab your copy of Denise Hunter’s latest book and join her for an Author Chat Party on October 11th at 8:00 PM EST (that’s 7:00 Central, 6:00 MST, & 5:00 PST)! Haven’t read The Trouble with Cowboys yet? That’s okay, don’t let that stop you from coming to the party! (You may win a copy!)

During the evening she’ll be sharing the story behind the book, posting discussion questions, testing your trivia skills, and of course, there will be plenty of chatting and fun giveaways – books, gift certificates and – a Kindle Fire! She’ll also be giving you a sneak peek of her next book too!

RSVP today and then come back on the 11th … and bring your friends!

Dynamic Uno here:  The Trouble with Cowboys is book #3 in the Big Sky Romance series by Denise Hunter.  Honestly, I think it's the best one out of the three.  Plus,   I really enjoyed "seeing" some of the beloved townspeople and characters from the other two books in the series.  (A Cowboy's Touch-book #1 and The Accidental Bride-book #2)

Yes, we all know my affinity towards cowboys, but seriously, some of the emotions that the characters felt and the struggles they had within the story reflected some of my own issues and misconceptions.  

Dylan is another cowboy that I could completely fall in love with.  He had a great sense of humor, was a hard worker, and was loyal to his friends and family.  Annie reminds me of myself a bit because she had to grow up too fast and shoulders a lot of responsibility.  As the saying goes, opposites attract--despite the fact that both fight the attraction.  When things go spiraling out of control in Annie's life, she is finally willing to let God take the reins and direct her path.  Is Dylan willing to do the same?

If you're interested in a light-hearted romance with lots of drama, and of course, cowboys, look no further because The Trouble with Cowboys is just for you!

Remember to join us for the Facebook Party on October 11!  Even if you haven't read the book, you can still join in the fun.  Plus, there's a chance for you to win a Kindle Fire!!  (Of which I will be completely jealous of if you win.)  See the details above.

Let me know what you think!  Happy Reading!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

YouTube Thursday

I'm so over the garbage going on in our school district.  I'm still trying to do the job of 4 people because the accreditation team can't see the problem of only one person running the school library.  Thankfully we only have about 2089 students, but then you put administration, the new evaluation system, and add the cockamammy testing and it's a zoo.  No wonder kids quit school!

If it weren't for the bills and my poor furry child, I'd sing this song tomorrow.  Hope you're having a better week/day than I am.  If not, grab a can or bottle of your favorite beverage and sing along with me...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

YouTube Thursday

Skimming through YouTube while I was sick the other day, I came across this phenomenal video produced by the KU Libraries.  Given my love of all things geekery, I decide to share it with you.  It is long, but if you let your computer load it and watch it later, I think you'll enjoy it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

I've caught whatever bug is going around at our school, so I had to take yesterday off to "rest."  Hopefully your day is better than mine.  Here's a little rose to help brighten your day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Simple Secrets to a Happy Life by Luci Swindoll

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Title: Simple Secrets to a Happy Life: 50 Ways to Make the Most of Everyday

Author: Luci Swindoll

Format: trade paperback

Genre: Christian, General Life Reflections

Source: BookSneeze book review bloggers program through Thomas Nelson

Published: Thomas Nelson / 2012 / ISBN: 978-1-4002-0353-6 / 208 pages / $15.99

Buy the Book:  Amazon / Thomas Nelson / Luci's Store

Find the Author Online: Twitter / Website / Blog

Why I Read this Book:  I attended the Women of Faith Conference last October and Luci Swindoll was one of the speakers there.  She has been single her entire life and has a vibrant zeal for living every day and has a very artistic perspective.  I bought her book Doing Life Differently while I was there and it really resonated with me, so I've been "book stalking" her ever since.

What I Liked:  I love the fact that Luci begins with her childhood and discusses lessons learned from her parents in her youth.  Having grown up with my grandparents for most of my life, I love to hear stories about what their youth was like and how things have changed, whether for good or bad and why. 

I also love how each chapter title concerns the "lesson she has learned" and what we will be reading.  Even glancing over the titles of the chapters made me excited even before I started reading the book.  After all, "Keep Your Word Every Time" and "Celebrate the Life You're Given" intrigued me to find out what she learned and how she learned it.

All of the stories that Luci tells, and the illustrations she pens, contain wisdom that only a lifetime of rich and full experiences can give.  I hope that I am able to learn and pass on my knowledge the same way she has in this book.

What I Didn't Like:  The book ended too soon!  Yes, it's 50 chapters, but there's so much wisdom packed into the short chapters that I hungered for more.

Overall Impression:  I love the honesty and transparency that Luci displays in her words.  Reading her books makes me feel like we're sitting down for a cup of tea and having a conversation.  If you're ready to have a heart-to-heart conversation about a life well-lived, I suggest you grab hold of Simple Secrets to a Happy Life.  You will not be disappointed.  

Rating: 5 out of 5

Let me know what you think!  Happy Reading!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Secret of the Journal: Mortal Fire by C.F. Dunn

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Kregel Blog Tour Service book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Title:  The Secret of the Journal series, Book #1: Mortal Fire

Author: C. F. Dunn

Format: trade paperback

Genre: Christian, Suspense, Thriller, Touch of Romance

Source: Kregel Book Blog Tour Service

Published: USA: Kregel Publications / August 2012/ ISBN: 978-0-5-85721-202-3

Buy the Book:
U.S.: Kregel Publications / AmazonBarnes & Noble / Overstock / Christianbook
UK:  Amazon / Book Depository / Overstock / Sainsburys / WH Smith / Waterstones

Find the Author Online: Twitter / Facebook / Blog

Want to Read an Excerpt?

Why I Read this Book:  Many people are unaware of my fascination with history.  After all, I chose to major in literature instead of delving in to the world of the past.  (That's a story for another day.)  In any case, when I first saw Kregel advertising the book tour for Mortal Fire, I knew I was going to be in love, just from reading the brief synopsis.  A book combining history, a good mystery, and literature ...put the phone on silence and bring on the tea!

What I Liked:  Knowing that C.F. Dunn is "across the pond," I figured British spelling and vocabulary would be used throughout the book.  I was not disappointed.  For those of you wondering if it detracts from the story, please know that it does not.  In fact, as Emma is from the UK, it lends an air of authenticity to the story.

When we come across a traffic accident with a fatality within the first few pages, I wasn't sure what to expect.  After all, I was just being introduced to the characters and I didn't really know their motives yet.  Reading on, I found myself being sucked into the story as Emma, being a stranger in a strange land, found her way amongst the academia and was introduced to new friends and some unsavory characters on staff. 

I enjoyed getting to know her colleagues and students (from Emma's perspective) and enjoyed the conversations about Emma concentration of history and how it has shaped her beliefs.  I even enjoyed the anticipation of a blossoming relationship that held immense mystery.  But as a librarian, I doubly enjoyed Emma's trips into the land of literature to find the journal she so intensely wanted to understand.  I even understood her actions with the journal, but was disappointed that she was stopped so violently from learning its secrets.

The characters are complex and multi-faceted.  Just as I thought I understood what they were thinking, something would crop up and completely change the direction of my own thinking.  (Isn't this true of us as living humans as well?)  I'm completely engrossed in the story and want to know what happens next.  No, I need to know what happens.  Does Emma discover the mysteries surrounding her recent relationship?  How will she react to the truth that she so desperately wants to uncover?  And what will the secrets in the journal reveal about her own and others' pasts?

What I Didn't Like:  The ending.  No, seriously.  I don't want to say too much to give away the story, but I was aggravated at the ending, only because I don't have book #2 : Death Be Not Proud in hand to continue reading.  We're left at a cliff hanger and I'm dying to know whether my theories are correct in what's happening in the plot.  I'm attached to the characters and I want to make sure they're okay.  That, and I think I'm in love with Matthew too.  Hurry up with releasing Book #2 PLEASE....

Overall Impression:  Fabulous work!  You will not be disappointed if you pick up this book (series).  Make sure o carve out some time to read it because you will not want to put it down.  Yes--it's that enthralling!

Rating:  5 out of 5 

Let me know what you think!  Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

You Tube Thursday

The stress has been building up at work and my friend Shea-Shea sent me this video to relieve tension.  Turn up your sound--it's only about 10 seconds or so.  Repeat after more day until the more day until the weekend...Enjoy!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

YouTube Thursday

One of my former students turned me on to this hilarious video about the Bronte sisters and their writing.  I hope you like it too...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wordless Wednesday


 Sorry for the head tilt on some of these--the computer says they're in portrait mode, but obviously it's wrong.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back to School...

This song by Mandisa is probably what most parents in our school district are singing to their kids this morning... Today is the first day of school for students. As teachers, we've been back for the past week, primarily sitting in meetings, but every once in awhile getting a chance to check out our rooms and try to get ready for the onslaught of children. This is what most of the students are probably singing (or at least another version): This is what most of the teachers are humming this morning and we attempt to roll out of bed and beat the traffic: I hope you have a wonderful day no matter which song you're singing! Wish us a lot of luck because they are invading

Digital Winter by Mark Hitchcock and Alton Gansky

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:

Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Mark Hitchcock is the author of nearly 20 books related to end-time Bible prophecy, including the bestselling 2012, the Bible, and the End of the World. He earned a ThM and PhD from Dallas Theological Seminary and is the senior pastor of Faith Bible Church in Edmond, Oklahoma. He has worked as an adjunct professor at DTS, and he and his wife, Cheryl, have two sons.

Alton Gansky is the author of 30 books—24 of them novels, including the Angel Award winner Terminal Justice and Christy Award finalist A Ship Possessed. A frequent speaker at writing conferences, he holds BA and MA degrees in biblical studies. Alton and his wife reside in Southern California.


Prophecy expert Mark Hitchcock and novelist Alton Gansky provide a suspenseful and fast-moving story of life after a massive cyber attack. Surgeons find themselves operating without electricity. The military can’t use its computers… This gripping story of darkness and heroism highlights prophetic themes and the danger of a cyber attack.

Product Details:
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736949127
ISBN-13: 978-0736949125


Stanley Elton

January 20, 2014
Shadow, shadow on my right,
Shadow, shadow on my left,
Shadow, shadow everywhere,
Shadow has all the might.
Stanley Elton emerged from the bedroom at precisely 7:10 a.m., his favorite mug in his hand containing his favorite African blend of coffee. Truth was, he had seven favorite mugs, one for each day of the week. He had seven favorite blends of coffee as well, seven favorite dress shirts, seven chosen suits of varying shades of gray, and seven power ties.
T he morning sunlight had already pushed back some of the thick clouds that covered the parts of San Diego closest to the Pacific. His part of San Diego was called Coronado Island, although it wasn’t a true island. Situated on a stretch of land called the Strand, the small community rested on a jut of property that looked from the air like an arthritic thumb sticking into the blue waters.
Founded in 1860, the city of Coronado was home to the elite. North Island Naval Air Station took much of the prime real estate, but there was still plenty of room for retired admirals, CEOs, and entrepreneurs who made sudden wealth in the digital age. A stroll through the city streets sometimes allowed tourists a glimpse of a celebrity.
Stanley Elton was no celebrity or entrepreneur; he wasn’t a retired admiral or a man of old money. He was, however, the CEO of San Diego’s largest CPA firm, a company whose client list included scores of the top companies in the country. He was on a first-name basis with people often mentioned in the Wall Street Journal. For thirty years he worked for OPM Accounting. Most people assumed OPM stood for the founders of the firm, people who died a generation ago. It didn’t. Insiders knew OPM stood for Other People’s Money. A bit tongue in cheek, but it drew hearty laughs for the few who knew the joke.
“Nice day.” Stanley moved to the open kitchen and kissed his wife on the top of the ear.
“You know that gives me the shivers.” Royce Elton pulled away and tried to rub her ear on her shoulder, her hands busy flipping eggs and turning bacon. A pot next to the frying pan cooked down some oatmeal. Instant oatmeal wasn’t good enough for her son, Donny. At least he ate something close to healthy.
“My presence has always made you shiver.” Elton slurped his coffee.
“Shudder is more like it.” Her tone was playful.
“Shiver, shudder; potato, patahto.” He moved from the kitchen and took his usual spot at the floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the rolling Pacific. T he $3.5 million condo was on the top floor of one of the fifteen ten-story structures on the Strand. Built in the 1960s, the luxury buildings caused such a stir that a city ordinance was passed forbidding similar towering structures in Coronado. Too late and too little.
From the wide living room, Stanley could look to the left and see the Pacific Ocean or look right and see the calm waters of Glorietta Bay. “Water everywhere and not a drop to drink.”
“Good thing we have plumbing and coffee.” Royce dropped two pieces of bacon (well done) and two eggs (over hard) onto a scalloped-edged green plate. A moment later, she added two pieces of rye toast.
He stepped to the dining table. “Dining room” would be inaccurate. T he only real rooms in the open floor plan were the bathrooms and bedrooms. Royce set the plate on the glass top. She sat next to him, sipping a chocolate diet shake.
“Eating real food while watching you suck on that stuff fills me with guilt.” He stuck a piece of bacon in his mouth.
“You’re a man. You’re supposed to feel guilty. It goes with the Y chromosome.”
“T his is what I get for marrying a geneticist.”
“Brains are sexy.”
“Really? I hadn’t heard.”
Royce raised an eyebrow. “You know, I can poison your breakfast.”
“T hat’s why we have Rosa cook our other meals. Cuts down on your opportunity to cash in on the life insurance.” He cut one egg in half and scooped it into his mouth. Stanley didn’t like wasting time on trivial things like breakfast. “Busy day?”
“Usual classes at the university, and then I have about four hours in the lab. I’ll be late. I have to grade test papers after that. Rosa has something planned for you and Donny.”
“She’s as good a cook as she is a nurse.” Down went the second half of the egg.
“She’s a jewel. We should pay her more.”
It was Stanley’s turn to raise an eyebrow. “Really? She makes good money now.”
“I’m not sure it covers all she does. Dealing with Donny isn’t easy.”
Stanley contemplated the comment while gnawing on the bacon. “What do you mean? He sits in his room and doesn’t cause any trouble. He’s as passive as someone with his condition can be.”
Royce frowned. She hated it when Stanley referred to Donny’s challenges as his condition.
“Sorry,” he said. “You know what I mean. Other people like him can be high maintenance.”
Another frown. “He requires a lot of care, Stan. You know that.”
“Of course. I do my share.”
She touched his arm. “I know, dear. I didn’t mean that. You do more than any other father would. You provide an income that allows us to get all the help we need. My professor’s salary wouldn’t pay for one room in this place. I’m just saying we should reward Rosa. She’s been with us since Donny was ten. T hat’s twelve years.”
“She’s a trooper. Did you have something in mind?”
“I thought of a paid vacation, but I don’t think she’d leave Donny for more than a few days. She’s so devoted to him. I know that her car is getting a little long in the tooth. She had to take it into the shop. Cost her a pretty bundle to get the transmission fixed.”
“You want to pay for the repairs?”
“No, I want to buy her a car.”
Stanley lowered his fork. “You’re kidding, right?” He could see she wasn’t. “You mean like a Porsche or Ferrari or—”
“Of course not. I was thinking of a Prius or some other hybrid. It would save her some gas money.”
Stanley furrowed his brow, narrowed his eyes, and clinched his jaw, but he couldn’t maintain the pretense. He had never been angry at his wife and couldn’t imagine starting now. T he forced frown gave way to the upward pressure of a smile.
“You’re working me, aren’t you?”
“Okay, but it’s going to cost you another cup of coffee. I’ll let you make the arrangements. Take the money from the house account.” He paused. “We are talking just one car, right?”
“For now.” She rose, kissed him on the forehead, and took his cup to refill it. “Speaking of Rosa, she said something yesterday that seemed…”
“I don’t know what word to use. Unexpected.” She filled the cup and returned to the table. “She said Donny spoke.”
“Spoke? You mean more than one word?”
“She meant sentences.”
“You’re kidding. I’ve never heard him link words together. I thought it was beyond his ability.”
“We don’t know that.” Royce the geneticist was talking now. “His condition is a mystery. T here are only a handful of savants in the world. We don’t know what goes on in his brain.”
“What did he say?”
“She told me she couldn’t make out all the words. He stopped when she entered the room. Something about shadows.”
“Maybe she was hearing something from one of his computers.”
“Maybe, but she didn’t think so.”
Stanley checked his watch. “Why didn’t you tell me this last night?”
“Um, because you didn’t come home until nearly midnight and you were half asleep.”
“Oh, yeah.” He rose. “T hanks for breakfast. Good as Rosa is, food cooked by my wife always tastes better.”
“I manipulate the alleles in the eggs.”
“T hat’s more science talk, isn’t it?”
“You going to say goodbye to him?”
“Just like every day for twenty-two years.”
“T hanks.”
Stanley started the most difficult task of his day. He loved his son, but he would rather face off against a bunch of IRS attorneys than turn the doorknob to his boy’s bedroom.
As his hand touched the brass knob, he heard a voice from the other side of the door:
Shadow, shadow on my right,
Shadow, shadow on my left,
Shadow, shadow everywhere,
Shadow has all the might.
Donny Elton sat in his chair as he did every hour he wasn’t sleeping. T he chair was an expensive, well-padded iBOT designed by inventor Dean Kamen. It was powered and could raise Donny to the eye level of any adult not playing in the NBA. A series of gyros and a robust computer program enabled it to climb stairs without tipping. T he invention had been a boon to wheelchair-bound consumers.
But Donny wasn’t bound to the wheelchair. He could walk if he wanted, jump if he desired, and even sprint if he had a mind to, but he never did. At least that was what the doctors said. Under heavy sedation, Donny had endured MRIs, CAT scans, X-rays, muscle conductivity studies, and other medical tests. All came back negative.
“T he problem isn’t with this body,” the doctors said. “T he problem is in his mind. He doesn’t want to walk.” T hat had been the end of their assessment. No one could offer any ideas of how to make a healthy twenty-two-year-old who was monosyllabic on his best day and mute on his worst and who possessed an IQ above 200 do what he didn’t want to do. “You simply cannot make a man walk if he doesn’t want to.” T hey had been united in that assessment.
Stanley, in the few quiet moments he allowed himself, wondered why his son refused to walk or engage with humanity. Yes, his savant condition was probably due to autism, but research had yet to come to a consensus on that.
Stanley stood in the open door with a bowl of hot oatmeal in one hand and wondered if he had heard what he thought he heard.
“Hey, buddy. Mom whipped up some oatmeal for you.” He moved to the long desk that took up all of one wall in the place they called Stanley’s bedroom. It looked more like a NASA control center than a place to sleep. A series of four 27-inch monitors lined the table, and two computer towers sat nearby. T hey were never turned off. More than once, Stanley had awakened in the night to hear Donny’s fingers tapping on the keyboard.
“Oatmeal. Food. Oatmeal. Good.”
Stanley set the bowl and spoon on an unoccupied spot of the table. “Whatcha working on, pal?”
“Oatmeal. Good.”
Stanley was thankful Donny could feed himself. He needed help dressing and using the bathroom, but at least he could manage to put a spoon in his mouth or hold a sandwich. Small blessings.
T he large window of the bedroom overlooked the Pacific side of the Strand. T he thinning cloud cover allowed the morning sun to paint sparkles on the gentle swells and surf. A short distance from the shore, surfers waited for the ocean to offer more waves. Although Stanley couldn’t see them from this window, he knew that new Navy SEALs were training there. Such was Coronado: home to the wealthy, a mecca for sun worshippers, a training ground for the Navy, and a magnet for tourists.
Donny knew none of this. Stanley doubted his son had ever noticed the beauty outside his window, the kind of view that made the 1700-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bath condo worth $3.5 million. T he only things Donny seemed to notice were on the computer monitors. Stanley doubted the young man even knew him. T he last thought brought pain, as it did a dozen times every day.
Line upon line of code filled the monitors. For a few moments, Stanley considered having a programmer look at it, but he dismissed the idea. What difference would it make?
“I’m headed to work, son. I’ll be home late again, but I’ll look in on you. Mom will be here until Rosa arrives.”
“Rosa. Oatmeal. Good.” Donny took a bite of the pasty meal.
Stanley ran his fingers through his son’s hair. He loved the boy even if he had never caught a baseball or watched a football game. “Take it easy, champ.”
“Bye. Later. Oatmeal.”
Stanley turned when something appeared in the corner of his eye—something dark, indistinct. He snapped his head around but saw nothing.
Closing the door, Stanley paused and tried to push back the gloom that draped his mind. T hen he heard Donny’s voice again.
Shadow, shadow on my right,
Shadow, shadow on my left,
Shadow, shadow everywhere,
Shadow has all the might.

Dynamic Uno here: I did not request to review this book due to time issues, but I do love Alton Gansky's work.  I've never read anything by the other author, Mark, but with a last name of Hitchcock, I can only assume it's awesome.  Let me know what you think!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Angel of the Cove by Sandra Robbins

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:

Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Sandra Robbins and her husband live in the small college town in Tennessee where she grew up. They count their four children and five grandchildren as the greatest blessings in their lives. Her published books include stories in historical romance and romantic suspense. When not writing or spending time with her family, Sandra enjoys reading, collecting flow blue china, and playing the piano.

Visit the author's website.


Anna Prentiss wants to be a nurse, but first she has to spend a summer in Cades Cove apprenticing to the local midwife. Anna is determined to prove herself…but she never expected to fall in love with the Cove. Has God’s plan for Anna changed? Or is she just starting to hear Him clearly?

Product Details:
List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (August 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736948848
ISBN-13: 978-0736948845


Mountain air was supposed to be cool. At least that’s what she’d always heard.

Anna Prentiss couldn’t be sure because she’d never been this far into the mountains before. But if truth be told, they still had a fair piece to go before they reached the hills that rolled off into the distance.

The narrow dirt road that led them closer to those hills twisted and bumped its way along. The June heat had dried out the winter mud in this part of Tennessee and produced a dust that threatened to choke her, roiling up and around the buggy. Anna covered her mouth with the lace handkerchief her mother had tucked in her dress pocket and sneezed. The smudge left on the cloth made her wonder what her face must look like.

She glanced at Uncle Charles, her father’s brother, who sat beside her on the leather seat of the buggy. Perspiration had cut meandering, dusty trails down his cheeks, but he didn’t appear to notice. His attention was focused on trying to avoid the holes that dotted the road.

She wiped at her face once more before stuffing the handkerchief back in her pocket. It really didn’t matter what she looked like. There was no one to see her. The only living creatures she’d seen all day were some white-tailed deer that had run across the road in front of them and a fox that had peered at her from his dusky hiding place beside the road. In front of them trees lined the long roadway that twisted and turned like a lazy snake slithering deeper into the mountain wilderness. She’d come a long way from the farm in Strawberry Plains.

A twinge of homesickness washed over her. She closed her eyes and gritted her teeth. The uneasy feeling lingered a moment, but with a determination she’d only recently acquired, she banished thoughts of those she’d left behind to the spot in her heart where her grief lay buried.

Just then the buggy hit a hole, and Anna grabbed the seat to keep from bouncing onto the floorboard. Uncle Charles flicked the reins across the horse’s back and glanced at her, his spectacles resting on the bridge of his nose. Wispy gray hair stuck out from underneath a black hat.

“Hold on. These roads can be a little rough. We had a hard winter up here.”

Anna nodded, straightening herself on the buggy seat and studying her uncle’s profile. How many times had he ridden this way to take care of the mountain people he loved? He looked every bit the country doctor. His smooth hands, so unlike her father’s work-roughened ones, gripped the reins tighter as he grinned at her.

The corner of his mouth curled downward when he smiled, just as her father’s had always done. That was the only similarity she’d ever seen in them, though. Uncle Charles used to say he got the brains and Poppa got the brawn. When she was a little girl, she wondered what he meant. But she knew no matter what it implied, the two brothers shared a bond like few she’d ever seen. And they were the only ones who’d ever encouraged her to follow her dream of becoming a nurse.

Anna took a deep breath and inhaled the heavy, sweet smell that drifted from the forests on either side of the road. She turned to Uncle Charles. “I’ve been noticing those white flowers that look like shrubs growing along the road. What are they?”

“Those are our mountain rhododendron,” said Uncle Charles. “There are also pink and purple ones. Sometimes in the summer you can stand on a ridge and look across the mountains at the rhododendrons blooming, and it looks like somebody took a paintbrush and colored the world. It’s a mighty beautiful sight.”

Anna swiveled in her seat again and looked at Uncle Charles. “Thank you for working out this trip for me.”

A grin tugged at his mouth. “How many times would you say you’ve thanked me today?”

“Not enough yet.”

A sudden breeze ruffled the straw hat her mother had given her, and Anna grabbed the wide brim. After a moment she released it and pulled the handkerchief from her pocket again. Grasping it with both hands, she twisted the cloth until it stretched taut between her fingers. “I hope I don’t disappoint Mrs. Lawson.”

He didn’t take his eyes off the road but shrugged. “I wouldn’t worry about that. She’s been delivering babies in Cades Cove for a long time, and she’s glad to have an extra pair of hands. It’ll be good experience before you leave for nursing school in the fall.”

The old anger rose in Anna’s throat. “Only if Robert agrees.” She spit out the barbed words as if they pierced the inside of her mouth. “Why does he have to be so selfish?” She clenched her fists tight together. Ever since their father’s death Robert had assumed the role as head of the family, and he took his responsibilities seriously. Too seriously, if you asked Anna. He never missed an opportunity to tell her how their father wasn’t around anymore to cater to her every whim. The first time he’d said that she felt as if he’d shattered her heart. The pieces had never mended as far as her relationship with him was concerned. But if things went as planned, she would soon be free of his authority.

“I don’t want you to be angry with your brother, Anna. You may not understand his reasons, but he’s trying his best to be the head of your family. He’s still young and has a lot to learn, but he loves you and wants what’s best for you.”

Anna crossed her arms and scowled. “All he wants is for me to stay on the farm and marry somebody he thinks will make a good husband.” Anna shook her head. “Well, that’s not what I want. Poppa promised me I’d be able to go. Robert has no right to keep that money hostage.”

“I know. Your father would have been so proud to know you’ve been accepted.” Uncle Charles’s shoulders drooped with the sigh that drifted from his mouth. “Try to see it from his perspective. You’ve led a sheltered life on the farm, and Robert feels like you aren’t ready for what you’ll see and have to deal with in a big hospital in New York. You think you’ll be able to assist injured and dying people, but it’s different when you’re right there with somebody’s life in your hands. If you find you can’t do it, then Robert is out the money for your tuition, not to mention travel and living expenses.” He cocked a bushy eyebrow at Anna. “And he doesn’t need to be wasting money that can be put to good use on the farm.”

“I know. He’s told me often enough.” Anna smoothed out her skirt and straightened in her seat. “I’m just thankful you came up with a plan that Robert agreed to. Spending the summer with Mrs. Lawson ought to prove I have the grit to handle New York.”

“Remember you’ll need a good report from Granny Lawson.”

Anna smiled. “You don’t have to worry about that. I’m going to listen to her and do everything she tells me, no matter how distasteful I think the task is.” She clenched her fists in her lap. “When I board that train for New York in the fall, it will all be worth it.”

Uncle Charles shook his head and chuckled. “I’ll leave New York and all its hustle and bustle to you. I prefer to spend my time right here in these mountains.”

Anna let her gaze rove over the trees on either side of the road. “Still, maybe you’ll come visit me someday. I can show off the maternity ward!”

He flicked the reins across the horse’s back. “I’ve read a lot about that ward. First one in the country. You’ll be fortunate to work there. But don’t forget you may see a lot of babies born this summer while you’re at Granny’s cabin. And there’s not a better place in the world to learn about nursing. She can teach you things you would never learn at Bellevue. Listen to her and do what she says and you’ll be fine.”

Anna nodded. “I will.” Her hat slipped to the side, and she reached up and straightened it. “I really can’t thank you enough, Uncle Charles. Everything’s coming together just the way I planned it, and nothing—not even Robert—is going to stand in my way.”

Uncle Charles sucked in his breath and directed a frown at her. “Nothing? We can only follow the plan God has for us, Anna.”

She settled back on the seat and cast her eyes over the hazy hills in front of them. “But that is God’s plan for me.”

“And how do you know?”

“Because it’s what I’ve dreamed about all my life. God’s never tried to change my mind.”

“Maybe you’ve never listened to Him.” Uncle Charles stared at her a moment. “Like I said, pay attention to what Granny says. She’ll teach you how God uses those He’s chosen to take care of the sick. It isn’t all done with medicine, Anna. A lot of my medical successes—and Granny’s as well—have come about after a lot of prayer.”

The buggy hit another bump, and Anna bounced straight up. As far as she could see, the rippling Smoky Mountains stretched out toward the horizon. A plume of wispy fog hung over the valleys. A strange world awaited her out there.

Mrs. Johnson, the owner of the inn where they’d stayed in Pigeon Forge last night, had taken great pleasure in warning her of what she might face in Cades Cove this summer. Anna clasped her hands in her lap and glanced at Uncle Charles. “Mrs. Johnson said the folks who live in Cades Cove don’t take to strangers.”

Uncle Charles nodded. “That doesn’t surprise me. What else did she say?”

Anna took a deep breath and brushed at the new layer of dust on her skirt. “Oh, not much. Just that everybody knows it’s a closed society in the Cove, but it doesn’t matter because no sensible person would want to live there anyway. She called the people there a strange lot.”

Uncle Charles cocked an eyebrow and chuckled. “Is that right? I hope you didn’t believe her. I know every family in the Cove, and some of them are my good friends.” He hesitated a moment. “Of course you’re going to find some who cause problems—just like you would anywhere else.”

“Like the moonshiners?”

He turned to stare at her with wide eyes. “What did Mrs. Johnson tell you about moonshiners?”

“She said all the men were moonshiners. Are they?”

Uncle Charles threw back his head and laughed as if he’d just heard the funniest joke of his life. After a few seconds he shook his head. “Nothing could be further from the truth. There may be a few who give the Cove people a bad reputation, but most of the men work too hard to waste their time on such nonsense.” He reached over and patted her hand. “I wouldn’t leave you in a place where you weren’t safe. Mrs. Johnson may run a good inn, but she’s the worst gossip in these mountains.”

Anna heaved a sigh of relief. “I guess I’m just a little nervous. I want everybody to like me.”

“They will. Just be yourself and they’ll all love you.”

Uncle Charles meant well, but doubt still lingered in her mind. Would the people of the Cove accept a stranger into their small community? And if they didn’t, what good could she possibly do in this place?

She had to succeed. Her future depended on it. She squared her shoulders. There was no turning back.

As the day wore on, they found themselves deeper in the hills. As they did, a slow awakening began to dawn in the deepest corner of her soul. She’d never seen anything as beautiful as the lush growth that covered the vast mountain range. The air now grew cooler, just as she’d expected it to be, and the sweet smell of mountain laurel mingled with the rhododendrons. As her uncle’s horse, Toby, plodded along the rocky trail that grew steeper with each step, she saw the world through new eyes and stared in awe at the wonders of nature unfolding before her.

For the last hour she’d sat silent and watched the shallow river that flowed beside the road. The water bubbled over rocks like huge stepping-stones scattered across its bed, and the rippling sound had a lulling effect. She wished they could stop so she could pull off her shoes and wade in the cold mountain stream, but there was no time for such fun today. She turned her attention back to the steep hillside on the other side of the road.

“It’s beautiful here.”

Uncle Charles glanced at her. “We’re just about to Wear’s Valley. When we get there, we’ll be close to Cades Cove.”

Anna wondered if Uncle Charles was tired of her questions about the Cove. She hoped not. She settled in her seat and said, “Tell me more about Cades Cove, Uncle Charles.”

He pushed his hat back on his head and stared straight ahead. “Well, if you’ve noticed, we’ve been following that stream as the road’s climbed. Pretty soon now we’re gonna reach a place where we turn away from it and head into a flat valley right in the middle of the mountains. That’s Cades Cove. It’s almost like God just took His giant hand and tucked a little piece of heaven right down in the Smokies. The land’s fertile—not so many rocks you can’t farm—and completely surrounded by mountains. You’re gonna love it when you see it, Anna.”

“How many people live there?”

He pursed his lips and squinted into the distance. “I’d say there are about two hundred fifty scattered throughout the Cove nowadays. Some left for town life—better work there, you know—but they’ll never find a place that’s as beautiful as these mountains.”

“How far is it from Mrs. Lawson’s house to where you live?”

He thought for a moment. “It’s not that far as the crow flies, but it takes me almost three hours going around these roads.”

A lump formed in her throat. Now that they were closer, she didn’t want him to leave. She scooted a little closer to him on the bench of the buggy. “Will you stay at Mrs. Lawson’s tonight?”

He shook his head. “No, I’ll have enough daylight left to get home. But don’t worry, I’ll come to the Cove from time to time to check on you. Granny does a good job of taking care of the folks there, but she knows when it’s serious enough to send for me.”

Anna clasped her hands in her lap to keep him from seeing them tremble. The time had come to begin the test. She couldn’t fail. She squared her shoulders and lifted her chin. She dredged up all the determination she could muster. No, she wouldn’t fail.

“How long before we get there, Uncle Charles?”

“Not much longer. The entrance is up ahead.”

Dynamic Uno here: Once again, I did not request to review this book, but I thought you might be interested. Let me know what you think!

YouTube Thursday

To get you (and me) moving today, here's Needtobreathe with Girl Named Tennessee:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Healing Love by Laura V. Hilton

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:

Whitaker House (September 3, 2012)

***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling of Whitaker House for sending me a review copy.***


Laura V. Hilton, of Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas, is a pastor’s wife, mother of five, author LVHilton1210and book lover. She’s got a degree in business but her passion has long been the mission of Christian fiction. Her first series, The Amish of Seymour from Whitaker House (Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another) earned praise from critics and fans for originality and authenticity, thanks in part to Laura’s Amish grandmother who taught her Amish culture at a young age, and her husband Steve’s family ties to the Amish community in Webster County, Missouri, which has been helpful in her research. Laura is the author of two novels for Treble Heart Books and a contributor to Zondervan’s It’s The Year Life Verse Devotional. She’s a member of ACFW for whom she writes Amish reviews for the magazine, Afictionado, and a long time reviewer for the Christian Suspense Zone. Laura is a stay-at-home mom, homeschooler, breast cancer survivor and avid blogger who posts reviews at:

Visit the author's website.


Shane Zimmerman, a young veterinarian and widower, is first person on the scene of a serious buggy accident buggy in Webster County, Missouri. He rushes Amish midwife Kristi Lapp, been badly injured in the crash, to the nearest hospital. The two discover they’re next door neighbors and a friendship develops as Shane helps Kristi with her high-energy Siberian husky, Chinook, for whom she can’t properly care because of her leg injuries. Shane hopes to further develop their relationship, but Kristi is leery and discourages him at first -- Shane isn’t Amish (although his grandparents were) and Kristi’s father would prefer she marry any aged Amish widower rather than an Englischer – even one with ties to the community who is close to her age. Despite the forces that would keep them apart, the strong attraction Kristi and Shane have for one another grows stronger. As their on-again, off-again relationship persists, Shane must come to grips with his identity and reevaluates why he’s Englisch.

Product Details:
List Price: $10.99

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Whitaker House (September 3, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1603745068
ISBN-13: 978-1603745062


Chapter 1


Kristi Lapp flicked the reins impatiently. “Kum on, Samson. ‘Slow’ isn’t the only speed you’re capable of, ain’t so?” She needed him to pick up the pace. Silas Troyer had banged on her door earlier to alert her that his frau, Susie, was going into labor, and then he’d raced down the lane in his horse-and-buggy to notify their family members of the imminent birth.

Kristi was especially excited about this boppli. Susie had four girls, all of them a year apart, and she’d been expecting to have a boy this time, based on how different it had felt carrying him. Mamms usually sensed these things. And Kristi predicted she was right.

Several deer stepped onto the road right in front of Kristi, none of them even glancing her way. Smiling, she pulled the reins slightly to the right to direct Samson away from them, over to the side of the road. A similarly sized herd had meandered its way through her family’s backyard the other day, and she’d always admired the animals for sticking together as they did.

She tightened her grip on the reins and gave them another flick, hoping to encourage Samson to move more quickly.

As the deer were crossing the center line into the other lane, the powerful roar of an engine broke the serenity of the setting. A red sports car crested the hill up ahead, barreling in Kristi’s direction at a speed she’d never witnessed on this road. She heaved a breath of exasperation. Any idiot would have noticed one of the several signs that read, “Watch for Buggies.” They were impossible to miss, and Kristi had passed four of them in the last mile alone.

As the car whizzed toward her, the herd of deer scattered, darting in different directions. The driver swerved sharply into Kristi’s lane to avoid them, and she gasped, frantically trying to steer the buggy over toward the shoulder. A chill ran up her spine at the sight of the steep embankment and deep ditch below.

One of the spooked deer pivoted. Made a mad dash straight toward her horse. Samson reared and immediately took off at a run, straight toward the ditch.

“Whoa, Samson!” Kristi planted her feet against the front of the buggy and pulled back on the reins with all her might. Leave it to Samson to shift into high gear at the worst time.

The car sped past, but Samson wouldn’t slow down. He was heading straight for the side of the road. Panic surged through Kristi, constricting her breath. Should she try to jump out? She dropped the reins and scooted to the edge of the seat.

She was too late. The buggy lurched as Samson ran headlong over the embankment. As the vehicle tipped, she was propelled out the side. Hours seemed to pass before her body collided with the ground and pain engulfed her.

Teetering on the edge of consciousness, she thought briefly of Susie. How desperately she wanted to be there to assist with the birth of her boppli! Especially considering the problems she’d had with her first delivery…. And then she blacked out.


Shane Zimmerman flipped on his fog lights to illuminate the low-lying clouds, which created interesting shapes and shadows against the dark backdrop of woods lining the rural Missouri highway. He scanned the area for deer ousted from their natural habitats by hunters. Of course, rutting season also brought them out of hiding. Not that he hunted. He did treat many a pet that had been injured accidentally by a hunter, such as the Great Dane boarding at his clinic while she recovered from the surgical removal of an errant bullet.

Shane reached inside the console for a CD—the latest release from LordSong—and slid it into the player. As the uplifting music filled the car, he flexed his shoulders in an effort to relieve the tension of the busy day behind him. He looked forward to getting home and kicking back to read his Bible and watch the evening news.

As his Jeep crowned the hill, he tapped the brakes at the sight of a wrecked Amish buggy. He scanned the area, but there was no sign of horse or driver. The animal must have been released and carted home. Or put down, if its injuries had been severe enough.

Returning his gaze to the highway, he slowed. A young buck lay on the road, still alive yet struggling.

Shane pulled his Jeep to the shoulder, put it in park, and clicked on the hazard lights. Leaving the keys in the ignition, he got out, his heart pounding in time with the obnoxious dinging sound of the car. Cautiously, he approached the deer. Its brown eyes fixed on him, wild with fear. The animal lurched to a standing position for a second but quickly collapsed again on the hard pavement, where it remained. Its labored breaths intensified. Whoever had hit it had driven off, leaving it to die. Was the same person to blame for the buggy accident? He’d probably never know.

“It’s okay,” Shane spoke softly.

The deer flicked its ears and struggled to its feet again.

“I’m here to help you.” Shane stepped closer, keeping a wary eye on the rack of antlers. It was hardly the biggest he’d seen, but even small antlers could do hefty damage.

With another flick of its ears, the buck struggled to a semi-standing position and limped off to the edge of the road and into the forest. It would surely die, but Shane couldn’t do anything about that. He wasn’t about to chase an injured wild animal through the woods. He didn’t carry much medical gear in his Jeep, anyway, aside from a few larger tools used for treating farm animals.

He started back toward his vehicle, but a glance at the buggy lying on its side gave him a strong urge to check it out. No point in hurrying. He rubbed his eyes, weary after a long day at the clinic, and surveyed the scene. The buggy appeared to be abandoned.

Then, he moved to the edge of the embankment and gazed down the leaf-covered slope. Something caught his eye. A woman? Shane squinted. Sure enough, there was an Amish woman, wearing a maroon dress and a black apron. Gold hair peeked out from underneath her white prayer kapp, and a black bonnet hung loosely around her shoulders. “Hello?”

No answer. His breath hitched. Had she hit the deer? Or had the deer hit her? He frowned. Accidents caused by deer affected more cars than buggies, by far. Where was the horse?

Heart pounding, he scrambled down through the brush into the ditch. As he crouched beside the woman, his nose caught the metallic odor of blood. The brilliant red on her dress wasn’t part of the fabric. He lifted the hem just enough to spot the injury. Her left leg lay at a weird angle, with a bone protruding from the skin. Definitely broken.

His heart sank. He couldn’t help her. His expertise was limited to animals.

But he was the only one there. And she needed help—urgently.

“Hey.” He touched her left hand. It felt warm. He noted the shallow rise and fall of her chest. His fingers moved down to her wrist, feeling for her pulse. Alive but unresponsive. He reached into his pocket, pulled out his cell phone, and dialed 9-1-1. When the dispatcher answered, he said, “I’d like to report a buggy accident. We need an ambulance. The woman is unconscious and bleeding with a badly broken leg. Looks like a serious injury.” He added their approximate location.

Glancing again at the bone sticking out of her skin, Shane shuddered. Animals, he could handle. Humans were too easy to identify with; their injuries hit too close to home. He leaned down and gently pushed her hair away from her neck. Her pulse was extremely rapid and weak. He breathed a prayer that help would arrive quickly.

As he studied her face for the first time, recognition nearly knocked him off balance. This woman lived right next door to him. What were the odds of that? Her backyard was overrun with weeds, a stark contrast to her meticulously maintained garden in the side yard. He’d seen her working there many a time. She had the most beautiful dog he’d ever seen, a Siberian husky. And the thought had dawned on him, more than once, that the dog’s owner was more than usually beautiful, as well.

She wasn’t married, as far as he knew. The only other people he’d spotted next door were an older couple, presumably her parents. Their last name was Lapp, if the stenciling on their mailbox was current.

Shane would have to stop by the house to let her family know about the accident. They would probably be worried sick when she didn’t return.

The young woman moaned, drawing Shane’s attention. He saw her eyelids flutter slightly, and then her eyes opened.

“It’s okay,” he said, gazing as calmly as he could into her grayish-green eyes. “Help is coming.”

“The pain…my head…my leg….” She winced as tears filled her eyes. “Who are you? I’ve seen you before.”

“I’m Shane Zimmerman. Your next-door neighbor.” He reached for her hand, hesitated, then folded his fingers gently around hers. As their skin connected, he was startled by the jolt that shot through his fingertips and gained intensity as it traveled through his hand and up his arm. He had no explanation, other than his being overly tired. “You’ll be fine,” he assured her.

She only moaned again and closed her eyes.

Shane stared down at her bloodstained skirt and saw that the fabric was saturated. He grimaced. She needed help fast, or she’d bleed out. Animal or human, he didn’t want death on his hands tonight.

God, help me. Shane let go of her hand and yanked his sweatshirt up and over her head. He lifted her skirt again and pressed the garment against her wound, knowing he could be introducing harmful germs. But there wasn’t a choice. He tried to make her as comfortable as he could without letting up the pressure. Even though she didn’t rouse again, he explained every measure he took, from applying pressure to strapping his belt as a tourniquet around her leg. Then, he sang a couple of Amish songs, the ones he remembered learning from his grandparents. His father had left the Amish as young man, choosing to marry Shane’s mom, who wasn’t Amish. But Shane had often spent entire summers with his grandparents.

Time hung in the air as he waited for help to arrive.

Finally, there was a screech of brakes and a rumble of gravel on the road above, followed by the sound of a vehicle door opening.

“Down here!” Shane called.

Seconds later, an EMT carrying a medical bag peeked over the embankment. “Ambulance is right behind me. You didn’t move her, did you?”

“No. But she’s bleeding profusely. I did what I could to slow it down.”

The man half climbed, half slid, down the slope toward Shane. “I’ve got some emergency flares in the back of my truck. Mind setting them out while I take a look at her?”

“Not at all.”

Shane did as he’d been asked, then walked over to the buggy to inspect it more closely. The leather harness straps dangled with frayed ends, indicating that the horse had broken free, possibly when the buggy tipped. He checked the immediate area and even wandered a ways into the woods for signs of a wounded animal, but no clues turned up. The roar of sirens in the distance beckoned him back to the site of the wreck.

In his Jeep, he found a rag and wiped off his bloody hands while he thought out the statement he’d make to the police.

An ambulance screeched to a stop beside the pickup, lights flashing, and a police cruiser pulled up alongside. It wasn’t long before the ambulance wailed away again, spiriting its nameless passenger toward the hospital in Springfield.

After Shane had finished answering the police officer’s questions, he started the two-mile trip home, keeping his eyes peeled for an injured horse. He passed his own small plot of land without any sign of the animal.

He pulled into the driveway next door, hurried up to the house, and pounded on the front door. No response. After several moments, he knocked again. He knew that the Amish generally kept their doors unlocked, but he didn’t feel comfortable opening the door and hollering into the hallway of a stranger’s house. He rapped one more time, just to be sure.


Shane turned around and saw a man on the front porch of the house across the street.

The man started down the steps. “Can I help you?”

“I’m looking for Ms. Lapp’s family. She was in a buggy accident.”

The man came closer. “She hurt bad?”

Shane nodded. “Bad.” Would she survive the trip to the hospital? His heart clenched.

“Donald Jackson. Me an’ the wife live here.”

Shane stretched his mouth into a tight smile. “Shane Zimmerman. Neighbor on the other side.”

“Oh, the new guy. Vet, right? Welcome to Seymour.”

“Thanks.” It hardly seemed appropriate to exchange pleasantries when someone’s life was hanging in the balance. Shane shifted his weight. “Does she have any family?”

Donald shrugged. “Everyone has some. See her parents and other people around from time to time. Sometimes lots of buggies over there. Besides, ain’t the Amish all related? Heard that somewhere.”

“Seems that way sometimes.” Okay, this man was no help. A howl from the backyard reminded Shane about the Siberian husky. “I’m going to check on the dog.” He strode down the porch steps and made his way around the side of the house.

Donald trailed him. “Barn’s always unlocked, I’m pretty sure, so you could get the dog’s food. I never see her lock it, anyway. But then, I don’t watch her twenty-four-seven or anything.”

Shane raised an eyebrow. This Donald apparently watched her often enough to know about the barn door and the dog food. “Nice meeting you, Donald. I’ll just make sure the dog has fresh water, and then I’ll go.” He needed to find someone Amish to notify.

Seeing the red and white Siberian husky in a large kennel in the backyard, Shane opened the gate and went in, shutting it behind him. The dog whined and jumped up, wrapping him in a sort of canine embrace. Shane hugged her back. This breed was so affectionate. He rubbed her neck, then stepped back, picked up her metal water dish, and headed for the outside spigot, which he’d spotted on his way to the backyard. The dog followed closely at his feet, growling in a friendly way, as if she carried on a one-sided conversation. At the spigot, Shane filled the dish with cold water, then checked the barn door. It was unlocked, as Donald had said it’d be.

Shane stopped and scratched the dog behind her ears. “I’ll be back later to get you some food.” He hesitated. “No, I’ll do it now.” He turned back to the barn and slid both wobbly doors open, going into the darkness. He paused, wishing for his flashlight, then remembered that his Amish grandfather had always kept a lantern near the door. He turned back and groped along a shelf, finally feeling the familiar metal base of a lantern. Next to it was a book of matches, one of which he used to light the wick. It didn’t seem right, being in a stranger’s barn, but the dog would be hungry.

He found the dog food and bent down to scoop some into the dish. Then, he straightened and looked around. This was an Amish farm. There’d be other animals to bed down. Cows. Chickens. Horses. He sighed.

A nicker sounded, and Shane turned to the door. Ah, the prodigal buggy horse, dragging the frayed strands of a harness. Shane spoke softly to the animal as he grabbed hold of one of the harness straps, and then he led it back to an empty stall. The dog followed, whining all the way. Shane gave the sweaty horse a rubdown, checking it for injuries. Nothing seemed amiss, other than the wild look in its eyes and the way it kept tossing its head, probably responses to the trauma of the accident.

When Shane had calmed the horse as best he could, he glanced around again. He knew the basics of managing an Amish farm, thanks to the years he’d spent helping his grandparents, but it was more than one person could handle alone. Another Amish family would probably take on the rest of the chores.

Still, he wanted to go to the hospital to check on Ms. Lapp. Why did she still weigh so heavily on his mind? He’d done his duty to her, a stranger.

His decision made, he returned the dog to her kennel. Before closing the door, he gave her another rub behind the ears. “I’ll be back.”

The dog flopped down on the ground with a reproachful whimper, as if he were abandoning her in her time of greatest need.

“Your master was in an accident, but she’ll be okay,” Shane explained. “I hope.” He crouched down to the dog’s level. “I’m going to the hospital right now to check on her.”

With another whine, the dog lowered her head to rest on her front paws. Apparently, she had resigned herself to his departing.

Shane drove home for a quick shower, then got back in his Jeep to head to the hospital. First, though, he stopped by the farm on the other side of his property. The mailbox there also said “Lapp,” and he figured the residents had to be relatives of the injured woman.

Seconds after he pulled into the driveway, a man came out into the yard. Shane introduced himself and asked for confirmation that this family was related to the other Lapps, specifically the young woman with the Siberian husky.

The man frowned. “Jah, we’re family. I’m Kristi’s onkel. Timothy. I’m caring for their livestock while her parents are visiting family in Sarasota. I was getting ready to head over there.”

Shane proceeded to tell Timothy about the accident. For a relative of Kristi’s, he processed the information rather stoically, Shane thought.

“Can I give you a lift to the hospital?”

Timothy took a step back. “Nein, I’ll contact the bishop, and he’ll get the word out. And I’ll make a call down to Florida to tell her parents.”

Timothy headed back to the barn, and Shane drove away, wondering why was he was taking the time to go to the hospital and check on a woman he didn’t even know. He probably wouldn’t find out anything, thanks to the strict privacy policy. But still, something drew him.

At the hospital, Shane went directly to the emergency wing and approached the front desk. “Kristi Lapp, please.”

The receptionist nodded and checked something on her computer. Then, she looked up with a sympathetic smile. “If you’ll take a seat in the waiting room, a doctor will be out to talk with you in just a few minutes.”

She must be in more serious condition than he’d thought. Shane went down the hall to the waiting area, where he was relieved to find a coffeemaker. He poured himself a coffee and watched several minutes of the sitcom playing on the TV mounted on the wall overhead.

As the only person in the room, he had his choice of seats. He selected a chair in a corner and picked up a magazine from the end table next to it. However, the contents didn’t appear to be any more interesting than the drama he was caught up in, so he put it back. Instead of reading, he prayed for Kristi and for the doctors working on her. It felt strange praying for a woman he didn’t know and waiting for an update from the doctor, as if she meant something special to him. But it seemed she did, even though he’d just met her. Did their brief interaction even count as a meeting? He wasn’t sure. All he knew was that he hadn’t felt this strong a connection with a woman since Becca. Immediately he dismissed the thought.

He was glad he’d found out her name. Calling her “Ms. Lapp” seemed so wrong. Plus, he probably wouldn’t have been permitted to see her if the hospital staff thought he was a stranger.

Several people came into the waiting room and exited again during a period of time that felt like hours.

At last, a doctor came into the room. “Family for Kristi Lapp.”

Shane blew out a breath. Family he wasn’t, but he was the only person there for her. Hopefully, the doctor wouldn’t ask how he was related. He got up, feeling a twinge of guilt at his act of impersonation.

The doctor led him into a private conference room and gestured for him to sit down. “She’s in recovery. We’ve given her a blood transfusion, and we’ll be monitoring her hemoglobin and hematocrit—that is, blood values. As soon as we’re sure they are in the normal range, she’ll be referred to an orthopedic surgeon for a procedure we abbreviate as ORIF: open reduction internal fixation.”

Shane nodded. He was familiar with the procedure, but the doctor was probably accustomed to having to explain it, so he continued.

“Open reduction—that’s how we put the bone back in the position it’s supposed to be. And internal fixation is how we stabilize it—with a rod down the center of the bone and plates on either side, to keep it in the position it’s supposed to be in until nature takes her course and it heals completely. The plates may be removed later, as long as the bone heals well. Also, her femoral artery was nicked, but she’ll be fine. Lost a lot of blood. We had to give her three units. She’s going to have substantial bruising and probably be in considerable pain.”

“Has she regained consciousness?”

“Not yet. But brain activity is normal, and we expect no complications.”

“Thank you.” Shane stood up and started for the door.

“If you want to wait, I’ll have a nurse come and show you to her room.”

Shane stopped in the doorway. “I’ll come in tomorrow.”

The doctor frowned. “I’m sure your wife will want to see you when she wakes up.”


Kristi woke up in an unfamiliar room filled with odd beeping noises. Straight ahead, a television was mounted on the celery-green wall. To her right was a beige-colored curtain; to her left, a big, dark window. The hospital. How did she get here? Someone must have found her. What about Samson? What had happened to him?

Had Susie birthed her boppli? Kristi groaned and shifted on the bed, noticing the bedside table with a plastic pitcher of water and an empty tumbler. And…flowers? She smiled at the vase holding six pink rosebuds, a cluster of baby’s breath, and some other greenery. Who would have sent a bouquet? Maybe the person who’d found her.

With great effort, she reached with her right arm toward the table, pain washing over her anew. It seemed every part of her body ached. Despite the discomfort, she extended her arm just far enough to snatch the white envelope from the plastic forklike thing tucked into the bouquet.

Her left hand had an IV needle stuck in it, taped down. She grimaced at the sight. She’d have a bruise there, probably, but that would be the least of her injuries. Even with her pain-blurred vision, which made it seem as if the room was spinning, she could tell from the shape of the blanket that covered her legs how swollen they were. Her left leg, in particular—that’s where most of the pain radiated from. Wincing with effort, she tore open the envelope and pulled out a plain white card. The message written inside was simple:

You’re in my prayers.

Shane Zimmerman

Sweet, but it must have been intended for another patient. She didn’t know anybody by the name of Shane Zimmerman. Or did she? Her head pounded as she tried to figure it out. No one came to mind.

Maybe this mystery man would come to the hospital to see her.

She pressed the card to her chest and closed her eyes, imagining a tall, handsome Amish man. Hopefully, when she fell asleep, he would visit her in her dreams.

Dynamic Uno here: I did not request to review this book, but thought it might appeal to some of you. Let me know what you think!