Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Total Books Read Across All Genres and 2014 Blog Goals

So, what did my reading year look like? You already know my favorites, which I talked about here. This year, I read 115 books across all genres (including children's and young adult). That's only 16 fewer than last year, so considering how busy I was, that's not bad.

So, what does 2014 look like? As I already mentioned, I won't be participating in as many virtual book tours this year. Honestly, I don't feel that's a bad thing--for me or my readers. I hope you feel that way too. I have a couple final VBT reviews scheduled for January and one for February. While I might take on new books, my focus must be on all those books in my mammoth TBR pile. Right now, my spreadsheet reflects 288 books--and that doesn't even count all the Kindle freebies I've downloaded over the past year. Luckily, only a dozen of those paperbacks and 50 digital books are ones I agreed to review for authors/publicists.

In addition to catching up and giving myself some breathing room, I plan to continue with Top Ten Tuesday created by The Broke and The Bookish when I can. I also hope to participate in Musing Mondays and W...W...W...Wednesdays, which were created by MizB at Should Be Reading.

One final project is dedicating a tiny bit more time to my other blogs that have branched off of this one:

The Children's and Teens' Book Connection : http://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com/

A Little Bit of Spice: http://spicyromanceconnection.blogspot.com/

Cheryl's Christian Book Connection: http://cherylschristianbookconnection.blogspot.com/

Books Can Be Deadly: http://bookscanbedeadly.blogspot.com/

I'm in the process of populating Books Can Be Deadly with some of the older posts from here. Then I will be featuring crime fiction, mysteries, thrillers, suspense novels, and true crime books at that blog.

Thanks for your loyal support through the years. It is greatly appreciated.

Happy New Year!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Read In 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

This Top Ten worked out really well, since I already list my favorite books each year. So, here's the Top Ten Books I Read In 2013!


As another year draws to a close in Willow Ridge, life seems to be changing for everyone but Rhoda Lantz. Her widowed mother is about to remarry, her sister is a busy newlywed, and soon Rhoda will be alone in her cozy apartment above the blacksmith's shop. An ad posted by an Englischer looking for someone to help with his mother and children may offer just the companionship she's looking for, but if she falls for the caring single father, she may risk being shunned by her community. Certain she can only wish for things she cannot have, Rhoda must remember that all things are possible with God, and nothing is stronger than the power of love.


In this thrilling debut, Michael Bigham spins the tale of Matt Harkness. Harkness isn't your typical Western sheriff. Cowboy boots make his arches ache, he's got a serious case of horse-phobia, and his faithful companion, Addison, is a wiener dog. It's 1952 in the Oregon High Desert, and until now, the worst crime Harkness has had to contend with is two cowboys playing quickdraw in an alley behind a bar. His easygoing life explodes when a star-crossed teenage couple disappears, sparking an investigation that threatens to expose the slimy underbelly the lurks beneath his small town, Barnesville.

Harkness has always been the keeper of secrets in the town. Now, to solve the crime, he must decide which secrets to expose. One secret involves Judge Barnes, the county's most powerful man. Unfortunately, Harkness has a secret of his own: he's in love with the judge's wife. How much is Harkness willing to risk to catch a murderer?


No one believed I was destined for greatness.

So begins Isabella’s story, in this evocative, vividly imagined novel about one of history’s most famous and controversial queens—the warrior who united a fractured country, the champion of the faith whose reign gave rise to the Inquisition, and the visionary who sent Columbus to discover a New World. Acclaimed author C. W. Gortner envisages the turbulent early years of a woman whose mythic rise to power would go on to transform a monarchy, a nation, and the world.

Young Isabella is barely a teenager when she and her brother are taken from their mother’s home to live under the watchful eye of their half-brother, King Enrique, and his sultry, conniving queen. There, Isabella is thrust into danger when she becomes an unwitting pawn in a plot to dethrone Enrique. Suspected of treason and held captive, she treads a perilous path, torn between loyalties, until at age seventeen she suddenly finds herself heiress of Castile, the largest kingdom in Spain. Plunged into a deadly conflict to secure her crown, she is determined to wed the one man she loves yet who is forbidden to her—Fernando, prince of Aragon.

As they unite their two realms under “one crown, one country, one faith,” Isabella and Fernando face an impoverished Spain beset by enemies. With the future of her throne at stake, Isabella resists the zealous demands of the inquisitor Torquemada even as she is seduced by the dreams of an enigmatic navigator named Columbus. But when the Moors of the southern domain of Granada declare war, a violent, treacherous battle against an ancient adversary erupts, one that will test all of Isabella’s resolve, her courage, and her tenacious belief in her destiny.

From the glorious palaces of Segovia to the battlefields of Granada and the intrigue-laden gardens of Seville, The Queen’s Vow sweeps us into the tumultuous forging of a nation and the complex, fascinating heart of the woman who overcame all odds to become Isabella of Castile.


Ghost hunters stumble upon a murdered teen in a haunted house.

Deputy Tempe Crabtree's investigation pulls her into a whirlwind of restless spirits, good and evil, intertwined with the past and the present, and demons and angels at war.


A #1 best-seller on Amazon for Humor Parody. "A Christmas Carol 2: The Return of Scrooge" is a continuation of the beloved Christmas tale, that quickly goes flying off in its own comic direction. It begins five years after dear old Ebenezer Scrooge has passed away and left his thriving firm to his former clerk, Bob Cratchit. However, Bob's overly-generous benevolence with lending and charity-giving has driven the company into the ground, on the verge of bankruptcy. And so the ghost of Scrooge returns one Christmas Eve to teach Cratchit the true meaning of money. Making the swirling journey through Christmases past, present, and yet-to-be all the more of a chaotic ride for Cratchit are the dozens of characters from other Dickens novels woven throughout the story, together for the first time. God bless them, most everyone.

Revised by Robert J. Elisberg
Original Long-Lost Manuscript by Charles Dickens


The Third Political Thriller in the ‘Executive’ Series by Gary Grossman

The clock is ticking down to an attack on America’s most vulnerable natural resource: Water. Our nation’s water resources are high on terrorist target lists, but low on America’s consciousness. Water sources are largely unprotected, providing open access to any enemy with chemicals and biotoxins.

So far we’ve been lucky. But that luck won’t last.

This is the all-too-real-and-present danger facing President Morgan Taylor and Secret Service Agent Scott Roarke as they desperately try to prevent hell-bent terrorists from destroying America and its infrastructure city by city, and state by state.

Fact-based in frightening detail, Executive Command is a political thriller that will leave you pondering its strong possibility the next time you pour a glass of water.


A ghost in Colonial dress has been wreaking havoc at an old plantation house in Virginia. The house is owned by Elizabeth Smithwood, the best friend of Ellen’s Aunt Mary. Mary is determined to fly to the rescue, and Ellen McKenzie has no choice but to leave her real estate business and new husband to accompany her. Who else will keep the old girl out of trouble? When Ellen and Aunt Mary arrive, they find that Elizabeth’s “house” comprises three sprawling buildings containing all manner of secret entrances and passages, not to mention slave cabins. But who owns what and who owned whom? After Monty—the so-called ghost and stepson of Elizabeth’s dead husband—turns up dead in Elizabeth’s house, suspicion falls on her. Especially when the cause of death is a poisoned glass of syllabub taken from a batch of the sweet, creamy after-dinner drink sitting in Elizabeth’s refrigerator. Monty had enemies to spare. Why was he roaming the old house? What was he searching for? To find the truth, Ellen and her Aunt Mary will have to do much more than rummage through stacks of old crates; they will have to expose two hundred years of grudges and vendettas. The spirits they disturb are far deadlier than the one who brought them to Virginia. Murder by Syllabub is the fifth book of the Ellen McKenzie Mystery series.


Mexico, 1919: The birth of the Mexican drug trade begins with opium being smuggled across the U.S. border, igniting an all-out battle with American law enforcement in general and the Texas Rangers in particular.

The Present: Fifth Generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong and her lover Cort Wesley Masters both survive terrifying gun battles. But this time, it turns out, the actual targets were not them, but Masters’ teenage sons.

That sets Caitlin and Cort Wesley off on a trail winding through the past and present with nothing less than the future of the United States hanging in the balance. Along the way they will confront terrible truths dating all the way back to the Mexican Revolution and the dogged battle Caitlin’s own grandfather and great-grandfather fought against the first generation of Mexican drug dealers.

At the heart of the storm soon to sweep away America as we know it, lies a mastermind whose abundant power is equaled only by her thirst for vengeance. Ana Callas Guajardo, the last surviving member of the family that founded the Mexican drug trade, has dedicated all of her vast resources to a plot aimed at the U.S.’s technological heart.

This time out, sabotage proves to be as deadly a weapon as bombs in a battle Caitlin must win in cyberspace as well. Her only chance to prevail is to short-circuit a complex plan based as much on microchips as bullets. Because there’s a strong rain coming and only Caitlin and Cort Wesley can stop the fall before it’s too late.


What if Pandora’s Box were real? Blaine McCracken finds himself facing this very question—and the greatest threat to mankind—in his long-awaited return to the page.

Rogue special-operations agent McCracken has never been shy about answering the call, and this time it comes in the aftermath of a deepwater oil rig disaster that claims the life of a onetime member of his commando unit. The remnants of the rig and its missing crew lead him to the inescapable conclusion that one of the most mysterious and deadly forces in the universe is to blame: dark matter, both a limitless source of potential energy and an unimaginably destructive weapon.

Joining forces again with his trusty sidekick, Johnny Wareagle, McCracken races to stop two deadly enemies who want the dark matter at all costs. A powerful energy magnate and the leader of a Japanese doomsday cult both seek the ultimate prize for their own nefarious reasons, and McCracken and Wareagle’s mission to defeat them takes the duo on a nonstop journey across the world and thousands of years into the past where the truth lies in the ancient Pandora’s Temple, built to safeguard the world’s most powerful weapon.

McCracken’s only hope to save the world is to find the mythical temple. Along the way, he and Wareagle find themselves up against Mexican drug gangs, killer robots, an army of professional assassins, and a legendary sea monster. The hero of nine previous bestselling thrillers, McCracken is used to the odds being stacked against him, but this time the stakes have never been higher.


1867 . . . Southern lawyer and Civil War veteran, Reed Jackson, returns to his family’s plantation in a wheelchair. His father deems him unfit, and deeds the Jackson holdings, including his intended bride, to a younger brother. Angry and bitter, Reed moves west to Fenton, Missouri, home to a cousin with a successful business, intending to start over.

Belle Richards, a dirt poor farm girl aching to learn how to read, cleans, cooks and holds together her family’s meager property. A violent brother and a drunken father plot to marry her off, and gain a new horse in the bargain. But Belle’s got other plans, and risks her life to reach them.

Reed is captivated by Belle from their first meeting, but wheelchair bound, is unable to protect her from violence. Bleak times will challenge Reed and Belle's courage and dreams as they forge a new beginning from the ashes of war and ignorance.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

First Chapter Review: While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax

It's been a while since I wrote a first chapter review. While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax is scheduled for release on December 31. As a fan of Downton Abbey, I requested to review this book through the author's publicist.

BLURB:  When the concierge of the Alexander, a historic Atlanta apartment building, invites his fellow residents to join him for weekly screenings of Downton Abbey, four very different people find themselves connecting with the addictive drama, and—even more unexpectedly—with each other...

Samantha Davis married young and for the wrong reason: the security of old Atlanta money for herself and her orphaned brother and sister. She never expected her marriage to be complicated by love and compromised by a shattering family betrayal.

Claire Walker is now an empty nester and struggling author who left her home in the suburbs for the old-world charm of the Alexander, and for a new and productive life. But she soon wonders if clinging to old dreams can be more destructive than having no dreams at all.

And then there’s Brooke MacKenzie, a woman in constant battle with her faithless ex-husband. She’s just starting to realize that it’s time to take a deep breath and come to terms with the fact that her life is not the fairy tale she thought it would be.

For Samantha, Claire, Brooke, and Edward, who arranges the weekly gatherings, it will be a season of surprises as they forge a bond that will sustain them through some of life’s hardest moments—all of it reflected in the unfolding drama, comedy, and convergent lives of Downton Abbey.

COVER: Perfect. Just what I would expect of the genre. I also like how we can see parts of the women's faces, but not their entire faces; making it seem like these women could be any women at all struggling with similar issues.

FIRST CHAPTER: The book opens by introducing the reader to Samantha Davis. Married for twenty-five years, her life is a series of commitments and "maintenance" for her middle-aged body, complicated by a tense relationship with her mother-in-law.

KEEP READING:  Definitely. Wax has a gift for painting a wonderful picture for her readers. Though I've never been to Atlanta, the setting details she drops make me feel like I've seen the inside of the Alexander and already have a feel for some of the neighborhoods. Samantha is an intriguing character. Because of her affluent life, it's tough to feel too sorry for her, but the fact that she is stuck in an unhappy marriage because she had to find a way to support herself and her orphaned siblings after the sudden death of her parents makes her more sympathetic. In addition, she's got this nagging mother-in-law who doesn't accept her--definitely tough to deal with for a quarter of a century. I'm eager to meet the other women in this novel and see how Downton Abbey brings everyone together.

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade (December 31, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0425263310

I received a copy of this book from the author's publicist. This first chapter review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

The 2013 Catch Up Reading Challenge Results

Here is the only other challenge I participated in for 2013. My goal was to not take on many new requests so that I could concentrate on my enormous TBR Pile. I did better than in the past, but 2014 needs to be even better.

You can still find the original list--at least for a few days--on this challenge's page. Here, I have shortened the list to reflect only the books I have promised reviews for--though there might be a few others since this list was created. The titles with the strikethrough are ones I read this year.

  • Brotherhood by Jerry Jenkins
  • The Queen’s Vow by C. W. Gortner
  • Help! For Writers by Roy Peter Clark
  • The Kensei by Jon F. Merz
  • Love Your Husband Love Yourself by Jennifer Flanders
  • Dead Reckoning by Caitlin Rother
  • Becoming Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey
  • Natural Treatment Solutions for Hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease by Eric M. Osanksy
  • Zero Day by Mark Russinovich
  • Water to My Soul: The Story of Eliza Lucas Pinckney by Pamela Bauer Mueller
  • The Map Across Time by C.S. Lakin
  • Blood: The New Red by David S. Grant
  • Anasazi Intrigue by Linda Weaver Clarke
  • Mayan Intrigue by Linda Weaver Clarke
  • Montezuma Intrigue by Linda Weaver Clarke
  • Desert Intrigue by Linda Weaver Clarke
  • For the Birds by Aaron Paul Lazar
  • FireSong by Aaron Paul Lazar
  • Resonances by Mary Andrews
  • Rose of the Adriatic by K. M. Daughters
  • The Second Republic: Trapdoor by Steven Bradley Clarke
  • The Covert Element by John L. Betcher
  • Fur Ball Fever by Maureen Fisher
  • Fire Men by Gary R. Ryman
  • The Pull of Gravity by Brett Battles
  • Angels Don’t Die by Soren Petrek
  • Patience by Soren Petrek
  • Snow Burn by Joel Arnold
  • Dominic by Hazel Statham
  • Assumption of Right by Annabel Aidan
  • Little Girl Gone by Brett Battles
  • Outside the Ordinary World by Dori Ostermiller
  • Uncertain Ground by Carolyn Osborn
  • Why I Left the Amish by Saloma Furlong
  • Children of the Fog by Cheryl Kaye Tardiff
  • The Moses Quilt by Kathi Macias
  • American Patriots by Rick Santorum
  • A Step in the Writer Direction by Donna Clark Goodrich
  • Lonestar Angel by Colleen Coble
  • What Did Jesus Say by Rev. Terry Allan Christian

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 EBook Challenge Results

Last December, I signed up for the 2013 EBook Challenge. I had also participated in 2012. This year's goal was DVD - 25 books. I didn't make it for two reasons:

  1. My reading time was less this year.
  2. I read more adult novels than usual this year and they take longer to read than children's books do.
I'm still okay with the 15 books I got to read for this challenge. You can see the list in the sidebar, but they are listed here for later reference.

1. Reconstructing Jackson by Holly Bush Reviewed 1/11

2. Pandora's Temple by Jon Land Reviewed 2/6

3. Executive Command by Gary Grossman Reviewed 2/25

4. I Left My Prostate in San Francisco. Where's Yours? by Rick and Brenda Redner Reviewed 3/18

5. Harkness by Michael Bigham Reviewed 5/23

6. Chasing Invisible by Karen Pokras Toz Reviewed 6/24

7. Anasazi Intrigue by Linda Weaver Clarke Reviewed 7/1

8. Vinland Viking: A Saga by Gary L. Doman Reviewed 8/5

9. Strong Rain Falling by Jon Land Reviewed 8/20

10. Murder by Syllabub by Kathleen Delaney Reviewed 9/4

11. Two Are Better by Tim and Debbie Bishop Reviewed 9/27

12. Spirit Shapes by Marilyn Meredith Reviewed 10/21

13. Peaceful Moments of Love and Light by Connie Arnold Reviewed 11/15

14. Make Freelancing REALLY Pay by Daisy McCarty Reviewed 12/23

15. Elf Trouble by Sherry James Reviewed 12/28

Novella Review: Elf Trouble by Sherry James

The Studs 4 Hire series returns in the seasonal novella, Elf Trouble by Sherry James.

Gil Boyd wants nothing to do with the hyper-commercialized version of Christmas that abounds these days. When his bosses at Studs 4 Hire volunteer his services to a local animal shelter for their annual Santa Paws fundraiser, he silences his inner Grinch and hopes to get the job done quickly.

What he doesn't count on is quirky shelter volunteer, Holly Everwood, whose filled to the brim with Christmas spirit. Along with her band of cantankerous mutts, Holly will tempt Gil's resolve to stay unattached this holiday season.

I've missed the Studs 4 Hire series, so I was thrilled to learn of this new release. Though past Studs 4 Hire novels have focused more on the female owners of the company that hires out fabulous looking handymen, this novella finds one of the "studs" as the main character.

Having grown up under less than ideal circumstances, Gil Boyd despises Christmas. When his bosses ask him to build a Santa house for an animal shelter's annual fundraiser, he tries just about everything he can think of to weasel out of the job. But they think he will be perfect for it, so eventually Gil agrees.

When a crisis strikes at the animal shelter, volunteer Holly Everwood suddenly finds herself in charge of making sure their Santa Paws fundraiser is a huge success, including working with Gil to design and build the Santa house.

Sparks quickly fly between the two, but both have reasons not to get involved. As they find it harder and harder to keep things professional between them, the days to the Santa Paws fundraiser are quickly approaching and it seems impossible that the project will be completed on time.

This is a quick, funny, and sexy read. James knows her genre and puts together a fabulous story that will get your blood pumping and tickle your funny bone. The dogs add a neat element to this romantic seasonal tale. You'll definitely want to see how Gil and Holly get to their happily ever after.

Print Length: 159 pages
Publisher: Dusty Trail Publishing; 1 edition (December 19, 2013)
ISBN #: 9780991281053
BN ID: 2940148918691

I purchased a digital copy of this book for my Kindle. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

This is the 15th book I've read for the following challenge:

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Gifts for the Book-loving Mom

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you had a wonderful holiday. My son and daughter-in-law joined us today, along with my in-laws. We all had a great time and enjoyed some yummy food. I am so full I don't think I can eat another bite.

Books must have been on many minds, as I am now the owner of nine new titles thanks to my family and my Amazon Wish List. Here is what I received:

The Alpine Path is the story of this Canadian author's career and her life. The title comes from a bit of verse the author clipped from an old magazine that said: The Alpine path, so hard, so steep, That leads to heights sublime; How I may reach that far-off goal Of true and honoured fame, And write upon its shining scroll A woman's humble name."

I'm a Lucy Maud Montgomery fan and have read her Anne of Green Gables series numerous times. I've also read The Story Girl series and other titles about residents of Avonlea.

Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder's heartwarming story of a pioneer girl named Laura and her family's covered wagon journey to Kansas, is one of the most beloved children's books ever written. Ever since her story was first published sixty-five years ago, readers have clamored to know more about Laura and her real life on the prairie.

Now, in this beautifully illustrated volume, you can experience life as it was in the little log cabin. Discover how Laura's real life was both similar to and different from the life she described Little House on the Prairie. Find out what it was really like to homestead land, cook over an open fire, and build a prairie cabin. Make Mary's and Laura's star headbands, cook Ma's stewed blackberries, and plant your own prairie garden. You can even sing the songs that the Ingallses sang to the sound of Pa's fiddle!

For anyone who has ever treasured Little House on the Prairie, Inside Laura's Little House brings Laura's world vividly and remarkably to life.

This book has been on my wish list for a long time. I'm so glad the kids bought it for me.

She may be thirty-fifth in line for the throne, but Lady Georgiana Rannoch cannot wait to ring in the New Year—before a Christmas killer wrings another neck…

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—well, actually, my true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending a feliz navidad tramping around South America. Meanwhile Mummy is holed up in a tiny village called Tiddleton-under-Lovey with that droll Noel Coward! And I’m snowed in at Castle Rannoch with my bumbling brother, Binky, and sourpuss sister-in-law, Fig.

So it’s a miracle when I contrive to land a position as hostess to a posh holiday party in Tiddleton. The village is like something out of A Christmas Carol! But no sooner have I arrived than a neighborhood nuisance, a fellow named Freddie, falls out of a tree dead. On my second day, another so-called accident results in a death – and there’s yet another on my third. Perhaps a recent prison break could have something to do with it…that, or a long-standing witch’s curse. But after Darcy shows up beneath the mistletoe, anything could be possible in this wicked wonderland.

Includes an English Christmas companion, full of holiday recipes, games, and more!

I've talked about this book a couple of times lately. It was suggested by a literary agent whose blog I follow.

The year is 1864 in the Colorado Territory. Charlie is all alone on the ranch that sits between the empty prairie and the Rocky Mountains. As the orphaned boy cares for his dying grandpa and tries to figure out how to survive the approaching winter, he keeps remembering the old man's words: "Failure's not an option, son." As the first storm of the season hits, a mysterious mountain man shows up at the isolated ranch and good things start to happen. But to get free of his one gnawing secret, Charlie must learn to trust the giant stranger. On Christmas day he learns that trusting means he'll never have to be alone again.

I also received the second and third books in this series, Rock of Refuge and In Green Pastures.

Any couple who spends the night in the Christmas cottage shall have love everlasting...

Lacey Quinn did not believe in happily ever after or the legend of the Christmas cottage. As maid of honor for her best friend Ava, her duties included decorating the cottage for the newlyweds. It was a simple enough task, but she hadn't counted on sexy Ean Callahan, the bride-to-be's brother, to be assisting her.

Spending the evening ensconced in the overly romantic setting while a blizzard howls outside has Lacey wondering if fairy tales really do come true...

The Kindle version of this one is only 99 cents right now.

Christmas has always been a sad time for young widow Holly Brown, so when she's asked to look after a remote house on the Lancashire moors, the opportunity to hide herself away is irresistible – the perfect excuse to forget about the festivities

Sculptor Jude Martland is determined that this year there will be no Christmas after his brother ran off with his fiancée. He’s keen to avoid the family home. However, he will have to return by the twelfth night of the festivities, when the hamlet of Little Mumming hold their historic festivities and all of his family are required to attend.

Meanwhile, Holly is finding that if she wants to avoid Christmas, she has come to the wrong place. When Jude unexpectedly returns on Christmas Eve he is far from delighted to discover that Holly seems to be holding the very family party he had hoped to avoid.

Suddenly, the blizzards come out of nowhere and the whole village is snowed in. With no escape, Holly and Jude get much more than they bargained for – it looks like the twelve days of Christmas are going to be very interesting indeed!

The Kindle version of this one is also 99 cents right now.

One winter wedding, two happy couples, three ex-boyfriends... And a very uncomfortable weekend.

Carol hates Christmas. Being recently dumped, she's not crazy about weddings either. So her sister Marley's nuptials, over the Christmas weekend, are making her positively Scrooge-like. When she arrives for the weekend at the stately home in rural Scotland to find her three ex-boyfriends in attendance, Carol has no choice but to face her ghosts to discover what really happened in those relationships, learning a lot about herself in the process. As the snow falls outside and the fire crackles in the hearth, might one of the wedding guests become the harbinger of Christmases to come?

This is a novella of approximately 100 pages in paperback, and is a British import. It has been written and edited in British English rather than American English, including all spelling, grammar and punctuation.

This Kindle version is $2.99 right now. I love it that my family is willing to gift me Kindle books.

Now you know what I received for Christmas. How about you? Any good books you would like to share with us?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Here is a list of Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings:

Born to slave-holding aristocracy in Richmond, Virginia, and educated by Northern Quakers, Elizabeth Van Lew was a paradox of her time. When her native state seceded in April 1861, Van Lew’s convictions compelled her to defy the new Confederate regime. Pledging her loyalty to the Lincoln White House, her courage would never waver, even as her wartime actions threatened not only her reputation, but also her life.

Van Lew’s skills in gathering military intelligence were unparalleled. She helped to construct the Richmond Underground and orchestrated escapes from the infamous Confederate Libby Prison under the guise of humanitarian aid. Her spy ring’s reach was vast, from clerks in the Confederate War and Navy Departments to the very home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Although Van Lew was inducted posthumously into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame, the astonishing scope of her achievements has never been widely known. In Chiaverini’s riveting tale of high-stakes espionage, a great heroine of the Civil War finally gets her due.

Downtown department stores were once the heart and soul of America’s pulsing Broadways and Main Streets. With names such as City of Paris, Penn Traffic, The Maze, Maison Blanche, or The Popular, they suggested spheres far beyond mundane shopping. Nicknames reflected the affection customers felt for their favorites, whether Woodie’s, Wanny’s, Stek’s, O.T.’s, Herp’s, or Bam’s.

The history of downtown department stores is as fascinating as their names and as diverse as their merchandise. Their stories encompass many themes: the rise of decorative design, new career paths for women, the growth of consumerism, and the technological ingenuity of escalators and pneumatic tubes. Just as the big stores made up their own small universes, their stories are microcosmic narratives of American culture and society.

The big stores were much more than mere businesses. They were local institutions where shoppers could listen to concerts, see fashion shows and art exhibits, learn golf or bridge, pay electric bills, and plan vacations – all while their children played in the store’s nursery under the eye of a uniformed nursemaid.
From Boston to San Diego and Miami to Seattle, department stores symbolized a city’s spirit, wealth, and progressiveness. Situated at busy intersections, they occupied the largest and finest downtown buildings, and their massive corner clocks became popular meeting places. Their locations became the epicenters of commerce, the high point from which downtown property taxes were calculated. Spanning the late 19th century well into the 20th, their peak development mirrors the growth of cities and of industrial America when both were robust and flourishing.

The time may be gone when children accompany their mothers downtown for a day of shopping and lunch in the tea room, when monogrammed trucks deliver purchases for free the very same day, and when the personality of a city or town can be read in its big stores. But they are far from forgotten and they still have power to influence how we shop today.

Service and Style recreates the days of downtown department stores in their prime, from the 1890s through the 1960s. Exploring in detail the wide range of merchandise they sold, particularly style goods such as clothing and home furnishings, it examines how they displayed, promoted, and sometimes produced goods. It reveals how the stores grew, why they declined, and how they responded to and shaped the society around them.

She may be thirty-fifth in line for the throne, but Lady Georgiana Rannoch cannot wait to ring in the New Year—before a Christmas killer wrings another neck…

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—well, actually, my true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending a feliz navidad tramping around South America. Meanwhile Mummy is holed up in a tiny village called Tiddleton-under-Lovey with that droll Noel Coward! And I’m snowed in at Castle Rannoch with my bumbling brother, Binky, and sourpuss sister-in-law, Fig.

So it’s a miracle when I contrive to land a position as hostess to a posh holiday party in Tiddleton. The village is like something out of A Christmas Carol! But no sooner have I arrived than a neighborhood nuisance, a fellow named Freddie, falls out of a tree dead. On my second day, another so-called accident results in a death – and there’s yet another on my third. Perhaps a recent prison break could have something to do with it…that, or a long-standing witch’s curse. But after Darcy shows up beneath the mistletoe, anything could be possible in this wicked wonderland.

Includes an English Christmas companion, full of holiday recipes, games, and more!

Gain unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to Downton Abbey in this official Season 4 tie-in book, complete with never-before-seen photos giving fans insight into the making of the runaway hit.

Expertly crafted with generous inside knowledge and facts, this book will delve into the inspiration behind the details seen on screen, the choice of locations, the music and much more. Step inside the props cupboard or the hair and make-up truck and catch a glimpse of the secret backstage world. In-depth interviews and exclusive photos give insight into the actors’ experiences on set as well as the celebrated creative team behind the award-winning drama. Straight from the director’s chair, this is the inside track on all aspects of the making of the show.

Dear Reader,

You've probably heard that my wife has left me. Rachel's pregnant and she says she can't handle the stress in our household anymore. My thirteenyearold daughter, Jolene, is jealous of her. Maybe it's my fault. As a widower I spoiled her—

Jolene was reading over my shoulder just now and says that's not true. She claims Rachel ruined everything. But that's not true. The real question is: How can I get my wife back? I don't even know where she is. She's not with Teri Polgar or any of her other friends from the salon. The other question is...when will Jolene grow up and stop acting like such a brat?

I'm not the only one in town with problems. Linc Wyse's fatherinlaw is trying to destroy his business. And you know Charlotte Rhodes? Seems she's becoming forgetful and the family's worried about her and Ben. Lots of other stuff going on—but Rachel is better at keeping up with it than I am.

If you have any idea where my wife is, give me a call. Please.

The laughter of summer lawn parties fades for the men and women of Summerset Abbey, as the rumble of cannon-fire sweeps across Europe. In a changing world, they soon find that only one thing is certain: none of them will ever be the same.

rowena buxton
The female pilot’s upcoming wedding to Sebastian Billingsly is the talk of soci­ety. Rowena loves her kind, handsome fiancé, but memories of a dangerously passionate affair with a dashing flier still stir her heart. . . . Accepting a daring mission transporting British planes, she encounters the man whose touch sent her reeling—and whose return into her life may have disastrous consequences for her and Sebastian’s future.

victoria buxton
The defiant suffragette raises eyebrows once again by living on her own in London as a lady bachelor. Kit Kittredge is the one man who understands and adores Victoria’s fiery spirit—but she rebuffs her best friend’s offer of marriage time and again, choosing to join the war effort as a volunteer nurse. And on the battlefields of France, she will learn the true meaning of love and sacrifice.

prudence tate
After a stinging betrayal at Summerset Abbey, Prudence has found love and contentment in working-class Camden Town as Mrs. Andrew Wilkes. But when Andrew enlists, everything that Pru cherishes is at risk—and she crosses a line attempting to protect him. Has she irreparably damaged their loving bond of trust?

A MURDERER who would change the WORLD

From multi-million copy best-selling novelist Jerry Jenkins comes a compelling international thriller that conveys you from present-day Texas to a dank Roman dungeon in A.D. 67, then down the dusty roads of ancient Israel, Asia, and back to Rome.

A young seminary professor, Augustine Knox, is drawn into a deadly race to save priceless parchments from antiquities thieves and discovers a two-thousand-year old connection with another who faced death for the sake of the truth. I, Saul consists of two riveting adventures in one, transporting you between the stories of Augustine Knox and Saul of Tarsus.

Filled with political intrigue, romance, and rich historical detail, I, Saul is a thrilling tale of loyal friendships tested by life-or-death quests, set two millennia apart, told by a master storyteller.

Caitlin Strong is a fifth-generation Texas Ranger, proud to wear the badge of her father and grandfather—until a deadly shoot-out along the Mexican border causes her to question her calling.

Five years later, Caitlin is still trying to purge herself of guilt from the day that ended her Ranger career. But a shattering discovery will reopen old wounds, and Caitlin’s renewed investigation into the truth behind the bloody desert firefight uncovers a terrifying plot that reaches into every home and threatens the very core of the country.

Her only hope for success—and survival—is to team up with Cort Wesley Masters, a deadly outlaw who has every reason to want her dead. But he also holds the key to the truth she desperately seeks in the anguished brain of an amnesiac torture victim.

Caitlin’s tormented quest for redemption takes her to a dark world, ranging from Washington to Bahrain to the wastelands of Mexico, as she finds that the strength to live comes from learning how to die.

'Page-turning . . . Set against the political and religious turmoil of the times, the Thoenes' story vividly reimagines the evolving friendship between Jesus and Lazarus.' ---Publishers Weekly

LAZARUS---the man Jesus raised from the dead in one of the most extraordinary encounters with The Living Savior in all of Scripture. But the life of Lazarus holds interest well beyond this miraculous event. Living in Bethany, near Jerusalem, Lazarus witnessed many of the most important events of Jesus's life and ministry.

Lazarus owned a vineyard and devoted his life to caring for its vines and fruit. But he encountered another man---Jesus---whose vineyard was the world, its fruit the eternal souls of men. When Lazarus's story and the story of Jesus's crucifixion and resurrection touch in When Jesus Wept, we are offered a unique vision into the power and comfort of Christ's love.

Brock and Bodie Thoene's most powerful and climactic writing project to date, When Jesus Wept, captures the power and the passion of the men and women who lived through the most important days in the history of the world.

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain has been a central character in two feature films (Gettysburg and Gods & Generals), a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel (The Killer Angels), and an inspiration for Ken Burns's production of the highly acclaimed PBS series The Civil War. Chamberlain won national fame at the Battle of Gettysburg for his key role in fending off the Confederates at Little Round Top on day two of the battle.

This new volume brings to public light 300 never-before-seen letters from Chamberlain's personal correspondence, which comprises letters sent by or to Chamberlain from his college years in 1852 to his death in 1914. The first 100 letters shed light on Chamberlain's formative years and his courtship with Fannie Adams, which has been the source of much speculation by scholars. The final 200 letters reveal insights into Chamberlain the Union commander and the aftermath of the war.

Chamberlain's image can be found on everything from historical art to sculpture, from t-shirts to clocks, from bobble-head dolls to snow globes. Despite all this attention, there is still a lot about Chamberlain that most people do not know. His life is a remarkable story of perseverance, tragedy, and triumph. From an insecure young man with a considerable stuttering problem who grew up in a small town in eastern Maine, Joshua Chamberlain rose to become a major general, recipient of the Medal of Honor, Governor of Maine, and President of Bowdoin College. His writings are among the most oft-quoted of all Civil War memoirs, and he has become a legendary, even mythical historical figure.

Historian and acclaimed author, Thomas Desjardin, puts Chamberlain's words in contemporary and historical context and uses this extraordinary collection of letters to reveal--for the first time--the full and remarkable life of Joshua Chamberlain. Readers will find this unique portrait of Chamberlain to be entertaining, moving, and inspiring.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Book Review: Make Freelancing REALLY Pay by Daisy McCarty

Considering a freelancing career? Looking to take your freelancing career to the next level? Make Freelancing REALLY Pay by Daisy McCarty can help.

A practical guide to helping you "find the best clients, communicate with them effectively, negotiate a profitable price for their services, and build a robust referral network" is what Make Freelancing REALLY Pay is all about. In this no-nonsense book, you'll learn about: the different types of clients and who you should be going after, how to set a respectable minimum rate, why you shouldn't work for free, how to increase the perceived value of your services, how to improve your communication skills, and more.

Because this book isn't niche-specific, any freelancer can apply the guidelines and advice McCarty provides to her career. This quick and easy read with its conversational tone will inspire you to reconsider the value of your work and get the wheels turning in your mind for where you want your career to go next. Make Freelancing REALLY Pay also gets into some of the nitty-gritty of freelancing work like hourly rates, payment terms, and what is considered a rewrite.

Where I feel this book will definitely be helpful is in getting freelancers to stop discounting their work or working for free just to be published. Make Freelancing REALLY Pay shows all freelancers how to value the experience they bring to the table and price their work accordingly.

Genre: Nonfiction/Business/Entrepreneurship
Author: Daisy McCarty
Publisher: Daisy McCarty
Pages: 114
Language: English
ISBN: 9781301685806

I received a copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. This review contains my honest opinion, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

This is the 14th book I've read for the following challenge:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

On My Amazon Wish List

I've really taken to using my Amazon Wish List to keep track of books that look great, but I have no time to read right now. It's also a great thing to be able to point to if someone asks what I need. Here are a few books on my Wish List right now.

In 1856, the political unrest is growing in the South. Lucas Mailly gathers his granddaughters and sends them west by wagon with a handful of men to lead them. He must stay behind to sell their beloved Riverton home and timber mill. The recently widowed Elizabeth Bromont doesn't want to disappoint her grandfather and pushes her own emotions aside to do what is expected. She takes charge of this band of women on their adventure across the frontier.

With every turn along the wagon trail, these cousins, filled with city social graces and charm must learn how to handle the hardships and heartaches they face. Elizabeth finds herself with an unexpected suitor-her deceased husband's best friend. Her sister, Megan, encourages her, while keeping a secret of her own. Abby and Emma, the Mississippi cousins that have journeyed west, peel away the emotional layers put there by their heavy-handed plantation owner father and mother.

On the road west, through wagon accidents, total exhaustion, raging storms and wild animals the small band of travelers learn about survival on the prairie and the individuals they need to become to survive.

Relieved to finally arrive at the abandoned military post at Fort Worth, Texas they begin the hard work of establishing a home. The cousins help build schools and churches, and try to civilize the community with manners. Friendships are mended together around the quilting frame. But, they soon realize it that heartache has followed them. When their strength is put to the biggest test of all, they become true warriors of their heart, mind, and souls.

When her unwed medical student daughter discloses that she is pregnant, Dr. Laura Branson is torn between excitement and fear. Until now, her beliefs and stance on pro-life issues have been more theoretical than personal. It isn’t until she receives a Christmas gift—a quilt that depicts the life of pioneer Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor in America—that she is forced to wrestle with her beliefs. What does she really believe, and will she have the courage to stand by her convictions?

She's smart, pretty, and runs her own business. So then why does she feel so dead inside? Between work, two kids, and a husband who finds her about as exciting as furniture shopping, this is the story of a (formerly-exciting but now way-too-typical) suburban mom who diagnoses herself with Momnesia and sets about finessing a new version of her old vivaciousness:
Momnesia (mahm-nee-zhuh) -noun-
Loss of the memory of who you used to be. Caused by pregnancy, play dates, and trying to keep the house cleaner than the Joneses.

She finds some adventure pursing her own interests, and does make some new friends (including the battery operated variety), but still feels like nothing more than a caretaker.

In between dealing with her husband's manic-depresssive behavior, drama with her friends, and some naughty Internet escapades, she ponders, Is it that I haven't been myself? Or is it that I am being myself, but just different than I used to be?

It isn't until she tosses the Invisible Rule Book altogether, that she discovers life--and love--have more to offer than she ever imagined!

With custom-painted cover art that perfectly epitomizes the struggle of finding balance between "momminess" and "sexiness," Momnesia is a must read for anyone who has ever been a mother, had a mother, wanted to be a mother, judged a mother, or even just wondered about mothers. A great gift book, too!

I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had is television, screen and stage star Tony Danza’s absorbing account of a year spent teaching tenth-grade English at Northeast High -- Philadelphia’s largest high school with 3600 students.

Entering Northeast’s crowded halls in September of 2009, Tony found his way to a classroom filled with twenty-six students who were determined not to cut him any slack. They cared nothing about “Mr. Danza’s” showbiz credentials, and they immediately put him on the hot seat.

Featuring indelible portraits of students and teachers alike, I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had reveals just how hard it is to keep today’s technologically savvy – and often alienated -- students engaged, how impressively committed most teachers are, and the outsized role counseling plays in a teacher’s day, given the psychological burdens many students carry. The book also makes vivid how a modern high school works, showing Tony in a myriad of roles – from lecturing on To Kill a Mockingbird to “coaching” the football team to organizing a talent show to leading far-flung field trips to hosting teacher gripe sessions.

A surprisingly poignant account, I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had is sometimes laugh-out-loud funny but is mostly filled with hard-won wisdom and feel-good tears.

MTV’s original VJs offer a behind-the-scenes oral history of the early years of MTV, 1981 to 1987, when it was exploding, reshaping the culture, and creating “the MTV generation.”

Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, and Martha Quinn (along with the late J. J. Jackson) had front-row seats to a cultural revolution—and the hijinks of music stars like Adam Ant, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, and Duran Duran. Their worlds collided, of course: John Cougar invited Nina to a late-night “party” that proved to be a seduction attempt. Mark partied with David Lee Roth, who offered him cocaine and groupies. Aretha Franklin made chili for Alan. Bob Dylan whisked Martha off to Ireland in his private jet.

But while VJ has plenty of dish—secret romances, nude photographs, incoherent celebrities—it also reveals how four VJs grew up alongside MTV’s devoted viewers and became that generation’s trusted narrators. They tell the story of the ’80s, from the neon-colored drawstring pants to the Reagan administration, and offer a deeper understanding of how MTV changed our culture. Or as the VJs put it: “We’re the reason you have no attention span.”

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Final Christmas in October Winnings!

This brings us to the end of my Christmas in October winnings. As you can see, I really don't need to request new books to review right now or participate in book tours to gain new reading material. There is plenty around here to keep me busy. Thanks to Penny's Tales and all the authors who contributed to this giveaway. Wishing everyone a blessed holiday season.

Willie has met an old flame, but is he willing to give up the decadence of Boston society for the man he loves?

For the past three years William Wilkerson has led the life of the privileged rich. Head of his father’s shipping business, Willie indulges in the pleasures of Boston’s fine young men to his heart’s content. That is, until he meets Fredrick, the one man who has captured his heart, again.

As his former tutor, Fredrick has been declared off limits by William’s father. Fredrick also believes he's beneath the attention of Wilkerson’s heir. Willie disagrees, but is he willing to throw away rank and privilege for the man he loves?

When Selena Dillon is caught in an assassination attempt on her planet’s ruler, she finds herself sentenced to twenty-five years servitude in the most feared military force, the Penal Regiments. Much to her surprise she enjoys the harsh military life and is quickly selected for officer training.

But something’s wrong, worlds are falling silent. There’s no cry for help and no warning, just a sudden eerie silence. When a flotilla of ships is despatched to investigate they exit hyperspace to find themselves facing a massive alien armada. Outnumbered and outgunned the flotilla fight a rearguard action, allowing one of their number to slip away and warn mankind.

As worlds fall in battle, and mankind’s fleets are decimated, Selena is selected to lead a team of the Penal Regiment’s most battle-hardened veterans, in a last ditch attempt to destroy the aliens’ home world. If she fails mankind is doomed. Little does Selena know that one of her crew is a psychopathic killer and another is the husband of his victim.

Can she hold her team together, get them to their target and succeed in the attack? Selena knows that if she fails then there will be nothing at all left to go home to.

When two dismembered and unidentifiable torsos wash up on a local riverbank, beautiful 29-year-old registered nurse Jackie Reeves, believes the killer is a man from her past with a history of mental problems. She contacts the dangerously handsome 34-year-old FBI Special Agent Walker Harmon, who arrives in the sleepy town of Pleasant Valley, and met with a reception of lies and threats from local police and citizens. Under constant pressure from both the media and public, along with taunting messages aimed at Agent Harmon and Jackie from person's unknown, the agent races against time to catch the killer before he strikes again, and before an innocent man is convicted. With a suspect list involving the victims' parents, ex-lovers, Satanists, a contaminated crime scene, corrupt police, and the motorcycle gang the Devil's Disciples, circumstances turn the hunt personal, as the hunters become the prey.

While she is travelling north to find sanctuary from the malicious gossip of the Ton, Lady Isabella Wormsley’s room in a Dalkeith inn is invaded by handsome Scottish Laird, Charles Lindsay. Charles has uncovered a plot to kidnap her, but Bella wonders if he isn’t a more dangerous threat, at least to her heart, than the villainous Graham Direlton he wrests her from.

Bella settles into the household of her Aunt Hatty Menzies in Edinburgh’s nineteenth century George Square where Charles is a regular visitor. She has been exiled to the north by her unfeeling mama, but feels more betrayed by her papa to whom she has been close. Bella hopes the delivery of her young cousin’s baby will eventually demonstrate her own innocence in the scandal that drove her from home.

Bella’s presence disrupts the lives of everyone connected to her. Direlton makes another attempt to kidnap her and in rescuing her a second time, Charles is compromised. Only a betrothal will save his business and Bella’s reputation.

Mayhem, murder and long suppressed family secrets raise confusion and seemingly endless difficulties. Will the growing but unacknowledged love between Bella and her Scottish architect survive the evil Direlton engineers?

Leaving the chapel in London’s 19th century Thames’ side where she teaches the alphabet to a raggle-taggle of urchins, Mariah Fox is charged by a stray pig. The quick intervention of Tobias Longreach saves her from certain injury. Mariah has always believed her destiny to be teaching. After the early death of her mother, she was brought up by her papa, Jerome, to believe that she could learn anything a boy could. She shares his vision of a future in which everyone, rich or poor, boy or girl, will be taught at least the rudiments of reading, writing, and counting.

Tobias was brought up a second son, but following his elder brother’s premature death, inherits an Earldom and the need to provide it with an heir. He comes to believe that Mariah will make a perfect countess and enrolls her papa’s help in securing her hand.

However, Sir Lucas Wellwood, whose debts have made him urge his sister to attempt to trap Tobias into marriage, has sinister intentions. Mariah suspects Wellwood has been mistreating his sister and she heads off impetuously to rescue her. Will Tobias and his friends reach Wellwood’s home before he can exact revenge on Mariah?

Julie Bond grew up in Europe as a military brat. She found her very first permanent home in Landry, GA as a teen going into high school. Almost four years later, she's having pre-graduation jitters and flashing back to an incident of school violence she experienced in Europe. She attempts to convince herself that it can never happen again, but continually finds herself flashing back to that day no matter how hard she tries.

The people around her present any number of problems for Julie, and she's hard put to keep from drowning under all the issues. Then Michael, a cool guy she's crushed on for three years, returns, and Julie now has one more thing to distract her as she prepares to leave high school. One thing she firmly believes in … no one will ever invade her classroom with violence again.

Once again, the impossible happens … once again, she's in a classroom with a madman holding a gun … once again, she must survive.

Italian-born Mina Calvi lives in a mansion in idyllic Orange County, California with her protective older sister, Paola. Unemployed again and aimless, Mina can’t seem to find her niche in her adopted country, but confusion and restlessness soon become the least of her problems. Someone is stealing from the software business owned by Paola and her husband, losses so great the business is sinking like the Titanic. And the strange death of a company employee turns out to be murder. Then, while, facing a loss so terrible she can’t bear it, Mina discovers an old family secret that turns her world upside down. There’s some solace in the arms of her blue-eyed lover, amateur sleuth Brian Starr, but danger still stalks her at every turn, edging closer and closer as Mina tries to untangle the web of lies, adultery and treachery, and put her life back together.

A short story about a girl who goes missing on Halloween and the unfortunate police officer who finds her.

Dylan Jones, seventh grader at Langdon Middle School lives the good life. His family has money. He gets most everything he wants. Even so, everybody likes Dylan ’cause he is a happy go lucky kid.

Miss Wickware, his seventh grade history teacher, tells the class they will be studying the United States in the late 1800 for the next few weeks. Everybody will be expected to present an oral report on a subject that is drawn from a box. Dylan draws The Orphan Train.

A penniless Dylan finds himself at the train station in New York in 1875 and he is as scared and unsure as the children getting ready to ride the Orphan Train. How will Dylan make it when money is nowhere to be found?