Monthly Archives: June 2012

Science Museum

It is hard to decide what was the highlight of this trip, but the Science Museum was one of the best things we did!! It was amazing!

Seriously…this was a homeschool mom’s dream come true!!
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Identifying animal footprints

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Giving the local weather report..

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F. the captain of the boat

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The view out the window and a historic Riverboat

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H. and his cousin working together on working the weights

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T. giving orders over the tugboats phone….

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F. and I with his sister….

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The heart chambers

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The tubes with blood went all over….

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T. loved this…when you opened it, it showed how far the germs went when you sneezed

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Skin- dissected – Bobbi and her granddaughter

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All dressed up to be a scientist

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They were all swabbing their cheeks and then putting it on slides. They looked at them under microscopes.

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It was so neat!

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Gloved up and having to wear eye protection and everything!

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That is P.’s cheek swab on the monitor…

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Ready to go on…there was 5 floors

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Viewing L.’s ear tissues

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G. looking at her grandma’s eyes

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It was like the inside of a steam engine…

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Floating ball on air

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There was so many things that I will not bore you with all the pictures….

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But this was a real Egyptian Mummy…
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I. spending time dissecting a fruit fly larvae

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We ended the day with watching a huge IMax film that was under the sea. It was really like being under the sea and some of the creatures made me jump!!!
G. hid her head the whole time, barely peeking out for a few minutes!

We learned tons and the boys have still been talking about it!

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Spending time with cousins…

There were several evenings that were spent with cousins and family. The boys played soccer, played on the playground, read jokes out of the joke book and many other things. It was funny to see the similarities that were from family!

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Playing in the street by Aunt Tanya’s house

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Dramatic L.

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I think they were playing some kind of ball game here.

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Riding on a train and swimming

We had planned on going swimming all day….but the weather was hit and miss…so we decided to take the kids on a train ride. It was so much fun! They had not ever been on a train and this was a cheap way to enjoy it!

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Waiting for the train with cousins

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This cutie was always so patient….I think I only heard him cry maybe twice…our whole visit

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On the train….some of the cousins, these are my husband’s sister’s children.

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L. still looks a little sleepy

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The train was full on the way into the city, so they were standing….

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Playing with Playmobile on the train

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Isn’t he a cute guy? (This is another cousin)

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Waiting for a snack

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And off the train as it fades into the distance….

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The whole group…almost…

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Siblings

Swimming plans were put on hold as the weather started to rain and thunder. We headed to Fred’s sister Tanya’s house for lunch. While ordering pizza, the weather seemed to clear up, so we decided to eat quick and then head out. But….the weather went up and down, while eating, it started to downpour and thunder. The kids were really sad. We relaxed and had tea (which was accompanied by wonderful candy and desserts).

It was about 4 pm. when the weather seemed to settle and was very warm out, so we decided to go see what we could find. At the first place, it was $10-14 a person for only one hour and we had to pay for the ones who were not swimming. We decided to try a new place.
We found a place that was $5 each, so that was great! They had lots of fun…

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Splashing in the pool

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Waiting in line for the diving board….there was this man who was in training and did a great job!

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L. about to dive

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P. in position to go

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T. Warming up

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Snuggling with their mommy after water time

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How many adults does it take to open a licorice package?

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Sharing licorice with his aunt….

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They were so cute sitting there sharing their licorice…

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Those licorice ropes were cheap….so they ate tons of them!

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Bobbi teaching a lesson to all of them on swimming

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Cousin V. warming up…

It was a great day! They were all tired and had so much fun! P. and H. got their girl cousins to jump off the diving board which was fun to watch!

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Lucy Come Home by Dave and Neta Jackson

Lucy Come Home
by Dave and Neta Jackson

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

Lucy from the book series Yada Yada House of Hope Series stars in this book. If you have read the Yada Yada books, you know that the characters in the different books are involved and have their own stories. This one goes into the background of why Lucy ended up in the place she was at as a homeless woman, with a love for dogs.

I honestly have not read a Dave and Neta Jackson book I have not liked, except for maybe one of their Trailblazer books for children. They are an excellent team and really help you feel the heart and soul of their book characters. I often wonder about the people whom inspired their books.

Lucy was a complicated character, and I felt so sad for her. I don’t want to give away anything about the story, but this young woman was dealt some very hard blows during the depression. Her family, working as harvesters, is barely surviving, when a little dog comes along. The comes with a friendship with the dogs owner and a experience with riding carnival rides, like she never experienced before. When she is put in an impossible situation, and knows that she has to run or be blamed for being in the wrong, she loses everything dear to her, except for her first love.

We get to see how Lucy Tucker the Bag lady who lives on the street, was a young woman, who lost everything in life, yet still maintained her love for others and animals throughout it all.

The only thing I wished about this book, was that there was more detail about her in the present! I highly recommend this book as well as the other books by these authors.

Book provided for review from Litfuse, the opinions are my own, and are done without payment.

Link to buy the book….
Lucy Come home

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The Zoo trip…

The boys were very young when the oldest two went to the zoo, so this was much look forward to all the way to MN.
Bobbi spoiled the boys with making them breakfast every morning…
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After breakfast, packing backpacks and a cooler full of snacks and food for lunch, we headed out. It was a bit of a drive, but everyone was super excited! We were able to be blessed with some free tickets, which was amazing!

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Petting Starfish

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Dolphin Training

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Jumping out of the water

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Prairie Dogs

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Camels

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A farm…
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Grizzly Bear- We joked that we came all this way to see something that is in our back yard. I prefer the glass between us though!

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He got right against the glass and pressed against it…
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Yeah….thankful for that glass.

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Monkeys

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Riding a bronze wolf…

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Penguins…

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We had a great day…tons of walking…probably over 4-5 miles…but everyone slept good!

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Day 3 of our Vacation

I am a homeschooling mom…so you know that most activities we do we will be learning without even really realizing it! This day was no different! We had originally planned on going to the zoo, but it was raining hard, so we changed our plans and headed to a interactive building and mechanics type place called “The Works”. It was the neatest place. We were there for over 3 hours!
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Building cardboard soapbox cars and compasses to take home

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B. and her granddaughter!! (My good friend and adopted grandma to my children)
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H. sat here for almost an hour building and trying out his K-Nex cars…they measured how fast they went!
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His car…

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Building a dam

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Directing water flow

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Archimedes screw!! We loved this because we studied it in school this year!

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Recording and playing music!

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More dam building….

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Picture in the funny mirror

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A fort…

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P. building block creations

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Using electronics to go through a maze.

After we finished there, we decided to go and walk through some of the Mall of America…
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In front of the directory so they could say they had been there. Of course, everyone was tired, hungry and then sad they couldn’t try the rides…
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Checking out the directory….I think T. was more excited about the escalators than anything.
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Trying on hats…

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The lego store!! A boys and girls dream store!!

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Computers and building blocks!

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Very tired…

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Choosing some specialty pieces that are harder to come by from the wall of bulk legos…

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A cute 50’s cafe in the mall…

Tired out…we headed for dinner…it was a great day!

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The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis

The Fiddler
by Beverly Lewis

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

From the Back Cover
Come home to Hickory Hollow, Pennsylvania–the beloved setting where Beverly Lewis’s celebrated Amish novels began–with new characters and new stories of drama, romance, and the ties that draw people together.

A wrong turn in a rainstorm leads Englisher Amelia Devries to Michael Hostetler–and the young Amishman’s charming Old Order community of Hickory Hollow. Despite their very different backgrounds, Amelia and Michael both feel hemmed in by the expectations of others and struggle with how to find room for their own hopes. And what first seems to be a chance encounter might just change their lives forever.

Michael Hostetler is confused in his deliberation of what he should do with his life. He sincerely loves his parents, but is contemplating leaving everything he grew up with to go to the “world”.
Amelia Devries is also seeking….a successful fiddler and violinist, the pressure from her parents, her agent and her fans is incredible. Her father is suffering from Parkinson’s disease and she wants nothing more than to make him happy…but will it be at the risk of her own happiness.

This book is less Amish than some of Ms. Lewis’s other books, which I appreciated. I liked the history of fiddling and some of the longing for a peaceful life, I could easily relate to. I felt like it downplayed some of how emotionally awful it is to leave the Amish though. Some of the Amish women came off as smart, confident, while others came off as stupid or slightly dull….in comparison to this lovely violinist who breezes in and almost has no regard for their traditions.
I found it odd the lack of male involvement in this book, but I also really liked the lack of romance in it. There was hints of it…but no details, making it appropriate for younger teens who would likely enjoy this book.
– Martha

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The Telling by Mike Duran

My Review:
I am reading like crazy, but being on vacation….you only have so much time!!! But I am also posting like crazy! I will post an updated review soon!- Martha

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:

Realms (May 15, 2012)

***Special thanks to Althea Thompson | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mike Duran was a finalist in Faith in Fiction’s inaugural short story contest and was chosen as one of ten authors to be published in Infuze Magazine’s 2005 print anthology. He is author of the short story “En Route to Inferno,” which appeared in Coach’s Midnight Diner: Back from the Dead edition, and received the Editor’s Choice award for his creative nonfiction essay titled “The Ark,” published in the Summer 2.3 Issue of Relief Journal. In between blogs, he also writes a monthly column for Novel Journey and has served as editor on the Midnight Diner’s editorial team. Duran is an ordained minister and lives with his wife and four grown children in Southern California.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A prophet never loses his calling, only his way.

Disfigured with a hideous scar from his stepmother, Zeph Walker lives his life in seclusion, cloistering himself in a ramshackle bookstore on the outskirts of town. But Zeph is also blessed with a gift—an uncanny ability to foresee the future,to know peoples’ deepest sins and secrets. He calls it the Telling, but he has abandoned this gift to a life of solitude, unbelief, and despair—until two detectives escort him to the county morgue where he finds his own body lying on the gurney.

On the northern fringes of Death Valley, the city of Endurance is home to llama ranches, abandoned mines, roadside attractions…and the mythical ninth gate of hell. Now, forced to investigate his own murder, Zeph discovers something even more insidious behind the urban legends and small-town eccentricities. Early miners unearthed a megalith—asacred site where spiritual and physical forces converge and where an ancient subterranean presence broods. And only Zeph can stop it.

But the scar on Zeph’s face is nothing compared to the wound on his soul. For not only has he abandoned his gift and renounced heaven, but it was his own silence that spawned the evil. Can he overcome his own despair in time to seal the ninth gate of hell?

His words unlocked something deadly,
And now the silence is killing them.

Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Realms (May 15, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616386940
ISBN-13: 978-1616386948

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:


He used to believe everyone was born with the magic, an innate hotline to heaven. Some called it intuition, a sixth sense; others called it the voice of God. Zeph Walker called it the Telling. It was not something you could teach or, even worse, sell-  people just had it. Of course, by the time their parents, teachers, and society got through with them, whatever connection they had with the Infinite pretty much vanished. So it was, when Zeph reached his twenty-sixth birthday, the Telling was just an echo.
That’s when destiny came knocking for him.
It arrived in the form of two wind-burnt detectives packing heat and a mystery for the ages. They flashed their badges, said he was needed for questioning. Before he could object or ask for details, they loaded him into the backseat of a mud-splattered Crown Victoria and drove across town to the county morgue. The ride was barely ten minutes, just long enough for Zeph Walker to conclude that, maybe, the magic was alive and well.
“You live alone?” The driver glanced at him in the rearview mirror.
Zeph adjusted his sunglasses. “Yes, sir.”
“I don’t blame you.” The detective looked at his partner, who smirked in response.
Zeph returned his gaze to the passing landscape.
Late summers in Endurance were as beautiful as a watercolor and as hot as the devil’s kitchen. The aspens on the ridge showed gold, and the dogwoods along the creeks had already begun to thin. Yet the arid breeze rising from Death Valley served as an ever-present reminder that beauty always lives in close proximity to hell.
They came to a hard stop in front of a white plaster building. The detectives exited the car, and Zeph followed their cue. A ceramic iguana positioned under a sprawling blue sage grinned mockingly at him. Such was the landscape decor of the county coroner’s building. The structure doubled as a morgue. It occupied a tiny plot of red earth, surrounded by a manicured  cactus  garden complete  with

2   | Mike Duran

indigenous flora, bison skulls, and birdbaths. Without previous knowledge, one could easily mistake the building for a cultural center or art gallery. Yet Zeph knew that something other than pottery and Picassos awaited him inside.
The bigger of the two detectives, a vaquero with a nifty turquoise belt buckle and matching bolo tie, pulled the door open and motioned for Zeph to enter. The man had all the charm of a cage fighter.
Zeph wiped perspiration off his forehead and stepped into a small vestibule.
“This way.” The cowboy clomped past, leaving the smell of sweat and cheap cologne.
They led him past an unoccupied desk into a corridor. Bland southwestern prints adorned sterile white walls. The stench of form- aldehyde and decay lingered here, and Zeph’s stomach flip-flopped in response. The hallway intersected another where two lab technicians stood in whispered conversation. They straightened as the detectives approached. After a brief nod from one of the white-jacketed men, Zeph’s escorts proceeded to an unmarked room.
“We got someone fer you to ID.” The cowboy placed his hand on the door and studied Zeph. “You don’t get sick easy, do ya?”
He swallowed. “Depends.”
“Well, if you’re gonna puke, don’t do it on these.” He pointed to a set of well-polished eel-skin boots. “Comprende?”
“No, sir. I mean—yes! Yes, sir.”
The detective scowled, then pushed the door open, waiting. Zeph’s heart was doing double-time. Whose body was he about to
see? What condition was it in? His mind raced with the possibilities. Maybe a friend had suffered a car accident. Although he didn’t have many friends to die in one. Perhaps the Hitcher, that mythical appari- tion who stalked the highway in his childhood, had claimed another victim. More likely Zeph’s old man had finally keeled over. However, he was convinced that his father had stopped living a long time ago.
Zeph drew a deep breath, took two steps into the room, perched his sunglasses on the top his head . . . and froze. In the center, framed under a single oval swath of light, lay a body on a autopsy table—a body that looked strangely familiar.
“Take a good look, Mr. Walker.” The detective’s boots clicked with precision on the yellowed linoleum. He circled the rolling metal

th e  te ll i n g       | 3

cart, remaining just outside the reach of the fluorescent light. “And maybe you can help us figger this out.”
Zeph remained near the door, hesitant to take another step.
“Go ahead.” The second detective sauntered around the opposite side, gesturing to the body. “He ain’t gonna bite.”
The detectives positioned themselves on either end of the table. They watched him.
A black marble countertop, its surface dulled by a thin blanket of dust, ran the length of one wall. In front of it sat a single wooden stool. The low-hanging lamp bleached the body monochrome. Zeph had seen enough procedurals and CSI knock-offs to know this was not an autopsy room. Perhaps it was used for viewings, maybe occa- sional poker games. But as the detectives studied him, he was starting to wonder if this was an interrogation room. Scalpels, pincers, saws. Oh, what exotic torture devices one might assemble from a morgue! Nevertheless, this particular room appeared to have not been used in a long time. And by the fevered sparkle in their eyes, these men seemed inspired about the possibility of doing so.
Zeph glanced from one man to the other, and then he edged toward the corpse.
Its flesh appeared dull, and the closer he got, the less it actu- ally looked like skin. Perhaps the body had been drained of blood or bleached by the desert sun. He inched closer. Sunken pockets appeared along the torso, and he found himself wondering what could have possibly happened to this person.
The head lay tilted back, its bony jaw upturned, cords of muscle taut across a gangly neck. A white sheet draped the body at the chest, and just above it a single bloodless hole about the size of a nickel notched the sternum. He crept forward, trying to distin- guish the person’s face. First he glimpsed nostrils, then teeth, and then . . . something else.
That something else brought Zeph to a standstill.
How could it be? Build. Facial features. Hair color. This person looked exactly like him. There was even a Star of David tattooed on the right arm, above the bicep—the same as Zeph’s.
What were the chances, the mathematical probabilities, that one human being could look so identical to another? Especially in a town the size of Endurance.

4 | Mike Duran

“Is this . . . ” Zeph’s tone was detached, his eyes fixed on the body. “Is this some kinda joke?”
The detectives hunkered back into the shadows without responding.
Goose bumps rose on Zeph’s forearms as the overhead vent rattled to life, sluicing cool air into the room. He took another step closer to the cadaver until his thigh nudged the table, jolting the stiff and bringing Zeph to a sudden stop. He peered at the bizarre figure.
Their similarities were unmistakable. The lanky torso and append- ages. The tousled sandy hair. Thick brows over deep-set eyes. This guy looks exactly like me!
However, it was one feature—the most defining feature of Zeph Walker’s existence—that left him teetering in disbelief: the four-inch scar that sheared the corpse’s mouth.
Zeph stumbled back, lungs frozen, hand clasped over the ugly scar on his own face.
“Darnedest thing, ain’t it?” The cowboy sounded humored by
Zeph’s astonishment. “Guy’s a spittin’ image of you, Mr. Walker.” Zeph slowly lowered his hand and glanced sideways at the man.
“Yeah. Except I don’t have a bullet hole in my chest.”
The detective’s grin soured, and he squinted warily at Zeph. “Indeed you don’t.” The second man stepped into the light. “But
the real question, young man, is why someone would want to put one there.”

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Spring Hope by Martha Rogers

My Review:
Abused, beaten, and half starved….Libby has learned to never trust a man. She is cautious with reason when Sheriff Muldoon rescues her and treats her with kindness. She is afraid that his kindness will end with the truth, but longs for the family life she observes in Porterfield, Texas.

This book wraps up the Seasons of the Heart series and was as enjoyable as the rest of the series! I read this while on vacation and found myself pulled into the story, and the miles passed quickly!! This will be one to pick up! -Martha

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:

Realms (May 15, 2012)

***Special thanks to Althea Thompson | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Martha Rogers’ novel Not on the Menu debuted on May 1, 2007, as a part of Sugar and Grits, a novella collection with DiAnn Mills, Janice Thompson, and Kathleen Y’Barbo. Her series Winds Across the Prairie debuted in 2010 with Becoming Lucy, Morning for Dove, Finding Becky, and Caroline’s Choice. Her other credits include stories in anthologies with Wayne Holmes, Karen Holmes, and Debra White Smith; several articles in Christian magazines; devotionals in six books of devotions; and eight Bible studies. Martha served as editor of a monthly newsletter for the writer’s organization Inspirational Writers Alive! for six years and is the state president. She is also the director for the annual Texas Christian Writer’s Conference and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, for whom she writes a weekly devotional. Martha and her husband are active members of First Baptist Church.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Can runaway Libby Cantrell finally get a new start?

Libby Cantrell’s life has gone from bad to worse since her mother’s death. After working in a brothel to support her abusive father, she sees no hope for her future until one cold winter night when she finds the courage to escape.

When she collapses in Portersfield, Texas, exhausted, ill, and hungry, Sheriff Cory Muldoon finds her and takes her to the doctor. Against Cory’s better judgment, Seth and Erin Winston take her in and offer her a job as a nanny for their young son. As a minister, Seth sees it as his duty to take care of her. As a deputy, Cory needs to know the truth about her even as he is attracted to the waif of a young woman.

As Cory’s feelings for her grow and winter becomes spring, will he be able to accept her as she is now and truly forget and forgive her sordid past?

Product Details:
List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Realms (May 15, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616386185
ISBN-13: 978-1616386184

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Porterfield,  Texas
February 1891

THE COLDEST NIG!IT  of winter thus far chilled Deputy Sheriff Cory Muldoon to the bone as he made his rounds in the alleyways of Porterfield. Cold wind howled around the corners of the buildings now closed up for the  night. Most  everyone in Porterfield had gone home  to their  families  and  warm  homes. This  was all the  winter he cared  to experience, and  even this would be only a few days, as the weather in Texas could change in a heartbeat, summer or winter.
Lights and music from the saloon rang out and mocked the dark  silence  of its  neighboring buildings. Friday  nights  found cowboys and lumberjacks both squandering their  hard-earned money  on  liquor  and  women. Tonight would  be no different

despite the cold, near freezing temperatures. Most likely at least one or two of them would end up in the jail for a spell.
Cory turned up the collar of his sheepskin-lined jacket and shoved his hat farther down on his head. When he rounded the corner of the livery, the gentle nickering and snorts of the horses boarded there broke the quietness of the night.
A cat skittered out from behind the general store, and a dog barked in the distance. Ever since the bank robbery last fall, he or the sheriff had roamed the alleys behind the main businesses every  night to  make sure everything  remained locked tight and secure. So far he’d seen only a typical Friday night, with everything as routine as Aunt Mae’s  boarding- house meal schedule. Of course, being Friday the thirteenth, anything could happen.
They already had two men put up for the night back at the jail. Sheriff Rutherford took the night duty to keep the jail cells warm so Cory could have Saturday  off for his Aunt Mae’s wedding. Ole Cooter probably got drunk and disorderly just so he’d have a warm place to sleep tonight and not have to go out to his shack. Cory held no blame on the man for that. Durand, the saloon owner, caught the other man cheating at cards and had him arrested. Maybe the card shark would move his game on to some other town.
He shivered despite the warm coat and hoped Abigail and Rachel would have dinner waiting for him back at the board- inghouse. What  with Aunt Mae’s  wedding tomorrow, those two women had taken over mealtimes until his aunt returned from her wedding trip.
What appeared to be a pile of trash sat outside the back
door  of Grayson’s  mercantile. Ordinarily the  store owner

wouldn’t leave a heap out in the open like that. Cory hesitated in making an investigation, but the snuffling and nickering of a horse grabbed his attention. His hand caressed the handle of his gun. No one and no animal should be here this time of night.
The horse, a palomino, stood off to one side. He wore a saddle, but the reins dangled to the ground. Cory went on alert, his eyes darting about the alley in search of a rider. He reached for the reins and patted the horse’s mane, then ran his hand down its flank. “Whoa, boy, what are you doing out wan- dering around?” No brand on his hindquarters meant he didn’t belong to a ranch around here, and Cory didn’t recognize the horse as belonging to any of the townspeople.
Then the pile by the back door moved, and along with the movement, a moan sounded. With his hand on his gun, Cory approached the mound. An arm flung out from the heap, and another cry. This was no animal. He knelt down to pull back what looked like an old quilt.
When the form of a young woman appeared, Cory jumped as though he’d  been shot. Every nerve in his body stood at attention as he reached out to remove more of the cover. A woman lay huddled under the quilt, and her body shook from the cold while a cough wracked through her chest, followed by another cry.
On closer inspection he realized she was younger than he first thought. Her smooth, unlined face and tangled hair were that of a young woman. She couldn’t be more than twenty, the same age as his sister Erin.
He bent over her to pick her up, and she started to scream,
but another coughing spell prevented it. When her blue eyes

peered up at him, they were so full of fear that they sent dag- gers of alarm straight to his soul. This girl was in trouble.
“Don’t be afraid. I’m the deputy sheriff. I won’t hurt you, but tell me your name and let me take you to the doctor.” He pointed to his badge in hope of reassuring her.
Instead her gaze darted back and forth as she pulled the blanket up under her chin. Her ungloved hands trembled with the cold. He removed his glove and reached out a hand to touch her forehead then yanked it back. She burned with fever. “You’re sick. We need you to get you to Doc Jensen’s right away.” He slid his hands beneath her to scoop her up into his arms. He almost lost his footing as he rose, thinking she’d be a heavier burden than she was. Light as a feather meant she was
probably malnourished too.
She moaned against his chest. “I’m so cold.”
Her voice, weak and hesitant, touched a nerve in him. He had to get her warm. Cory made sure the blanket covered her then grasped the horse’s reins. A low whistle brought his own horse closer. “Follow us, Blaze. We’re going to the infirmary.”
He held the girl tight to his chest to transfer some of his warmth to her. The quicker he could get her to the doctor, the quicker Doc could warm her up and treat that cough.
No time to worry about drunken cowboys or lumberjacks tonight.

The man who called himself a deputy carried her in his arms. With his gentle touch and voice, this man wasn’t like others she had known. Her body burned with heat then turned ice

cold with shivers.  So much pain racked her body that she didn’t have the strength to resist him anyway.
The man cradled her to his chest. “We’ll be at Doc Jensen’s in just a few minutes. Hang on, little lady.”
Little lady? Little, maybe, but certainly no lady by his stan- dards. Another cough wracked her chest and set her throat afire with pain. Her thin jacket and the quilt had been no match for the cold, especially after she’d crossed the river. Not enough heat in the day to dry her clothes before chilling her to the bone and causing this cough. She’d lost count of the days since she left home and had no idea how far she’d come. She’d avoided towns as much as possible, only entering long enough to pick up food at a mercantile.
Pa had to be on her trail by now, or he’d  have  others searching for her. Either way, she didn’t plan to get caught and be dragged back to Louisiana. Even now the memory of all that she had endured because of Pa made her stomach retch. She’d die before she let anyone take her back to that.
The man called for someone named Clem to go get the doc, and he’d meet him at the infirmary. Maybe he was a sheriff after all since he was sending for help. She didn’t dare open her eyes, lest he’d see her fears again. Until she could be absolutely certain he meant her no harm, she’d stay still and quiet.
She inhaled the masculine scent of horses, sweat, and leather. He smelled like hard work and not a trace of alcohol. Unusual for a man, even a lawman. In the background raucous music came from a saloon. She’d  recognize the tinny sound of saloon piano anywhere. It disappeared in the distance, and they proceeded down the street and up what felt like stairs or
steps onto what must be a boardwalk or porch.

He set her on her feet, and she peeped with one eye while he fumbled in his pocket then pulled out a ring of keys. In the next minute he had the door open and strode through it, car- rying her once again.
Antiseptics, alcohol, and carbolic acid greeted her nose. This must be the doctor’s  office. Not until he laid her on a hard surface did she open her eyes, half expecting him to be leering over her. Instead he had walked away to light a lamp, which filled the room with flickering shadows dancing on the walls. A glass door cabinet stood against the wall, and another bed sat a few feet away from where she lay.
He returned to stand beside her, and she almost shrank in fear at his size. Well over six feet tall, he’d removed his hat to reveal a mass of dark red hair curling about his forehead. His hand caressed her forehead, but she did not flinch, even though every inch of her wanted to. No need for him to know her fears.
“I see you’re awake. The doc will be here in a minute. He’ll fix you right up.”
Instead of resisting, her body relaxed at the gentle tone of his voice. He certainly didn’t  fit her idea of a lawman or a cowboy. No one but her ma had ever treated her so kindly. Most people treated her like trash under their feet and didn’t care whether she was well or sick. Still, he was a man. She had to be careful.
A woman’s voice sounded, along with another man’s. She turned her head to find a beautiful red-haired woman and an older man entering the room.
The one who must be the doctor stepped to her side.

“Well, Cory, what have we here?” His eyes held only concern and kindness behind his wire-rimmed glasses.
“I found  her in the alley behind the general store. She must have come in on horseback and fallen there.”
The woman brushed hair from Libby’s face. “Can you tell us your name?”
Her heart thumped. What if Pa came looking for her? But if she lied and stayed here, she’d have to keep lying. Another fit of coughing had the woman holding her upright and rubbing her back. When the spell ended, Libby whispered her name. “Elizabeth Bradley.”
The woman helped her lie back down. “Hello, Elizabeth. I’m Kate Monroe, the doc’s nurse, and this fellow who brought you in is my brother, Cory. He’s deputy sheriff in town.”
Just  having her there gave  Libby a sense of safety she needed with two men in the room. Her kind eyes, a green color that reminded Libby of the fake emeralds some of the saloon girls wore, had a tender look to them.
The doctor listened to her chest with a funny-looking bell on something hanging from his ears. He frowned then pulled the contraption down around his neck.  “I hear a lot of conges- tion in your lungs, young lady. How long have you been out in the cold?”
“I don’t know. I think it’s been several days. I left home in the middle of the night on Tuesday.” The days and nights had run together as she lost all track of time.
The doctor shook his head. “This is Friday night, so you’ve been out at least three days. No wonder your lungs are so con- gested.” He turned to the one called Kate. “Get a bed ready for
her. She’s staying the night and maybe longer.”

Libby tried to sit up but began coughing again. She couldn’t stay here. Pa would find her. Her plan had been to head west then south, where the winter temperatures were not as severe. She’d lost all sense of direction after the first night and had no idea which way she’d come.
Kate’s warm hands pushed her back down gently but firmly. “Lie still, Elizabeth. The doctor is right; you have to stay here.”
Tears welled in Libby’s eyes, and she squeezed them tight to keep the tears from falling. Though hard, this bed was so much better than the ground where she’d slept the past nights. Hospitals and doctors cost money. That’s why Pa wouldn’t go for the doctor until Ma was too sick to recover.
The doctor gave  her something that  tasted bitter, but she swallowed it and then lay back against the pillow Kate had placed beneath her head. The low murmur of voices ran together in a blur. One of the men said he’d stay, but the other one said something about a wedding. Who was getting mar- ried? Maybe they’d forget about her.
The tension ebbed from her body as the medication took over. Someone, most likely the deputy since the doctor was an old man, picked her up and took her into another room, where he laid her on the bed. She almost sighed at the cotton softness of the mattress beneath her. So much better than pine straw and hard-packed dirt.
Kate’s  voice followed  behind then shooed the man from the room. “I’m going to help her get settled for the night, so she doesn’t need you. Go on back to the boardinghouse. I’m sure you’ll find Abigail has something for you to eat.”
A few minutes later Kate had removed Libby’s still damp
and dirty clothes and slipped a warm gown over her head.

When Libby slid her arms into the sleeves, she realized it was her own gown. “How did you get this? It’s mine.”
“Cory  brought in the satchel you carried on your horse, and I found the gown in it. I warmed it by the wood stove in the other room.”
That warmth, along with the medication earlier, eased away the pain, and Libby let her eyes drift closed. Perhaps this was the place she should stay after all. She pulled up the covers and turned on her side. She’d think about that tomorrow. Tonight she’d sleep warm and dry for the first time in too many days
to count.

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Model Train Museum

We went to a model train museum that was this really cool old building that used to be used to fix and work on the trains. There was a model of the city with lots of small trains! It was fun!
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Observing the city

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Watching the trains

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L. looking at the trains

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Playing with the Thomas trains

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A big boxcar outside

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See the big doors that opened for the trains to go into…

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Water tower

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My four beautiful boys

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Our whole family

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“I know I am not supposed to be up here….but it is fun!”

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H.
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My little monkey!
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Our “adopted” Bobbi….

We finished up the evening by spending it with my husband’s siblings…
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His two sisters and younger brother…

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