Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Ransom by MaryLu Tyndall

As a member of MaryLu’s Motley Crew, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to my Captain for sending me a copy of "The Ransom" in exchange for an honest review. I am truly grateful for the privilege of supporting a wonderful author who loves Christ and doesn’t shy away from presenting Him in her books!  Huzzah!

“The Ransom” by MaryLu Tyndall is a luminous treasure!  Overflowing with rich plot twists, sparkling humor, exotic settings and brilliantly crafted characters, this crown jewel of a novel is the long-awaited fourth offering in the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series.  “The Ransom” reads beautifully as a stand-alone novel.  The other books in the series (The Redemption, The Reliance and The Restitution) are wonderful, and I highly recommend them as well.

Miss Juliana Dutton is living a lie!  Following in her deceased mother’s footsteps, she has a heart for the less fortunate of Port Royal, Jamaica and frequently cares for their needs, but her father’s failing health has forced her to take on the task of running the family shipping business with no help from her flighty drunkard brother who has a gambling problem!  She is also dealing with the attentions of three men:  the obnoxious Captain Nichols, the foppish Lord Munthrope and the dashing and dangerous Pirate Earl!

Captain Nichols wants it all - Juliana’s affections and the head of the Pirate Earl!  Juliana, wanting nothing to do with the arrogant Captain, accepts a proposition from Lord Munthrope that will hopefully dissuade the Captain from pursuing her further.  Lord Munthrope hopes to win over Juliana’s affections as they spend time together because of their bargain.  But Juliana’s heart beats a bit faster whenever she encounters the Pirate Earl, who always seems to show up as her protector when she needs the Lord’s deliverance the most.  The notorious Pirate has watched Juliana from afar since she arrived in Jamaica.  He is touched by her kindness and genuine caring for the undesirables of Port Royal, so he has appointed himself her protector as she endeavors into the seedier parts of the city to care for her friends.  This has given her the reputation of being the “Pirate Earl’s Lady”, a title that simultaneously thrills and repulses her!

 “The Ransom” is crafted as meticulously as one of Shakespeare’s comedies and detailed as richly.  The scenes play out so crisply in the mind’s eye, I can’t help but feel this novel (and the others in the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series) would make a wonderful film!

What a beautiful picture of Christ this novel paints.  When Jesus came to earth, He was rejected because many saw Him as the foppish Lord Munthrope, weak and mad.  But there were a select few who saw Him as the strong and protective Pirate Earl!  My prayer is that those who read this amazing novel will see the Lord Jesus as a strong, caring and sensitive protector who put Himself in harm’s way to save our very souls!  And that the realization will draw us to a place where we cannot spend enough time in His presence.

Malachi – Week Seven

The Promise of Pirouetting Livestock (Malachi 3:13-4:6)

This week’s study asked the question:  How does Christ’s second coming influence my daily perspective?

Do you resemble your Heavenly Father?  I don’t always look like Him.  Where are your struggles?  Are you bringing those struggles to Him?  Are you asking Him to reveal the root causes of those struggles so you can pray for His help when they surface?  I need to work on these things, too.  At least we have a starting point, now.

This hasn’t been my favorite study.  I feel like I’ve read Scripture from everywhere BUT the book of Malachi.  Not that I think it’s bad to study multiple Scriptures when concentrating on a book, but I feel like I’ve only studied Malachi conceptually.  Still valuable, but I wanted to know Malachi better than I do.

This week’s activity involved planning a reunion with your small group within the next month.  But I ask you to please return next week as we begin Chuck Missler’s study of the book of Revelation.  You definitely don’t want to miss this one.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Malachi – Week Six

God's Miraculous Return on Our Meager Investments (Malachi 3:6-12)


This week’s study asked the question:  How can I give God more of myself?

I’ve had a few favorite teachers in my academic career.  I would like to have a living mentor for my spiritual walk.  Maybe one day God will bless me with one.  In the meantime, He is my Mentor.  If this is truly the case, should I want a flesh-and-blood guide?  I think not.  I’ll stick with Him!  In this capacity, I have to meet with Him often, giving Him more of myself.  The true benefit of this, though, is that I receive the reward of getting more of Him.  Isn’t it wonderful how He blesses?

This week’s activity called for celebration while preparing your tithe in a private place.  I may have to remember to do this one more often.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Dancing With Fireflies by Denise Hunter

First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Denise Hunter and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Dancing with Fireflies" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

“Dancing with Fireflies” by Denise Hunter is a thoughtful and touching romance that brings home the truth of God’s love and acceptance in spite of heart-wrenching circumstances.  Jade McKinley has just returned home to Chapel Springs from Chicago, needing the love and strength of family for the upcoming season of her life.  Daniel Dawson is getting ready to throw his hat into a larger political arena at the promptings of his parents, but he’s torn about remaining the Mayor of Chapel Springs where he feels he can really help the people.  It doesn’t hurt that staying at home would also keep him close to Jade, whom he’s been crazy about for as long as he can remember.

This is a beautiful love story.  I did get a bit frustrated with the characters as they denied their feelings and talked themselves out of being honest with each other, which is a fairly predictable way to create tension in a romance novel.  But Denise Hunter has a way of writing a very satisfying romantic story in spite of those things.  She takes the reader to the brink of that frustration and then rewards the reader for her persistence to turn pages with delicious moments.  This is the second Chapel Springs romance, but “Dancing with Fireflies” reads well as a stand-alone novel.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

“Claiming Mariah” by Pam Hillman

First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Pam Hillman and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Claiming Mariah" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

After the death of her father, Mariah Malone writes a letter seeking forgiveness for his past regrets.  What she doesn’t expect is for the sons of the letter’s recipient to show up on her porch claiming her land!  Even more farfetched is the idea that she could fall in love with Slade Donovan, the bitter man who wants to take her home.

“Claiming Mariah” by Pam Hillman is an engaging historical western romance.  With a solid plot and likable characters, this book is an enjoyable weekend read.  There were a couple of moments where a character’s inner monologue seemed to come out of left field just to create more conflict, but overall this is a good book – romantic and suspenseful with a thread of godliness woven throughout.