Posted in Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, Contemporary Christian Fiction, Historical Christian Fiction, Inspirational, Suspense

Come Back to Me (2021)

About the Book

Book: Come Back to Me

Series: Waters of Time #1

Author: Jody Hedlund

Release Date: June 1, 2021

Genre: Historical Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Time Travel, Inspirational

The ultimate cure that could heal any disease? Crazy.

That’s exactly what research scientist Marian Creighton has always believed about her father’s quest, even if it does stem from a desire to save her sister Ellen from the genetic disease that stole their mother from them. But when her father falls into a coma after drinking a vial of holy water believed to contain traces of residue from the Tree of Life, Marian must question all of her assumptions. He’s left behind tantalizing clues that suggest he’s crossed back in time. Insane. Until Marian tests his theories and finds herself in the Middle Ages during a dangerous peasant uprising.

William Durham, a valiant knight comes to Marian’s rescue and offers her protection . . . as his wife. The longer Marian stays in the past, the more she cares about William. Can she ever find her father and make it back to the present to heal her sister? And when the time comes to leave, will she want to?

Bestselling author Jody Hedlund is your guide down the twisting waters of time to a volatile era of superstition, revolts, and chivalry in this suspenseful story.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

When I pick up a Jody Hedlund novel, I know I’m not going to be disappointed. I do admit a little hesitancy when I first picked up Come Back to Me because I am not a sci-fi, fantasy, speculative-fiction kind of gal. These books are not the genres I gravitate to. But, I love Hedlund’s novels so I took a chance, and, boy, am I glad I did. Come Back to Me is a truly unique and highly satisfying read. This book has everything: a contemporary setting, current medical issues, time travel, suspense, and steamy romance. The characters are great, but my most favorite aspect to this story is how the modern heroine deals in the historical time setting.

I have always believed that God is incapable of making a mistake. So, if you were born in the 1380s it’s because He meant for you to be alive in the late 1300s. When I was in high school, I remember girls in history class saying things like, “I was born in the wrong time period. I wish I had been born in the 1400s.” I always found that desire to be odd because, again, God doesn’t make mistakes. So I would ask these girls why they felt this way and they would always respond that it was because of the clothes. They wanted to live in a time period because of the medieval clothing style. I’m not going to lie, I always felt sad for these girls. To feel like they were born “at the wrong time” because of clothes?! I would be blown away by this answer because in my mind, I saw all the ways life was REALLY difficult to be a female in the medieval age — very little power or control over her own life, her inherent vulnerability because she had no power or control, her monthly period, her inability to bathe whenever she wanted, massive disease, etc. Personally, I really appreciate my shower, my current clothes, my ability to make the money I need to pay bills, and my ability to make decisions for myself. What I love in Come Back to Me is how Hedlund illustrates Marian’s initial arrogance when she first arrives back in time to 1381 England. Before she left her time period, Marian utilizes the internet to do a basic search on Canterbury, England in 1381. She learns that there was a Peasant Revolt that ended very badly for the peasants. Cool, that’s the extent of her prep. She’s got this! Then she ends up in 1381 Canterbury and she is immediately schooled in just how ignorant she truly is about the medieval age. Her immediate lack of protection as a single, beautiful woman is apparent within minutes of “landing” in 1381. Then, there’s issues with money, control over her own life, abuse, clothing, food, assumptions made against her, her speech, etc. It really stood out to me this dichotomy between Marian’s modern assumptions of history versus her actual reality once she became a part of that time period. I also really liked how Marian grows as a woman during her time in the medieval setting. I appreciate how she assesses her truth — yes, there are things about the modern era that make life really comfortable, but there is a lot about the medieval time that allows life to be all the more full and vibrant. Marian’s assessment of herself made me consider my time period, the things I have that make me comfortable, how I interact with my loved ones today, and the things I can learn from history to make my relationships better today.

There is no way to adequately review this book. Come Back to Me needs to be experienced. I loved the highly engaging plot, the uniquely relatable characters, and the many excellent themes discussed. Come Back to Me is a great read and I highly recommend it. If you love suspense, romance, history, and/or time travel then you will absolutely love this story!

I purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on June 12, 2021, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Celebrate Lit Tour, Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, Giveaways, Historical Christian Fiction, Inspirational

The Songstress (2021) — A Celebrate Lit Tour: A Guest Post, My Thoughts, and a Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  The Songstress

Author: Lori Bates Wright

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: April 16, 2021

Rising opera star, Juliana Chamberlain, still has nightmares of the night she witnessed the assassination of the President of the United States from her spot on stage at Ford Theater. Recruited by The Pinkerton Detective Agency, Juliana was instrumental in bringing those responsible to justice.

Now, two years later, the Pinkertons ask her once again to join forces in exposing a corrupt political organization terrorizing her home in Texas.

Texas Ranger, Cade Matlock, has a job to do. He needs no help from a meddlesome diva with big ideas. However, he is a man of his word. He’s committed to partner with the lovely songstress to smoke out the mastermind of a dangerous clan who has proven he will stop at nothing to satisfy his thirst for vengeance.

Cade and Juliana soon discover their greatest strength is in working together until shadows of the past threaten to destroy their future.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Lori Bates Wright is an award winning author with a love for history.

Raised in New Mexico, Lori now lives in Texas with her husband of 38 years. She has two grown kids and four adorable grand boys (who leap tall buildings in a single bound!) When she’s not writing, she’s heading up small group ministries with her husband. She enjoys speaking and interacting with women of all ages.

More from Lori

Growing up, my family loved to laugh.

Some of my favorite childhood memories are centered around my grandmother’s dining room table listening in while my parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles told amazing stories. Sometimes I laughed until I’d lose my breath. Sometimes I sat quietly, taking in the bravery and perseverance shown by those who’d gone before me.

History has been a passion ever since. Couple that with an insatiable love for story and there you have the heart of what inspires me to write.

So, when it came time to brain-storm for this brand new series, I decided to take a known historical event and think about it from every angle. Beyond the recognized players, to the “what if” characters that might have played a role. And, ultimately, how such an event would have changed the course of their lives.

Thus, a star was born.

In THE SONGSTRESS, Juliana Chamberlain witnessed the assassination from her place on the stage. Because I love a little mystery and intrigue, I decided that the leading detective agency of the day would have enlisted her help in identifying the accomplices. Allen Pinkerton had been known to hire a lady detective or two, so she would be trained by the best. Her investigative skills proved helpful in bringing a quick resolution to the case.

Fast forward four years and she’s still haunted by what she saw that night. When Pinkerton again approaches her about a case involving her family in Texas, she accepts.

Being from Texas, I was so happy she did. I’ve wanted to write a story based in the Lone Star State for quite awhile. I loved visiting Georgia and the shores of England in my last series, but I have to say it was good to bring this one home. With all the rugged charm of the post-Civil War era, this book has a little more local flavor than my last three. Al-in-all, I believe my readers are in for a treat. A new cast of fun, quirky characters as we revisit a significant time in our nation.

So, here’s to new beginnings! Or as we say in Texas, “Hang on, y’all are in for a wild ride!”

Happy reading!
Lori

My Thoughts

Reading The Songstress was the first time I’ve read a book by Lori Bates Wright. I didn’t really know what to expect from this author, but after reading the premise and seeing the beautiful cover, I knew I needed to be part of this blog tour. This story is all the things it promises to be: adventurous and romantic. I liked the way the author utilized the Lincoln assassination as the catalyst for getting her heroine, Juliana, to become a Pinkerton spy. I’ve never really studied the Pinkertons before, so to learn that females played a small, but integral, part in the organization was pretty cool. I also thought it clever to use Lincoln-assassination conspirators who got away the night Lincoln was shot as the bad guys for this storyline. The main characters did feel a tad too caricature for me, but they are wholesome and sweet overall. The author did a great job with the villains. The bad guys are pretty vile. They are the reason I kept turning pages — I needed to know how they were going to be defeated. The pacing of the story, for the most part, is good, but I did feel that the middle got a little slow. I did like several of the themes that were discussed throughout the story. My favorite topic is brought up by Dandy when he says, “See? He was broke” … “Broke critters just do the best they can to get by.” Truer words have never been spoken. Broken people do the best they can. Overall, I appreciated reading this story and feel like the audience who would love The Songstress best are those readers who love a good Hallmark-style Western.

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author, Lori Bates Wright, via Celebrate Lit. I also purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on April 27, 2021, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lori is giving away the grand prize package of a Texas Gift basket including a signed copy of THE SONGSTRESS and a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!

Click the link below to enter.

PromoSimple Link


Blog Stops

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, June 11

Reflections From My Bookshelves, June 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 12

Connect in Fiction, June 12

Inklings and notions, June 13

Rebecca Tews, June 13

Texas Book-aholic, June 14

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 14

lakesidelivingsite, June 15

To Everything There Is A Season, June 15

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 15

For Him and My Family, June 16

Labor Not in Vain, June 16

deb’s Book Review, June 17

Genesis 5020, June 17

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 18

HookMeInABook, June 18

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 19

Inside the Wong Mind, June 19

The Christian Fiction Girl, June 20

Connie’s History Classroom, June 20

A Baker’s Perspective, June 21

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 21

Blossoms and Blessings, June 22

Lis Loves Reading, June 22

Pause for Tales, June 23

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, June 23

Mary Hake, June 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 24

KarenSueHadley, June 24

Posted in Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, Contemporary Christian Fiction, Historical Christian Fiction, Inspirational

Make You Feel My Love (2021)

About the Book

BookMake You Feel My Love

Author: Robin Lee Hatcher

Release Date: July 13, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, Inspirational

A century apart, two women start new lives—and two unlikely love stories prove powerful enough to conquer fear.

In 1895, Cora Anderson jumps on a cross-country train to escape New York society and her domineering father. She leaves with only some spare clothing, jewelry that once belonged to her grandmother, her cherished violin, and hopes for an uncertain future. The tiny town of Chickadee Creek is idyllic and welcoming, but it’s only a matter of time before Cora’s new friends discover the secrets of her past.

More than a hundred years later, Chelsea Spencer is fleeing a dangerous situation of her own when her great aunt’s antique shop in Chickadee Creek becomes the perfect haven. At the same time, up-and-coming Hollywood star Liam Chandler has returned to the town of his ancestors to grieve some painful family losses and ponder the direction of his career.

When Chelsea discovers a beautiful violin among her aunt’s antiques, she begins to wonder about its origins. In this heartwarming Idaho town, one precious instrument will connect Liam and Chelsea to each other and to loves long forgotten. There, the captivating history tells them the stories of how to walk by faith and live in God’s perfect freedom.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

Robin Lee Hatcher has done it again. Make You Feel My Love is a wonderful story. It’s one I didn’t want to end. The writing is beautiful. The transitions between the contemporary story and the historical story work very well, and I found that when I came to the end of each chapter I desperately needed to turn the page to discover what was coming next. In addition to the flawless writing, I love the characters. This story focuses on four unique characters — Preston and Cora, and Liam and Chelsea. Preston and Cora’s story tells about the foundation of the Chandler family line that eventually leads to Liam and his brother, Jacob. I don’t want to accidentally let slip how Preston and Cora come together as a couple, but let me say, it is Cora’s bravery and courage to do what she did in the late 1800s as a single woman that had me glued to my chair refusing to do anything but read this story. Cora is outstanding and I cheered for her the whole time. I actually wish I had a pinch of her bravery. Liam and Chelsea’s story is the modern-era story and I was hooked from page 1. Chelsea, who is running from a real-life terror, ends up seeking refuge at her great-aunt’s home in Chickadee Creek, Idaho. It is here in Chickadee Creek that she meets, and slowly falls for, Liam Chandler. Liam is in Chickadee Creek trying to come to grips with the loss of his beloved brother, Jacob. As their friendship grows and the trust between them blossoms, both Liam and Chelsea find themselves falling for each other hard. What I appreciate the most about their journey to love is how they both make clear right from the start that their relationship with God matters the most. God will be their center or no-go. Personally, I think being equally yoked may be the most important aspect to a couple’s relationship so I really, really love this. I also really love how Liam and Chelsea force themselves to push past the hard emotions that they would normally hide in order to be 100% honest and open with one another. There is so much to like about their relationship, but it’s their reliance on God and their drive to be honest and open with each other that makes Liam and Chelsea’s relationship spectacular. And, if this isn’t enough reason to love this book, the many thought-provoking and self-reflective topics set this novel up as way more than just a sweet Romance tale.

Make You Feel My Love by Robin Lee Hatcher is a spectacular novel that I highly, highly recommend. If you love Contemporary Romances, if you love Historical Romances, and if you love stories that make you think and self-reflect, then definitely add Make You Feel My Love to your TBR list today. You will definitely want to read this beautiful story!

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Thomas Nelson, via NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Celebrate Lit Tour, Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, Contemporary Christian Fiction, Giveaways, Inspirational

Summertime Lilies (2021) — A Celebrate Lit Tour: A Guest Post, My Thoughts, and a Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Summertime Lilies

Author: LM Karen

Genre: Contemporary Christian Fiction

Release date: Jan 30, 2021

A sweet and sentimental contemporary romance with a uniquely witty voice.

There are three things you should know about Brittany Masters:

  1. She’s a single mom and a nurse manager at the local cancer clinic.
  2. She has big plans for a quiet summer.
  3. She’s convinced that fudge pops are the answer to almost all of life’s most important questions.

A new neighbor, Matt, making friends with her son while simultaneously pursuing her blow plans for a predictable summer right out of the water. A chance meeting at the cancer clinic where she works renews a connection with an old friend and gives her the perspective she’s been missing. From quiet nights on her front porch swing in Matt’s company to long talks in the clinic with her old/new friend, Brittany’s summer is anything but routine.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

LM Karen writes contemporary Christian fiction romance. As a longtime lover of words, she can generally be found behind her laptop or with a book in her hand. A graduate of Toccoa Falls College, her heart is in the mountains. She eventually made use of the voices in her head by putting them on the page.

More from LM Karen

I am not artistic. I’m not someone who can look at a space, or an item and see it’s potential. If you give me white space, I will have no idea what to fill it with. Even if I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like, there is no way I could make it look like the picture in my head. My stick figures have always been lop-sided.

What I am pretty good at is making up stories in my head. At restaurants I enjoy observing other customers and giving them stories. In the grocery store I consider what a post-apocalyptic shopping experience might look like. On my drive home I might imagine the lives of the occupants in any given house I pass.

It became a hobby when I slowly began to write these stories down. If I considered a particularly interesting character the natural progression was to wonder what their story was. What started as a hobby quickly evolved into an obsession. Oftentimes, I consider myself a citizen of the world in my head more than reality (which has its pros and cons). I spent a lot of time quietly working on my stories, trying to become a better writer and honing my craft.

As an avid reader from a young age, I can’t count the characters that have influenced my life and the stories that have touched my heart. My deepest hope is to use my predilection for make believe to touch someone else’s life. That maybe a young girl would be positively influenced by one of my characters.

My Thoughts

There is A LOT to love about Summertime Lilies by LM Karen. I’m so, so glad I volunteered to read for this tour. This book is one of my new favorites of the year! I love how engaging this story is right from the very beginning. Pages flew by and I hated when I had to put the book down. I really love the characters in this story. I appreciate how strong, determined, and fierce Brittany is. She is a selfless mother, a dedicated nurse, and an all-around amazing person. She is definitely someone I would want to be close friends with. Matt is a wonderful hero. He is kind, compassionate, and self-sacrificing. He listens to Brittany and really pays attention to the small, important details. And, his interactions with Brittany’s son, Grady, are so sweet and heartwarming. Matt is a great guy, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s really nice on the eyes, too! What I love the most about this book is its discussion on God making beauty out of ashes. Life can really knock us around and sometimes things happen that are just so ugly, so painful, and so devastating that they can nearly break us. But God. God, if we let Him, can take our bad and turn it into good. Nothing is impossible with God. Brittany is one such example of a woman who allows God to turn a traumatic event into a blessing. I love how Brittany could have used her experience as an excuse to be angry and cold towards others and to give up on life, but she doesn’t. She is no one’s victim. She takes life one day at a time and strives to always bring her best. Brittany is a great example of a strong, independent, God-fearing woman … and I love her character!

This is another novel I could gush on and on about, but I won’t. Instead, I will end this review by saying that Summertime Lilies is a must-read. I enjoyed every minute of this story and I am sad my time with these characters is over. If you are a fan of well-written, highly engaging Contemporary Romances then definitely check out Summertime Lilies by LM Karen today. You won’t be disappointed that you did!

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author, LM Karen, via Celebrate Lit. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, LM is giving away the grand prize package of a signed paperback copy of Summertime Lilies and a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!

Click the link below to enter.

PromoSimple Link


Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 2

Vicky Sluiter, June 2

The Write Escape, June 3

She Lives To Read, June 4

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 4

Inklings and notions, June 5

The Christian Fiction Girl, June 6

Batya’s Bits, June 6

Texas Book-aholic, June 7

For Him and My Family, June 8

Genesis 5020, June 8

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, June 9

deb’s Book Review, June 10

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, June 10

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 11

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, June 12

Kayem Reads, June 12

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 13

Wishful Endings, June 14

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 14

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 15

Posted in Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, Contemporary Christian Fiction, Inspirational

The Shell Collector (2021)

About the Book

Book: The Shell Collector

Author: Nancy Naigle

Release Date: May 11, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Lit, Inspirational, Beach Read

The Shell Collector is a beautiful story full of love, loss, and second chances.”–#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber

From USA Today bestselling author Nancy Naigle, The Shell Collector is a touching novel of a friendship that crosses generations, and learning how even the smallest gifts can change a life for good.

Two years after her husband’s death, Amanda Whittier has two children to raise alone, an abandoned dream of starting a business, and a fixer-upper cottage by the sea. She has no room in her life for anything else and little interest in moving on after losing the man she loved.

Paul Grant is a relative newcomer to the area, and his work with former military dogs needing rehabilitation has been good for the town. Though he loved once before, he’s convinced he’s not suited for romance and is determined to find meaning–alone–through his work and role in the community.

Widowed Maeve Lindsay was born and raised on Whelk’s Island. Spirited, kind, and a little mischievous, she pours her life into the town. But she carries a secret that shapes her every move.

Together, these three souls find encouragement in the most mysterious places and discover a love that’s bigger than their pain, healing their wounded hearts in ways none of them could have hoped for or expected.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

The Shell Collector by Nancy Naigle is an outstanding story. I’ve never read a book by Naigle before, so I wasn’t sure what I was going to get. What I got were all the feels. I cried quite a few times so make sure you have a box of Kleenex when you read this one. I also laughed, hoped, self-reflected, and felt so inspired. So, what did I love about this story? First, the setting is magical. I want SO badly to move to Whelk’s Island. I experienced the beach as if I was there with the characters. The feel of the sand under my feet, the sound of the waves crashing onshore, the heat of a humid morning, and the sudden onset of a summer storm — I experienced it all and it was glorious. Now I need a beach getaway myself. Second, I adore the characters in this story. Maeve is my favorite character. She is the beautiful and wise grandma everyone should have in her life. I love her zeal for life, her loyalty to her hometown and community, and her innate ability to help others through their tough times. What a wonderful example of a Titus 2 woman! Amanda and Peter are good as heroine and hero. I appreciate that they already had an established and deep friendship before this story begins as it allows for their somewhat quick romance to be more realistic and believable. My favorite aspect of their relationship is how much they want to help each other and their ability to consider each other’s needs before their own. It’s a great illustration of a solid relationship. The final thing I loved about this novel is how it got me to self-reflect on my own feelings of grief. Both Maeve and Amanda have grief issues they deal with in this story. I LOVE how they become strong towers of support for one another. It’s such a beautiful picture of that deep friendship discussed in Proverbs 18:24b: “There is a friend who stays closer than a brother.” And, this is actually a theme explored quite a bit — the fact that sometimes “family” is created by the friends you surround yourself with rather than by the people you share DNA with. Maeve’s and Amanda’s dynamics as best friends reminded me of my relationship with my best friend, Lara. Lara was always there for me, always gave it to me straight, and never let me get away with anything. She made me a better woman, mother, and friend. I will always love her for her Titus 2 illustration to me. Lara was the Maeve to my Amanda. We should all be fortunate to have a Maeve in our lives.

There is so much to love about The Shell Collector. Honestly, I hardly covered a thing in this review. This book must be experienced and my words can’t do it justice. Purchase yourself a copy today! You won’t be disappointed that you did.

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, WaterBrook Press, via NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Celebrate Lit Tour, Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, Contemporary Christian Fiction, Giveaways, Inspirational

To Save a King (2021) — A Celebrate Lit Tour: A Guest Post, My Thoughts, and a Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  To Save A King

Series: True Blue Royal #2

Author: Rachel Hauck

Genre: Christian Royal Romance

Release date: May 8, 2021

A modern-day fairytale of rescue and hope from NYT bestselling author Rachel Hauck

Growing up in small town Hearts Bend, Tennessee, Gemma Stone had big dreams. So she headed to Hollywood to make her mark in the world. But dreams have a way of becoming nightmares. When she returns home twelve years later, she’s limping through life and harboring a dark secret. Running a rescue ranch and raising her friends’ orphaned daughter is her sole mission now. All the while she’s well aware these defenseless ones are also rescuing her.

HRH Crown Prince John has learned a royal title cannot shield him from heartbreak. He had the perfect life as heir to the revered House of Blue, the royal dynasty of Lauchtenland, and married the love of his life. Then tragedy changed everything. Is there any way to be saved from a life of grief?

When he finds himself in Hearts Bend on a mission for his mother, Queen Catherine, he catches up with a good friend–country music great Buck Mathews. He has no intention of joining the 4th of July fun until he’s cajoled into a three-legged race with the beautiful Gemma Stone. The disastrous race leads to a quick friendship. They are easy and comfortable around one another because love is absolutely not an option.

John desperately wants to hold onto the memories of his wife while Gemma refuses to trust her heart to any man. Even a prince. When trouble in Lauchtenland calls the prince home, he realizes how much Gemma has rescued him, saved him and restored his hope for his role as future king.

For Gemma, falling in love with the prince must be quenched. If it weren’t for her past, she’d give him her heart in a second. How could she risk bringing her shame to the House of Blue and the world stage? However, she’s not the only one who can rescue and heal the wound. If she saved Prince John, why can’t he save her? And when he tries, will she have the courage to say yes to the best role of her life?

Another compelling royal story by the master of princely tales!

Susan May Warren, USA Today bestselling, RITA award-winning novelist

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. She is a double RITA finalist, and a Christy and Carol Award Winner. Her book, Once Upon A Prince, first in the Royal Wedding Series, was filmed for an Original Hallmark movie. Three more of her titles are under film contract.

Rachel was awarded the prestigious Career Achievement Award for her body of original work by Romantic Times Book Reviews. A retired member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Executive Board, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. She is a past Mentor of The Year.

In the real world, she’s a wife, writer, worship leader and works out at the gym semi-enthusiastically. A graduate of Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with a degree in Journalism, she’s a former sorority girl and a devoted Ohio State football fan. Her bucket list is to stand on the sidelines with Ryan Day. She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

More from Rachel

One of the biggest challenges in a series is keeping the reader interested. Even more of a challenge is writing in a trope like royals.

I never set out to write a second royal series. With five stories in The Royal Wedding Series, I thought I’d explored the topic to my satisfactions.

Yet when readers asked for more, and when I found myself in a season to produce my own stories, another royal series seemed like the perfect fit.

But can I be honest? Really honest? Come close. I’ll tell you a secret. Closer…

Royals can be a bit boring. At least to write. You laugh but I’m serious.

What do we really know of their day to day lives? They attend national functions, patron charities, represent the nation on walkabouts around the world. They are ambassadors with no real political agenda. They champion causes.

But what exactly do they do with their days? What are the inner workings of palace life? What are the real expectations? Do they call the queen “her majesty” when talking among themselves? When talking to her? Are they as formal as it seems on television?

Yet royals are the most documented people in history. So there is a lot to glean from when I make up my worlds.

But at the end of it all, they key for me in writing royal characters is to make them real, everyday people. The prince is the kind of chap you want to chat with over tea. The heroine is the sort of girl you’d love to see become a princess. Maybe even see a bit of yourself in her.

In To Save A King, Crown Prince John is trying to emerge for a year of grief. Gemma Stone is desperate to escape her past.

Gemma’s story has some what of an edge to it. In her attempt to achieve her goals, she walked a path she never thought she’d walk when she was a girl growing up in Hearts Bend, Tennessee. And it proved her undoing.

While we may have never faced a past like Gemma’s, we can all relate to personal betrayal of our values from gossip to immorality. I hope Gemma’s story reminds us the nearness of love and forgiveness.

On a lighter side, I recently learned British society has moved away from chap and bloke, replacing it with the American term “guy.” Isn’t that funny. Louise Lee, my narrator, said it was funny to read those words in To Love A Prince since they were more her parents’ generation. Ah, the signs of a more global society.

Well, I didn’t care if they have gone out of style for young people. I used them anyway. I like them. Maybe we should adopt “chap” and “bloke” over here. What do you say, guys?

I hope you enjoy To Save a King, book two in the True Blue Royal series and find your heart cheering on broken, wounded characters to a happily ever after worthy of a prince and princess.

My Thoughts

I would like to address a point that Rachel Hauck brings up in her guest post: “Royals can be a bit boring.” First, I laughed out loud at that. It’s so true. Real-life, modern-day royals are pretty mundane all things considered. Second, it made me stop and consider all of Rachel Hauck’s Royal novels that I have read and I have realized that I’ve NEVER been bored reading her books. In fact, To Save a King, Hauck’s latest release, may be my favorite of all the Hauck books I’ve read to date. This book is SOOOOOOOOO good. It’s highly engaging and totally unputdownable. It’s a book I read well past my bedtime. LOL! To Save a King is captivating and magical, and it’s lovely and super-romantic. The characters are fantastic. John is a very swoon-worthy royal who is not boring at all. I love his immediate draw to Gemma and I adore how he sees her as his best friend. That really warmed my heart. Gemma is a magnificent character. She is my favorite in this story. Her story is heartbreaking, but it’s her self-loathing that’s the most painful. I wanted so badly to break through into the story-world just so I could give Gemma a hug. And, as with all Hauck novels I’ve read, To Save a King has a wonderful, inspirational message that left me feeling hopeful and inspired. There is so much to love about this beautiful redemption story. To Save a King is another home run by Rachel Hauck and I highly, highly recommend this modern-day magical fairy tale.

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author, Rachel Hauck, via Celebrate Lit. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.


Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize of a Kindle Fire!
*May be different than one pictured.

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!

Click the link below to enter.

PromoSimple Link


Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 8

Godly Book Reviews, May 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 8

Britt Reads Fiction, May 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 9

Blogging With Carol, May 9

Worthy2Read, May 9

For Him and My Family, May 10

Genesis 5020, May 10

The Book Chic Blog, May 10

CarpeDiem, May 10

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 11

Hebrews 12 Endurance, May 11

Splashes of Joy, May 11

Cultivating Us, May 11

Texas Book-aholic, May 12

Just Writing, May 12

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 12

Kayem Reads, May 12

Blossoms and Blessings, May 13

Betti Mace, May 13

Inklings and notions, May 13

deb’s Book Review, May 14

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, May 14

Inside the Wong Mind, May 14

Moments, May 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 15

Rachael’s Inkwell, May 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 15

Connect in Fiction, May 15

The Christian Fiction Girl, May 16

Kathleen’s Blog, May 16

Remembrancy, May 16

Mary Hake, May 16

Where Faith and Books Meet, May 17

She Lives To Read, May 17

Wishful Endings, May 17

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 18

Back Porch Reads, May 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, May 18

Livin’ Lit, May 18

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 19

Simple Harvest Reads, May 19 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Bizwings Blog, May 19

Mamma Loves Books, May 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 20

By The Book, May 20

The Sacred Line, May 20

Daysong Reflections, May 20

Through the fire blogs, May 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 21

Artistic Nobody, May 21 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Posted in Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, Historical Christian Fiction, Inspirational

The Nature of a Lady (2021)

About the Book

Book: The Nature of a Lady

Series: The Secrets of the Isles #1

Author: Roseanna M. White

Release Date: May 4, 2021

Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Historical Romance

1906
Lady Elizabeth “Libby” Sinclair, with her love of microscopes and nature, isn’t favored in society. She flees to the beautiful Isles of Scilly for the summer and stumbles into the dangerous secrets left behind by her holiday cottage’s former occupant, also named Elizabeth, who mysteriously vanished.

Oliver Tremayne–gentleman and clergyman–is determined to discover what happened to his sister, and he’s happy to accept the help of the girl now living in what should have been Beth’s summer cottage . . . especially when he realizes it’s the curious young lady he met briefly two years ago, who shares his love of botany and biology. But the hunt for his sister involves far more than nature walks, and he can’t quite believe all the secrets Beth had been keeping from him.

As Libby and Oliver work together, they find ancient legends, pirate wrecks, betrayal, and the most mysterious phenomenon of all: love.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

What a fantastically beautiful story! Roseanna M. White knocked it out of the park with The Nature of a Lady. This outstanding story has it all: a murder mystery, tons of intrigue, two sweet romances, character self-discovery and self-reflection, and an illustration of properly wrestling with God and His Truths in order to come to a better, stronger relationship with Him. This is a book that definitely had me turning pages well into the night. The Nature of a Lady is an absolute MUST-READ!

One of the things I love so much about White’s novels is how good she is at crafting characters who always manage to worm their way into my heart. I always feel deeply for White’s characters, and often find that I relate to their issues. I love White’s novels cause when I read them I don’t feel as alone as I usually do because if she can describe how I feel so adeptly through her characters I’m clearly not the only one who feels all the feels I feel on the regular. Take being the black sheep in your family for instance. Libby is her family’s black sheep. She isn’t like anyone else she knows and it hurts her that she’s different. It’s not the difference that bugs her so much as it is the constant state of being a disappointment to others and being so constantly disappointed that others won’t accept her for who she is. There’s this tiny moment in the novel where Libby says she thinks it’s time to give up. Oliver gives her a look and she tells him, “I’m not like them. And I don’t enjoy trying to be.” The “them” in this moment are two socially-adept, beautiful young women who come from Libby’s upper-crust society who always know what to do and say. They always want the things Society tells them to want and they never question their families, their peers, or their social structures. This moment broke my heart. Libby’s resignation, her utter sense of defeat, her total acceptance of her black-sheep status — it all just hurt me. I was so glad that Oliver was there in that moment to set her straight cause I wanted to jump into the book, hug her, then inform her that she is perfect exactly as God made her. And that’s what hurts so much about being a black sheep — we feel like a disappointing mistake. But, honestly, that’s garbage. The black sheep of this world are unique and special. We’re no mistake, we’re just often surrounded by people who are blind to how cool and amazing we truly are. It’s a matter of finding those who can see us for who we are, who can see us as God does. And I’m thrilled Libby found her special, perfect-for-her place in life among people who genuinely love her and accept her as one of their own.

I love The Nature of a Lady. This book is amazing and I could gush non-stop about its greatness. I’ll simply end this review by saying that this story is magical and wonderful. It’s a definite MUST-READ and I highly recommend it.

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Bethany House Publishers, via NetGalley in order to review. I also received a paperback review copy of this novel from Bethany House Publishers as well. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Christian Fiction, Contemporary Christian Fiction, Inspirational

The Menu (2020)

About the Book

Book: The Menu

Author: Steven Manchester

Release Date: June 16, 2020

Genre: Contemporary Christian Fiction

Blessed with a high emotional IQ, Phinn Reed enters the world with the promise of finding his soul mate. With heaven’s memories erased, his romantic quest teaches him that the heart often sees clearer than the eyes—and that not everyone has ordered the same items from The Menu. Evidence that love stories come in many different forms, The Menu is a spiritual journey involving more than just a man and a woman; it is a modern-day tale that reaches far beyond the boundaries of reason.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

If I had to describe this novel in one word that word would be “unique.” When I started this read I really had no idea what I was getting into as this is the first story I’ve read by this author. I am really glad I took the time to read this unique story as it is one that will stick with me long after the final page has been read. I have to admit that I did not care for the main character, Phinn, for about the first 40% of the story. I found him to be SO immature and self-centered and whiny, and I struggled with him as a “hero.” But then he meets Maddie and the story changes, Phinn changes. And that’s when I realized what the author was doing — his plot mimics life. Looking back on my life, I see that it wasn’t until I met my husband, my “one,” that I grew up and became an actual adult. Before my husband, I was pretty self-centered and often entered relationships that basically served my needs. If you asked me at the time, I would have been grossly offended by this assessment — of course, I was mature, of course, I cared about the well-being of others — but through the lens of time, I can see me for who I actually was — pretty self-focused. And the same goes for Phinn. Once he meets his soul mate, it’s like his immaturity goes by the wayside. He is a new man. His thoughts change, his actions change, his relationship with God changes. Without really knowing it or recognizing it, Phinn gets rid of childish, selfish ways and becomes a true selfless adult. I loved this illustration of immaturity to maturity, it really got me thinking and reflecting on my own past. And this is what I loved the most about this novel — this book got me thinking and reflecting and crying and laughing and all the other feels. I love when a book wheedles its way into my heart as The Menu did! Bottom line, The Menu is a gem of a story and I am SO happy I read this book. If you are in the mood for a well-written, highly engaging, unique Contemporary Christian story then I highly recommend The Menu.

***Note about the book*** The Menu is a Christian Fiction story, but it is very REAL. The characters are constant works in progress and they make real-life mistakes and they have real-life things hit them. Some of the real-life included in this story — language, abortion, cancer, marital relations, childbirth, and death. Nothing in this story is crude or disrespectful. But, this unique story is definitely not a stereotypical Christian Fiction narrative.

I purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on February 23, 2021, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Christian Fiction, Inspirational, Suspense

Night Fall (2021)

About the Book

Book: Night Fall

Series: The Quantico Files #1

Author: Nancy Mehl

Release Date: March 30, 2021

Genre: Christian Mystery and Suspense

For any little boy or girl who hears the Train Man speak,
Who feels his rancid breath caress their pretty cheek,
Must close their eyes, pretend to sleep, and very softly pray,
Or else the evil Train Man may carry them away.

Finally free of her troubled upbringing, Alex Donovan is able to live out her childhood dream of working for the FBI. But soon after she becomes a member of the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, authorities in Missouri contact them about bodies found on freight trains–all killed in the same way.

Alex never expected to be forced to confront her past in this new job, but she immediately recognizes the graffiti messages the killer is leaving on the train cars. When the BAU sends her to gather information about the messages from her aunt in Wichita, Kansas, Alex is haunted by the struggles she thought she’d left behind forever.

In a race against time to solve the case and recover a deadly virus sample the killer intends to spread, Alex must face how far she’ll go–and what she’s willing to risk–to put a stop to the Train Man.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

I am very new to Nancy Mehl’s novels; I have only read her Kaely Quinn Profiler series. So, I came to Night Fall very excited, but still not entirely sure what I was getting into. I admit that there is a lot to like about Night Fall, but I did struggle with a couple of things.

What I Loved

  • The intensity — there are some seriously dark, seriously intense moments in this story. I may have actually caught myself holding my breath a couple of times. I LOVE when a good suspense/mystery gets me so caught up in the storyline I stop breathing for a moment!
  • The juxtaposition of Alex to Adam — Adam is the bad guy in this story. We learn this immediately, so this is not a spoiler. Alex is the heroine, and this, too, is known from page one. Alex and Adam are very similar characters — they have almost identical, messed up childhoods, the adults in their lives utterly failed them, and they both were raised in an insane cult. Both started life walking down the same path. BUT when they came to their metaphorical forks in the road, Alex made very specific choices to better her life, while Adam did not. I LOVE the discussion in this novel about OUR choices. We all have free will and we all have access to doing what is right. It’s a simple matter of choosing to be a victim versus choosing to be a victor. Even though both lives were filled with immense pressure and trauma, Alex made the right choices while Adam did not.
  • Alex — Alex is a tough cookie who isn’t very tough at all. In fact, in this first book of The Quantico Files series, we see that she is quite cracked and it looks like maybe she will shatter into a million pieces. She’s fragility wrapped in tough glass. In this, Alex is exceptionally easy to relate to. I appreciate her coping mechanisms — cleaning and disinfecting, keeping things in order, commanding herself to get over her fears, etc. — because they are exactly like mine. I may have the cleanest kitchen in all of America. It’s my go-to defense when my world feels like chaos. If I can keep my kitchen clean, I have control over something. I like Alex because Alex reminds me of me, and she made me feel not so alone in this crazy world.
  • The overall plotNight Fall is a pretty predictable mystery. Because we are told who the bad guy is from the very beginning, it’s easy to figure things out. BUT, I did like the overall storyline because I liked seeing HOW the police, FBI, and other agencies came together to try to beat the bad guy before it was too late. I found this aspect of the story HIGHLY engaging and fun.

What I Struggled With

  • I knew who the bad guy was immediately — knowing right away that Adam is the bad guy and knowing his plan for everything zapped all of the mystery out of this story for me. And, because we get told everything up front I feel like most of the story is a lot of telling at me. Why read a story when you basically know everything? And, because I was told the mystery right from the beginning, the little reveals weren’t really reveals cause I figured them out almost immediately. This “knowing everything at the front of the novel” aspect was the most frustrating part for me because it made me not want to read. So, then I dragged my feet with this book and it took me NINE days to read.
  • COVID-19 and MORE pandemic fear – for crying out loud, can we just NOT talk about COVID? Like ever again? When I read, I want to escape. I don’t want the fictional worlds I read about to be full of the mainstream things that are literally happening this moment in my real world. And, to be honest, if I never ever hear the words COVID-19 and pandemics ever again I’ll be a very happy woman. The fact that this novel is all about a crazy person who wants to purposely cause a pandemic to kill 2/3 of the population made me also want to put the novel down. I’m so done with fear and disease.

So, that’s my list of what I liked and what I struggled with. As you can see, the likes far outweigh the struggles. In this, I can honestly say, “Go get this book now!” All kidding aside, I do think there is a lot about Night Fall that many, many readers will love, and so I highly recommend this book to those who love a good mystery/suspense tale.

I received a copy of this novel in paperback form from the publisher, Bethany House Publishers, in order to review. I also purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on April 1, 2021, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Posted in Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, Contemporary Christian Fiction, Inspirational, TBR Challenge

Still the One (2021)

About the Book

Book: Still the One

Series: Deep Haven Collection #1

Author: Rachel D. Russell

Release Date: January 12, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance

It’s never too late to finish a love story…

Cole Barrett, former Army Ranger, has a new mission objective. Sell his grandfather’s house and put Deep Haven, a place that holds too many hurts, in his rearview mirror as fast as possible. Recently divorced, single, and unattached, Cole just wants a new life as a US Marshal. One where he can forget the past and start new.

Unfortunately, there’s a tenant in the garage apartment who’s refusing to move. Even worse? It’s his childhood crush, Megan Carter, and her son.

Wedding planner and single mom Megan Carter loves Deep Haven. To her, it’s the place where she makes dreams come true—at least, everyone else’s. Her big dream is to purchase the Black Spruce Bed & Breakfast to turn it into a premier event venue and, if she can stay booked for enough weddings over winter, she’ll have the needed funds to buy the inn, move out of Grandpa Barrett’s garage apartment, and finally give her nine-year-old son, Josh, the life he deserves. She just needs four thousand dollars in the next thirty days.

Still, she’s oh, so close…until Cole Barrett returns to Deep Haven. Even if he’s not back to fulfill a silly childhood promise to marry her, but she never expected him to evict her! The last thing she needs is more expenses. Or for another man to walk into her heart…and break it.

When a blizzard strikes Deep Haven, and Megan is overrun with wedding catastrophes, it takes a former Ranger to step in and help. Besides, the more he comes to her rescue, the sooner she’ll be able to move out…and he can move on. And that’s what they both want, right?

Return to Deep Haven with this magical tale about the one who got away…and came back.

Click HERE to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

I devoured Susan May Warren’s Christiansen Family series in nanoseconds many years ago and have often missed the characters and charming town of Deep Haven. When I heard about the Deep Haven Collection series and that the Christiansens were making cameo appearances I knew I had to get my hands on this new series. I’m so glad I read Still the One by Rachel D. Russell. It was so much fun revisiting Deep Haven and seeing so many familiar characters again. I love how wonderfully and seamlessly integrated these familiar characters are within the narrative of Still the One. To me, it made the story all the more fun and engaging.

Still the One is a great read for so many reasons. The plot is engaging and I turned pages well into the night. Thank goodness it was my spring break last week and I could stay up so late! I LOVED the characters. Megan is a wonderfully endearing heroine. My heart hurt a bit for her and I really related to her soul struggle. And, I love what a great mom she is to her young son. She is so sacrificial and present — a true testament to motherhood! Cole is a good hero. He did frustrate me a little with his knee-jerk reactions when it came to his relationships with others. He’s such an organized, focused, thoughtful man, and he does have a heart the size of Texas, but when it comes to emotions at the first supposed sign of potential heartache he’s gone and leaves those he’s with in the lurch. I do appreciate his character growth over the course of the story as he does address this run-away tendency. My favorite aspect of this lovely story is the discussion on forgiveness. Many Christian novels deal with the topic of forgiveness, but this novel feels unique in that it acknowledges the anger, the injustice, caused when the person who should do the apologizing can’t. How do we get to that point of true forgiveness when the party who hurt us can’t ever validate our hurts and feelings? It’s a great question that had me thinking on things for sure. I appreciate Darek’s comment that, “Forgiveness isn’t about justice. It’s about freedom.” Brilliant! Forgiveness isn’t about the bad guy getting his comeuppance. It’s about the hurt person letting go of the hurt and anger and the frustration, and accepting that God has it all under control. There is true freedom in releasing all that negative and giving it over to the One who can actually do something about it. This was a great reminder I didn’t even know I needed!

I had a blast reading Still the One and very much look forward to the next installment in this series. If you are in the mood for a delightful, well-written, highly engaging Contemporary Romance then I highly recommend Still the One by Rachel D. Russell. I loved every minute of this story and I think you will too!

I purchased a copy of this novel in eBook form from Amazon.com on January 11, 2021, in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.