No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah. He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley’s eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we’ve never experienced before.
Barley’s story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly-drowned pup. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes again for Barley, he carries the lessons of forgiveness and love out of the woodcarver’s home and through the dangerous roads of Roman occupied Judea.
On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his unlikely new master experience fresh struggles and new revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story ever told.
Review of The Dog Who Was There
Ron Marasco’s The Dog Who Was There is the tender story of an orphaned dog named Barley who witnessed firsthand the death of our Lord while searching for love and his forever home.
Barley was born in a field to a loving mother. His days were happy, filled with sunshine and the ability to explore under his mother’s watchful eye. When a small boy accidently discovers Barley his days become filled with playing and special treats the boy brings him. But through a series of unfortunate events Barley is separated from his new friend and mother and left for dead. When Adah and Duv, an elderly couple find him along a river, they are immediately smitten and give him a loving and secure home. For many years Barley is a happy pup, but when Adah and Duv fail to come home from market one evening Barley is compelled to search for them. Realizing his family is not coming back, Barley goes in search of a new home and a new companion to love. Along the way he meets with many characters and mishaps, some of them dangerous for Jerusalem has become a place of cruelty and uncertainty under the rule of the Roman Empire. It is here he will discover the one he calls the Kind Man and others call Teacher. He sees people transformed under the gentle gaze and loving words of the Kind Man and Barley is transfixed too. But as the week unfolds Barley is saddened and confused as he witnesses the crucifixion and death of the Kind Man. Unknowingly by this event the world is about to change and Barley’s life with it.
What a beautifully written book, but it should come with a warning label that says “DANGER, your heart will melt” or “BEWARE, tears guaranteed”. Tender and gentle the world unfolded and I was able to witness the greatest story of humanity seen through the innocent eyes of a dog. Ron Marasco’s writing was brilliant and spot on with loving, gritty and complex characters. I could not read this book without a roller-coaster of emotion coursing through me. And for those of you who will be smart enough to purchase this book, I guarantee you will LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the ending. (Thank you Mr. Marasco, I never saw it coming!!)
The Dog Who Was There is a must read for everyone. Beautifully written, innocent and tender, The Dog Who Was There recounts the story of The Passion and the Kind Man as seen through the innocent eyes of a scruffy but loving dog who like all of us is looking to love and to be loved.
I want to thank Thomas Nelson – Fiction via NetGalley for an advanced copy of The Dog Who Was There for a fair and honest review.
A beloved American corporation with an explosive secret. A disgraced former journalist looking for redemption. A corporate executive with nothing left to lose.
In Dhaka, Bangladesh, a garment factory burns to the ground, claiming the lives of hundreds of workers, mostly young women. Amid the rubble, a bystander captures a heart-stopping photograph—a teenage girl lying in the dirt, her body broken by a multi-story fall, and over her mouth a mask of fabric bearing the label of one of America's largest retailers, Presto Omnishops Corporation.
Eight thousand miles away, at Presto's headquarters in Virginia, Cameron Alexander, the company's long-time general counsel, watches the media coverage of the fire in horror, wondering if the damage can be contained. When the photo goes viral, fanning the flames of a decades old controversy about sweatshops, labor rights, and the ethics of globalization, he launches an investigation into the disaster that will reach farther than he could ever imagine—and threaten everything he has left in the world.
A year later, in Washington, D.C., Joshua Griswold, a disgraced former journalist from the Washington Post, receives an anonymous summons from a corporate whistleblower who offers him confidential information about Presto and the fire. For Griswold, the challenge of exposing Presto's culpability is irresistible, as is the chance, however slight, at redemption. Deploying his old journalistic skills, he builds a historic case against Presto, setting the stage for a war in the courtroom and in the media that Griswold is determined to win—both to salvage his reputation and to provoke a revolution of conscience in Presto's boardroom that could transform the fashion industry across the globe.
Review of A Harvest of Throrns
A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison is the story of one man’s conscience against a multi-billion dollar business. Cameron Anderson, Senior VP and general counsel to Presto, a multi-billion dollar corporation, likes his job and the daily challenges, money and prestige it provides. But when a fire in a supply factory breaks out, killing and seriously injuring many of its workers in Bangladesh, Presto becomes the target and an ugly media blitz soon follows. Cameron, wanting to save the reputation of the company as well as discover the cause of the fire, embarks on a difficult and painful journey that uncovers more than he bargained for. It appears Presto’s Code of Conduct has been violated in many of its supply chains in several countries. In addition to the long hours, cramped quarters and unsafe factory conditions Cameron finds forced labor, human trafficking and sexual assault to be the norm in many of the factories that supply garments to Presto.
Determined to right these wrongs, a Presto employee secretly enlists the aid of Joshua Griswold, a disgraced Pulitzer Prize writer caught in his own scandal of sorts. Feeding him just enough information, he leads Joshua to the far corners of the world to uncover the illegal and disgraceful world of modern day sweat shops and the very lives of the poor they affect. Knowing the potential this information has to bring down a major corporation and an American brand, both Presto employee and Josh work together to stop the corruption and promote ethical practices for the future both here and abroad.
Corban Addison has created a beautiful cast of characters in A Harvest of Thorns. Cameron from the beginning commanded attention. His struggle with his conscience and the loyalty to his best friend and CEO was complex and fascinating to watch. Josh and the cast he enlists to assist him overseas in his investigation were heartfelt and compelling. The factory workers they encountered and interviewed broke my heart. I found myself cheering them on to defend themselves against a corporation and a system of corruption both here and abroad. The book although fiction, was an eye opener. The information that the author gave at the end of the book in his notes was disturbing to say the least. To know that some of these conditions still exist today was mind boggling. I found myself doing internet searches for companies that are transparent and willing to disclose where there garments are made and where they come from. As consumers and fellow human beings we all need to be more aware and conscious of where we shop and how our goods are being made.
A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison is an exciting drama and a must read for everyone. It grabs you from the beginning and doesn’t let go till the very end. Filled with raw emotion the reader will be swept away cheering for justice to be served.
I want to thank Thomas Nelson – Fiction via NetGalley for an advanced copy of A Harvest of Thorns for a fair and honest review.
"Listen to me – using words like ruse. I need to watch it before I follow in Lucy and Ethel’s footsteps and start saying words like sitrep and run around thinking I’m some super private investigator solving crimes. "
Book 3 in the Death by Cupcake series. Can be read as a standalone.
Kristie is kind with a capital K, so it’s quite the surprise when she wakes up next to a dead man with no recollection of the previous night. Even worse? She’s naked. Kristie may be a sweetheart out to save the world, but sticking her nose into an investigation of rapes across campus makes her the target of a murderer. Before she knows it, Kristie is smack dab in the middle of a murder investigation with her colleagues Callie and Anna. If that’s not enough to drive a sane person up the wall, a friend has decided he’s going to keep her safe whether she wants him to or not. And, oh yeah, he’s her man and that’s that.
Come join us at Callie’s Cakes, where murder investigations are on the menu. You are most welcome, but you may need to serve yourself as our barista Kristie is busy trying to save the world.
Warning: Although there are plenty of moments that will make you shake your head and laugh at the antics of the ladies of Callie’s Cakes, the subject matter – rape on college campuses – is very real and somewhat darker than your usual cozy mystery.
I’m wiping down the counters when I get ambushed by Callie and Anna. Callie grabs my arm and together with Anna she pushes me into the corner furthest from the students. “What in the world of coffee beans are you guys up to now?” I cross my arms over my chest to make it perfectly clear that I’m not okay with whatever cockamamie scheme they’ve cooked up now.
Anna looks at me and smiles in an obvious but unsuccessful attempt to look innocent. “It’s just that we think it’s time we see the Youth Center where you spend all your time.”
Yeah, right. I roll my eyes at her. “You don’t really expect me to believe that you want to see the Youth Center to check out my life’s work.”
Callie bobs her head. “We’ve been meaning to go down there for ages.”
“Yeah,” Anna jumps in. “Logan always makes it sound like the first circle of hell.”
I raise an eyebrow at the troublemaking pixie. Of course, she would want to jump into the first circle of hell. “Most people try to avoid Dante’s Inferno.” I don’t know why I bother trying to dissuade her. She obviously has no fear of things ‘normal’ people avoid like gangs and violence and such. She even admits to starting to fall for Logan before she realized he was an undercover cop.
“We just need to make sure we can eliminate anyone from the Youth Center as possible suspects. You know – up close and personally – then we need to find this rapist before he strikes again. The dead guy in your bed was some kind of warning. It’s time to get to the bottom of this.” Callie makes an impassioned speech. I look down but, to my surprise, no soap box has magically appeared under her feet.
Unfortunately, Callie is right – as usual. The rapist needs to be found. And this whole thing just got personal. I might have backed off before Friday night since I wasn’t making any progress anyway and my whole knowledge of the rapes was based on rumors. But now that I’ve been roofied and found out about the ten other girls who weren’t as lucky as me? No way I’m bowing out of this investigation now.
“I thought you guys promised not to go to the Youth Center.” I make one last ditch effort to keep Callie and Anna safely away from this investigation.
“I promised to not go running around. I will definitely not be doing any running.” Anna shakes her head and points at her feet. As if those high-heeled boots would ever stop her from running head-on into turmoil.
Callie shrugs. “I never actually said the words ‘I promise’. There’s definitely some kind of loophole there.”
“Fine!” I throw my hands in the air in defeat. “We’ll head over in my car after the bakery closes this afternoon.”
The dynamic duo immediately jumps up and down before rushing back into the kitchen giggling. And I’m the young one?
I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on from my mom's Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew to Little Women. When I wasn't flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although I did manage, every once in a while, to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I decided to follow the husband to Istanbul for a few years where I managed to churn out book after book. But ten years was too many to stay away from ‘home’. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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A PhD Nutritionist with a Masters degree in psychology, Dr. Del teaches simple mind-body principles to busy entrepreneurs and professionals to help them energize their lifestyle, improve their personal wellbeing, and enhance their work engagement.
Dr. Del has appeared on FOX Television (Good Day LA), E-Entertainment TV (DR 90210), numerous nationally syndicated radio shows, and in magazines, and newspapers throughout the United States and Australia (LA Sports & Fitness, Australian Ironman, Health & Fitness, Stuff, Fighting Fat and others).
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