Sticky Note

I'm on a blogging break, but will be checking in from time to time. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nothing But Trouble ~ Preview

I'm not actually signed up for this Nothing But Trouble tour going on right now, but I will be part of another tour for it coming up soon. I'm in the middle of this book right now and Susan May Warren is just one of my favorite authors. Everything of her's that I've read has been wonderful. So to give you a little preview of her latest book I wanted to share what it's about and to provide a link so you can read the first chapter for yourself!

Also, Susan is part of the My Book Therapy team and right now they are working with their readers (yes, that means you too!!) to blog-a-book. Be sure to check it out over at My Book Therapy and join in on the fun!


Nothing But Trouble
Tyndale House Publishers (May 1, 2009)
Susan May Warren

PJ Sugar knows three things for sure:

1) After traveling the country for ten years hoping to shake free from the trail of disaster that's become her life, she needs a fresh start.

2) The last person she wants to see when she heads home for her sister's wedding is Boone-her former flame and the reason she left town.

3) Her best friend's husband absolutely did not commit the first murder Kellogg, Minnesota, has seen in more than a decade.

What PJ doesn't know is that when she starts digging for evidence, she'll uncover much more than she bargained for-a deadly conspiracy, a knack for investigation, and maybe, just maybe, that fresh start she's been longing for.

It's not fair to say that trouble happens every time PJ Sugar is around, but it feels that way when she returns to her home town, looking for a fresh start. Within a week, her former teacher is murdered and her best friend's husband is arrested as the number-one suspect. Although the police detective investigating the murder—who also happens to be PJ's former flame—is convinced it's an open-and-shut case, PJ's not so sure. She begins digging for clues in an effort to clear her friend’s husband and ends up reigniting old passions, uncovering an international conspiracy, and solving a murder along the way. She also discovers that maybe God can use a woman who never seems to get it right

If you would like to read the first chapter of Nothing But Trouble, go HERE


Susan grew up in Wayzata, a suburb of Minneapolis, and became an avid camper from an early age. Her favorite fir-lined spot is the north shore of Minnesota is where she met her husband, honeymooned and dreamed of living.

The north woods easily became the foundation for her first series, The Deep Haven series, based on a little tourist town along the shores of Lake Superior. Her first full-length book, Happily Ever After, became a Christy Award Finalist published in 2004 with Tyndale/Heartquest.

As an award winning author, Susan returned home in 2004, to her native Minnesota after serving for eight years with her husband and four children as missionaries with SEND International in Far East Russia. She now writes full time from Minnesota's north woods and the beautiful town that she always dreamed of living in.

You can sample a chapter of each and every one of Susan's novels, on her website, HERE.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Vote of Confidence by Robin Lee Hatcher

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Vote Of Confidence

Zondervan (April 2009)


Robin Lee Hatcher


Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Whispers from Yesterday), the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance (Patterns of Love and The Shepherd's Voice), two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 50 novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She is passionate about the theater, and several nights every summer, she can be found at the outdoor amphitheater of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, enjoying Shakespeare under the stars. She makes her home outside of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon


In A Vote of Confidence, the stage is set for some intriguing insight into what it was like during 1915 to be a woman in a “mans’ world.”

Guinevere Arlington is a beautiful young woman determined to remain in charge of her own life, For seven years, Gwen has carved out a full life in the bustling town of Bethlehem Springs, Idaho, where she teaches piano and writes for the local newspaper. Her passion for the town, its people, and the surrounding land prompt Gwen to run for mayor. After all, who says a woman can’t do a man’s job?

But stepping outside the boundaries of convention can get messy. A shady lawyer backs Gwen, believing he can control her once she’s in office. A wealthy newcomer throws his hat into the ring in an effort to overcome opposition to the health resort he’s building north of town. When the opponents fall in love, everything changes, forcing Gwen to face what she may have to lose in order to win.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Vote Of Confidence, go HERE

Monday, April 27, 2009

Winner of BoneMan's Daughters!

Congratulations to Kelly of 101 Journeys who won the BoneMan's Daughters giveaway!!! Check your email, Kelly, and send me your snail mail addy.

Thanks to everyone who entered and come back again because I'm having more giveaways soon!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Elisha's Bones by Don Hoesel ~ Excerpt

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Elisha's Bones

(Bethany House March 1, 2009)


Don Hoesel


Don Hoesel was born and raised in Buffalo, NY but calls Spring Hill, TN home. He is a Web site designer for a Medicare carrier in Nashville, TN. He has a BA in Mass Communication from Taylor University and has published short fiction in Relief Journal.

He lives in Spring Hill with his wife and two children.

Elisha's Bones is his first novel.


Every year, professor of antiquities Jack Hawthorne looks forward to the winter break as a time to hide away from his responsibilities. Even if just for a week or two. But this year, his plans are derailed when he's offered almost a blank check from a man chasing a rumor.

Billionaire Gordon Reese thinks he knows where the bones of the prophet Elisha are--bones that in the Old Testament brought the dead back to life. The bones of the prophet once raised the dead to life... but they vanished from history in a whisper.

Bankrolled by a dying man of unlimited means, Hawthorne's hunt spans the globe and leads him into a deadly conspiracy older than the church itself. A born skeptic, Jack doesn't think much of the assignment but he could use the money, so he takes the first step on a chase for the legendary bones that will take him to the very ends of the earth.

But he's not alone. Joined with a fiery colleague, Esperanza Habilla, they soon discover clues to a shadowy organization whose long-held secrets have been protected . . . at all costs. And he soon discovers those sworn to keep the secret of the bones will do anything to protect them. As their lives are threatened again and again, the real race is to uncover the truth before those chasing them hunt them down.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Elisha's Bones, go HERE

Thursday, April 23, 2009

God Only Knows by Xavier Knight ~ Excerpt

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:

God Only Knows

Grand Central Publishing (March 23, 2009)


Xavier Knight is the Christian fiction pen name for C. Kelly Robinson. He is a native of Dayton, Ohio and magna cum laude graduate of Howard University and Washington University in St. Louis. Robinson is a marketing communications manager by day and has a long record of volunteer experience across organizations including United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Mentor St. Louis, and Student Venture Ministries. Author of five previous novels including the best-selling No More Mr. Nice Guy and the critically acclaimed Between Brothers (Random House), he lives outside Dayton with his wife and daughter. He is hard at work on his next novel and on a nonfiction project.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 23, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446582395
ISBN-13: 978-0446582391


Two Decades Later

Chapter One

For the first time she could remember in years, Cassandra Gillette felt like a woman fulfilled. Freshly showered, she sat before the laptop PC in her spacious dressing room, checking email. She had another hour at least before her newly-built luxury home would be overrun by her family; her husband Marcus had gone to pick up their twelve-year-old twins, Heather and Hillary, from a friend’s birthday party out in Middletown. In addition, her seventeen-year-old son, Marcus Jr., was still seven hours away from his midnight curfew.

“There is so much to be thankful for,” Cassie whispered to God, letting her words ring through the quiet of her master suite. This was not the average lazy Saturday afternoon; for the first time in nearly four months, Cassie had made love to her husband.

Their separation had gotten off to a fiery start, but as tempers cooled and nights passed, God had brought Cassie and Marcus back together. Marcus had quickly tired of Veronica, the twenty-something news anchor who had welcomed him into her condo, and Cassie’s eyes had been opened. When her best girlfriend Julia confronted her, she had finally realized how her actions in recent years had starved Marcus of the respect and affirmation that even the strongest man needed.

So it was that after several late-night telephone calls and a Starbucks “date” hidden from their children, Mr. and Mrs. Marcus Gillette had decided to get up off the mat and keep the promises they made before God seventeen years earlier, a few months after M.J.’s arrival. They had agreed to surprise the children with news of their reconciliation tonight, but with the house empty this afternoon, the couple had started a private celebration. The house was new enough that aside from the master bedroom, their frisky activity had “christened” the kitchen’s marble-topped island, the leather couch in the finished basement, and the washing machine in the laundry room.

As she dashed off an email to the staff at her real estate agency, sharing news of the latest deal she had closed – a four hundred twenty thousand dollar sale, their thirtieth property sold for the quarter – Cassie nearly shuddered with delight as she recalled Marcus’ smooth touch. Although she had lost thirty pounds over the past year, she was still nearly twenty pounds heavier than she’d been on their wedding day, and she had been pregnant then. Nevertheless, Cassie’s Marcus knew and loved her body, in exactly the way that frank scriptures like those in Song of Solomon encouraged. Like most everything else in marriage, the Gillettes’ sexual relationship had experienced ups and downs, but Cassie licked her lips unintentionally as she mentally applauded her man: when he’s good, he’s GOOD.

An instant message popped up on her screen: Julia, her best friend. “I heard a rumor,” she IM’d.

Cassie smiled as she typed back, “No idea what you mean.”

Julia’s IM response popped up. “They say a handsome, bulky brother tipped into your crib this afternoon.”

Cassie smiled as she typed, “Girl, I am too old to be kissin’ and tellin’.”

“And I’m too old to be listening to such filth,” Julia typed. As a PhD and superintendent of schools at their shared alma mater, Christian Light Schools, Julia let her words communicate their humor; Cassie’s friend was above the use of those corny emoticons. Julia sent another missive: “You are coming to my Board of Advisors meeting Monday, right? I need help saving this school system, child.”

Cassie stuck her tongue out playfully as she entered her response. “Still not sure how I fit in with this crew. You said you’re pulling together the ‘best and brightest’ Christian Light alumni? Don’t see how I count, given that the school expelled me when they realized why my belly was swollen.”

“Stop it,” came Julia’s response. “Besides, you have what matters most to a struggling school system: Deep pockets!”

Cassie shook her head, her laughter easing any guilt she might have felt about throwing the painful memory of her expulsion – accompanied by the school principal’s labeling her a “girl of loose morals” – in her friend’s face. Julia alone had led a student protest in Cassie’s defense at the time, marching on the school’s front lawn and even calling local media in a vain attempt to embarrass the school into reversing its decision.

Cassie was typing a light-hearted response when her front doorbell rang, the chime filling the house. Changing up, she shot her friend a quick, “Doorbell – call you later,” before taking a second to tuck her blouse into her jeans. Padding downstairs to the foyer, she chuckled to herself. She would have to help Julia save the world later.

When she peered into her front door’s peephole, Cassie’s heart caught for a second at the sight of a tall, blonde-haired gentleman flashing a police badge.

M.J.’s fine, said the voice in Cassie’s head as the badge stirred anxiety over her teen son’s safety. She wasn’t sure whether it was the Lord or simply her own positive coaching. For years now Cassie had combined her faith in God with affirmative self-talk meant to power her through life’s stresses and adversities. In her youth, she had crumpled one time too many in the face of indifference, prejudice, sexism and just plain evil; by the time she and Marcus walked the aisle of Tabernacle Baptist Church, where each had first truly dedicated their respective lives to Christ, Cassie had vowed to never be caught unaware again. That same spirit of resolve propped her up as she confidently unlocked and swung back her wide oak door.

As strong as she felt, Cassie’s knees still flexed involuntarily when she saw M.J. standing beside the plainclothes policeman. At six foot one, her son was every inch as tall as the policeman and stood with his arms crossed, a sneer teasing the corners of his mouth. Though relieved to see he was fine, Cassie sensed an unusually defiant spirit in her boy, so she locked her gaze onto the officer instead. If her man-child had done something worthy of punishment, she wouldn’t give this stranger the pleasure of witnessing the beat-down. She unlocked her screen door and, opening it, let the officer make the first move.

“Mrs. Gillette?” The man held out his right hand and respectfully shook Cassie’s as he spoke in a deep, hoarse voice. “I’m Detective Whitlock with the Dayton PD. I’m really sorry to bother you, but I was hoping we could help each other this evening, ma’am.”

Cassie opened her screen door all the way, one hand raised against the fading sunlight in her eyes. “Please, come in,” she said, focused on editing the airy lilt out of her tone. She didn’t mind letting her naturally fluttery voice out when among family and friends, but now was no time for it. “Why don’t we have a seat in the living room.”

“Again, I apologize for showing up unannounced. A neighborhood this nice, one of those draws a lot of eyebrows probably,” Whitlock said, nodding toward the sleek police car parked out front. “Marcus Jr. and I had an unfortunate confrontation this afternoon. The more I talk to him, I’m convinced we can handle this without a trip downtown.”

Cassie nodded respectfully. Who can argue with that? She thought as she motioned toward the expansive living room. “May I take your suit jacket?”

“Oh, no thank you,” Whitlock replied. He slowed his gait and allowed M.J. to first follow Cassie into the room. The detective stood just inside the doorway, peering at Cassie’s expensive sculptures and paintings as M.J. reluctantly took a seat beside his mother. Once they were settled, Whitlock strode to the middle of the living room, his hands in the pockets of his dress slacks. “Marcus, why don’t you tell your mother how we crossed paths?”

M.J. stared straight ahead, his line of sight veering nowhere near Cassie and shooting over the top of Whitlock’s head of wavy blond hair. “I was minding my business, Mom. Officer Whitlock here–”

“Detective Whitlock, son,” the policeman replied, a testy edge betraying the professional, placid smile on his tanned, leathery face. Cassie found herself admitting he was a relatively handsome man, one who even reminded her of the male cousins on the white side of her family. The policeman was probably her own age, she figured, somewhere between thirty-five and forty.

Grimacing, M.J. continued. “The good detective here pulled me over on 75. Said he clocked me at seventy-eight in a fifty-five.”

“Oh I see,” Cassie said, a wave of relief cleansing her tensed insides. She placed a hand on her son’s shoulder but kept her eyes on the detective. “If that’s all that’s involved, my son should certainly pay whatever fine is required by the law. You’re not doing him any favors giving him a simple talking-to.” She nearly chastised herself for fearing the worst. This was probably just a case of her super-jock son–a varsity star in Chaminade-Julienne football, basketball and track–getting special treatment for his local celebrity, a celebrity nearly as big as the fame that had first attracted her to Marcus Sr. back in the day.

Holding Cassie’s smile with calm blue eyes, Whitlock reached into his jacket pocket and retrieved a manila envelope. “Asked and answered. The state trooper wrote this ticket up for your son during the traffic stop.” He walked over to the loveseat and slowly extended the envelope to M.J. “I agree that Marcus needs to pay his speeding ticket, Mrs. Gillette. If that’s all that was involved, I would have never been called to the scene.”

Everything is fine. My son has done nothing illegal. Cassie fingered the gold locket around her neck but prayed she was otherwise masking the dread pulsing back into her. “Then get to the point please, Detective.”

Whitlock paced quickly to the corner of the adjacent couch. When he plopped down, he was less than a foot away from Cassie. “You see,” he said, his elbows on his knees and his faintly yellowed teeth glinting as he seemed to smile despite himself, “I was called in because Marcus had a convicted criminal riding with him, the sort of character who can make even this fine young man look guilty by association.”

“Please tell me,” Cassie said, pivoting rapidly toward M.J., “that you weren’t riding around with him again.” When M.J. bunched his lips tight and shrugged, Cassie couldn’t stop herself from popping him in the shoulder. “Boy! You promised me! You promised me, M.J.!”

Whitlock had removed his cell phone from his suit jacket. His eyes focused on the phone as he punched its buttons, he asked, “By ‘him,’ are you referring to Dante Wayne?”

“Yes,” Cassie said, her forehead so hot with rage it scared her. She wasn’t sure whether to be more upset at this white stranger lounging on her couch, or her increasingly disobedient son.

Whitlock stared straight into Cassie’s eyes. “And you’re familiar with Mr. Wayne how?”

Cassie sucked her teeth angrily. “He’s my cousin’s oldest son.” Donald, Dante’s father, ran a small taxi service and was the first relative on her father’s side of the family – the Black side – who had reached out to Cassie when they were both struggling teen parents trying to figure life out. Though they didn’t talk often these days, Cassie still counted Donald a personal friend, and her loyalty to him through the years had led her to foster M.J. and Dante’s friendship from the time they were toddlers. That was before she realized that Dante would adopt the morals of his mother’s family, nearly all of whom had died in their twenties or spent significant stretches in prison.

“So M.J. was straight with me, they are cousins.” Whitlock stroked his chin playfully as he observed mother and son. “Marcus insisted that was the only reason he was riding around with Dante in tow. Dante took up for him too, insisted there was no way Marcus was hip to the drugs we found in the car.” He nodded toward M.J. “Why don’t we discuss this one adult to another, ma’am. Marcus, based on your exemplary reputation in the community – as well as your parents’ – I’m willing to assume you had no knowledge of your cousin’s activities. If you’ll just excuse us.”

M.J. looked between his mother and the detective, the first signs of a growing son’s protective emotions on his face as he tapped Cassie’s knee. “You okay with him, Mom?”

“Go down to your room,” Cassie said through clenched tooth, “and shut the basement door after you.” As her son rose, she punctuated her words. “Don’t even think about coming up until your father and I come down for you.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Reluctant Cowgirl by Christine Lynxwiler ~ Excerpt

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Reluctant Cowgirl

Barbour Publishing (April 2009)


Christine Lynxwiler


Chrisitine lives with her husband and two precious daughters in the foothills of the beautiful Ozark Mountains in her home state of Arkansas. Her greatest earthly joy is her family and, aside from doing God’s will, spending time with them is her top priority.

She recently took a break from writing romance to pen a Christmas story with a twist. Her Mom Lit novella, My True Love Gave to Me, is part of a 2 in 1 anthology from Barbour entitled All Jingled Out. It’s also included in Simply Christmas, a 4 in 1 Barbour anthology. One of my holiday highlights was seeing Simply Christmas at Sam’s Club a few weeks before Christmas.

She has written two other novellas, both romance, which are included in Barbour anthologies, City Dreams, and Prairie County Fair and a serial for the Heartsong Presents book club newsletter – The Carousel Horse. The Carousel Horse can be read in its entirety on the Heartsong website, and you can read excerpts from all of her other books on her website, HERE

In 2003, Christine was honored by being voted #2 Favorite New Author by the Heartsong Presents Book Club members!


Actress Crytal McCord gave up the closeness of her big family in order to make a name for herself on the New York City stage. But when life in the Big Apple turns sour, she follows a country road back to her parents Arkansas ranch.

The last thing she expects to find in cowboy country is a new leading man. Still, she can't help but imagine handsome rancher Jeremy Buchanan in the role.

Unfortunately, Jeremy's been burned by Crystal's type before. Or has he? Every time he thinks he knows her, the multi-faceted woman surprises him. Will the reluctant pair allow their hearts to guide them, or will their common stubborn pride keep them miles apart?

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

Monday, April 20, 2009

BoneMan's Daughters by Ted Dekker ~ Giveaway!!

I am half way through this book and am completely hooked! I was hoping to be finished and able to write a full review by now, but I'll have to add it later. But with what I've read so far, I highly recommend BoneMan's Daughters (besides, you can't go wrong with Dekker!).

Ok, ok, the part you're really interested in...Hatchette Books has generously allowed me to giveaway a copy of BoneMan's Daughters! Just leave a comment with your email address on this post and you'll be added to the drawing. I'll leave it open for one week and randomly draw a name next Monday, April 27th. This is only open for addresses in the USA and Canada.

Not sure if you'll like it or not? Since I don't have my review up yet, here are some other reviews to give you an idea of what to expect:

Scrambled Dregs

Cornhusker Academy

Edgy Inspirational Author Blog

And be sure to check out all the goodies below, including the first chapter and a trailer video!

Boneman's Daughters
Center Street (April 14, 2009)
Ted Dekker

Would you kill an innocent man to save your daughter?

They call him BoneMan, a serial killer who’s abducted six young women. He’s the perfect father looking for the perfect daughter, and when his victims fail to meet his lofty expectations, he kills them by breaking their bones and leaving them to die.

Intelligence officer Ryan Evans, on the other hand, has lost all hope of ever being the perfect father. His daughter and wife have written him out of their lives.

Everything changes when BoneMan takes Ryan’s estranged daughter, Bethany, as his seventh victim. Ryan goes after BoneMan on his own.

But the FBI sees it differently. New evidence points to the suspicion that Ryan is BoneMan. Now the hunter is the hunted, and in the end, only one father will stand.


Ted is the son of missionaries John and Helen Dekker, whose incredible story of life among headhunters in Indonesia has been told in several books. Surrounded by the vivid colors of the jungle and a myriad of cultures, each steeped in their own interpretation of life and faith, Dekker received a first-class education on human nature and behavior. This, he believes, is the foundation of his writing.

After graduating from a multi-cultural high school, he took up permanent residence in the United States to study Religion and Philosophy. After earning his Bachelor's Degree, Dekker entered the corporate world in management for a large healthcare company in California. Dekker was quickly recognized as a talent in the field of marketing and was soon promoted to Director of Marketing. This experience gave him a background which enabled him to eventually form his own company and steadily climb the corporate ladder.

Since 1997, Dekker has written full-time. He states that each time he writes, he finds his understanding of life and love just a little clearer and his expression of that understanding a little more vivid. Dekker's body of work encompassing seven mysteries, three thrillers and ten fantasies includes Heaven's Wager, When Heaven Weeps, Thunder of Heaven, Blessed Child, A Man Called Blessed, Blink, Thr3e, The Circle Trilogy (Black, Red, White), Obsessed, Renegade, and Chaos.

If your an avid Dekker fan, and would like wallpaper and counters for your blog, go HERE.

You can listen to an audio clip HERE

Watch the VIDEO:

If you would like to read the first chapter of Boneman's Daughters, go HERE

Musing Monday ~ Best/Worst

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about 2009 favorites…

Coming towards the end of April, we’re a third of the way through the way through the year. What’s the favourite book you’ve read so far in 2009? What about your least favourite? (question courtesy of MizB)

Well so far my favorite book this year is Deadlock by Robert Liparulo! It was so engaging and fast-paced it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. You can read my full review here. I only wish I'd read Deadfall first, but that won't stop me from reading it second!

The least favorite book I read this year is Outlaw Marshall by Al and JoAnna Lacy. I don't know if that really counts, though, because I couldn't finish it. Way too corny. I tried. I really did. But I just couldn't waste my time on it when there are so many other wonderful books sitting in my TBR pile. You can also read my full review of it here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Secret by Beverly Lewis

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Secret

(Bethany House May 1, 2009)


Beverly Lewis


Not until her own children were well into middle school did Bev seek to publish her work, first in magazines such as Highlights for Children, Dolphin Log, and Guideposts for Kids. Her first book followed in 1993—Mountain Bikes and Garbanzo Beans—presently retitled Big Bad Beans (book #22 in the popular CUL-DE-SAC KIDS series of chapter books—see list of Bev's children's books).

Beverly's first venture into adult fiction is the best-selling trilogy, THE HERITAGE OF LANCASTER COUNTY, including The Shunning, a suspenseful saga of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman drawn to the modern world by secrets from her past. The book is loosely based on the author's maternal grandmother, Ada Ranck Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible College student. One Amish-country newspaper claimed Beverly's work to be "a primer on Lancaster County folklore" and offers "an insider's view of Amish life."

Booksellers across the country, and around the world, have spread the word of Bev's tender tales of Plain country life. A clerk in a Virginia bookstore wrote, "Beverly's books have a compelling freshness and spark. You just don't run across writing like that every day. I hope she'll keep writing stories about the Plain people for a long, long time."

A member of the National League of American Pen Women, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of Evangel University, Lewis has written over 80 books for children, youth, and adults, many of them award-winning. She and her husband, David, make their home in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, and playing with their three grandchildren. They are also avid musicians and fiction "book worms."


In the seemingly ordinary Amish home of Grace Byler, secrets abound. Why does her mother weep in the night? Why does her father refuse to admit something is dreadfully wrong? Then, in one startling moment, everything Grace assumed she knew is shattered.

Her mother's disappearance leaves Grace reeling and unable to keep her betrothal promise to her long-time beau. Left to pick up the pieces of her life, Grace questions all she has been taught about love, family, and commitment.

Heather Nelson is an English grad student, stunned by a doctor's diagnosis. Surely fate would not allow her father to lose his only daughter after the death of his wife a few years before. In denial and telling no one she is terminally ill, Heather travels to Lancaster County-- the last place she and her mother had visited together.

Will Heather find healing for body and spirit? As the lives of four wounded souls begin to weave together like an Amish patchwork quilt, they each discover missing pieces of their life puzzles--and glimpse the merciful and loving hand of God.

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

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Deadlock by Robert Liparulo ~ Review & Excerpt

Thomas Nelson (April 2009)
Robert Liparulo

John Hutchinson thinks it's no coincidence that Brendan Page runs this modern Praetorian Guard, and that the billionaire military industrialist must have had something to do with the atrocities his son Declan committed in Canada. The Canadian and U.S. Justice departments disagree, but Hutch has been digging for dirt ever since.

Brendan Page has some dirty not-so-little secrets. He's built an empire on supplying futuristic weapons and highly trained soldiers to the world's most powerful armies. But he's saved his most destructive weapons for himself.

When Hutch discovers the secret of Page's success, Page decides to teach him a lesson. But the operation goes terribly wrong, and Hutch's son is kidnapped. While a lone man stands little chance against the best black op soldiers ever issued M-16s, Hutch manages to survive longer than Page anticipated. As far as Hutch is concerned, high-tech helmets, machine guns, and hand grenades are nothing compared to a man determined to save his son. It's a lesson he sets out to teach Page-and one that he can only hope works as well in the real world as it does in his heart.

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

My thoughts:
Well put on your seat belt because you're about to go for a ride with Deadlock! Even though it follows Deadfall, this is certainly a stand-alone novel too. I haven't read Deadfall and I never felt lost. Actually, I liked Deadlock so much I jumped online and ordered Deadfall immediately!

John Hutchinson is a journalist who has been obsessing over keeping track of Brendan Page's activities because he knows something is wrong but hasn't been able to prove it...yet. But when Page tries to give Hutch a lesson on staying out of his business things go horribly wrong. In an instant Hutch's whole world spirals out of control as he desperately tries to get his son back while keeping himself and others alive.

Hutch's obsession with Page had always kept him from his family but as Page tries to clean up the mess Hutch could loose his kids and his friend, Laura, and her son permanently. While Hutch is fighting for his life three states away Laura and the three children are fighting for theirs. How can a journalist, a lady and three children stand a chance against Page's high-tech, expertly trained soldiers and their military weapons?

I was glad this was a hardback because a poor little paperback would never hold up to me gripping it so tightly! Once the action starts it does - not - stop. When you think you are free to breathe again. You're wrong. Liparulo weaves one intense moment after another until you're begging for mercy. He has no mercy.

So as my eyes were bulging from my head and I was crouching on the tiniest corner of the couch, barely breathing, I refused to put it down. Kind of like a young child experiencing their first brain-freeze who won't stop eating the ice cream even though it's hurting them. I loved it!

If you're a fan of suspense run, don't walk, and get Deadlock. Try not to push children and old ladies out of the way in the process, though. And you might as well get Deadfall while you're at it because you'll end up making a second trip to get it anyway.

Warning: Pregnant women and people with heart conditions need to check with your doctor before reading this book.


Robert Liparulo is a former journalist, with over a thousand articles and multiple writing awards to his name. Readers of his action-thrillers were not surprised when his visual storytelling style caught the eye of Hollywood producers. Currently, three of his novels for adults are in various stages of development for the big screen: the film rights to Comes A Horseman were purchased by the producer of Tom Clancy’s movies; and Liparulo is penning the screenplays for GERM and Deadfall for two top producers. He is also working with the director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, Holes) on a political thriller. Novelist Michael Palmer calls Deadfall “a brilliantly crafted thriller.” March 31st marked the publication of Deadfall’s follow-up, Deadlock, which novelist Gayle Lynds calls, “best of high-octane suspense.”

Liparulo’s bestselling young adult series, Dreamhouse Kings, debuted last year with House of Dark Shadows and Watcher in the Woods. Book three, Gatekeepers released in January, and number four, Timescape, comes out in July. The series has garnered praise from readers, both young and old, as well as attracting famous fans who themselves know the genre inside and out. Of the series Goosebumps creator R.L. Stine says, “I loved wandering around in these books. With a house of so many great, haunting stories, why would you ever want to go outside?”

He is currently working on his next thriller, which for the first time injects a bit of the supernatural into his gun-blazing stories. The story is so compelling, two Hollywood studios are already in talks to acquire it—despite its publication date being more than a year away. After that comes a trilogy of novels, based on the critically acclaimed short story he contributed to James Patterson’s Thriller anthology. New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry calls Liparulo’s writing “Inventive, suspenseful, and highly entertaining . . . Robert Liparulo is a storyteller, pure and simple.” He lives with his family in Colorado.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Go Back and Be Happy by Julie Papievis ~ Excerpt

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:

Go Back and Be Happy

Monarch Books (November 4, 2008)


In Julie Papievis' words:

Traumatic brain injury is the number one killer of persons under the age of 44. Every twenty one seconds, someone suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the United States. As a result, 5.3 million Americans are living with a disability from TBI. This non-discriminatory injury changes life in an instant.

On May 10, 1993 my life was changed forever because someone ran a red light. Featured on Lifetime's "Beyond Chance", CNN, Woman's Day Magazine, and top ranked WB's WGN News, my story is gaining national attention. After a life-threatening car accident, I suffered a severe brain stem injury and medically died, rating a "3", the lowest number possible on the Glascow Coma Scale. According to medical experts, 96% of the people with such a severe injury either die or remain permanently comatose. The few who survive typically face a non-functional life. I completely beat the odds even though I remained in a coma for over a month.

Paralyzed and unconscious, I was transferred to the locked brain injury wing of a rehabilitation facility, where I awakened with vivid memories of my near death experience. During "death" I saw my grandmothers in heaven. They instructed me to "Go back and be happy" and assured me that my body would heal. Although medical experts said I would never walk again, or be able to take care of myself, I didn't listen. I believed the words of my grandmothers.

Through extensive therapy, I relearned how to stand, walk, and swallow. However, I faced the daunting challenge of facing the able-bodied world as a disabled person. After overcoming paralysis and battling severe depression, I embraced my gift of recovery as a true miracle.

In 1999, I ran in a 5K race near Chicago on Mother's Day! In February 2007, I completed my first triathlon. I have become an advocate for other survivors looking for hope and guidance. I work with the Brain Injury Association of Illinois, the Spinal Cord Injury Association of Illinois, and am a peer advisor to the Midwest Brain Injury Clubhouse. As a VIP member (voice for injury prevention) for the national program of ThinkFirst, I speak to students about injury prevention and safe driving. I volunteer at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in their Peer Support Program. I currently work part time as a community relations advisor for a top Chicago law firm.

I hope my story of faith and determination offers an inspirational and practical approach to dealing with sudden changes in life. Like an oyster, I transformed the unexpected "grit" in my life into a precious pearl.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Monarch Books (November 4, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825462762
ISBN-13: 978-0825462764


A Wrecked Life: May 10, 1993 at 6:55 p.m.

Pulling her short brown hair, Toni Rapach screamed over the blaring song on the car radio, “Honk your horn, TJ! Hurry! Honk your horn!”

The couple watched in disbelief as a large burgundy Oldsmobile Cutlass ran a red light and violently struck the driver’s side of a small, white Mazda sports car turning left out of a shopping mall in a Chicago suburb.

Toni jumped from her car and shouted “Somebody call 911!”

An older couple raced toward the accident scene. The wife shouted over to Toni, “We’re calling 911 right now on our cell phone, and my husband’s a doctor!” In 1993, a mobile phone was not a common item.

Toni burst into tears when she looked into the Mazda and saw an unconscious young woman with a mane of blonde hair. She watched helplessly as the woman’s head lay against the chest as if it was disconnected from her body. Toni turned around and shouted, “Please somebody help!” “This poor girl and her family,” she sobbed. “They will never be the same.”

The gathering crowd rushed to the crumpled car and tried to open the driver’s door which was streaked with burgundy paint from the Oldsmobile. The forceful impact left both axles broken on the Mazda. A man ran to the other side of the car and managed to climb into the tangled debris. As he reached behind to pick up the young woman’s head, the doctor instructed, “Don’t move her.”

“I’m an off-duty paramedic,” the man answered in a calm and confident manner. “I know what I’m doing.”

“Go ahead then. I’m here if you need anything.”

The off-duty paramedic happened to be a block away from the accident scene getting his tires fixed. He lifted the woman’s head from her chest and cleared the airway so oxygen could pass to the brain. At 6:57 p.m., just two minutes after the accident, firefighters and paramedics arrived in a whir of sirens and flashing lights. Realizing the severity of the accident, Lieutenant Jim Streu radioed in a call to the station, “Extrication equipment is needed at the scene. Send in the fire truck.”

Paramedics Greg Sauchuk and Randy Deicke leaped out of Ambulance 61. Racing to the scene with his first aid box, Greg said, “Oh, man. This is really bad.”

They faced a “Trauma Red” and time was a major concern. Two minutes of the “Golden Hour” had already ticked away. Comprehensive medical treatment within that golden hour was imperative to offer any hope. Opening the first aid box, Greg removed some medical instruments to assess the woman’s condition. He recognized his off-duty paramedic friend who was holding the woman’s neck from the back seat of the car. Chips of sparkling glass surrounded the Mazda like Mardi Gras beads. Reaching through the blown out window, Greg said, “Tom, how did you manage to even climb into this pretzel? Thanks for stabilizing her neck and clearing the airway.”

Greg checked the woman’s breathing and said, “Amazing. I feel a pulse. She doesn’t need CPR.”

Lifting the woman’s eyelids, Greg checked the pupils with a small flashlight. They didn’t react. “Pupils dilated and fixed,” Greg reported to Randy and then shouted, “Hey, Miss! Can you hear me?!”

The woman remained silent. With his large six foot three, 245 pound frame, Greg pressed his fist into the woman’s chest. She didn’t even flinch.

“Patient is unresponsive to pain with sternum rub,” Greg said. “She scores a 3.” Greg rated the woman on the Glasgow Coma Scale, a quick, practical and standardized system developed in 1975 for assessing the level of consciousness and predicting the ultimate outcome of a coma. A three was the lowest score out of a possible fifteen.

“I’ll check her vitals,” Randy said as he wrapped the vinyl cuff around the woman’s arm to check for blood pressure. He placed the stethoscope on the inner arm and pumped the rubber ball. No reading. He tried again. “I can’t even hear the blood flow,” Randy said and shook his head while placing his fingertips on the woman’s artery to check for a pulse. “Patient’s palpable blood pressure is only eighty. Not good. Looks like a traumatic brain injury. Probably brain stem. Elevated heart rate is 120. This is bad guys. She’s in shock. Possible internal damage. After this car door is off, let’s do a ‘scoop and run.’”

Within a minute, the fire truck arrived with the “jaws of life” equipment. Al Green, another paramedic was also on the truck along with firefighter, Tony Pascolla. Tony lifted the forty pound Hurst equipment and steadied the hydraulic spreader as he ripped open the car door from its hinges. “I’ll be done in two minutes,” Tony shouted over the loud noise.

The paramedics decided against calling a helicopter since time was essential. Due to the severity of injuries, they agreed to take the woman to a Level I Trauma Center instead of the nearest hospital. Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois was fourteen miles away. They knew that neurosurgeon, Dr. John Shea was her only hope. The ambulance left the scene at 7:12 p.m and arrived at 7:25 p.m. Randy, Greg and Al pulled the stretcher out of the ambulance and ran into the emergency entrance to hand the woman over to the trauma team. “She’s posturing!” Randy said. They watched as the woman started extending her arms and legs in primitive reflexes, a sign that her body could not regulate itself. She then urinated all of the water from her body, soaking the stretcher, and started agonal breathing, the last breaths taken before dying.

As Greg walked back with Randy and Al toward the ambulance, he glanced over his shoulders at the lifeless body being carted away by the trauma team. “Dear God,” he prayed. “Please help her through this. Just help her through this.” He climbed into the driver’s seat and left the hospital. He’d seen it before. He knew firsthand that traumatic brain injury is the number one killer of people forty-four years old and younger.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bankruptcy of Our Nation by Jerry Robinson ~ Excerpt

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:

Bankruptcy of Our Nation

New Leaf Publishing Group/New Leaf Press (March 18, 2009)


Jerry Robinson is the president and founder of JRMI (Jerry Robinson Ministries International), a Christian ministry that “challenges believers to think and thinkers to believe.” This is accomplished through cutting-edge teaching on geopolitical, economic and cultural trends and how they relate to the Church. Jerry is a student of global economics, geopolitics and cultural trends.

He is the author of Bankruptcy of Our Nation, recently published by New Leaf Publishing Group, as well as the author of Classical Dispensationalism and its Eschatological foundations and The Mythic Roots of Iran’s Anti-Semitic Rhetoric. His website,, is internationally known with readers in 95 nations. His monthly emails are sent to subscribers in 36 countries. Jerry is a frequent guest on various national talk radio shows on topics ranging from global economics to Christian eschatology. His writings have appeared in serveral national magazines and newspapers. Jerry holds a degree in economics from the University of Tulsa.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: New Leaf Publishing Group/New Leaf Press (March 18, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 089221693X
ISBN-13: 978-0892216932


Welcome to the End of an Empire

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

— George Orwell

“History is a vast early warning system.”

— Norman Cousins

In an era full of doomsayers and gloomsters, it was my sincere hope that my first major book release would be on, let’s say, a milder topic. Maybe even something light-hearted, such as a book on how to leash train a Rottweiler, or a beginner’s guide to French wines. Or even better yet, a pictorial tourist guide for Southern Europe.

But instead I have written the following tome on the decline of the American experiment and how mankind is about to enter the greatest financial crisis in world history. Depressing, huh? Well, yes. But to those who are familiar with economic history, it is simply the natural ebb and flow of competing interests. According to the laws of physics, an apple thrown upward into the air will be pulled downward by the invisible force of gravity. And while history does not necessarily subscribe to a set of laws, it does teach us great lessons. And these lessons can even be forceful at times. It is often said that while history may never truly repeat, it does at least rhyme. And unfortunately, in the case of the inevitable American economic decline, we have a wide array of historical precedents, which we will examine in later chapters.

But even more than the lessons of economic history (which we will examine more closely in chapter 3,) we have even greater evidence that the global influence exerted by America, both economically and politically, will decline considerably in the not too distant future. Our source: the Holy Bible. Despite what the Western-centric thinker may suggest, the ancient writings of the Christian Bible are clear. They confirm that the biblical prophecies concerning the “last days” are Israel-centric and Middle East-centric. They are anything but America-centric. God’s Word clearly states that the global stage will be firmly transferred to this volatile region just prior to the return of Christ.

As a believer and follower of Christ, it is my earnest belief that hope is never completely lost, because God’s sovereign plan of the ages will forever prevail — no matter how desperate things may appear. But as a believer, I have also learned that only a fool places his trust in man’s ability to rule man. If history is a guide to anything, it is a guide to the consistent knucklehead acts of mankind throughout the ages. Mankind’s predicament stems from the fact that man was not designed, nor was he ever meant, to rule himself. According to an orthodox view of the Christian faith, mankind has rejected the omnipotent rule of his Creator. Instead, man has opted for self-rule. This ancient act of rebellion explains the last 6,000 years of pain and suffering and, more recently, why the 20th century was the bloodiest century on record. (Ironically ,the 20th century has also been labeled the “American Century.”)

America represents the culmination of all that man has ever aspired to: wealth, fame, self-love, self-importance, and freedom to do whatever the heck he wants, (otherwise known as independence). But as men have engaged themselves in this “American experiment,” the inward corruption of mankind has bubbled to the surface. Unable to rid himself of his true sin nature, man attempts in vain to cloak his deficiencies. Unfortunately, America is following the same path as every economic empire before it. And lest we confuse ourselves, Western Christians must quickly grasp this point: America is not the light of the world. The sun shone before America was here and it will continue to shine long after our self-inflicted demise. So let us

not proceed in shock or surprise at the complex webs that America has weaved for itself. Its fall is historically identifiable, though unfortunate. And it is all but certain.

The Excesses of Empire

Over the last few decades, certain economic trends have pointed toward an eventual day of reckoning for the U.S. economy. For example, over the last several years the United States has outsourced the majority of its domestic manufacturing to foreign countries, opting instead to specialize in consumption. This specialization in consumption has meant that for the first time in the nation’s history, the personal savings rate of Americans has dipped below 0 percent. Today, the U.S. credit industry has trumped the manufacturing industry in total revenues. This as the consumer-crazed nation purchases everything in sight through the use of high-interest credit in an effort to feed the hungry credit beast that they have created. And this “buy now and pay later” mantra is not contained to, nor did it originate within, the consumer credit market. Evidence of it is found in government as politicians promise the unborn grandchildren’s money to pay for the luxuries of the grandparents.

It is demonstrated in the poor monetary policy decisions that have systematically devalued the empire’s choice of currency, the U.S. dollar. Today, thanks to our nation’s fiat currency system, it takes one dollar to purchase what five cents could purchase in 1945.

Evidence of this “buy now, pay later” attitude that threatens America is demonstrated in American foreign policy as modern wars are fought without an appeal to national sacrifice. Instead, foreigners fund America’s wars through massive capital inflows that serve to prop up U.S. consumption and conquest.

America has reaped what it has sown by creating an entitlement generation that expects perpetually low tax rates and interest rates. It also expects unrealistically high government entitlement spending and investment returns. This new entitlement generation considers the

concepts of sacrifice and saving as unnecessary relics worthy of the dustbin of history as modern Americans refuse to deny themselves any delight or delicacy. The American economy represents nothing less than a feeble house of cards completely vulnerable to the inevitable external forces that await every declining empire.

Many authors and commentators have highlighted the striking similarities between modern America and former empires such as Rome and Great Britain. Those who are not familiar with such comparisons would greatly benefit from researching this material as it will provide a much needed historical context to the impending American economic crisis. Therefore, I will avoid belaboring the historical and cultural comparisons here. I do not believe, however, that one must

understand the historical cycles to appreciate the fact the America is facing great economic jeopardy.

The painful truth expressed in this book is that the end of the American experiment will, more than likely, come sooner rather than later. The reason behind this looming decline is due to the fact that the United States of America is standing on the precipice of a self-imposed economic calamity. America’s ascendance into the heady realms of economic empire began in the post-World War II Bretton Woods era when it was the world’s greatest creditor nation. Today, just over 60 years later, America now stands as the greatest debtor nation in world history. Decades of financial excess, coupled with an entitlement mentality, has left America as financially bankrupt as it has become morally. America clearly represents a reluctant economic empire in decline. And like all empires that have gone before it, its days are numbered. The death of an empire can be quick and painless; however, that is rarely the case. Instead, empires tend to die slow, painful, and humiliating deaths and their demise is usually accompanied by at least two things: an overextension of the empire’s military and extreme economic overindulgence and depravity. America exhibits excesses in both of these categories.

U.S. Military Overextension

To confirm America’s overextended global military presence, one must look no farther than the more than 700 U.S. military bases located in over 120 nations. That means that America’s military is located in over half of the world’s nations. The American obsession with maintaining global hegemonic power through military force is justified in the name of protecting the important causes of freedom, democracy, and justice worldwide. Or as former President William

McKinley put it, “The American flag has not been planted in foreign soil to acquire more territory but for humanity’s sake.” However, acting as the ever-vigilant and ever-present global policeman requires an annual budget over $600 billion.1

• That is 10 times larger than China’s $65 billion annual military budget.

• 12 times larger than Russia’s $50 billion.

• 120 times larger than North Korea’s $5 billion

• 140 times larger than Iran’s $4.3 billion.

• And that’s around 5,000 times more than Afghanistan’s $122 million

In fact, funding the American military machine costs more than all of the rest of the world’s military’s expenses — combined. And while these exorbitant costs spent to maintain militaristic dominance is typical of an empire, it also clearly unsustainable.

U.S. Consumption Levels Require Foreign Creditors

The American empire’s economy has become grossly indebted to foreign creditors through a shameful lack of sound fiscal stewardship. The empire’s total current national debt stands at a colossal $9 trillion and is growing by the billions every single day. Foreign countries own

more pieces of America than ever before. Not only do foreigners own a large amount of America’s real wealth (real estate, corporations, etc.), they also hold vast amounts of our government bonds. The repercussions of this large foreign ownership of American interests will be discussed at length in upcoming chapters.

As this book will seek to demonstrate:

• American prosperity is denominated in a debt-based and debt-backed currency, the U.S. dollar. But this illusion of prosperity in America is hardly recognized or highlighted by the financial elite or the nation’s media.

• U.S. over-consumption, coupled with American military adventurism since the Vietnam era, has been financed by foreign creditors. With huge trade deficits and a growing national debt, indebtedness to foreign creditors leaves the United States in a highly vulnerable position.

• U.S. and global demand for energy resources are increasing at a rapid rate. Unfortunately, global energy production is not going to be able to keep pace with global demand. A growing depletion of cheap energy resources, coupled with a threatened petrodollar system, will more than likely force America into becoming militarily aggressive in future resource wars with other growing nations (i.e., China, India, etc.)

• American consumer debt has reached all-time highs. This year, more Americans will declare bankruptcy than will divorce, graduate from college, or get cancer; 43 percent of American

households spend more every month than they earn. Clearly, this lack of fiscal discipline must eventually end. Behind all of this lies a monetary system that is based upon debt. This book will explain in stark details how the monetary system of the United States of America is a debt-based system. In fact, money is debt. To understand this concept, we will examine the Federal Reserve system and the mind-blowing money creation process that they employ.

An Illusion of Prosperity

Despite these facts, the majority of America’s government’s institutions, along with their sidekick, the American media, exploit the lack of economic understanding of the masses. In the face of a weakening U.S. economy, those with the loudest voices and largest platforms within the empire have rushed to the nearest microphone urging Americans to continue their over-consumption. They gently assure Americans that the economy is “resilient” and “strong”

enough to weather any storm. As the Titanic coasted through the Atlantic that fateful night, no one believed that the mammoth ship would ever meet its demise on such a routine voyage. Nevertheless, as the Titanic began to sink, the majority of its passengers remained in disbelief. The horror of that fateful evening unfolded against the backdrop of big band music, dancing, and free-flowing cocktails. The music played until the very end. Likewise, everything is perpetually

peachy on the inside of a declining empire. But to believe that the current excesses of the American economic empire are eternally sustainable is about as wise as taking time to rearrange the furniture on the sinking Titanic.

It is understandable why some Americans would still feel optimistic about the nation’s economic future when one simply looks at the recent performance of the U.S. stock market. Over the last several years, the nominal returns on many domestic stocks have been extremely healthy. Since 2000, for example, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has provided the average investor a return on investment of around 36 percent. However, all of the returns reported to American

investors are calculated based upon the empire’s currency, the U.S. dollar. What the typical American investor does not realize is that the gains that he has made in his U.S. stock portfolio have actually been losses due to the declining purchasing power of the U.S. dollar. So in the past, when the average American examined their 401(k) plan statements, they may have seen a positive return on investment but, in all reality, their investments have lost value, internationally speaking, due to the declining dollar.

We can see more clearly how much the U.S. dollar has been devalued through a series of bad monetary policies by simply considering an example using the aforementioned Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Dow Jones, of course, is denominated in U.S. dollars and has increased 36 percent over the last seven years. But if we compare the Dow Jones to other prices besides the dollar for the last seven years, here is what we find:

• If the Dow Jones had been priced in Euros rather than dollars for the last seven years, the Dow would have been a losing investment. In fact, it would have lost 40 percent. Therefore, Europeans who have invested in the Dow Jones for the last seven years have not gained 36 percent, but rather, have lost 40 percent.

• If denominated in milk prices, the Dow Jones now buys 35 percent less milk than it did just seven short years ago

• If denominated in wheat or corn, the Dow now buys 40 percent less wheat and corn than it did seven years ago

• If denominated in gold, the Dow now buys 50 percent less gold than it did seven years ago

• If denominated in silver, the Dow now buys 55 percent less silver than it did seven years ago

• If denominated in oil, the Dow now buys 70 percent less oil than it did seven years ago

• If denominated in copper, the Dow now buys 80 percent less copper than it did seven years ago

• If denominated in uranium, the Dow now buys 90 percent less uranium than it did seven years ago

A sign that you are living at the end of an empire is that you think you are making money while instead you are losing money. The illusion created by the American economic empire has become

extremely deceptive to millions of hard-working Americans. It is a lot like driving a beautiful luxury car with a broken fuel gauge. When the gas tank nears the empty mark and you are running on fumes, you will receive little warning, but you sure do look great. Today, many Americans look rich on paper, but the purchasing power of their dollars is rapidly decreasing. A simple jaunt to any American grocery store will confirm this bit of data. Grocery prices, gas prices, oil prices, and commodity prices are all increasing at remarkable rates and testify to the economic uncertainty fueled by a declining dollar. The inflationary pressures hitting the U.S. consumer have been anything but subtle.

For example, in 2000:

• Gold was $273 per ounce

• Oil was $22 per barrel

• National gasoline prices averaged at $1.46

• The Euro was worth $.87 per dollar

• The Canadian Dollar was worth .68 per dollar

In 2008, just a few years later:

• Gold soared to well over $900 per ounce

• Oil broke through $140 per barrel

• National gasoline prices averaged nearly $4.00 per gallon

• The Euro reached $1.46 per dollar

• The Canadian dollar reached parity with the U.S. dollar.

Of course, in the face of such obvious inflation, the U.S. federal government has assured U.S. consumers that consumer prices are under control and are being “tightly monitored.” In fact, according to the Feds, the U.S. economy is strong and inflation is low. But the price of gold, oil, and gasoline do not lie. The purchasing power of the dollar is declining, and it has been for years. In the last 5 years alone, the U.S. dollar has lost 35 percent of its value against the Euro. Open any newspaper and you will find that your hard earned U.S. dollars are hitting all-time lows against other global currencies nearly every week.

Of course, average everyday consumers pay little attention to gyrations in the global currency markets. But they do understand that when the price of milk or bread goes up, they are able to buy less of it. So the price of gold is hitting all-time highs. Oil is hitting all-time highs, causing gasoline prices to rise. Food prices are rising. It appears that the price of everything is going up. However, the point is that prices are not rising as much as the purchasing power of the dollar is declining. Thus, the illusion of the dollar is simply that: a glorious illusion.

A “Global” War on Terror

In addition to economic illusions of prosperity, declining empires also tend to become rather ambitious in their military aims. The 21st century began with the largest terrorist attack on U.S. soil when occupied airplanes were used as missiles against the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon. In response, the Bush administration launched a global war on terror. Admittedly, hunting down those responsible for these egregious attacks upon thousands of Americans should

be a priority of the U.S. government. But upon closer examination, an even larger problem exists: war is expensive. And initiating and conducting a worldwide war on terrorism is terribly expensive, even for the richest nation in world history. This is why every previous war in this nation’s history has required some economic sacrifice on the part of its citizens. For example, in the wake of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt ended production of new

automobiles, new homes, and new appliances in an effort to free up American manufacturing and labor resources for military trucks and tanks needed for the war. Food and gasoline supplies were rationed as the country mobilized for an expensive war that nearly all agreed was necessary for the future peace of the nation. Additionally, the federal government promoted and sold war bonds to the general public to obtain the funding necessary to pay for the ongoing costs associated with war. Understanding that wars cost money, U.S. citizens from that “great generation” sacrificed many of life’s conveniences in order to prevent America from going into massive debt. Even in Vietnam, which was an American financial nightmare, a military draft ensured that sacrifice was exacted from American families.

In contrast, after the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush encouraged Americans to go shopping and to take vacations. In our modern era, little economic sacrifice has been requested from American citizens. So while the bombs drop and the rockets fly, most Americans yawn and turn off the television. The nightly news brings reports of war and chaos that might as well be happening on a different planet. Ask yourself: Where is the economic sacrifice in this new massive worldwide war on terrorism? Which of our nation’s leaders are asking you to curb your consumption in an effort to fund our current global war? Oddly enough, in the midst of a costly global war, the nation’s taxes have been lowered while government spending has increased. The sheer absurdity of this should be obvious. But apparently it is not, as clearly witnessed by American citizens who have apparently bought the government’s line that “Americans can

have their cake and eat it too.” To tell the American voter anything to the contrary is too politically risky.

Since Americans are not being asked to fund the extravagant expenses of a global war with no end in sight, who then is footing the bill for America’s war on terrorism? The answer: Foreign countries, namely China and Japan. How are they funding the war, you might ask? Through their purchases of U.S. government debt, such as U.S. Treasury bonds. Since 2000, China and Japan have been rapidly increasing their holdings in U.S. debt instruments, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. In other words, China and Japan are financing America’s war on terrorism.

Emerging Nations as the New Global Consumers

Americans are “expert” consumers, and American consumption — until February 2005 — had been the highest in the world in nearly all categories. On February 16, 2005, a report was released by the Earth Policy Institute that confirmed what most of the world already knew: China is rapidly replacing the U.S. as the world’s largest consumer. The report stated that “among the five basic food, energy, and industrial commodities — grain and meat, oil and coal, and steel — consumption in China has already eclipsed that of the United States in all but oil.” China’s insatiable appetite for commodities is both obvious and frightening. The enormous nation has 1.3 billion people who all desperately desire the same luxuries that Americans now enjoy and they are willing to work hard to obtain them. Of course, one of the Welcome to the luxuries of a modern wealthy nation is automobiles. And automobile sales are increasing rapidly in China as the nation continues its industrial revolution — 21st century style. Therefore, the price of oil is

intricately linked to China’s emergence from an agrarian society to a highly developed nation. And while China trails the United States as the world’s second largest oil consumer, it is now the world’s fastest net importer of oil. China’s demand for oil is growing each year and government estimates have stated that by 2030, China’s demand for oil will eclipse U.S. demand for oil. In addition, China now boasts five of the world’s ten largest companies, including oil production giant PetroChina. In November 2007 it was announced that PetroChina had become the first company in history to be valued at over $1 trillion, thus, making PetroChina twice as valuable as the world’s previously largest company, American oil giant, ExxonMobil. China today is viewed by many as simply an economic bully. This may be true. But Americans do good to ask themselves: How long before China’s economic power turns into political power? In fact, what else is a superpower if not an economic powerhouse with tremendous political prowess. As the Earth Policy Institute report concludes: “China is no longer just a developing country. It is an emerging economic superpower, one that is writing economic history. If the last century was the American century, this one looks to be the Chinese century.” It is amazing when you think about it. America’s population of just over 300 million has consumed more than China’s 1.3 billion citizens for decades. This statistic alone displays America’s staggering wealth and our consumption-driven economy. And China is not an isolated case. India, and its 1.1 billion citizens, is experiencing its own economic revolution as many of its impoverished citizens successfully embrace the tenets of capitalism in an effort to increase their standard of living. Add to this other countries such as Brazil, Russia, and a host of other nations that are all emerging as major global economic players onto the world’s stage. They all come ready to compete for their share of the world’s limited resources. Clearly, insisting that American hegemony is sustainable is not only unreasonable, it is highly irresponsible.

The Life Cycle of Democracies

Consider how the Scottish historian Alexander Tyler documented the typical life cycle of a democracy: A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From

that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship.

Tyler continues with this amazing statement:

The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.

Does this sequence sound familiar? Where does this dependence upon others to pay the bills place the fragile American experiment on this life cycle?

So let us summarize our conclusions thus far:

• The purchasing power of our U.S. dollar is declining in value

• The U.S. government continues to print more money

• We are engaged in an expensive and endless global war on terror

• We are obsessed with cutting taxes

• We are raising government spending to all-time highs

• We have requested little, if any, economic “sacrifice” on the part of our citizenry

• Our trade deficit and budgetary deficits are at all-time highs

• Our national debt is at an all-time high and growing exponentially

• We are completely dependent upon foreign nations to fund our over-consumption through the sale of our debts

As long as foreign countries purchase our massive debts, perhaps we can extend this madness. But what happens if foreign countries begin to decrease their funding of our debts? And what if America’s foreign creditors decide to diversify their currency holdings into other currencies? The truth is, the American public is living in massive monetary deception. The direction that the American economy is heading is extremely difficult to swallow. However, if our aim is truth, then we will willingly embrace the facts and take the necessary steps needed to shelter ourselves and our families. Undoubtedly, the only real way out of the mess that has been created will also be the hardest. A glimmer of hope remains that the difficult steps that need to be taken will be embraced, especially by Christians. But regardless of whether this happens or not, there is still hope for the informed citizen. The message of this book is one of great hope. But it is not a hope that the global economy will never awaken to the harsh realities awaiting it. God’s Word has clearly stated that man cannot rule man. Our failed attempts in this area continue to prove his point. Our hope is in knowing which direction the trends are taking us. It is in this knowledge that you will be able to protect and shelter whatever wealth you have already accumulated, and in addition profit from the greatest financial crisis that the world has ever witnessed. As you read the following chapters of this book, be of good cheer. Despite man’s best efforts, God is still in control. And with God, the end is only the beginning.