Elusive Hope

ImageMagnolia is far, far away from the charmed life she is used to. In fact, she is on a completely different continent from her charmed life in Georgia. Of course, that was before the Civil War, before the incident with Martin, before her father decided all of the hopes and dreams for the Scott family rested on Magnolia’s slim shoulders. And as far as that insufferable Hayden Gale goes-well, he may be good-looking but he is as far from a gentleman as a man can get! But it is so infuriating how he manages to get under her skin! Now if only he will cooperate and be her guide to Rio so she can go back to Georgia and try to regain her life. Sure she will have to fib and tell him he will receive a large sum of money at the end of the journey, but really, anything to get her home and back to a semblance of normal. Away from Brazil, away from her father, and away from Hayden’s tempting good looks. And getting away from the strange happenings around their village will be wonderful too. Several people say they have seen ghostly visions of people they knew, people who hurt them in the past. But that’s impossible…isn’t it?

Oh Marylu, you spoil me. Writing such wonderful stories with characters that I am sad to leave at the last turn of the page. I love it! The banter between Hayden and Magnolia made me laugh out loud and scare my dogs, which made me laugh more 😉 Cannot wait for the next book in the series!

**I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review**

The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

ImageOnce upon a time, in a land far away, lived a girl named Gisela. This girl was beloved by her father, a great nobleman who could boast of friendships with everyone around him, even the ruler of their land. He taught his daughter everything he knew about horses and shared his love for them with her so she too loved and cared for them. One day the father brought home a new bride and two stepsisters for Gisela, and things were tense as the families had to grow accustomed to one another. In the wink of an eye, Gisela’s adoring father was gone, with only the stepmother and stepsisters to fill the void left by his passing.  Sadly, they viewed poor Gisela as an intrusion in their lives and as someone they could abuse. So they forced her to wait on them hand and foot while they lived a luxurious life with money they gained from selling off the family horses one by one. When the duke hosts a tournament Gisela sees her chance to escape, even just for a day. She beats all the odds, including a trap set by her stepmother, and makes it to the tournament where she sees Valten, the duke’s son, whom she has fond memories of from their father’s horse trades over the years. As the two fall in love they must overcome the evil plots of Gisela’s family as well as attempts on Valten’s life by a black-hearted knight. The journey to happily ever after for Valten and Gisela is not an easy one, but it is definitely one that will keep readers up late to see what happens. 🙂

**I received a copy of this book from Zondervan in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!**

Wilderness Peril Giveaway!

Image  On the list of top five worst days of Shay Ridiker’s life is the day she and co-worker Rick Savage are run off the road and left for dead in the icy wilderness of Alaska. Both are unaware of why someone wants them dead but suspect it has something to do with a repair call they received from Rick’s brother Aiden who has gone missing. Rick battles PTSD from his time as a soldier and Shay fights off debilitating panic attacks, so each has personal battles they are fighting while struggling to make it home alive. As the couple works to survive their surroundings and discover what has happened to Aiden they grow closer to God and each other.

To kick off the new year I am giving away a signed copy of Wilderness Peril to one lucky winner! All you have to do is complete the rafflecopter entries on my facebook page for your chance to win! You can also purchase a copy of this fun, fast-paced read on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my fair and honest review. Thanks Elizabeth!! 🙂

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

GrimmLegacyElizabeth lives a lonely life. She has a stepmother who loves to give extra chores, two stepsisters who are spoiled and manipulative, and an absent minded father. To make matters worse, she just started a new school and is having a hard time making friends. When she successfully completes a big research paper on the Grimm Brothers her history teacher offers her the job of a lifetime-working as a page at the New York Circulating Material Repository. After an odd job interview consisting of sorting buttons, Elizabeth is hired and learns her way around the massive repository, which houses and lends out wonderful things such as a table that sets itself with whatever food you desire and Shakespeare’s doublet. She has also made friends with the other pages, one of which is the star basketball player at her school. But she has heard there is a Grimm collection somewhere in the building and cannot rest until she finds out all about it. She encounters more mysteries along the way as items are disappearing, and other items seem to be losing their magical properties. The closer Elizabeth gets to answers, the crazier things get, including being stalked by a ginormous bird and taking a long trip to Nowhere. 

This was a very cute story, and I really enjoyed it. One annoyance I had was never being sure what age Elizabeth and some of the other characters are. At points they seem to be in the midst of high school, then their conversations will more closely resemble middle school. There were a few places that it dragged but overall I was engaged in the story and kept saying “just one more chapter!” I look forward to the next book in the series, maybe Elizabeth will get to investigate the H.G. Wells section more? 🙂

Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade

ImageWow, I am so excited to have discovered Becky Wade’s books! Undeniably Yours is a story of a wealthy oil heiress and the humble cowboy who wins her heart. Meg Cole returns home to Texas and the oil empire her late father ran with an iron fist. After his sudden death, Meg is expected to pick up where her father left off and handle every aspect of the business, including her father’s prized horse farm Whispering Creek Ranch. In an effort to consolidate the Cole holdings Meg begins to sell off various parts of the business, including the horse farm. Things get a little complicated when she calls in Bo Porter, the man in charge of the farm, to explain the situation. She attempts to give him a severance package and he bargains for a six month extension to try and prove the farm’s worth to Meg. She reluctantly agrees, even to his request to visit the farm and attempt riding lessons. And the rest, as they say, is history 🙂

First of all, I love this cover! As soon as I saw it I had to read it, I wanted to know the story behind that cute scene and those adorable shoes 🙂 I love how the author portrayed her characters, and I grew very attached to them.  She made them very real and sympathetic to the reader which I really enjoyed. For instance, Meg suffers from panic attacks, and I could sympathize with her because I do too. I have actually made note of her coping methods for the attacks, they seem like they would work really well! My favorite method is turning to prayer in the midst of the attack. It’s not the easiest choice in the heat of the moment but we are told to cast all our cares on Him, and I say that is a really big care and worry that I am not strong enough to handle. I’m so grateful we serve a big God who can handle anything that we bring to Him 🙂

*I received a complimentary e-book copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review*

The plantation owner and the princess

“Am I beautiful, Daddy?” The cry of every girl’s heart, young and old, is to hear that their father thinks they are beautiful. As a child Althea’s father made sure she knew she was beautiful and cherished. But that all changed the day her parents were killed and she and her sister were taken captive and made slaves in the home of the odious Sir Walter. Because of the girl’s mixed parentage they were seen as less than human in his eyes, plus he was just evil. He abused the girls in a multitude of ways, until finally Althea is able to escape and make her way by ship to Charleston and start a new life as a healer and physician’s assistant. She lives a quiet, happy life and is continually worried that people will discover her past as well as her parentage. For in 1812, black slavery is rampant. Enter Morgan Rutledge, second son of a wealthy plantation owner who is captivated by the beautiful Althea and pursues her despite her reservations and efforts to dissuade him. When his little sister falls ill and none of the doctors can help her, Morgan calls Althea to see what she can do. Althea goes and prays for the little girl, who is almost past the point of no return. Miraculously the little girl is healed and Althea becomes the talk of society. Morgan pursues her even stronger after this, and he finally breaks down her resistance and escorts her to a party, where she begins to admit she is developing feelings for him. Along the way people get jealous of the relationship and sabotage it in various ways that I can’t share or else it would give away big plot points 🙂 There is a happily ever after, the best part of which is Morgan ensuring Althea knows that she is beautiful to him and cherished by him no matter what 🙂 

This was a wonderful book that I highly recommend. I laughed, I cried at least twice, and I am contemplating reading it again in the next few weeks. It was a great encouragement to me as I am still on the lookout for my prince, and now I have added a few of Morgan’s qualities to my list for my prince 🙂 Thank you to the author, MaryLu, for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest review.