Saturday, June 4, 2016

Fiction Book Review: The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson

Book Description: 
What happens when a margrave realizes he's fallen in love with a servant?

The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble-born ladies from around the country to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.

Avelina is only responsible for two things: making sure her deception goes undetected and avoiding being selected as the margrave's bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.

Despite Avelina's best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can't deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse---far deadlier---consequences. Will Avelina be able to stop the evil plot? And at what cost? 

My Review:
Melanie Dickerson is an expert writer of fairy tales. From the setting to the language she uses, I felt ensconced in the story from beginning to end. I loved the story of a maiden servant put in the dilemma of pretending to be a noble lady. Then she was told not to let the margrave (prince) fall in love with her. But she's so sweet and lovable! The internal struggle mixed with physical situations led to some real predicaments. Avelina's brave heart opens for her friends as she shows her true self despite her hidden agenda. Melanie did a superb job developing intriguing  characters and creating a wonderful world to get lost in for awhile. I'm so glad there are fairytales for adults, because I've never outgrown my love of them. Escape into The Beautiful Pretender this summer. I received this book in exchange for a fair review.

About the author:
Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer's Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader's Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor's degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama.

Fiction Book Review: Sister Eve and the Blue Nun by Lynne Hinton

Book Description:
After a murder at the monastery, Sister Eve may need a miracle if she is to prove a dear friend isn't a cold-blooded killer.

Sister Eve, a motorcycle-riding nun with a natural (or is it supernatural?) gift for solving murders returns to the enclave she once called home and quickly finds herself confronting yet another mysterious death.

Someone has poisoned Dr. Kelly Middlesworth---a researcher on the life and ministry of 17th-century's revered "Blue Nun"---and a set of irreplaceable historic documents have disappeared before they could even be examined.

When all evidence seems to point to the victim's brother, Sister Eve sets out to expose the killer and learn the explosive truth those missing manuscripts might contain.

Chasing a killer is dangerous work, and as her two worlds collide, Sister Eve may need some heavenly help simply to survive.

My Review:
Sister Eve and the Blue Nun is one of the most entertaining mysteries I've read in a while. Sister Evangeline Divine is a funny, intelligent woman who's up to her habit (if she wore one) in trouble. I sympathized with Eve as she struggled with the life-changing decision of staying on as a nun or letting go and working as a Private Investigator with her dad. But before Eve can decide, she delves into a murder mystery that's personal and action packed. I enjoyed Eve's story and learned about the Blue Nun, which I found quite interesting. I could tell that Lynne had done the research that played a key role in the story. This is the third book in A Divine Private Detective Agency Mystery. I'm looking forward to number four. If you enjoy a good mystery, you'll love Sister Eve and the Blue Nun. I received this book in exchange for a fair review.

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About the author:
Lynne Hinton is the New York Times bestselling author of Friendship Cake and Pie Town. To find out more visit Lynne's Website | Facebook 

Friday, June 3, 2016


©Penny Frost McGinnis

Where is your Faith?

Luke 8:22-25
One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.
The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.  “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.
In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

Tim and I traveled to the Cleveland area over Memorial Day weekend. On Tuesday, our daughter would be having surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. As we eased into the week with prayer and time reflecting on God's creation, we grabbed some sandwiches and settled into a picnic table by Lake Erie. The water stretched before us much like an ocean; where we couldn't see land on the other side. A few boats bounced along the water. The seagulls squawked. In the distance we saw what the gulls were excited about. A storm with a wall of rain was crawling across the lake. The water turned a deep, dark blue and the temperature dropped about ten degrees. Thunder rumbled and the wind kicked up and lifted the waves. The storm was heading our way. We watched for a while, mesmerized by God's power. The whole scene gave me cold chills. Yet I knew I was safe. Jesus was with us, just as he'd be with our daughter in surgery.

I believe in the power of prayer and the amazing power of God. But, like the disciples I had to find out about that power through experience. The disciples didn't know Jesus well enough to understand that he could speak to the storm and it would obey. They hadn't seen his amazing powers and the miracles he would perform. But in time they would. Like them, I had to spend time with Jesus through prayer and learn about him through the Bible. Every day I get to know him a little bit better. Praise God for Jesus!

P.S. Surgery went well!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Trust in the Lord

Psalm 37:1-4
Do not fret because of those who are evil
    or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
    like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

They lived in a perfect world. A lush garden filled with beautiful animals, soaring birds, diving fish, and trees. The two strolled through the greenery and the flowers. They watched the butterflies and the bees. They shared the joy of their lovely surroundings. Until the day they defied God. They disobeyed. Then everything changed.

Living in the world is hard. Ever since Adam and Eve's choice to eat the fruit from the tree of life, sin has flooded the world. With the sin comes discouragement, hurt, and frustration. But the good news, yes the very best, most wonderful news, is— I can totally, without a doubt trust the Lord to bring goodness to my life. He has my best interest in mind. As I delight in him, he gives me the delights of my heart. The joy, peace, and love that only he can give. Praise God that the evil passes away and the love of my Father remains.

Fiction Book Review: Someone Like You by Victoria Bylin

Book Description:
Single mom Julia Dare has a lot on her plate.

A brand new Christian, Julia is busy trying to run her own business, spend time with her widowed mother, and raise her young son, Max, despite his father's less-than-ideal influence on him. When a big account from her event-planning business sends her to the Caliente Springs resort, she's shocked to come face-to-face with Zeke Monroe, the resort's general manager and her college sweetheart.

With his faith in tatters, Zeke Monroe is determined to keep the historic Caliente Springs resort running despite financial difficulties. But when Julia walks back into his life, he can't ignore the feelings she stirs up. As they work together on an important client's dream wedding, the fate of the resort soon depends on their success. When Zeke and Julia are pushed to their limits both personally and professionally, will their history put up walls between them or bring them together?

Book Review:
Someone Like You isn't just another romance. Victoria Bylin creates realistic characters, warts and all. This may sound strange, but I am pleased to read a novel with a single mom who has to deal with her ex-husband. More often than not that's the reality. Many women have to figure out how to "live" with an ex-husband in their child's life. I enjoyed watching Julia grow in confidence and faith throughout the story. She has a lot to balance and work through. As a new believer she handles it all with prayer and grace.
Rather than a knight in shining armor, Zeke has demons of his own to fight. He's an appealing, yet believable character. The strong spiritual element Bylin threads through the book adds depth and insight. Caliente Springs is a lovely setting for this great read. This would be a good book to pack for vacation. I received this book in exchange for a fair review.

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About the author:
Victoria Bylin writes contemporary and historical romances known for their realistic, relatable characters. Her work has finaled in contests such as the Carol Awards, the RITAs, and the RT Reviewers' Choice Award. A native of California, she and her husband now make their home in Lexington, Kentucky.

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