Tag Archives: Inspirational fiction

Huckleberry Hearts | Jennifer Beckstrand

 

MATCHMAKERS OF HUCKLEBERRY HILL MARATHON

Today I am reviewing Huckleberry Hearts, the sixth book in the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series by one of my very favorite authors, Jennifer Beckstrand.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Young-at-heart octogenarians Anna and Felty Helmuth never miss the chance to find a perfect match for one of their grandchildren.

And when their beloved Cassie returns to Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin, Anna has a feeling they might soon have a doctor in the family…

Though Cassie Coblenz left her Amish community to go to college, Mammi and Dawdi’s farm will always feel like home. It’s the ideal place for an extended study break—at least until her grandmother’s handsome Englisch doctor becomes a regular distraction.

Zach Reynolds is the kind of heartbreaker Cassie has learned to avoid, no matter how charming he may be.

Unlike every woman Zach has met in recent years, Cassie doesn’t fall at his feet. Strong, generous, beautiful within and without — she’s everything he could want. Yet the gulf between them deepens when a tragedy shakes his faith.

Now the good doctor has one goal—to become a man who could be worthy of Cassie’s love…

 

HUCKLEBERRY HEARTS by Jennifer Beckstrand… can matchmaker Anna Helmuth make an Englisch match? Tweet this!

 

MY THOUGHTS:

Once again, Jennifer Beckstrand has written a superb, entertaining, delightful story!

Anna will do most anything to make sure her grandchildren are properly wed… and Felty, although not as sure about matchmaking as Anna, will go along with the love of his life, his Annie-Banannie.

This time it’s Anna who is having surgery — and she’s delighted that her granddaughter will be caring for her. Cassie thinks she’s safe, because she’s joined the Englisch world. Will Anna really try to marry off her granddaughter to an Englischer?

My advice is to read the book and find out for yourself. I’ve read all six stories (plus a novella) in the series and I have yet to be disappointed; indeed, I’ve been delighted with each story — enough to read them over again several times.

What else can I say… wonderful, lovable characters, along with a matchmaking streak that has worked out perfectly so far. I don’t think Cassie has a chance to escape!

But don’t take my word for it; read it for yourself. PLEASE!

You’ll love it!

5-stars

 

God bless you!

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

Huckleberry Harvest | Jennifer Beckstrand

 

MATCHMAKERS OF HUCKLEBERRY HILL MARATHON

Today I am reviewing Huckleberry Harvest, the fifth book in the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series by the very talented Jennifer Beckstrand.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Anna and Felty Helmuth’s zest for matchmaking is unstoppable — and with grown-up grandchild number three on her way to their home in lovely Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin, what better reason to put their talents to work once more?…

When Mandy Helmuth hears that her best friend Kristina’s heart has been broken, she decides to visit her grandparents and cheer her up.

Mandy never liked Noah Mischler anyway, with his rough exterior and outspoken ways. Unfortunately, she can’t avoid him — especially after he saves her life…

If he weren’t helping Felty with home repairs, Noah would be more than happy to stay away from uppity Mandy Helmuth.

Of course, then he wouldn’t have been able to rescue her — and she wouldn’t have had the chance to discover the real Noah beneath the tough persona — the one she falls in love with…

 

Felty steals the show! …in Huckleberry Harvest by Jennifer Beckstrand Tweet this!

 

MY THOUGHTS:

WOW! Just when I think I can guess what Anna’s going to do next — I get a BIG surprise!

Of course, we know how she enjoys matchmaking… and so far she’s been very successful. This time I think it’s possible she was trying a bit too hard — she certainly was surprised when one of the boys she tried to match her granddaughter with wasn’t Amish!

This time Felty steps in and tries his hand at matchmaking! As usual, Anna does her thing, pulling him along for the ride. But this time something’s different! I’d love to tell you more, but I just can’t! You HAVE to read this for yourself!

Huckleberry Hill was awesome, but the sequels just keep getting better and better! I REALLY hope Kensington knows what a GEM they have found in Jennifer Beckstrand! Every book she writes is fresh and original – and just plain fun to read.

Each story is wonderfully different – I don’t know how she does it – and each character is unique, yet fits into the family perfectly! One grandson was determined to not marry; another was eager to marry; yet another had been arrested several times!

As a series, it’s familiar and comfortable, but nothing – except for Anna’s cooking – is the same from book to book. Even Anna’s matchmaking is a little different with each story. It’s a good thing Amish families are so big – Anna and Felty have plenty of grandchildren left for Jennifer to write about!

Jennifer takes you on a wild ride with Anna and Felty. You usually end up in the same place, but you’re a happier person at the end. Read the Huckleberry Hill series… you won’t want to miss a single one!

Don’t miss this amazing series!

 

God bless you!

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

Huckleberry Spring | Jennifer Beckstrand

 

MATCHMAKERS OF HUCKLEBERRY HILL MARATHON

Today I am reviewing Huckleberry Spring, the fourth book in the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series by the amazing, wonderful, multi-talented author, Jennifer Beckstrand.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Nothing gives Anna and Felty Helmuth greater satisfaction than seeing their grandchildren happily married–except for planning their next matchmaking venture.

And as springtime comes to Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin, the air is filled with promise. . .

Ever since the Helmuths’ grandson, Ben, abruptly broke his engagement and moved to Florida, Emma Nelson has kept busy tending her vegetable garden and raising award-winning pumpkins.

She can put her heartache aside to help Ben’s Mammi with her own pumpkin patch.

At least until Ben shows up to lend support to his ailing Dawdi. . .

Gardening side by side with pretty, nurturing Emma is a sweet kind of torture for Ben. She could have her pick of suitors who can offer what he can’t, and he cares too much to burden her with his secret.

Leaving once more is the only option.

Yet Emma’s courage is daring him to accept the grace that flourishes here, and the love that has been calling him back to Huckleberry Hill…

 

HUCKLEBERRY SPRING by Jennifer Beckstrand… will Anna’s matchmaking work this time… or not? Tweet this!

 

MY THOUGHTS:

Exciting… wonderful… awesome…

Huckleberry Spring was such a great read — I count it as one of my best gifts!

I’m going to do my best to not give away anything — well, not much. Because I want all my readers to enjoy this book every bit as much as I did.

I gotta confess, when my daughter asked me why I wasn’t laughing halfway through the book, I might have (un)intentionally led her to believe some things were or were not happening in the story… I can’t say what… but she really shouldn’t have asked about it.

Whenever she asks me how a book (or movie) turns out, I usually tell her the main character either broke up, ran away or died — and whichever I pick, she won’t know until she finishes the book (or movie). More often than not it isn’t true; once in a blue moon I tell the truth, so she never knows when to believe me! I can’t believe she still asks, but she does… so I might have misled her — just a teensy bit.

I don’t like to give anything away… okay?

And there’s a lot to not give away in this book — because…

I REALLY LOVE THIS BOOK!!!

 
Jennifer is amazing! She creates the most wonderful characters!

Poor Emma… after falling in love with Ben (Anna and Felty’s grandson) and planning for a wedding after he proposes, she finds it impossible to get over the pain and move on — after he breaks their engagement — and her heart!

Anna has no idea why Ben broke his engagement to Emma, nor why he ran off to Florida to live afterwards. But she’s determined to get them back together, no matter what it takes — just ask Felty!

OK, no more hints… you’ll love this story; it’s wonderful — absolutely wonderful!

5-stars

 

God bless you!

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

A Perfect Amish Christmas | Jennifer Beckstrand

 

Today I am reviewing A Perfect Amish Christmas Quilt, a novella by Jennifer Beckstrand found in An Amish Christmas Quilt.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Anna and Felty Helmuth’s grandson, Gideon, plans to spend Christmas on a beach in sunny Mexico.

But Anna is quite sure he’d rather be with them, snowshoeing, ice fishing–falling in love. And she knows the perfect girl. Not only is Dottie Schrock an excellent quilter and baker, she’s having a party.

There’s just one complication–Gideon is not invited. Dottie has her reasons, but Anna trusts that the spirit of Christmas–and true love–will change her mind, and her future . . .

“A delightful cast of characters in a story that overflows with Amish love and laughter.” –Charlotte Hubbard

 

Huckleberry Hill Matchmakers Anna and Felty Helmuth are at it again… Tweet this!

 

MY THOUGHTS:

In An Amish Christmas Quilt, Jennifer Beckstrand adds a novella to her amazing list of stories in the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series…

Dottie Schrock… oh man, if you know anyone who excels at everything, and insists on taking on every job — just so it’s done right — then you know someone like Dottie Schrock.

I’ve been told that I’m a perfectionist; actually I pretty much agree with this assessment, except that I know I’m not perfect but I do try to do my very best in everything I do (although I fall far from this goal much of the time).

But being a perfectionist makes it easy for me to identify with Dottie. It also makes it easy for me to say that Dottie needs to back off — and let others help more, even if she doesn’t think they can do things as well as she can!

Especially when she hurts the feelings of others, like her younger sister Eva, who only wants to be helpful — and most likely really needs to learn how to do things for herself, if Dottie will only give her a chance.

However, it’s just as easy to talk about how wonderful Dottie acted when she and Gid visit a friend, who needs help. She decides helping him is important and she does all she can to make him a delicious meal and do some much-needed cleaning for him.

Now, of course I know I’m talking about a fictional character… but Jennifer’s characters seem so real, it’s easy to get caught up in their lives, at least for me.

Jennifer is such an amazing author! I wish I had just a small portion of her talent!

And Gideon… of course he cancels his trip to Mexico to go help his Dawdi… he’s an awesome guy! (too bad he’s just a fictional character).

OK, no more chitchat… let me just say this novella is every bit as good as the full length novels in the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series!

5-stars

 

God bless you!

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

Huckleberry Christmas | Jennifer Beckstrand

MATCHMAKERS OF HUCKLEBERRY HILL MARATHON

Today I am reviewing Huckleberry Christmas, the third book in the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series by the amazing, wonderful, multi-talented author, Jennifer Beckstrand.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Now that they’ve happily married off two of their grandchildren, Anna and Felty Helmuth are ready for their next matchmaking challenge.

What better way to celebrate the most heartwarming of seasons–and make Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin, the place for unexpected love…

A difficult marriage has left the Helmuths’ widowed great-granddaughter, Beth, finished with wedlock. She’s content to live with them and make a life for herself and her toddler son.

But once she turns down handsome Tyler Yoder’s proposal, it seems only fair to encourage him to find a suitable wife.

Trouble is, his gentleness and generous ways are showing her how joyous a real meeting of hearts can be…

After a failed courtship, Tyler thought the best he could hope for in a wife was mere companionship. But spirited Beth is the one he longs to protect, and hold close. Earning her trust is the hardest thing he’s ever had to do.

And soon, both will discover that forgiveness and understanding are gifts that only rekindled faith — along with the happiest of holidays — can bring.

 

I love matchmakers Anna and Felty Helmuth in the HUCKLEBERRY HILL series by Jennifer Beckstrand. Tweet this!

 

MY THOUGHTS:

Jennifer is an amazing author!

Huckleberry Christmas just might be even better than the previous two!

I keep reading comments from my readers who are telling me that Huckleberry Christmas is their favorite book in this series… so I have to consider this.

I don’t know… Huckleberry Hill was my favorite… until Huckleberry Summer came out and I read it… then it was my favorite — I loved it when Lily called Aden’s dog Piecrust!

Now I have a new favorite… Huckleberry Christmas!

Oh my… it is perfect!

I don’t have a clue how Jennifer’s books just keep getting better and better, but that’s my honest opinion! They just keep getting better!

Wow! I’m in awe!

Not only does Jennifer continue to amaze us with her wonderful stories with Anna and Felty, but each book adds new characters to the ones we previously met, and the surprises, along with twists and turns, keep us glued to each book (or our tablets)!

Okay, on to the characters from Huckleberry Christmas!

Take a woman who has been submissive for too many years, with too many others taking advantage of her, of treating her more unkindly than they probably would their horses or other animals.

Yes! It was past time for her to finally begin to stand up for herself; only did she have to just when the perfect man appeared and wanted to help!

… and Aden helps this time…

OK, no more hints or clues… but let me assure you that you’ll love this sequel; it’s absolutely wonderful!

5-stars

 

God bless you!

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

Huckleberry Summer | Jennifer Beckstrand

MATCHMAKERS OF HUCKLEBERRY HILL MARATHON

Huckleberry Summer by Jennifer Beckstrand

Today I am reviewing Huckleberry Summer, the second book in the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series by one of my favorite authors, the very talented Jennifer Beckstrand.

Here is a brief synopsis:

With one of their grandchildren happily married, Anna and Felty Helmuth are ready for their next matchmaking success. Because there’s nothing more rewarding than sparking unexpected love — and putting Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin, on the map for romance.

Cautious to a fault, Lily Eicher strives to live up to her dat’s high standards.

She’s certainly not the kind of proper Amish girl who would make time for someone as impetuous as the Helmuths’ grandson, Aden — even if his lively spirit and caring ways are showing her just how wonderful following her heart can be. . .

Recklessly doing the right thing got Aden into big trouble.

A fresh start at his grandparents’ is just what he needs. And shy, pretty Lily is turning his world upside down and making him want to prove he can do good within the rules.

But now both must find enough faith and understanding to risk pursuing their dreams — together. . .

 

Meet matchmakers Felty and Anna Helmuth in the HUCKLEBERRY HILL series by Jennifer Beckstrand. Tweet this!

 

MY THOUGHTS:
 
Jennifer has done it again!

My daughter was on Jennifer’s street team when she received a copy of this book. We were preparing to leave for a weekend trip when it arrived in the mail and she teased me about getting to read the second book before I could.

Of course, I had the advantage, since she was driving! She handed over the book because she thought it would be safe… HA! Her plan backfired and I got to read it first!

I get car sick easily and never, ever read in the car — even maps. However, for almost four hours, we were in heavy traffic on the Interstate. I began reading, hoping it would distract me, because we were pretty much stopped most of the time anyway…

Whether I was blessed… or because the story was so good (or both)… I was sufficiently distracted, I never got car sick and I read more than two-thirds of the book while my daughter patiently followed the traffic to Knoxville.

When we finally arrived, not in three hours as we expected, but a whopping seven hours later, I reluctantly put it down for dinner, but later when my grandchildren were asleep, I eagerly picked it back up and read into the night until I finished it!

I was sure before I began reading that whoever Anna had picked out for Aden would be perfect for him… and it didn’t take him long to realize that she had picked well.

Now the problem would be to convince Lily… and more importantly, Lily’s dat. Oh my… this would not be an easy task, especially since the best catch in Bonduel, according to Lily’s dat, was also interested in her.

Reading it again, this time I knew what to expect from my favorite characters, and I was NOT disappointed — or bored. It was just as good as the first time I read it!

If you enjoyed the first book, you’ll love this one, too. If you haven’t read the first one (aptly titled, Huckleberry Hill) you need to get a copy and read it.

You’re gonna love it!

5-stars

 
God bless you!

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

Huckleberry Hill | Jennifer Beckstrand

MATCHMAKERS OF HUCKLEBERRY HILL MARATHON


Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand

Today I am reviewing Huckleberry Hill, the first book in the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series by one of my most favorite authors, the very talented Jennifer Beckstrand.

Here is a brief synopsis:

With their thirteen children grown, Anna and Felty Helmuth are ready for their next adventure. That means trying their hands at matchmaking –- because what could be more fun than igniting love when it’s right–and undoing mismatches when they’re wrong.

Now Huckleberry Hill just might turn out to be the most romantic spot in Wisconsin…

Lia Shetler is resigned to being a spinster. She’s too tall and sturdy to ever be marriageable –- so says her overbearing dat.

Instead, she’s helping her pretty, spoiled sister Rachel secure the perfect husband–the Helmuths’ grandson, Moses Zimmerman.

But the more Lia sees of Moses’ gently teasing ways and quiet understanding, the more she wishes he could be hers alone…

Moses knew his grandparents couldn’t resist trying to find him a wife. But he never expected it would be the graceful, sensible Lia –- a woman who is tall enough to look him in the eye, and honest enough to make him question a promise holding him to his past.

Now both Moses and Lia will need the kind of miracles only faith and courage can bring to finally reach for a lifetime of happiness…

 

Meet matchmakers Felty and Anna Helmuth in HUCKLEBERRY HILL by Jennifer Beckstrand. Tweet this!

 

MY THOUGHTS:

“Moses is miserable, absolutely miserable. We must find him a wife.”

“You mean Moses, our grandson? He doesn’t seem miserable to me.”

“He won’t know how miserable he is until he meets the right girl.”

After the first sentence, I was laughing — and I didn’t stop laughing, for the most part, until I finished the book! I told my daughter she just “had” to read this book… she did — and she loved it as much as I did. And thus began a love affair with the Huckleberry Hill series…

I actually took a vacation day from work, just to finish this book!

I bought this book — the first book in the series — because the back cover convinced me that it was something I would enjoy. When I told my daughter, she said that she wouldn’t be interested in a book where the grandparents act as matchmakers.

After hearing me laugh again… and again… she changed her mind and said she’d give it a try. Not only did she love it, but since reading that first book, we fight over who gets to read the sequels first…

Jennifer has a wonderful way with words; she pulls the reader into the story right from the first page because she creates characters that seem so real you can not only picture them, but you can’t wait to meet them. I admit, I got so involved in the story, I laughed so much until I cried at the silliness of Moses and Lia, both trying to convince the other that they didn’t want to marry one another.

Anna and Felty are the most lovable grandparents I have ever had the privilege of falling in love with… they are perfect for each other, and their imperfections and idiosyncrasies only make them more lovable!

Huckleberry Hill is full of unexpected twists and turns — and laugh-out-loud mishaps. The characters in this story are delightful and absolutely one-of-a-kind. The plot is well thought out and most intriguing.

Even though I’ve read it before and I know the story and what happens, and the truly wonderful ending… I truly enjoy reading it over again — it’s really that good.

But don’t take my word for it. Go ahead and buy a copy… because you’re going to want to keep it!

5-stars

 

God bless you!

Review © 2016 DJ Mynatt

Ane Mulligan – Author Spotlight

 

Thank you for joining me for this amazing Author Spotlight!


First, a bit about Ane…


Ane Mulligan writes Southern-fried fiction served with a tall, sweet iced tea.

She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups.

Novelist and playwright, Ane is the executive director of Players Guild@Sugar Hill, a new community theater and president of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket.

She resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband and a dog of Biblical proportion.

 

 

Readers can learn more about Ane at her website or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Pinterest, Google+Novel Rocket and Goodreads.

 
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If you love reading Ane’s books as much as I do, I am honored to share some exciting news! Ane is searching for a few new members for her street team. If you’re interested (and who wouldn’t be interested), please contact Ane or check out her street team group HERE.

 

An interview with Ane Mulligan . . . today on Donna’s BookShelf.Tweet this!

 

And here is my interview with Ane:

1. Ane, what genre is “Southern-Fried Fiction?

General or contemporary fiction. It’s Southern, the “fried” refers to the humor in my writing. The brand was pinned on me by another writer. We were talking about voice and brand, and from reading emails from me she said, “Like your Southern-fried fiction.” My agent loved it and it stuck.

2. The town is certainly unique… what was your inspiration for Chapel Springs?

Chapel Springs is patterned after three places: Dahlonega, GA, Black Mountain, NC, and Sugar Hill, GA. All are small. Two are quaint. And all three have those busybodies who know all your business. They make bicker, like Claire and Mayor Felix Riley, but should someone threaten them from the outside, you won’t find better allies.

3. Claire and Patsy are true southern ladies! Are any of your characters taken from people you know?

Oh yes. Claire is a combination of three special ladies in my life. Carol Crosby is a hoot, a real character in her own right. She’s one of those people to whom things happen. She keeps me laughing. Becky Thompson says things that crack me up. You never know what will come out of her mouth. Patsy Hannah is one of those “man the torpedoes, charge ahead” people. I love these ladies and took traits from all three for Claire.

Patsy is a bit of several of my close friends. She’s loyal and always there. Many of the others characters are if I look closely, composites of members of my church and town. Most writers don’t purposely use people they know, but I think it just naturally happens.

Then there is Bud Pugh. He’s in every book I write. Bud is a dear older man at my church. When I’d have to pull together a large production for Christmas or Easter, getting people to play those parts wasn’t easy. But Bud Pugh always said yes. He always encouraged me. He was a natural to put in my books.

4. Do you regularly attend writers workshops and conferences? Are they helpful to you?

Absolutely! I attended my first writers conference in 2004, and have been to at least one a year ever since, sometimes two a year. They are always helpful in several ways. If I come away with just one “golden nugget” of new learning, the conference has been worth the time and money. You can’t absorb everything, so each time I go to one, my work gets better, I learn a new marketing tactic, or I make new friends. The best part is now I’m starting to teach at conferences. I love that. I want to share what I’ve learned and help other writers.

5. Can you tell us more about your book club – “Finding Hope in Fiction”?

This is a funny story and proves God has a sense of humor. About ten years ago, a new couple joined our church. Fred and Nora St.Laurent had been in theater in Florida, and our church secretary introduced us. We quickly became good friends.

Nora worked at a LifeWay bookstore near where I live. One day, I said to her, “We should start a book club. And you lead it, I’m too busy.”

Yeah. I really did that. What I didn’t know is that God was using me. He had big plans for Fred and Nora. About that same time, Nora’s boss at the bookstore asked her to start a book club there in the store. She argued with God for a time, but when He asked her to just love the ladies He sent to her, she agreed. She could do that.

Thus was born the Finding Hope in Fiction Book Club. Fast forward another eight or nine years, and the bookstore had to stop doing the book club there. By now, Nora and Fred had The Book Club Network and Book Fun Magazine going strong. So when Nora told me about having to stop the club, I felt a very sharp poke in my ribs. Yeah. God said, “Now it’s your turn.” Thankfully, He gave me a wonderful co-leader.

6. I love reading your New Year’s resolutions… will you share them with my readers?

I’d love to. I discovered donkey’s years ago I couldn’t keep resolutions, so now I only make ones I know I can keep. My 2016 resolutions are:

1. Drink coffee
2. Eat chocolate
3. Write
4. Read books
5. See a few plays
6. Gain a couple of pounds

The last one isn’t really a resolution, but it’s going to happen. If I include it in the list I don’t feel so bad.

7. Do you have plans for another series in the future?

I definitely do. I have another two-book series that’s ready to publish, and another idea for a Sugar Hill series. The mayor of Sugar Hill has been after me to write one set in our town. I have so many characters and stories in my head that I could keep writing for another fifty years.

Thank you, Ane! And thanks for sharing your resolutions with us… I think I could do most, if not all, of those myself! Readers, feel free to share your resolutions in a comment!

And THANK YOU, readers, for joining me for this very special AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT!
 
Drop by Donna’s BookShelf to talk books and recipes with Ane Mulligan! – Tweet this!
 
If you haven’t read the CHAPEL SPRINGS series by Ane Mulligan, you’re missing out on a great series! – Tweet this!

 
And don’t forget to check back tomorrow for the GRAND PRIZE WINNER!
 

Blessings!

 

Interview © 2016 DJ Mynatt

Fairy Tale Romance Collection | Melanie Dickerson Marathon

 

Now Available for Purchase!

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Romance, intrigue, and danger abound in this bind-up of five of Melanie Dickerson’s fairy-tale retellings presented in realistic historical settings. Includes The Healer’s Apprentice, The Merchant’s Daughter, The Fairest Beauty, The Captive Maiden, and The Princess Spy.

The Healer’s Apprentice: Rose has been appointed as a healer’s apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, and when Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, Rose tends to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to fall in love, and wonders if he feels the same. But Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose’s life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny.

The Merchant’s Daughter: Annabel is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. She soon finds he is not beastly after all, and becomes involved in a situation that could place Ranulf’s future, and possibly his heart, in her hands.

The Fairest Beauty: Sophie desperately wants to get away from her stepmother’s jealousy, and receives her chance when Gabe arrives from Hagenheim Castle, claiming she is betrothed to his older brother, and that he has come to rescue her. Though romance is impossible–she is his brother’s future wife, and Gabe himself is betrothed to someone else–the pair flee to the Cottage of the Seven to find help. Before long both must not only protect each other from the dangers around them, they must also protect their hearts.

The Captive Maiden: When Gisela learns the duke’s son, Valten–the boy she has daydreamed about for years–is throwing a ball in hopes of finding a wife, she vows to find a way to attend, even if it’s only for a taste of a life she’ll never have. To her surprise, she catches Valten’s eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.

The Princess Spy: Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha–one of the few who speaks his language–understands the wild story. It is up to her to save her father, Colin, and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook’s wicked plot.
 

 
MY THOUGHTS:

The Healer’s Apprentice: Wow! I could not believe this was Melanie Dickerson’s debut novel… within a few minutes, I was lost in an enchanted world with castles and cobblestones… until the very end. I loved how Lord Hamlin noticed Rose – right from the start! Even though he visited her – and danced with her – he always remained chivalrous, even though he wanted to be with her.

But honestly, I wanted to smack Rose when she let herself be deceived by someone she had been warned was not honorable… but handsome young men can be very persuasive – and young, innocent girls are easy prey. Rose may have enjoyed his supposed affection for her, especially after feeling unloved by her mother, but thankfully she never allowed herself to go too far with him.

This story reminds me that evil exists – and it’s not always ugly, but sometimes can be wrapped up in a pretty package. The right path is not always the easy path, but it’s the right choice. Melanie did a wonderful job showing how difficult it can be to make the right choice, especially when others are urging you to take the other path.

The Merchant’s Daughter: Oh my! It’s so romantic! It’s so much better than the story of Beauty and the Beast… with wonderful, boisterous characters — that at times seem to be easily led astray (like so many of us). I can honestly admit — I lost lots of sleep — but it was SO worth it!

Yes, there’s a beast, but a far more realistic one… a hero! There are lots of twists and turns, with many surprises along the way — some good and some bad — but that’s the way real life happens! That’s just one more reason the stories by Melanie Dickerson are so believable — and awesome!

The Fairest Beauty: Are there any good stepmothers in fairy tales? I certainly can’t think of any! The Fairest Beauty is a wonderful story, with poor Sophie as our beloved Snow White. The duchess is indeed very bad – evil would better describe her – and Sophie is doomed… or is she?

The characters in The Fairest Beauty are marvelous! Sophie is the kind, sweet-hearted young girl you would expect; after growing up with an evil duchess telling her how wicked and ugly she is, Sophie is the epitome of goodness. Melanie Dickerson creates characters who cry out to God for help, for wisdom, for strength to overcome the evil. This is an excellent choice to make for something inspiring to read.

The Captive Maiden: This is possibly my favorite… I think Gisela is the most inspirational “Cinderella” I have ever encountered. No matter how despicably she’s treated, she returns good for evil. This is the pure, selfless, beautiful person that Lord Hamlin — Valten — is drawn to in a way he has never before experienced.

I must say, I wasn’t sure what to think of Valten, when introduced to him in The Fairest Beauty. He seemed someone who was only interested in participating in tournaments and proving himself as the victor in the games. But he is so much more… Valten is most definitely a hero!

Surprises… oh yes, Melanie writes a wonderful Cinderella story, with lots of surprises, and emotion, and inspiration! Characters so true-to-life, you find yourself believing in them – but even more important, believing in yourself.

The Princess Spy: Margaretha’s story is a wonderful version of The Frog Prince… it just might be the best one yet. There were many things I never saw coming — always a plus in my opinion — rather than the predictable ho-hum stories that many authors churn out today.

Poor Margaretha thought her future was settled; she would marry Lord Claybrook and live happily ever after. But when a man shows up, she is the only one who can speak his language. Even worse, he claims to have been attacked by Lord Claybrook!

There was fast-paced adventure full of surprises and unexpected plot-twists — Melanie sure knows how to keep me on my toes!

 

Melanie is such an awesome writer! It is amazing how she weaves stories from classic fairy tales, creating her own stories – believable stories – and uses them to tell a story of hope, love and faith.

She excels at creating realistic characters, even in her retelling of fairy tales that far surpass the good — and bad — in most people. I read this story — and I want to meet Gisela and Valten, Sophie and Gabe, Annabel and Ranulf, Rose and Wilhelm.

Her characters are perfect – well written, entertaining and represent the same values and flaws of the heroes and villains that inspired them.

If you enjoy reading exciting, medieval fiction… with a happily ever after, don’t miss this wonderful series!

 

And don’t forget to click below to find out how you can enter Melanie’s GIVEAWAY contest!

Melanie Dickerson Marathon | Giveaway!

God bless you!
 

© 2015 DJ Mynatt
 

Do you have Melanie Dickerson’s first 5 YA Fairy Tale Retellings on eBook yet?

 

Now Available for Purchase!

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This bundle can be found at the following retailers:

KINDLE     CBD     NOOK     GOOGLE BOOKS     KOBO

 
 

And don’t forget to click below to find out how you can enter Melanie’s GIVEAWAY contest!

Melanie Dickerson Marathon | Giveaway!

God bless you!
 

Copyright © 2013-2015 DJ Mynatt
 

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