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God Made the World ~ Review

God Made the World
By Debbie Rivers-Moore
Illustrated by Emma Haines

God Made the World is a book intended for the youngest reader - one who can't yet read but can enjoy the hearing the story and the illustrations. This is a soft fabric book of which the front cover is crinkly and will capture your little one's attention. The story is told over 6 pages in which God's role in the creation of the world is stated. The last page states "And God made me" beneath a small mirror in which the reader can see their own face while reading this statement.

This book is washable and can be air dried which with little fingers is a good feature. The book closes with a velcro closure that secures the back to the front. There is a loop feature at the top so this book can be hung from a hook or secured to your child's stroller or high chair. At 6 inches this is a good size for little hands to hold and turn the pages with ease. The colors which are pastel fabrics with brighter colors for the images will delight children.  Each page has between 3 and 4 words so that early word association is accomplished with this book.

This book would be a perfect gift for the parents-to-be or for a book at grandma and grandpa's house. Highly recommended for church nurseries and any family with young ones. This will be a book older siblings will enjoy sharing with younger ones.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher Kregel with no expectation of a positive review - all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Charming illustrations help infants and toddlers discover God's natural world, from dolphins to foxes to kittens! This squishy fabric book features crinkle cloth for sensory development and hours of baby fun. God Made the World also includes a child-safety mirror so baby can see herself and know she's a part of God's design.

For parents, a Velcro closure keeps the book shut, and a hanging tab can attach the book to a stroller, purse, or toy so it can go wherever they do. It comes packaged in a bag to keep it clean and includes a header card for easy hanging display.


A Dangerous Engagement ~ Review

A Dangerous Engagement
The Regency Spies of London #3
By Melanie Dickerson

Felicity Mayson has been publicly spurned yet again - again her lack of a sizeable dowry is held against her. And Felicity has had enough of upper societies prejudices and has determined to avoid balls altogether unless given by her friends the Langdons or the Withinghalls.

When an invitation from Lady Blackstone arrives, Felicity soon finds herself at her aunt's country estate Doverton Hall. But the house party to which Felicity finds herself a part of is most peculiar, with few ladies in attendance. But when Lady Blackstone's favorite guest begins paying particular attention to Felicity she all too soon finds her head being turned by his flattery.

Oliver Ratley's attentions soon lead to an engagement with little thought on Felicity's part. But her engagement soon has her caught up in something altogether unexpected - treason against the throne. What should have been an occasion of happiness soon becomes one of dread. Only one person seems to sympathize with Felicity's predicament at this "party" Philip Merrick. But Philip has his own secrets that he is hiding - a secret that could cost him his life or save the monarchy. And Philip needs Felicity to help him if he is to discover the truth, bring the traitors to justice, and clear Felicity of any doubts about her loyalties.

As time passes the threat of discovery increases and Felicity and Philip risk exposure. Can they find the evidence that they need before it is too late? Or will they pay for their loyalty with their lives?

This is the third book in Melanie Dickerson's Regency Spies of London series and it as fun an escape into a book as the first two books. If you have yet to read A Spy's Devotion or The Viscount's Proposal don't fret as one can easily get into this story without the backstory of these books. And one can always go back a read them at a later date. Yes, the characters from one book cross over to the other two and they are in a chronological order but each can stand on its own.  Sit back and enjoy another delightful period mystery from a fabulous writer.

About the Book:
Just as merchant’s daughter Felicity Mayson is spurned once again because of her meager dowry, she receives an unexpected invitation to Lady Blackstone’s country home. Being introduced to the wealthy Oliver Ratley is an admitted delight, as is his rather heedless yet inviting proposal of marriage. Only when another of Lady Blackstone’s handsome guests catches Felicity’s attention does she realize that nothing is what it seems at Doverton Hall.
Government agent Philip McDowell is infiltrating a group of cutthroat revolutionaries led by none other than Lady Blackstone and Ratley. Their devious plot is to overthrow the monarchy, and their unwitting pawn is Felicity. Now Philip needs Felicity’s help in discovering the rebels’ secrets—by asking her to maintain cover as Ratley’s innocent bride-to-be.
Philip is duty bound. Felicity is game. Together they’re risking their lives—and gambling their hearts—to undo a traitorous conspiracy before their dangerous masquerade is exposed.

Summer on Earth ~ First Chapter Reveal

 Summer on Earth
By Peter Thompson
Publisher: Persnickety Press
Pages: 293
Genre: Sci-fi / Middle Grade

I'm sharing a peek of chapter one from Summer on Earth - which sounds intriguing. If chapter one is any indication this looks to be a fun and interesting book to read. And all the alien words just add a little something extra to it.

Chapter One

Ralwil Turth
Intergalactic Year 465009.2053
To anyone watching the Midwestern night sky, it looked like a meteor that arced across the sky in a flash of bright light, then disappeared as it fell to earth. But inside the pod, Ralwil Turth was gripped with fear as he tried to control the path of his ship. He had been on his way home from a routine mining expedition on the outskirts of the Andromeda system, when the lights on his control board flashed in the urgent warning pattern. This signaled a breakdown of his primary power plant. His major energy source was draining fast. Without hesitation he switched to the spare power source.
The spare would not take him far. He had to find a place to bring his craft down to make the repair, and he didn’t have any time to waste. Ralwil’s body shook as he brought his universal map up on the view-screen. He was on the far side of the charted universe, light-years away from any known civilization. The information about this sector was old, but it showed that the third planet out in the nearest solar system was water-based and had an atmosphere rich in oxygen. It was the kind of place capable of supporting life, though according to the maps, there was no record of intelligent life in this quadrant. With no time to spare, he made the decision and aimed for the planet.
He cut the engine back and slowed down as he approached. His pod shuddered when he hit the atmosphere. The friction was intense, and the heat sensors flashed a warning. His styrpump beat madly against his chest and his brain felt as if it was going to explode. The pod’s shields were designed to withstand tremendous heat, so if the systems worked properly he would be protected. But he had never had to test the systems. He hoped they worked better than the power source. The pod shook and screeched as if the ship was about to rip apart.
Ralwil tried to ignore his fear as he went through the emergency procedures. The vibrations increased and his whole body trembled. It felt as if his skelfones were going to shake right out of his body. He had never been this frightened before. It was hard to think, but he had to maintain control. He flipped on his personal force field. A cushion of cool air surrounded him and suddenly he was still again. He held his breath as he checked his view screen and searched for a safe place to land.
The image of the planet came up. He was above a large land mass. Scattered over the land were pockets of light, some small, others spread out in big clusters. Light meant energy, and concentrations like this didn’t appear naturally. These lights were almost surely cities of some kind.
More bad luck! The planet had intelligent life forms after all!
This complicated his plan. Now he would have to work around the occupants without interfering with them in any way—if he survived.
Ralwil had to somehow coax his crippled machine down to a safe landing. He concentrated on the screen in front of him, steering toward the center of the land mass. It would not do to come down in the middle of one of their cities. The smart thing would be to land on the outskirts, somewhere where he could get his bearings and find the materials he needed without causing any alarm. He steered away from the main concentration of lights to a dark area between two small clusters. Moving fast, he dropped closer to the ground.
As he neared land, he shifted the image on the view screen to show the area in heat-sensitive infrared. At night, the heat map picked up surface features and life forms better than a visual map. The area was flat and appeared to be covered with plant life. A narrow strip cut through, winding around in a series of smooth curves. The temperature there was much cooler than in the surrounding area. It had to be water. Suddenly a new alarm went off and the screen flashed a warning. The power was almost drained. He cursed the makers of spare power supplies as he dipped his pod down closer to the ground. He set the controls for an automatic landing near the water, held his breath, and prepared to touch down.
He expected to glide in for a soft landing, but without warning his power supply gave way completely. The pod dropped like a stone and bounced once before stopping.
He felt a big bump, and then a shudder as his ship came to a rest.
His styrpump pounding, he took in a deep breath and tried to focus. He had survived! Ralwil slowly let his breath out and silently gave thanks.
The pod lights were dim and the only sound was the hum of the ventilation system. The power plant was out so he couldn’t take off in his pod. His systems still worked off the reserve battery, but this would not last long. He would need to conserve his supply.
From now on, the ship’s power could only be used for emergencies.
Ralwil picked up his onmibelt and made sure it was fully operational. His life depended on this thin belt. It held an assortment of tools and instruments. With this belt, and a little luck, he had a chance to survive on this alien planet. No, he thought, make that a lot of luck.
Before opening the pod’s hatch, he took a reading of the outside air. It was a mixture of oxygen, nitrogen and more than a touch of methane. Not exactly what he was used to at home, but still breathable without additional gear. He pushed a button and the pod doors slid open.
Stepping out, he heard a sharp metallic chirping sound, mixed with a deeper bass. His first thought was that he was near some kind of strange machine. He touched a button on his omnibelt and a holographic image appeared in front of him, showing the source of the noise. The chirping came from thousands of little six-legged, winged creatures spread across the field, all rubbing their legs together. The deeper sounds were from two small cold-blooded creatures on opposite sides of the water’s edge. He doubted that either of these species had the brain capacity to be intelligent, but their exotic nature was a marvel.
He touched another button as he shut the pod doors, and the pod disappeared from view. The invisi-shield would drain the batteries more than he would like, but it was a valuable protection from nosy natives. If a creature happened by and saw the ship, it would lead to problems. It was better not to be seen.
Ralwil sniffed the air around him. Its chemical makeup was safe to breathe, but the smell was atrocious. He wondered how these creatures could tolerate this noxious air, but he had no choice. If he didn’t get out and explore, he would never be able to fix his power source and go home.
He walked up a small incline and was immediately in a field of tall leafy vegetation. Each plant was spaced evenly apart. On his native planet, Ralwil was considered unnaturally tall. At nearly three fornos, he towered over all the brothers in his swarm. But these plants were taller. He tried to look through them, but all he saw were more plants. Even the stars above were hidden by the leaves.
The chirping sound of the tiny winged creatures was so loud here it was hard to think. He kept on walking. The vegetation was everywhere. The leaves above him formed a canopy, cutting off the moonlight. He could hardly see in front of him. The leaves scraped against his outer membrane and gave him a creepy ticklish sensation. His styrpump beat faster. He was afraid he would panic if he did not get out in the open soon. No—he had a mission to accomplish. He must not panic. He fumbled at his belt, found his sensomap and took a reading. From its holographic sensor, he saw that there was an opening to the field off to the right. With relief, he turned and headed toward it.
As he got closer, his sensomap showed a hot spot—something large and slow moving, just past the edge of the field. It was obviously a life form, and it was clearly large enough to be intelligent. He could not show himself in his present form without causing all sorts of problems. He switched the setting on his belt to rough duplication mode. The instrument could send a wave of energy over the being, then re-form the wearer’s molecular structure into a rough copy. Back home the tool was good for nothing much except practical jokes, but on expeditions it often came in handy. If he transformed himself into something like this native creature, it might be possible to get in close enough to do a synch-link.
He turned the duplicator on as he stepped out of the field. He felt a ticklish sensation as his molecules rearranged in the pattern of the being before him. It was a large quadrapodal creature with a long face and a huge swollen stomach. Its skin was thick, and, though light colored, there were big splotches of dark pigment throughout. It stood behind a barrier of some kind and stared at him with dull brown eyes.
Ralwil attempted a synch-link, but as he synched in with the creature’s brain, all he could think about was how hungry he was, and how tasty the ground-covering vegetation looked. He swatted at a small flying creature with his tail, and stepped back before the synch could progress any farther. He shivered. This creature was surely not intelligent. In fact it appeared to be as dumb as wyr-tack. He reversed the duplicator and returned to his normal appearance. The creature vocalized with a loud mooing sound, then bent down to eat the vegetation on the ground.
Ralwil walked away from the creature and continued his exploration. His fear began to fade. He felt calmer now, and almost excited about the adventure. The temperature was comfortable, the heat and humidity ratio nearly perfect. This was very pleasant. In a way, it reminded him of the equatorial regions on his home planet. The quality of light from the moon above was pleasing, and the stars shone brightly with a set of constellations he had never seen before. Even the noxious smell he had noticed before didn’t seem so bad now. He couldn’t believe he had adjusted to it so quickly. The life forms were exotic here too. Under different circumstances he would consider it interesting to spend some time here.
He came to a large structure made of organic material connected together in overlapping strips. The structure was easily twelve times as wide as his space pod, and twice as tall as it was wide. The two sides of its roof came together in a sharp peak.
Ralwil recognized this as a primitive way of dealing with rain water. With more efficient materials such architecture was not necessary, but it looked functional. Two large openings on the front came together to form an entrance. He walked over and looked up at the lock. It was a finely tooled metallic latch. The design was simple, but the detail required fine motor movement, or at least some kind of digital manipulation. This meant the creatures who built this must have hands. Based on the height of the lock, they walked upright, so most likely they were bipodal life forms, not so different from him, though obviously much larger.
He continued exploring and soon found more evidence of the native creatures. This was another structure, slightly smaller than the first but more ornate, with finer detail in the organic material, and openings covered with a transparent substance where the creatures could look out. This might be their living quarters, Ralwil thought. If so, he must be very careful that no one saw him. He skirted around the edge of the structure and checked his heat sensor. It picked up four heat sources that appeared to be living creatures. Two of them were on higher levels of the structure, one near its peak, another near its midpoint. The last two were down at the structure’s base, around the corner from where he stood. Of the two on the bottom, one was the largest, the other the smallest of the four.
Being so close was dangerous. The smart thing to do would be to back off and find a way to observe these creatures from a distance. Before approaching any unknown creatures, it was important to learn their habits and social functions, find out how they lived so he could determine if they were dangerous or not. Still, he had an overwhelming desire to get in close and see what these creatures looked like. What was the harm in that?
All he had to do was move in for a quick peek.
Ralwil kept close to the side of the structure and moved slowly around the corner, wondering what he would find next.

About the Book:
The night that eleven-year-old Grady Johnson looked out his window and wished upon a shooting star, his life changed forever.
Grady, his Ma, and younger sister Luanne are having a hard summer. Dad has died and the family isn’t the same. Though Ma is trying her best, Grady knows they don’t have enough money to get by.
The shooting star he saw was a space craft plunging to Earth, and landing at the back of their farm. Extraterrestrial engineer Ralwil Turth has one goal, to fix his power drive and go back home. But things don’t go as planned. Stuck in human form, he gets to know Grady and his family as he works on their farm. He starts to learn about what it means to be human, and the exotic charms of this planet like the taste of potatoes, and how amazing bugs are.
Ralwil grows to care for Grady and his family. On a trip to town, he realizes that money is what matters to humans, and is the cause of the family’s trouble. That night, he uses his technology to combine a twenty-dollar bill with an oak twig. Over the next week this grows to a towering tree, every leaf a twenty-dollar bill. This, Ralwil is sure, will solve all the family’s problems.
But the family’s wealth raises suspicion in this small town, and this soon leads to more trouble. With the family’s fate, and Ralwil’s life, on the line, Grady has to find the courage to help his family and save his friend.
Summer on Earth blends humor, adventure and poignancy to create an unforgettable story about finding home.


Amazon | Barnes and Noble


Bringing Maggie Home ~ Review

Bringing Maggie Home
By Kim Vogel Sawyer

For decades Hazel DeFord has been haunted by a single choice - a choice that altered her family forever - a choice that cost her Maggie.

In series of back and forths from the past and the present the mystery that makes Hazel DeFord the woman that she is. The book opens in 1943 on the fateful day that Hazel lost her little sister Maggie. This loss changed Hazel and her parents forever but losing Maggie was just the first step in many that bring us to the Hazel of today.

Hazel is beloved by her only granddaughter Meghan. But her daughter Diane has nothing but bitterness and resentment for her mother and the bond that she shares with Meghan. Neither woman has any idea of the painful secret that Hazel has been keeping for 70 years. But when the three women all come together at Hazel's home just before her 80th birthday the truth will be revealed.

Determined to help her grandmother find the peace that has eluded her and to shed the guilt that has shaped her perceptions and personality Meghan uses her skills in an attempt to uncover the truth. Meghan never expected her job as a cold case agent to take on a personal motivation. And time is a factor as so much has passed and her grandmother seems to be exhibiting some suspect symptoms that have Meghan and even Diane concerned.

Having read Kim Vogel Sawyer's work in the past I was anticipating another well-written book and my expectations were not disappointed. The characters were believable and one felt so bad for Hazel as scenes from her childhood unfolded following the loss of Maggie. This book is one that will touch the heart as each character's life plays out in little glimpses into the past. This cover is perfect as it captures the key moment of the loss in a subtle way. Another highly recommended book that is suitable for readers mid-teens and up.

I received a review copy of this book from Blogging for Books for this review - with no expectations of a positive review - all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:

Decades of Loss, 
an Unsolved Mystery, 
a Rift Spanning Three Generations

Hazel DeFord is a woman haunted by her past. While berry picking in a blackberry thicket in 1943, ten-year old Hazel momentarily turns her back on her three-year old sister Maggie and the young girl disappears.

Almost seventy years later, the mystery remains unsolved and the secret guilt Hazel carries has alienated her from her daughter Diane, who can’t understand her mother’s overprotectiveness and near paranoia. While Diane resents her mother’s inexplicable eccentricities, her daughter Meghan—a cold case agent—cherishes her grandmother’s lavish attention and affection.
When a traffic accident forces Meghan to take a six-week leave-of-absence to recover, all three generations of DeFord women find themselves unexpectedly under the same roof. Meghan knows she will have to act as a mediator between the two headstrong and contentious women. But when they uncover Hazel’s painful secret, will Meghan also be able to use her investigative prowess to solve the family mystery and help both women recover all that’s been lost?


A Viscount's Proposal ~ Review

A Viscount's Proposal
The Regency Spies of London #2
By Melanie Dickerson

Leorah Langdon has had enough of society's dictates and refuses to bend her will to the demands and rules it has placed upon women. She's determined to live by her rules and marry for love and not for a title or money. And she has little use for her brother's friend Edward, who just happens to be the Viscount Withinghall. After all, if the man can't accept her behavior as just an exuberance for living that's his problem.

Edward Withinghall wants to avoid encounters with Leorah, certain that any acquaintance with her will draw his name into scandal and scandal is the one thing that Edward most wants to avoid. Edward's desire is to restore his family name following his father's scandals and he has his eye set on the role of Prime Minister.

But when Leorah finds herself in need of assistance only Viscount Withinghall is available to offer the needed aid. Unfortunately for the pair, no good deed goes unpunished and an accident involving Withinghall's carriage leaves them both injured in his carriage without a chaperone. Scandal soon ensues but true to her nature Leorah refuses Edward's offer of marriage. She is determined that saving her reputation is not enough inducement to marry.

But it soon becomes evident that the accident that has linked them in scandal was no accident, but rather an effort to end Edward's life. Can the culprit be discovered before he strikes again? And when given the chance to get to know one another on a more personal level will Edward and Leorah discover that they are more than what first impressions seem?

This is a delightful second book in the Regency Spies of London series. Looking for a bit of intrigue give this book from Melanie Dickerson a try.

About the Book:
Leorah Langdon has no patience for Regency society’s shallow hypocrisy and unnecessary rules, especially for women. She’s determined to defy convention by marrying for grand passion instead of settling for a loveless union like her parents—or wedding a stuffy, pompous gentleman like Edward, the Viscount Withinghall. But when a chance meeting in the countryside leads to Leorah and Withinghall being discovered in his overturned carriage—alone and after dark—the ensuing gossip may force them together.
Withinghall has his reasons for clinging to propriety; his father perished in a duel with his mistress’s husband, and Edward must avoid scandal himself if he wants to become prime minister. He certainly has no time for a reckless hoyden like Miss Langdon. But soon the two discover that Withinghall’s coach “accident” was no such thing: the vehicle was sabotaged.
Can the culprit be brought to justice? Strong-willed Leorah and duty-driven Withinghall will have to work together if they have any hope of saving her reputation, his political career—and his life.


A Spy's Devotion ~ Review

A Spy's Devotion
The Regency Spies of London #1
By Melanie Dickerson

Julia Grey lives in the Wilhern household upon the continued charity of her uncle who has been her guardian since she was six years old. Her constant companion is her cousin Phoebe and Julia's loyalty to her has never waned over the years. Though when it comes to Phoebe's extreme infatuation to Nicholas Langdon - Julia is at a loss on how to temper it - at least in public.

Injured on the battlefield, Nicholas Langdon has been recovering for the last several months. But with his recovery comes his duty to fulfill the last request of a fellow soldier - to deliver a diary. But what Nicholas does not know is that the diary holds coded information that has bearing on the war against Napoleon. And when the diary is forcibly taken from him he finds himself drawn into a world of intrigue.

Tasked with determining if Robert Wilhern (Julia's uncle) had anything to do with this treasonist action Nicholas finds himself spending time with the Wilherns. Phoebe is delighted sure that Nicholas has finally come to see her as a potential match. When Julia seemingly saves him from discovery by her uncle - Nicholas determines to seek Julia's assistance in his investigation of her uncle and his associate Hugh Edgerton.

But the more that Julia and Nicholas investigate the more danger they find themselves in. And Julia finds her very future is in question when her uncle determines that she will marry a man of his choosing - one who may be involved in the very treason that Julia is trying to thwart.

This is a delightful story for those looking to escape into a book. The story is intriguing and holds this reader's attention - I did not want to put this one down and kept thinking just one more chapter until 2 am came as did the end of the book.

Another delight to thrill fans of Melanie Dickerson's previous writing ~ though this time instead of fairy tales she is delving into regency fiction.

About the Book:
In England’s Regency era, manners and elegance reign in public life—but behind closed doors treason and tawdriness thrive. Nicholas Langdon is no stranger to reserved civility or bloody barbarity. After suffering a battlefield injury, the wealthy, well-connected British officer returns home to heal—and to fulfill a dying soldier’s last wish by delivering his coded diary.
At the home of the Wilherns, one of England’s most powerful families, Langdon attends a lavish ball where he meets their beautiful and intelligent ward, Julia Grey. Determined to maintain propriety, he keeps his distance—until the diary is stolen and all clues lead to Julia’s guardian. As Langdon traces an evil plot that could be the nation’s undoing, he grows ever more intrigued by the lovely young woman. And when Julia realizes that England—and the man she is falling in love with—need her help, she finds herself caught in the fray. Will the two succumb to their attraction while fighting to save their country?

An Inconvenient Beauty ~ Review

An Inconvenient Beauty
Hawthorne House #4
By Kristi Ann Hunter

Griffith has watched his younger siblings all find love and has witnessed the mistakes his closest friends have made on their own journeys to love and matrimony. And Griffith is determined to have a plan that will remove any and all chances of him making similar blunders. For the past year, he has been watching and his effort has paid off - he has determined that Miss Frederica St. Claire will be the woman he will marry.

There is just one problem - Griffith has to actually speak to the object of his logical determinations. After Trent's experiences, Griffith knows that love can come after the vows have been said. And Griffith has never had cause to doubt his logically thought out decisions so he is positive his approach to love and marriage will be a success.

Unfortunately, Griffith's attempts at courting Frederica are being thwarted by Frederica's cousin Isabella Breckenridge. It isn't that Isabella is trying to interfere but somehow they just end up spending time together. But with Isabella being the societal bell of the London season and the object of every gentleman's attention Griffith knows that she could never be the lady for him.

But Isabella is living a lie, one put forth to secure the future of her family. And if the truth comes out Isabella and those closest to her could be hurt and Isabella's chances of marriage will be gone (not that she is looking).  And the longer Isabella is in society the greater the danger that the truth of who she truly is will be known.

Can Griffith find love based on logic or will his heart rebel and lead him in another direction? Only time will tell - and all of society has their eye on him after all he is the Duke of Riverton and his family is known for their marriages based on love.

I really think this book is my favorite in this series - though the first two were up there in the reading enjoyment factor. I like the way Griffith thinks things through and has a plan even though it doesn't go quite the way he planned it. And Miranda and Georgina are fun as they offer advice to their big brother in the ways of the heart. This is a definite high note on which this series is ending and Griffith's story is the perfect conclusion.

I was provided a complimentary review copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a positive review ~ all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, so he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. While he's certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, she is strangely elusive, and he can't seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, she has no choice but to agree to a bargain that puts her at odds with all her romantic hopes--as well as her conscience. And the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she regrets the unpleasant obligation that prevents her from any dream of a future with him.

As all Griffith's and Isabella's long-held expectations are shaken to the core, can they set aside their pride and fear long enough to claim a happily-ever-after?