My Review (coming soon!): Scattered Petals (Texas Dreams, # 2) by Amanda Cabot

(Texas Dreams, # 2)
by Amanda Cabot

Revell Publishing
Copyright 2010
Pages:  382
ISBN:  978-0800733254

(from Amazon.com):

Longing for adventure, Priscilla Morton leaves Boston and heads for Texas, never dreaming that the adventure she seeks will leave her badly injured and her parents dead. Priscilla is determined to rebuild her life and make a home for herself in the beautiful Hill Country. But the bandits who took her parents' lives also destroyed her hope for the future. Ranch foreman Zachary Webster knows what the future holds for him, and it's not a woman like Priscilla. She deserves a cultured East Coast gentleman, not a cowboy who's haunted by memories of his mistakes. The best thing he can do is leave her alone. When necessity draws them together, Priscilla and Zach begin to forge a life that, like the scattered petals of her childhood, is filled with promise. But then the past intrudes, threatening their very existence.

(from Back Cover):

Longing for adventure, Priscilla Morton leaves Boston in 1856 and heads for the Texas Hill Country, never dreaming that the adventure she seeks could have heartbreaking consequences. Although attracted to her, ranch foreman Zachary Webster knows Priscilla deserves a cultured East Coast gentleman, not a cowboy who's haunted by memories of his mistakes. When necessity draws them together, Priscilla and Zach begin to forge a life filled with promise. But then the past intrudes. Book 2 of the Texas Dreams series, Scattered Petals weaves a tale of drama, love, and second chances as beautiful as the Hill Country itself. 

“Available March 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

**  I would like to apologize to the author/publisher for not having read this book in time to post my review during the tour dates.  I will, however, post it as soon as I can.  Please see the explanation for my delay at the top of my blog.

**  I would like to say "thank you" to Donna Hausler @ Revell Publishing for providing me with this review copy.**

We have a winner!!!!

The winner of "A Case for Love" by Kaye Dacus is...............................

Here are the results from Random.org:

There were 7 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
  1. Cynthia
  2. Edna
  3. Sara
  4. Kathy
  5. Angie
  6. Martha Lawson
  7. Karen K

Congratulations, Cynthia!  It seems you were meant to finish the series, seeing as you've already read the first two books.  =)  Enjoy!


FIRST Wild Card Tours: A Case for Love (The Brides of Bonneterre, #3) by Kaye Dacus

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Barbour Books (February 1, 2010) 

***Special thanks to Angie Brillhart, Publicist, of Barbour Publishing for sending me a review copy.***


Author Kaye Dacus enjoyed her visits to a local television station while researching this book. She likes to say she writes “inspirational romance with a sense of humor.” She lives in Nashville and graduated from Seton Hill University’s Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction program. She is an active member and former Vice President of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.97
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (February 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602604568
ISBN-13: 978-1602604568


“You did what?”

Forbes Guidry sank into the tall-backed leather chair, extremities numb, and stared at the couple sitting across the desk from him. As a partner in the largest law firm in Bonneterre, Louisiana, he’d heard a lot of shocking things over the fourteen years he’d been practicing. But nothing had hit him quite like this.

“We eloped.” His sister held up her left hand where a diamond wedding band had been added below the antique engagement ring she’d sported for the past three months. “I know you were looking forward to being Major’s best man, which is why we’re telling you before breaking it to the rest of the family.”

He hardly spared a glance at his best friend—now his brother-in-law—before pinning his gaze on his sister. “Meredith, this is a joke, right? What about the meeting Monday with Anne—the plans we discussed?” Sure, Meredith had been a little too quiet during that meeting, had voiced concerns about how big the wedding seemed to be growing, but she’d been coming off working a huge event that weekend and had been tired. . .hadn’t she?

“Things were getting out of hand—had already gone too far.”

“Stop.” Forbes fought the urge to press his hands over his ears. “Way too much information.”

Major chuckled; Meredith frowned at both of them. “Oh, for mercy’s sake. I’m talking about the wedding plans. Neither of us wanted a big wedding, but every time we met with Anne—or you, or anyone in the family—it grew exponentially. Especially once Mom and Dad stuck their oars in and started making lists of all of their business acquaintances that needed to be invited.”

Forbes stared at his sister, dumbfounded. He prided himself on knowing exactly what each member of his family was thinking before they ever thought it. How had this blindsided him so completely?

He finally turned his attention on Major. “When you came in Tuesday to talk about the restaurant, did you already have this planned?”

“No. Not planned. We’d discussed it, but it wasn’t until that night when we made the decision.” Major had the good grace to look abashed.

And you didn’t call me? Forbes reined in the childish words with a tight fist of control. He faced his sister again. “When and where did you get married?”

“Yesterday, when Mom and Dad met us at Beausoleil Pointe Center for lunch with Major’s mom. We’d asked the chaplain to perform the ceremony, and we got married in the pavilion where Major proposed to me.”

Forbes turned away from the dewy-eyed look Meredith gave her new husband, feeling ill. That would explain why Meredith hadn’t shown up for dinner with the siblings and cousins last night. He’d just assumed she was working overtime preparing for an event this weekend.

When the silence stretched, Forbes looked at them again.

Meredith’s eyes narrowed speculatively at Forbes. “Major, would you mind if I had a private word with my brother?”

“Sure. No problem.” Major stood, smoothing the front of his chinos. “I–I’ll wait for you out in the car.”

“Thanks.” Meredith never pulled her gaze away from Forbes—giving him the look that had always been able to make him squirm.

Forbes watched his friend leave the office, then pressed his lips together and faced his sister again.

“What is it that bothers you most? That you aren’t going to be best man, that you don’t get to be involved and have a say in the wedding plans, or that you didn’t see this coming?” Meredith crossed her legs and clasped her hands around her knee, her expression betraying smugness and amusement.

What bothered him most was that over the past six or eight months, Meredith had slowly been pulling away from the family. Ever since she’d bought that house against his—and their parents’—advice, she’d started keeping secrets, spending less time with them. As the oldest, it was his responsibility to keep his six brothers and sisters in line, to watch out for and protect them, and to guide them in making their decisions. Mom and Dad had laid that burden on him early in life, and he’d gladly carried it. But how could he express that to Meredith without coming across sounding like a little boy who hadn’t gotten his way?

“I’m not bothered, just surprised. You’re the last person in the family I’d expect to do something without planning it out well in advance.” He gave her his most charming grin. “It is what you do for a living, after all.”

She responded with a half smile. “And thus the reason for eloping. Between the busiest event-load we’ve ever had, the Warehouse Row project, and Major getting ready for the groundbreaking on the restaurant, we were just tired of schedules and checklists and menus and seating charts. Now Marci won’t feel like her wedding is being overshadowed by her oldest sister’s, since she decided to plan a Christmas wedding and we didn’t want to wait that long.”

He could see her point, but. . . “Don’t you feel like you’ve cheated yourself out of the wedding you always wanted? Growing up, you and Anne used to talk about your dream weddings.”

Meredith shrugged. “Anne always had the ideas. I guess that’s why she’s been such a great success as a wedding planner—every week she had bigger and grander ideas. Whenever I really thought about it, I couldn’t imagine myself in the big dress, my hair all done up, standing there in front of that many people. I guess I never dreamed about a wedding—I just dreamed about falling in love and being married.”

Come to think about it, Forbes couldn’t picture his jeans–and–T-shirt sister in a fluffy white gown, either. He ran his finger along the edge of the desk blotter.

“And look at the bright side: Now you don’t have to find a date for the wedding.”

He released a derisive sound in the back of his throat. “Yes, since that worked out so well at Anne’s wedding—for my date, anyway.”

“How do you always manage to find these women who’re just trying to make their boyfriends jealous?”

He shrugged.

“You know, I know someone I think would be perfect for you, if you’d like me to see if she’d be agreeable to being set up on a blind date with you.”

His insides quivered at the idea. “Thank you kindly, but I’ll have to pass and just leave it up to chance. As I told George Laurence a long time ago, when God’s ready for me to fall in love, He’ll throw the right woman into my path.”

“Uh, did you think that maybe your sisters’ and cousins’ attempts to set you up on dates might be God’s way of throwing the right woman in your path?”

“Not unless He’s shared something with you He hasn’t told me.” Forbes rounded the desk and held out his hand to his sister. She rose, and he pulled her into a hug. “Congratulations, Sis. I’m confident that you and Major will be happier together than you can even imagine.”

“I know we will be.”

“I’ll walk you out.”

Halfway down the stairs, he paused. “What about a honeymoon? Don’t tell me you’re going to just drop everything and take a two-week vacation that hasn’t been on the schedule for the past six months.”

“No. Since the events next week can be handled by our assistants, we’re leaving next Wednesday for a long weekend in Colorado. Amazing how this managed to coincide with the Aspen Food and Wine Classic that Major’s always wanted to go to, huh?” But from the smile on her face, he could tell she didn’t begrudge indulging Major’s wishes in the least.

Heading back to his office after seeing his sister and brother-in-law off—would he ever get used to that?—Forbes feigned harriedness to keep anyone from trying to stop him for a chat.

“Samantha, no calls for the next half hour, please,” he told his secretary on his way past her desk.

“Yes, Mr. Guidry.”

He leaned against his door after closing it. His office, with its walls of built-in, dark wood cabinets and bookcases, seemed to press in around him.

What he’d told Meredith was true; he was absolutely certain that she and Major would have a happy marriage. Both of them were easygoing, almost too eager to give up what they wanted to make someone else happy. Forbes had learned a long time ago that he didn’t have the right personality to get married. Every girl he’d dated in high school or college had wanted to go out with him because of his looks. And every one of them had eventually broken up with him for one of two reasons: Either she thought he was selfish and didn’t pay enough attention to her, or she thought he was too controlling and tried to smother her.

He’d completely given up on dating after his ten-year high school class reunion, at which he’d overheard two of his ex-girlfriends having a laugh about how it was no surprise to them that he wasn’t married yet.

He crossed to the window behind his desk and leaned against the frame, staring down at the visitor parking lot. His twenty-year reunion was coming up in the fall. And while he’d love to find some ravishing beauty to take to it to shut up all those exes, he didn’t want the hassle of expectations that came from taking someone out on a date.

When the thirty minutes he’d given himself to brood expired, he opened the office door and asked Samantha to come in to review his schedule for the remainder of the day.

He made several notes in his PDA while she reviewed the afternoon’s appointments and meetings. When she finished and closed her planner, she hesitated, biting her lips.

“What is it?” He leaned back in his chair, curious. She’d never acted in the least intimidated or scared of him before. She’d worked for him a little less than a year, but she was the first secretary he’d had who didn’t seem to mind a boss others had called a micromanager—had even stood up to him a time or two.

“Someone from Bonneterre Lifestyles called a little while ago. It seems you didn’t RSVP for the dinner tonight.”

Forbes groaned. Ever since he’d assisted in partner Tess Folse’s run for city council five years ago—during which he’d given many speeches, appeared on all the local channels’ news broadcasts, and had his photo in the paper multiple times—he’d been a fixture on the magazine’s beefcake list, having garnered enough votes to win and get his face on the front cover twice.

“I suppose it’s black tie?”

Samantha nodded. “That’s what the gal said.”

“Seven o’clock?”

“They offered a car—a limo—for you, if you want.”

He pressed his thumb and forefinger to the bridge of his nose. The three other partners—all women—were thrilled every year when he told them of his inclusion on the list. The articles enumerating his accomplishments were good exposure for the firm, they’d say. Up until now, he’d found some excuse or another to avoid the dinner. This year, Tess, Sandra, and Esther had strongly suggested he make an appearance at the magazine’s big publicity event at which the magazine’s cover would be revealed and the top five bachelors named and recognized with awards.

He glanced over Samantha’s head at the three plaques and two glass trophies on a display shelf. Maybe they needed to give him a new award—Bonneterre’s Most Perpetual Bachelor. He hoped this year he wasn’t again the oldest man on the list.

“Call them back and tell them I’d be delighted to attend, but I’ll drive myself.”

“Will do, boss.” Samantha scooped up her planner and the folders Forbes had given her to refile, and crossed to the door. “And Mr. Guidry?”

“Yes, Samantha?”

“Do try to have fun tonight, okay?”

“Uh-huh. As fun as jumping into a pool full of thumbtacks.”

Samantha’s laughter followed her out of the room.

His gaze flickered back to the emblems of his perpetual singleness. He’d heard the magazine always invited the year’s Most Eligible Bachelorettes to the dinner—possibly hoping to set up a relationship and eventual wedding they could report in their pages. Maybe he could find someone there to take to the reunion—so long as she understood there were no strings attached.

[insert line space]

Alaine Delacroix scrubbed off her on-air makeup. “Matt, have you seen Pricilla since I went off air? I need to talk to her about the event tonight.”

The intern frowned. “I thought you were a guest at the thing, not covering it.”

“Who else is going to cover something like that other than me? I’m the only reporter at this station who covers the social scene.” Not that she wanted to anymore. But until the news director actually looked at the hard-news pieces she’d been doing on her own time, she’d be stuck covering the fluff stories as she had for the past decade of her life.

“If I see her, I’ll tell her you need to talk to her.” The college student waved and left the small prep room.

Alaine turned to check her appearance in the large mirror to make sure she didn’t have mascara smeared down her cheeks. She made the inspection as quick as possible, hating to see her own reflection with no makeup. Even with her shoulder-length black hair still styled from her noon broadcast, with no makeup on, all she saw in the mirror were flaws—dark circles under her eyes, freckles scattered across her nose and cheeks, and the bumps on her forehead that never seemed to go away.

She applied concealer under her eyes, powder all over her face, and a touch of eye makeup, blush, and lip gloss before returning to her desk in the newsroom. Once upon a time, Alaine Delacroix would have thought nothing of walking around with no makeup on. But that had been a very long time ago; she’d been a different person then.

An envelope with the station’s logo and return address in the top left corner sat on her chair when she got back to her cubicle, bearing her name in handwriting she didn’t recognize. She opened it—and smiled. She’d hoped the marketing director would be able to come through for her.

She picked up her phone and dialed a number from memory.

“Boudreaux-Guidry Enterprises, Events and Facilities, this is Meredith.”

“Hey, girl. It’s Alaine.”

“Oh—hi.” Meredith sounded funny. “What’s up?”

Alaine laughed. “I can’t believe you’re going to pretend you don’t know why I’m calling you.”

“You—how did you find out?”

All traces of amusement evaporated, her reporter’s instincts kicking in. Meredith sounded like someone who had a secret. “You know a journalist can’t reveal her sources. So? Spill it. I want details.”

“I haven’t told most of my family yet. If I give you details, you have to promise you won’t say anything to anyone until after Sunday. We’re telling the family at dinner after church.”

“Strictly off the record.” Alaine picked up a pen and steno pad, but forced herself to put them down again and rotate in her chair so that her back was to the desk.

“We had the chaplain at Beausoleil Pointe Center marry us yesterday afternoon. We surprised our parents.”

All the air in Alaine’s lungs froze solid. Meredith Guidry and Major O’Hara had eloped? “But I thought you were having your cousin Anne plan a big wedding for you. I was hoping to cover it, since Major has become quite the celebrity, what with his cooking segments on my show.”

“We decided we were just too busy to try to plan a big wedding. And we’ve already wasted eight years. Why put it off any longer?”

A flash-fire of jealousy forced the air out of Alaine’s lungs. Meredith had been one of her few friends who was still unmarried—and the only true friend Alaine had had in years. She hated being single; even more than becoming a serious journalist, getting married was the one thing she wanted most in life. Yet at thirty-two years old, she was starting to worry that the chances of either dream coming true were not just slipping, but sprinting, away.

Alaine had to swallow past the huge lump in her throat to make her voice work. “Congratulations, Mere. I’m really happy for you.” She glanced down at the envelope crumpled in her fist. “Oh, I got the passes for the Art without Limits exhibit preview and fundraiser at the Beausoleil Fine Arts Center, if you’re still interested in going.”

“Of course I am. And since Major’s catering it, I won’t have to feel guilty about going off and leaving him home alone. Thanks again for thinking of me.”

“I don’t know anyone else who likes art, and I hate going to those things by myself.” She twisted the spiral cord around her finger tightly, trying to see if the slight pain would help squeeze out her envy.

“Same here—oh, my other line just lit up. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Okay. Bye.” Alaine turned around to hang up the receiver, then put her head down on her folded arms atop the desk. God, why is everyone I know married or engaged? Am I the last old maid left in Bonneterre?

She knew the answer to that, of course. Twenty-four other “eligible bachelorettes” would be at the Bonneterre Lifestyles dinner along with her, if they all showed up. And who wouldn’t, when they’d have VIP access to the handsomest, wealthiest, highest-profile single men in town for the evening?

Mother’s constant harping on her to get married—and soon—was starting to make Alaine feel like something was wrong with her for still being single at her age. The facts that Joe and his wife couldn’t have kids and that Tony, at age twenty-six, wasn’t anywhere near ready to settle down put all the pressure of producing grandchildren anytime soon on Alaine. And she wasn’t even sure she wanted kids.

She sat up and tried to run her fingers through her hair—before remembering it was still shellacked with hair spray.

Maybe tonight she’d give those bachelors more than just a professional glance. Maybe it was time to get a little arm candy to show her parents—and anyone else who might be looking—that she was at least trying. And she never knew: Mr. Right could be Bachelor Number One, Two, or Twenty-Five.

CLICK HERE to read my review


My Review (and GIVEAWAY!): A Case for Love (The Brides of Bonneterre, #3) by Kaye Dacus

A Case for Love
(The Brides of Bonneterre, #3)
by Kaye Dacus

Christian Fiction / Romance / Contemporary

Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Copyright 2010
Pages:  317
ISBN:  9781602604568

(from Kaye's website):

Welcome back to Bonneterre, Louisiana, for the delightful conclusion to the Brides of Bonneterre series.

The Alaine Delacroix that all of Bonneterre knows is the carefully polished image she puts forth every day on her noontime news-magazine program. When her parents’ home and small business is threatened by the biggest corporation in town, Alaine is forced to choose between her image and fighting for the life her family has built.

Lawyer Forbes Guidry is used to making things go his way. But when he’s asked to take on a pro-bono case for a colleague, he’ll learn that he can’t control everything—including his feelings for his new client: Alaine Delacroix.

Alaine’s only option to help her family is hiring Forbes, but can she bring herself to trust the handsome, disarmingly charming lawyer? And will Forbes Guidry be able to make a case for love before losing his job and family? Can both trust that God will present a solution before it’s too late?

My thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed A Case for Love, and I really hope it's not the end of the series.  I'm hoping we get to find out what happens with the rest of the Guidry siblings, especially Jenn and Rafe.  I loved Kaye's "surprise" that she hits us with on the very first page!  Didn't see that one coming at all.  =)

For the third year in a row, Forbes Guidry has been named Bonneterre's Most Eligible Bachelor of the Year, compliments of Bonneterre Lifestyle magazine.  As in previous years, he is honored to have received this esteemed award, but is beginning to wonder if he will always be a bachelor.  Granted, he has always said that he was not the marrying type, but he's getting tired of being alone.  Even though he is really close to his overwhelming family, and he has already obtained most of his life-long dreams, why does he feel as though something is missing in  his life?

When he meets Alaine Delacroix, who has been named Bonneterre's Bachelorette of the Year, he feels as if his life is going to chance for the better.  Alaine hosts her very own noontime news-magazine show on Channel Six.  She covers most of the local society events, so she knows, and is known by, lots of the people of Bonneterre.  She grew up in Moreaux Mills, and most of her family still lives there.  Unfortunately, the area has been steadily going downhill for the last few years.  Lots of the locals businesses are shutting their doors due to either lack of business, or selling out and moving on.  When Alaine finds out that her family's businesses are in jeopardy, she decides to do everything she can to help save them.

Forbes and Alaine's relationship starts out on very rocky ground, but as they follow God's will for their lives everything slowly comes together.  Once they completely surrender to Him, they see what wonderful things He has in store for them.  A Case for Love has a powerful message about turning over control of your life to God, as well as, standing up for what you believe is right even if it means standing against your own family and friends.  As I often struggle with control issues in my own life, this story has really touched my heart.  Thank you, Kaye!

To find out more about Kaye Dacus and/or her books, please visit:

*   Her blog

***I received my copy of A Case for Love compliments of Angie Brillhart (Barbour Publishing) and Kaye Dacus via FIRST Wild Card Tours.  Thank you, ladies!***


As it turns out, I somehow ended up with 2 copies of A Case for Love!  I asked Angie Brillhart if it was okay for me to host a blog giveaway for the extra copy, and she assured me that was fine.

*  Leave me a comment telling me if you've had the pleasure of reading any of Kaye Dacus' books....if so, which one(s)....if not, which one(s) would you like to read?

*  Include your email address  (Example:  sugarandgrits at hotmail dot com)

*  Be a U.S. resident (with a U.S. mailing address)

*  Contest is open until March 26th @ 11:59pm (EST)

*  The winner will be announced on this blog.  I will also email them at the address provided.  They will have 48 hours to contact me with their mailing info, or another winner will be chosen.



St. Patty's Day!!

St. Patrick's Day Glitter Graphics

FIRST Wild Card Tour: The Right Call (Sophie Trace Trilogy, Bk 3) by Kathy Herman

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

David C. Cook; New edition (March 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist,
of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Kathy Herman is a best-selling suspense novelist who has written fifteen novels since retiring from her family’s Christian bookstore business. Kathy and her husband, Paul, have three grown children and five grandchildren and live in Tyler, Texas. This is the third title in the Sophie Trace trilogy, which also includes The Real Enemy, and The Last Word.

Visit the author's website.

The Right Call, by Kathy Herman from David C. Cook on Vimeo.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (March 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434767841
ISBN-13: 978-1434767844


Drew Langley jumped at the loud thud upstairs and resisted the temptation to bang on the wall and dispel the roaring laughter that followed. Was he the only student in the apartment building still studying for finals?

A warm breeze rattled the blinds, and he closed his eyes, inhaling the intoxicating fragrance of magnolia blossoms wafting from the south campus of Stanton College. It took every ounce of discipline he could muster not to close his books and give in to the lure of spring.

He heard rubber soles on the hardwood floor and lifted his gaze as his roommate came to a quick stop in front of the mirror over the worn living-room sofa.

Tal Davison wet his fingers and smoothed his hair. “I see you’re still studying. I guess that means you’re not coming.”

“To what? I thought you had a date.”

“Why do you make me tell you everything twice? You’re worse than my grandmother.”

Drew put down his pencil. “Sorry, I’ve been focused on other things. Tell me again. I’m listening.”

Tal came and stood in the doorway of Drew’s bedroom, his arms folded across his chest. “I’m going over to Henry’s for a junk-food buffet and beer. You’re invited.”

“Thanks. But I really need to study for my English lit final. It’s next week, and I’ve got chapters of catching up to do.”

“Suit yourself. I’m brain-dead. I couldn’t learn another thing if you paid me.” Tal started to go and then stopped. “Listen, thanks again for letting me move in here for the last few weeks. It’s nice sharing an apartment that doesn’t reek of marijuana. I hope I haven’t been as big a pain as your other roommate.” He shot Drew a half smile.

Drew leaned back and folded his arms. “Hey, not at all, man. I hope you don’t think I’ve been ignoring you. It’s just that I have to keep up the grades. No four-oh, no scholarship. There’s no way I can afford to attend Stanton without it.” I don’t have a rich father footing the bill.

“Doesn’t it cramp your style to go to college in Sophie Trace? Your parents are pretty close by, aren’t they?”

“Thanks to the scholarship I can live off campus. That’s all the independence I need. It’s nice going home whenever I want. My parents really help me stay on track.” Drew studied Tal’s expression.

“I take it you wish your dad wasn’t so close?”

Tal got quiet for a moment and seemed to be somewhere else. “He’s much too busy to breathe down my neck. And he doesn’t care about my grades as long as I pass and he can tell his cronies that his namesake’s attending his alma mater and is going to work for him after graduation.”

“Is that so bad?”

“I just wish he cared more about me and less about his image. I’m not sure I can ever measure up to his expectations.”

“Come on, man. You’ve got it made in the shade. All you have to do is get through one more year, and he’ll hand you the job of a lifetime. I thought you were pumped about it.”

Tal flashed a crooked smile. “I’m trying to be. It’s my big chance to make Dad proud of me. It’s all he’s talked about for years. But there’s a lot of pressure, learning to run a big corporation. The closer I get, the more intimidated I feel.”

“He must think you can do it, Tal. There’s a lot at stake for him, too.” Even if he is handing it to you on a silver platter.

“Maybe I’ll buy a little time after I graduate—tell Dad I’m burned-out and need to backpack across Europe for a while before I jump into the corporate world.”

A grin tugged at Drew’s cheeks. “Then you’d need someone to babysit your Hummer. Can I apply for the job? Man, I wish I’d been there when your dad had it delivered to your birthday party.”

“It was an awesome way to turn twenty-one, all right. But I’d trade it in a heartbeat for a relationship with my dad like you have with yours.”

“I guess I take it for granted.”

“Well, don’t,” Tal said. “I can’t remember the last time I sat down and had a real conversation with mine. He’s either working himself to death or hiding out at the lake house with wife number four—the fashion model who’s got silicone for brains.”

“I didn’t realize she was his fourth wife.”

“And she’s pregnant with daughter number seven. Maybe he’s going for the record.”

“Yeah, but you’re still his only son. And you and your mother are close.”

“Not in proximity. She’s spending a lot of time in New York with her boyfriend. He deals in fine art, and she likes to go to the auctions with him. I doubt I’ll see her anytime soon.”

Drew shifted his weight. Why hadn’t Tal mentioned before that his mother was seeing someone?

“Actually, I’m happy for her,” Tal said. “And I don’t mind sharing her Nashville house with the maid, the cook, and the butler. I’ll lie around the pool and read sci-fi novels and give my brain a rest. I’m so burned-out I can’t stand to think about another year of studying.”

“You’ll be ready to hit it again in the fall. Just think how good you’ll feel when you get your degree.”

Tal smiled wryly. “Would you believe my dad’s executive bonus last year was ten million? I must be nuts not to be more excited about the job.”

No kidding. “So why aren’t you?”

“I don’t know … my dad’s ruthless. And the company takes precedence over everyone and everything. I want more out of life than that.”

“I hear you. But if it were me, I’d at least try it long enough to earn a couple million and then go do whatever I wanted.“

“I’ve thought of that.” Tal stood up straight, the result of his beer drinking and bingeing hanging over his belt. “But I have a feeling that once Dad has me under his thumb, I’ll never get out from under. What I really want to do is go to the police academy.”

“Have you told him how you feel?”

“I tried. But Dad doesn’t really care how I feel. It’s my duty as his only son to keep the family business going. If I turn my back on that, he’ll basically disown me. Not that we’re close now, but it’s hard to think of having no dad. Hey, enough serious talk. It’s party time. Sure you don’t want to come?”

“Yeah, I’ve got to hit the books. Who’s your designated driver?”

“Don’t need one. I’m walking.”

“You think that’s smart? Henry’s neighborhood isn’t exactly the safest part of town.”

“I’ll be fine. But I’ll tell you what”—Tal laughed and tossed his keys to Drew—“if I don’t make it back alive, the Hummer’s all yours.”

©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. The Right Call by Kathy Herman. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.

*** I'm in the process of reading this trilogy and hope to post all 3
reviews within the next couple of weeks. ***

This trilogy consists of:

Book 1  -  The Real Enemy
Book 2  -  The LastWord
Book 3  -  The Right Call



My Review: A Distant Melody (Wings of Glory, Book 1) by Sarah Sundin

A Distant Melody
(Wings of Glory, #1)
by Sarah Sundin

Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance

Revell Publishing
Copyright 2010
Pages:  422
ISBN:  9780800734213

(from Sarah's website):

Never pretty enough to please her gorgeous mother, Allie will do anything to gain her approval--even marry a man she doesn't love. Lt. Walter Novak--fearless in the cockpit but hopeless with women--takes his last furlough at home in California before being shipped overseas.

Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and their love of music draws them together, prompting them to begin a correspondence that will change their lives. As letters fly between Walt's muddy bomber base in England and Allie's mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?

My thoughts:

First of all, let me explain that I normally do not gravitate towards "war-themed" romances as they have never really interested me.  However, with that being said, something about Sarah Sundin's debut novel, A Distant Melody, grabbed my attention just from the cover art and the very short synopsis I received from Revell when they offered me the chance to review it.  I am sooooo glad I listened to my gut-reaction because I absolutely, positively LOVED this book!  I read it in less than a day, and was so upset to find out that I have to wait 'til September to see what happens next!

Sarah Sundin is exceptional at drawing you into her characters lives.  I felt like I was right there with Allie as she dealt with her parents continuous rejections, her very low self-esteem, and as she made some of the hardest decisions of her life.  I found myself wishing that I had half the courage she did, to make those decisions.  Even though her life is completely turned upside down, Allie follows God's will for her life.  I could even associate with Walt as he dealt with the horrors of flying Flossie's Fort, his B-17 bomber, in the heart of WWII.

Allie feels that the church she has been attending with her parents since childhood, is no longer helping her to grow in her faith.  She finally decides to find another church better suited to her needs.  She also desires to somehow personally contribute to the war effort, but she doesn't know where to start.  Once she starts attending her new church, Groveside Bible Church, she quickly becomes friends with Daisy and Cressie, and they suggest maybe becoming a Red Cross volunteer.  Allie is soon immersed in doing her part to help the injured soldiers being cared for at March Field, as well as, enjoying her new position as the pianist for Groveside.  Needless to say, neither her parents, nor Baxter (Allie's fiance) are thrilled with her life-changing decisions.

Lt. Walter Novak, first met Allie Martin on the train ride home to attend the wedding of their mutual best friends, George Anello and Betty Jamison.  He initially thought she was traveling with her children, and had no problem striking up a conversation with her.  However, he soon found out that he was mistaken, but his usual reaction of freezing up in the presence of "available" women didn't overcome him.  That in itself was a major accomplishment on his part.

Walt and Allie thoroughly enjoyed the time they spent with their friends, the week before the wedding.  They seemed to get paired up continuously during their daily activities and soon discovered that they had quite a bit in common.  When it was time for Allie to return home, and for Walt to head back to Wendover Army Air Field, they decided to exchange addresses so they could keep in touch.  Little do they know how big a part "silence is a truthful solution to a dilemma" and a few "little white lies" will play in their relationship.

This is a very fast-paced book, with lots of heartache, heart-break, loss of loved ones, forgiveness, romance, and searching for the courage to do God's will in one's own life.  I won't go any further into detail for fear of giving away vital information.  In no way do I want to disclose anything to ruin the intensity of this book for anyone!

If you ever have a chance to get your hands on a copy of Sarah Sundin's debut novel, A Distant Melody, I encourage you to do so immediately...you will not be sorry!

To find out more about Sarah and her books, please visit:
Her website
Her blog

“Available March 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, 
a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

*** I received my copy of A Distant Melody compliments of Donna Hausler at Revell Publishing.  Thank you! ***

My Review: The Raven Saint (Charles Towne Belles, #3) by M. L. Tyndall

The Raven Saint
(Charles Towne Belles, #3)
by Mary Lu Tyndall

Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance

Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Copyright 2009
Pages:  318
ISBN:  9781602601581

(from MaryLu's website):

When Grace Westcott is kidnapped by a French mercenary, tossed aboard his ship, and told she will be sold to a Spanish Don in Columbia, she cannot imagine what she has done to deserve such a horrid fate. She has spent her entire life serving God and helping the poor, not to mention trying to save the souls of her two wayward sisters. Thinking perhaps God has sent her to preach to the vile captain and his crew, Grace's every attempt to correct their sinful ways is rewarded with only mockery. When Grace's situation grows far worse than she could imagine, she is forced to face her own human weaknesses. But she isn't prepared to face her biggest weakness of all-falling in love with the nefarious captain, Rafe Dubois.

Captain Rafe Dubois hates nothing more than a religious pretence of piety. Fleeing a home of abuse and betrayal under the thumb of his self-righteous father, he became a mercenary upon the Caribbean. There isn't any job, no matter how vile, he won't undertake in order to amass the fortune he needs to build a hospital for the poor in his home town of Port-de-Paix. The praises of the people fill a craving in his soul for the self-worth and value he never received from his father, while giving him a sense of purpose for his otherwise reckless life. That is, until he meets the saintly Miss Grace Westcott who continually berates his every move.

My thoughts:

The Raven Saint moved at a faster pace than The Blue Enchantress, which made me happy!  I enjoyed Grace and Rafe's story a little more as well.  I don't know if I just wasn't in a "pirate" mood when I read these two books, and that's why I didn't enjoy them as much as The Red Siren, or what.  Don't get me wrong, none of Mary Lu's books are bad, I just wasn't enthralled with this story as I normally am when reading her books.

We meet Grace Wescott while she and her personal maid, Alice, are on one of Grace's many errands of mercy.  She feels lead to serve God by helping the poor whenever she can.  Only this errand turns out to be vastly different than any she has been on so far!  While basically out in the middle of nowhere, Grace is kidnapped by a French mercenary, Captain Rafe Dubois.  She soon discovers that she is part of a horrendous plan that will enable Rafe to seek revenge on the men responsible for his mother's death.  What will happen to her?  Will she ever see her sisters, Faith and Hope, again?  Surely God will see fit to deliver her from this nightmare, especially since she has devoted her life to Him.  Little does she know, this frightening escapade is all part of God's plan.

Quite a few secondary characters in The Raven Saint caught my attention.  Such as, Nicole, and her daughter, Madeline, who help Grace out of a sticky situation.  Then there is Father Alers, the ship's cook.  He is also one of Rafe's closest friends who has decided to remove himself from the priesthood.  My favorite secondary character of all is Spyglass.  She is Rafe's one-eyed cat, and she "helps" him on more than one occasion.  I fell in love with her immediately!  As it turns out, one of my blogging friends, Angie, over at Never a Dull Moment, had the honor of naming Rafe's kitty.  Isn't that awesome?  Great name, Angie!  =)

If you haven't had a chance to read any of Mary Lu's books, you should definitely give them a try.  To find out more about her, and her books, be sure to visit her website.

*** I received my copy of The Raven Saint compliments of Mary Lu Tyndall.  Thank you! ***


My Review: The Blue Enchantress (Charles Towne Belles, #2) by M.L. Tyndall

The Blue Enchantress
(Charles Towne Belles, #2)
by M. L. Tyndall

Christian Fiction / Romance / Historical

Barbour Publishing, Inc.

Copyright 2009
Pages:  317
ISBN:  9781602601574

(from Mary Lu's website):

Betrayed by the man she longed to marry, Hope Westcott finds herself on an island in the Caribbean being auctioned off as a slave to the highest bidder. Raised in an unloving home and after enduring a difficult childhood, Hope's search for love and self-worth have led her down a very dangerous path. All she ever wanted was to find true love and to some day open an orphanage where she could raise children with all the love she never experienced as a child. But how can a woman with a sordid past ever hope to run an orphanage, let alone attract the love of an honorable man? 

Determined to overcome the shame of his mother's past, Nathaniel Mason worked for many years to build his own fleet of merchant ships in an effort to finally acquire the respect of Charles Towne society. Ignoring the call of God on his life to become a preacher, he forges ahead with his plans for success at a distant port in the Caribbean, when he sees a young lady he knows from Charles Towne being sold as a slave. In an effort to save Hope, he is forced to sell one of his two ships, only to discover that her predicament was caused by her own bad behavior. Angry and determined to rid himself of her as soon as possible, Nathaniel embarks on a journey that will change the course of his life.

My thoughts:

For some reason, I just could not immerse myself in Hope and Nathaniel's story.  I was really looking forward to it, because I enjoyed The Red Siren immensely.  Maybe I just wasn't in a "pirate" mood at the time, but I was about two-thirds of the way through the book before I became emotionally involved with the characters.  If the characters are hard for me to relate to, it's harder to get wrapped up in the story.  I did finally reach that point, which was a huge relief!  Normally, when reading Mary Lu's "pirate" books, I'm hooked from page one....such as with her Legacy of the King's Pirates series, which I couldn't read fast enough.  =)

I think Hope was part of my problem.  She was really hard to like at times, much less feel compassion for.  Once God got His hands on her though, I started to like her more and more!  As we come to discover, she has a reason for acting the way she does, and it all stems from a horrible tragedy that she has kept a secret for many years.  In no way does this excuse her actions, but it does explain a lot.  This is when I started to become emotionally involved with her, and began to understand what she was going through.  Mary Lu's unique brand of writing shines through in certain parts of the story, which I'm always happy to see.

It was a pleasure getting to know Nathaniel better.  It's amazing what all he endures to keep Hope safe, though at times he practically despises her.  He is a true gentleman in every sense of the word, and does his best to defend her honor, even when it seems she doesn't deserve it.  Growing up, Nathaniel was practically an orphan, but he is determined to make something of himself, even if it mean's ignoring God's call for his life.

As it turns out, both Hope and Nathaniel discover that when God has a plan for you, He works it out however He sees fit.  The Blue Enchantress is full of adventure, sacrifice, painful memories, and forgiveness.  I thought the most important lesson of all was, learning to accept yourself as God sees you.

If you haven't had a chance to enjoy any of Mary Lu's books, please visit her at her website to find out more about her, and them...you'll be glad you did!

***I received my copy of The Blue Enchantress compliments of Bonnie Calhoun @ Christian Fiction Online Magazine, via their Box of Books contest back at the end of 2009.  Thank you, Bonnie!***



FIRST Wild Card Tour: The Raven Saint (Charles Towne Belles, #2) by M. L. Tyndall

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Barbour Books (January 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to MaryLu Tyndall for sending me a review copy.***


M.L. Tyndall, a Christy Award Finalist, and best-selling author of the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series is known for her adventurous historical romances filled with deep spiritual themes. She holds a degree in Math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years before testing the waters as a writer. MaryLu currently writes full time and makes her home on the California coast with her husband, six kids, and four cats. Her passion is to write page-turning, romantic adventures that not only entertain but expose Christians to their full potential in Christ.

Visit the author's website.
Visit the author's blog.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.97
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (January 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602601585
ISBN-13: 978-1602601581


Outside Charles Towne, Carolina, October, 1718

Chapter 1

Black, menacing clouds snarled a warning from the Carolina skies.

Clutching her skirts, Grace Westcott trudged down the muddy path. A shard of white light forked across the dark vault, and she glanced up as thunder rumbled in the distance.

“I hope the rain doesn’t catch us, miss.” Alice’s shaky voice tumbled over Grace from behind.

“Never fear, Alice, we are almost there.” Grace pushed aside a leafy branch that encroached upon the trail. As the wind picked up and raindrops began to rap on the leaves above them, the wall of greenery arching overhead provided a shelter that brought an odd comfort to Grace.

“Look, miss. This plant. Isn’t it bloodroot?” Alice squeaked. “To heal afflictions of the skin?”

Grace huffed. Her legs ached from the mile-long journey from Charles Towne. She could hear the rush of the Ashley River in the distance. They were close to the Roberts’ cabin, to poor little Thomas, sick with a fever and in desperate need of the medicines they brought.

Whirling around, Grace examined the leaf in her maid’s hands. “Nay. ’Tis not bloodroot, as you well know.” She searched Alice’s eyes but the maid kept her gaze lowered. “Whatever is the matter with you today?”

The maid cast a quick glance over her shoulder and shrugged. “I am only trying to help, miss.”

“You can help by hurrying along. Thomas may be failing as we speak.” Grabbing her skirts, Grace turned and forged ahead. A drop of rain splattered on her forehead, and she swiped it away.

“But the rain, miss. Shouldn’t we return home and don some proper attire?”

“Mercy me, Alice. We are nearly there. A bit of rain will not harm us. We’ve been in far more dangerous situations.” Grace hoisted the sack stuffed with herbs, fresh fruit, and rice farther up her aching shoulder. “Besides we are going about God’s work. He will take care of us.”

Grace heard Alice’s shoes squish in the mud “Indeed, miss.”.

Her maid’s voice quivered—a quiver that set Grace’s nerves on edge, along with the dark tempest brewing above them. Something was bothering the woman, Grace couldn’t guess what.

Another flash lit up the sky. Releasing her skirts to the sticky mud, Grace pushed aside a tangled vine that seemed to be joining forces with Alice in attempting to keep her from continuing. Musky air, heavy with moisture and laden with scents of earth and life, filled her nostrils. Thunder bellowed, closer this time, and raindrops tapped upon the canopy of leaves overhead. Plowing ahead, Grace ignored the twinge of guilt at her most recent expedition. One of many expeditions she’d been strictly forbidden to embark upon—both by her father, before he set sail for Spain, and more recently, her sister Faith and Faith’s new husband, Dajon. But Grace could not allow anyone or anything to stop her from doing what God had commissioned her to do: feed the poor, tend to the sick, and spread the good news of His Gospel.

She glanced up at the dark clouds swirling like some vile witch’s brew. Perhaps she should have left a note informing Faith of her whereabouts. No matter. She would drop off the food and herbs, attend to Thomas, and be home before sunset.

Grace emerged from the green fortress into a clearing. Thunder bellowed, and she shivered as a chill struck her. In the distance, the wide Ashley River tumbled along its course. A cabin perched by the water’s edge, smoke curling from its chimney. Squaring her shoulders, she took a deep breath and quickened her pace. “Here at last. And, as you can see, Alice, all is well.”

A nervous giggle sounded from behind her.

Hoisting the sack higher up on her shoulders, Grace clutched her skirts and climbed the steps of the cabin, but before she could knock on the door, it swung open. Mr. Roberts, a burly red-faced man with unruly dark hair, stared curiously at her for a moment then cocked his head and smiled. “Miss Grace. A grand pleasure to see you.” His glance took in Alice standing on the steps behind Grace. His forehead wrinkled. “What brings you this far from home on such a rainy day? Helen, Miss Grace has come for a visit,” he yelled over his shoulder. The scent of smoke and some sort of meaty stew wafted over Grace.

“Why, we’ve come to help Thomas of course.” Lightning flashed, casting a momentary grayish shroud over Mr. Roberts’s normally ruddy face.

“Thomas needs help?” He scratched his thick, dark mane.

Alice’s boots thudded on the steps, and Grace turned to see her maid inching away from the cabin, her chin lowered.

Shaking her head, Grace faced Mr. Roberts. “Yes, you sent Alfred yesterday to inform us of Thomas’s fever and ask for my help, did you not?” The man looked puzzled. Grace slid the sack from her shoulder and set it down on the planks of the porch. “I’ve brought elder root and dogwood bark for his fever and some fresh fruit and rice for you and your family.”

Mrs. Roberts appeared in the doorway, her infant daughter cradled in her arms. “Grace, what a wonderful surprise. Henry, don’t just stand there. Invite her in out of the rain.”

“Thomas isn’t sick.” Mr. Roberts’ nose wrinkled. “And Alfred was here with us all day yesterday.”

Grace swerved about to question Alice, but the girl was nowhere in sight. Descending the stairs, she dashed into the clearing, her heart in her throat as she scanned the foliage for any sign of her maid.

A swoosh of leaves and stomp of boots reached her ears, then a band of five men materialized from the foliage. Armed with cutlasses and pistols, they stormed toward Grace. She tried to move her feet, but the thick mud clung to them like shackles. Mr. Roberts cursed and ushered his wife inside. The baby began to howl.

A tall, sinewy man halted before her. A burst of wind struck him, fluttering the green feather atop his cocked hat and the tips of the black hair grazing his shoulders. He shifted his jaw, peppered with black stubble, and gazed at her with eyes the color of the dark clouds churning above them. A slow smile crept across his lips, lifting his thin, rakish mustache. “Mademoiselle Grace Westcott, I presume.” His thick French accent turned her blood to ice.

Grace met his gaze squarely. “I am, sir.”

With a snap of his fingers, two of his men flanked her. “You will come with us.”

“I will not.” The men wrenched her arms behind her back. Pain shot across her shoulders.

The snap of a rifle sounded, drawing the man’s attention to Mr. Roberts pointing his musket in their direction. “Leave her be.”

A flicker of relief eased over Grace, quickly fading when she examined the man before her. Instead of fear, amusement sparked in his eyes. The men on either side of Grace chuckled as if Mr. Roberts had told a joke.

“Quel homme galant, but I fear I cannot do that, monsieur.” The leader crossed his arms over his gray waistcoat and scraped a finger along his lean chin. “With a bit of fortune and a good aim, you may shoot one of us. Mais that would leave you and your family completely at our mercy. Comprenez-vous?”

Mr. Roberts stared at him for a long moment, obviously measuring the man.

“Toss your weapon to the ground, monsieur and go into your house. If you come out, we will shoot you. If you fire another weapon at us, we will kill your family.

A short, barrel-chested man beside the leader drew his pistol and leveled it at Mr. Roberts. The sneer on his face suggested he would love nothing more than to shoot the man where he stood.

The musket quivered in Mr. Roberts’s hands as he perused the band of ruffians, but still he did not relent. Grace shook her head, sending her friend a silent appeal. She would not allow him to put his family in jeopardy for her.

Mr. Roberts swallowed, threw his weapon into the mud, and gave her an apologetic look before slipping inside the cabin and closing the door with an ominous thud that echoed Grace’s fate.

She faced the leader. Thunder roared across the clearing. “What have you done with Alice?”

“Alice? Hmm.” His eyes lit up. “Votre servante? I merely paid her well for leading you to us.” He grinned.

The skies opened and released a torrent of rain upon Grace as if God Himself shed the tears that now burned behind her eyes. How could Alice have done such a thing? She had been Grace’s personal maid for the past five years—had traveled with her in the crossing from Portsmouth to Charles Towne.

The rain bounced off the cocked hat and the broad shoulders of the man before her. Drops streamed down Grace’s face, her neck, soaked into her gown, and befogged the scene before her. If only the fresh water from heaven could wash away these devilish creatures like holy water sprinkled upon evil.

The black-haired man turned and marched away as though her desperate wish had reached God’s ears. But then his two minions wrenched her arms again and dragged her behind him. Panic seized her. This couldn’t be happening! She dug her heels into the mud but her captors merely lifted her from the ground. Pain scorched across her arms and neck.

“Please, sir. Please. What do you want with me?”

But the only reply came from the rain pounding on the leaves and the thunder rumbling across the sky.

They plunged back into the thick forest. Grace struggled against the men’s meaty grips. Even if she did manage to break free from them, tree trunks rose like prison bars on either side of her holding her captive within the dense thicket. They trudged down the path for what seemed an eternity. Each step dug the knife of fear deeper into Grace’s heart. Silently, she appealed to God for her salvation, begging to hear His comforting voice, but her petitions were met with the same silence her captors afforded her. Finally, they emerged onto a secluded shore, and the men shoved her onto the thwart of a small boat then launched the craft into the rushing river. In the distance Grace saw a two-masted brig swaying with the rolling tide.

Lord, where are You? She clasped her hands together and tried to catch her breath.

The black-haired man locked a smoldering gaze upon her. He did not look away as propriety demanded but perused her with alarming audacity. Rain streamed off his hat onto his black breeches, and a smirk creased one corner of his mouth. Averting her gaze to the agitated water, she considered leaping overboard. She couldn’t swim. At least not well enough to fight the strong Ashley current. Besides, surely God would rescue her from these brigands. He was simply testing her faith by waiting until the last minute when things were at their worst. Lifting her chin, she cast a defiant look upon her captor, but it only caused his smirk to widen.

Within minutes, they reached the ship and thudded against its hull. Shouts pitched upon them from above as faces popped over the bulwarks to peer down at her. Grace glanced about for the rescuer God should have sent by now. The leader pulled her to her feet, and before she could make a move, he hoisted her over his shoulder like a sack of grain and climbed the rope ladder without effort.

Grace could no longer feel the fear or even the damp chill. Numbness gripped her, born of shock at her predicament. Blood rushed to her head, and she closed her eyes, breathing in the musky scent of the man’s damp wool waistcoat and praying for the nightmare to end.

Once aboard, he carried her across deck as he issued a string of orders in French, sending his crew scrambling in every direction.

“Welcome back, Captain,” a deep voice shouted, then a shock of brown hair appeared in Grace’s vision. “I see you found her.”

“Oui, bien sûr.” His tone carried the haughtiness that excluded any other possibility as he tapped her on the rump.

“How dare you!” Grace shouted and tried to kick her legs, but the captain’s arm kept them pinned to his chest. The two men shared a chuckle.

“Weigh anchor, away aloft, and raise the main, Mr. Thorn. We set sail immediately.”

Raindrops bounced over the wooden planks, pelting her from all directions. Her head bumped against his damp coat. His hard shoulder pressed into her aching stomach as he carried her down a ladder. She stretched her hand to grab the hilt of his rapier, but it taunted her from its sheath at his other side, out of her reach. She pounded her fists against his back. Muscle as unyielding as steel sent pain through her hands.

With a chuckle, he sauntered down a hallway and kicked open a door. Grace tensed, fearing the man would toss her to the floor. Instead, grasping her waist, he gently set her down inside the tiny cabin.

Gaining her balance, Grace wiped the matted strands of wet hair from her face and faced him. “Who are you and what do you want with me?” she said in a stalwart tone that surprised her.

He doffed his feathered hat and banged it against his knee, sending droplets over the floor. Tucking an errant strand of wet hair behind his ear, he bowed. “Captain Rafe Dubois at your service, mademoiselle. I welcome you aboard Le Champion. And regarding what I want with you”—he raised one brow and allowed his gaze to scour over her—“I am to deliver you to Don Miguel De Salazar in Columbia.”

“Columbia?” Grace took a step back and gripped her throat.

“Oui, he has promised to pay quite handsomely for you.”

“For me? But why? I don’t even know the man.” A shudder ran through her.

“Ah, but your father does apparently. The two men are not…how do you say? Agreeable? Don Miguel holds him responsible for the death of his son in a skirmish with a galleon. He thought you would be adequate payment for the transgression.”

“Payment!” Grace’s fear gave way to anger. “I am no one’s payment. How can you take part in such a wicked scheme?”

The captain shrugged as if her words rolled off of him. “Like I said, he’s willing to pay handsomely.” He offered her a devious grin then donned his hat and closed the door with a resounding thud.

***My review of The Blue Enchantress***

***My review of The Raven Saint***


My Review: Menu for Romance (Brides of Bonneterre, #2) by Kaye Dacus

Menu for Romance
(Brides of Bonneterre, #2)
by Kaye Dacus

Christian Fiction / Romance / Contemporary

Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Copyright 2009
Pages:  320
ISBN:  9781602604551

(from Christianbook.com):

Professional event planner Meredith Guidry makes a New Year's resolution: that she'll get over an eight-year-long infatuation so she can fall in love and end her still-single status before New Year's Eve rolls around again. Executive chef Major O'Hara wishes he could admit his feelings for and share his life with Meredith, but he knows he could never saddle the woman he loves with a family situation like his.

My Thoughts:

Kaye Dacus quickly became one of my "must read" authors when I picked up her debut novel, Stand-in Groom, last year.  It is an awesome read!  I could hardly wait for her second installment to be released, which is, Menu for Romance.  It took me awhile to get my hands on a copy, and I just read it last week.  Though I thoroughly enjoyed it, in my opinion, it wasn't quite as good as Stand-in Groom.

Meredith Guidry has been in love with Major O'Hara for years, but doesn't think he feels the same.  When she meets handsome contractor Wade Breaux, she agrees to let him help her with restoring the craftsman house she recently purchased.  She tries her hardest to fall in love with him, but the sparks just don't seem to be there.  The longer she spends time with Wade, the more he makes her realize that her big, hands-on family has just about smothered her personal life.  She decides to make some major changes where her family is concerned.

Chef Major O'Hara has been working for Meredith's family for the last eight years.  One of his best friends is her brother, Forbes.  Major has always dreamed of opening his very own restaurant, but isn't sure it's possible, as his mother's medical condition always seems to get in his way.  He has received an unbelievable offer, that he would love to accept, but isn't sure he'll be able to make it work.

The fact that Major is afraid to tell Meredith about his Mom's medical condition annoyed me to no end!  He's on the fence just about the whole time trying to decide if her should tell her, or not.  Yes...I can see how that could be a hard decision, but if you've been friends for eight years, surely you know by now that Meredith will more than understand.  I guess since his mother is such a big part of his every day life, it's a big part of the story, but I think it would have been great to see how Meredith handled the news sooner in the story.

On the other hand, I'm eagerly looking forward to delving into Forbes' story, A Case for Love, hopefully this week.  Be sure to watch for that review coming up soon!

To find out more about Kaye Dacus, or her books (and she has a lot of upcoming releases that sound GREAT!), be sure to visit her at:

Her website

* I purchased my copy of Menu for Romance. *


Waiting on Wednesday

Forget Me Not
by Vicki Hinze

Christian Fiction / Suspense

Waterbrook Multnomah
Publishing Group

Copyright 2010
Pages: 352
ISBN:  9781601422057

Release date:  3/16/10

(from Waterbrook Multnomah):


Crossroads Crisis Center owner Benjamin Brandt was a content man—in his faith, his work, and his family.  Then in a flash, everything he loved was snatched away.  His wife and son were murdered, and grief-stricken Ben lost faith.  Determination to find their killers keeps him going, but after three years of dead ends and torment, his hope is dying too.  Why had he survived?  He’d failed to protect his family.

Now, a mysterious woman appears at Crossroads seeking answers and help—a victim who eerily resembles Ben’s deceased wife, Susan.  A woman robbed of her identity, her life, of everything except her faith—and Susan’s necklace.

The connections between the two women mount, exceeding coincidence, and to keep the truth hidden, someone is willing to kill.  Finding out who and why turns Ben and the mystery woman’s situation from dangerous to deadly.  Their only hope for survival is to work together, trust each other, and face whatever they discover head on, no matter how painful. But will that be enough to save their lives and heal their tattered hearts?

Forget Me Not is edge-of-your-seat suspense. Each page left me breathless with anticipation for the next page. This book is non-put-downable.”
–Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Written with equal parts grace and passion, Vicki Hinze’s latest thriller Forget Me Not delves deeply into a the chilling world of twisted loyalties, amnesia, and the struggle of a woman to expose a terrorist plot. Romantic, suspenseful, and ultimately uplifting, this story proves that what is buried in the past never stays buried forever. A great read by a writer who continues to amaze”
–James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of The Doomsday Key

“I literally couldn’t put down Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze. The suspense kept me flipping pages until long after midnight and I loved the plot twists. Highly recommended!”
–Colleen Coble, author of The Lightkeeper’s Bride and the Rock Harbor series

“Vicki Hinze is a masterful storyteller who has weaved unique and rich characters into a compelling, thought-provoking novel. Forget Me Not is a fabulous page-turner with incredible plot twists that will keep you guessing until the very end.   Highly recommended!”
–Mark Mynheir, homicide detective and author of The Night Watchman

“Vicki Hinze’s Forget Me Not is a novel I couldn’t put down. The fast pace makes for a quick read, the story is full of action and intrigue while the romance flows naturally from the plot. The message of God’s presence in our everyday lives provides an emotional uplifting long after the story ends. I highly recommend Forget Me Not.
–Robin Caroll, author of the bayou series and Deliver Us From Evil

“The always-entertaining Vicki Hinze breaks new ground with this intriguing tale, filled with nail-biting suspense, emotional turmoil and heartfelt redemption. This novel celebrates the sturdiness of the human spirit and the healing power of faith. Don’t miss it!”
–Susan Wiggs, author of Just Breathe

Forget Me Not took off like a bullet from a shotgun and gripped me all the way to the exciting end.  With tight plotting, twists and turns, a sweet romance and lots of action, I’ll be making room on my romantic suspense shelf for more books from Vicki Hinze!”
–Susan May Warren, award-winning author of Nothing But Trouble

Forget Me Not is a season of the television show 24 in print, with a long list of surprises, a good love story, and a great inspirational uplift. An excellent read!”
–Hannah Alexander, author of A Killing Frost

“One of the best romantic suspense novels I've read this year! The mysterious, intriguing opening hooked me right away, and Vicki's characters made me root for them. I can't recommend this book enough!”
–Camy Tang, author of Deadly Intent and the Sushi series