My review of Pit of Ambition (Book 2) of the Caselli Family Series by Ta’Mara Hanscom
A story of intrigue, secrets and cover up. A continuation of the storyline from Book 1 of the Caselli Family Series (Blackguard in Disguise), Angel’s father is wracked with guilt having kept Noah and Angel apart. Having prayed for Noah for many years and knowing he was once a rebellious young man, Guiseppi refuses to accept the fact that his prayers were answered when Angel and Noah start seeing one another and Noah turns his life over to the Lord. Thwarting God’s plan, Guiseppi decides to keep Noah and Angel apart and allows Angel to marry the ambitious Alex Martin instead.
Realizing that Angel is not coming back to him, Noah moves on with his life and marries his former girlfriend, Carrie, who is pregnant by another man. Rather than have her abort the child, he decides to provide a house and home for the troubled girl and in the years that follow, their friendship grows into love. Unfortunately Carrie’s family has mafia ties and she keeps this hidden from Noah with tragic consequences.
Angel’s marriage to Alex is at first happy, but when he spends more and more time away from home on business, even when they learn she is expecting twins, Angel (Tillie’s) family begin to have severe reservations about her husband. It is even more complicated when Alex starts to handle all of Noah’s business ventures with his construction company with none of them aware that Angel and Noah used to be sweethearts.
The storyline was fast paced for the most part and kept me engaged throughout the telling. I enjoyed this second book more than the first book and found the characters more believable and true to the era and setting of the book.
This is a story of consequences when one does not believe or accept God’s will and direction in life.
Looking forward to reading how the saga continues in Book 3.
My review of The Pretender: A Blackguard in Disguise by Ta’Mara Hanscom
I grew up in the 70’s, a time of bell bottoms, rock music and teen rebellion. This book, set in the same era focuses on a loving, but “old-fashioned” Italian family who seem stuck in the 50’s rather than being a family caught in the rebellious turmoil of the 70’s…and that is my only complaint about this book. Their actions and the era just did not mesh. That said…
The Caselli’s are a tight-knit Christian family, who are proud of their heritage and fiercely protective of their own. Angel (Tillie), the youngest at seventeen, goes against her upbringing by falling in love with a n’er-do-well, or as her family would call him, a “blackguard” called Noah. They meet while she is on a school outing and away from her parent’s protection and even though she knows she is breaking all their rules meeting with him, she seems drawn to him like a moth to a flame.
She has no idea that her mother has been praying for this troubled young man for years and while it would appear that her mother’s prayers for his salvation and for him to clean up his life are answered after meeting Angel, the family still does not trust Noah’s intentions with their precious daughter.
There are enough twists and turns in the plot line to keep the reader interested. This is the first book in a series and I am looking forward to seeing where the author takes the Caselli’s in the upcoming books.
It was another exciting for me personally as Love the Wounded was awarded the prestigious “Seal of Approval” and Silver Medal for Faith-Based fiction in the Literary Classics International Book Awards. I also have five stories published in Chicken Soup for the Soul books and plan on submitting more to the good folks at Chicken Soup!
I read some outstanding Christian fiction and non-fiction books this year and it was hard to narrow down my ten favorites but here they are!
I make no apologies that the top five come from members of the Duck Dynasty family. Fantastic, heartwarming books that should be on everyone’s book shelf!
1. Happy, Happy, Happy: My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander - Phil Robertson
2. The Duck Commander Family: How Faith, Family, and Ducks Built a Dynasty - Willie Robertson
3. Si-cology 1: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty’s Favorite Uncle – Si Robertson
4. Good Call: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Fowl - Jase Robertson
5. The Duck Commander Devotional - Al Robertson
6. The Chance: A Novel - Karen Kingsbury
7. The Secret Keeper (Home to Hickory Hollow) - Beverly Lewis
8. Waking Up in Heaven: A True Story of Brokenness, Heaven, and Life Again - Crystal McVea
9. You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times - Max Lucado
10. The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas - Ann Voskamp
TITLE: CrossReads Book Blast: Serenity to Accept by Elizabeth Maddrey
Serenity to Accept
By Elizabeth Maddrey
About the Book
Karin Reid has never had much use for God. There’s been too much pain in her life for her to accept that God is anything other than, at best, disinterested or, at worst, sadistic. Until she meets Jason Garcia.
After his own mistakes of the past, Jason is committed to dating only Christians. He decides to bend his rule for Karin, as long as she comes to church with him.
As their friendship grows, both will have to decide if they’ll accept the path God has for them, even if it means losing each other.
Elizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of math and organization steered her into computer science for college and graduate school, she has always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity. She loves to write about Christians who struggle through their lives, dealing with sin and receiving God’s grace.
Elizabeth lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys. She invites you to interact with her at her website www.ElizabethMaddrey.com or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ElizabethMaddrey
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Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!
Merry Christmas from Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents! If you miss a few posts, you’ll be able go back through and read them on this blog throughout the next few days.
We’re giving away a pearl necklace in celebration of the holidays, as well as some items from the contributors! Enter now below. The winner will be announced on January 2, 2014, at the Pearl Girls blog.
If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Mother of Pearl, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace, or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.
A Teenage Pregnancy
by Robin Jones Gunn
It was early, early morning, that delicate time of day just before sunrise when it seems as if all of creation is still asleep.
In the cold, gray light she gazed at the infant in her arms. He was less than an hour old and so, so small. Instinct prompted her to draw her newborn close that he might feel the rhythm of her heart. He curled his tiny hand around her finger and she smiled. His eyes closed, and with feathered breath he gave way to the blessed sleep that follows such a long journey.
In weary awe she studied his face, his ears, his nose. He was here. He had come at last.
A single tear fell from her eye and rolled across his cheek. She kissed the tear away but could not kiss away the memories that came with the tears; memories of the day she found out she was pregnant. How exhilarated she felt and yet how terrified. She was young, and there was much she didn’t understand.
Trying to justify her condition to her parents proved more difficult than she’d hoped. But the most excruciating memory was the moment she stood guileless before the man she hoped to one day marry. She had no words to make him understand the awful truth—the child she carried was not his.
Leaving seemed to be her only option. A gracious aunt took her in and welcomed her with open arms. From the moment she arrived she was showered with motherly words of hope and sisterly touches of love. Week by week, month by month, the child inside her grew.
Was it a miracle when she returned home, her belly round, her face flushed, and found him there?
What prompted this man to take her back and make her his bride? Did he now believe what she had tried to explain all along, that none of this was her own doing?
When the time was right they left their small town together, as husband and wife, with her due date rapidly approaching. The labor began—tightening her abdomen with a force she had never before imagined. Perspiration streamed from her forehead. The contractions multiplied with a frenzied urgency until the need to push overwhelmed her young body, and the baby was born.
Nothing of the past mattered anymore. He was here. Naked, perfect, quivering in her arms. With a thrill of hope, she believed that her life, her world, would never be the same.
Now as the first silver streaks of dawn pierced through the cracks in the stable, she tenderly wrapped her sleeping babe in swaddling clothes and laid him in the manger.
Robin Jones Gunn, bestselling author of the much-loved Christy Miller Series and the award-winning Sisterchicks® series, has had more than 4.5 million copies of her books sold worldwide. Her frequent speaking engagements have taken her around the globe. Robin and her husband live in Hawaii and have a grown son and daughter. You can learn more at Robin’s website.