Book Review | First Impressions

First Impressions
A Contemporary Retelling of Pride & Prejudice
Debra Smith White

Bethany House Publishers | April 17, 2018
Christian Fiction, Romance, Classic Retelling

{GoodReads}
In an attempt to get to know the people of London, Texas---the small town that lawyer Eddi Boswick now calls home---she tries out for a local theater group's production of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice.  She's thrilled to get the role of lively Elizabeth Bennet. . . until she meets the arrogant---and eligible---rancher playing her leading man.

Dave Davidson chose London, Texas, as the the perfect place to live under the radar.  Here, no one knows his past, and he can live a quiet, peaceful life with his elderly aunt, who also happens to own the local theater.  Dave doesn't even try out for the play, but suddenly he is thrust into the role of Mr. Darcy and forced to spend the entire summer with Eddi, who clearly despises him.

Spark fly every time Eddi and Dave meet, whether on the stage or off.  But when Eddi discovers Dave's secret, she has to admit there might be more to him than she thought.  Maybe even enough to change her mind. . . and win her heart.

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WARNING: Possible Spoilers
I was provided a copy of this book thanks to the publishers in exchange for my honest review.

{The Basics}
So, I'm a classics girl.  I loves ALL the classics:  Jane Austen, Jules Verne, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Elizabeth Gaskell, P.G. Wodehouse, and many more!  And retellings!!!  GUYS.  If I come across a good, fun, engaging retelling of one of my favorite novels/stories/etc.---be it faerietales or classics---I'll definitely share it with the world.  And this one is certainly on my list.  

First Impressions was such a cute story.  If you read the book blurb above, you'll know the characters actually take part in a small-town, theater production of Pride & Prejudice.  As this is a retelling, the characters each represent someone from the story, and they end up playing the characters they represent.  I kept expecting someone to say, "Wow, this is so ME."  *cackles*  

Anywho, I certainly enjoyed this modern twist on my favorite Austen story.  And I think you need to add it to your TBR list.  *evil eye* xD

{Spiritual Content}
This is classified in the Christian fiction genre.  The characters pray to our Lord, and some have a past of having strayed from the faith.  It's so sweet to see the two older Boswick sisters praying for their rebel sister, Linda (who is exactly like Lydia. . .maybe worse). 

Characters acknowledge the beauty of creation in a sunset or the gorgeous layout of a rich estate or a star-studded sky.  They certainly know it was a Creator who made such scenes.

At one point, a character prays for deliverance from loving a woman who despises him, or at least allowing her to love him as deeply as he does her.

Dave visits his parents grave sites to talk to them for a little while.

{Violence}
A tornado rages through the town of London, damaging houses, buildings, cars, etc.  A couple is caught out in the storm in an attempt to run for cover, and are plummeted with debris.  They suffer minor cuts and bruises, but no worse.  A guy gets hit in the back by a flying clay pot.  (No one is killed!)

{Language // Alcohol & Drugs}
None, unless you count one use of "sheesh."

Linda is an alcoholic.  She drinks Coke laced with rum---her sisters can see it in her behavior and smell it on her breath.  They also note at some point that she has three margaritas after lunch.  Later in the story she takes a swig of whiskey, her "flask of courage."

Valium, birth control pills.  Someone is known to smoke weed.  A couple characters drink wine, or go out for a drink.

{Romantic Content}
Both Dave and Eddi sense an attraction for the other.  He finds himself drawn to her, and not just because she is pretty or lovely in her own way, but for her personality and character.  She doesn't care a whit about his vast fortune either.

Linda obviously sleeps around. . . (No details, of course.)  At one point, feeling jealousy, she freshens up in a bathroom, adding a thicker layer of lipstick and more expensive perfume to seduce a guy so he'd turn his full attention to her.  She unbuttons the top three buttons of her blouse, exposing a bit of cleavage.  

It's no surprise to the reader that Linda ends up staying with Rick for a while. . . as in, in his apartment. . . Rick pinches her bum in one scene and she squeals, running into the bedroom.  He follows with a growl, but nothing is described.  I assure you, this is a very clean novel, though it is certainly implied that some characters partake in sin on a daily basis.

{Other Negatives}
Another character, Rick, seems like a good sort of gentleman.  Eddi begins to trust him, not knowing him at all.  He's extremely manipulative, says all the right things, and plays on people's sympathy.  Can you guess who his character is based off of??

A woman learns she is pregnant, and on the direction of her lover, debates on having an abortion.  [SPOILER!] She doesn't go through with it though! Her family helps her, and steps are taken to mend the mistakes made.

Like Mrs. Bennet, Eddi's mother Mrs. Boswick certainly speaks her mind at times.  

{Conclusion}
While this story contains more mature content, and I would definitely recommend to ages 18 and up, it is perfectly clean in regards to language and descriptive content.  People sin and make horrible decisions that they will regret for their lives, but in this tale even the bad guy gets a happy ending (it just may not have been the way he would've imagined).  

I could go on a bit more, but I figure you should just read for yourself if you believe this might be something you'd like.  I enjoyed it, for sure!  :]

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Ages 18+

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Thanks for reading!
Do you have a particular retelling---classic or faerietale---that you would recommend?? 

Memorial Day


This particular "holiday" has evolved into more of a celebration like that of July 4th's Independence Day.  Why is that? Is it because the majority of businesses and offices are closed, and we have the privilege of enjoying a longer weekend where families get together for backyard barbecues and drinks?

According to Dictionary.com and Wikipedia, the definition of Memorial Day is:

A day on which those who died in active military service are remembered, traditionally observed on May 30 but now officially observed on the last Monday in May.

Memorial Day or Decoration Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces... It marks the unofficial start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries. Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day – Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, whereas Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.[4] It is also not to be confused with Armed Forces Day, a minor U.S. remembrance celebrated earlier in May, which specifically honors those currently serving in the U.S. military.

Each family is touched by the lives of those who have served our country whether directly or indirectly, and each has lost a loved one (or more) to the cause of our country and its hard-earned freedom.  

May we never forget those who have laid down their lives, just as Christ gave His life for ours, because they had something worth fighting for. 

Do you honor a loved one today?

Though I never knew him, my grandfather's brother, Uncle Joe, died serving his country and saving a friend.  He was promoted to First Lieutenant, though he never had the chance to know it.

It's men like him and so many others who have made our country great.  
And it's in their honor that we remember them today.


Decoration Day
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest
On this Field of the Grounded Arms,
Where foes no more molest,
Nor sentry's shot alarms!

Ye have slept on the ground before,
And started to your feet
At the cannon's sudden roar,
Or the drum's redoubling beat.

But in this camp of Death
No sound your slumber breaks;
Here is no fevered breath,
No wound that bleeds and aches.

All is repose and peace,
Untrampled lies the sod;
The shouts of battle cease,
It is the Truce of God!

Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!
The thoughts of men shall be
As sentinels to keep
Your rest from danger free.

Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.

Book Review | Ruthless Magic

How was your Wednesday, me lovely beans?
Has Summer officially started for you??  :]

Here's a new book review.

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Ruthless Magic
Conspiracy of Magic #1
Megan Crewe

ebook | May 30, 2018
YA Fiction, Dystopian, Fantasy

In the contest to keep their magic, the only options may be die... or kill.

Each year, the North American Confederation of Mages assesses every sixteen-year-old novice. Some will be chosen. The rest must undergo a procedure to destroy their magical ability unless they prove themselves in the mysterious and brutal Mages' Exam.

Disadvantaged by her parents' low standing, Rocío Lopez has dedicated herself to expanding her considerable talent to earn a place in the Confederation. Their rejection leaves her reeling—and determined to fight to keep her magic.

Long ashamed of his mediocre abilities, Finn Lockwood knows the Confederation accepted him only because of his prominent family. Declaring for the Exam instead means a chance to confirm his true worth.

Thrown into the testing with little preparation, Rocío and Finn find themselves becoming unlikely allies—and possibly more. But the Exam holds secrets more horrifying than either could have imagined. What are the examiners really testing them for? And as the trials become increasingly vicious, how much are they willing to sacrifice to win?

The first in a new series by USA Today bestselling author Megan Crewe, Ruthless Magic combines the magic of Harry Potter with the ferocity of The Hunger Games alongside a poignant romance. Fans of Cassandra Clare and Holly Black, look no further for your next urban fantasy fix!

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WARNING: Possible Spoilers
I received an ARC copy in exchange for my honest review.

{The Basics}
So, you know how people say, "Never judge a book by its cover"?  Yeah, well, I'm sure guilty of doing that.  And ya know what?  There's nothing wrong with it!  Pretty covers are most likely the first reason of why you pick up a book, am I right? (Psst. You know I am.)  The cover gives you a visual of what to expect, so to say.  And when it's visibly intriguing and awesome and enchanting, why would you not pick it up to see what it's about?  

Needless to say, that's what I thought when I saw the cover of this novel.  I mean, look at it!  It's awesome!  Definitely draws you in.  But I ramble.  On to the review!

Finn has had to fight his whole life.  His family is old magic, but for him, it just doesn't come naturally.  Rocío, on the other hand, has an extremely powerful sense of the magic around her and she is a natural.  The story follows the two of them and their journey to prove themselves.  If I had to sum up this novel in one sentence, I would say, "Basically, the Hunger Games, but with magic."

{Positives}
Finn and Rocío have a good sense that all is not fair and true in the world.  They question the direction their government has led the people and it's their genuine wish to use their magic to better their homes and society.

{Negatives}
A jerk spits into a tray of eggs---twice---taunting Finn.  One character (female) shares a bit of her background, stating at one point that she was only interested in kissing girls. . .  There at least two total references to this.  Someone talks of clubs and pretty girls.

The examinees are separated into dorms---co-ed.  (Nothing happens, of course, and possibly not worth mentioning, but it's highly unwise to put a mix of teen boys and girls together no matter what stress or trials they are facing.)

{Spiritual Content}
Magic plays a rather large part in this tale (no DUH), hence the title.  We learn it is basically a living entity that resides in the energy of the air all around them---somebody states that the magic is alive.  To cast spells, one uses Latin words (though it's not required, Rocío uses Spanish songs and lullabies) and songs or poetry to conjure a " 'chantment."  Magic takes energy from the wielder, and when overused can leave them exhausted.  The teens use magic to numb pain and to seal wounds.

Rocío has a deep connection to the magic.  Many times during the Exam, she senses it almost as a tangible presence.  

{Violence}
Dampered is a term where those who are not accepted into the college to continue their studies in magic and who do not challenge for the Exam have the majority of their magic taken from them, leaving only a small percentage.  They still possess some form of talent that helps them in their daily work (i.e. weaving, carpentry, cooking, etc.), but for the most part, something is missing.  Burnout or burned out is a term used to describe a person who's had all of their magic taken from them, leaving them rather useless---outcasts.  This is what happens to those who fail the Exam or do something the authority greatly dislikes.

A young man is severely injured after defying orders.  He casts a spell at a secure door, it bounces back slicing his forehead and drawing blood.  He falls dead---or so they think (just unconscious, apparently)---and the examiners come to take him away.

A guy is nearly incinerated by magic---he has severe burns all over his body, and his heart stops once before the examiners take him away.  (We do not really know if he ever made it or not. . .)

Rocío's back is shredded by a creature's claws.  Characters are beaten, bruised, broken bones, crushed limbs, cracked ribs, slashed, gashed, etc. etc.  Lots and lots of blood and gore.  One girl is literally crushed in a cage of sorts---we don't see it but we hear her terrified screams and a gurgle. . . To survive, teens turn on each other, beating with whatever weapons they found in the arena.  A boy is killed by a blow to the head, his body floats on the little fountain he was near.  At least two other boys are taken down by a girl with a deadly whip.  One character tosses his victims from a tall platform.  And so on. . .

A girl's pinkie finger is severed in a fight.  A boy mutilates his own hand in order to escape a trap. 

{Language // Alcohol & Drugs}
"D---," "d---ed," and "pissed" are used at least once, if not multiple times.  "What the h---," "where in Hades," "sure as h---," and "thank the Fates" are used quite often, along with other mythological references.  At least one use of "a--," which is used to describe one horrid jerk of a guy.  Rocío uses "Dios mio" several times, as well as the Spanish form of "f---" once.  (Yep, I know.)  Someone uses the phrase "thumb up his butt" indicating initiative to impress the authority.  Someone uses "O gods" a time or two.

None.

{Romantic Content}
At one point, Finn notices a necklace Rocío's mother gave to her right before the Exam (for luck) which sits at the top of her breasts. . . he quickly looks away before she catches him looking at them.  Though they've only known each other for literally two days (five, by the end of the Exam), there is a great attraction between Finn and Rocío.  They share an intimate kiss at least once.  On the second night of the Exam, Rocío teleports them to safety underground, under the arena.  They spend the night in a protective bubble shield, enjoying each others' company.  The spend another night alone together later---nothing happens either time.

At another time, Finn is shirtless while Rocío heals his cracked ribs (with magic).  She runs a hand over his bare back. (Again, nothing happens.)

To cover an injury to her back under the shredded remains of her shirt, Rocío uses a torn sheet., but someone bumps into her at one point causing it to come loose.  While struggling to reattach it for modesty's sake, Finn offers to help and in so doing notices her tan skin and the "sliver of her bra."  He quickly finishes and moves on, but it's clear he's certainly attracted.

{Conclusion}
To say the least, this story was an interesting concept to me.  The magic was intriguing, to be sure, and it was honorable in a way to see Finn and Rocío and the allies they made stick together and protect one another---fighting for what they believed in, and believing they had a chance to change their world.  

However, due to the unexpected amount of language, and the COMPLETELY unnecessary reference to homosexuality, I can only give this three out of five stars.  By the time I was halfway through, I was getting tired of the tale.  It was so similar to The Hunger Games and other dystopian stories, where kids are forced to kill others and the authorities put them through unimaginable terrors (not to mention the government has a stranglehold on the entire society), I was ready to move on.  That, and the fact it was written in first person from the point of view of both Finn and Rocío.  First person is certainly not my favorite style, though there are books I enjoy reading it in, but finding and reading it through BOTH the eyes of Finn and Rocío was distracting at times.  I would have enjoyed it more if it was from one or the other's POV, with the opposite being in third person (if that makes sense).  But there were times I read two or three chapters thinking it was the girl when it was Finn, or vice versa, though the chapters do state who's POV it is.

Anywho, it was interesting, but not a must-read.  If you liked The Hunger Games books and all others in that particular genre, then you will like this one.  Don't take my word for it!  Just be aware of the language and content is all.  :]

Ages 16+

What's in a Name?

For today's set of names, I thought I'd spice it up a teensy bit.  :]

While I myself rather like my given name (aka Sarah -- no, duh!), I understand there are quite a few beans who don't like, or even loathe, the name they were given.  You may have characters like that, or maybe you're in the thinking process of creating a character whose given name does not quite match their personality.  In that case, you use a nickname, right??

Well, this fresh batch of naam[s] features some neat nicknames and their originals.
Enjoy!

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Kai
Malakai
M | English (modern)
MAL-ǝ-kie

Variant of Malachi, which comes from a Hebrew name meaning "my messenger" or "my angel."


Barbie
Barbara
F | English, Italian, French, German, Polish, Hungarian, Slovene, Croatian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Late Roman
BAHR-bǝ-rǝ (English), BAHR-brǝ (English), BAH-BA-RA (French), BAR-ba-ra (German), bar-BA-ra (Polish), BAWR-baw-raw (Hungarian)

Derived from the Greek word barbaros, meaning "foreign."

Leo
Leonard
M | English, Dutch, German, Ancient Germanic
LEN-ǝrd (English), LAY-o-narht (Dutch), LE-o-nart (German)

Meaning "brave lion."


Chess
Francesca
F | Italian, Catalan
fran-CHES-ka (Italian), frǝn-SES-kǝ (Catalan)

Italian and Catalan feminine form of the Late Latin name Franciscus, meaning "Frenchman."

I've actually featured this particular name here before, but I thought it worth mentioning again because I believe the nickname to be rather clever.  This is the name and nickname of a teen spy in a concept story I've worked on in the past.  Dunno if anything will ever come to it, but she's one of mah babies.  *^ - ^*


Dev
Devon
M & F | English
DEV-ǝn, dǝ-VAHN

A variant of Devin, which hails from either an English surname possibly meaning "devine," or from Irish surnames Ó Damháin ("descendant of Damhán" -- meaning "fawn") or Ó Dubháin ("descendant of Dubhán" -- duhb meaning "dark, black").

Berri/Berti
Bertha
F | German, English, Ancient Germanic
BER-ta (German), BUR-thǝ (English)

Bertha was originally a short form of Germanic names beginning with the element beraht, meaning "bright, famous."



Names & meanings via behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.

for today. and everyday.

Thoughts.


What you are in love with decides what you live for.  What you are in love with decides what you get out of bed for.
- Ann Voskamp -


Do you have something worth living for?  What fills your thoughts each day?  What makes you get up out of bed to face the trials and hidden joys in the everyday things?

Do you truly believe YOU are worth living for?

What are you in love with?

Just some things to ponder.  :]

Book Review | Breaking Cover

Breaking Cover
My Secret Life in the CIA & What it Taught Me About What's Worth Fighting For
Michele Rigby Assad

Tyndale Momentum | February 6, 2018
Nonfiction

{GoodReads}
The CIA is looking for walking contradictions. Recruiters seek people who can keep a secret, yet pull classified information out of others; who love their country, but are willing to leave it behind to head into dangerous places; who live double lives, but can be trusted with some of the nation's most highly sensitive tasks.

Michele Rigby Assad was one of those people.

As a CIA agent, Michele soon found that working undercover was an all-encompassing job. The threats were real. The mission was a perilous one. Trained as a counterterrorism expert, Michele spent over a decade in the agency--a woman leading some of the most highly skilled operatives on the planet, secretly serving in some the most treacherous areas of the Middle East. But deep inside, Michele wondered: Could she really do this job? Was she in the right place at the right time, or had she misunderstood what she thought was God's calling on her life? Did she have what it would take to survive?

The answer came when Michele faced a life-or-death choice--one that had secretly been the plan for her all along.

In Breaking Cover, Michele has at last been cleared to drop cover and tell her story: one of incredible struggle; of thwarted plans and expectations; and most of all, of discovering a faith greater than all her fears.


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This book was so very interesting!  I don't often pick up nonfiction, but I was glad to have found this one.  If you enjoy history and anything to do with military and government careers, then you will certainly enjoy the tale Michele Assad has to share.

Mrs. Assad basically debunks all CIA myths that films and movies drill into us through the fiction/action/thriller genre.  She and her husband (an agent as well) both endured action, stress, and terror in their careers with the CIA, and gained experience and knowledge through each trial and test they faced.  

After serving the CIA and their country for about ten years, they resigned to lead more normal lives.
Or so they thought.
It turned out God had a mission in mind for them that would take unbelievable faith and trust in God's provision alone.  And to accomplish that mission---finding a new home and country to take a band of persecuted Christians---they had to return to a country they feared.  But in every step along the way, and every bit of knowledge and experience and lessons they had learned in all their time with the CIA, God had been teaching them and leading them to that one ultimate mission.  They needed only to trust Him.

Such a beautiful story to see how God used Michele and her husband in their days with the CIA and then to an incredible mission of leading a band of persecuted Christians to a new home.  A definite read, in my opinion!

Ages 16+

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I was provided a copy of this book thanks to Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my review.

What's in a Name?

I JUST realized I never clicked "publish" for this post. . . O__O


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday has come yet again!  :]
Did y'all have a good weekend?  Do anything special to celebrate Mother's Day?

I enjoyed a fantastic girl's day shopping on Saturday, followed by a lovely service at church, and a full day with my family that afternoon.  Didn't want it to end!  (Cuz then ya know ya gotta go to work. . . ;D )  But the days go on, right?  And it seems Summer is just around the corner!  #WHOA

Here's a new set of names for you this week.  Do let me know if you find a new favorite!  (Aulora stands out to me in this batch)
Enjoy! :]

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Stefan
M | German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Polish, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian
SHTE-fan (German), STAY-fahn (Dutch), STE-fan (Polish)

A form of Stephan, which hails from the Greek name Stephanos, meaning "crown" or more literally "that which surrounds."


Aulora
F | English (rare)
ah-LORE-ah (possibly)

Meaning unknown.  Possibly a variant of Aurora, which means "dawn" in Latin. 


Sander
M | Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
SAHN-der (Dutch)

The Dutch and Scandinavian short form of Alexander, which means "defending men."


Alisa
F | Russian, Ukrainian, Bosnian, Finnish
u-LYEE-sə (Russian), AH-lee-sah (Finnish)

The Russian, Ukrainian, Bosnian, and Finnish form of Alice, which ultimately comes from Adelaide, meaning "a kind of noble."



Names & meanings via behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.

Book Review | Harbor

Harbor
Seven Sisters of Silverleaf (#2)
L.C. Ireland

Ghost Light Publishing | April 22, 2018
Fantasy Fiction, Faerietales

{GoodReads}
When the Horrid Witch is defeated, the Delaroe siblings think everything will go back to the way it used to be. They couldn’t be more wrong. 

Hallie Delaroe would much rather curl up with a good book than go on dangerous adventures. And romance? No, thank you. So she’s less than thrilled when she starts hearing the voice of Sayune, a mysterious fae, begging for her help escaping from the Horrid Witch’s prison. With her long-latent magic powers awakening, Hallie is the only one who can see or hear Sayune — but can she trust him? 

“Some things are kept in prisons for a reason…”


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WARNING: Possible Spoilers
[I was provided a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.]

{The Basics}
Firstly, please note this is the second novel in a series, and I would not consider them stand-alones.  Read in order first! or you won't understand what happened prior to this story.  :]  You can find my review for the first book, Horrid, here.  

Most of us introverts can certainly relate to Hallie, the third eldest of the Silverleaf sisters.  She is one whose comfort is found in solitude and books.  Of all seven daughters, she may be considered the one who will draw the least amount of attention and would NEVER be seen as adventurous,---other than wherever her books may take her from her usual perch in the library's window seat.  As usual, however, adventure tends to find those who least expect it and who are most inadequately prepared.  (Honestly, now that I think more deeply on her character, she reminds me of Bilbo. ;D) 

In the first novel, thanks to a curse from the Horrid Witch, the three eldest sisters are captured until the fourth daughter, Delta, [SPOILER!] manages to break the spell.  In this story, we learn what happened to Hallie during that time.  And it is the start to her entire and quite unexpected adventure filled with action, magic, love, and loyalty.

{Spiritual Content}
There are two worlds, or realms, if you will.  One is home to the fae and one to humans (plus whatever fae travels to live there).  The fae possess the power of magic, which can range from controlling water, plant life, teleportation, etc. etc.  During her capture, Hallie meets Sayune, a fae.  He has been a captive of the Horrid Witch for many, many years.  A portion of his power allows him to anchor his consciousness to a "host."  In so doing, to survive as such (because his actual body is elsewhere), he leeches off of his host's life energy, supposedly taking off a bit of their years.  Honestly, this was all rather strange, but certainly fit the entire story and it's allure and intrigue.  Before their prison is destroyed, he anchors himself to Hallie and later only she is able to hear him in her head, but only when water is near.  As a sign of this, Hallie finds a tribal-looking design appear on her wrist.

[SPOILER]  Turns out Hallie possesses magic also!  Sayune says she has a little bit of fae heritage in her ancestry, which she adamantly denies.  He calls her a water witch, and she can control water, making orbs, drawing it to her, using her tears as a distraction, etc.   

{Violence}
Pirates kidnap Hallie, none too gently, in her bedroom.  She resists to the best of her ability, but a vampire bites her and she falls unconscious.  She is tossed into the disgusting brig of their disgusting/nasty/filthy ship.  The pirates are smugglers, dealing with odd and unique creatures (one is a rather vicious mermaid-siren).  There, they try to starve her into giving them the location of Sayune's body.  She escapes after smashing things around.

Now that the vampire has bitten her, he has tasted her blood and hungers for it (unless he does the same to another creature).  At one point on the ship, he approaches her in an almost sensual way (NOTHING happens), but she basically beats him up with her newfound powers and escapes.  

A huge wave overtakes the ship and it begins to sink.  [SPOILER!] To save her, Sayune turns Hallie into a mermaid (with a kiss), allowing her to breathe underwater.  Amidst the wreckage she attempts to save a pirate (despite him being the enemy) and is attacked by the siren, who was freed as the ship went down and wishes to claim the pirate as her victim.  Sayune tries to persuade her to flee, but Hallie can't leave the man to be eaten by the siren or drowned, claiming all lives matter.  The siren bites her shoulder, leaving a nasty wound.  

Someone's hand is stabbed through with a sword.  A particularly nasty villain's arm is severed in a fight.  A fae creature kills another in his powerful grip---crushing him.

A fae creature was kept prisoner for his body: his scales, hair, jewels, etc.  There are signs of torture in deliberate scars and such.

{Language // Alcohol & Drugs}
None that I recall.

{Romantic Content}
Hallie is attracted to Sayune and his muscular build and handsome fae features.  They kiss a couple times.  

A fae queen is said to have many husbands.  

{Conclusion}
I very much enjoyed the first of this series in Horrid, and this one was just as good if not even better in my opinion.

The characters are fantastic, lovable, and so very relatable. I found myself loving Hallie, and seeing in her bits of my own personality.  The story-line was so unpredictable---I was certainly kept on my toes, and couldn't put the book down!  Love, love, love! Can't wait for the third!

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Ages 14+

What's in a Name?

It's the start of a new week, y'all.  And we're in May!!
Does anyone have plans for after school lets out??
Camping? Beaches? Pool time?
What is your favorite part of Summer?

Needless to say, my Summer plans will consist of preparing for the arrival of Baby Gabe.  :]  Which, along that thread, we're thinking of doing a nautical/Narwhal theme for the baby shower and nursery!  I LOVE narwhals for some reason! xD  

Meanwhile, I have a set of rather random names for you this go-round.
Enjoy!

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Han
M | Dutch, Medieval English
HAHN (Dutch)

A short form of Johannes or Hannes, which is the Latin form of Ioannes where the given name John ("Yahweh is gracious") is rooted. 


Imrie
F | English, Hungarian
imm-REE or IMM-ree

Possibly from the Hungarian name Imre, which is the Hungarian form of the Germanic name Emmerich, meaning something like "universal power."


Tyler
M | English
TIE-ler

From an English surname meaning "tiler of roofs."  



Atalia
F | Hebrew

Hebrew form of Athaliah, which means"afflicted of Yahweh" in Hebrew.  It was borne by a wicked queen of Judah, daughter of Ahab and Jezebel.  [Not so nice meaning, but a beautiful name!]



Names & meanings via behindthename.com.
Photos via Pinterest.

\\ May the Fourth //

I had a different post idea planned for today.
But Life laughs at me sometimes.  

So you get
THIS


And I will leave you with the wise words of Chewbacca:


Have a lovely weekend, y'all!
And perhaps the next post will feature more deep things. . . xD

Book Review || A Most Noble Heir

A Most Noble Heir
Susan Anne Mason

Bethany House Publishers | March 6, 2018
Christian fiction, Historical fiction, Romance

{GoodReads}
Will gaining the world cost him everything he holds most dear?

When stable hand Nolan Price learns from his dying mother that he is actually the son of the Earl of Stainsby, his plans for a future with kitchen maid Hannah Burnham are shattered. Once he is officially acknowledged as the earl's heir, Nolan will be forbidden to marry beneath his station.

Unwilling to give up the girl he loves, he devises a plan to elope--believing that once their marriage is sanctioned by God, Lord Stainsby will be forced to accept their union. However, as Nolan struggles to learn the ways of the aristocracy, he finds himself caught between his dreams for tomorrow and his father's demanding expectations.

Forces work to keep the couple apart at every turn, and a solution to remain together seems further and further away. With Nolan's new life pulling him irrevocably away from Hannah, it seems only a miracle will bring them back together.


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WARNING: Possible Spoilers
I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

{The Basics}
This is basically a "from rags to riches" kind of tale.  Nolan, a mere stable boy, learns from his mother (who's technically not his birth mother, but his aunt, but he still loves her dearly) at her death bed that he is actually the son of the nobleman on whose estate he lives and works.  The earl of Stainsby, Lord Edward Fairchild, is a rather harsh and blunt sort of man---certainly not known for his compassion, but rather his lack of it.  As the rightful heir of the vast estate and all it entails, Lord Stainsby takes Nolan under his wing and tries to teach him the ways of the nobility, something Nolan does not really want.  He has his own dreams for his future.  

Upon literally preparing to propose to his beloved Hannah, a kitchen maid, Nolan is requested to his mother's room where her health has quickly deteriorated.  There she reveals the harsh truth of his heritage, first to Nolan, and then to the earl himself.  Both, needless to say, are shocked, and angry.  Nolan can have quite the temper (something he has inherited from his father).  All his life, he yearned to know his father's identity, he just never expected it to be the earl under whom he serves, and doesn't quite respect.

The earl, Edward, is astonished to learn that his first wife, a maid he married in his youth despite his own father's wishes, had a surviving son.  He had believed them both to be dead long ago.  After his wife ran off, as his father wished him to believe, for he had truly loved her, he married a noble lady of his father's choice and had two daughters.  With no son to inherit his estate, it was doomed to come into the "care" of his good-for-nothing son-in-law, who would most likely squander it away in a gamble.  Thus comes Nolan into his life, where before he had been the simple stable boy.  Edward attempts to teach his new son his ways, taking advantage of him in his ignorance of the nobility at times and attempting to control Nolan's life.

{Spiritual Content}
Both Nolan and Hannah were brought up in the faith.  While Nolan is not as strong in his faith as Hannah, they both pray rather constantly for direction and clarity in their lives.  

[SPOILER] Nolan and Hannah elope.  This happens not long after he learns of his inheritance as the earl's son.  He convinces the local vicar to marry them despite the earl having given the man specific orders not to.  Nolan acquires all that is necessary to make the marriage official, and even books them a suite in another town for their honeymoon.  A reluctant priest marries them, but blesses their union nonetheless, and petitions them to seek God in their marriage.  

{Violence}
A young man forces himself on a maid; her sister comes to her rescue but is injured by him throwing her into a wall.  She suffers a concussion and bruises, but is otherwise alright---nothing happens to the sister.  The young man had a reputation already.

An infant is kidnapped and a ransom demanded.  It is soon learned that neither Nolan nor the infant was meant to live.  One man is shot and killed; Nolan suffers a gunshot wound (but [SPOILER] survives).  

{Language // Alcohol & Drugs}
None.

The earl is fond of his whiskey and brandy.  Such alcoholic beverages are served at parties as well.  Frustrated with his circumstances, Edward becomes inebriated at one point.  

{Romantic Content}
Nolan and Hannah have long had an understanding that they would marry some day, there is no doubt as to their love for one another.  They share passionate kisses and hugs and such, and their relationship is rather sweet.  :]  Once they elope, Nolan surprises her with a honeymoon at an elegant inn (having saved the money).  The marriage bed makes them both rather nervous---Hannah becomes particularly anxious.  No details, of course, but it is definitely implied that Nolan and Hannah are truly husband and wife.

Hannah has a rather wealthy, widowed aunt.  And somehow (rather randomly in my opinion), the aunt and Edward begin an unexpected relationship, with the aunt flirting and blushing like a schoolgirl and Edward fumbling with himself.  I LOVED the aunt's character, but this just kinda seemed too random and simply thrown in there. . . *shrugs* Purely my opinion! Please don't let that sway you from this little novel.  :]

{Conclusion}
All in all, this was an easy read.  I enjoyed the story, for the most part, but by the time I was halfway through the book, I found myself wishing to be finished.  There was simply so much drama, and I tired of the characters, even sweet Hannah. . . O__O  If the characters would just LISTEN to ME, then they wouldn't have any issues---ya know what I mean?? Haha ;D  Anyways, all that said, it was still an enjoyable, typical romance/historical fiction.

Ages 16+

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Thanks for reading, y'all!  I have another (nonfiction) review coming soon.  In the meantime, do ya have any recommendations for me?? I would heartily recommend this series that I'm currently reading if you are in-between books at the mo: the Beaumont & Beasely series by Kyle Robert Shultz.  <---LOVE