New Releases: Betting on Hope

Book Title: Betting on Hope
Publication Date: February 17, 2015
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

A bet gone wrong. A small town’s meddling. And a cowboy intent on saving his ranch.

Maggie Hope is an advice columnist whose background leaves her with little advice to give . . . and it’s beginning to show. When Maggie fills in at an interview with champion horse trainer Tru Monahan, the on-camera chemistry between them is undeniable. Maggie’s bosses know this is the opportunity she's been looking for to launch her career—and their bank accounts. In order to save her column, Maggie takes Tru up on the bet that he can teach her to ride a quick-stepping cutting horse like any cowgirl, despite the fact that she has never been on a horse. And in the meantime, she can get the scoop on the man under the cowboy hat.

Tru has been on the competition circuit for longer than he’d like, but he knows it's the only way he can afford to keep the Four of Hearts Ranch that means so much to his ailing grandfather. So when his sponsors see the opportunity for Tru’s fans to get to know the star on a more intimate level, he knows he must oblige. To his dismay, Maggie not only invades his small town of Wishing Springs, but she also invades his heart, and that is something he cannot let any woman do—for her own good.

In Wishing Springs, Maggie finds what she has always been looking for: a community and a home. But when her past catches up to her, it threatens everything, even the tender hope that this town holds all of her heart’s desires.

My Review:
I usually am not a fan of "modern-day" time period books. I prefer books with a historical background but Betting on Hope was great and I really liked it. There were funny, slightly sad, romantic, and inspiring parts. I must admit, I really thought that Maggie and Tru were going to adopt little Hope. In my mind it was the perfect solution to everyone' problem and I was disappointed that it didn't happen. But, that aside, I was pleased with Debra Clopton's new book.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 
Note: I received this book through NetGalley.

Fairy Tales / The Merchant's Daughter

Well, here is the first book in the new "series" I promised. Although, it's like a week behind. Sorry about that. Hope you all like this book as much as I did. (which was a lot :)

Enjoy the last few days of January!
Book Title: The Merchant's Daughter
Series: Book 2 of the Hagenheim / Fairy Tale Romance
Author: Melanie Dickerson
An unthinkable danger. An unexpected choice.

Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf's bailiff—a revolting man who has made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past.
Believing that life in a nunnery is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff's vile behavior and to preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf. As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave danger.
Ranulf's future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands, and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart. 

My Review:
I totally loved this book! It's a delightful rendition of Beauty and the Beast. Of course, there was no magic involved and no spells turning humans into beasts and back again; much more realistic. Annabel was a sweet young woman and an inspiration to read about; you couldn't help but like her right away. There was some action and mystery that kept your full attention for the whole book. The Merchant's Daughter is one of my favorites of Melanie Dickerson's books -- a wonderful Christian version of the fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 
Coming Soon: An interview with the author,

Melanie Dickerson!


Daughters of Destiny

Another book in the Bright Light's Lending Library, Daughters of Destiny is an inspiring book filled with stories and poems of women of virtue, strength, royalty, stature, service, purpose, and vision.
Daughters of Destiny
A Treasury of Historical Narratives, Lessons and Poetry
for Daughters, Young and Old
Author: Noelle Wheeler
Have you ever heard of Grace Darling, Emily Geiger, Edith of Scotland, Mary McCann? The compelling deeds of these noteworthy women of history were bound to have been buried and forgotten--until now. Daughters of Destiny revives the spirit and courage of those forgotten heroines of the past as well as revisits the remembered women of history.
This treasury of historical narratives, lessons, and poetry will inspire women and girls of today to strive for service to God, home, family, and country--to achieve true greatness. The maxim "behind every great man stands a woman" is what Daughters of Destiny is all about.
My thoughts on this book:
This has always been one of my favorite books in the Bright Lights Lending Library. I love reading stories of women of old who stand above the rest because of their courage and bravery. The stories and lessons are great but poems have never been my favorite and I skip most of them. I would encourage any girl of any age to read this inspirational collection. 
Genres: Young Adult, Faith, History

Harvest of Gold / Book 2

I hope the new year is going well for everyone and those who live in colder climates are staying warm. The last week has been really cold here, with the degrees being in the single digits. Maybe for some that's not very cold but I'm glad it's not usually so chilly here. One good thing about the cold, at least the snow won't melt. :) I'm thankful for that. For myself, when it snows I want it to really snow. The more the better; although maybe I should clarify that, the more snow the better [as long as we can still go to town to get groceries].
This is the last book of the Harvest Series. Next week I hope to start reviewing Melanie Dickerson's books. They're not really an official series but all the characters are interrelated so I'm just going consider them to be one. There are five books and each are a retold version of the Disney Fairy Tales: Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Frog Prince, and Sleeping Beauty. I was recently introduced to them and I really enjoy them. I hope you will too.
Have a great day!

Book Title: Harvest of Gold
Series: Harvest Series (Book 2)
Author: Tessa Afshar
In Harvest of Gold (Book 2) the scribe Sarah married Darius, and at times she feels as if she has married the Persian aristocracy, too. There is another point she did not count on in her marriage-Sarah has grown to love her husband. Sarah has wealth, property, honor, and power, but her husband's love still seems unattainable.
Although his mother was an Israelite, Darius remains skeptical that his Jewish wife is the right choice for him, particularly when she conspires with her cousin Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Ordered to assist in the effort, the couple begins a journey to the homeland of his mother's people. Will the road filled with danger, conflict, and surprising memories, help Darius to see the hand of God at work in his life-and even in his marriage?

A hidden message, treachery, opposition, and a God-given success, will lead to an unlikely bounty.

My Review:
Harvest of Gold is the continuing story of Sarah, Darius, and Nehemiah. Sarah, is still learning to adjust to the role of being a wife when she finds out she is pregnant. Darius, has never learned to open his heart to others, especially his wife. Nehemiah, has left his position as cupbearer to the King of Persia and is leading the Israelites in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. When the three find themselves in the midst of danger and mystery within Jerusalem and the cities beyond can they rely on God to help them through it all?    
This book was definitely the most biblical of the two in the Harvest series. Nehemiah and the rebuilding of Jerusalem was a prominent part of the store. I think I still like the first book best but this one was good too. I was happy that Darius finally opened his heart to others and also that he became a part of the Israelites' faith--another great book to add to my shelf.  
My Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

New Releases: Beyond All Dreams

The newest book by Elizabeth Camden; probably my favorite of hers currently.

22504481Book Title: Beyond All Dreams
Publisher: Bethany House

Publication Date: Dec. 30, 2014

Anna O'Brien leads a predictable and quiet life as a map librarian at the illustrious Library of Congress until she stumbles across a baffling mystery of a ship disappeared at sea. She is thwarted in her attempts to uncover information, but her determination outweighs her shyness and she turns to a dashing congressman for help.

Luke Callahan was one of the nation's most powerful congressmen until his promising career became shadowed in scandal. Eager to share in a new cause and intrigued by the winsome librarian, he joins forces with Anna to solve the mystery of the lost ship. Opposites in every way, Anna and Luke are unexpectedly drawn to each other despite the strict rules forbidding Anna from any romantic entanglement with a member of Congress.

From the gilded halls of the Capitol, where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation's finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they've ever dreamed for themselves?

My Review:
Beyond All Dreams is a captivating book that I didn't want to set down. What could be better than reading a book about two people who love books just as much or maybe even more than I do! :) One of my favorite things about this book was Luke and Anna's interaction with each other. Their conversations are full of wit and humor and they bring out the best in each other. Full of mystery, romance, history, and wisdom for all who read, Beyond All dreams is one of my many favorite books.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Note: I received this book through NetGalley.

Journeys of Faithfulness

Journeys of Faithfulness*
Stories for the Heart for Faithful Girls

Author: Sarah Clarkson
This is a book about journeys -- the journeys of four faithful young women who traveled the roads of their lives with God, and how their stories can be an encouragement to Christian young women today. Come, read about the lives of Mary of Bethany, Ester, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Ruth. You will be inspired by their creatively told stories, encouraged by personal insights from the author's journey, and challenged by choice scriptures. In the end, you will be strengthened in your own journey of faithfulness with God.

My thoughts on this book:
Sarah Clarkson is a gifted writer who makes Bible stories come alive through her retelling. My favorite story in Journeys of Faithfulness is Mary of Bethany. It gives a nice glimpse into Mary and her sister, Martha's life. The other stores are about Esther, Mary (the mother of Jesus), and Ruth; and each of them are as good as the first. Reading about these women of faith will encourage you to be one too.

Genres: Young Adult, Faith

*Note: There is a newer copy of this book published, Journeys of Faithfulness: Stories of Life and Faith for Young Christian Women.

Happy New Year!

Just as we are given a new year, God has also given us a chance at a new life through his Son's death. May we never take that gift for granted and live everyday to it's fullest.
Happy New Year everyone!
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