Friday Favorites: July

Happy first Friday of the month!

At the risk of sounding incredibly nerdy, I have been checking out USB flash drives (there, I said it) to use for the YA book I am currently writing. (Because how sad would it be to lose the 50,000+ words I have reached and NOT have a backup?)

I thought I would share with you the one that caught my eye and has me swooning (over a flash drive!) Here it is:

Isn’t this Message in a Bottle flash drive just the cutest? Perfect inspiration for any writer! And at 8GB, it’s only $7.99. Mine!

And now, for some honorable mentions:

For my fellow wine lovers out there, check out this wine cork flash drive keychain! This was definitely a consideration. This one is 16GB, priced at $10.26.

This skeleton key flash drive is romantic and antique. I love it. This one is 8GB, priced at $10.61.

For all you photographers out there, check out this camera and lens flash drive! This one is 8GB, priced at $10.98.

And finally, check out this sword flash drive! This one is 8GB, priced at $12.98.

There you have it! Flash drive fascination. So, which one was your favorite?

The Princess Spy

Title: The Princess Spy
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Series: Hagenheim / Fairy Tale Romance series, book 5
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: November 4th, 2014

🌹 🌹 🌹 🌹 🌹

Note: Even though The Princess Spy is the fifth in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story, as with the other books in the series. However, the characters that are in this book are featured in some other stories, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling of The Frog Prince. 

Hagenheim, 1413

A romantic at heart, Margaretha has high hopes for her suitor, Lord Claybrook. But when Colin, an injured Englishman, arrives in Hagenheim claiming to be attacked by none other than Claybrook himself, Margaretha begins to doubt that her suitor’s motives are true. Because of Colin’s language barrier, he is unable to explain himself to anyone other than Margaretha, who alone speaks english.

As Margaretha befriends Colin and helps him recover, she decides to take a closer look at Claybrook. To her dismay, she begins to uncover his secret plot to overthrow her father, the Duke of Hagenheim, and realizes that the future of her family’s kingdom – and her own future with the man she truly loves – depend on her own stealth and resourcefulness.

I really enjoyed this book, though it was not obvious that it was a Frog Prince retelling. I thought it was fun getting to know Margaretha more, after reading stories about her mother and her brothers, too!

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

  
  

The Captive Maiden

Title: The Captive Maiden
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Series: Hagenheim / Fairy Tale Romance series, book 4
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: November 23rd, 2013

🌹 🌹 🌹 🌹 🌹

Note: Even though The Captive Maiden is the fourth in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story, as with the other books in the series. However, the characters that are in this book are featured in some other stories, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling of Cinderella.

Hagenheim, 1403

Ever since her noble father’s death, Gisela has been mistreated by her stepmother and forced to work as a servant in her own home. But she does not let her stepmother’s cruelty change her kind, compassionate heart. She is as beautiful inside as she is out, and Valten, the firstborn son of the Duke of Hagenheim, notices. Gisela used to daydream of falling in love with Valten years ago, having been around him and his family when her father was alive. But now, her dreams have turned to ash as she is considered so far beneath him. Everyone, except Valten, seems to think so.

A ball is thrown in Valten’s honor, and Gisela simply has to go, even if she risks her stepmother’s wrath. But Gisela soon has bigger things to worry about when her very life is in danger and she is used as bait to help capture the Duke’s son. Will Valten be able to save Gisela, and save himself?

I read this book before The Fairest Beauty, the one that precedes it. Because of that, I have been a fan of Valten from the beginning. I love him, Gisela, and their romance. It is so beautiful! This book might be my favorite Melanie Dickerson book ever written. (Besides The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest; that one is definitely up there.) I recommend this book for any fans of Cinderella retellings!

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

  
  

The Fairest Beauty

Title: The Fairest Beauty
Author: Melanie Dickerson

Series: Hagenheim / Fairy Tale Romance series, book 3
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: January 21st, 2013

🌹 🌹 🌹 🌹 🌹

Note: Even though The Fairest Beauty is the third in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story, as with the other books in the series. However, the characters that are in this book are featured in some other stories, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling of Snow White.

Sophie is being held captive by her evil stepmother, the duchess, after the death of her father. Assumed to be dead all these years, she has been forced to live the life of a lowly servant. When Gabe gets word that his older brother’s betrothed is not only alive but held captive by a cruel duchess, he immediately sets out to help rescue her, since his injured brother cannot go himself.

Gabe does everything he can to rescue Sophie and bring her back to his home in Hagenheim. He wants to keep her safe and protect her, but as they spend more and more time together, he begins to see that what truly needs protecting is his own heart. Even though they both know that Sophie must marry his older brother, they find themselves struggling to get each other off their minds.

Let me just say how much I love this book! The story is a classic fairytale story of rescue and romance, and the characters are hard not to love. I did read this book out of order (oops, again), so I have to admit that I favor the older brother over the younger… who we get to follow in the next book, The Captive Maiden.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

  
  

The Merchant’s Daughter

Title: The Merchant’s Daughter
Author: Melanie Dickerson

Series: Hagenheim / Fairy Tale Romance series, book 2
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: December 4th, 2011

🌹 🌹 🌹 🌹

Note: Even though The Merchant’s Daughter is the second in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story, as with the other books in the series. However, the characters that are in this book are featured in some other stories, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

England, 1352 

After the downfall and death of her once wealthy father, Annabel finds herself working as a servant to Lord Ranulf, as a way of helping her struggling family. She has no idea what to expect of her new master, since she has heard rumors of his beastliness. But underneath his gruff exterior, she discovers a man she did not expect, one who is kind and fiercely protective.

Annabel is continuously threatened by the bailiff, a man with no good intentions, and she knows she is in danger. She does not want to involve Ranulf in the situation, but he may be the only one who can make everything right in the end. The two of them find themselves not only in physical danger, but also the danger of the heart as they wrestle with feelings that should not exist between a servant and her master.

This was the first Melanie Dickerson book I ever read! (Out of order, yet it didn’t matter one bit.) I randomly stumbled upon it among other secondhand books, and I’m so glad I did. After I enjoyed this book so much, I immediately looked up the other books in the series, which I found that I liked even better!

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

  
  

The Healer’s Apprentice


Title: The Healer’s Apprentice

Author: Melanie Dickerson

Series: Hagenheim / Fairy Tale Romance series, book 1
Genre: Christian, Fairytale, Historical, Romance, YA
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: September 15th, 2010

🌹 🌹 🌹

Note: Even though The Healer’s Apprentice is the first in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone story, as with the other books in the series. However, the characters that are in this book are featured in rest of the series, which is why I recommend staying in order.

A retelling of The Sleeping Beauty.

Hagenheim, 1386

As implied in the title, Rose has become the apprentice of the town healer, and she is eager to show how helpful and reliable she can be. This is her chance to make something of herself, despite her lowly upbringing. When the future Duke of Hagenheim, Lord Hamlin, comes to the healer injured, Rose has the chance to prove herself – but she doesn’t expect to fall in love along the way.

The future Duke cannot, of course, marry so far beneath his elevated position – which is exactly why we know that he, too, battles feelings of his own for the lovely apprentice. But they both know that they cannot be together, no matter how much they may want that. Is the love developing between them enough to make a way?

Let me start by saying that I love Melanie Dickerson’s fairytale retellings overall! Unfortunately, this book was not a favorite of mine. It was a little hard to get into, especially compared to some of her other books. Here are some thoughts as to why:

  1. I wasn’t that into the romance of the story, and that is pretty much all this story is – a romance. So I think that is where she lost me.
  2. Also, it is very Christian. I know that is the genre it falls under, but sometimes it just felt like too much for me. (And this is coming from someone who has called herself a Christian her entire life.) Some of Dickerson’s books come across this way, but others do not. This is definitely just personal preference when it comes to reading fiction.
  3. Lastly, Dickerson has a way of not allowing her characters to be together, like they cannot fall in love because one of them is above the other in terms of status. Part of this, I completely understand because it is a way to develop conflict within the romance. But that’s just it – it is one way. Yet it seems that this is her go-to in every single book of hers. How could this person possibly love me, when I am so far beneath them? (Spoiler alert: somehow, their different statuses never seem to matter as much as they think they do.)

All that to say, I really do like these books as a whole. This one, not as much as others.

Click on the links below to get your copy of this book and the others in its series:

  

  

Friday Favorites: June

Happy first Friday of the month! Now that Memorial Day is behind us, and we are in the month of June, it feels like summer is finally here! (yay, yay, yay!)

Do you have any summer travel plans? I don’t know about you, but whenever I travel, which is as often as I possibly can, I make sure to bring along a book that will not disappoint.

So I thought it would be fun to come up with a travel themed reading list! Here are some books that are set in the states, that take place both in the past and the future. Some I have read, some I had to look up. Hope you enjoy!

Road trip, anyone?

   

   

   

   

   
   

   

   

   

   
   

   

 

Alabama: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Alaska: Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer

Arizona: The Host, by Stephanie Meyer

Arkansas: Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls

California: The Selection Series, by Kiera Cass

Colorado: The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

Connecticut: The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare

Delaware: Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk

Florida: Because of Winn Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo

Georgia: Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell

Hawaii: The Girl From Everywhere, by Heidi Heilig

Idaho: Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson

Illinois: Divergent, by Veronica Roth

Indiana: The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green

Iowa: A Thousand Acres, by Jane Smiley

Kansas: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum

Kentucky: Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Louisiana: A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole

Maine: Skylark, by Patricia MacLachlan

Maryland: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, by Ann Brashares

Massachusetts: Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

Michigan: Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides

Minnesota: Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Mississippi: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

Missouri: Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain

Montana: A River Runs Through It, by Norman Maclean

Nebraska: Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell

Nevada: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, by Hunter S. Thompson

New Hampshire: The Hotel New Hampshire, by John Irving

New Jersey: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume

New Mexico: Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume

New York: Percy Jackson, by Rick Riordan

North Carolina: A Walk To Remember, by Nicholas Sparks

North Dakota: The Round House, by Louise Erdrich

Ohio: The Broom of the System, by David Foster Wallace

Oklahoma: Paradise, by Toni Morrison

Oregon: Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

Pennsylvania: Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard

Rhode Island: My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult

South Carolina: The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks

South Dakota: By the Shores of Silver Lake, by Laura Inglalls Wider

Tennessee: Christy, by Catherine Marshall

Texas: No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy

Utah: Under the Banner of Heaven, by Jon Krakauer

Vermont: Pollyanna, by Eleanor H. Porter

Virginia: Bridge To Terabithia, by Kate DiCamillo

Washington: Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer

West Virginia: Shiloh, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Wisconsin: Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wyoming: My Friend Flicka, by Mary O’Hara

What would you add to this list? Which ones have you read? Are any on your TBR list? I want to hear from you!