If you like historical fiction, you’ll want to read Sarah Ladd‘s first novel, The Heiress of Winterwood. Set in Darbury, England, in 1814, the main character is an heiress who must marry to get her inheritance. However, a promise she made to her best friend puts a glitch in her plans (and those of her scheming fiancee!). Amelia Barrett promised to always take care of Lucy, her friend’s daughter. However, it seems that the only way to keep her promise will be to convince the child’s father, sea captain Graham Sterling, to marry her.
From the cover description, I expected a novel much like the cowboy fiction I’ve grown to love–a marriage of convenience, two people fall in love, etc. “Amelia Barrett, heiress to an estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s baby. She’ll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father—a sea captain she’s never met.”
However, the book exceeded my expectations. Instead of a predictable plot, we find Amelia Barrett locked into a battle with her family and her fiancee, who is neither willing to take in the infant nor give up Amelia’s fortune. On the other hand, Captain Sterling doesn’t want to marry again, but he does need someone to care for his daughter while he is at sea. The ensuing commotion as each party works to get what he/she wants is action packed and full of twists and turns. I enjoyed the novel and look forward to more from Sarah Ladd!
**Disclaimer–I received a free e-copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.**
One of my Facebook friends recently posted that, in light of the rescue of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight in Cleveland, Ohio, he’s not sure if he believes in God anymore. After all, how can a good God allow three women’s prayers (& their families’) to go unanswered for 10 years, while his prayers for winning sports teams seemed to be answered?
In fact, there are lots of events in history–big and small– that don’t make a whole lot of sense to us down here. Like the Holocaust. Or slavery. Or the Boston Marthon bombing. Or Columbine. Or any number of other tragic and evil events in human history–and the many going on today. Of course it seems like God should just step in and fix it all (sort of like Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty).
Aside from the “free-will” argument, the “simple” truth is that God doesn’t always answer prayers–at least not the way we want Him to. In fact, He didn’t even answer Jesus’ prayer to be spared crucifixion. And yet, as Christians, we find great joy in our salvation. Even my young children can see how that one horrific event has a joyful eternal consequence for billions of believers throughout history.
God can see every piece of the puzzle. And I don’t think He’s simply picking and choosing what prayers to answer. In fact, I would venture to say that a faith that is grounded in events alone (whether good or bad!), is not one that will endure.
Imagine if our children only thought we loved them when we gave them every thing they asked for. And they stopped loving us when we didn’t. And then we responded accordingly–giving them everything they asked for in order to prove our love. (Wait a minute–I think we all know where that leads! lol)
One of my favorite verses is one my Dad used to sing, “I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed until Him against that day.” My faith is firm regardless of my circumstances because I trust that God is who He says He is. Is yours?
Have you ever wondered what you would do in an emergency–an apocalyptic emergency? Who would you trust? How would you protect your family?
In Afloat, Erin Healy (co-author of Kiss & Burn), explores how one woman, Danielle Clement, deals with a very strange and scary situation. A resident of a floating house designed by Vance Nolan, Danielle receives free luxury accommodations for herself and her son in exchange for helping Tony Dean sell the floating condos. The tradeoff is a false relationship with Tony.
Unfortunately, a bomb gone wrong and a series of weather abnormalities creates havoc in the lives of the residents of Building 12. As Danielle fights to keep her son safe, she must decide who to trust, ultimately making a decision to live her life selflessly, rather than selfishly.
Vance Nolan also has a lesson to learn in this novel–what true love really means. As both characters deal with issues of their pasts and as truth is revealed, they must discover Who is really keeping them afloat.
Afloat is another great read by Erin Healy. I love the way she incorporates a spiritual dimension (reminiscent of Frank Peretti) in a story that dives deep into the souls of the main characters and still contains a plot that keeps the reader guessing.
**I received a free e-book from Book Sneeze in exchange for my honest review.
Recently widowed Annalisa Werner finds herself struggling to hold on to hope as she tries to keep her farm going. An immigrant from Germany, Annalisa hopes to secure a future for her daughter and the child she is expecting by becoming a landowner–something that was impossible in her home country. However, the loan on her farm is coming due, and, in addition to the loss of her husband, Annalisa discovers that her dearly departed has gambled away all of the money they had saved, leaving her and her children destitute.
As the plot of A Noble Groom, by Judy Hedlund, progresses, readers discover just how much Annalisa has lost–not just her husband, but her hope of love and kindness. Her husband was not a kind man, but all Annalisa’s heart desires is to be loved. Her father decides that Annalisa must have a new husband and writes to his brother in Germany to send someone suitable for Annalisa, and she agrees, praying that this husband will at least not beat her or gamble their profits away.
Before the promised groom arrives, however, another man, Carl Richards, arrives from Germany to help her keep up the farm until her relative shows up. Surprised by both his lack of skill and his kindness (something Annalisa is not used to finding in men), Annalisa finds herself drawn to the stranger. She never thought to hope that such a man existed–someone who would actually like to talk with her and be kind to her children.
Over time, as the two work the farm together, Annalisa finds herself more and more drawn to the handsome stranger, even though she suspects he is hiding a secret. When her real groom arrives, the secret is out, and Annalisa is forced to choose between her father’s path and her heart’s.
Although I found some parts of the book hard to swallow from my modern day perspective (I kept thinking this woman should stand up for herself!), A Noble Groom kept my attention from the start. Judy Hedlund not only keeps readers interested, but teaches us something God, forgiveness, and love.
**I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.**
Lots of people have budjets, lots of times for birthdays.Maybe it’s a cheap one or maybe you have lots to spend.
I’m having a luau theme.We were looking for a center peice, but instead of buying one were going to use a coconut.
Another fun thing to do is make your own by taking things you already have.we took a beach combers hat and some old lais to make a cool center peice.
Try something creative!
One day I was drawing on a peice of paper when wham!permanent marker was everywere.I was so scared.But an amazing idea came to me as if lighting had just struck!
I used a wet paper towel and dish washing soap,in seconds the marker was gone!
I sayed to myself don’t fear thers always a solution!”Don’t ever give up.
A few weeks ago, the kids and I spent a few hours with my brother & sister in law in Phoenix before we headed home to Texas. When we arrived, there was a bowl of the most amazing popcorn ever on the counter. It was perfectly seasoned and perfectly buttered.
Travis was nice enough to explain how he made this amazing snack–the old-fashioned way!
Start off with some olive oil in your pan. Add in some seasonings. Trav’s popcorn was spicy–he put in some red pepper, some Mrs. Dash seasoning, and some other yummy stuff. (I didn’t write it down, so I made up a recipe when I got home). Heat up the olive oil a bit.
A great tip from (http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/perfect_popcorn/) is to put in just 3/4 kernels and wait until they pop–that will tell you the oil is at the right temperature. Remove the pot from the heat and put in about 1/3 cup of kernels–enough to cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer. Give the kernels about 30 seconds to heat up, and then put the pot back on the heat.
Make sure you have the lid on! When the popcorn starts popping, shake the pot back and forth to keep the kernels at an even temperature. Once they stop popping, pour into a bowl. The popcorn will be evenly coated with olive oil (tasted like butter!) and seasonings. I’ve tried just salt–yummy–Jamaican Jerk seasoning (from Pampered Chef), and Italian seasonings. All three turned out really delicious.
Popcorn is filling & light & a great source of fiber. :) Enjoy!
I’m so excited that Mary Connealy has another new series in the works. I just finished reading the first book in the series–Swept Away. I couldn’t put it down!
Ruthy MacNeil is a hard-working orphan who gets Swept Away when her wagon train is overtaken by a flash flood. When she was a little girl & her parents died, Ruthy had been “adopted” by neighbors who treated her as a servant and expected her to marry their creepy son. Understandably, Ruthy isn’t too heart-broken to be rid of her adopted “family.”
Luke (remember Seth Kincaid?–this is Callie’s brother) is on a mission of his own–to reclaim the ranch that was stolen from his family by a ruthless outlaw. When he stumbles upon a half-drowned Ruthy, he is honor bound to keep her safe, even though it means taking her along on his own mission.
Though neither Luke nor Ruthy is looking for romance, they find that they compliment each other. I love that the characters in Connealy’s books connect to each other–though I was a bit disappointed that the Kincaid brothers didn’t show up in this novel to help out their brother-in-law!
Connealy’s books usually have a similar theme & even the same types of characters, but she manages to make each character unique and intriguing in his/her own way. There’s action, romance, and an exploration of each character’s relationship with God. I highly recommend this book, and I can’t wait to read the next one in this series (I’m already guessing about how the characters we’ve been introduced to in this book will find each other)! :)
*Disclaimer–I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.*
Dessa Caldwell is a girl with a purpose. Determined to carry on the legacy of her friend and mentor, she decides to seek a loan to fund a home that will serve as a refuge for prostitutes. She knows that many of these women were not given a choice, and Pierson House will give them just that.
Unfortunately, the man who holds her future funds in his hands, Henry Hawkins, does not see the value in her dream. And neither do many of the shady characters in Denver whose fortunes are made on just the sort of activity Dessa hopes to provide an escape from.
In All in Good Time, Maureen Lang tells the story of two unlikely friends–both hiding secrets they feel too terrible to bear, and yet both needing to be loved. While I find some parts of this story a bit unrealistic, I highly enjoyed it. The characters are well developed and the story is interesting. I especially like the epilogue, in which Lang answers some of the questions remaining for readers about the characters.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.
As women, one of our most common topics of conversation is weight. Most of us weigh too much, regardless of how great our friends think we look. We’re exercising, dieting, chastising ourselves. For most of us, this doesn’t go to the extremes of obesity or eating disorders, but the core dissatisfaction with our bodies remains.
In Invisible, Ginny Yttrup explores the issues women have with our bodies in a fictional story about Ellyn, an amazing chef with a love for butter and all things delicious. Everyone loves Ellyn…except Ellyn. In her head, a dialogue constantly runs telling her she’s too fat, not good enough, not disciplined enough, etc, etc. So, when a good looking doctor who’s been recently widowed attempts to explore a relationship with her, Ellyn isn’t buying it.
Thankfully for both of them, God brings amazing women into Ellyn’s life–a young woman named Twila who is recovering from a battle with anorexia and a beautiful woman named Sabrina who has her own dark secrets. All three woman have different circumstances, but the battle being waged internally sounds the same. Through their friendship, they gradually learn how to begin to accept themselves–and to allow others to love them too.
Invisible is a poignant story that every woman should read.
**Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.