“Once Upon a Prince” by Rachel Hauck

Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess—just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn’t going according to plan. When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life.

The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simon’s Island is the queen of his heart. A prince has duties, and his family’s tense political situation has chosen his bride for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna’s aid under the fabled Lover’s Oak, he is blindsided by love.
Their lives are worlds apart. He’s a royal prince. She’s a ordinary girl. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel’s coronation.
It’s the ultimate choice. His kingdom or her heart? God’s will or their own?
Once Upon a Prince is the most romantic love story of the year!  From a sun-kissed southern island to a regal European palace, not a single element of this story has been left bereft of Hauck’s wash of love-colored paint.  Susanna Truitt’s situation, although funny as described, rings bleakly true, and too many of us will find something familiar in Prince Nathaniel’s duty-bound story.  
It is precisely that truth which makes the rest of this fantastic situation spellbinding.  All of us, at one time or another, have dreamed of a royal wedding.  We all want to be carried off into the sunset and live “happily ever after,” yet we know that this isn’t realistic.  
Susanna’s dreams, however, are in full color, especially after she visits Brighton Kingdom.  The plot progression deepens the moral lesson and also ups the suspense factor.  I couldn’t wait to find out just how Susanna’s lovelorn dilemma would reach resolution – I stayed up much too late to find out the answer.  Hauck is a romantic master and, in my opinion, has the corner in this genre. 
This is my favorite love story of 2013.  My only hope is that Hauck writes the next one in this series quickly. 
Once Upon a Prince, Book Trailer - Rachel Hauck
Once Upon a Prince, Book Trailer – Rachel Hauck
You can read other reviews on this blog hop here, or click here to purchase your own copy now.
Rachel Hauck is the bestselling author of Carol Award winner “Sweet Caroline”, and RITA Finalist “Love Starts With Elle”, and of the critically acclaimed fiction collaboration with multi-platinum country artist Sara Evans, “The Songbird Novels”. She lives in sunny, though sometimes hurricane plagued, central Florida with her husband and their ornery pets. Rachel earned a degree in Journalism from Ohio State University and is a huge Buckeyes football fan. She is the past President of American Christian Fiction Writers and now sits on the board as an Advisor.
Find out more about Rachel at: http://RachelHauck.com
I received a free copy of Once Upon a Prince from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

“On Distant Shores” by Sarah Sundin

Caught between the war raging around them and the battles within, two souls long for peace—and a love that remains true.

Lt. Georgiana Taylor has everything she could want. A boyfriend back home, a loving family, and a challenging job as a flight nurse. But in July 1943, Georgie’s cozy life gets more complicated when she meets pharmacist Sgt. John Hutchinson.

Hutch resents the lack of respect he gets as a noncommissioned serviceman and hates how the war keeps him from his fiancĂ©e. While Georgie and Hutch share a love of the starry night skies over Sicily, their lives back home are falling apart. Can they weather the hurt and betrayal? Or will the pressures of war destroy the fragile connection they’ve made?

With her signature attention to detail and her talent for bringing characters together, Sarah Sundin weaves an exciting tale of emotion, action, and romance that will leave you wanting more.

Continuing with the wide cast of characters created in With Every Letter, On Distant Shores returns you to the drama unfolding within the military during World War II.  As if fighting Hitler, Mussolini, hunger, heat, and disease weren’t enough, Hutch also fights inequality within our very own military.  I’ve never before heard of the pharmacists’ fight to become recognized as officers, and it’s fascinating.  Who would’ve thought that such a respected and important profession would have faced such barriers?  I didn’t – but because of Sundin’s creative story, I enjoyed expanding my education!

Hutch and Georgie make colorful characters who complement each other well, and yet their differences in rank and those waiting for them at home make for a romantic story.  Sundin’s push beyond the typical romance – making the story not just about finally finding a happy ending for their love but instead learning to grow as God’s children and follow His will – make this a deep and enduring kind of story.  

Well written and full of historical detail, Sarah Sundin is rapidly moving up on my ‘favorite author’ list.  This has always been a period in history that is fascinating to me, but Sundin’s On Distant Shores shines a spotlight on a little-known corner of it – and it shows us just how important these hardworking men and women were during this war.

Sundin reminds us that our lives are really not about us – not necessarily about our plans or our wants but instead what God wants us to do and how we can help others.  

What a fun way for God to deliver that reminder. 

You can read other reviews in this blog hop here or visit this page to purchase our own copy.

Sarah Sundin is the author of “With Every Letter” and the Wings of Glory series. In 2011, A “Memory Between Us” was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards, and Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist’s mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children. 

Visit www.sarahsundin.com for more information.

I received a free copy of On Distant Shores from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

“A Noble Groom” by Jody Hedlund

Michigan, 1888

Annalisa Werner’s hope for a fairy tale love is over. Her husband failed her in every way and now his death has left her with few options to save the family farm. She needs a plentiful harvest. That, and a husband to help bring it in. Someone strong, dependable. That’ll be enough. A marriage for love…that’s something she’s given up on.
So her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa agroom.
Then a man appears: Carl Richards, from their home country of Germany and a former schoolteacher—or so he says. He’s looking for work and will serve on the farm until her husband arrives.
With time running out, she accepts his help, but there’s more to this man than he’s admitting. He’s also gentle, kind, charming—unlike any man she’s ever known. But even as Carl is shining light into the darkness of her heart, she knows her true groom may arrive any day.
Every Hedlund book gets better, and A Noble Groom is no exception to that rule.  Jody Hedlund is a master at painting a scene.  She fully immerses you in the drama that she has created until you’re positive that her characters are real and that you’re watching them live out their story.
It doesn’t hurt that A Noble Groom is set in the American pioneer era, one of my favorites in all of history, but I’m convinced I’d love it anyway.  Hedlund’s mixture of historical reality and fictional drama are remarkably rare.  Most authors excel at creating an unforgettable story or an amazing historical setting, but few can accurately portray the pain of a given era while still showcasing it as a romantic possibility as Hedlund.
If you’d like to find out more about the pioneer spirit in Michigan or are just a historical fiction junkie, be sure to add A Noble Groom to your must-read list.
Read other reviews on this bloggy tour here.  To buy your own copy of A Noble Groom, click here.
 Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of “The Doctor’s Lady” and “The Preacher’s Bride”. She won the 2011 Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, the 2011 Award of Excellence from the Colorado Romance Writers and was a finalist for Best Debut Novel in the 2011 ACFW Carol Awards. Currently she makes her home in central Michigan, with her husband and five busy children. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog.
Find out more about Jody athttp://jodyhedlund.com/
I received a free copy of A Noble Groom from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

“No Safe Harbor” by Elizabeth Ludwig


She came to America searching for her brother. Instead all she’s found is a web of danger.

Cara Hamilton had thought her brother to be dead. Now, clutching his letter, she leaves Ireland for America, desperate to find him. Her search leads her to a houseful of curious strangers, and one man who claims to be a friend-Rourke Walsh. Despite her brother’s warning, Cara trusts Rourke, revealing her purpose in coming to New York.
She’s then thrust into a world of subterfuge, veiled threats, and attempted murder, including political revolutionaries from the homeland out for revenge. Her questions guide her ever nearer to locating her brother-but they also bring her closer to destruction as those who want to kill him track her footsteps.
With her faith in tatters, all hope flees. Will her brother finally surface? Can he save Cara from the truth about Rourke… a man she’s grown to love? 

No Safe Harbor is full of twists and turns!  Cara’s journey is a difficult one as she tries to find her brother without knowing whom she can trust, and that makes the entire book suspenseful.   It seemed as if every other person she met had some kind of possible connection to her brother, and not knowing whether she’s safe keeps the reader on her toes.

My absolute favorite aspect of the book, though, was that of Cara’s Irish heritage.  I loved hearing the references to her homeland, to searches through Ellis Island to trace immigrants, and the brogue fairly jumped off the page and into my ears.  My great-grandmother once traced my ancestors back to Ireland in 1632, and I’ve always wondered what their journey – earlier though it was – must have been like.  While I’ve never heard of my ancestors having these types of strong family “connections,” this makes for a fascinating story!

I can’t wait to read the next installment to the Edge of Freedom series.  

You can check out other reviews on the blog tour here, or, you can buy your own copy of No Safe Harbor here.  

Elizabeth Ludwig is an award-winning author and an accomplished speaker and teacher. Her historical novel Love Finds You in Calico, California earned four stars from Romantic Times. She is the owner and editor of the popular literary blog The Borrowed Book. Along with her husband and two children, Elizabeth makes her home in Orange, Texas.
I received a free copy of No Safe Harbor from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

“Need You Now” by Beth Wiseman

Darlene Henderson and her husband Brad recently moved from big city life to a farm in rural Texas, where the kids are turning over a new, peaceful leaf and they’re all settling into life in the slow lane.  That is, until Darlene realizes that with their youngest child now doing well in middle school and less involvement with her children’s activities, she has more time on her hands than ever – and nobody seems to need her.  She takes a teacher’s position in a local school for students with special needs, and the family scrambles to fill her homemaking shoes.  In the commotion of the move, Brad’s long daily commute, and Darlene’s new schedule, however, nobody notices as each teen finds new temptations in small town life – and the Henderson marriage has trouble finding a new balance.  When the handsome dad of Darlene’s new student enters the picture, will he be just another ripple in the pond – or the final straw on the camel’s back?
I’ve been a fan of Wiseman’s work for a while – you can read my reviews of some of her other books here and here – and this one is even better.  From the very beginning, although my children are still small and need much daily help, I could identify with Darlene, especially in her quest to be useful.  She wants her work, whether at home, with her family, in her marriage, or at a paying job, to be of significance to somebody, and her family no longer notices the effort she puts forth for them each day.  
As a wife and mom, I think that this is something that most of us can relate to: do we stay home?  Do we work outside of the home?  Is being available really that important?  Are relatively clean floors and healthy meals of value, and if so, to whom?  Today’s American culture doesn’t seem to value these efforts in the same way that it did 50 years ago, and Darlene feels the pressure to fill her time and be important.  This struggle initally made me identify with Darlene, but it was her quest to find a solid friendship in her neighbor Layla and the issues with her kids that made me unable to put this book down.
Books where you can predict the ending are not fun.  It’s the question, the unanswered dilemma, the what-if that keeps the pages turning, and Wiseman has heaped them upon this book – in spades.  What makes this book completely fascinating is that each question is a pressing concern in our society today, and yet they’re all woven realistically into a tapestry that looks like a typical, caring American family.  One wouldn’t expect the Cleavers to have a rebellious son, a daughter who cuts, or a wife on the brink of an affair, and yet real families have real problems.  The Hendersons do, too.
That is the best part of Need You Now.  It reads like reality.  It’s taken from today’s headlines and written in such a way that these issues could be a part of anybody’s family.  The script flows smoothly, so well written that it allows the text to fade away as the characters and scenes play out in front of you.  
That is the excellence of Wiseman.  I love her past work.  This is my favorite so far.  I can’t wait to read the next one.
I received a free copy of Need You Now from B&B Media Group in exchange for an honest review.

“My Stubborn Heart” by Becky Wade

When traveling to Pennsylvania to help her grandmother renovate her childhood home, Kate Donovan was excited for the break.  With her career as a social worker feeling lackluster following a tragedy and no Prince Charming in sight, Kate began to question God’s plan – and then she met Matt Jarreau, the man hired to complete the renovation.  Suddenly Kate begins to see purpose in the journey as the two begin to grow close, despite the tragedy in Matt’s past.  Can each be obedient to God’s instruction, however, even if it means giving up what they want most?
As a reader, you have to cheer Kate on.  She’s persistent, kind, and yet real in her desire for a husband.  She takes a stand for the underdog, the hurting, and yet bleeds while she does it.  She isn’t perfect and has her own doubts and sometimes gives in to them.  Wade writes amazing, funny, touchable characters that you want to befriend and invite over for dinner.
Wade’s writing is smooth with fantastic word choices and character quirks.  She’s written the best kind of romance – one that makes you fall in love with the characters while simultaneously crying for their problems.  This isn’t a piece of beach fluff, for they’ve endured real pain and real tragedy.  Their faith and their doubts and their questions can’t be brushed aside, but instead she digs in deep and helps them find the answers for which they search.  Forgiveness, true love, faith – this book is about so much more than romance.
I can’t wait to see what Wade writes next.
I received a free copy of My Stubborn Heart from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

“The Miracle of Mercy Land” by River Jordan

Mercy Land has arrived.  Born in a bolt of lightening on the banks of Bittersweet Creek, she has moved to nearby Bay City and has found her niche – working as the assistant to Doc, the local newspaper editor.  When a mysterious book arrives on her boss’s desk that threatens her dreams, Mercy must decide what to do with the book.  Mercy’s life is further complicated when Doc suddenly decides to retire and brings in John Quincy as his replacement, a newspaper novice who seems to know more about Mercy and Bay City than he’s telling.  Can Mercy determine the book’s purpose before it disappears?  Can she solve the mystery of John Quincy before losing her shot at the job of editor?

Jordan is a gifted storyteller who draws the reader in with her descriptions and flowing language.  Her characters are alive in this book and kept me cheering them on throughout the story.  The issue of the mysterious book, however, was something else.  The blurbs I read made me think that this was a book about time travel – which it isn’t.  Doc seems to think that the book will give him a chance to right an old wrong – but never in their contact with the book do they do more than lose track of time and gain information about people around them.  Since they cannot choose whose name will appear to them or travel in time, I’m not sure how he expected to use the book to change a life.  That part left me confused; it was a bit raw, I think.  There were also connections between a few characters that were never fully explained.

In the end, Jordan makes the point that we are all connected; all of the choices that we make individually affect the human population as a whole.  Forgiveness is also a major theme in this book.

I couldn’t put book down because I just had to know how Mercy was going to save the day; but now that I know the ending, I don’t know how soon I’ll pick it back up again.  It’s a good read, but not one that I need to dust off and make part of my regular reading list.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Blogging for Books  program in exchange for an honest review.

“A Miracle of Hope” by Ruth Reid


How far can God’s mercy reach?

Lindie Wyse is pregnant out of wedlock and thinks an arranged marriage is the only way to preserve her future. Josiah Plank is certain he’ll never love again, but he needs someone to care for his eight-year-old daughter, Hannah. The two take on their arrangement tentatively at first but soon realize they are each in for more than they imagined.

Lindie experiences a breakthrough with Hannah when she recognizes Hannah’s special gifts, but a risky pregnancy and serious health issues threaten to demolish the foundation Josiah and Lindie are building. Will their growing love survive despite their struggles, or will their hearts become as cold as the northern winter?

 We don’t generally think of the Amish in terms of injustice, crime, danger, or arranged marriages, but A Miracle of Hope has all of the above.  The story starts with a dramatic mystery and ends as a sweet story of hope and love.

Lindie is mysteriously quiet in the early chapters of this book.  Not knowing exactly what has happened to her or why she’s been disgraced certainly adds to the suspense of the story, but you’ll soon learn that there’s even more than you expected – which only makes it better.

Josiah has issues that are unforeseen, as well, and they don’t all stem from the seemingly textbook sources.  His problems and past baggage pop up throughout the book with frustrating regularity, which will make you turn pages even faster in the hopes of figuring out his story.  

Hannah’s the one who will really surprise you, though, because not only does she have issues that Josiah takes several chapters to explain, but she has gifts that most faithful English, nevertheless Amish, rarely discuss.  After getting a glimpse of Hannah’s story you can’t help but want to cheer her on and find out more.

So don’t start A Miracle of Hope in the carpool line or just before bedtime or while you wait for the doctor.  You just won’t have enough time.  Settle in with some hot chocolate and your favorite snack, because you’re going to be there a while.  Once you crease the cover, you’ll be turning the pages until you reach ‘The End’ at the back.

Read other reviews in this bloggy hop here or purchase your own now.

Ruth Reid is a CBA and ECPA best-selling author of the Heaven on Earth series. She’s a full-time pharmacist who resides in Florida with her husband and three children.

Find out more about Ruth at:http://ruthreid.com

I received a free copy of A Miracle of Hope from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

“Mine is the Night” by Liz Curtis Higgs

Marjory and Elizabeth Kerr are alone.  Having lost both husbands in the recent Jacobite uprising and subsequently all titles and land after being branded as traitors to the Scottish Crown, Marjory takes her daughter-in-law Elizabeth to Selkirk, hoping to find work and a new life in the land of her youth.  After being accosted by Dragoons and snubbed by the neighbors, however, the Kerr women are left with only questions.  Will the townspeople forgive Marjory for her former pride and snobbishness?  Will Reverend Brown banish them both from Selkirk?  Will Lord Buchanan turn Elizabeth, his newly appointed seamstress, over to the King for her past mistakes of treason, or will he fall in love with the woman she has become?

This book is a sequel to Here Burns My Candle, and I was a bit worried that I would be lost when the book arrived, but I had no problems.  The author does a fabulous book of filling in the reader on the important information from the previous book without sacrificing the flow of the current story.  Higgs’ characters are so realistic that it seems you might just meet them on the street.  Their depth of character reflects the struggles they have conquered in the previous story and the class  issues in eighteenth century Scotland.   Higgs’ extensive research shines through in the detail she brings to the setting.  The best parts of the book, however, are the twists that Higgs continually throws into the storyline.  Each time the reader feels comfortable predicting the next piece of action, the author throws in a new tangle.  Fabulous!

I loved this book, and if you are a historical fiction fan, you have to check this one out!  I’ll definitely be hunting down more books by Liz Curtis Higgs.

I received a free copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

For more information about Mine is the Night, including an excerpt from the book, go here.

“The Memory Jar” by Tricia Goyer

Book One in the Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series
Every year, 30-40 young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive ‘resident’ status for the hunting season in the fall. They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides! Sarah Shelter has lived in West Kootenai for the last ten years and wonders if she will ever fall in love;  Since the tragic death of her best friend, she carries her memories in a jar along with the small items connected to them. For just as long, she’s also been carrying around her emotions instead of allowing them to penetrate deep into her heart. Now she’s met a kind and gentle man who may be able to break down the wall. But can Sarah risk her heart to finally achieve her dreams?
I really liked this story!   Many Amish books are about issues that are specific to Amish life.  The Memory Jar, however, is a book that anyone can relate to.  Sarah and her chosen bachelor want to be true to their dreams, but they fear disappointing their community.  Sarah also carries some painful baggage from her past, and coming to terms with that is difficult.  Being true to the calling God has given us and forgiving ourselves for our own mistakes are both issues that every one of us faces.
While it sounds as if this is a weighty, heavy book, Sarah’s adventurous spirit and love of beauty relaxes the tension in this story.  My final takeaway feeling was one of bright color and happiness.  I love her positive outlook and cheery plans for the future.
This was also my first experience reading about the Amish community of West Kootenai.  I grew up near the super conservative community of Belleville, Pennsylvania, and the differences between these two were stark.  I enjoyed reading about an Amish community that was so obviously different from those I know – it was both informative and fun.
I haven’t read a Goyer book yet that isn’t a great read and she continues that trend in The Memory Jar – a great coming-of-age story with a fun Amish twist.  I’m happy to put this book firmly in place on my bookshelf!
To read other reviews on this bloggy tour, click here.  You can purchase The Memory Jar here.
Tricia Goyer is the award winning author of over thirty books including Beside Still Waters, Remembering You, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences and is the host of Living Inspired. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.
Find out more about Tricia at http://triciagoyer.com.
I received a free copy of The Memory Jar from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.