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Monday, August 31, 2009

Tuesday Thinger: Some FUN Stats From Your Books

Welcome to another week of Tuesday Thingers! We always love to hear from regular participants as well as new people.

This week's Thinger comes from a suggestion by Joy of Joy's Blog - Thank you Joy!!!! A week or so ago, we took a peek at Statistics, but I completely missed a great new feature. Ever wondered where your books take place? Now you can find out!! Go to your statistics page, look down the column on the left hand side, and find the heading that says Common Knowledge. Then click on the link that says Places. It will take you to a page that will show you the places that you books have taken place in.

Questions: Have you explored the Places feature of your Statistics? Do you have any places that have multiple books listed? If you have multiples, are they from different authors, or from the same series?

My Answer:
I had absolutely no idea of the Places feature until I read Joy's post from last week's Thinger. When she suggested some of the new items under Statistics, and this one in particular, I had so much fun exploring where my books have taken place.

I have 39 locations listed, and of those a few places do have multiple books:
Denver, Colorado
Four of the Kitty Norville Series of books by Carrie Vaughn

Las Vegas, Nevada
Two of the Kitty Norville books by Carrie Vaughn

London, England, UK
Feather Man by Rhyll McMaster
Silent In The Grave by Deanna Raybourn
Mr. Darcy's Daughters : A Novel by Elizabeth Aston

Ohio, USA
The 19th Wife: A Novel by David Ebershoff
Songs for the Missing: A Novel by Stewart O'Nan

So. . . it appears as though a few of my Places have multiples because of series, but a few are simply popular places!

Looking forward to reading everyone's answers!!

~ Wendi

If you are new to Tuesday Thingers: Welcome! The meme was originally created as a way to network with other bloggers and to learn about Library Thing! I'd like to encourage you to join us. If you don't know what Library Thing is - you are in a great place to learn about new things, and if you are an old pro, stick around and share your wealth of information! Visit Library Thing here. To join in, copy the picture and question into your post and link back here so people can read other responses. Make sure you leave a comment here with a link to your post so we can stop by! If you don't have a blog, feel free to leave a comment here!

Update on Review of Plight of the Darcy Brothers!!

I am so excited! I was given permission to add an excerpt to the review of The Plight of the Darcy Brothers, by Marsha Altman this morning! If you would like to read it, click here.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Review: To Tempt the Wolf by Terry Spear

Title: To Tempt the Wolf
Author: Terry Spear
Pages: 416
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (September 1, 2009)
Genre: Fiction / Romance / Paranormal (Lupus Garou/Werewolf)
Edition: Uncorrected Advanced Copy - Many thanks go out to Sourcebooks for sending me a copy to review

Perfect for : Personal reading

In a nutshell: I thoroughly enjoyed To Tempt the Wolf, the latest paranormal romance book by Terry Spear! Let me start by saying that I had NO idea this was the third book in a series - it was easy to pick up as a stand alone, although now I can't wait to get my hands on the first two books. The book was fast-paced and kept my attention the entire time. The storyline was a mix of romance, mystery and adventure - each in perfect harmony with the others.

Extended Review: Tessa Anderson and her brother Michael are both fascinated by wolves, and unbeknown to her, wolves seem to be fascinated by Tessa. The story starts in a fiery California forest, where Tessa (a professional photographer) is taking pictures of a wolf who turns and charges at her, and she has the strangest feeling that she has photographed that exact wolf before. She makes it to her car just in the nick of time and proceeds to leave the area. Tessa is currently living alone on the Oregon Coast in a cabin her grandfather left her and her brother. Her brother is in prison for murdering his girlfriend, but claims he is innocent. While collecting firewood along the beach near her cabin, Tessa comes upon a naked man who is almost dead. . . but not quite, so she helps him walk back to her cabin where she tries to get him some help. Hunter can't remember anything except for his name, but he quickly realizes that Tessa is the target of a stalker, one who is more dangerous than she realizes. As he recovers, he decides that he is going to try to help get Tessa's brother released from prison while eliminating the stalker. Sounds easy, but its not. . . facing power outages, ice storms and multiple threats, Hunter must try to keep Tessa safe while trying to figure out who he is.

Characters: I fell in love with all the characters. . . well, almost all of them (the stalker and the bad lupus garou/werewolves really were despicable). In fact, I enjoyed them so much that I'm going to have to go back and read Heart of the Wolf and Destiny of the Wolf to see if the characters pop up in either of the first two books!)

Story-Line: Fast-paced and attention grabbing with plenty of steamy moments throughout!

Readability: An enjoyable read.

Overall: I enjoyed it so much that I can't wait to read the first two books, and am looking forward to the fourth book, Legend of the White Wolf, available in 2010. Don't let the fact that this happens to be the third book in a series stop you from picking it up - I really had no problems reading it as a stand-alone, and it is now one of my favorite paranormal romances!

From Amazon:
In this third in the series, wildlife photographer Tessa Anderson must prove her brother innocent of murder charges. But when she discovers a gorgeous naked man barely alive on her beach, she's got a new world of troubles to deal with, not least of which is how he affects her with just a look, a touch, or a whispered word.

Hunter Greymore is a lupus garou, a grey werewolf. Hoping to keep a low profile at Tessa's cabin on the coast, he's drawn into her life—and into her bed. His animal instincts war with his human half, but in the end, the only thing he can do about this fascinating, adorable woman is to leave her forever —unless she becomes one of them.

About the Author: (from the author's site)
Award-winning author of urban fantasy and medieval historical romantic suspense, Heart of the Wolf just named in Publishers Weekly's BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR, NOR Reader Choice for BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE.

Terry Spear also writes true stories for adult and young adult audiences. She’s a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and has an MBA from Monmouth University and a Bachelors in Business and Distinguished Military Graduate of West Texas A & M. She also creates award-winning teddy bears, Wilde & Woolly Bears, to include personalized bears designed to commemorate authors’ books. When she’s not writing or making bears, she’s teaching online writing courses.

Originally from California, she’s lived in eight states and now resides in the heart of Texas. She is the author of Heart of the Wolf, Destiny of the Wolf, To Tempt the Wolf, Legend of the White Wolf, Winning the Highlander’s Heart, Deadly Liaisons, The Vampire…In My Dreams (young adult), Deidre's Secret (young adult), The Accidental Highland Hero (2010), two more wolf tales from Sourcebooks, and numerous articles and short stories for magazines.

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to add a link to your review, please include a link in your comment!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Review: The Plight of the Darcy Brothers by Marsha Altman (Excerpt Included)

Title: The Plight of the Darcy Brothers: A tale of the Darcys & the Bingleys
Author: Marsha Altman
Pages: 368
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (August 1, 2009)
Genre: Fiction
Edition: Uncorrected Advanced Copy - Many thanks to Sourcebooks for sending me a copy to review!!

Perfect for : Personal reading, Book club read

In a nutshell: I found The Plight of the Darcy Brothers to be a wonderful follow-up book to the original Pride and Prejudice. Marsha Altman remained true to the original characters of Darcy and Elizabeth, Charles and Jane (as well as other favorites), while adding her own take to their continued story. This story finds the Darcys and the Bingleys as neighbors with small children of their own. While dealing with a personal loss, Darcy takes Elizabeth on a trip to the continent to help yet another Bennett sister who is in trouble. This book is delightful and full of surprises, even including a few family secrets that become known to Darcy that will change his life and family forever.

Special note: Elizabeth does have a miscarriage early in the book, and the topic is touched on throughout the book. I believe it was not uncommon to loose babies during pregnancy or shortly after birth, so feel the topic was appropriate to the book, but wanted to let readers know that if they have experienced a similar loss themselves, they should be aware of it.

Extended Review:
Characters: In short, I LOVED THEM! In this book, we have the pleasure of the continued story of many favorite characters from the original Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. We also get the pleasure of making the acquaintance of a few new characters.

Story-Line: I have read a few Pride and Prejudice sequels, and so far this one is my favorite (no, I didn't read Marsha Altman's first book The Darcys and the Bingleys, but I found this one stood by itself just fine, so don't let that stop you!). While staying true to the original feeling of Pride and Prejudice, Marsha Altman has created adventures of her own for some of my favorite characters, which was wonderful because I never wanted the original story to end. This book is full of family and adventure.

Readability: A very fun and enjoyable book.

Overall: I highly recommend this Pride and Prejudice sequel and encourage those who loved Jane Austen's book to read this one (even if you have been disappointed by other sequels - give this one a chance!!). I will certainly be on the lookout for more of Marsha Altman's books after reading this one.

About the Book: In this lively second installment, the Darcys and Bingleys are plunged into married life and its many accompanying challenges presented by family and friends.

With Jane and Elizabeth away, Darcy and Bingley take on the daunting task of managing their two-year- old children. Mary Bennet returns from the Continent pregnant by an Italian student promised to the church; Darcy and Elizabeth travel to find the father, and discover previously unknown—and shocking—Darcy relations. By the time Darcy discovers that there's more than one sibling of questionable birth in the family, the ever-dastardly Wickham arrives on the scene to try to seize the Darcy fortune once and for all.

Excerpt from Chapter 2 (Courtesy of Sourcebooks)

Chapter 2
Dark Clouds at Brighton

Darcy happened to be coming down the main steps when the doors opened for Jane Bingley, and though she did not look particularly distressed; he crossed by the servants and bowed to her himself. “Mrs. Bingley.”

“Mr. Darcy,” she curtseyed. “I’ve come to speak with my sister.”

“She’s in her study. I assume all is well?”

“Yes. It’s merely some conversation,” she said, and it struck him as a bit odd, but he would not inquire as to what it was.
He did not have to anyway, with his son bounding down the steps and nearly sliding across the marble, so that Darcy had to catch him by his jacket before he slammed into Jane entirely, which was probably his intent. “What did I tell you about running down the stairs?”

“Don’t!” his son simply said, squirreling out of his grasp and running to grab his aunt by her leg, which was about as high as he could go. “Auntie!”

“My darling nephew,” she said. “I fear you’re getting too heavy for your poor aunt to pick up. You should listen to your father more often. You might hurt yourself.”

“He should,” said Darcy with a mock-indignant posture, and his son simply giggled at him and put his hand in his mouth. “But he doesn’t. He takes after his mother.”

“I’ve no doubt of that. Oh, I should have brought Georgie, but the business is too quick, and she was asleep. Well, you will see her at church on Sunday, won’t you, Geoffrey?”

“Kirk!” he said, and looked at his father, almost hiding behind Jane’s dress as he did so.

“Yes, yes, I’m so thrilled at your love of Scottish vocabulary. Now, Mrs. Bingley, unless you would like Geoffrey to accompany you, he and I have an appointment—”

“No!” Geoffrey clung to his aunt’s legs. “Scary face.”

“It’s a wart, and there is nothing you can do about it,” Darcy said, then clarified to his sister-in-law, “His tailor. Has a bump on his nose. And it’s very improper to say anything about it.”

“That’s very right,” she said, looking down at Geoffrey’s scowl. “You shouldn’t judge people by their appearances. They might think you a dour man with a permanent scowl who doesn’t like balls very much.”

“I fear I’ll never live down Meryton,” Darcy said, scooping up his son, and still managing to bow. “Mrs. Bingley.”

“Mr. Darcy.”

He did not inquire unto her further; there were other things on his mind, like keeping his son’s mouth shut during the whole fitting, as he was constantly outgrowing his clothing. Maybe some sort of glue was the answer.


Elizabeth Darcy’s “study” was impressive, beyond just the idea that she had one, and it was not a sitting or drawing room. It had a desk, a chair, and lots of legal books that she had not the slightest intent on perusing but they were important to making it a proper study. As Mistress of Pemberley, she was not without her business, but certainly nothing that a writing table couldn’t handle, but this was not her desire and Mr. Darcy made sure that every one of her wants and needs were taken care of. Also, he desperately needed her out of his study. She was sitting, reading an old epic with language that she could barely understand but which was big and fascinating all the more and would not sit properly on her lap, when Jane entered the room. “Jane! I was not expecting you.”

“No.” Jane didn’t look harried, but she did shut the door; there was something to her countenance that changed when it was firmly shut and they were in privacy. “What a lovely room.”

“Yes. But not very good for chatting.” She was referring to the lack of couches, but Jane made her way to a gentleman’s sitting chair and passed her a letter. “From Mary.”

“For you?”

“My eyes only.”

Elizabeth did not question further. She read through the letter, which was brief, before beginning to conjure the proper response. Mary, who was studying in a seminary just outside of Paris, had returned to England, or was to when the letter was written, by means of a ship that would take her to Brighton first, where she had arranged lodgings, and she wanted to see Jane alone. The obvious question of why she would not come home through Town and then go straight on to Hertfordshire was the first puzzlement. The second was why she wanted Jane alone and in the strictest confidence.

“Why me, Lizzy?”

Elizabeth pondered before answering, “Perhaps because you are the most understanding of the five of us.”

“Why would that make any difference?” Before Elizabeth could offer a suggestion, she added, “Perhaps she came home ill, and is in Brighton for its healing qualities. She could stay with the Fitzwilliams.”

“Then she would merely say so. Clearly she is in some sort of trouble.”

“Lizzy! This is Mary we’re talking about. Not Kitty or Lydia—”


Jane could not find the words to contradict her. “Please, you must go with me.”

“That would be directly contrary to our sister’s request, I believe.”

“I do not think it unreasonable that you accompany me to Brighton. She only specifies that I meet with her first. That you happen to be in town with me will only be a happy coincidence,” Jane said. “She must see us all in turn, eventually. So it will be most convenient.”

“Jane,” Lizzy smiled, “you can be very devious when you wish to be.”


“But I will say no more on the subject,” she said, standing up. “I simply must tell my husband that I am absconding to Brighton, perhaps to see the Fitzwilliams, who I have been very lax in visiting despite being my cousins.”

“And he will believe it?”

“Hardly; but he will not put up a fuss.” She closed the letter. “Besides, now that we are safely married, we can finally go to Brighton without any fear of great disaster.”

It took Elizabeth a long while before she was sure she had misspoken.


A gruff Darcy reluctant to part with his wife, and an overeager son reluctant to part with his mother, made getting into the carriage unbelievably difficult. “For the last time, you cannot go this time,” she said to her son, who was kicking the dust up around her in frustration. “There will be many times for us to travel to Brighton if you are so eager to go.” Not that Brighton had anything to do with it.

Geoffrey Darcy huffed and looked up for help at his father, who replied with a shrug, “She won’t let me go, either. It seems she is the master of us both.” Knowing his son would not catch the subtlety; he merely patted him on head.

Jane’s parting was easier, mainly because Georgiana Bingley did not say anything, because she had not yet spoken her first words. She seemed to understand everyone properly, and several doctors had been called to test her hearing, which was fine, but for whatever reason, she was holding back her words. She did cry a bit when she was taken out of her mother’s arms, but Bingley managed to shush her as he kissed his wife good-bye. “Write us.”

“I doubt we will be there long enough to pen a letter,” she assured him, “and don’t forget her cough medicine.”


“And her nighttime story.”

“Of course.”

“And the little blanket she likes, even though it’s too small for her now. I brought it from Chatton, didn’t I?”

“Yes, dear.”

She kissed her daughter on the cheek. This was her first major separation from her children. The twins were staying at Chatton while Bingley and Georgie kept Darcy company at Pemberley. “Don’t let your father and uncle destroy the house while we’re gone.”

“I did manage to keep Pemberley up as a bachelor for some years,” Darcy said defensively.

“But you didn’t have Geoffrey to chase around,” Elizabeth said, and she did mean chase. Her son was good-natured, but no one was going to deny that he was a bit on the wild side, which brought Mr. Bennet no end of amusement when she would let her father go on about how she had been as a child. “I think he shall keep you quite busy, Husband.”

It was time to be going, if they were to make it somewhere decent by nightfall. As they waved good-bye from the path in front of Pemberley’s great steps, Darcy said, “I don’t know why I have the riotous one. You’re the wild Irishman.”

“I’m going to ignore that insult, and say one thing to you—karma.”
Darcy looked blank. “I have no idea what you mean.”

“Because your knowledge of Eastern literature is restricted to two books,” Bingley said, and walked into the house.

“Bingley? Bingley, you get back here and explain what you just said!”


The carriage ride was not a lovely discussion of sisterly things, because it was long, stuffy, and bumpy. By the time they arrived in Brighton, both sisters were tired and the sun was going down. Their first disconcerting discovery, despite their announced intentions to be guests at the Fitzwilliams and their explanation by letter of their sudden presence, Mary Bennet had made no call upon the Fitzwilliams, if she was there at all. It was fair in that she did not know them well, being only distant relations, but it also meant she was staying elsewhere, and they could not imagine who else she would call on. This concern was expressed when they were finally settled in the parlor and given tea and snacks. Both were nauseous from the ride, and not eager for the grand meal that was offered by their hosts.

It was most eagerly offered. Colonel Fitzwilliam had always been a bright and kind fellow, but marriage had been good to him, because his face had an ever-present shine. More striking, though, was Mrs. Anne Fitzwilliam (née de Bourgh), who looked—by her own set of standards—radiant, and by a normal person’s standards, healthy and almost normal. The sea air (and perhaps being out from under her own mother’s stifling presence, though Elizabeth held her tongue on that) had done wonders for her as it had so many other people. While she was not a robust woman by any means, she was not the trembling mouse of a girl that Elizabeth Bennet had met at Rosings, nearly five years prior.

“Our only regret,” Anne said as tea was poured, “is that we are so terribly far from everyone. You must tell us everything—of course, if you have time. Though perhaps I do not fully understand the matter at hand.”

“Neither do we,” Elizabeth fully admitted. “And now it seems, we must go searching about the town for word of Mary, because she has not called on you or given us her address, and we have no other relatives here.”

“You cannot go out tonight,” Colonel Fitzwilliam said with some amount of male authority. “It is already late and you are exhausted, and you do not know Brighton’s streets. Surely, it must wait until morning.”

“I fear I do not have the energy to contradict you, Colonel,” Elizabeth said. “Four days of traveling has taken it right out of me.”

“And yet I heard, once, you challenged Darcy’s record by riding all the way from Scotland,” he countered.

“Oh God, yes,” she said, the memory painful at its ridiculousness and the days she had been laid up because of it, excluding all of the events surrounding it. “But I have no wish to speak of that.”

“Then you are just like your husband. And I am one to judge.”

“You are three years older than Darcy, correct?” Jane asked.

“Yes, and it seems I was charged with keeping Darcy and Wickham in line when we played together, or preventing them from doing stupid things. I failed on all accounts except for the fact that they are at least both alive and have all their limbs.”

“Maybe it’s not all from your side after all,” Jane whispered to her sister, who giggled.

The doorbell cut off Elizabeth’s response.

“At this hour?” Colonel Fitzwilliam rose and went to the door of their modest Brighton home. It surprised almost no one that it was Mary Bennet, looking a little shabby from all the traveling and just a little ill. “Miss Bennet.”

“Colonel Fitzwilliam. I hope I’m not intruding—”

“Not at all. We were sort of expecting you, actually, though perhaps not this very night—but we are all very glad to see you. Your sisters are here.”

“Mary!” Jane said, running to greet her sister. “It is so good to see you.”

“And you.” Mary was not nearly so exuberant, but that was in her character and surprised no one. In fact, she looked half-terrified, and nodded to her other sister. “Elizabeth.”

“I am sorry for intruding,” Elizabeth said. “Jane was intending to seek you out on her own, but I insisted on accompanying her.”

“Of course,” was all Mary could say, “I—I am not at all surprised.”
This was not the Mary they knew. Though lacking the confidence of her elder sister, Mary was not without her own self-esteem, and was usually at the ready to sermonize about something. But now she was not, shifting her weight around, looking very much as if she was at a tribunal—which was honestly not far from the truth, as she could not expect not to explain her circumstances.

“Mary,” Jane said, in her usual warm tones, “I am very happy to see you safely home, but I would kindly inquire what I am doing in Brighton. If Papa knew you were in England—”

“Papa will know I’m in England,” Mary said. “We will tell him at once. But you will understand why I did not want to see him first when I explain the circumstances. For I know he sent me to the Continent unattended expecting only the most pious behavior of me—”
The elder sisters exchanged glances, and Jane continued, “Yes. Now, what has happened?”

“Nothing. I mean, to say, nothing can happen, and it was an awful, awful thing for me to have been distracted from my studies so—”

“—but you met a man,” Elizabeth said. Because, she could not think of anything else, with Mary standing before them, unharmed. If she had been somehow expelled from school—and there was no reason to believe she had been, as all of the reports were most excellent—then Mr. Bennet would have gotten a letter from the Dean and that would have been the end of the matter.

Mary covered her mouth with her hands, as if to muffle her own words, ashamed of them as she obviously was. “Yes.”

“And—it was a hindrance on your studies?”

“Quite the opposite. I was—his tutor. To be a tutor, you must do some work to prepare, so actually I was learning quite a bit—”

“You were his tutor?” Jane said in shock.

“Yes. The Headmistress said I was doing so well, and perhaps I could do some tutoring on the side, to pick up a little money—Oh, not that Papa was being ungenerous. He was being too generous. Surely you know what I mean?”

“Of course,” Elizabeth assured. “Do go on.”

“So, I tutored some girls, but there was a young man, an Italian who needed to perfect his French, and I thought, perhaps if we met only in public, this would not be a terrible impropriety—and this was in France, so—”

About the Author: (From her site)
Marsha Altman was born in New Jersey. She has lived in Jerusalem, Israel and currently resides in New York City. She has a B.A. in History from Brown University and a MFA in Creative Writing from The City College of New York. She does not own any cats.

Fun Facts: Marsha...
...is an authorized heavy fighter in the Society of Creative Anachronism for sword-and-shield combat. That said, she is not very good.
...Marsha has been to Israel about 7 times. She's not precisely sure.
...Marsha has been through the Mishnah 20 times (as of January 14, 2009) and will continue until she reaches forty. She is currently working on a commentary on the social and historical background of the Mishnah.
...Marsha's first book was a story about an alien who came to earth because he won a contest. It was 24 pages long (about 25% bad artwork) and written in fourth grade. It was never published because it was written by a 4th-grader.

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to add a link to your review, please include a link in your comment!

Review and Tour: The Blue Enchantress by M.L. Tyndall (Excerpt Included)

Title: The Blue Enchantress (Charles Towne Belles, Book 2)
Author: M.L. Tyndall
Pages: 320
Publisher: Barbour Books (August 1, 2009)
Genre: Fiction / Christian / Romance
Edition: Paperback - Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy to review as part of the WildCard Tour

Perfect for : Personal reading, book club read

In a nutshell: I found The Blue Enchantress to be utterly enchanting. The book is filled with high seas adventure, a ship wreck, pirates, passion, and underlying it all, some powerful messages about God's love, forgiveness and faith. I particularly liked the fact that there were good characters (who tried to become better people), bad characters (who were simply bad), and those who witnessed God's work/miracles and became believers; the varied characters made the story more realistic. Additionally, I really appreciated that M.L. Tyndall was not afraid to include passion and attraction in her book while still keeping it G-rated. Overall, I loved this book and look forward to the next in the series (coming 2010)! I absolutely love the characters in this book, and I hope to find out how Hope, Elise and Nathan are doing, as well as Abigail, Captain Poole and Gavin.

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

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

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

The Blue Enchantress

Barbour Books (August 1, 2009)


M.L. Tyndall, a Christy Award Finalist, and best-selling author of the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series is known for her adventurous historical romances filled with deep spiritual themes. She holds a degree in Math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years before testing the waters as a writer. MaryLu currently writes full time and makes her home on the California coast with her husband, six kids, and four cats.

Visit the author's website and blog.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.97
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (August 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602601577
ISBN-13: 978-1602601574


The Blue Enchantress by M.L. Tyndall
Chapter 1

St. Kitts, September 1718

“Gentlemen, what will ye offer for this rare treasure of a lady?” The words crashed over Hope Westcott like bilge water. “Why, she’ll make any of ye a fine wife, a cook, a housemaid”—the man gave a lascivious chuckle—“whate’er ye desire.”

“How ’bout someone to warm me bed at night,” one man bellowed, and a cacophony of chortles gurgled through the air.

Hope slammed her eyes shut against the mob of men who pressed on three sides of the tall wooden platform, shoving one another to get a better peek at her. Something crawled over her foot, and she pried her eyes open, keeping her face lowered. A black spider skittered away. Red scrapes and bruises marred her bare feet. When had she lost her satin shoes—the gold braided ones she’d worn to impress Lord Falkland? She couldn’t recall.

“What d’ye say? How much for this fine young lady?” The man grabbed a fistful of her hair and yanked her head back. Pain, like a dozen claws, pierced her skull. “She’s a handsome one, to be sure. And these golden locks.” He attempted to slide his fingers through her matted strands, but before becoming hopelessly entangled in them, he jerked his hand free, wrenching out a clump of her hair. Hope winced. “Have ye seen the likes of them?”

Ribald whistles and groans of agreement spewed over her.

“Two shillings,” one man yelled.

Hope dared to glance across the throng amassing before the auction block. A wild sea of lustful eyes sprayed over her. A band of men dressed in garments stained with dirt and sweat bunched toward the front, yelling out bids. Behind them, other men in velvet waistcoats leaned their heads together, no doubt to discuss the value of this recent offering, while studying her as if she were a breeding mare. Slaves knelt in the dirt along the outskirts of the mob, waiting for their masters. Beyond them, a row of wooden buildings stretched in either direction. Brazen women emerged from a tavern and draped themselves over the railings, watching Hope’s predicament with interest. On the street, ladies in modish gowns averted their eyes as they tugged the men on their arms from the sordid scene.

Hope lowered her head. This can’t be happening. I’m dreaming. I am still on the ship. Just a nightmare. Only a nightmare. Humiliation swept over her with an ever-rising dread as the reality of her situation blasted its way through her mind.

She swallowed hard and tried to drown out the grunts and salacious insults tossed her way by the bartering rabble. Perhaps if she couldn’t hear them, if she couldn’t see them, they would disappear and she would wake up back home, safe in Charles Towne, safe in her bedchamber, safe with her sisters, just like she was before she’d put her trust in a man who betrayed her.

“Egad, man. Two shillings, is it? For this beauty?” The auctioneer spit off to the side. The yellowish glob landed on Hope’s skirt. Her heart felt as though it had liquefied into an equally offensive blob and oozed down beside it.

How did I get here? In her terror, she could not remember. She raised her gaze to the auctioneer. Cold eyes, hard like marbles, met hers, and a sinister grin twisted his lips. He adjusted his tricorn to further shade his chubby face from the burning sun.

“She looks too feeble for any real work,” another man yelled.

The sounds of the crowd dimmed. The men’s fists forged into the air as if pushing through mud. Garbled laughter drained from their yellow-toothed mouths like molasses. Hope’s heart beat slower, and she wished for death.

The gentle lap of waves caressed her ears, their peaceful cadence drawing her away. Tearing her gaze from the nightmarish spectacle, she glanced over her shoulder, past the muscled henchmen who’d escorted her here. Two docks jutted out into a small bay brimming with sparkling turquoise water where several ships rocked back and forth as if shaking their heads at her in pity. Salt and papaya and sun combined in a pleasant aroma that lured her mind away from her present horror.

Her eyes locked upon the glimmering red and gold figurine of Ares at the bow of Lord Falkland’s ship. She blinked back the burning behind her eyes. When she’d boarded it nigh a week past—or was it two weeks—all her hopes and dreams had boarded with her. Somewhere along the way, they had been cast into the depths of the sea. She only wished she had joined them. Although the ship gleamed majestically in the bay, all she had seen of it for weeks had been the four walls of a small cabin below deck.

The roar of the crowd wrenched her mind back to the present and turned her face forward.

“Five shillings.”

“’Tis robbery, and ye know it,” the auctioneer barked. “Where are any of ye clods goin’ t’ find a real lady like this?”

A stream of perspiration raced down Hope’s back as if seeking escape. But there was no escape. She was about to be sold as a slave, a harlot to one of these cruel and prurient taskmasters. A fate worse than death. A fate her sister had fought hard to keep her from. A fate Hope had brought upon herself. Numbness crept over her even as her eyes filled with tears. Oh God. This can’t be happening.

She gazed upward at the blue sky dusted with thick clouds, hoping for some deliverance, some sign that God had not abandoned her.

The men continued to haggle, their voices booming louder and louder, grating over her like the howls of demons.

Her head felt like it had detached from her body and was floating up to join the clouds. Palm trees danced in the light breeze coming off the bay. Their tall trunks and fronds formed an oscillating blur of green and brown. The buildings, the mob, and the whole heinous scene joined the growing mass and began twirling around Hope. Her legs turned to jelly, and she toppled to the platform.

“Get up!” A sharp crack stung her cheek. Two hands like rough rope clamped over her arms and dragged her to her feet. Pain lanced through her right foot where a splinter had found a home. Holding a hand to her stinging face, Hope sobbed.

The henchman released her with a grunt of disgust.

“I told ye she won’t last a week,” one burly man shouted.

“She ain’t good for nothing but to look at.”

Planting a strained grin upon his lips, the auctioneer swatted her rear end. “Aye, but she’s much more stout than she appears, gentlemen.”

Horrified and no longer caring about the repercussions, Hope slapped the man’s face. He raised his fist, and she cowered. The crowd roared its mirth.

“One pound, then,” a tall man sporting a white wig called out. “I could use me a pretty wench.” Withdrawing a handkerchief, he dabbed at the perspiration on his forehead.

Wench. Slave. Hope shook her head, trying to force herself to accept what her mind kept trying to deny. A sudden surge of courage, based on naught but her instinct to survive, stiffened her spine. She thrust out her chin and faced the auctioneer. “I beg your pardon, sir. There’s been a mistake. I am no slave.”

“Indeed?” He cocked one brow and gave her a patronizing smirk.

Hope searched the horde for a sympathetic face—just one. “My name is Miss Hope Westcott,” she shouted. “My father is Admiral Henry Westcott. I live in Charles Towne with my two sisters.”

“And I’m King George,” a farmer howled, slapping his knee.

“My father will pay handsomely for my safe return.” Hope scanned the leering faces. Not one. Not one look of sympathy or belief or kindness. Fear crawled up her throat. She stomped her foot, sending a shard of pain up her leg. “You must believe me,” she sobbed. “I don’t belong here.”

Ignoring the laughter, Hope spotted a purple plume fluttering in the breeze atop a gold-trimmed hat in the distance. “Arthur!” She darted for the stairs but two hands grabbed her from behind and held her in place. “Don’t leave me! Lord Falkland!” She struggled in her captor’s grasp. His grip tightened, sending a throbbing ache across her back.

Swerving about, Lord Falkland tapped his cane into the dirt and tipped the brim of his hat up, but the distance between them forbade Hope a vision of his expression.

“Tell them who I am, Arthur. Please save me!”

He leaned toward the woman beside him and said something, then coughed into his hand. What is he doing? The man who once professed an undying love for Hope, the man who promised to marry her, to love her forever, the man who bore the responsibility for her being here in the first place. How could he stand there and do nothing while she met such a hideous fate?

The elegant lady beside him turned her nose up at Hope, then, threading her arm through Lord Falkland’s, she wheeled him around and pulled him down the road.

Hope watched him leave, and with each step of his cordovan boots, her heart and her very soul sank deeper into the wood of the auction block beneath her feet.

Nothing made any sense. Had the world gone completely mad?

“Two pounds,” a corpulent man in the back roared.

A memory flashed through Hope’s mind as she gazed across the band of men. A vision of African slaves, women and children, being auctioned off in Charles Towne. How many times had she passed by, ignoring them, uncaring, unconcerned by the proceedings?

Was this God’s way of repaying her for her selfishness, her lack of charity?

“Five pounds.”

Disappointed curses rumbled among the men at the front, who had obviously reached their limit of coin.

The auctioneer’s mouth spread wide, greed dripping from its corners. “Five pounds, gentlemen. Do I hear six for this lovely lady?”

A blast of hot air rolled over Hope, stealing her breath. Human sweat, fish, and horse manure filled her nose and saturated her skin. The unforgiving sun beat a hot hammer atop her head until she felt she would ignite into a burning torch at any moment. Indeed, she prayed she would. Better to be reduced to a pile of ashes than endure what the future held for her.

“Six pounds,” a short man with a round belly and stiff brown wig yelled from the back of the mob in a tone that indicated he knew what he was doing and had no intention of losing his prize. Decked in the a fine damask waistcoat, silk breeches, and a gold-chained pocket watch, which he kept snapping open and shut, he exuded wealth and power from his pores.

Hope’s stomach twisted into a vicious knot, and she clutched her throat to keep from heaving whatever shred of moisture remained in her empty stomach.

The auctioneer gaped at her, obviously shocked she could command such a price. Rumblings overtook the crowd as the short man pushed his way through to claim his prize. The closer he came, the faster Hope’s chest heaved and the lighter her head became. Blood pounded in her ears, drowning out the groans of the mob. No, God. No.

“Do I hear seven?” the auctioneer bellowed. “She’s young and will breed you some fine sons.”

“Just what I’ll be needing.” The man halted at the platform, glanced over the crowd for any possible competitors, then took the stairs to Hope’s right. He halted beside her too close for propriety’s sake and assailed her with the stench of lard and tobacco. A long purple scar crossed his bloated, red face as his eyes grazed over her like a stallion on a breeding mare. Hope shuddered and gasped for a breath of air. Her palms broke out in a sweat, and she rubbed them on her already moist gown.

The auctioneer threw a hand to his hip and gazed over the crowd.

The man squeezed her arms, and Hope snapped from his grasp and took a step back, abhorred at his audacity. He chuckled. “Not much muscle on her, but she’s got pluck.”

He belched, placed his watch back into the fob pocket of his breeches, and removed a leather pouch from his belt. “Six pounds it is.”

The silver tip of a sword hung at his side. If Hope were quick about it, perhaps she could grab it and, with some luck, fight her way out of here. She clenched her teeth. Who was she trying to fool? Where was her pirate sister when she needed her? Surely Faith would know exactly what to do. Yet what did it matter? Hope would rather die trying to escape than become this loathsome man’s slave.

As the man counted out the coins into the auctioneer’s greedy hands, Hope reached for the sword.

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to add a link to your review, please include a link in your comment!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tuesday Thinger: Updating Books in a Hurry!

Welcome to another week of Tuesday Thingers! We always love to hear from regular participants as well as new people.

Last week I was looking for a quick way to update some tags on Library Thing, so I went to my 'Your Library' tab and started looking at the different views. I accidentally clicked on the covers link and viewed all my books simply by their cover. I decided to click on one to add the information I wanted to. . . after adding some tags and hitting the save button, I was AMAZED that I was taken right back to my cover list! I was then able to click on a few other pictures to add some more tags quickly and easily.

I thought I'd share this in case anyone was not aware of how quickly you could edit your existing book information simply by going to your book list. :)

Questions: Were you aware that you could edit the book details from the cover images under Your Library? Do you have a quick way you like to update books that are already in your library? Do you have any topics/areas you'd like to explore on Tuesday Thingers or general blog/book topics for the coming weeks?

My Answer: I was aware that you could update some information actually ON the page that shows "Your Library" listings. Some items can be edited by double clicking in the space reserved for that item (reviews). Unfortunately, I couldn't get tags to work that way - it may be possible, but I was not willing to work on it anymore. :)

I was so excited when I stumbled onto a quicker way to edit multiple books in my library - I thought I would have to go to my list, click the book , save, go back to my library manually and start again. Instead, the site made it easier than I was expecting by taking me back to my list automatically when I hit save - great time saver!

Looking forward to reading everyone's answers!!

~ Wendi

If you are new to Tuesday Thingers: Welcome! The meme was originally created as a way to network with other bloggers and to learn about Library Thing! I'd like to encourage you to join us. If you don't know what Library Thing is - you are in a great place to learn about new things, and if you are an old pro, stick around and share your wealth of information! Visit Library Thing here. To join in, copy the picture and question into your post and link back here so people can read other responses. Make sure you leave a comment here with a link to your post so we can stop by! If you don't have a blog, feel free to leave a comment here!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Product Review: Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters

The wonderful people at MyBlogSpark invited me to participate in reviewing the new Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters.

The Scoop:
There is something new and exciting from Nature Valley - four great flavors of their new Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters.

New Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters are bite size clusters of nuts, granola and a touch of honey - a 100% natural, wholesome and delicious treat for any time of the day. If you are a lover of nuts, you´ll love what Nature Valley has done with this powerful little snack. It is the perfect combination of sweet & salty flavor and crunchy texture made from natural nut goodness that you can see and taste. And with a resealable bag it´s perfect for sharing either on the trails or in your living room! New Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters come in four tasty flavors; Nut Lovers, Roasted Almond, Roasted Cashew and Honey Roasted Peanut.

My Thoughts:
These make a great (and healthy) snack for both kids and adults. My husband saw these on the counter and literally dove for them! He couldn't wait to open them and check them out. Add to that the fact that our son loved them too, and I was one happy woman! They thought they were getting a treat, and I knew it was both healthy and handy!

The Nut Clusters come in great re-sealable packages that are easy to keep on the pantry shelf, or to take on outings. They are also easy to add to lunches, or use for snacks. We took a bag to the zoo for a snack and they were a HUGE hit with everyone that we went with (note to self: next time take two bags).

As far as the flavors go, each one is unique and wonderful. . . although my personal favorite is the Roasted Cashew - I simply find them divine, and I find cashews to be less "nutty" in flavor with more of a smooth, richness that goes well with sweet, salt and chocolates!

My recommendation - pick up a bag of these great new snacks next time you are at the store - give them a try and see what you and/or your family and friends think!

For the nutritional information, visit the Nature Valley site. They have links to the nutritional information for each of the four flavors.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday Thinger: Are you a Groupie?

Welcome to another week of Tuesday Thingers! We always love to hear from regular participants as well as new people.

Sorry for posting this late!! I had my surgery last week and so far everything looks good. . . but I took a little longer to recover than I expected, and I didn't realize that yesterday was Monday! Oops. ;)

This week, I'd like to take a quick peek into the Groups section. For anyone who hasn't visited the groups section, it is a place that is very much like a normal forum, or a place you can post comments and reply to what others have posted. Some groups are topic oriented, and others are more relaxed. LT has sections for Standing Groups (I think this means that they were created by LT and will always be available), Groups with the Most Members, Most Active Talk, Member Projects, etc.

The great thing about these groups?? If you want to talk about a book or author, there is probably a group or thread available for you to read, join, or comment in. There are even some great Book Challenges (75 Books Challenge for 2009)!! You can read about a group and then read the "threads" (topics/conversations), join the group, watch the group, or recommend it to a friend.

When you join or watch a group, you can have it show up on your home page on LT if you haven't taken it off your settings (mine shows up under my Connection News).

Questions: Have you recently browsed any of the groups? Are you actively participating in any groups? Do you have any favorites?

My Answer: I actually haven't checked out any of the groups lately. When I first joined LT, I found the ARC Junkies, and Freebies, Book Giveaways and Contests groups to be very helpful in getting some great new books!

I used to be very active in those two groups, and would like to become active again in the near future - I just need to catch up on some of my reviews first!!

I'd have to say those two, plus one other, Bloggers, have been very helpful and would be my favorite groups.

Looking forward to reading everyone's answers!!

~ Wendi

If you are new to Tuesday Thingers: Welcome! The meme was originally created as a way to network with other bloggers and to learn about Library Thing! I'd like to encourage you to join us. If you don't know what Library Thing is - you are in a great place to learn about new things, and if you are an old pro, stick around and share your wealth of information! Visit Library Thing here. To join in, copy the picture and question into your post and link back here so people can read other responses. Make sure you leave a comment here with a link to your post so we can stop by! If you don't have a blog, feel free to leave a comment here!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Review and Tour: Sunflower Serenade by Tricia Goyer

Title: Sunflower Serenade (Home to Heather Creek)
Author: Tricia Goyer
Pages: 258
Publisher: Guideposts
Genre: Fiction / Christian
Edition: Hardback - many thanks to Amy of LitFUSE Publicity Group for including me in the book tour!

Perfect for : Personal reading, Book club read, Gift book

In a nutshell: Let me start by saying that this book is absolutely beautiful! It is a hardback book that is full color, perfect to give as a gift for the book lover in your life. I would frame it if I could ;). That said, the book is just as great while reading. I loved the gentle wisdom Charlotte used and shared throughout the book. There were also plenty of spots with humor to keep things light. While I'm not exactly a city-girl, I'm not as familiar with country life, so this book was like stepping into another world for me - it was refreshing and fun, and I'd like to think that I learned a few things along the way about country life, and that I'm feeling a little more inspired by the miracles and gifts God has given us.

About the Book:
About Sunflower Serenade: A small-town summer...

The days are long and lazy, the corn is high, the sunflowers are in bloom, and everyone in Bedford is gearing up for the biggest event of the summer: the annual county fair. But when a Nashville music producer approaches Bob about using Heather Creek Farm to film a country star's new music video, he and Charlotte are faced with a dilemma. Will they allow the glamour and enticements of big-city life to encroach upon their peaceful home? Will the excitement of celebrity drown out the simple joys of summer?

About the Home to Heather Creek series: Charlotte Stevenson's world is turned upside down when her daughter, Denise, dies in a tragic car accident. She ran away at eighteen and Charlotte has never forgiven herself. Now, Denise's children, abandoned by their father, are coming from California to live on Heather Creek Farm in Bedford, Nebraska.

Charlotte is uncertain about her ability to care for three grandchildren who are not thrilled to give up the beach and sunshine for snow and farm chores! But she sees a chance to make amends and will do whatever it takes to keep her fragile family together. Feel the courage, strength and commitment of this family as their lives unfold in the Home to Heather Creek series.

Link to buy book: Click here. The books come in a series and you can order those at the link. However, if you just want to order Every Sunrise you must call the customer service number (1-800-431-2344).

About the Author:
Tricia Goyer is the author of eighteen fiction and non-fiction books, including Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. Tricia writes magazine articles for publications like Today's Christian Woman and Focus on the Family. Tricia also enjoys speaking. She and her family make their home in Montana.

Contest: Playing on one element of the book - big city entertainers vs. old county fair – the contest for this blog tour is City Girl Goes Country! Share your funniest story (about you or someone you know) about a time when you as the “city girl” goes to the country or “country girl” goes to the city. Enter the contest here.

Tour Schedule: Visit the Tour Schedule to see what other reviewers had to say!

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to add a link to your review, please include a link in your comment!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tuesday Thinger: To Help Or Not To Help

Welcome to another week of Tuesday Thingers! We always love to hear from regular participants as well as new people.

Many of you will probably already know this, but there is now a Help button on all the Library Thing pages! The LibraryThing Blog created a post on the new feature called HelpThing: Member-driven Help. This week's post is more of a challenge - I challenge you to go to a page and click the help button to see what comes up!

Questions: Did you use the Help button? Did you get some good information on the page you were on? Did you use the edit feature to add/edit any of the information on the page?

My Answer: I have a duplicate book in my library and can't figure out how to get rid of it! I did click the Help button, and some useful information did come up, but I am still confused as to how to eliminate the duplicate from my library. :)

No - I didn't edit anything on the page, because I am FAR from being an expert in that area.

I do like this new feature and have a feeling it will be very helpful to both current and new members.

Looking forward to reading everyone's answers!!

~ Wendi

If you are new to Tuesday Thingers: Welcome! The meme was originally created as a way to network with other bloggers and to learn about Library Thing! I'd like to encourage you to join us. If you don't know what Library Thing is - you are in a great place to learn about new things, and if you are an old pro, stick around and share your wealth of information! Visit Library Thing here. To join in, copy the picture and question into your post and link back here so people can read other responses. Make sure you leave a comment here with a link to your post so we can stop by! If you don't have a blog, feel free to leave a comment here!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tuesday Thinger: Have You Visited the Vine Yet?

Welcome to another week of Tuesday Thingers! We always love to hear from regular participants as well as new people.

Hi everyone! Another off-topic (to Library Thing) week for us this week. I've recently become aware of a new program through Amazon (played with it over the past month or so) called the Amazon Vine. It is "Amazon Vine™. The Exclusive Club of Influential Amazon Voices." I've enjoyed it and thought I would pass the information along in case a few of you hadn't heard of it yet.

Basically, Amazon allows some people to sign up for the program who have posted reviews on their site. Based on your interests and your reviews, they will offer you items to review, completely free of charge! All you have to do is review 75% of the items sent to you (I've done 3 books and 1 electronic/home item so far) before they will let you order more items from the Vine Newsletter.

One day, I logged in and simply had an invitation on my home page to check out the new program, and it gave me the option of signing up.

Questions: Have you had an opportunity to check out the new Amazon Vine program? Have you signed up? Is this program something that interests you? How do you feel about the reviews posted on Amazon in general (not counting the ones that have made the news)?

My Answer: I have had an opportunity to check out the Amazon Vine program. I did choose to sign up - I figured I really had nothing to loose, and that I might be introduced to some new-to-me authors and products.

I do like this program - so far I have gotten to review 3 books and 1 electronic item. Two of the books were ones I'd seen reviews for on other blogs recently, so it was fun to read them. One book was a Sponge Bob children's book with a voice changer (the toy was great, but the book really isn't for 2+, more like 5+, and I included that in my review). The electronic item I reviewed was a new Norelco Kids Clipper for clipping hair - and I LOVE it! I've always cut my husband and son's hair with a comb and scissors. . . this made it easier and less painful on my back. :) I would NEVER have tried it if it wasn't through the program!

As for the reviews that are posted, I try to keep in mind that some reviews are going to be posted by friends/family of the author, and they MIGHT be a little biased. I also try to remember that for any product/book there are going to be people who love it and those who hate it. I try to look for the facts that are given and the overall opinion rather than focus on only a few reviews.

Looking forward to reading everyone's answers!!

~ Wendi

If you are new to Tuesday Thingers: Welcome! The meme was originally created as a way to network with other bloggers and to learn about Library Thing! I'd like to encourage you to join us. If you don't know what Library Thing is - you are in a great place to learn about new things, and if you are an old pro, stick around and share your wealth of information! Visit Library Thing here. To join in, copy the picture and question into your post and link back here so people can read other responses. Make sure you leave a comment here with a link to your post so we can stop by! If you don't have a blog, feel free to leave a comment here!
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