Go Back in Time to 1880s Wyoming

Mariah Malone’s world is about to be turned upside down. When her father revealed a wrong he had done to another man and Mariah wrote a letter to that man’s family, she had no idea that the family would turn up on her property demanding what was theirs. Slade Donovan just wants to make right all of the wrongs he feels were done to his family.

Neither Mariah nor Slade are expecting the strong emotions they feel for each other. While watching each other with other people and with each other, the two become closer but pride and misunderstandings keep them from revealing to the other their true feelings.

In Claiming Mariah, Pam Tillman weaves a story of hope and love. The characters share concern for others around them, family, ranch hands and even some townspeople. As Mariah is strong in her faith, Slade is a seeker and not sure he needs God.

Claiming Mariah is a pretty typical historical fiction but keeps the reader entertained from the first page and is a fast read for a rainy or snowy winter day.

*****Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a free e-copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Exciting, Fast Holiday Read

silent night cover

I have been reading Colleen Coble’s books for years. I have always enjoyed her ability to weaving some mystery and romance together and love the fact that she uses characters you meet in one book on her other books.

Silent Night is a novella that brings us back into the life of Search and Rescue worker Bree Matthews from Coble’s Rock Harbor Series. It’s Christmas time and there is an accident that Bree’s sister-in-law, Lauri, seems to somehow be involved in. As Bree, her husband Kade and the sheriff try and piece things together, it becomes evident that Lauri knows more than she is letting on.

This novella was an incredibly fast read, the eight chapters allows you to dive right into the action and keeps you turning to pages to learn how things will turn out for everyone by Christmas.

*****Thomas Nelson publishers provided me with a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Pretty Typical Chick-Lit

secretly smitten book cover

Before I begin this review, let me get something off my chest. There is not such a place as Smitten, Vermont where God-following, good Christian men age 25 and up are in abundance. As a 40-year-old single woman, I have to say that if this place really existed, the women would once again outnumber the men greatly. BUT, because I am a 40-year-old single woman, I will keep picking up books like Secretly Smitten and continue holding out hope that there is such a man and such a place and that maybe, just maybe, one day I will find this place.

Secretly Smitten is a follow-up book to Smitten (reviewed previously on this site). It is four stories, each written by a different author. Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt and Denise Hunter each focus on one character in the Thomas family (four single women) and sharing their stories of finding love and growing in their faith in God. They also do a fairly good job of weaving a couple of plot points through each of the four stories. There was only one point in the entire book where I felt like the plot was being inserted just to fit it into the story. Each story is about 10 chapters so the reading flies by. While I’ve read the previous book, I did not remember the characters very well. In fact, the characters I remembered most from the previous books were the older, single ladies who played music in the town square.

If you are still looking for your happily-ever-after or if you are just looking for a light chick-lit read with some uplifting values, Secretly Smitten will be a good fit. If you are looking for something with deep spiritual meaning, this book will not deliver.

****Thomas Nelson Publishing provided me with a free e-copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review in any other way.

Yep, I’m Doing It Again

Happy New Year to all of my friends, family and blog visitors!! It has been a few years since I’ve joined up with Team in Training (TNT) for an endurance event. After three straight years of fundraising and training, I needed a break. The fundraising for TNT is hard. It’s time-consuming, a little uncomfortable and it is truly a chore. Then, on top of that, you have your actual training for your event.

Over the past several months, there have been a couple of things that have happened that started to light a little bit of a spark in me to join TNT again. The first thing was when I found out that the Nike Women’s Marathon series was adding a half marathon race in Washington, DC.

This summer I got to spend a week and a half with my sister and her family on a road trip. One of our stops was in DC (see picture below). We were only there about 36 hours but I fell in love with the place and knew I will go back some time soon. PLUS, the Nike Women’s marathon is something that I’ve always been interested in (they have had a race in San Fransisco for years). This race is really catered to women. There is a chocolate stop on the race course and the race medal is actually a necklace with a pendant for that specific race made by Tiffany’s (by the way, your race medal is handed to you on a silver platter by a man in a tuxedo at the finish line).

My sister, BIL and nieces in front of the White House

My sister, BIL and nieces in front of the White House

 

So, I started with the thought that this race just might be something I might like to do. It’s the same weekend as the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville that I usually try and do so I knew the training wasn’t going to be an issue. And then, something else happened that sealed the deal for me.

 

For about fifteen months now I have been part of a team on Sparkpeople (a free  online weight loss site) that has really become family to me. In this Biggest Loser Challenge, we are broken down into teams of about 30 and my team, the Sparkling Sapphires, share so much more than just our weight loss. We share life! This past round of our challenge brought us some real struggles and heartaches and we leaned on each other to help support those through some very hard times these past few months.

 

On of our team members, Juanita, had just made a huge change in her life and she was dealing with some really strong depression. But she kept checking in with us and letting us know how things were going. She refused to just give up! We were all starting to see a turn around in her and things were looking up. Then she had one bad day and tried and tried to find someone to help her. She finally was able to go into the hospital where they drew blood to do some blood work.

 

Juanita was told that she has a rare form of Leukemia (it’s actually two different strands of Leukemia) and they weren’t sure how to go about treating it. She ended up being transferred to a hospital in Kansas City while the doctors worked on finding the best way to treat her for Leukemia. She continued to check in when she could and she continued to exercise and join us for challenges as long as she could. Juanita’s never-quit attitude and determination has inspired me since I first met her online.

 

I have a quote hanging on my office wall that says, “Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can do what others can’t.” I am going to do this half marathon in honor of Juanita and all of the others fighting Leukemia or Lymphoma who can’t get out there and do it themselves.

 

Yes, training will be hard and yes, the fundraising will be hard but you know what? It’s not as hard as sitting in a hospital waiting to find out what will have to happen to save my life. It’s not as hard as having to drive miles a few times a week for treatment. It’s not as hard as losing a loved one. So, today I will do what others won’t. Will you?

You can donate to my fundraising efforts at my fundraising website http://pages.teamintraining.org/tn/nikewhlf13/suziewaltner

 

I will try my best to keep everyone updated on my fundraising, training and race results here on this blog!! Thank you for your help in the fight against cancer!!

I pray 2013 is a healthy and happy year for you and your families!

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