The Reluctant Duchess

This book by Roseanna M. White is the second in the Ladies of the Manor series. Lady Rowena Kinnaird is the heiress to a Highland earldom, but due to her father’s harshness and abuse she has never felt worthy of her future role. After the man she was intended to marry attacks her in the most vicious way, she finally has the courage to stand against her father’s wishes. In an effort to rescue a broken woman, Brice Myerston, the Duke of Nottingham, offers to marry her on impulse. Rowena accepts but after they are married she is reluctant to become intimate because of her fear of men. Faced with the possibility of carrying her attacker’s child, she is forced to rely on the good graces of her husband. When she finds that her husband has secrets involving precious jewelry and sketchy people, she is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery… even if it means betraying her husband’s trust.

Until now, I have not read anything from this author. This book was able to be read as a stand alone even though there is a previous book in the series. Many of the characters obviously have connections from the first book but it was easy to understand the limited explanations in this book. Rowena faces several dark plots including: childhood abuse from her father, rape from her suitor, threats and rage from her attacker, nightmares and fear following the trauma of her attack, etc. She is portrayed as a weak and fearful woman. The rape is explained but not too much detail (I have read much worse rape scenes in other books not from this author). I can understand why some people may be unable to handle this type of scene though. The patience and understanding that Brice has with Rowena is refreshing but I’m not sure is completely believable. He honestly seems way too good to be true. Since it is a fiction book, I can look past that. Brice also has a strong relationship with God. He seems to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and recognizes when he fails. He is a man who prays a lot. Rowena slowly comes out of her shell and recovers emotionally due to her husband’s love and security. One thing that I did not really like was the strong Gaelic accent and wording that Rowena and the other Highlanders have. It took me awhile to get used to it. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction, romance, suspense, and intense plots.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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#2: The Reluctant Duchess
By Roseanna M. White / Bethany House

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A Dolphin Wish

This book, by award-winning recording artist Natalie Grant, is the second in the Glimmer Girls series and is a part of the Faithgirlz brand. Twins, Maddie and Mia, and their younger sister Lulu, are vacationing with their family in San Diego. They are excited to visit Captain Swashbuckler’s Adventure Park. Mia overhears a conversation that animals are being let out of their habitats. Eager to solve her own mystery, since Maddie got so much attention in London (in book 1), Mia searches for clues throughout the park and convinces her family to visit again the next day.

Natalie Grant has always been one of my favorite Christian music artists. I was excited to see that she published this book series. Knowing that she has three daughters (including twins) makes the story even more fun. The message is wholesome, lessons are learned, mentoring is given when needed, and the differences between right and wrong are made clear. This book revolves around Mia’s bitterness over Maddie’s punishment for running away in London. She feels that the discipline did not match the offense (I would agree with her). Throughout the book, her relationship with her twin is strained. Towards the end of the book, she has a conversation with her mom that leads to her forgiving Maddie. My 9 year old has enjoyed reading both this book and the first one in the series. There are several good discussion moments  that can be found in both books. I would recommend this book for any young girls who are reading chapter books.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Zondervan provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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I get credit for all purchases made through my CBD links!

A Dolphin Wish
By Natalie Grant / Zondervan

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Fruit of the Spirit: LOVE (30 Day Scripture Writing Plan)

It has become popular over the last year or so for people to write scripture passages for their daily devotions. My first introduction to this was last November when a friend posted a Thanksgiving 30 day scripture writing plan on Facebook. I really enjoyed the challenge of reading and copying a passage from my Bible each day. I had every intention of finding more 30 day plans (there are plenty of them out in internet land!) but life became hectic and I never followed through. However, I did keep my journal so that I could add to it in the future. A few days ago, I saw someone post a 30 day writing challenge for July. It inspired me to design my own writing plan…

Instead of doing monthly challenges, I decided that I wanted to create themed challenges. The first installment of this series is LOVE! They are still 30 day plans so that they can line up with a calendar if I want them too. My first theme that I am working on is the Fruit of the Spirit. Each 30 day challenge will focus on each of the Fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23:

“But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

PLEASE NOTE: I use the New International Version (NIV). So the passages I have listed are based on my NIV concordance for specific words like love, joy, etc. Other versions may or may not use the same wording. Most of the Fruit of the Spirit words are pretty straight forward and the meaning of the passage will remain the same. If your version does not have a specific word that you expect from whatever plan you are doing, look for a synonym of that word in the passage. Also, I may also use passages that use other words that support the theme… such as the Joy theme using a verse that says “Rejoice.”

I plan to post each segment of the series as I complete them… which could take several weeks or several months depending on how much time I am able to put into them. By posting them as I finish them, it will allow you to choose from any of the topics in any giving time frame you choose.

Suggestions for how to be successful with this challenge:

  • Decide ahead of time where you will be writing down the scripture. You could use a journal, notebook, or print out the lined writing page I have provided to keep in a 3 ring binder.
  • Print a copy of the challenge so that it is easily accessible to you. Keep it in your Bible or in the journal, notebook, or binder you are using.
  • Decide what time of day you will be writing your passage of scripture. Try to stick to a daily routine so that you are consistent. If you get behind, try to catch up later in the day or do two days at a time. The further behind you get, the harder it will be to catch up.
  • Pray that the Lord will speak to you through His Word before reading and writing each passage.
  • Reflect each day on how you can apply the passage of scripture to your life.

Please comment below to let me know that you are doing this challenge! I would love to hear from you!

*****

Papyrus (30 Day Plan): CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Black & White (Plan & Lined Paper): CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD 

 Fruit of the Spirit Love

Fruit of the Spirit LoveFruit of the Spirit Love-Lined

Playing the Part

This book by Jen Turano is actually the third book in the “A Class Of Their Own” series. Lucetta Plum lives in New York City and works as an actress. She is well loved by fans but one of them takes their obsession too far and tries to blackmail her into becoming his mistress. Lucetta’s friend and self proclaimed matchmaker, Abigail Hart, takes her to the Ravenwood estate owned by her mysterious grandson, Bram Haverstein. Lucetta experiences strange happenings during her stay at Ravenwood. Bram has always admired Lucetta as an actress and is surprised to find that she is completely different in person than what he imagined her to be. She is independent and head strong… almost to a fault. However, when unfortunate events occur, she quickly learns that sometimes it is okay to rely on others.

Until now, I have never read any of Turano’s books and I enjoyed this book. I found myself laughing out loud at various humerous parts but the book still maintained a sense of mystery and seriousness. My favorite character was Bram. He has a kind and chivalrous, mysterious, and funny personality. There are several odd and interesting characters! This book is not labeled as being a part of a series so I did not realize that it was until I was reading it. There are characters in the book that obviously have had history explained in previous books. However, I was able to enjoy the storyline without having read the stories that came before it. I am planning to read them in the future though since I really liked this book! I would recommend Playing the Part to anyone who enjoys light hearted humor, romance, historical fiction, and mystery.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

*****

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Order at Christian Book Distributors through the following link!

I get credit for all purchases made through my CBD links!

Playing the Part
By Jen Turano / Bethany House

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Blog & Personal Updates

First, I want to apologize to all of my wordpress & email subscribers for me not posting since February. I also apologize as well to those who have been awaiting mail from my Cards of Encouragement endeavor that I started this year. I will be resume posting this month (I have several book reviews to post!) and I will resume sending out Cards of Encouragement to those who have signed up starting in July!

Second, the reason behind my blogging absence is that in February I discovered that I was pregnant and have had a lot of complications and sickness because of the pregnancy. If you have followed my blog for awhile you may already be aware of my miscarriage history. The concern quickly became apparent with this pregnancy due to the spotting and cramping that I have had pretty much the whole time so far. Also the “morning sickness” which for me lasted all day was extreme during the months of March & April. Between the complications, sickness, dehydration, hospital visits, etc. I was pretty much in bed most of those months. In May, the sickness started to subside and I was able to start functioning much better. This month, I have been doing great most of the time! I have still had occasional cramping but no spotting or vomiting. Which, trust me, is an answer to prayer!

Because of my history of miscarriage and hemorrhaging due to retained placenta after my second daughter was born, my doctors have been monitoring me closely by doing ultrasounds every 4 weeks. We have also started discussing a birthing plan that will hopefully help prevent complications if I should have retained placenta again. As well as a plan for quick surgery action, if I do have complications. Prayer for these decisions and that I do not have complications will be greatly appreciated!

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So without further delay, I am happy to announce that we are expecting a baby BOY to arrive sometime in October! We have two girls ages 9 and 7 so we are basically starting from scratch with planning for a newborn! This ultrasound photo was taken at 14 weeks! I am currently in my 22nd week. Please pray for my health and the baby’s health throughout the pregnancy. Also, like I mentioned above, pray for no complications during the delivery and our decisions we make for our birthing plan.