Friday, April 22, 2011

An Amazing Few Days

This was a great week for the Tilley's. First- Hume Lake Christian Camps sends its staff on a retreat. Kind of a booster shot before we head into summer. We had a great time at the Mandalay Bay Embassy Suites in Oxnard, California. Per tradition, Walter and I always arrange to go bowling while at retreat. So, after Tuesdays wonderful dinner and inspiring message from our new President, Michael Anthony, we headed to Wagon Wheel Bowl to roll the fat ball. With over 30 staff members slinging the ball, a great time was had by all! Wednesday started with a great breakfast I got to share with my son, John (enjoyed the one on one time), and then another inspiring message from Michael Anthony. Then, it was off to the outlets for a little shopping. Again, I enjoyed the time I get to spend with my kids. John and Alex, and our friend Jonathan went and did some power shopping before returning to the hotel for some Q & A with Michael Anthony and his wife, Michelle. But, the best part of the trip was yet to come.

An Amazing Surprise!

Though our staff retreat goes through Thursday morning, Walter and I had other plans in store. Because of the graciousness of the Hume Fellowship, instead of going to the morning meeting at the hotel, we were on our way to the Fresno Airport to pick-up Christopher. As a surprise, the church picked up the expenses to have Christopher flown in for the weekend so he could spend some time with Jennifer and the girls. Everything went PERFECT!

When we got home, Jennifer was doing dishes and Lorelei was sitting at the table finishing her lunch (Addison was down for her nap, but not for long). When Christopher walked into the house. Lorelei just stared in amazement! Then she kinds of whispered, "Mommy, Daddy's here." Jennifer just looked at her like she was confused, Jennifer then looked at Walter to clarify and he just kind of stepped out of the way. Needless to say, a few of us were reduced to tears at this point. Once Jennifer got over the shock, and Lorelei got her hugs, Jennifer went and got Addison out of bed, who proceeded to smile like no other and stayed in Christopher's arms for some time.

Now, I know everyone is going to ask, "did you get pictures?" I am sorry to say, No. But some moments, though captured in time would be nice, the emotion you feel at the moment is fonder than having to worry about getting the right shot. So, no tangible pictures, but one that I will never forget.

So, for the next few days, Christopher, Jennifer, Lorelei, Addison, and even Bella are going to get some much needed family time!! Of course, Walter and I will be around to, getting to enjoy it all, but our desire is for our kids to just enjoy being together.

My Review - False Pretense

FALSE PRETENSE was a good read with some interesting twists, but not the page-turner I have come to expect from Kathy Herman.

Zoe Broussard is an eatery owner in the Cajun culture of Louisiana. Along with her husband, Pierce, she has created for herself a wonderful lifestyle, the only problem . . . it is just that, a world she has created. We soon find out that Zoe is not who she says she is, and her past is about to catch up with her.

FALSE PRETENSE is the first book in the Secrets of Roux River Bayou Series, FALSE PRETENSE combines new characters, and old characters from The Sophie Trace Trilogy. I didn’t know that going into it, but soon put two and two together regarding the characters of Vanessa and Ethan Langley.

I enjoyed FALSE PRETENSE, but somehow did not feel the fluidity or the absolutely can’t put it down mentality I usually associate with a Kathy Herman book. Like other readers, I found the Cajun dialect to be a bit intrusive. I know realism is essential, but I found myself not bothering to flip back and forth to the glossary because I didn’t want to take the time and it took away from the flow of the story. I enjoyed some of the unique characters, and some of the incredible plot twists, but I was easily distracted when the pace slowed and some of the dialogue dragged. I did appreciate the book enough that I will buy the sequel. One– because I know Kathy Herman can deliver amazing stories, two–because I can’t wait to see how the Bed and Breakfast the Langley’s are working on turns out.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

As The Seed Awaits the Spring Sunshine, Harriet Kirk Hopes for A Brighter Tomorrow.

“Miss Kirk! Miss Kirk! Come look!” cried Eva…“They sprouted. Six of them.” She reached for Harriet’s hand and tugged. “Come look!”

Author Amanda Cabot takes readers back to Ladreville, Texas for the conclusion of the Texas Dreams series. Tomorrow’s Garden (ISBN: 978-0-8007-3326-1, April 2011 $14.99) is set in the 1850’s with authentic Texas essence and romance. Read as part of the series or as a stand alone title, readers will enjoy this story about Harriet Kirk and her love for family and dedication to their survival.

Leaving the past behind, Harriett Kirk moves her family to the Texas hill country for a new beginning. Becoming Ladreville's new schoolteacher is just what Harriet needs--a chance to put the past behind her and give her younger siblings a brighter tomorrow. What she didn't count on was meeting the handsome former Texas Ranger Lawrence Wood--or the way he slowly but surely claims her fragile heart. But can Harriet and Lawrence ever truly put the past behind them in order to find happiness?

Tomorrow’s Garden is a love story of overcoming powerful odds and grabbing hold of happiness. Readers will experience the Texas countryside come to life from the beautiful picturesque writing of Cabot in Tomorrow’s Garden.

Amanda Cabot is an accomplished author under various pen names and a popular speaker. The author of Paper Roses and Scattered Petals, she is also a charter member of Romance Writers of America, the co-founder of its New Jersey chapter, a member of the ACFW, and an avid traveler. She lives in Wyoming.

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life. They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.


For more information, visit

my review

My Review - Tomorrow's Garden

TOMORROW’S GARDEN by Amanda Cabot had all the elements for a good romance book.

Harriet Kirk is ready to move from her hometown to Ladreville, Texas, to give her and her five siblings a fresh start. As the new schoolteacher, she is hoping to put her difficult past behind and offer stability for her younger brothers and sisters. Never one to think about herself, she finds herself confused about her growing feelings for Lawrence Wood, the town sheriff.

Lawrence Wood, former Texas Ranger, is in Ladreville waiting for his contract to be up. His commitment to be the town mayor/sheriff is coming to an end, and as far as Lawrence is concerned it is time for him to move on. That is until Harriet Kirk comes to town. At first, she is nothing more than a nuisance to him, but soon he finds himself drawn to Harriet’s selfless ways and determination to see her young siblings with a better life.

I enjoyed TOMORROW’S GARDEN. Though I feel as if I have read the plot before, I enjoyed the characters Ms. Cabot created, including some of the town folk of Ladreville that rounded out the story. The drama was never heart stopping, but proved to be the catalyst that brought the hero and heroine together. TOMORROW’S GARDEN is book three in the Texas Dreams Trilogy, but it stands alone just fine by itself. I did not read book one or two and was able to follow the story and back story just fine. A satisfying read.

Book provided for review purposes.

“Available April 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

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:

A Cowboy's Touch

Thomas Nelson (March 29, 2011)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

Visit the author's website.


Wade's ranch home needs a woman's touch. Abigail's life needs a cowboy's touch.

Four years ago, rodeo celebrity Wade Ryan gave up his identity to protect his daughter. Now, settled on a ranch in Big Sky Country, he lives in obscurity, his heart guarded by a high, thick fence.

Abigail Jones isn’t sure how she went from big-city columnist to small-town nanny, but her new charge is growing on her, to say nothing of her ruggedly handsome boss. Love blossoms between Abigail and Wade--despite her better judgment. Will the secrets she brought with her to Moose Creek, Montana separate her from the cowboy who finally captured her heart?

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 29, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595548017
ISBN-13: 978-1595548016


Abigail Jones knew the truth. She frowned at the blinking curser on her monitor and tapped her fingers on the keyboard-what next?

Beyond the screen's glow, darkness washed the cubicles. Her computer hummed, and outside the office windows a screech of tires broke the relative stillness ofthe Chicago night.

She shuffled her note cards. The story had been long in coming, but it was finished now, all except the telling. She knew where she wanted to take it next.

Her fingers stirred into motion, dancing across the keys. This was her favorite part, exposingtruth to the world. Well, okay, not the world exactly, not with Viewpoint's paltry circulation. But now, during the writing, it felt like the world.

Four paragraphs later, the office had shrunk away, and all that existed were the words on the monitor and her memory playing in full color on the screen of her mind.

Something dropped onto her desk with a sudden thud. Abigail’s hand flew to her heart, and her chair darted from her desk. She looked up at her boss’s frowning face, then shared a frown of her own. “You scared me.”

“And you’re scaring me. It’s after midnight, Abigail—what are you doing here?” Marilyn Jones’s hand settled on her hip.

The blast of adrenaline settled into Abigail’s bloodstream, though her heart was still in overdrive. “Being an ambitious staffer?”

“You mean an obsessive workaholic.”

“Something wrong with that?”

“What’s wrong is my twenty-eight-year-old daughter is working all hours on a Saturday night instead of dating an eligible bachelor like all the other single women her age.” Her mom tossed her head, but her short brown hair hardly budged. “You could’ve at least gone out with your sister and me. We had a good time.”

“I’m down to the wire.”

“You’ve been here every night for two weeks.” Her mother rolled up a chair and sank into it. “Your father always thought you’d be a schoolteacher, did I ever tell you that?”

“About a million times.” Abigail settled into the chair, rubbed the ache in her temple. Her heart was still recovering, but she wanted to return to her column. She was just getting to the good part.

“You had a doctor’s appointment yesterday,” Mom said. Abigail sighed hard.

“Whatever happened to doctor-patient confidentiality?”

“Goes out the window when the doctor is your sister. Come on, Abigail, this is your health. Reagan prescribed rest—R-E-S-T—and yet here you are.”

“A couple more days and the story will be put to bed.”

“And then there’ll be another story.”

“That’s what I do, Mother.”

“You’ve had a headache for weeks, and the fact that you made an appointment with your sister is proof you’re not feeling well.”

Abigail pulled her hand from her temple. “I’m fine.”

“That’s what your father said the week before he collapsed.”

Compassion and frustration warred inside Abigail. “He was sixty-two.” And his pork habit hadn’t helped matters. Thin didn’t necessarily mean healthy. She skimmed her own long legs, encased in her favorite jeans . . . exhibit A.

“I’ve been thinking you should go visit your great-aunt.” Abigail already had a story in the works, but maybe her mom had a lead on something else. “New York sounds interesting. What’s the assignment?”

“Rest and relaxation. And I’m not talking about your Aunt Eloise—as if you’d get any rest there—I’m talking about your Aunt Lucy.”

Abigail’s spirits dropped to the basement. “Aunt Lucy lives in Montana.” Where cattle outnumbered people. She felt for the familiar ring on her right hand and began twisting.

“She seems a bit . . . confused lately.”

Abigail recalled the birthday gifts her great-aunt had sent over the years, and her lips twitched. “Aunt Lucy has always been confused.”

“Someone needs to check on her. Her latest letter was full of comments about some girls who live with her, when I know perfectly well she lives alone. I think it may be time for assisted living or a retirement community.”

Abigail’s eyes flashed to the screen. A series of nonsensical letters showed where she’d stopped in alarm at her mother’s appearance. She hit the delete button. “Let’s invite her to Chicago for a few weeks.”

“She needs to be observed in her own surroundings. Besides, that woman hasn’t set foot on a plane since Uncle Murray passed, and I sure wouldn’t trust her to travel across the country alone. You know what happened when she came out for your father’s funeral.”

“Dad always said she had a bad sense of direction.”

“Nevertheless, I don’t have time to hunt her down in Canada again. Now, come on, Abigail, it makes perfect sense for you to go. You need a break, and Aunt Lucy was your father’s favorite relative. It’s our job to look after her now, and if she’s incapable of making coherent decisions, we need to help her.”

Abigail’s conscience tweaked her. She had a soft spot for Aunt Lucy, and her mom knew it. Still, that identity theft story called her name, and she had a reliable source who might or might not be willing to talk in a couple weeks.

“Reagan should do it. I’ll need the full month for my column, and we can’t afford to scrap it. Distribution is down enough as it is. Just last month you were concerned—”

Her mother stood abruptly, the chair reeling backward into the aisle. She walked as far as the next cubicle, then turned. “Hypertension is nothing to mess with, Abigail. You’re so . . . rest- less. You need a break—a chance to find some peace in your life.” She cleared her throat, then her face took on that I’ve-made-up- my-mind look. “Whether you go to your aunt’s or not, I’m insisting you take a leave of absence.”

There was no point arguing once her mother took that tone. She could always do research online—and she wouldn’t mind visiting a part of the country she’d never seen. “Fine. I’ll finish this story, then go out to Montana for a week or so.”

“Finish the story, yes. But your leave of absence will last three months.”

“Three months!”

“It may take that long to make a decision about Aunt Lucy.”

“What about my apartment?”

“Reagan will look after it. You’re hardly there anyway. You need a break, and Moose Creek is the perfect place.”

Moose Creek. “I’ll say. Sounds like nothing more than a traffic signal with a gas pump on the corner.”

“Don’t be silly. Moose Creek has no traffic signal. Abigail, you have become wholly obsessed with—”

“So I’m a hard worker . . .” She lifted her shoulders.

Her mom’s lips compressed into a hard line. “Wholly obsessed with your job. Look, you know I admire hard work, but it feels like you’re always chasing something and never quite catching it. I want you to find some contentment, for your health if nothing else. There’s more to life than investigative reporting.”

“I’m the Truthseeker, Mom. That’s who I am.” Her fist found home over her heart.

Her mother shouldered her purse, then zipped her light sweater, her movements irritatingly slow. She tugged down the ribbed hem and smoothed the material of her pants. “Three months, Abigail. Not a day less.”

My Review - A Cowboy's Touch

A COWBOY’S TOUCH by Denise Hunter is my kind of book. It had a great story, good characters, and the right amount of romantic tension to keep you turning page after page.

Abigail Jones is an investigative reporter who happens to be a workaholic. When her mother/boss puts her on a three month leave of absence to get her hypertension under control, Abigail ends up in Moose Creek, Montana with her aging Aunt. With intentions of watching her Aunt for early signs of dementia, she soon finds herself accepting the position of Nanny for Maddy, her Aunt’s neighbor and the daughter of one good-looking cowboy. When Abigail finds out he’s a celebrity in hiding, she feels she’s found the perfect story to help buoy her mother’s failing magazine.

Wade Ryan wants nothing more than to raise his daughter on his Montana ranch away for the lights and the glitz of his former life. Losing his wife upended his world and so he’s had to create a new one for Maddy and himself. When he hires Abigail as Maddy’s nanny, sparks fly, but he is quick to douse the embers before they ignite . . . or so he thinks.

Abigail must choose. Either she can help her mother’s magazine with an expose on Wade, and why it is he disappeared after his wife’s death, or she can love the man she has fallen for and put her investigative story to rest.

I really enjoyed A COWBOY’S TOUCH. The story had good pacing and the characters were well fleshed out. I don’t like books that keep the heroine and hero at arms length until the last page, so I appreciated the romantic tension. And of course, I am a sucker for boots, a Stetson, and a Southern drawl.

Book provided for review purposes.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dan Walsh Returns With A Story of Love That Defies the Odds

“I’ve written you a note, inside the pouch,” John yelled. “Don’t read it…unless you hear word that I - that I did not…” Tears poured down his cheeks. He looked away. “John!” she screamed. “I must go back…”

Award-wining author Dan Walsh brings a powerful love story reminiscent of the Titanic to readers. The Deepest Waters (ISBN: 978-0-8007-1980-7, April 2011, $14.99) is a masterpiece of historical fiction set in 1857 when newlyweds John and Laura Foster set sail on the SS Vandervere for their honeymoon. Soon, their fairytale becomes a nightmare when a hurricane causes the ship to sink into the depths of the Atlantic. John and Laura are separated not knowing if they will ever see each other again.

Walsh was inspired to write The Deepest Waters by the true story of the sinking of a paddle-wheel steamship laden with gold from San Francisco, California. The SS Central America, bound for New York City ran into a hurricane which sealed her fate around September 11, 1857.

Walsh takes readers on a journey through troubled waters as they discover the treasure hidden in The Deepest Waters, a story full of action and suspense. Through the Fosters, Walsh creates an amazing love story about what happens when miracles do come true.

Dan Walsh is the award-winning author of The Unfinished Gift, and The Homecoming. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for 25 years. He lives with his family in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life. They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.


For more information, visit

Link to my review