Tags: Christian Fiction
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!
and the book:
B&H Books (March 15, 2011)
***Special thanks to Julie Gwinn, Trade Book Marketing, B&H Publishing Group for sending me a review copy.***
Kimberley Woodhouse is a wife, mother, writer, and musician approaching life with a positive outlook despite difficult circumstances. Her previous book,Welcome Home: Our Family’s Journey to Extreme Joy, chronicles her daughter’s extremely rare health issues and how the Woodhouses received an amazing gift through the ABC television program Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Kayla Woodhouse is a teenage author whose life-altering medical condition (a nerve disorder that prevents the body from regulating its temperature or sensing pain) has not stopped her love for swimming. She is home schooled and has an adventure blog called Dragon Claws, Dog Paws, Swimming Laws.
Visit the Kim’s website.
Visit the Kayla’s blog.
A young widow and her physically challenged daughter survive a plane crash in the Alaskan mountains but must puzzle together how it relates to the recent death of their husband and father.
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: B&H Books (March 15, 2011)
AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:
The plane dropped like a 3000 pound stone.
Jenna Tikaani-Gray braced herself with one hand, and held a warm, foam cup away from her body with the other as they jostled along. These pockets of air were turning the flight into a wild ride at the fair. Good thing she loved those rides almost as much as she loved flying, because they were dropping again. Down, then up, then down again, until the sky turned to silk and the plane sailed along.
At least the turbulence hadn’t spilled the coffee.
After a long, slow sip, Jenna released a sigh as their small de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, left the bowl of Anchorage, Alaska, and lifted into the clear blue sky above. The mountains around Anchorage always produced a bumpy ride, but she’d managed to pass coffee to Hank and their other passenger without mishap.
Only one more leg of the journey and they’d be home.
A beautiful hand reached across the seat, welcoming her embrace, and she smiled at her twelve-year-old daughter, Andrea. Such a sweet kid. Jenna had definitely been blessed from above with her only child. Andrea had been through such trial and heartache, yet faced the world smiling.
Jenna squeezed her daughter’s hand as the radio buzzed and crackled.
“Juliet Kilo 3-2-6 November”–Departure Control came through the channel loud and clear.–“I’m getting no mode C on your transponder. Squawk 2-3-7-5 i-dent.”
Hank, the pilot, replied, “Roger. Juliet Kilo 3-2-6 November i-dent…”
“Negative radar contact. Maintain VFR. Do you have another transponder?”
“Roger. I’ll switch to backup.”
Jenna leaned over the side of her seat watching Hank flip the switch from transponder A to B. She waited for word from Departure Control.
“Still negative radar contact. Can you maintain VFR?”
“Roger that, Control. No problem.”
That was strange. How could both transponders be malfunctioning? She furrowed her brow. When they returned to North Pole, she’d have to get it checked out. Good thing Hank was an experienced pilot. Since Marc’s death, Jenna had hired him to pilot their plane, and knew he could handle whatever might happen.
Andie pulled on her arm, bringing Jenna’s attention from the cockpit back to her daughter.
“What does VFR mean?” Andie’s fascination was clear on her face.
Jenna felt the tension ease from her own features as she leaned close to Andie, a little thrill rippling through her body. How she loved talking about flying. “Visual Flight Rules. Hank filed an IFR flight plan—Instrument Flight Rules—but the transponders must be malfunctioning, so the tower is instructing him to fly VFR, meaning visually. If we didn’t have a clear day, that would make flying VFR trickier, sometimes impossible.”
“Is it safe to fly VFR?”
Andie must have noted her reaction earlier. Jenna had never been good at hiding things from her inquisitive child.
Jenna noticed the other passenger glance back at them from his seat next to the pilot, and she held back a frown. The rough flight could explain the man’s lack of a smile, but what caused the fierce look he shot them? Jenna cocked her head, questioning the man with her silent stare. A poke from Andie brought her back to the question.
“Yes, sweetie. It’s perfectly safe.”
“Just checkin’.” Andie giggled, squeezed Jenna’s hand, and turned to look out the tiny window next to her seat.
The man watched Jenna as she faced forward once again. Something in his intense gaze pulled at her, but she couldn’t discern what. She’d been so excited about going home that she hadn’t paid attention when they were introduced. His first name was . . . Cole? Ugh. Good job remembering the details, Jenna. Marc had taught her better than that.
Well, whether she could remember his name or not, something about this guy bothered her. She just couldn’t put her finger on what.
Forcing herself to break the connection, she slid her chin left and tried to focus on the scenery beneath them. Greens and blues melded with the white of melting snow. This was her favorite part of flying. Watching the beauty of God’s handiwork skim below her.
The two men up front spoke in hushed tones, bringing her attention back to their puzzling guest. Hank approached her before the flight asking if they could take another passenger, and she didn’t mind since the added income would be to her benefit. But who was this guy? And why, if he were just another tourist, was he so serious?
Closing her eyes, Jenna attempted to dispel her concerns. Think about the amazing news from Andie’s neurosurgeon instead. The results were far beyond her expectations, and for the first time in many years Jenna allowed herself to dream big for her precious child. So much tragedy and hurt could now be replaced with hope. The future was brighter than ever.
Instinctively, she reached for the dog tags around her neck. If only Marc could’ve been there. He’d been distraught when, as a toddler, their daughter was first diagnosed. But the additional diagnosis two years ago just about broke the man. He’d never quite recovered, and his demeanor had forever changed. The once crazy adventurer—a man full of life and laughter—closed himself behind a stone wall of protection.
She’d fought long and hard to penetrate his defenses, but taking care of Andie had become their focus, taken all their energy. When their daughter went in for brain surgery a year ago, the walls between them finally fell as they cried and held one another in the surgical waiting room. But Jenna never had the chance to discover what drove her husband to such emotional extremes. The accident happened before Andie was released from the hospital.
Opening her eyes, she blinked back the tears threatening to spill down her cheeks. Stop it! This is no time for tears. It’s a happy day.
They would move on from here.
She turned to gaze out the window. How long had she been lost in her memories? And, for that matter…where were they? Leaning closer to the glass, she searched for familiar landmarks. The scenery wasn’t right.
Before she could open her mouth to speak to Hank, brisk movement in the cockpit drew her attention to the two men up front. Seeing a tangle of arms shoved her heart into her throat.
Hank was fighting the passenger!
The man grabbed Hank’s arm and—a gun! Hank had a gun!
Before Jenna could move, Hank jerked his arm free, took aim, and shot the radio. Glancing at Andie, she ripped open her seatbelt. Her daughter’s eyes widened and her mouth hung open as Jenna yanked the belt off her and shoved her over the seat toward the rear of the plane. She climbed after her frightened child, signaling her to crouch in the floor. As Jenna hunched over her sweet daughter, she hugged her tight, whispering calming words in an attempt to shield her from the horror of the scene unfolding in front of them.
The plane plunged and veered to the west.
Heart thundering, Jenna monitored the scuffle through a crack between the seats and prayed for wisdom and safety. What was happening? And why? Arms wrestled and tangled—the passenger pushed upward, almost hovering over the pilot. What if he killed Hank?
As the plane teetered and shuddered, Jenna felt the panic rise in her throat. Surely God wasn’t going to let Andie die, not after all she’d survived already.
The man rammed a fist into the pilot’s face. Though Hank tried to fight back, he soon crumpled under the intense blows. Hank wore an evil smirk as he croaked out the awful words: “You’ll…never make…it…alive…”
The same fear that stole her breath rushed into the passenger’s face. What did Hank mean? Was it a threat to the passenger? Or to them all?
Determination stretched taut over the man’s rugged features as he threw Hank to the floor behind him, and climbed into the pilot’s seat. “Tie his hands!” He tossed a small cord to Jenna.
He fought to level off the plane, then glanced back in her direction. His breaths were ragged and his eyes bore a glassy sheen. He looked different… unfocused. Dare she depend on him? After Hank’s words, Jenna wasn’t sure about anything. It was all happening too fast.
Grabbing Andie, she hauled herself back over the seat and fumbled with the cording. It was a good thing Hank was unconscious, as her knots needed work. She darted a glance toward the cockpit, and decided to strap Hank back in. Their landing could be really rough if this guy didn’t know what he was doing, and she wanted their former pilot to be in decent condition to go to jail.
“Leave him!” Even though his upper lip was sweaty and he looked slightly green, his glare could burn a hole through steel. “You two buckle up!” He turned back to the controls.
Jenna bowed her head in prayer.
“This may be bumpy, I don’t know…what they did to…your plane…” The man’s words grew more and more slurred. “I’m not feeling…so… hhhoo…”
In a matter of seconds, he slid down his seat and slumped over the yoke, arms limp at his sides.
Time stood still. She could hear her lungs taking in air, watched Andie’s eyes widen in fear, felt the plane dive forward, but Jenna couldn’t move. God, Help me! Spare my daughter, please Lord!
Andie screamed. “Mom!”
In a split-second, Jenna’s survival instinct kicked in. Bolting up, she grabbed Andie. “It’s going to be okay, baby.” She slid a hand down Andie’s cheek. “I need you to help me move this guy, and then I want you to grab Hank’s headset and buckle up in the co-pilot’s seat. Can you do that?”
Without waiting for an answer, she squeezed Andie’s shoulder and climbed over seats into the cockpit. Adrenaline pumped pure strength through Jenna’s veins as she moved the bulk of the man who had tried to save them.
Or kill them.
She shook her head and shoved his solid, muscled frame over the seat. Jenna motioned for Andie to help strap him into another seat. Hank was sprawled, with his legs at an odd angle, but she had bigger concerns at the moment. Like landing the plane.
Andie grabbed Hank’s headset, dashed back to the front, and climbed into the seat next to her. .
Jenna took a deep breath and turned to the controls as Andie buckled in. She looked through the windshield–and gasped.
Denali—“the high one”—the tallest mountain in North America, loomed before her. They shouldn’t be anywhere near the Alaska Range, and yet here they were—flying straight into the South Face.
“Your seatbelt, Mom!”
Jenna’s hands gripped the yoke tighter. No time for a seatbelt. She needed control of this plane.
“It’s okay, honey. Calm down.”
“But, Mom…” Andie gripped the headset. “Can you save us?”
Two weeks of flight ground school and one lesson didn’t quite give Jenna the know-how she needed to get out of this alive. “I’m gonna try, Sweetie.” Oh, God! Show me what to do!
Pulling up on the yoke, she tried to level out the small aircraft. “Honey, I need you to set those four dials on the radio controls to 1-2-1-5. That’s the emergency frequency. 1-2-1-5. Okay?”
Andie nodded and didn’t hesitate to obey. The kid had been through brain surgery and a lifetime dealing with a rare physical condition. Her hands shook as she sucked in a deep breath and started turning the knobs. “Okay, Mom.” Nervous blue eyes met hers as she handed over the headset. “It’s set.”
Slamming the headset onto her head, Jenna winced. Careful. Breathe. Andie’s relying on you. “Mayday! Mayday! Juliet Kilo 3-2-6 November needs emergency assistance. We have no pilot aboard capable of flying this plane. Mayday! Mayday!”
Crackling, hissing, static, and then silence.
“Mayday, mayday! Juliet Kilo 3-2-6 November requesting emergency assistance!”
Andie’s sweet voice filled the cabin as reality set in. “Mom, the radio’s dead. Hank shot it. Why would he do that, Mom?” Tears quietly streamed down her daughter’s face.
“Baby, I don’t know, but I have to try to land this plane. Put your head between your knees right now and cover your head with your arms.”
Her brave little trooper obeyed, and Jenna prayed for guidance. Taking a firm grip on the yoke, she tried to turn the plane. The rudder barely responded. Something was wrong with the ailerons. What had she forgotten?
Okay, Jenna, think. Cut your descent. Flaps down. What else can I do? Oh, God, help me remember! Help me think. There was no avoiding it: they were going to crash. She needed to strap herself in. Fumbling with one hand made it all the more difficult. “Andie, help me with the buckle.”
She had to steer away from Denali. Sultana stood to her left, towering in all her glory. If she could just get close to Kahiltna glacier, she might be able to land there. But they were too high on the mountain. She’d have to find a different place and soon. With all her might, she worked the yoke to turn west, but the mountain face rushed toward her at a terrifying pace.
Not much time left.
Lifting the nose up, she prayed for the snow to be deep enough to cushion their landing. It was all she could do. The plane barely responded to her attempts to turn it, and they raced toward the steep mountain side.
With one last cry for help, Jenna lurched as the plane dove toward the side of the mountain. Letting go of the yoke, she flung her arms over her daughter’s body inhaling Andie’s sweet scent: Citrus shampoo and a sweetness all her daughter. But she couldn’t tear her eyes away from the scene.
Metal crunched. Glass shattered and peppered her arms. The plane creaked and groaned as they impacted Sultana’s unyielding side. The sound of screaming metal surrounded them, and Jenna knew. The mountain had ripped the wings from the fuselage. Her breaths seemed hours apart as the plane pummeled the snow-packed earth underneath them.
Another desperate prayer formed in her mind—only to be blotted out when everything went from the brilliant white of the snow to deep black.
Air crossed my face like someone breathing beside me. Then something rustled next to my hand.
Wind. I feel wind. My thoughts began to clear. Why would I feel the wind inside an airplane? Memories flooded my head and chills raced up my spine. Something wasn’t right. I tried to shake off the foreboding, but the slight movement sent piercing pain screaming through my head.
Ow! Okay, that’s weird. I wasn’t used to feeling pain.
I placed a hand on my head and put slight pressure to it. Slowly, I opened my eyes.
Oh! Bright light. Wiggling within the tight confines of my seatbelt, I just about conked my head on some sort of thingy hanging in the air above me. Everything was a blur and I felt like I was spinning. Why am I spinning? The sun shone bright, and I rubbed my eyes. The spinning stopped.
The seat belt straps were cutting off the circulation on my shoulders and squeezing the living daylights out of my stomach. I fumbled with the straps and wrestled with the buckles. Finally, I managed to unlatch them—and fell, landing on my shoulder.
I was on the ceiling of the plane. Hanging . . . upside down? No wonder my head hurt. I was just glad I didn’t land on it.
I rubbed the sides of my head to try and clear my fuzzy mind, then climbed on my hands and knees through a hole that at one time must have been the windshield. Moving only made my dizziness worse.
“Ouchy!” My head started to hurt. Really hurt. What was the weird, zinging pain? Wait…pain? Fear swirled through me like a hurricane. The last time I felt pain, they told me I needed brain surgery. Tears slid down my icy cheeks before I could stop them. Lord, please no! No. No. Not again, God I can’t handle this, it’s too much.
Panic bubbled up inside of me. Stumbling, forcing one foot in front of the other, I kept going. I wiped away the tiny droplets feeling grit and dirt covering my face. I looked down at my upturned palms. They were covered in dirt—
Lots of blood.
Oh, great. Spots danced in front of my eyes as the dizziness overwhelmed me.
And then there was nothing.
The stinging on the back of my head made my eyes pop open. The sky loomed above me, and if I hadn’t known better I would have said it looked threatening. How long was I out? The pain was still there, but at least my brain wasn’t so fuzzy.
Ok, Andrea, do something. Those words seemed to help me push myself to a sitting position. I took deep breaths to calm the shaking that had taken over my body. One more breath, then I reached my left hand back under my long black hair to touch the scar on the back of my neck to see if it was intact. The familiar bumpy groove greeted my fingers. I pulled my hand back with a sigh, but avoided looking at it. I didn’t feel the stickiness of blood…well, not on that hand. That must mean no blood or wounds were on my scar. But my sticky right hand haunted me, as if something fierce–like a giant, abominable snowman–lay on top of the blood, waiting to gobble me up.
The fainting happens every time. I hate blood!
Ok, Andie, just don’t think about it.
My surroundings came into focus. Snow, more snow, boulders, glass, the airplane… Uh-oh. The airplane. Hadn’t I been in the airplane? Or had I dreamed that? I glanced around—then wished I hadn’t.
Some sort of big, metal part was smashed against a rock face and the tail-rudder-thingamabob had completely fallen off and lay on the other side of the crash. There was no sign of the wings and the windshield was shattered in a million pieces that lay sparkling on the snow as they reflected the sun’s light. And lying in the middle of it all . . .
I ran over to her. She was under one of the wings. Well, partly under one of the wings, covered in blood. Lots of blood. All over her legs. Her jacket was torn and had blood on it too.
“Mom! You have to wake up, Mom!” I shook her shoulder in an attempt to wake her. It didn’t work.
The blood… I pulled in air, then looked away before I threw up, and almost passed out again. That’s when I saw the man who fought Hank.
Again, I jerked away, my stomach churning. Too much. Too much fear. Too much loneliness. Too much blood. I couldn’t do it. Walking away, I trudged through the snow, and sat—well more accurately, fell—on the ground. Tears spilled down my now soggy face, quickly turning to ice and sparkling on the snow as a scratchy voice inside my head said the most awful truth.
They’re dead. You’re all alone.
Tags: Bible Commentary
“What is truth?” Pilate asked. (John 18:38) The Dictionary answer is: Conformity to fact or actuality. A statement proven to be or accepted as true. Sincerity; integrity. Fidelity to an original or a standard. Reality; actuality. A lie on the other hand, is defined as, A false
statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood. Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression. There is the Truth and there is a lie. Two forces in direct opposition to each other. What you believe depends on which of these two forces succeeds in your life. This is a gladiator event, an epic boxing or wrestling match and there can only be one winner. In one corner personifying the truth is Jesus; “I am the truth.” In the other corner personifying a lie or deception is Satan, the devil; “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there
is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
Whenever you believe something, no matter what, one of them has won in your life. In this matter there is no middle ground! Your belief system gives victory to one side or the other but never to both simultaneously. Jesus repeatedly said, “I tell you the truth.” Satan repeatedly twisted God’s word and each time he was listened to there was a fall from grace. Case in point being expelled from the Garden of Eden. Satan asked, “did God truly say??” We know the answer to that and we know the results of her not taking God at His word. We are still reaping the results of that mistake today.
Lies and deception bring bondage. Each lie that you accept into your belief system holds you in prison. If you have been told that you are worthless and you will never amount to anything and you have accepted that as true then not amounting to anything is your prison. God said you are more than a conqueror. God believes that in Him you can achieve great success. Jesus said, “then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
What force has dominance in your life? The truth or a lie? Are the words people have spoken in your life the controlling factor in your belief system or are the words that Jesus has spoken what you believe? A simple way to answer this question is to ask yourself how do you feel about life? Is life a never ending series of getting up, going to work, coming home to menial chores then to sleep to begin the routine all over again or is life an adventure, a series of challenges that you face hand in hand with Jesus? When you face an insurmountable problem in your life do you throw up your hands in defeat and curse your life as this is the way it is and the way it has always been and become bitter or more bitter. Or do you say, “Lord, I don’t know how to overcome this obstacle that has loomed up in my path. This financial problem, health problem, marital problem, relationship problem is beyond my ability to deal with. However this problem is not beyond your ability and you have said that you would help me in all my circumstances and God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?
Child of God – If you desire to have freedom in your life then you have to receive the truth. The battle is in your mind for it is there that you accept into your belief system what is being said to you. Each time something comes into your hearing you need to filter what is being said against Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things”. If someone says you are a failure check that against Philippians. Well obviously that is not a good report so don’t believe it. It’s not true! Jesus said “I am the Truth” and He will set you free.
If you don’t have the assurance of His love today, open your heart to Jesus the Savior and the Lord. Pray: “Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and that out of love for me you willingly sacrificed your life so that I may live. I acknowledge you as my personal Savior and Lord and
repent of all my sins.
If you prayed this prayer or if you have any questions please contact us. We would like to hear from you.
Tags: Bible Commentary
“Then one of the Twelve–the one called Judas Iscariot–went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins”. (Matthew 26:14-15 NIV)
In Genesis 37 we find the events of Joseph with his brothers as he came to them as they were tending their father’s sheep and they plotted to kill him. While they were plotting some merchants came by and they opted to sell him instead. “Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed. So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt”
(Genesis 37:27-28 NIV). “After all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood” what a statement and on account of that statement the brothers decide not to kill him but to sell him instead. Benjamin is not one of the brothers there as he is still home with Jacob, their father, so there were only ten of them; they made twenty shekels for Joseph so each brother pocketed 2 shekels. What a profit and Jacob, their father tore his clothes in grief because they told him Joseph was dead.
What is the value of human life? There was a news report the other night about a husband and wife, who already had three children and were expecting a fourth, were in discussions on selling their unborn child for $25,000 to pay off some outstanding debt that was burdensome. It is
so easy to get into debt. We purchase necessary and unnecessary stuff all the time and sometimes we spend more than we should and we end up in debt. In debt, though, you can always pay it off. Somehow, a creative, industrious person can always get out of debt with God’s help. What do you do, though, when you have sold one of your children to pay off the debt? When you have the money can you purchase back your child? And if you get back into debt again do you sell another child? The prophet Joel tells us, “They cast lots for my people and traded boys for prostitutes; they sold girls for wine that they might drink” (Joel 3:3 NIV).
What is the value of human life? When did we receive the right to buy and sell each other? How do we decide how much another person is worth? Do we decide by the pound, by height; are males worth more than females or the reverse? Judas went to the chief priests and asked what will you give me if I betray the man I have followed for over three years? So they gave him thirty
silver coins. Judas was greedy and a thief so this was a great bargain for him. So Judas betrayed Jesus in the garden with a kiss and then watched as the chief priests condemned Him and sent Him to Pilate to be crucified. In horror, he tried to give the money back, to stop them from killing Jesus but they only laughed at him. “When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:3-5 NIV).
Child of God – What is the value of human life? Another life! Judas saw that to pay for a life it required a life but Judas made a mistake; he gave his own life as payment and it didn’t work. We cannot give our lives for another as payment for their lives. God is the only one who can provide a life that will pay for our lives. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV). The value of your life is the life of Jesus. Jesus lay down His life that we might have life in Him.
Lord, thank you that you exchanged your life for mine. I had to die for my sins and you did it for me, yet you never sinned. I know I will never repay you, it is impossible. But the least I can do is to live for you. You own my life already. You bought it by a price, the biggest one, your own life. Amen.
If you want to have a personal relationship with Jesus as your Lord and Savior pray: “Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and that out of love for me you willingly sacrificed your life so that I may live. I repent of all my sins and open my heart to you as my Lord and Savior. Amen.
If you prayed this prayer for the first time or if you have any questions please contact us. We would love to hear from you.