Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How to Catch a Prince by Rachel Hauck

From the publisher:
Prince Stephen came to America to escape responsibility. But what he found complicates his life more than ever.
Corina Del Rey is happy with her life in Melbourne, Florida. She spends her days engrossed in her career as a journalist and has her sights set on climbing the corporate ladder-if for no other reason, to distract herself from her dissolving family. But when she is confronted with the past she fought so hard to put behind her, she struggles to make sense of her future.
Prince Stephen of Brighton Kingdom has moved on since the tragic death of his buddies in Afghanistan. A star professional rugby player, he has no intention of looking over his shoulder at what could've been
But when a notice arrives in the mail requiring his and his wife's appearance before the courts to dissolve their marriage, he must deal with the questions rumbling around in his heart. He thought his marriage had been annulled long ago, but his memories of Corina Del Rey remain close. Does he still love her? Can he even find her? Above all, can he tell her the truth about that fateful night in Afghanistan seven years ago? If he does, he might really lose her forever.
The cover of this book is exquisite.  And the cover did not disappoint for the story held within.  This is  my favorite Rachel Hauck book yet!  Each of her novels in this Royal Wedding Series, and her novella are sweet and romantic.  But this novel was more than just sweet and romantic.  It was sweet, romantic, swoon-worthy, emotionally raw, and spiritually powerful.  I couldn't believe all that Rachel Hauck wove into this story.  
The spiritual focus in strong and throughout the whole book.  Corina's strong relationship with God after suffering grief, and Stephen's struggle against a God who allows bad things to happen creates a avenue for readers to relate to, no matter which way you might feel.  The conversations that Corina and Stephen have with God, each other, and other secondary characters are real and thought-provoking.  I was challenged and encouraged as I read.  
Romantically you couldn't ask for a better love story.  It is all a romance novel could hope for.  There is chemistry and tension but also real love, self-sacrificing and daring love.  Corina and Stephen learn to love well--and what a beautiful part of the book that was.  It made me want to "love well" to others in my life.
The book also deals with PTSD, war, loss, survivors guilt, and questioning God.  This are very real things that are happening all the time around us.  This made Stephen's character rich and deep.  He felt and hurt, but you could tell he was more honorable for it. I was glad for how Rachel Hauck dealt with his situation and felt that it could apply to many of the readers in different areas. 
All in all this was an amazing book and I am so glad I read it.  I highly recommend it to others.  
I received this book free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Anna's Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher

From the publisher:
When Anna König first meets Bairn, the Scottish ship carpenter of the Charming Nancy, their encounter is anything but pleasant. Anna is on the ship only to ensure the safe arrival of her loved ones to the New World. Hardened by years of living at sea, Bairn resents toting these naïve farmers--dubbed "Peculiars" by deckhands--across the ocean. As delays, storms, illness, and diminishing provisions afflict crew and passengers alike, Bairn finds himself drawn to Anna's serene nature. For her part, Anna can't seem to stay below deck and far away from the aloof ship's carpenter, despite warnings.

When an act of sacrifice leaves Anna in a perilous situation, Bairn discovers he may not have left his faith as firmly in the past as he thought. But has the revelation come too late?

I loved this story.  I have read quite a bit of Amish fiction and this probably was one of my favorites and that is because it didn't follow the "same-old-story" that many of the Amish fiction stories do.  Suzanne Woods Fisher takes you on an incredible journey for the Amish and Mennonites, fleeing Europe to go to Penn's Woods--America.  The story focuses on a group of Amish but you will understand the struggle of any traveling to America.  

Anna's faith is something that stays strong through the book and influences those around her.  There are some heartbreaking scenes in the book, but I was glad that Anna stayed strong in her faith even though it was tested.

Bairn was a strong character that you immediately like and want him to succeed. He is strong but he is also tender and emotional.  I liked that blend of a character. He was a good surprise in the book and I am glad for that.

This book was very enjoyable and I am so glad that I was able to review this. The plot was was intriguing and carried you through the whole book. 

The secondary characters in the story were a nice addition.  They didn't take away from the main story developing but added to it. 

I received this book free from Revell Reads in exchange for my honest review.  

A Heart's Disguise by Colleen Coble

From the publisher: While the tiny town of Wabash, Indiana, celebrates the end of the fighting,            Sarah Montgomery attends the parties, but inside she’s fighting a deep sadness. The love of Sara’s life, Rand Campbell, didn’t come back from the front.
So her brother and ailing father persuade her to pledge herself to another man—despite her misgivings. When Sarah finds out that Rand is in fact alive—and that her fiancé Ben Croftner knew it—she indignantly breaks off their engagement.
Croftner doesn’t take rejection lightly—and a single woman with a sick father makes an easy target. He abducts Sarah, his intentions anything but honorable. Then Rand comes to her aid . . . only to reveal that he has been posted at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, and asks her to go with him as his wife.
Will Sarah leave her dying father’s side for the only man she’s ever loved? And what plans are forming in the jealous heart of Ben Croftner?

This is a novella-type book that is one of six.  The book is a quick read and I found myself wishing that all six were together so I wouldn't have to wait on what happens next! 

Colleen Coble shares these books as some of the first series she'd ever written.  While you can tell that these are not the same richness as her full length novels, you can appreciate her writing and plot line.  Just from the back of the book a reader will be drawn into the story.  

In certain ways these novellas would be perfect (at least from this book) for a pre-teen/teen reader who wants an exciting but clean love story.  I would recommend this to that age of reader, though all could enjoy it.

I am looking forward to finishing out the series and finding out what happens between Sarah, Rand, and Ben!

I received this book free from BookLook Bloogers in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Trouble with Patience by Maggie Brendan

From the publisher:
Patience Cavanaugh has lost hope in romance. The man she yearned to marry is dead and her dreams are gone with him. Now she is consumed with the restoration of a dilapidated boarding house in order to support herself. Despite her desire for solitude, Jedediah Jones, the local sheriff with a reputation for hanging criminals, becomes an ever-looming part of her life. It seems like such a simple arrangement: Patience needs someone with a strong back to help her fix up the boardinghouse, and Jedediah needs a dependable source of food for himself and his prisoners. But Patience gets more than she bargained for as she explores the depths of the "hanging lawman"--and finds both betrayal and love.

Maggie Brendan has done her western research and has taken time to weave them into a story that has both romance and some gun-firing, criminal-handing action.  This story weaves the lives of Patience and Jedediah into the others in the town.  The romance is there immediately but it develops slowly.  Both Patience and Jedediah have short-comings that they work through and overcoming.  All-the-while dealing with criminals and friends.

I had trouble getting into the book and staying with the plot.  It felt slow moving.  The romance seemed awkward, but it could just be that the romance back in the old west would have looked like that.  It's hard to put the exact reason, but both Patience and Jedediah were characters that I felt were not developed.  

I wanted to really enjoy this book but was not drawn into it.  

I received this book free from Revell Reads in exchange for my honest review. 

Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey

From the publisher:
Growing up, goody-two-shoes Kirra Jacobs and troublemaker Reef McKenna were always at odds. Now, working together as search-and-rescue for Alaska's arduous Iditarod race, a growing attraction seems to be forcing aside old arguments. Then Reef catches Kirra sneaking from camp in the middle of the night. 

Kirra's uncle, a musher in the race, has disappeared. Kirra and Reef quickly track the man, but what they discover is harrowing: Frank's daughter has been kidnapped. Kirra and Reef, along with the entire McKenna family, are thrown into a race to stop a shadowy villain who is not only threatening a girl's life--but appears willing to unleash one of the largest disasters Alaska has ever seen. 

What a fantastic end to the Alaskan Courage series of the McKenna family. This whole series has been an amazing, thrilling read.  This final book was in no way a disappointment to the series.  I think this may have been one of my favorites because of the spiritual emphasis in the personal lives of Kirra and Reef, but it would be hard for me to pick a favorite from the series.

The spiritual aspect of this book was very strong but done in such a natural way that it didn't feel forced at all.  Kirra prays and speaks to God and hears Him speak to her in her heart.  It was very moving to read this part of the story.  Also, to see Reef's character develop through the whole series was great--especially to see him praying silently and with Kirra through the whole intense and difficult situations.  

As always Dani Pettrey writes a novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat.  I had to read this book in one day because I couldn't put it down.  As a reader you will find your self thinking through different possible situations and scenarios to what could be the solution to the the kidnapping and threat to the Alaksa.  

I highly  recommend not only this book but the entire series.  I cannot wait for more from Dani Pettrey.  She combines romance, suspense, and God in a way that I have not ever read.  It is something you don't want to miss.

I received this book free form Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.