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At precisely twelve minutes and thirty-five seconds past ten o'clock in the morning, Pacific Daylight Time, Teal Morgan-Adams's world ceased to exist.
She knew the exact time because the NPR radio announcer Dave Somebody said it after his traffic update, which started with, "Slow going westbound on the 10, folks."
Teal snorted. "'Slow going.' Ha. It's a regular parking lot out here, Dave."
She sat in the thick of it, second lane from the right, windows shut, air on high against the August heat, comfy in her white leather seat. She read e-mails on her smartphone and, in her imagination, dared a CHP officer to zoom up on his motorcycle and ticket her.
"As if moving four miles per hour on the freeway could technically be referred to as driving and thereby breaking the law."
She laughed out loud. If her husband were there, he'd roll his eyes and question once again his sanity for marrying a lawyer. River swore Teal's favorite pastime was looking for a fight. After three and a half years, though, his rolling eyes still sparkled whenever he said it.
The radio announcer wrapped up his report. "The time is now twelve minutes and thirty-five seconds past ten o'clock."
And then the shaking began.
As always, the unexpected movement registered about half a point on Teal's scale of awareness. One eye on her phone, one eye on the Iowa license plate on the minivan in front of her, she inched forward and braked. Her body trembled, as if she were on a train.
And then her coffee mug jiggled and rattled in its holder. Static hissed from the radio.
"Nooo." The mug bounced onto the floor. Yes.
"Oh, God!" It was all the prayer she could form at the moment.
Adrenaline surged through her. What to do? What to do?
Duck, cover, and hold on to a sturdy piece of furniture.
In the car? She was in the car!
Teal dropped the phone to her lap, shifted into Park, and grasped the steering wheel tightly with both hands. It shook. Her body quivered. The car vibrated. Her seat belt constricted. The glove box popped open. The world rumbled, a hurtling train on rickety tracks to nowhere.
Her pulse throbbed in her throat. Her thoughts raced in circles. What to do? What to do?
If you are driving, stop. Okay. Okay. Move out of traffic.
Out of traffic? Not a chance.
She caught sight of the driver to her right. He clutched his steering wheel, his sunglasses askew, his face scrunched up. Waiting. Holding his breath.
Teal had learned to deal with earthquakes. She and her daughter had lived in Southern California for fifteen years. Tremors came. Teal panicked. Maiya grinned. Tremors went. She walked off the adrenaline rush. Maiya laughed. They talked about what they should have done. Life got back to normal.
These tremors should have went by now.
People should be exhaling by now.
She should be out of the car by now, whewing with those Iowa tourists in front of her, exchanging nervous chuckles, talking about Disneyland.
Do not get out of the car.
Do not stop under an overpass.
"Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God!"
She stared at the overpass. According to the huge green sign to her right, the next exits at the overpass lay a quarter of a mile ahead. Hers was one of them.
Cars and vans and pickups and semis and SUVs and RVs moved where there was no space for movement. Drivers jockeyed to get out from under the bridge. Horns blared. Metal crunched against metal.
And then the tremors went. The shaking stopped. It was over.
In horror Teal watched the chain reactions of vehicles slamming and shoving and sliding into each other not far ahead of her. Straight lanes of traffic were now a massive logjam of cars facing every direction.
And then the unthinkable.
The overpass shifted. It happened in agonizingly slow motion.
The right-side concrete abutment twisted, a giant robot turning, losing his footing, falling, falling, falling. It splayed out over the freeway below. The bridge it had been holding aloft toppled across five lanes of logjam.
The air exploded with shrapnel. Crashing noises reverberated.
Teal burst into tears, released the seat belt, turned off the engine, and ducked. She squeezed herself under the dashboard, covered her head with her arms, and began shaking all over again.
The first aftershock hadn't even hit yet.
Excerpted from Heart echoes by SALLY JOHN Copyright © 2012 by Sally John. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted June 11, 2012
Only an earthquake could shatter the wall that she has built....
In the aftermath of a massive LA earthquake, the perfect existence that Teal Morgan-Adams has built begins to crumble. Teal's daughter, Maiya, is determined to learn the identity of her biological father, despite the loving devotion of her stepdad, River Adams. However, that is a secret that Teal had hoped to leave buried forever. She has never shared the truth with anyone -not her family, not River, not even Maiya's father.
As Maiya's prying reopens old wounds, Teal receives tragic news from her sister and decides she must travel home to Cedar Pointe, Oregon -a place she has avoided most of her adult life. Will her already strained marriage survive the distance and the secrets that Teal will be forced to face there?
Heart Echoes is heart wrenching story of the power of forgiveness and the importance of honesty and trust. The plotline of the novel is wonderfully well written and was easy to follow yet still held my interest completely. The characters were developed into realistic and flawed individuals that I could relate to and understand their problems. I really liked River, Teal's husband. His honesty, openness, and tenderness for his family were sweet and extremely admirable.
The themes of Heart Echoes were very stirring and important. The story clearly showed the need to be honest with your loved ones and trust God to take care of the issues. The plot line also revealed the importance of abstinence before marriage and the heartbreak and problems that arise with broken and divided families. However, the story also showed the redeeming that only God can bring to those relationships and the good He can brings out of the mistakes we make in our families.
Overall, I really enjoyed Heart Echoes, and I highly recommend it. I cannot wait to read other books by Sally John, especially other books in her Side Road series.
I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
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Posted January 28, 2013
Posted August 2, 2012
This is truly a story of the heart...and heart echoes. Altough Tyndale catagorizes this novel as contemporary fiction, which it really is, it is so much more. It will transend the ages, because it deals with issues that face each generation, each age and era. The truth will make you free is not just a cliché, it is a fundamental truth. Forgiveness is necessary for the victim to face a life of meaning. These are just a few of the things that The Heart Echoes deals with and brings to the forefront in this captivating novel. No, I have not dealt with the exact themes that are portrayed here, but who has not dreamt of a life that would be better if only someone had not done that, or if they would only notice me. But often reality is that life might have been worse if I had gotten what I wished for.
Not knowing your parent might throw you a curve ball, whether you never knew them (as in adoption or as this story says it) or whether they abandoned you. But we can not change the past, we can only change our reaction or attitude to it. And our memories of the past may or may not be what actually happened, as Teal finds out in The Hear Echoes. Memories are, after all, our rendition of what has happened, and are shaped by our own thoughts, emotions and history.
This is a well written novel about relationships with our siblings, parents and close loved ones. I would recommend this novel to anyone who loves a good romance, but also one that causes us to look into our own lives and learn from it.
This book is available where fine books are sold.
Posted July 31, 2012
In the shadow of other books from this genre, Heart Echoes is not a romance.
Heart Echoes is thoughtful, refreshing, and inspiring, but not a love story between a man and a woman (at least the quest for relationship is not the ultimate quest of the book). I would agree that it a faith-based story about a woman coming to terms with the sins of her past and reconciling with God, the tale of a man and coming to terms with his grief, and the teenage daughter and her struggle in-between.
Heart Echoes is amazing and timely. It is a genuine reminder of hope and the importance of spending time with the ones we love. It addresses the cravings of our hearts to be at peace with God that we may live at peace with those around us.
Heart Echoes is a story about recovery. So often believers lean on other things for security and identity believing the lies the world offers leaving us broken, but God above wants to be Our Father, the source of our devotion, and stronghold. We are determined to build their own perfect existence but we know perfection is only found in Christ alone.
Heart Echoes reminds readers God desires to open our old wounds so they may heal properly in the light of His glory and grace. Like the scales on Saul's eyes or the un-dragoning of Eustace in Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Christ allows our wounds so that through them He alone may receive the glory.
Most importantly, this book delivers second chances.
Posted July 23, 2012
Teal Morgan is an amazing women. After escaping an abusive home life and becoming pregnant after a one night stand, she earns her law degree, becomes a partner at a family law firm in L.A., marries a wonderful man who becomes the father her daughter never had, and creates a new life for herself in southern California. When her life is disrupted by a 6.8 earthquake, Teal's daughter begins asking questions about her birth father and about her mother's rocky past. Unable to answer the questions, Teal finds her life just as shattered as the earthquake marred cityscape.
Unfortunately, this book never really pulled me in. I felt like the story lacked depth in parts. The themes of unconditional love, forgiveness, and abandonment fill the book while failing to permeate it. I can't exactly put my finger on what element is to blame in this story. My best guess would be the writing style and character development.
It's clean. It's Christian. While avoiding breaking new ground, the story is still entertaining. The book includes discussion questions. How picky do you want to be?
Posted July 5, 2012
Some of my favorite romance authors have been pushed by publishers and public
demand to into increasingly impure story lines...i don't like love scenes that list body parts or partner torture. I had read a few "Christian" romances from the 70's/80's and was not impressed with either the quality or the lack of incorporation of jesus Christ into everyday contemporary living. That has radically changed. Sally John's Heart Echoes is one of Tyndale Publishing's authors that would be good to start with if the idea of religious or inspirational writing gives you the creeps. It starts with a horrific LA earthquake and moves on to shake up the main characters' lives. When the fifteen-year-old daughter takes an unauthorised camping trip with a 19 year-old-guy, the resulting fallout sounds just like the dialog I heard daily as a middle school teacher. Way more real than TV's reality shows: gotta love a lady lawyer with Blue Tooth and Jesus Truth.
Posted July 4, 2012
After an earthquake, Teal Morgan-Adams life changes. As she faces the after-effects of the tramatic events, she must also face secrets from her past. Teal must re-evaluate her relationship with her daughter, husband, sister, and mother. She does much soul searching, and looks at her reasons for how she relates to her family and how she must change to make things work. One aspect I really loved about this book was the character development of Teal and her daughter. It was very true-to -life. I think this book is encouraging to those who struggle with past mistakes and offers the opportunity to deal with those events and find peace.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 19, 2012
Heart Echoes by Sally John is the third book in her Side Roads series but it can be read completely on it's own as well as the other two books in the series. Each book in the series deals with handling and coping with life when things happen that take you of course and you find yourself on a 'side road' of life. This book is something that in a way everyone can relate to, even if you have not dealt with what the characters are we have all had to deal with stuff that was unplanned. This type of book is great because it can help us realize that we all deal with things and no matter how hard things are there is a way out and that God is there for us. I really enjoyed this novel and found it be very interesting from page one. This is definitely a contemporary novel that deals with some hard issues and decisions and is not a simple light read. I know I loved it and look forward to reading other books by Sally John.
*I received this book from Tyndale Publishers for the purpose of this review, my honest opinion was all that was requested.
Posted June 16, 2012
This is book number three in the Side Roads series by Sally John. They have all been great books and I appreciate that they are all stand-alone titles, but still have the same feel and style to them.
We begin with a massive, life changing earthquake, and Teal Morgan-Adams will never be the same. She is a woman with a huge heart, a passion for life, and a big secret. For 17 years she has never discussed her daughter Maiya's dad. With anyone. EVER. Estranged from her family in Oregon, she lives in LA with her husband River and Maiya. And although River is the awesomest stepdad ever, Maiya begins to act out and wants to know the truth about her heritage. This begins their journey (literally and figuratively) to forgiveness and healing, and what a path it is!
River, by the way, is one of the most understanding men I have ever seen. Just saying. :)
Posted June 13, 2012
Sally John in her new book, "Heart Echoes" Book Three in the Side Roads series published by Tyndale brings us into the lives of the Adams family, the secrets they hide and are about to be exposed.
From the Back Cover: Only an earthquake could shatter the walls she’s built.
In the aftermath of a massive LA earthquake, the perfect existence Teal Morgan-Adams has built begins to crumble. Teal’s daughter, Maiya, is determined to learn the identity of her biological father, despite the loving devotion of her stepdad, River Adams. But that’s a secret Teal hoped would remain buried forever. She has never shared the truth with anyone—not her family, not River, not even Maiya’s father.
As Maiya’s prying reopens old wounds, Teal receives tragic news and must travel home to Cedar Pointe, Oregon—a place she’s avoided most of her adult life. Will her already-strained marriage survive the distance and the secrets she’ll be forced to face there?
With wit and wisdom, bestselling author Sally John delivers a touching story about life’s unexpected detours and the courage it takes to erase the lies that can echo in our hearts.
The earthquake is what starts the events of the book to happen. The Adams family's foundation is mostly built on lies and, symbolically, the natural earthquake begins to break apart the lies so that the family can grow straight and true. God tells us He will shake whatever can be shaken and only the good will be left standing. We are also told that whatever is hidden in darkness will be brought to light. This all happens in "Heart Echoes". Heart Echoes is a remarkable story of a family trying to overcome all the secrets and lies they have used to hold themselves together when they find it all coming apart. At the center of this book is God with His power to heal and to forgive. Ms. John weaves a captivating story with wonderful characters that breathe. I was glad to spend the time with this family and look forward to more from Ms. John in the future.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Posted March 8, 2012
When a massive earthquake rocks the city of Los Angeles, it brings to the surface some things that Teal Morgan-Adams has kept buried for years. At the thought of almost losing her daughter Maiya and her new husband River, she is faced with a challenge to return home and confront the past she has tried to forget.
When Maiya begins to act out against her parents wishes and begins seeing a boy name Jake, her parents are at a dead end with how to deal with her. At 16 she has been forbidden to date anyone until she finishes with high school, but since Jake showed up at her house to help with yardwork, she thinks she has fallen in love. When he shows up on campus, the school is immediately placed in a lock down mode until they find him. Now Maiya faces a 5 week school suspension, even though she claims, she didn't invite him to come see her.
When tragic news arrives from home in Cedar Pointe, Oregon, Teal is faced with a decision to return home to face her past or will she once again simply close that door and try to forget that was ever her home?
In the novel, Heart Echoes by Sally John, the reader is immediately invested in the story through a tragic circumstance surrounding the earthquake that makes everyone question their own mortality. Even though River has tried to become a great father figure for Maiya, her mother Teal refuses to provide her with any information regarding her father, simply saying he didn't want anything to do with Maiya or Teal once she told him she was pregnant, but for Maiya it's a piece of her life she is desperate to know about but her mom won't budge, until the call from Cedar Pointe comes and perhaps God is answering her prayer after all.
I received this novel compliments of Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review and think this one opens the readers eyes on what hiding the truth can do even though it may be hard to admit it. As always God is the central focus and shows the characters how trust and honesty are the bases for a good family foundation that will only grow in the years ahead. It also showcases the struggles of step parenting from a unique perspective and one I personally feel the author did a great job at. It isn't an easy role at all at times. I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion and know you'll enjoy this heart-warming story.
Posted March 3, 2012
This book is about family relationships, and the damage that we unknowingly inflict on those that we love the most. One sister has never come to terms with her past, and the other sister is struggling with her unknown future due to terminal illness. They have had virtually no relationship with each other for many years, but finally have taken steps towards resolving their family issues.
Sometimes it's the tough times that make a person face reality about themselves and also about their personal relationships. The Heart Echoes is a story of faith, forgiveness and unconditional love ... a great example showing that it's never too late to be honest and face hurts from the past.
I highly recommend this book and I have already added several other titles by Sally John to my personal wishlist.
Posted February 24, 2012
Wow, another page turner I could not put down! I loved the storyline, and was quickly sucked in from the very beginning with the earthquake story! I was also drawn to the characters, the relationship between Teal and her teenage daughter Maiya, the ups and downs they went through. It was interesting to see the dynamics between Maiya and her stepdad, River, the closeness they shared in the 5 years they had been together. And lets not even start on all my speculations of who could be Maiya's biological dad! When I found out Heart Echos was part of a series, I debated as to whether I have read the others in the series (Ransomed Dreams and Desert Gift) . I think I have at one point in the past, but regardless, this book could stand alone! I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend it if you are looking for a great read in a short amount of time! **I received this book from the Publishers and was not required to post a positive review.**Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 22, 2012
Several years ago I was introduced to Sally John’s books, and I have been a fan ever since! Sally’s characters are easy to identify with, her storylines very believable. It is easy to get caught up in her books. Never “preachy”, the characters deal with contemporary relationship issues, and through their faith, are able to come to terms with and resolve their issues. I was one of the lucky readers fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of Heart Echoes, and once again, Sally John has written a winner! In her newest book we meet Teal, River and Maiya. As the book opens Teal is caught in traffic at the precise moment an earthquake occurs. While witnessing the devastation around her, Teal’s immediate concerns are for her family. Teal’s husband, River, is injured at home when the earthquake strikes. Like Teal, River’s first thoughts are for the safety of his family. Meanwhile Maiya, Teal’s daughter, is not where she is supposed to be. From here the reader gradually learns more of the individual characters pasts, which play a significant role in how each person deals with their present situation. Teal has tried to bury her past, particularly the circumstances leading to Maiya’s birth. River continues to deal with the tragic loss of his first wife and unborn son. And Maiya desperately wants to learn who her biological father is. Heart Echoes deals with family relationships between parents, parents and child, teenage rebellion, and the effects of past decisions on present day life. Teal and River learn more about their personal relationship when Teal takes Maiya to Cedar Pointe, Oregon, where Teal grew up. It is in Cedar Pointe where Teal finally comes to terms with accepting her past and reconciling it with her present and future. I loved the book, Heart Echoes, and highly recommend it both to new readers and current fans. Kudos to Sally John for writing another winning story!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 7, 2012
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