The Orphan's Wish (Hagenheim #8) by Melanie Dickerson Reviewed

Sunday, July 22, 2018

About the book:

Title: The Orphan's Wish
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Inspirational Young Adult Fantasy, Romance, Historical

From the streets to an orphanage in a faraway kingdom, Aladdin has grown up alone. Until he meets Kirstyn. With a father who is the duke of Hagenheim and a mother who is the patroness of the orphanage where Aladdin lives, Kirstyn is a member of the most powerful family in the land . . . and way out of his league. Despite the difference in their stations, Aladdin quickly becomes Kirstyn’s favorite companion for taking walks in the forest, and their childhood friendship grows along with them.
Through his scrappy skills, intelligence, and hard work, Aladdin earns a position serving in the duke’s house. But he knows it isn’t enough to grant him his one desire: Kirstyn’s hand in marriage. If he hopes to change his station in life and feel worthy of marrying Kirstyn, he must leave Hagenheim to seek his fortune.
But once Aladdin leaves, no one is around to protect Kirstyn, and the greedy men desperate to take advantage of her father’s wealth take notice. Now, more than Aladdin’s background stands in the way of the future he’s worked so hard to obtain. His only hope is to rescue Kirstyn and somehow manage to win her hand as well.

About Melanie Dickerson:

Melanie Dickerson is a New York Times bestselling author, a two-time Christy Award finalist, two-time Maggie Award winner, Carol Award winner, two-time winner of the Christian Retailing's Best award, and her book, The Healer's Apprentice, won the National Readers Choice Award for Best First Book. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Melanie earned a bachelors degree in special education of the hearing impaired from The University of Alabama and has worked as a teacher in Georgia, Tennessee, and Ukraine. She lives with her husband and two children in Huntsville, Alabama.

My Thoughts:

To my knowledge I've read each of the Hagenheim stories and for some reason this book was a little difficult to follow at the beginning. However, once I got my footing I followed the story easily.

I really liked Ms. Dickerson's take on the story of Aladdin. Her take is definitely not the Disney version. It is a richer story that shows the the depth of Aladdin. The relationship between Aladdin and Kirstyn is fun. They become quick friends as children and the relationship blossoms from there.

My favorite character was Abu. I probably watched the Disney movie a hundred times in 1992, my kids were little then, and I totally forgot about the character, Abu until he showed up. While Abu in the movie was a monkey, in the book he is an adorable little boy, and as Aladdin's side-kick he adds so much to story. 

My Bottom Line:

I love how Melanie Dickerson takes a fairy tale we either read as children or saw the Disney movie and puts a completely new spin on it. While this is book eight in the Hagenheim series it is creative, and fresh. The struggle Aladdin has of earning love and being perfect are true for most if not all people and definitely teenagers so showing a hero struggling with those same issues helps them see that they're not alone.
A theme of this book is friendship and is shown in both Aladdin and Kirstyn's relationship, and Aladdin and Abu's relationship. 
I love how Ms. Dickerson conveyed the gospel message through the story.
I recommend this book!

Thank you, Melanie Dickerson, for the copy of this book. It was a fun read, and I always love going back to Hagenheim.

Loving Grace by April Smith - Review and Giveaway

Friday, July 20, 2018

Title: Loving Grace  Author: April Smith
Publisher: Ambassador International
Release Date: March 20, 2018
Genre: Christian Fiction, Young Adult Romance

Grace Summer lands herself in a melon load of trouble when she becomes torn between the boy of her dreams and the boy almost next door.
As the newly crowned Watermelon Queen, she is thrust into the spotlight, meets the dreamy Warren Hartley, and continues trying to get over an accident that rocked her world. Mix in working with Beau Baron who Grace happens to fight with just about as much as breathing and the metaphorical sparks fly.
Like most things in life, Grace must learn to take the good with the bad. While the good is the handsome and fun Warren Hartley, the bad is Beau Baron—or at least being around his annoying and rude self way more than she would like. For Beau, Grace is nothing more than aggravating and an irritating reminder from the night of the accident.
Tensions soar as Grace and Beau fight to love themselves and maybe, just maybe, each other.
PURCHASE A COPY: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | CBD

April Smith grew up spending summers working on her best friend’s family watermelon farm and she was one of those watermelon queens she writes about. She has her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in the Art of Teaching.
CONNECT WITH APRIL: website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

My Thoughts:

April Smith's debut Loving Grace is a sweet YA romance. I enjoyed how the novel centered around the watermelon world. It made me long for a nice slice of watermelon.

The story line was a quick and fun read. Ms. Smith creates great tension full of twists and turns that you don't see coming and keep you reading.

All of the characters were well developed which made you care about them and what happened to them.

My Bottom Line:

Loving Grace is a perfect book for teen girls who want clean romance. The story moves at a nice pace which keeps you reading. The world of watermelon farming and harvesting is both authentic and interesting. The romantic triangle that Grace finds herself in is one that I believe teen girls would relate to. I didn't come across anything that I would consider questionable for a teenager.
Besides the clean romance the spiritual thread is evident yet not overwhelming.
I highly recommend this book.

And just because it's one of my favorite songs, and I have fun memories of my teen girl's and I dancing around the house when it came on. I just have to include this video as part of my review. I nearly jumped up and started dancing when the song is mentioned in the book.

Ambassador International is giving away:
(1) JustRead Summer Fun Book Box, which features Loving Grace as well as at least 4 quality items which complement the story. Find out more here.
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight July 16, 2018 and last through 11:59pm July 23, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Plus these reviewers!
Connie S.
Erin D.
Grace E.
YA/NA Book Divas

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Looking for a Novella? No Problem, I've Got Some Great Ones For Your Growing TBR

Monday, July 16, 2018

I love when authors start a new series with a sneak peek novella. It makes the wait for entire book a little less painful. Today's Top Ten Tuesday is favorite novellas or short stories. I'm going to give you a sampling of a few of my favorites.

Susan May Warren

Finding Love in Seaside - Angela Ruth Strong 







Timeless Love Collection

Tosca Lee

These are just a short list of some of my favorite novellas. Hope you find something fun to add to your growing TBR pile.

Are any of yours on my list? Let me know your favorites in the comments.

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