I Heart Bloomberg by Melody Carlson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

I Heart Bloomberg

David C. Cook (April 1, 2008)
by

Melody Carlson

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Melody Carlson is the best-selling author of more than 100 books for adults, children, and teens, including three of her latest, These Boots Weren’t Made For Walking, A Mile In My Flip-Flops, and Mixed Bags. She and her husband, the parents of two grown sons, make their home near the Cascade Mountains in Central Oregon. Melody is a full-time writer as well as an avid gardener, biker, skier, and hiker.

Favorite Bible verse: John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” It’s the “whosoever” part that gets me. That’s who I write for – “whosoever” and to me that means everyone and anyone.

Carlson, author of more than 100 books, begins her 86 Bloomberg Place series with I Heart Bloomberg that functions mostly to set up future storylines. Three women rent rooms at 86Bloomberg Place:

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Kendall’s managed to wrangle her grandmother’s house-free and clear-except for the rules. No male roommates. But that’s ok, with the right ad she’ll pull in some girls, their rent and if she’s lucky, she won’t have to go to work any time soon.

For their part, Anna, Lelani, and Megan all have their reasons for wanting to move in: Anna has got to get out from under her overprotective parents; Lelani can’t take another day in her aunt’s tiny crackerbox house overflowing with toddlers and Megan needs a place free of her current roommate from Hades.

Though they come with assorted extra baggage filled with broken hearts and dreams, they will discover they also have a vast array of hidden strengths. And they struggle to become the women they want to be, they’ll find new hope and maybe even Kendall will learn a thing or two about life, love and the true meaning of friendship.

If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

MY REVIEW:

I Heart Bloomberg is an enjoyable, easy read, perfect for a lazy summer day in the hammock, at the beach, or at poolside. The first book in a new series, I Heart Bloomberg sets the foundation for future installments. In this book, the reader gets to know a little about each of the four young women who come together as roommates in Kendall’s house at 86 Bloomberg Place. Each of the young women bring something different to the table. It is interesting to see how their personalities, strengths, and weaknesses affect the new relationships they are forming with their new house mates as they discover new truths about themselves. I Heart Bloomberg illustrates the effect caring and forgiveness can have on others. It will be interesting to follow the series to learn more about these characters as they interact and grow spiritually.

Come and visit the blogs on this tour:

Adam at Northwoods Blumer
Alexis at Ramblings From Life
Amy at Bow Of Bronze
Amy at sprightly
Amy at My Life
Andie at frommipov
Andrea at The Laughs Will Go On
Angela at One Baby, Seven Dogs, and a Mommy
April at Projecting A
April at Living In A State Of Constant Kansas
Becky at Savvy Mom
Betsy Ann at Betsy Ann "Writer at Large!"
Bonnie at Bonnie Writes
Brittanie at A Book Lover
Camy at Camy Tang
Cara at the law, books, and life
Carolyn at Serenity
CeeCee at Book Splurge
Cheri at Kudzu and Koolaid
Christy at Christy's Book Blog
Dave at Novel Spotlight
Dawn at Book Junkie Confessions
Dea at Been Farmin' Long?
Deborah at books, movies and chinese food
Deborah at Country At Heart
Debra at Soul Reflections
Deena at A Peek At My Bookshelf
Delia at Gatorskunkz And Mudcats
Edyth at Great Reads by Jasmine
Georgiana at Georgiana D
Gina at Portrait Of A Writer
Heidi at Reviews by Heidi
Janis at The Nearsighted Bookworm
Janna at Cornhusker Academy
Jenn at Blessed is She…
Jennifer at So Many Books…So Little Time
Jenny at Jenny B. Jones
Jenny at Come Meet AusJenny
Jim B. at The Bedford Review
Joleen at timetotalk
Karen at Mommy of Three"
Karla at Ramblin' Roads To Everywhere
Kelly at Scrambled Dregs
Kim at Window To My World
Kim at Rainy Day Diamonds
Kimberly at QuiddamChickee To Save The Day
Krista at Welcome To Married Life
Kristi at Stamped With Grace
Kristy at I Need To Read
Laura at Laura William's Musings
Leslie at A Little Bit Of Sunlight
Linda at Mocha With Linda
Lori at Noggin Bits
Lynnae at Lynnae's Bookshelf
Mandy at Mommy Cracked
Michelle at Edgy Inspirational Author
Michelle at Just A Minute
Michelle at Raising Little Women
Myra at Writer at Random
Pam at Mom's Mutterings
Pam at Daysong Reflections
Rachelle at Stifled Squeal
Becky at Becky's Christian Reviews
Ruth at Booktalk & more...
Ryan at loves to read
Sally at Welcome To Sally Bradley.com
Shauna at Shaunarumbling
Stephanie at Punkin' Press
Susan at Scribbles by Susan May Warren
Susan at His Reading List
Tabitha at 123pizza's Weblog
Tamera at Tamera Alexander's Blog
Tara at Tara's View Of The World
Tiffany at Snapshots Of Life
Tracy at Pix-N-Pens
Tricia at It's Real Life
Victoria at Footprints In The Sand
Virginia at CeCe Lane

With Endless Sight by Allison Pittman

MY REVIEW:

With Endless Sight is the third installment of Allison Pittman’s Crossroads of Grace series and is a fitting conclusion. I have always loved historical fiction because I need to know the people behind our history and their thoughts, feelings, and motivations. With Endless Sight meets all my requirements for a great historical novel.

With Endless Sight chronicles the journey of Belinda and her family toward a new life in the Oregon Territory. As a young girl who has grown up in comfort, Belinda is unprepared for the hardship and challenges that meet her far from home. Only her determined faith in God enables her to survive.

With Endless Sight is a beautifully written story about faith, courage, and redemption. Allison Pittman skillfully weaves a tale that pulls you in and won’t let you go. Through her words, the world of the 1800’s frontier is almost tangible. I would highly recommend With Endless Sight as well as the first two volumes of the Crossroads of Grace series.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Belleville, Illinois and Wyoming Territories, 1861

Born into a life of privilege, fourteen-year-old Belinda never questions her security, even as she leaves Illinois with her family to discover new adventures in the Oregon Territory. But when disaster falls, Belinda is left wounded, weak, and alone. Her faith in God gives her the only strength she knows in a harsh new world.

Belinda’s journey takes her to a snow-covered mining camp and a red-roofed brothel in the Wyoming mountains, but not before she must spend a lonely winter with the man who took away the life she knew. Throughout the grief and hope of a strange land, Belinda must decide if her faith is big enough to allow her to forgive.

The satisfying conclusion to the Crossroads of Grace series, With Endless Sight offers a rich story of family, new beginnings, and the freedom that grace can bring.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Allison PittmanAllison Pittman is the award-winning author of Ten Thousand Charms and Speak Through the Wind. Before her recent success in fiction writing, Allison spent seventeen years teaching high school English. Now a full-time writer, Allison serves as the director of her church’s Theater Arts Group ministry. She lives in Texas with her husband, Mike, and their sons.



A Sister’s Hope by Wanda Brunstetter

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book’s FIRST chapter!

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

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and her book:

A Sister’s Hope

Barbour Publishing, Inc (July 1, 2008)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Fascinated by the Amish people during the years of visiting her husband’s family in Pennsylvania, WANDA E. BRUNSTETTER combined her interest with her writing and now has eleven novels about the Amish in print, along with numerous other stories and ministry booklets. She lives in Washington State, where her husband is a pastor, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish settlements throughout the states.

Visit her at her website.


AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

A Sister\'s HopeBe of good courage,
and he shall strengthen your heart,
all ye that hope in the LORD.

PSALM 31:24

——

Chapter 1

Ar-ou-ou! Ar-ou-ou!

Piercing howls roused Martha Hostettler from her sleep, and she rolled over in bed.

Ar-ou-ou! Ar-ou-ou!

There it was again. That couldn’t be Polly. The beagle had a high-pitched howl, not deep and penetrating. Polly’s mate, Beau, must be making that awful noise.

Martha turned on the flashlight she kept on the nightstand and pointed the light at her battery-operated clock. It was three o’clock. None of Martha’s dogs ever barked or howled during the night unless something was amiss. Could Heidi have had her pups? The sheltie wasn’t due for another week or so. Maybe Beau had sensed what was going on and wanted to let Martha know.

She shook her head, trying to clear away the cobwebs of sleep. That’s ridiculous. Beau might be able to sense that Heidi’s having a problem, but I doubt he’s smart enough to let me know. Something else must have disturbed the dog.

Martha thought of the day she’d found her sheltie Fritz tied to a tree. One of his legs had also been tied up, and a bowl of water had been placed just out of his reach. Another time, Martha had found one of her puppies in the yard with its neck broken. She had wondered if whoever had been vandalizing her family’s property and attacking them in other ways could have been responsible for the puppy’s death.

A tremor shot through her body. What if someone was in the barn right now? What if they planned to hurt one of her dogs?

She pushed the covers aside and jumped out of bed. Dashing across the room, she slipped into her bathrobe, stepped into her sneakers, grabbed the flashlight, and rushed out of her room.

When Martha stepped outside, she shivered as a chilly breeze rustled the leaves. Martha hurried across the yard. As she approached the barn, she tipped her head and listened. Beau had stopped howling. The dog could have been spooked by one of the horses on the other side of the barn. She was probably worried for nothing.

Holding the flashlight with one hand and grasping the handle of the door with the other, Martha stepped into the barn. Clunk! Splat! Something cool and wet hit the top of her head. The sticky liquid dripped down her face and oozed onto her neck.

Martha aimed the flashlight at the front of her robe and groaned. She was covered in white paint! She flashed a beam of light upward and gasped. A bucket connected to a piece of rope had been suspended above the barn door. Someone had deliberately set this up! Was it a prank by some unruly kids? Or could this be another attack?

She reached for a cardboard box on a nearby shelf and fumbled around until she located a clean rag. She blotted the paint from her face the best she could. The ammonia smell identified the paint as latex. At least it would clean up with soap and warm water.

Martha hurried to her dog kennels in the back of the barn. Relief swept over her when she saw that all of the dogs—Polly, Beau, Fritz, and Heidi—were okay. And Heidi still hadn’t delivered her pups.

When Martha reached through the wire fencing and patted Beau on the head, he looked up at her and whined.

“Go back to sleep, boy. Everything’s fine.”

But it wasn’t fine. Someone had sneaked into their barn and rigged up the bucket. How long ago had it been done? Could they still be in the barn?

Martha swept the barn with her flashlight but saw no one. Satisfied that nothing else seemed to have been disturbed, she hurried outside. Glancing down, she noticed an empty pack of cigarettes on the ground.

Rustling sounded in the distance. She aimed her flashlight toward the field of dried corn behind their house. A man was running through the fields. She sucked in her breath. It was hard to tell much from this distance in the dark, but it looked like he wore a straw hat, the kind Amish men used.

Martha shuddered. If I tell Dad about seeing the man, he’ll think it was Luke. For some time, her father had suspected Luke of attacking their family, but she was convinced Luke was innocent. At least, she hoped he was.

Martha hurried to the house and headed straight for the shower. She needed to get the paint washed off. She needed time to think.

When she stepped out of the bathroom a short time later and saw a man standing in the hallway, her breath caught. “Dad! What are you doing here? I. . .I didn’t think anyone else was up.”

“The sound of the shower running woke me.” He frowned and pointed to her clothes lying on the floor outside the bathroom. “I’ve heard of folks sleepwalking during the night, but I never knew anyone who liked to paint in their sleep.”

“I wasn’t. I—”

“What’s going on?” Mom asked as she joined them in front of the bathroom door.

Martha quickly explained what had happened in the barn.

“Ach!” Mom gasped. “Was this another attack?”

“I. . .I don’t know,” Martha stammered. “It’s hard to say.”

Dad looked over at Martha, his brows furrowing. “Did you see anyone?”

“I. . .uh. . .thought I saw someone running across the field, but
I didn’t get a good enough look to tell who it was.”

Ruth showed up on the scene, rubbing her eyes and yawning. “It’s the middle of the night. What’s everyone doing out of bed?”

Martha recounted her story again and ended by saying, “I’m sorry I woke everyone.”

“We needed to know what happened.” Mom slipped her arm around Martha’s waist. “It’s not safe for you to go to the barn during the night.”

“I just wanted to check on my hund. Besides, it’s not right that we can’t feel safe on our own property.” Martha looked at Dad. “Will you let the sheriff know about this?”

“What’s the point? Sheriff Osborn hasn’t done a thing to prevent any of the attacks from happening. It’s not likely he’ll start now.” Dad shrugged. “What’s done is done. Notifying the sheriff won’t change a thing.”

As Luke Friesen headed down the road in his open buggy, the pungent smell of horseflesh filled his senses. Despite the fact that he owned a pickup truck he kept hidden in the woods because his folks wouldn’t approve of it, Luke preferred horse and buggy transportation. He’d only bought the pickup because some of his Amish friends, who were also going through their running-around years, owned a vehicle. Luke figured it was expected of him. Besides, having the truck gave him the freedom to travel wherever he wanted. And it gave him an in with Rod and Tim, the English fellows he’d been hanging around for a time. Luke’s folks didn’t approve of his rowdy English friends, and they’d been after him to settle down and join the Amish church for some time. But he wasn’t ready. Some things he wanted to do, he couldn’t do as a member of the church. Besides, there was no point in joining the church when he wasn’t ready to get married. He would consider it if and when he found the right woman.

A vision of Martha Hostettler flashed across Luke’s mind. She was spunky and daring—the complete opposite of her sister, Ruth, who never liked to take chances and had seemed so subdued during the time they’d been courting. Under the right circumstances, Luke might consider courting Martha.

Luke gritted his teeth as he thought about the way Martha’s father, Roman, had fired him for being late to work a few years ago, and how, after the Hostettlers had come under attack, Roman had pointed a finger at Luke. Even though Luke had denied having anything to do with the attacks, Roman had given him the cold shoulder ever since. If the man had any idea Luke was interested in his youngest daughter, Luke was sure he and Martha would both be in trouble.

At least I have a job working for John Peterson. Guess that’s something to be grateful for. Luke snapped the reins to get the horse moving faster. If I’m not careful, I’ll end up being late for work because I’m allowing my horse to plod along while I think about someone I can’t have.

The buggy jolted and leaned to the right. “Whoa! Steady, boy.” He pulled back on the reins and grimaced when he saw his left buggy wheel roll onto the opposite side of the road. Good thing there were no cars going by at the moment.

Luke guided the horse and buggy to the shoulder of the road, jumped down, and sprinted over to the buggy wheel. “Great,” he muttered. “Now I will be late for work.”

Luke lugged the wheel over to his buggy and spent the next several minutes looking for the nut that had come off. When he couldn’t find it, he reached into his toolbox in the back of the buggy and took out another nut. He’d just squatted down in front of the buggy to set the wheel in place, when Sheriff Osborn’s car pulled up behind him.

“Looks like you lost a wheel,” the sheriff said as he sauntered over to Luke.

“That’s what happened, all right.” Luke grimaced. “It’s gonna make me late for work.”

“Need any help?”

“Sure, I’d appreciate that.” Luke’s nose twitched as Sheriff Osborn knelt on the ground next to the buggy wheel. The sheriff’s clothes reeked of cigarette smoke, which made Luke think the man was either a heavy smoker or had recently been around someone who smoked.

“Are you still working for John Peterson?” the sheriff asked as he helped Luke lift the wheel and set it in place.

Luke nodded. “Sure am.”

“Do you like working for John better than you did Roman?”

“John’s a good boss—always patient and fair with me,” Luke said without really answering the sheriff’s question. “Of course I don’t know how he’ll react to me being late today.”

“I’m sure he’ll understand when you tell him what happened with your buggy wheel.”

“I appreciate your help,” Luke said once the wheel had been securely fastened.

Sheriff Osborn reached into his pocket, pulled out a pack of gum, and popped a piece into his mouth. “No problem. Glad I came along when I did. If you’d had to fix the wheel yourself, you’d be even later for work.” He turned toward his car. “Guess I’d better get back to the business at hand. I got a report that there have been too many cars going over the speed limit on this stretch of road, so I figured I’d better nip it in the bud.”

Luke shuffled his feet a few times, trying to think of the best way to say what was on his mind.

“You’re looking kind of thoughtful there,” Sheriff Osborn said as he chomped on his wad of gum. “Have you got something on your mind?”

“I. . .uh. . .was wondering if you’ve had any leads on who’s behind the attacks against the Hostettlers.”

“Nope, sure don’t. As far as I know, there haven’t been any more attacks at their place in some time.” The sheriff stuck another piece of gum in his mouth. “I might have caught the culprit responsible for the attacks if Roman had let me know about them sooner.” He kicked a pebble with the toe of his boot. “From what I understand, it’s not against the Amish religion to notify the police, so I can’t figure out why Roman kept quiet about most of those attacks.”

Luke shrugged. “I guess he figured it was best to turn the other cheek and not involve the law unless it became absolutely necessary.”

“You’re probably right.” The sheriff turned toward his car again. “I’d better be on my way and let you get to work. Wouldn’t want to see you lose your job on my account.” He waved as he climbed into his car.

Luke checked the wheel over once more for good measure, gave his horse a quick pat, and stepped into his buggy.

When he arrived at John’s shop, he found John sitting behind his desk, talking on the phone. Figuring it best not to disturb him, Luke hurried to the back room to put away his lunch box. When he returned, John was off the phone.

“Sorry for being late,” Luke apologized. “One of my buggy wheels fell off, and I had to stop and fix it.”

“Of course you did.” John smiled. “Your being late’s not a problem. Some things happen that we can’t control.”

Luke wiped the sweat from his forehead as he drew in a quick breath. “I appreciate your understanding. I was afraid you might fire me the way Roman did when I worked for him.”

A deep wrinkle formed above John’s slightly crooked nose. “No one should be punished for something that isn’t his fault.”

Luke nodded. Working for John was sure easier than working for Roman had been. Nothing had ever seemed to be good enough for that man. Every time Luke had an idea about how something should be done, Roman had vetoed it.

“What would you like me to do this morning?” Luke asked as he moved toward John’s desk.

John motioned to several cabinet doors stacked against the wall. “You can begin sanding those while I go over to Kiem Lumber to pick up some supplies.” He stood. “I shouldn’t be gone long. If any customers show up, go ahead and write up the orders.”

Luke nodded. It felt good to have John’s trust. Roman never trusted him. He grimaced. Why do I keep comparing John to Roman, and why can’t
I stop thinking about how things used to be when I worked for Roman?

When John left the shop, Luke began working on the doors. John’s beagle, Flo, who’d been lying on an old rug near John’s desk, ambled over to Luke with a pathetic whine.

He bent down, and the dog licked his hand. “You don’t miss John already, do you, girl? Are you craving some attention?”

The dog responded with a low whimper then flopped on the floor a few feet from where Luke stood.

As Luke plucked a piece of sandpaper, he thought about Martha and wondered how her dog business was doing. She’d sold Flo to John because the dog was barren, and she’d used the money to buy another dog she hoped to use for breeding purposes.

Luke wished he felt free to stop by the Hostettlers’ to see Martha, but he knew if Roman saw him talking to her, he wouldn’t like it. Luke and Roman would probably end up having words. He thought too highly of Martha to cause trouble between her and her dad. Luke figured it was best if he stayed away from the Hostettler place. Besides, there were other things he needed to do today.

MY REVIEW:

Once again, I enjoyed my journey into Amish country through the pages of a novel written by Wanda Brunstetter. Wanda’s books give us a look into another way of life within our own backyard. Her descriptive prose transports us into the Amish settlements of Ohio and makes us feel as though we are there.

A Sister’s Hope is the story of Martha Hostettler who is secretly in love with Luke Friesen, a young man scorned by her father. As the attacks against her family escalate, Martha and Luke work together undercover to unmask the culprit. A Sister’s Hope contains all the elements I require for a good read – suspense and mystery blended together with a little romance. It is a story of family, loyalty, love, courage, and forgiveness. I would recommend A Sister’s Hope to anyone who enjoys a good positive book.

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