‘The Ransom’ by MaryLu Tyndall ~ A Review

The Ransom

“Living in a city deemed the wickedest in the world is no easy task for Miss Juliana Dutton. To make matters worse, with an ailing father and a drunken fool for a brother, she is forced to take over the running of the family business in order to survive. When a meddlesome suitor threatens to discover her secret and cast them all onto the streets, she agrees to a spurious engagement with the town buffoon, Lord Munthrope. She only hopes the man is trustworthy. 

The Pirate Earl, Alexander Hyde, son of the infamous Captain Edmund Merrick Hyde, is the most feared pirate in Port Royal. Disillusioned with the religion of his parents and the pleasures of the world, Alex staves off his emptiness by leading a dual life to hide his deepest secrets. 

A long-time enemy is out to destroy Alex and take Juliana for his own. Struggling to maintain her faith in the Divine, Juliana faces her problems bravely, but the harder she tries, the more it seems everything is working against her. Unwittingly, she and her weak fiancé become entangled in the hostility between the Pirate Earl and his enemy, while even more dangerous forces are rising up to destroy them all.”

I knew I would like this book, but I had no idea how much I would like it.  MaryLu sure knows how to write a wonderful romance.

Juliana is a strong woman who is not afraid to go where she must in order to keep her family afloat and her friends safe.  She is daring, brave and well… reckless.  Thank goodness for the Pirate Earl!  Alex not only finds himself attracted to the bold beauty but also finds himself having to save her many times.  Often in a way that she would not expect.

The dual life that Alex lives is amusing, yet sad.  MaryLu writes Alex so well that you can feel the emptiness that he is running from.  I could sense the desperation and the longing that Alex feels for something, anything, to fill his heart. To fill him with purpose.

Together they must work to overcome a villain much more dangerous than the Pirate Earl’s reputation.  Danger has Juliana held captive by the very man who loves her.  Can they see past the roles they both play and allow love a place?  Will Julianna find the love and the security she longs for and will Alex find his purpose?

MaryLu shows how our hearts long for love, for care, for someone to be there for us no matter what we’ve done or what we’ve become.  She shows us the redeeming power of love and of faith.

This is a wonderful romantic adventure with pirates, parties and danger.

Another wonderfully written book by MaryLu Tyndall.

4/5

You can get your copy of this amazing book at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christian Book, Chapters and Kobo.

MaryLu Tyndal

“M.L. Tyndall (MaryLu) grew up on the shores of Southern Florida dreaming of romance and adventure upon the sea. She now lives with her husband, six children, and four cats in Northern California where she writes inspirational adventure romance novels. MaryLu’s novels have been praised for their fast-paced action, strong inspirational messages, and incredibly vivid settings. Her first novel, The Redemption was nominated for the prestigious Christy Award for Best Christian Fiction. “

 

 

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Five Minute Friday: Grateful

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sunset shot by me

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Grateful.  What an awesome prompt.

I’m grateful for so many things but it sometimes takes a prompt like this to stop and look at how deeply God has blessed me.

My family.  Wow, my family.  I could go on and on for the next half hour about my family and how grateful I am for them.  My man.  Loves me.  Shows it so often.  He keeps me from worrying my mind into insanity.  Though he would say I’m pretty much already there.  My kids.  They make me laugh, make me cry, teach me, love me.  So grateful for the blessings they are and the mom that they make me want to be.  My parents, brothers, sisters (all you in-laws are included).  I am so grateful for the family that God has put together for me.  May we continue to grow with one another and not be complacent in our relationships.  May I never take you for granted.

My friends.  I am so grateful for all you wonderful, crazy, beautiful, messed up people!  You’ve blessed me in countless ways and I hope that I can return the favor!  From my BFF to all you fantastic people I’ve only met online, you mean a ton to me.  I love that I can share this life with you.  I love that we can talk about whatever comes to mind.  We won’t always agree but we will have one heck of a discussion about it.  If you follow my blog at all, you know I like talking about storms.  How could I not?  Storms are incredible.  Not only are they incredible, but I never imagined that my world would be so blessed with an amazing community of chasers and enthusiasts.  The best a girl could ask for.  You guys make storm season even better!  To you, my writing friends that I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise, thank you.  You write with me, care about me beyond my writing, love me and push me to be better!  You rock!

Well, it didn’t take long to knock this out and I could keep going but I’m going to end here…  where it all began.  God.

It doesn’t take long for me, at any given moment, to see how my life would be a mess without my Father.  Anything good in my life is Him.  He’s given me all these people listed above.  Even the ones that try my friendship, make me wonder if it’s worth it to be the kind of person I am, I’m so blessed to learn and grow with each situation.  Makes friendships richer and makes me a better person, if I allow it to.

He’s given me His all and all that I have.  So.  Very. Grateful.

STOP

Want to get in on Five Minute Friday?  It’s the time of the week where we just write without worrying that it’s just right.  😉  Find the link below and join this awesome community!

5minutefriday

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back to Lisa’s website (click the 5 minute Friday image above for the website).

3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule.

The heart of this community is amazing!  See more at: http://lisajobaker.com/

~Sarah

Spring Days

Spring Day shot by me

Tired of Failing

Romans 7 15 blog 1

This has been my life in the past three weeks.  Honestly, the last 32 years, but it seems a lot more humiliating and disheartening within the last month.

I seem to be incapable of making wise decisions, from the smallest on up.  If I can mess up a decision and choose the worst course of action, I do.  The only thing I feel capable of doing this month is screwing up.

It’s been an interesting and uncomfortable journey as God reveals to me, in a torrent similar to being drowned in a waterfall, where I need to improve.

Dear friends, let me tell you, it’s ugly.  My confidence, which was probably not right in itself, is low.  I worry for each decision I make because failing seems to be inevitable.

Selfishness, irresponsibility, impatience… did I mention selfishness?

One of the biggest reminders this last week was that anything or anyone can become an idol.  Yep, I knew this.  I know this, yet it seems to easy for me to give credit to something or someone who is wholly undeserving of my thoughts, compared to the Father.  Yikes!  What is wrong with me?  I’ve seen the power, might, compassion, care, faithfulness, forgiveness and never-ending love of God.  He is wholly deserving of thought, praise and focus.  Yet I drag myself to worship at the feet of an idol.  An idol who has done nothing for me besides fail me.  It’s not the idols fault.  When compared to the Father, we all fail and that idol didn’t stand a chance.  It should never have been my focus in the first place.  My eyes should be fixed on the only One who never fails.

I grow accustomed to the world.  Complacent in my thoughts and actions and I end up failing.  How can I not?  I’m not focused on the One who is the reason for every success, every good decision and ‘every good and perfect gift’.  I get arrogant in how well I am doing.  The people I know.  The things I have.  Everything that means nothing.  Then, when God opens my eyes to the fruitlessness of worshiping the world, I crumble.

My struggle now is… where do I go from here?  I’ve hit a place where I feel so completely and utterly incapable of any good.  Any good, that is, besides God moving through me.  All I can see is failure.  God is good and can work through me, this I know.  I just don’t see how.  How does one take a pot that is so full of holes it no longer holds water and use it?  I don’t even know how to allow God to begin to move.  All I see is broken pieces.  Pieces that, even if put back together, I will probably just shatter again in my stupidity.

I keep thanking God, even when all I see is that I am broken.  For He is capable of so much good through me… if I can just get out of His way.  There’s a strange comfort to knowing that I am nothing without the Lord.

I’m sure that when a pot is empty and broken, it can still be put to use somehow.  I’m just waiting to see how He will choose to use me.  Until then, I’ll rest in the knowledge that He is doing a good work in me.  Even if it is painful.  Pruning is painful.  Hopefully something beautiful comes out of this.  I’m trying to be patient in the waiting.

“Let me see redemption win.  Let me know the struggle ends.  That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn.”

Five Minute Friday: Joy

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted on here.  Sorry to those of you who visit on occasion to see what’s new.  I have a lot coming up in the days ahead, but for now it’s 5 minute Friday time.  Yes, I know I’m a day behind.  🙂

From Pinterest

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I was sitting on the couch this afternoon, watching 3 different versions of a puppet show of ‘Goldilocks and the 3 bears’ by my kids.  Each version was crazier and garnered more laughs than the last.  My son was last and started it out by saying ‘and Goldilocks tried the porridge.  This one is too hot, this one is too pillow-y.’  I think porridge and beds got a little mixed up in his story.

As I sat and watched the productions, watched the joy and excitement, held my husbands hand and shared a smile with him… I was overcome.

over·come

verb: to affect someone very strongly or severely

I was overcome with joy about how very deeply, profoundly and amazingly blessed I am.  I was so struck with this thought that, before I knew it, tears began to fall.

Surrounded by the family I had hoped for since I was a child.  In the living room of my beautiful home.  In a wonderful city that may be super cold some days but is a pretty darn safe place to raise kids.  In this country where, though not perfect, I am able to enjoy many freedoms.

So many thoughts went through my head.  It was like a movie of blessings in my world.

So, I sat.  Mind and emotions wrapped in a cocoon of such profound joy and thankfulness that, even now, I can’t explain how it felt.

Except to say that I felt an incredible sense of joy.  These lyrics are the closest I can come to explaining how I felt.

‘Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.’

If I could even find words to begin to write in the skies about how loved and blessed I felt in that moment, I know that it would indeed take more than the sky to write this love note to my Saviour.  Truly there aren’t words strong enough.

Instead, I’ll have to let the Holy Spirit translate the inexpressible feelings to the One who has blessed me so much.

Thank you, Father.

STOP

This post is not meant to be, or come across as, bragging.  This was just a reminder that I had today of how the Lord has blessed me.  We may not all be blessed in the same way, but we are blessed.  Sometimes the reminder is strong, like the smell of rain approaching.  Other times it’s subtle, like a shift in the wind.  We just need to remember to look for the blessings and not forget to thank the One who has blessed us.

Ahh, Friday (uhhh… Saturday).  How I enjoy Five-Minute Fridays.  Where a bunch of us just write, without worrying it it’s just right.

5minutefriday

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back to Lisa’s website (click the 5 minute Friday image above for the website).

3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule.

The heart of this community is amazing!  See more at: http://lisajobaker.com/

Broken Together

BrokenIt’s been a while since I’ve posted… thanks for sticking out the time with me.  The posts I have done have been pretty surface.  My mind has been spinning in circles for a while now.  I haven’t even been able to string two sentences together lately.  I hope that, as I write this, it makes sense.

The world tells us that we need to have it all together.  The perfect family, the perfect life, the perfect job.  If we don’t, we need to just try harder until we get there.  Until we reach perfection.  Perfection.

~  a state of completeness and flawlessness.

Completeness.  Flawlessness.

Impossibilities in this life.

None of us, no matter how hard we work, can attain this.  We can work hard to have a great body, a great job, a great marriage… but the fact is that all these things are flawed.  Incomplete.  We cannot attain perfection.

I heard this song by Casting Crowns and it talks about how we can be broken together.

Most of you don’t know much about me and we’ll probably never meet in real life, but one thing that you should know about me is that I am a real person.  Those people around me, that have been drawn into my world, get me.  They get the real me.  Many people know how broken I am.  My flaws, my incompleteness is not something that I hide.  I fail, often.  I am prone to anxiety and tend to leap to the worst conclusion in a heartbeat.  You know what, these are things that I am working on, but I’m grateful that I don’t feel the need to present a picture of completeness.

Why do so many of us feel that we need to have it all together all the time?  Sure, the world may shake their heads at us and condemn our brokenness.  Choosing to ignore their own and pretending that it doesn’t exist, glossing on another layer of paint to coat the chipped paint below.

Would it be so terrible if we could just sit down and discuss what we are struggling with?  The battles that are going on inside us?  Recognizing that no one is perfect?  That we are all broken?  Would that cause the world to stop functioning?

Could we all still press through this sometimes difficult, very confusing, often fantastic thing that we call life?  Knowing that the person that you sit next to in your office who is always on top of their workload, the person you sit next to in church who always looks fantastic and is always smiling, that sister-in-law who seems so confident in everything, are fighting the brokenness tooth and nail… and failing.

Or, could we do more than just press through it?  If we were able to see through the layers of gloss to the chipped paint, if we were able to strip off the gloss to the view of the very real person below, could we maybe learn to be broken together?  Could we maybe mend a few holes, supporting each other in our pain and grief and wondering, and allow God to put some pieces back together for good.  True, there will always been crack, chips and brokenness… life is just like that.

Broken2

But… wouldn’t it be better to be real?  Instead of hiding, instead of being so terrified of what others might think, to be able to be free.  To be who you are and be able to work together to mend brokenness.

Until the day that we are made complete – made perfect – we could be broken together… instead of broken alone.

Five Minute Friday: True {To Love and Irritate}

From Pintrest

This is my man.

In his vows, he should have said ‘I promise to annoy and irritate you to the best of my abilities, because it is so much fun.

Marriage.  We all went in to it expecting one thing and I think I can safely say… we all had no idea what we were getting into.

My husband thrives, yes THRIVES, on annoying the living daylights out of me.  Seriously, it seems like the days when he should not irritate me, he is in rare form and cannot (or is unwilling to) stop himself.  There are days I grind my teeth and it takes everything in me to not scream.  Often I find myself uttering the phrase ‘You’re going to die, clown‘  when he confesses that he’s aware I’m at the end of my rope.  Which prompts him to laugh, which will often cause me to at least smile.

I never imagined that someone could frustrate, irritate and annoy me as intensely as my man does.  (I had no idea someone could enjoy irritating another person so much!)  I also never imagined anyone could make me so happy, feel so cherished and so loved.  11 years has seemed like mere days.

I grow more in love with him each day.  Real love, not the puppy dog kind.  The kind that knows his strengths (the man can fix anything) and weaknesses and sees the amazing potential in him.  He is a strong, loving, God-fearing man who is an amazing husband and father.

I love you honey… every irritating bit of you!

Can you identify with this sentiment?  I’d love to hear from you!

Want to get in on Five Minute Friday, then check it all out here:

5-minute Friday1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in.

3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule.

The heart of this community is amazing!  See more at: http://lisajobaker.com/

~Sarah

31 days book

Five Minute Friday: Story

Craig Sunset

‘Craven Sunset’ by Craig Hilts
Prairie Fire Photography

Chapter One…

My story.

My story began with a thought.

A thought about me.

A thought so much bigger than just me.

A thought that formed the earth, the stars.  Everything.

A story that began with a single breath.  Breath that set my story into motion.

And here I sit.  Each breath a gift from the one who gave the very first breath.

My story is full.  Valleys and mountains.  Triumph and devastation.

Each moment crisp, in focus, with the One who walks this story with me.

He writes my journey, my story and writes in encouragement for me to follow…

Even when the story gets dark.

He has a victorious, blindingly glorious finish for my story.  His story.

I just have to keep reading, with hope, until…

The Last Page

Want to get in on the fun of Five Minute Friday?

Let’s write… unscripted, unedited, unchained.  Let’s just write and not worry if it’s just right.

Here’s how:

5-minute Friday1) Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word. (click on the 5 minute Friday image for the word prompt…it changes every week!)

2. Link back to Lisa-Jo’s blog (and don’t forget to invite others to join in).

3. Make sure to encourage the five minuter who linked up before you.

What’s your story?  Life is fantastic?  Life is hard?  Remember that it’s all part of the story… your story.  Valleys are between hills.  You’ll get to a hill, just hold on.  I’m glad you’re here!

~Sarah