Is it time to join Prime?

Amazon.com celebrates Prime Day with savings

Today is Prime Day at Amazon.com, with deals in every department, and new ones added during the day, for customers who belong to Prime, the Amazon program that provides free two-day shipping (and even faster, for those who live close to an Amazon warehouse) plus other benefits.

Prime is a good deal, even a great deal, for some households, but not worth the expense for others.  I started with a free, 30-day trial — click on the offer below to get your own free trial — and I’ve renewed it some years and not others.

Today’s deals include a discount of 33.33 percent on the new 7-inch Kindle Fire for Prime members only:

Endeavour Press, which I have found to be a reliable publisher of previously out-of-print books as well as new releases, has a number of Prime Day deals, including this one from Alan Evans:Seek Out

November 1917. The First World War is on a knife-edge – and the British Empire in mortal danger. Commander David Cochrane Smith is about to embark on his most perilous adventure yet. The Imperial German Navy has sent Kapitan-zur-See Erwin Voss to command the mighty new battle cruiser Salzburg in the Adriatic. Smith is ordered by the Admiralty to find and attack her in harbour — a seemingly suicidal task which is made all the more hopeless when he runs into the opposition of his superiors in Venice. But it is a vital mission and Smith knows he must go it alone. Though the odds are stacked against him and his tiny crew, his orders are inflexible. Wipe out the enemy. Commanding three small torpedo boats, Smith finds himself relentlessly hunted as Voss and the Salzberg score victory after victory. Finally, Smith sees one last chance to avert all-out disaster – he stakes everything on one final attempt to seek out and destroy…

Saturday Savings with MiddleSisterReviews

More funny mysteries — for free!

And discounts on a classic, plus a funny film memoir

I have read and enjoyed some books in all of these mystery series, though not the ones that are offered free today.  Please remember to verify the price before purchase, as they are always subject to change without notice.

List price, $4.99 (USD)
List price, $4.99 (USD)

Murder on Opening Night:  When Myrtle Clover and her friend Miles attend a play in their small town, there’s a full house on opening night. It’s clear to Myrtle that one of the actresses is a stage hog who loves stealing the spotlight. Nandina Marshall certainly does upstage everyone—when her murder forces an unexpected intermission. Can Myrtle and Miles discover who was behind her final curtain call….before murder makes an encore?

Add Audible for only $1.99!  And, thanks JoJoPNW for pointing out that others in this series are free today as well:

Progressive Dinner Deadly, which I have read and recommend:Progressive

To the residents of the sleepy town of Bradley, North Carolina, hardworking Jill Caulfield seemed beyond reproach. She volunteered at the women’s shelter, worked at the church preschool, cleaned houses for extra money, and actually enjoyed yard work. And she was nothing less than a saint to cheerfully put up with her unemployed, skirt-chasing, boozer of a husband. When intrepid octogenarian sleuth Myrtle Clover caught Jill, her new housekeeper, peering into her medicine cabinet, she should have been upset. But discovering that Jill wasn’t such a squeaky-clean goody-goody made her vastly more interesting in Myrtle’s eyes. Myrtle would have happily continued figuring out what made Jill Caulfield tick. If Jill hadn’t foolishly gone and gotten herself murdered, that is.  Add Audible for $1.99.

dyeingA Dyeing Shame:  Some beauty secrets are more dangerous than others. When Beauty Box beautician Tammy Smith is discovered with a pair of hair shears in her back, there are suspects and secrets aplenty in her small Southern town. Octogenarian Myrtle Clover, bored by bingo and bridge, is intrigued by the crime…and her neighbors’ secrets. But discovering, and blabbing, secrets got Tammy killed and Myrtle soon learns her sleuthing isn’t just dangerous…it’s deadly.

A Body in the Backyard:  Extreme gardening often involves gnomes andbody in the backyard planted bodies. It’s just an ordinary day for octogenarian sleuth Myrtle Clover—until her yardman discovers a dead body planted in her backyard. This death isn’t cut and dried—the victim was bashed in the head with one of Myrtle’s garden gnomes. Myrtle’s friend Miles recognizes the body and identifies him as Charles Clayborne… reluctantly admitting he’s a cousin. Charles wasn’t the sort of relative you bragged about—he was a garden variety sleaze, which is very likely why he ended up murdered. As Myrtle starts digging up dirt to nip the killings in the bud, someone’s focused on scaring her off the case. Myrtle vows to find the murderer…before she’s pushing up daisies, herself.

Frances and Richard Lockridge‘s Mr. and Mrs. North mysteries are classics — and a series I regret not encountering long, long ago.  I’m making up for what I’ve missed whenever I find these on sale, and Mysterious Press is offering the fifth in the series today for $1.99:

Discounted to $1.99 (USD)
Discounted to $1.99 (USD)

Hanged for a Sheep:  Mrs. North must protect her aunt from being poisoned—whether she likes it or not. Pamela North has never worried about making sense. When she has a thought, she expresses it, and if no one in the room knows what she’s talking about, it’s no trouble to her. While Mrs. North’s unique style of thought can make her a challenging conversational partner, it also makes her one of the finest amateur sleuths in New York City. But no matter how sharp her wit, she can’t pin down Aunt Flora. An indomitable old woman, shaped like a snowman and just as icy, Flora is convinced that someone is trying to slip her arsenic, and she’ll be very cross if her niece can’t stop the culprit before he succeeds.

Aunt Flora stubbornly refuses to let Pamela call in the police, until a suspicious dead body forces them to ask the opinion of Lt. William Weigand. It’s a screwy mystery, and that means it’s perfect for Mrs. North.

Hanged for a Sheep is the 5th book in the Mr. and Mrs. North Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.

Also today, Geraldine Evans is offering a boxed set of the first four mysteries in her comic and almost-cosy series of 17 (so far!) mysteries featuring a pair of British detectives, Rafferty and Llewellyn:

DEAD BEFORE MORNING:  British Detective Joe Rafferty and his partner,

List price, $4.99 (USD)
List price, $4.99 (USD)

Sergeant Dafyd Llewellyn in a murder mystery involving the killing of a young woman bludgeoned beyond recognition, with no ID and found in a secure place to which she supposedly had no admission. Who is she? How has she gained access? And who was responsible for her murder? These are just a few of the questions the detective duo must answer in this first novel in the cozy mystery series. With difficulties besetting them on all sides, including their own superintendent and a media that has decided to adopt the case of the ‘Faceless Lady’ as their own personal crusade for justice, newly promoted Inspector Rafferty has something to prove.

DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN:  British Detectives Joe Rafferty and his partner, Dafyd Llewellyn, in their second murder mystery investigation, set out to discover who killed Barbara Longman, a woman with no known enemies. But when it soon becomes apparent that the murder has been committed by someone who must have known the victim well, the police investigation shifts to the victim’s family, the wealthy and influential Shores. Rafferty suspects that Charles Shore, not a man known to forgive failure, will use his influence to damage Rafferty’s career should he fail to find the murderer.

DEATH LINE:  Third novel in the Rafferty & Llewellyn mystery series, Death Line sees the detective duo trying to solve the murder mystery of the famed “seer,” Jasper Moon, with his own crystal ball. Gradually it becomes clear that Jasper Moon was a man of many parts, not all of them appeared very savoury. Moon was a wealthy man, but seems to have written no will; certainly, Detectives Rafferty and Llewellyn can’t find it. In a case involving as many twists and turns as a snake avoiding capture, the detectives must take their murder investigation back through the years to the victim’s youth to answer that question: ‘Who did it?’ And Rafferty fears that after such a long time, the evidence their murder inquiry needs will no longer be there to find.

THE HANGING TREE:  Fourth novel in the Rafferty & Llewellyn mystery series. This murder mystery involves the detective pair in the case of the vanishing hanged man. But when the hanged man turns up in Dedman Woods for a second time, the British detectives are able to confirm that he is a man many had reason to hate. Because Maurice Smith, charged years earlier with four child rapes, had escaped on a legal technicality. Detective Rafferty feels ambivalent about the case from the start. Not sure his desire to solve it is strong enough, he has to fight the feeling that natural justice, in winning out against the judicial sort, has right on its side. The punishment has, in his book, fitted the crime. As the usual police procedure continues towards an unwanted conclusion, Rafferty, caught between the law and his own sense of morality, feels this is an investigation that could cause him to demand his own resignation as a detective.

Discounted to $3.99 (USD)
Discounted to $3.99 (USD)

Also today, film fans — and anyone who enjoys a quick wit — may want to take advantage of a discount on the previously out-of-print autobiography of George Sanders, Memoirs of a Professional Cad. I’ve read only a small portion, but that’s only because I’ve had too many demands on my reading time to go further.  I don’t often read celebrity biographies, much less autobiographies, but I’m convinced Sanders could write about nothing at all and I’d still want to read it.  He really has a way with words, and, to my mind, this is a bargain at the discounted price of $3.99 (USD).

Description:  What might we dare to expect from an actor’s autobiography, even one from a star as personable as George Sanders? In the case of Memoirs of A Professional Cad, we possibly get more than we deserve. George Sanders undoubtedly led a colourful, glamorous and even action-packed life, spanning the peak years of Hollywood’s golden age. But the greatest joy of his memoirs is how funny they are, and how penetrating their author’s wit. Endlessly quotable, every chapter shows that the sardonic charm and intelligence he lent to the silver screen were not merely implied.

George’s early childhood was spent in Tsarist Russia, before he was obliged to flee with his family to England on the eve of the Russian Revolution. He survived two English boarding schools before seeking adventure in Chile and Argentina where he sold cigarettes and kept a pet ostrich in his apartment. We can only be grateful that George was eventually asked to leave South America following a duel of honour (very nearly to the death), and was forced to take up acting for a living instead.

Memoirs of A Professional Cad has much to say about Hollywood and the stars George Sanders worked with and befriended, not to mention the irrepressible Tsa Tsa Gabor who became his wife. But at heart it is less a conventional autobiography, and more a Machiavellian guide to life, and the art of living, from a man who knew a thing or two on the subject. So we are invited to share George’s thought-provoking views on women, friendship, the pros and cons of therapy, ageing, possessions, and the necessity of contrasts (Sanders’s maxim: “the more extreme the contrast, the fuller the life”).

Previously out of print for many decades, Memoirs of A Professional Cad stands today as one of the classic Hollywood memoirs, from one of its most original, enduring and inimitable stars. This edition also features a new afterword by George Sanders’s niece, Ulla Watson.

Tour the market with Marcella Hazan

Recommended without reservation:

ingredientiIngredienti: Marcella’s Guide to the Market by Marcella and Victor Hazan, from Simon and Schuster, pre-order for Kindle at $10.99 (USD) or hardbound at $12.94 USD (list price, $20.00); scheduled for release Tuesday, 12 July 2016. (NOTE: Prices are subject to change without notice to Sis; always verify prior to purchase, please.)

Although she died in 2013, Marcella Hazan leaves a legacy to today’s cooks in the upcoming publication of a book based on the handwritten notebooks filled with her thoughts on how to select, and how to use, the very best ingredients for classic Italian cooking.

Her husband and longtime collaborator, Victor, translated these notebooks from her native Italian and finished writing and editing them to produce Ingredienti: Marcella’s Guide to the Market. The book is illustrated with lovely sketches, lively green line drawings of various ingredients.

It’s not the most comprehensive primer on produce, but it is a book that should appeal to both new and accomplished cooks – and both home and professional ones – and some tips and tricks are unique. I particularly appreciate Marcella’s lessons on protecting such ingredients as garlic and onions in an excessively hot and humid climate, lessons that I have not found in other how-to cookbooks written by those lucky enough to live under food-friendly weather conditions.

Ingredienti is not a recipe book. Marcella does describe her preferences for preparing each ingredient, but you won’t find specific quantities or detailed instructions, simply ideas for how to prepare ingredients for cooking – or serving – and most of all for a guide to select each at the peak of perfection.  The writing is casual and very, very personal – as if the “godmother of Italian cooking” were your very own godmother, sitting with you in her kitchen and sharing a lifetime of lessons over cups of espresso.

The result is a book that is a joy to read. Marcella held very strong opinions, some I share and some I do not. I absolutely agree that one must know how to shop before one can know how to cook, but I don’t share her disdain for red and sweet onions. Still, it is her perspective that makes the book so well worth reading no matter how much you do, or do not, know about picking produce and pantry staples and whether you do, or do not, share her likes and dislikes.

Each chapter is essentially an essay on each ingredient, and one that combines both information and instruction. These make the book ideal for a leisurely read . . . but the writing may tempt you to race right through from beginning to end, as I did. Either way, enjoy!featured

Description:  From the inimitable woman who popularized Italian cuisine in America, Marcella Hazan’s simple and elegant manual on how to shop for the best ingredients and prepare the most delicious meals is a must-have for every home cook.

When Marcella Hazan died in 2013, the world mourned the passing of the “Godmother of Italian cooking.” But her legacy lives on, through her cookbooks and recipes, and in the handwritten notebooks filled with her thoughts on how to select the best ingredients—Ingredienti. Her husband and longtime collaborator Victor has translated and transcribed these vignettes on how to buy and what to do with the fresh produce used in Italian cooking, the elements of an essential pantry, and salumi (literally, salted meat).

Before you know how to cook, you must know how to shop. From Artichokes to Zucchini, Anchovies to Ziti, Ingredienti offers succinct and compelling advice on how to choose vegetables, pasta, olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano, prosciutto, and all of the key elements of Marcella’s classic meals. Organic isn’t necessarily best, boxed pasta can be better than fresh. Marcella’s authoritative wisdom and surprising tips will change the way you cook. Her clear, practical guidance in acquiring the components of good cooking is helpful wherever you choose to shop—in supermarkets, farmers’ markets, specialty food stores, or online.

Based on 60 years of almost daily visits to the market to choose the ingredients of that day’s meal, Ingredienti is a life’s work, distilled—an expression of Marcella’s judgments, advice, and suggestions. Uncomplicated and precise, this volume will be essential to home cooks eager to produce meals in the same delicious style Marcella was the first to introduce to America.

About the authors:  Marcella Hazan (1924-2013) was born in Cesenatico, a fishing village on the northern Adriatic shore of Italy. She studied for a career in the sciences and received two doctoral degrees from the University of Ferrara in Emilia-Romagna. In 1955 she married Victor Hazan, an Italian-born American, and moved with him to New York, where she began teaching Italian cooking classes in her apartment. In 1973 she published her first cookbook, The Classic Italian Cookbook, which introduced Americans to authentic Italian food. Her cooking schools in Italy draw students from around the world. Hazan was the recipient of two Lifetime Achievement Awards (from the James Beard Foundation in 2000, and the IACP in 2004) and a knighthood from her own country. She was the author of five additional classic cookbooks and a memoir, including Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking ($20.99, Kindle, and $20.65, hardcover, both USD), Marcella Cucina ($31.29 USD, hardcover), Marcella’s Italian Kitchen ($19.90 USD paperback) and Amarcord: Marcella Remembers ($12.99 USD, Kindle; $14.47 USD, paperback).

Victor Hazan Marcella’s lifelong collaborator and writing partner, is an authority on Italian wine and food. He is the author of Italian Wine. He lives in Longboat Key, Florida.

NOTE:  Sis received a complimentary advanced reading copy from Simon and Schuster via NetGalley with the expectation that she would write a review reflecting her own opinions and only her own opinions.  And this she has done.

Saturday savings . . .

The Great War, WWII, and so much more

The Battle of the Somme, Britain’s bloodiest battle in all time, occurred 100 years ago, and the UK’s Endeavour Press marks the sacrifice with a sale on several books about the great battle and the Great War, most for a mere 99 cents (USD).  Other significant savings are available today, from biographies & memoirs to historical fiction set in World War II.  It’s a great day to have a Kindle!

SommeSubaltern on the Somme  is the memoir of a junior officer whose regiment suffered the heaviest casualties of any unit on the first day of the battle, with 70 percent killed or wounded.  Max Plowman, who served in the 10th Battalion, the West Yorkshire Regiment, tells the story of trench warfare from the perspective of a junior officer.

“The war of attrition” entered the military lexicon in 1916, and Attrition: The Great War on the Western Front by Robin Neillands explores the beginning of this new form of warfare.

At the start of 1916, the outlook was the Franco-British Armies on the AttritionWestern Front. They were getting the men and guns they needed. New technology in the shape of tanks and aircraft was about to appear and, after more than a year of fighting what amounted to private wars, the Entente Powers (Britain, France, Italy and their allies) were about to mount a number of co-ordinated offensives against the German and Austrian Armies, culminating in the Big Push – a joint Anglo-French offensive astride the Somme.

But then, unfortunately for the Allies, the Germans struck first, at Verdun. By New Years Day, 1916, the fighting on the Western Front had cost some two million lives – by the end of the year it had risen to four million men and the territorial gains had been negligible. Focusing on this crucial year, Neillands examines the actions of the principal commanders as they sought a way to win the war and opted for the deadly doctrine of attrition: the notion that it was only possible to win by killing a vast number of soldiers. The soldiers, German, French, British, Canadian, Australian, died in their hundreds of thousands at Verdun, along the Ancre and on the Pozieres ridge in the muddy fields above the Somme.

A controversial and compelling text, Attrition points at the failure of the high command to realise that until new offensive technology was invented to overcome the bias of defensive technology, the death toll could only rise, and asks why no system of Supreme Command was set up to handle the strategic direction of the war. Although 1916 did see some Allied success – the French held Verdun against the German assault, the British introduced the tank – when that fatal year ended, victory and peace were as far away as ever … and another two million lives had been lost.

Days to rememberDays to Remember explores the conflict in terms of Empire.  This is not merely the history of the Western Front, but the history of the colonials who fought, willingly or not, for the British Empire.

In this fascinating study, Henry Newbolt and John Buchan take a general overview of the First World War, from its causes to the aftermath, with the focus on the central role played by both Britain and its colonies. They cover the major campaigns on the Western Front – Ypres, Loos, Cambrai, Marrières Wood and the Marne, as well as the battles fought around the globe – in particular Galipolli and the capture of Jerusalem – and the main campaigns at sea.

Henry Newbolt was born in Wolverhampton in 1862, and went on to become a poet, novelist and historian. He was also a very powerful government adviser. John Buchan was a Scottish novelist, historian and Unionist politician who also served as Governor General of Canada. During the First World War he worked for the British War Propaganda Bureau. He is most famous for his classic thriller, ‘The 39 Steps’.

Animal Heroes of the Great War is the history of the furred and feathered Animal Heroessoldiers, from beasts of burdens to mascots and messengers:

During the World War I nearly 70 million combatants served in the armies of all the countries and empires, but there was another army involved, one that is often overlooked in the history of war: The army of animals that supported the armies of men.

From regimental mascots to beasts of burden, animals played a vital part in the war machine of all involved, and often beyond anything we might imagine. There was man’s best friend — brave, loyal dogs who served as patrolmen, messengers, sentries, even combatants and detectives. Communication has increased importance in modern warfare, yet at times a homing pigeon’s instinct of orientation was the sole hope available to soldiers in the field. And despite the lowering esteem in which conventional cavalry was held, horses were still able to go where the most modern of vehicles could not.

Focusing on the Allied Powers, Ernest Harold Baynes tells of “the work done by animals in helping to win the war,” recording the services and sacrifices borne by these noble animals and more, including the advent of chemical warfare and what it meant.

Ernest Harold Baynes (1868-1925) was an American writer and naturalist. After reporting for The New York Times, he regularly contributed articles to other newspapers and to magazines. A natural with wild animals, he became known for hand-rearing, protecting and championing their cause. Animal Heroes of the Great War was his last book.

Her Privates WeErnest Hemingway praised Her Privates We as “The finest and noblest book of men at war.” The classic novel of the Great War is set during the Battle of the Somme.

Her Privates We follows the story of Private Bourne, an ordinary soldier dealing with extraordinary circumstances. It conveys the camaraderie and heroism of the trenches and also explores the terror and monotony of being a soldier. A cloud of fatalism hangs over the narrative, which is brightened up through friendships, a shared, grim sense of humour and colourful conversations between the privates.

Bourne and his comrades must fight their demons within, as well as the enemy across No Man’s Land. Men die, but still a sense of duty endures. Her Privates We is as much a triumph of realism as it is of the imagination. Readers of both military history, and literary fiction, will continue to be haunted by its prose and insights.

“The book of books so far as the British army is concerned” T.E Lawrence

Frederic Manning was an Australian-born poet and novelist who moved to England at the age of 21. Much of his writing was inspired by his experiences in the infantry during the Great War. Her Privates We remains his most enduring work on the subject.

Delville Wood is the history of the one of the most bitterly contested battlesDelville Wood on the Western Front and of the 3,200 soldiers of the 1st South African Infantry Brigade that entered the battle on 14 July 1916.  Fewer than 800 mustered afterwards.

For six days and five nights, in the solitary square mile of Delville Wood, the South Africans stood firm against three crack German divisions. By the time they were relieved a legend had been born, but who were these men that took and held the wood in an inferno of exploding shells, flame-throwers, machine-gun and rifle fire? Fresh-faced youths, Boer War and South West African campaign veterans, enlistees with false names … all were volunteers whose overriding desire was to serve in France.

First published in 1983, Delville Wood remains a landmark volume commemorating the daring and fortitude of South Africa’s soldiers at the Somme during the First World War. In forming an overall picture of each day’s fighting through the words of the survivors, the statistics of battle are cast aside by Uys in favour of something altogether more profound, exploring their characters and ensuring they will never be forgotten

Ian Uys (b. 1942) is a South African accountant and author. A co-founder of the Military Medal Society of SA and former committee member of the SA Military History Society — and related to a survivor of the battle of Delville Wood — his interests have led him to write many books on the subject.

And, finally, a profile of the Desert Fox, Johannes Erwin Eugen Rommel, Rommel’s Great War by Gordon Corrigan.Rommel

Born in 1891, Rommel did not come from a militaristic family, nor from the military stronghold of Prussia, but instead from a small town in southern Germany and son to a long line of schoolmasters. Initially he showed no inclination towards a military career with interests in physics and engineering, but his father pushed him towards the army.

He joined the army in 1910 at the age of eighteen, within one year he would rise to the rank of sergeant. As war broke out in Europe Rommel and his regiment marched out of the barracks to the sound of drums and cheering as they boarded the troop train to the western front.

Gordon Corrigan provides expert analysis of World War I, both in terms of what it would have been like for a young officer like Rommel as well as the wider political and militaristic movements that were occurring at this time. This thoroughly researched profile gives fascinating detail on Rommel’s life, from when he was first shot and wounded in trench warfare, his experience of combat in the Romanian mountains and on the Italian front, through to his life after the war in the tumultuous years of the Weimar Republic. It was in these years that the Desert Fox learned his trade and forged into Rommel such a formidable opponent during the Second World War.

Beyond the ShadowMoving forward to World War II, today brings what is likely to be a short-term offer of Beyond the Shadow of War, the long awaited sequel to Diane Moody’s bestselling Of Windmills and War (currently, $4.99 USD).

When the war finally ended in May of 1945, Lieutenant Danny McClain made good on his promise to come back for Anya in Holland. He expected her to put up a fight, but instead found her exhausted and utterly broken. Maybe it was unfair, asking her to marry him when she was so vulnerable. But this much he knew: he would spend a lifetime helping to make her whole again.

The war had taken everything from Anya–her family, her friends, her home, her faith. She clung to the walls she’d fortressed around her heart, but what future did she have apart from Danny? At least she wouldn’t be alone anymore. Or so she thought. When the American troops demobilize, Danny is sent home, forced to leave Anya behind in England. There she must wait with the other 70,000 war brides for passage to America. As England picks up the pieces of war’s debris in the months that follow, Anya shares a flat with three other war brides in London and rediscovers the healing bond of friendships.

Once again, Danny and Anya find themselves oceans apart, their marriage confined to little more than the handwritten pages of their letters while wondering if the shadow of war will ever diminish.

Enjoy!

‘Tisn’t the season . . . but it’s on sale!

Because of Bethlehem

BethlehemIt’s Christmas in July, thanks to a one-day pre-order sale from HarperCollins Christian on the newest Max Lucado holiday story, Because of Bethlehem.  The book is scheduled for release 13 September 2016, with an ebook list price of $9.99 (USD) — but readers can pre-order a copy today for only $4.99 (USD).  The hardcover edition lists at $22.99 (USD), but the current pre-order price is $16.52 (USD) at Amazon.  The ebook is also on sale from Apple today.

From the product page: This eBook includes the full text of the book plus the Max Lucado novella, An Angel’s Story. Max Lucado loves Christmas. Let the sleigh bells ring. Let the carolers sing. The more Santas the merrier. The more trees the better. He loves it because somewhere someone will ask the Christmas questions: What’s the big deal about the baby in the manger? Who was he? What does his birth have to do with me? And the answers he’s found give us all hope. God knows what it’s like to be a human. When we talk to him about deadlines or long lines or tough times, he understands. He’s been there. He’s been here. Because of Bethlehem, we have a friend in heaven. And Christmas begins what Easter celebrates. The child in the cradle became the King on the cross. Because of Bethlehem, we have a Savior in heaven. These are the heart shaping promises of Christmas. Long after the guests have left and the carolers have gone home and the lights have come down, these promises endure. Let’s turn on the lamp, curl up in a comfortable spot, and look into the odd, wonderful story of Bethlehem.  Max has found a lifetime of hope. You will too.

About the author:  Max Lucado is a best-selling inspirational author and speaker, and a minister of preaching at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. His award-winning books have been translated into more than 41 languages and have occupied spots on every major national bestseller list. Over the years, Lucado has been featured in countless national media outlets, dubbed “America’s Pastor” by Reader’s Digest and Christianity Today, and even named one of the most influential leaders in social media by the New York Times. His books include You Are Special, If Only I Had a Green Nose, and The Boy and the Ocean.