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We argue with each other about a lot of things but, at this time of year, there is a very good argument between Scrooge and his nephew.  Scrooge scoffs at his nephew and cannot see what good could possibly come of this holiday.  The nephew sums it up very nicely.

“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,” returned the nephew. “Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round–apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from Charles Dickens as he writes.that–as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”

I agree!  Charles Dickens was brilliant and so very good with words.

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”  A Tale of Two Cities

In memory of Charles Dickens…

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As soon as you saw those words, “Is God Really Dead?” I knew you would HAVE to click on it because you just HAD to investigate such a statement!  Gasp!  Yeah, me too.  This is one of those books sent to me by the publisher for review.  I mention that because I am required to do so, but, I chose God and Stephen Hawking as a title that interested me.  The publisher/marketers have done a wonderful write-up on this little book by John C. Lennox which I will share with you immediately below and then my little review will follow.

Is God Really Dead?  

Stephen Hawking’s logic faces a mathematician’s scrutiny in God and Stephen Hawking 

SEATTLE – Eminent scientist Stephen Hawking’s latest contribution to the so-called New Atheist debate The Grand Design claims that the laws of physics themselves brought the universe into being, rather than God. In this swift and forthright reply, John C. Lennox, Oxford mathematician and author of God’s Undertaker, exposes the flaws in Hawking’s logic in his latest book, God and Stephen Hawking (Kregel Publishers, September 2011,ISBN: 9780745955490, $5.99).

Science has immense cultural and intellectual authority in our sophisticated modern world. With this kind of cache, it must nevertheless be pointed out that not all statements by scientists are statements of science. Therefore such statements do not carry the authority of authentic science, even though it is often erroneously ascribed to them.

God and Stephen HawkingCommonly written off as the inevitable clash between science and religion, the God debate is actually one between theism and atheism, where there are scientists on both sides. With a remarkable surge of interest in God that defies the so-called secularization hypothesis, it could well be that it is precisely the perceived failure of secularization that is driving the God question ever higher on the agenda. Book after book is being published on the subject by prominent scientists, as Francis Collins, Richard Dawkins, Robert Winston, etc. But were Galileo, Kepler, Newton and Maxwell, to name a few, really all wrong on the God question? With such a lot at stake we surely need to ask Hawking to produce evidence to establish his claim. Do his arguments really stand up to close scrutiny? Has the Grand Master of Physics checkmated the Grand Designer of the Universe?

In lively, layman’s terms, Lennox guides us through the key points in Hawking’s arguments-with clear explanations of the latest scientific and philosophical methods and theories-and demonstrates that, far from disproving a Creator God, they make His existence seem all the more probable. Lennox’s book is a great resource for Christians, churches and those in ministry who seek to educate themselves and open authentic dialog with those who question.

Praise for God and Stephen Hawking:

“A brilliant response to Stephen Hawking’s The Grand Design. Make sure you hear both sides of the argument.”
-Alister McGrath, author of The Dawkins Delusion

###

Meet John:
 John C. Lennox
John C. Lennox is Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science at the University of Oxford, and author of the bestselling God’s Undertaker. He lectures on faith and science at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. He has lectured around the world, including in the United States for Ravi Zacharias; in Austria; and in the former Soviet Union. For more about John C. Lennox, please visit http://johnlennox.org

###

John C. Lennox  is available for national interviews June – September 2011 to promote the U.S. release of God and Stephen Hawking.

Interview Questions:

  1. What prompted you to write a response to Stephen Hawking’s book?
  2. What is the “New Atheist Debate”?
  3. How do you explain two different conclusions to the same evidence?
  4. What is the role of science in proving or disproving the Bible? Is there one?
  5. What do you say to critics who believe faith in the Bible is irrational?
  6. Can you give a clear example of one of Hawking’s arguments against a Creator, that actually make His existence more probable?
  7. What do you hope the reader takes away from reading God and Stephen Hawking?

*************

I thought that was a really nice write-up!

The reader can get a lot of different things out of this little book.  There are a lot of thought-provoking quotes we can share.  One of the first things that caught my attention was the assertion that having faith or the belief in a divine creator does not expel you from scientific pursuits.

“So there is clearly no inconsistency involved in being a committed scientist at the highest level, while simultaneously recognizing that science cannot answer every kind of question, including some of the deepest questions that human beings can ask.”

While speaking of Hawking, Lennox states that, “He is but a step away from regarding atheism as a necessary prerequisite for doing science.”

If this is Hawking’s way of thinking, I can see where Lennox would find this troublesome — we know that there is no such prerequisite.  Yes, scientists (in whatever scientific area they study) need to have open minds.  That does not mean that they need to be atheists; most of the doctors that I know do, at the very least, believe in some kind of a higher power.  That belief in a divine designer does not stop them from practicing medicine!  In fact, the study of medicine and the human body, which is so “Fearfully and  Wonderfully Made,” is more likely to turn studying doctors into believers.

Lennox actually argues that very same point in various areas of this book;  I just happen to agree!  Obviously there is no rule anywhere that says the intellectual mind cannot be a God-fearing one.  I will quote one of my favorite lines from the book here while warning readers that I have taken it completely out of context.  In my mind (which no scientist will ever figure out), it just happens to fit nicely right here.

“…nonsense remains nonsense, even when talked by world-famous scientists.”

After reading through what Lennox had to say, it became obvious that my focus was not on his arguments but on the author himself and a desire to “hear” his thinking.  While taking a look at historical science in his chapter entitled “Science and rationality,” Lennox states the following:

“Indeed, the very reason that science flourished so vigorously in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, under men like Galileo, Kepler and Newton, had a great deal to do with their conviction that the laws of nature reflected the influence of a divine law-giver.  One of the fundamental themes of Christianity is that the universe was built according to a rational, intelligent design.  Far from belief in God hindering science, it is the motor that drove it.

The final sentence in that quote sums things up very nicely.  One amusing thing about reading this book, for me, was the constant feeling that Mr. Lennox was “preaching to the choir.”  He will get little or no argument from me.

That last statement brings me to my one complaint about this book, if you can call it a complaint.  The text tends to be, at times, a bit grandiose and not for the usual lay reader.  While I acknowledge that Mr. Lennox is writing for his audience, which will consist mostly of people of the same intellectual caliber as himself, there are a few people whom I would love to have read this book — all the time knowing that they will not take the time to wade through the more sophisticated language.  They could do it, it would be worth it, but it would not be without a bit of hard work.  I say this with a heavy sigh because they are not really readers to begin with.  Take heart — relax, it is only 96 pages!  That’s it!  You can do it!

Since its scholarly nature is my only complaint, I guess this book must be getting a pretty darn good rating; I would certainly never criticize anyone for being too much of an intellectual!  In fact, I will give credit to this book for providing me with a new word for my vocabulary.  Untenable will be one that I add to my list of words.  It is, I will tell regular readers, one of the words in The Ultimate Book of Words You Should Know.  Mr. Lennox will be the one given the credit for adding it to my vocabulary.  Good word!

To be fair, I will re-quote one of the quotes from that wonderful write-up above:

Praise for God and Stephen Hawking:

“A brilliant response to Stephen Hawking’s The Grand Design. Make sure you hear both sides of the argument.”
-Alister McGrath, author of The Dawkins Delusion
If you are of such an intellectual persuasion, I strongly suggest you digest both works to more fully understand and appreciate what Lennox has to say in our subject work.  Do you need to?  No.  Should you?  Yes. Otherwise, some of the arguments put forth by Lennox may just be a fly-by.  Trust me!
As I yield to the mental power of Mr. Lennox I want to share a couple of his other works that also caught my attention for no other reason than their great titles.
God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?  
The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions
I do not know anything about these publications but their titles speak volumes!  I mean, seriously, how can you not want to pick up books with tempting titles like those?
Good read!  “God and Stephen Hawking, Whose Design is it Anyway?  I know, I know!

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Banner to save Poe House in Baltimore

I started this post a long time ago (back in February) and never published it.  I’m a terrible person!  After coming back to it at least seven times, it needs to be published!  I first caught wind of this, if I’m not mistaken, on Facebook.  It probably came from this story on Edward Pettit’s blog.  Edward is an English major too and I think it is hard for any English major not to love Poe.

Maybe I heard about here on the Mystery Scene blog through a link shared by Douglas Corleone.  Mystery Scene opens their article saying, “He’s considered the father of American detective fiction. And now his home is in danger.”  That sums it up nicely.

There are several options to help with this and the Edgar Allan Poe Society website provides links to those options, including a petition that you can “sign!”

For those of you, like me, who are odd about graveyards and other oddities like that, they say the house is haunted!  Ooooh we have got to save it!  I swear I can hear that raven perched outside the Poe House window crying, “Nevermore!”   We do not want to see this close!

If you are so inclined, donations should be made payable to the Director of Finance and mailed to:

Department of Planning
CHAP, 8th floor
417 East Fayette Street
Baltimore, MD  21202

Make sure to write “Donation Poe House” on your check!

Just a little more contact information:

Curator ….. : Mr. Jeff Jerome
Phone …….. : (410) 396-7932 (24-hour touch-tone voice mail, with hours, events, etc.)

Run under the control of Baltimore City’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP)

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The Ultimate Book of Words You Should Know When there is a book store nearby, I just have to walk through it — even if there is no real reason to do so.  One day while taking a detour through the mini Borders at Mililani Town Center, this title popped out from the rest: The Ultimate Book of Words You Should Know.

“Really?  Well then, we need to buy it so we can be sure we know them then, don’t we!”  How can you avoid a snide comment like that?  Well, only a book junkie or a word nerd would buy a book like that with such an obnoxious title.  Yeah, I bought the book.

It looks boring on the outside but do not be fooled —  it is all about what you make out of it.  My mother and I have used this funny little book to play a reverse crossword game.  I give her a word and she provides the definition.  It is really amazing how she gets almost all of them.  Trust me, I do try to select words that are rather obscure and unfamiliar to me but she is still able to provide the definitions.  Mom has a great vocabulary!

In addition to finding a game or two to play, it helps to have a peculiar little writing blog like this one to not only talk about the book but to find useful words to share.  I started to dog-ear the bottom corners of certain pages where there were intriguing and/or useful words.

This book is full of fun little word treasures and I will be sure to add my favorites to the Wonderful World of Words page eventually, with a note about where they came from of course.  I have not done so yet but I will be sure to edit this part of this post when I do.

Opening the book to see the dog-eared pages.

Amazon.com, unfortunately, does not have any copies of The Ultimate Book of Words You Should Know for sale but they do have a link to copies available from these sellers.  You can get a copy for practically nothing!  BUT, Amazon does have a previous edition that is labeled The Big Book of Words You Should Know: Over 3,000 Words Every Person Should be Able to Use (And a few that you probably shouldn’t).  I like that title!  Some of my favorite words are probably among the “few that you probably shouldn’t” use.

Nobody would want my copy with all of its dog-eared corners and tiny little pen marks.  Besides, I cannot see myself parting with it anytime soon.  It has become an educational toy and I highly recommend this smorgasbord of words you can actually use — even if you are only using them to be extremely snotty at the next function you plan to attend.

With more than 3,000 words, this book is as complete a word reference you can get without reading through the dictionary. Each entry comprises a concise definition as well as an edified example, so you can augment your lexical knowledge without sounding unenlightened. So, keep this compendious reference close by and never find yourself at a loss for words again!

I guess this is a book review so I will include the following:

The Ultimate Book of Words You Should Know (or The Big Book of Words You Should Know: Over 3,000 Words Every Person Should be Able to Use)
by David Olsen, Michelle Bevilacqua, and Justin Cord Hayes
Published by Adamsmedia
Avon, Massachusetts

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The Priest's Graveyard by Ted DekkerBefore I start, let me just say that all writers need to be so careful what they say when dealing with different countries — their cultures, ethnicities, and their respective religions.  You never know who will pick up your writing, or how sensitive your chosen topic might be for some readers.

Were it not for that great title and the fascinating book cover, I would have tossed this book on the side.  Why?  Uh, because of this:

I grew up in a small town in northern Bosnia, and was fifteen when the civil war between the Croats and the Serbs began in earnest.  There were many reasons for the war, but the only thing I came to care about was that Orthodox Christians were killing Catholic Christians.  

Had I been in Borders or Barnes & Noble and flipped to that page, I would have hissed and dumped it right back on the table where I found it!   I am an Orthodox Christian with some very wonderful friends who are Serbian.  You have hit me below the belt twice with just that one paragraph.

I am also sensitive to the faulty smear campaigns that the various media outlets are capable of and I learned, not so very long ago, that our country lied to us.  This is not the topic of this post but I just needed to share the dangers of dealing with cultural sensitivities and governmental propaganda.

Now that I have read that quote over and over, time and time again, I am able to put a slightly different spin on what the author could have meant by that statement and I remind myself that this book is fiction!  Those Balkan wars (the one in 1992 that the author refers to is just one of several in that region) were not always as much about religion as they were about ethnicity and territorial rights.  Let me also remind, or inform, people — Serbia, like Greece, Russia, and others, has historically been an Orthodox country.  With that in mind, almost any Serbian soldier is bound to be an Orthodox Christian!

Yeah, that paragraph pissed me off. Big time! So I had to look into this and, aside from the more recent wrongs done in Serbia, there has actually been a lot written about 1992.  The Washington Post had a helpful article.  Here is a snippet from that article that draws a clearer picture:

As tensions continued to smolder beneath the surface in Croatia in mid-1992, an all-out war broke out in neighboring Bosnia between the republic’s ethnic Serbs, Muslims and Croats. The Bosnian conflict drew in participants from all sides, including Croatia, which backed the Bosnian Croats in their fight mainly with Bosnian Serbs but also in sporadic conflicts with its supposed ally, the Bosnian Muslims.

In late 1992, Croatian army forces began attacking Bosnian Serb communities in southeastern Bosnia Herzegovina, unraveling a Bosnian-declared cease-fire and drawing a warning from Yugoslavia, which threatened to intervene on behalf of the Serbs. Croatian army forces would later break Croatia’s one-year-old cease-fire as well in January 1993, crossing a U.N. dividing line and attacking Serb-occupied territory in Krajina.

Authors, please, please be careful!  I did read a few other reviews and I am NOT the only one who found this to be an issue; I just feel a little more strongly about it.  This is the end of my rant about this.

By the time readers have gotten this far, the only ones who are probably still reading are the author himself and/or, maybe, the publisher.  It is safe to say that neither one of them will be sorry that they made it this far or that they are (if they are) still reading.  Sorry guys, I just had to make my point!

As much as I wanted to find a way to hate this book, I owed it to the publisher to not just give up.  In reality, I could not stop reading the damn thing!  I had to know what was going to happen to that stupid girl who was all strung-out on drugs and was picked up by some supposed hero who literally picked her up off the street like a sack of potatoes.  I still think she was stupid and I still do not like her very much.  I understood her drug-drama as we face the crystal meth horror all around us in our own lives.  The only difference was that her problem was heroin. The picture drawn by the author was the same — she was physically and mentally messed up!

The person who picked her up and carried her off (like a sack of potatoes) was a man she saw as her savior.  No, he was just another horror — a control freak who turned her into his private slave.  She was just too ignorant and messed up to see him for what he really was.

It is hard to give you a plot description without being a spoiler.  The descriptions I have seen just don’t  seem to fully capture the essence of this novel.  The story is a strange one with two people who are equally messed up, just in different ways.  Their paths collide and things just get weirder.  While reading The Priest’s Graveyard, there was one thing that came to mind several times:  it is extremely important that children are not neglected or abused!  There is a good chance that those children will become very messed up adults!

When talking about books we often hear phrases like, “it was a page-turner!”  I must say, that is exactly what it was (or a button-pusher if you own a digital copy).  My review copy, that was sent to me, for free, for review (I am required to tell you that part), did not get to me until it was almost Kindle-ready.  I tried everything to get my hands on it because USPS was taking waaay too long!  I ended up with a pre-order copy from Amazon (which I PAID FOR!) that appeared on my Kindle soon after the mailman finally brought the hard cover.  Tsk!

Be that as it may, it was oh so very worth it!  Now that I have both a hard copy and a digital one, Mr. Dekker needs to get himself to Honolulu so I can get my copy signed.  Yeah, I liked it and I like the author.  Somehow he was able to keep the story moving and the pages turning.  There was nothing to stall a reader and no parts that bogged you down with more information than you needed or wanted to hear.

That one bothersome quote was not the only one that referenced that same topic but at some point I ignored them for what they were — erroneous.  There were other quotes that are much more worth talking about!

Danny, “The Priest,” saw violence as something used for both good and evil when he thought,

“Angels and demons had both wielded violence and would again, surely.  As would so-called God and the so-called devil.”

Well, that kind of makes you wonder about the faith of this priest, doesn’t it?  “So-called?”   I’m not going to argue with that statement;  it is quoted here as just one of the examples of the food-for-thought passages that frequented the pages of this somber tale.  Somber is used here as an observation, and almost a compliment.  There was little to giggle about and the story was troubling and all too believable!

“The Priest” starts looking at himself and doesn’t always like what he sees.

“My judgment of others is my sin.  If I clean my heart so that I can judge, it dirties again the first time I judge again.  I am on a terrible path with so much judgment in my heart.”

Now there’s a statement!  I’ll wager that we all share that uncomfortable realization, to varying degrees.  It is all about how you act on them.

Amazon.com always likes to include clips from other authors when talking about new books.  I like reading those and these two hit the nail on the head:

“Here’s the best part about The Priest’s Graveyard: It’s smart enough to realize that, for many, the scariest thing in life isn’t a monster or something that bumps in the night. It’s love. Love is terrifying. And powerful. And unstoppable. And if you don’t already know that, you’re about to see why. The Priest’s Graveyard will haunt you — long after you want it to.”
— Brad Meltzer, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Fate and The Inner Circle

“If you’ve never visited Ted Dekker’s world, do it. The Priest’s Graveyard is perfect entertainment. Beguiling, compelling, challenging, and riveting–fantastic gimmick-free storytelling–that’s what you get with Ted Dekker. Don’t pass this up.”
— Steve Berry, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Emperor’s Tomb

I agree with both of these writers.  I liked it.  A lot.  My only complaint (aside from that objectionable paragraph) is that I wanted more.

While I had a hard time shaking off the way this story began, I am afraid I will have an even harder time shaking off the characters that this novel almost forces a reader to bond with.

If you want to understand the author better and take a step back from some of what you are reading, check out his Facebook page.  I love Facebook at times like this!  Reading about the author helped me shed some misconceptions and helped me through my anger.  Make sure you read the part labeled “Who is Ted Dekker?

To the author I say, “Thank you, Mr. Dekker, for not letting me hate you!”  I love this author and, I am sorry to admit that, I love Danny too!  How do you get attached to such a confused killer?  Read The Priest’s Graveyard
and find out!  You’ll see!

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The Mountains Bow Down by Sibella GiorelloI will start with my own take on this publication and then follow those observations with the remarks prepared and compiled for this blog tour.

Aside from having a great title, The Mountains Bow Down by Sibella Giorello is a great read.  I couldn’t even get out of the first chapter without “connecting” with the book and the protagonist, Raleigh Harmon.  There was a definite feeling of longing and understanding when presented with both her surroundings and the thoughts in her head.

As the first chapter moved along, the emotions that we all hope for in books and/or movies were all there!  I was excited, thrilled, disappointed, angry, irritated, worried, and more — just in the first chapter.  The author’s phraseology was really great stuff, and the writing is a lot more colorful than the bulk of publications I have seen recently.  Since the location of our story is based in Alaska, I think I’ll go as far as calling it an aurora borealis of word choice!  That might be an overstatement but not by much.  Read on and you’ll see what I mean!

Most of my dog-earring of pages was due to fun and/or fascinating phrases or word selections.  I had to suppress a giggle at the bald man whose “mustache made him look like a vandalized pumpkin.”  I got such a visual!  In addition, Sibella’s use of personification throughout this story had quite an impact.

We all know that we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but nobody ever said anything to me about word choice.  I love that Sibella even used her gift of personification in her title.  There are people and events that can move mountains but needing to read about what makes “The Mountains Bow Down” is an enticing way to lead your readers into a story.

There is an aviary of birds that this author uses as her helpers to impact her readers.  “A raven crossed the sky, following the eagle’s retreat, and the oily blackbird cawed happily at our misfortune.”  I like that writing tool!

We cannot ignore that this is Christian writing.  The protagonist leans on her internal prayers and struggles often.

“Unable to speak, I headed for the elevators and kept my head down, sending up more desperate prayers for forgiveness, wondering when God would get as tired of me as I was.”

Don’t we all wonder that same thing from time to time?  How does He tolerate us?  Sometimes I wonder about myself, to be sure!

I also liked the way she referred to the medical examiner who had no gumption as an “invertebrate” and a lack-luster Federal Building as an “aesthetic crime.”  Hmmm… I think our Federal Building could be called that, too — I will have to think on that one!

There were dramatic moments that were blessed with emotional, thought-provoking quotes as well.  When Raleigh Harmon’s mother becomes unstable and starts behaving like an irrational nut case,  Raleigh holds her mother and shares the event saying, “I squeezed tighter, wondering that I had never held someone so close yet felt so far away.”  The story is just as tightly woven.  It is page-turning and fast moving in parts; then it slows in spots where the reader can savor the scenery and, in some cases, the moronic behavior of characters that need to be slapped! Yeah, they are that annoying!  Good job, Sibella!

The Mountains Bow Down is a Raleigh Harmon novel and part of a series.  The Mountains Bow Down is the fourth in that series but it is the first I have read.  It stands alone quite nicely and there is little to no impact on the effectiveness of the storyline.  The understanding of the characters and their various traits and/or instabilities fall into place as the text propels, or sails calmly, forward.

I have The Stones Cry Out (A Raleigh Harmon Novel) on my Kindle!  That is the first in the series.   It should be interesting to see where that one goes!  Go check it out, it is only $2.99 and an award-winning publication!  What a sweet deal!  You will, of course, also find the hard copy and even an audio CD on Amazon!  Not every book is available in an audio format!

Apparently both Amazon and the publisher figured out that this one is a keeper!  So have I!  As promised, what follows is the collection of write-ups for the Blog Tour.

About the Book and about the Author:

“Giorello won the Christy Award for this series’ debut (The Stones Cry Out). Each entry has proven better than the one before, and the latest installment is no exception. Crisp writing, fast-paced action, and beautiful descriptions of Alaskan landscapes make this an essential read for fans of Irene Hannon.” —Library Journal

Sibella Giorello has also received two Pulitzer Prize nominations.

To celebrate the book’s release Sibella is pulling out all the stops! She’s giving away a cruise during The Mountains Bow Down Cruise Giveaway and wrapping up the giveaway and blog tour with a Raleigh Harmon Book Club Party on Facebook!  See below for details.

About The Mountains Bow Down: Everything’s going to work out. Time away always makes things better . . ..

That’s what FBI Special Agent Raleigh Harmon believes as she boards a cruise to Alaska. A land of mountains and gems and minerals, The Last Frontier is a dream destination for this forensic geologist who’s hoping to leave behind a hectic work schedule and an engagement drained of romance.

But when a passenger goes missing and winds up dead, Raleigh’s vacation suddenly gets lost at sea. The ship’s security chief tries to rule the death a suicide, but Raleigh’s forensics background points to a much darker conclusion: Somewhere onboard, a ruthless murderer walks free.

Engulfed by one of her toughest cases yet, Raleigh requests assistance from the FBI and receives her nemesis-perpetual ladies man Special Agent Jack Stephanson. As the cruise ship sails through the Inside Passage, Raleigh has five days to solve a high-profile murder, provide consultation for a movie filming onboard, and figure out her increasingly complicated feelings for Jack-who might not be such a jerk after all.

And that’s only her work life. Family offers even more challenges. Joined on the cruise by her mother and aunt, Raleigh watches helplessly as disturbing rifts splinter her family.

Like the scenery that surrounds the cruise ship, Raleigh discovers a situation so steep and so complex that even the mountains might bow down.

About Sibella Giorello: Sibella grew up in Alaska and majored in geology at Mount Holyoke College. After riding a motorcycle across the country, she worked as a features writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Her stories have won state and national awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. She now lives in Washington state with her husband and sons. Find out more about Sibella and her other books at her website. www.sibellagiorello.com

That was a great write-up!  Avid blog readers will appreciate Sibella’s website too!

NOTE: FTC regulation requires bloggers to disclose whether or not they have been given free products in exchange for a review.  I received a copy of the book at no charge.  This page helps to explain this requirement further.

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Logo for Sunday Salon

What’s the Sunday Salon?  Um, yeah, me too!  I wanted to figure this out and understand so I followed the links and found the original.  Now I get it!

What is the Sunday Salon? Imagine some university library’s vast reading room. It’s filled with people–students and faculty and strangers who’ve wandered in. They’re seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them, and they’re all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they’ll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon’s literary intake….

That’s what happens at the Sunday Salon, except it’s all virtual. Every Sunday the bloggers participating in that week’s Salon get together–at their separate desks, in their own particular time zones–and read. And blog about their reading. And comment on one another’s blogs. Think of it as an informal, weekly, mini read-a-thon, an excuse to put aside one’s earthly responsibilities and fall into a good book. See below for how to join the Salon.

I can do that!  I wanna talk story too???

Last weekend I wanted so much to print out Straight Talk from the Editor by W. Terry Whalin and my printer wouldn’t work.  No matter what I did, it wouldn’t tell me why it would do nothing except give me unexplained error messages!    “Why won’t you print???”  Grrr!

So, off to OfficeMax for a new and different brand!  Well, there goes a nice chunk of change that I cannot afford to spend on such things.  We all need a functioning printer!  Money I don’t have.

It was a little more nerve-wracking since a trip to my Kaiser clinic for a CT scan the afternoon before is going to cost me who knows how much!  Money I don’t have.

I got my printer, I got it installed and it works very nicely.  I got my Whalin document printed and stayed up later than usual reading and marking it on Saturday night.  On Sunday morning I was feeling a little more educated, a little happier, and I really wanted to do the Sunday Salon thing for the first time!  As luck would have it I really didn’t get it moving before I had to leave for Church.  Shucks!

Then, I got a call from our Church’s landlord on Sunday after service.  “We did not receive your rent check.”  GASP!  As soon as I heard those words I knew exactly where the check was — in my bag.  I forgot!  So, Sunday afternoon I was on the road to their office to take them their check.  Late rent comes with a penalty.  My stupidity, my fault, and therefore, my bill.  My new printer was cheaper than the penalty!  Money I don’t have.

On my way back to town I was on the freeway and out of gas!  OMG!  Pull off by the airport to Chevron.  $3.97 a gallon???  WTH???  Almost 17 gallons to fill my little darling.  Do the math.  Money I don’t have.

Today it’s Sunday again and our turn to take snacks for coffee hour.  Lenten food is expensive because it’s healthy.  I’ve leaned on my Costco membership for shrimp and my Safeway and some farmer’s markets for veggies.  I’m not buying anything else.  I refuse!

This Sunday, I have tried to get through some readings so that I can talk about them, if I want to.  I’ve also finished reading Mr. Whalin’s ebook and have marked it nicely for future reference.  I like that Mr. Whalin is so willing to share his knowledge!  It reminds me of how the Internet used to be — when people would share and teach you things without any expected return.  They did it just because they wanted to, and to show off their expertise!  The Internet was wonderful then!  It still is but now it costs money for so many things that used to be free.

I love my new printer, I love my Kindle, I have a good medical provider, I have a wonderful Church, I have irreplaceable friends, my car is dependable, my husband is dependable, you’re all dependable.  Hey, guess what???  I’m rich!

Have a happy and Blessed Sunday!

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