Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Beautiful Pretender - Book Review

Hello, my lovely and kind friends!
I am just popping in to share another book review with you 
while on my blogging break.
Yes, I am still taking a break {{smiles}}
I must confess that it's been quite the break 
as my darling husband came down with a nasty bug that lasted 6 days.
After that my little one was down for 4 days.
And you guessed it, I was the last one to get sick.
I've been under the weather for a week now,
but today is the first day that I did not have a fever and my cough is getting better-
praise the Lord!
I guess the Lord knew I would need this time for a break :)
Please know that I miss all of you very much!
Love and hugs!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

After inheriting his title from his brother, 
the margrave has two weeks to find a noble bride. 
What will happen when he learns he has fallen for a lovely servant girl in disguise?

The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. 
He invites ten noble born ladies who meet the king’s approval 
to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, 
a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.

Avelina has only two instructions: 
keep her true identity a secret and make sure the margrave doesn’t select her as his 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.




My Thoughts
Charming. . .simply charming!
A grown-up fairytale with a delightful ending
that will leave you smiling for hours after finishing the book.

The Margrave of Thornbeck has received a letter from the king himself
suggesting he choose a bride in an attempt to bring unity between the nobleman of the country.
"Oh bother!" is what the Margrave is thinking, but he can't deny the king
so in an attempt to satisfy the king's request he asks for the company of several noble born ladies
and oh boy, is he in for the time of his life!

Sweet Avelina is but a maidservant,
but when her mistress runs off with her father's Knight
right before she is to go to the Margrave of Thornbeck's home
Avelina must become Lady Dorothea in order to maintain peace and unity
with the Margrave of Thornbeck.
All she has to do is play the part of a lady
and under no circumtance is she to draw attention to herself
especially attention from the Margrave. . .

I was simply delighted by The Beautiful Pretender
and found it to be the perfect medieval fairy tale.
The characters are flawless and exceptionally enjoyable.
I especially fell in love with Avelina, the Margrave, and Lady Magdalen.
A beautiful story of tender love, kindness, and forgiveness!
I am happy to give this book 5 stars.

 ** I was given a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers
for an honest review. 
All thoughts are my own and no other compensation was received. **

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.
Visit her on line at melaniedickerson.com 
Facebook: MelanieDickersonBooks
Twitter @melanieauthor

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I wrote a book review for The Magnolia Duchess before this one
which you can read by clicking here.

The Magnolia Duchess - Book Review

Hello, my lovely and kind friends!
I am just popping in to share another book review with you 
while on my blogging break.
Yes, I am still taking a break {{smiles}}
I must confess that it's been quite the break 
as my darling husband came down with a nasty bug that lasted 6 days.
After that my little one was down for 4 days.
And you guessed it, I was the last one to get sick.
I've been under the weather for a week now,
but today is the first day that I did not have a fever and my cough is getting better-
praise the Lord!
I guess the Lord knew I would need this time for a break :)
Please know that I miss all of you very much!
Love and hugs!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Fiona Lanier is the only woman in the tiny Gulf Coast settlement of Navy Cove. 
While her shipbuilding family races to fill the demand 
for American ships brought by the War of 1812, 
Fiona tries to rescue her brother who was forced into service by the British Navy.

Lieutenant Charlie Kincaid has been undercover for six months, 
obtaining information vital to the planned British invasion of New Orleans. 
When a summer storm south of Mobile Bay wrecks his ship and scatters the crew, 
Charlie suffers a head injury, 
ultimately collapsing in the arms of a beautiful mermaid who seems eerily familiar. 
As Charlie's memory returns in agonizing jags and crashes, 
he and Fiona discover that falling in love may be as inevitable as the tide. 
But when political loyalties begin to collide, 
they'll each have to decide where their true heart lies.




My Thoughts
The Magnolia Duchess written by Beth White
is the 3rd book in the Gulf Coast Chronicles.
You can read the review for The Creole Princess by clicking here.

First of all, Beth White is a talented author
who knows how to work hard and plan an exceptional story.
I have found in the two books that I have read by her
that she has diligently done her research
 and she provides the reader with an interesting and accurate historical account.
I applaud Beth's skill and I appreciate her detailed writing when it comes to history.

With that being said. . .
I found the story to fall a little flat.
And by flat I simply mean that the story was slow. . .too slow.
I enjoyed the characters and found many of them to be charming and full of wit, 
though there were several romances taking place throughout the story
and at times it was tiring trying to keep up with three different couples.
I will say that Fiona and Charlie {the two main characters} 
were precious and very endearing.

I give the historical aspect of the book 5 stars,
the characters get 4 stars,
and the story itself gets 3 stars.

** I was given a free copy of this book from Revell Publishers for an honest review.
All thoughts are my own. No other compensation was received. **

About the Author
Beth White is the award-winning author of The Pelican Bride.
A native Mississippian, she teaches music at an inner-city high school
in historic Mobile, Alabama.
Her novels have won the American Christian Fiction Writers' Carol Award,
the RT Book Club Reviewers' Choice Award,
and the Inspirational Readers' Choice Award.
Learn more at www.bethwhite.net

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Dawn at Emberwilde - Book Review

Hello, sweet friends of mine!
Long time no post, eh? :)
As many of you know I have been taking a break from blogging
and that break is still taking place.
While on my break I've been sent lots of books to read
from several publishing companies
and at the moment I am getting buried in literature. . .
which really isn't a bad thing {{smiles}}
Since my pile of books is only growing 
I thought it would be best if I wrote a few reviews while on my break.
I will be back to blogging soon,
but until then I hope you enjoy the book reviews
and I sincerely hope all of you are well.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Isabel Creston never dared to dream that love could be hers. 
Now, at the edge of a forest filled with dark secrets, 
she faces a fateful choice between love and duty.

For as long as she can remember, beautiful and free-spirited Isabel 
has strained against the rules and rigidity of the Fellsworth School 
in the rolling English countryside. 
No longer a student, Isabel set her sights on a steady role as a teacher at the school, 
a safe yet stifling establishment that would enable her to care for her younger sister Lizzie, 
who was left in her care after her father’s death.

The unexpected arrival of a stranger with news of unknown relatives 
turns Isabel’s small, predictable world upside down, 
sweeping her and her young charge into a labyrinth of intrigue and hidden motives.

At her new family’s invitation, Isabel and Lizzie relocate to Emberwilde, 
a sprawling estate adjacent to a vast, mysterious wood rife with rumors and ominous folklore-
along with whispers of something far more sinister. 
Perhaps even more startling, two handsome men begin pursuing Isabel, 
forcing her to learn the delicate dance between attraction, 
the intricate rules of courtship, and the hopes of her heart.

At Emberwilde Isabel will discover that the key to unlocking the mystery of her past 
may also open the door to her future and security. 
But first she must find it - in the depths of Emberwilde Forest.




My Thoughts
I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Sarah E. Ladd.
Dawn at Emberwilde is the second book in the Treasures of Surrey series
and typically it seems like the second book in any series can be mediocre.
Well, not so with Dawn at Emberwilde.
If anything it was better than the first book in the series
and the first one was great.
I will be honest and say that I was in a "slump" with my reading.
I had started several books that simply weren't holding my attention,
but then I opened up Dawn at Emberwilde and I was pulled into the story of Isabel Creston.

Isabel has spunk and fire,
traits that help keep her armor on in a world where she thinks she is alone.
She has come to terms with the fact that she will likely be a teacher or governess
for the remainder of her life while making sure her little sister is well taken care of.
When she receives news that she has living relatives she is quite shocked
and her world, in a sense, is turned upside down.
These relatives seem kind and maybe even loving, 
but Isabel is confused as to why they would wait so many years to introduce themselves.
The longer she stays with her aunt, uncle, and cousin
the more she wonders if there is something else going on besides family taking care of their own.

While at Emberwilde Isabel is introduced to two men.
One seems to be quite the gentleman full of tender words and kind actions
while the other one comes across as reserved, quiet, and somewhat dangerous.
Both are intriguing, but one is not all that he seems.

You will find mystery, a little action, and sweet romance 
between the pages of Dawn at Emberwilde.
I was pleasantly pleased with this book and could easily read it again.
Sarah E. Ladd is an incredibly talented author
and her talent for writing a captivating story shines through in this book.
While Dawn at Emberwilde is the second book in the Treasures of Surrey series
it can easily be a stand alone novel.
A 4.5 star read!

You can read my review for the first book in the Treasures of Surrey series
by clicking on the link below:

 ** I was given a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers
and the Fiction Guild Team for an honest review. 
All thoughts are my own and no other compensation was received. **

About the Author
Sarah E. Ladd received the 2011 Genesis Award in historical romance 
for The Heiress of Winterwood. 
She is a graduate of Ball State University 
and has more than ten years of marketing experience. 
Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing family and spunky Golden Retriever. 
Facebook: SarahLaddAuthor 
Twitter: @SarahLaddAuthor

Sins Of The Past - Book Review

Hello, sweet friends of mine!
Long time no post, eh? :)
As many of you know I have been taking a break from blogging
and that break is still taking place.
While on my break I've been sent lots of books to read
from several publishing companies
and at the moment I am getting buried in literature. . .
which really isn't a bad thing {{smiles}}
Since my pile of books is only growing 
I thought it would be best if I wrote a few reviews while on my break.
I will be back to blogging soon,
but until then I hope you enjoy the book reviews
and I sincerely hope all of you are well.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Three Novellas from Bestselling Authors

In Dee Henderson's "Missing," a Wyoming sheriff is called to Chicago 
when his elderly mother goes missing. 
Paired with a savvy Chicago cop, 
the two realize her disappearance is no accident, 
and a race against the clock begins.

Dani Pettrey returns to Alaska with "Shadowed," 
introducing readers to the parents of her beloved McKenna clan. 
Adventure, romance, and danger collide when a young fisherman nets the body 
of an open-water swimming competitor who may actually be a possible Russian defector.

Lynette Eason's "Blackout" delivers the story 
of a woman once implicated in a robbery gone wrong. 
The loot has never been found-
but her memory of that night has always been unreliable. 
Can she remember enough to find her way to safety 
when the true culprit comes after her?




My Thoughts
Three talented suspense authors in one book-
can it get any better?

Dee Henderson is a well-known author because of her detailed writing skills
and the ability to capture the readers attention with suspenseful twists and turns.
While I have enjoyed books by Dee in the past 
I must confess that "Missing" was not one of my favorites and it fell flat.
The plot itself was unique, but unfortunately the story was slow and somewhat repetitive.
There was hardly any action and the mystery simply wasn't there.

Dani Pettrey is a fairly new author to me
and I must say that she is quickly climbing to the top of the list of my favorite authors.
Dani definitely knows how to write a story packed with mystery and suspense.
From the first page of "Shadowed" I was drawn in.
I enjoyed the outdoor adventure in Alaska
and that fact that the story was set in the 1970's made it all the more interesting.
A job well done by Dani Pettrey.

Lynette Eason is definitely my favorite suspense author
as she never fails to write an intriguing mystery-
oh, how I admire this author and her talent for writing!
In "Blackout" you will be on the edge of your seat for the entire length of the story.
The first chapter had me holding my breath in suspense. . .
I can't remember that happening before.
The action and suspense were phenomenal
and the romance was perfect!
It helped that the two main characters had known one another for two years
and had built a friendship so the romance that budded between them was enjoyable and believable.

If you enjoy suspense with a touch of romance
than Sins of the Past is for you.
The perfect book to enjoy by the pool or in the shade of a tree during the hot summer days.

** I was given a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for an honest review.
All thoughts are my own. No other compensation was received. **

About the Authors
Dee Henderson is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen novels. 
She is a lifelong resident of Illinois. 
Visit her at www.deehenderson.com

Dani Pettrey is the award-winning author of the acclaimed Alaskan Courage series. 
She lives in Maryland. 

Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series. 
She lives in South Carolina. 
Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com

Friday, May 06, 2016

May You Have A Blessed Mother's Day!


Whether you're a mother, a daughter, a sister, 
a wife, a grandmother, an aunt, or a friend,
may this day be extra beautiful and special for you.
Let us celebrate in quiet gratitude that we are women of God.

Take time to simply be. . .
relax and enjoy.


I hope the words and photos that I share today
refresh your soul and bless your heart.




First of all,
I think we should start things off right by enjoying a hot beverage.
Please, let me pour you a cup of tea. . .




And what is tea without a sweet treat?
Would you like a delicate lemon bar to go along with your tea?




Now relax, be still, and enjoy,
dear mothers, daughters, women of all ages. . .
In the midst of many duties and distractions 
it is rather difficult to find quiet time and rest.
Take a deep breath and simply be still.




Slow me down, Lord!
Ease the pounding in my heart by the quieting of my mind!
Steady my hurried pace with a vision of the eternal reach of time!
Give me, amidst the confusion of my day,
the calmness of the everlasting hills.
Break the tension of my nerves and muscles
with the soothing music of the singing streams.
Help me know the magical, restorative power of Thy touch.
Teach me the art of taking minute vacations,
slowing down to look at a flower, to chat with a friend, to pat a dog.
Remind me each day of the hare and the tortoise,
so that I may know that the race is not always to the swift,
there is more in life than increasing speed.
Let me look upward into the branches of the towering oak,
And know that it grew great because it grew slowly and well.
Slow me down, Lord! 
Inspire me to send my roots deep into the soil of life's enduring values.
Amen.
- Author Unknown -




My precious mom loves to sing.
Ever since I was a young girl my mom would sing when she was working in the home.
She often woke me up in the mornings with a new song and
she has always had a habit of creating her own songs. . .
some good and some. . .well, some were quite unique.




To me, singing praises unto the Lord is quite beautiful and honoring.
It's also a perfect thing to do while enjoying a quiet and relaxing moment in the day.
We don't have to verbally sing, but our hearts can sing and praise our Heavenly Father.
A song can put a smile upon our faces, a skip in our step,
and bring joy to our weary souls.




. . . Sing A Song . . .

When you are tired and weary,
With the daily cares of life,
And you feel need of something
To help you win the strife.
Just sing a song!

When loved ones have left you - lonely
You wander, sad and distressed,
When heaven to you seems distant,
Don't feel, my Friend, depressed,
But sing a song!

When the peace of God is upon you,
The joy of salvation is real;
Let the world know of your blessings,
Their thrill be glad to reveal.
O sing a song!

Perchance, when you meet someone,
Someone in need of God's love,
Point him to Jesus, the Saviour,
Point him to heaven above.
And sing a song!

When you behold God's creation
And you feel to adore the Most High,
O praise Him in exaltation,
Our Maker who lives in the sky.
Praise Him in song!

Then when at last we will meet Him,
When the Lord shall gather His own,
We will sing in sweet adoration
With million's around the great throne.
Heaven's sweet song!
- Ethel Davis -




My dear friends, 
may we sing while we work and while we rest,
when we are happy and when we are sad,
let us sing in the morning and at night.




Take a few moments out of your day 
and be still, be quiet, be at peace. . .
and sing a sweet song.




Mother's Day blessings to you.
May this Mother's day be filled with joy and sweet gladness.

Love and hugs to you!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

My dear friends,
I wanted to let you know that I will be taking a small break from blogging.
I need some time to simply rest and gather my wits. . .
life has been so busy lately.
I will be around so please feel free to email me
and I hope to visit your blogs when I can.
I shall return when I am ready and able :)

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Chicken Rollatine and A Winner

Happy day to you, my friends!
I hope your May is off to a beautiful start.
Today I have a delicious recipe I want to share with you,
but first I would like to announce the winner of the Courageous DVD.
The blessed winner is:
Tea Lady
Congratulations, dear one!
I will get the DVD shipped off as soon as possible.


Now onto the tasty Chicken Rollatine recipe.
This is a pretty dish that looks more difficult to make than it really is.
The perfect dish for company.




Ingredients:

2 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 sweet red pepper, diced
4 green onions, finely chopped
8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded {2 cups}
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup dry seasoned bread crumbs
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup oil




Melt butter in a small saucepan.
Add garlic, sweet red pepper and green onions;
saute for 5 minutes.
Cool.

Place chicken breast halves between sheets of plastic wrap.
Lightly pound until paper thin.
Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Combine mozzarella and red pepper mixture in a small bowl.
Place 2 tablespoons mixture in the center of each chicken breast half.
Fold sides over to form a hockey-puck-type patty.
Place patties, flap side down, on a baking sheet or metal pan.
Freeze for 20 minutes to hold together for frying
{this is an incredible trick}.

Place flour, eggs, and bread crumbs in 3 separate bowls.
Mix parsley into bread crumbs.
Dip patties first in flour, then in eggs, and finally in the crumbs to coat.
You can wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 hours is you wish.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat half of the oil in a medium-size skillet.
Working in batches, saute patties in skillet for 1 to 2 minutes per side
or until golden brown, add more oil as needed.
Place in baking pan.

Bake in heated 350 degree oven for 20 - 25 minutes
or until internal temperature of chicken
registers 170 degrees F on an instant read-thermometer.

Serve with wild rice and your favorite vegetable.
Enjoy!




This recipe quickly became a favorite in our household.
I hope you enjoy it as well.

Have a delightful day, sweet friends!
{{hugs}}

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Teach Me Thy Way, O Lord


A spiritual knowledge of Christ 
is always a personal knowledge.
It is not gained through the experience of others.
Knowing the Lord  in all of His fullness
for every situation we encounter is a lifetime pursuit.
- Kenneth W. Osbeck -




Teach me Thy way, O Lord, teach me Thy way!
Thy guiding grace afford, teach me Thy way!
Help me to walk aright, more by faith, less by sight;
Lead me with heav’nly light, teach me Thy way!

When I am sad at heart, teach me Thy way!
When earthly joys depart, teach me Thy way!
In hours of loneliness, in times of dire distress,
In failure or success, teach me Thy way!




When doubts and fears arise, teach me Thy way!
When storms o’erspread the skies, teach me Thy way!
Shine through the cloud and rain, through sorrow, toil and pain;
Make Thou my pathway plain, teach me Thy way!

Long as my life shall last, teach me Thy way!
Where’er my lot be cast, teach me Thy way!
Until the race is run, until the journey’s done,
Until the crown is won, teach me Thy way!
- Benjamin Mansell Ramsey -




Discipleship involves a willingness to be taught
and then a desire to follow the ways of the Lord-
to go with Him in the same direction He is going.
We must be willing to say with David Livingston,
the notes missionary statesman of the past century,
"I will place no value on anything I have or may possess
except in relation to the kingdom of Christ."
- Kenneth W. Osbeck -




I have held many things in my hands,
and I have lost them all;
but whatever I have placed in God's hands,
that I still possess.
- Martin Luther -




Teach me thy way, O Lord, 
and lead me in a plain path.
- Psalm 27:11 -


Shew me thy ways, O Lord; 
teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: 
for thou art the God of my salvation; 
on thee do I wait all the day.
- Psalm 25: 4 & 5 -


Teach me thy way, O Lord; 
I will walk in thy truth: 
unite my heart to fear thy name.
- Psalm 86:11 -




Blessings and love to you
on this Lord's Day!




Happy May Day, sweet friends!


May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day. 
May songbirds serenade you every step along the way. 
May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that's always blue. 
May happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through. 
- Irish Blessing -

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