25 Book Reviews

Sunday, December 29, 2019

What could be better than a book that combines a Christmas story with a wedding dress????? Only Rachel Hauck could write such a realistic, beautiful tale@


                     "The Wedding Dress"
                        By Rachel Hauck

About the Book:


Genre: Romance, Christmas
Release Date: October 22, 2019
December covers quaint Heart’s Bend, Tennessee with a blanket of white and the glitter of Christmas lights.
For JoJo Castle there’s no place like home. It’s her safe place. Her one-time love of adventure ended when life in the big city shattered her hopes and dreams. Now that she’s returned to Hearts Bend, she never wants to leave again.
Buck Mathews, the biggest country singing sensation in decades, has the world on a string – his guitar strings, to be exact. However, when news of his mother’s illness sends him back to Hearts Bend for the holiday season, he remembers how good it can be to live among family and friends.
Working with her cousin Haley in The Wedding Shop, JoJo has no aspirations of love. Leaving home, surrendering her heart again, is just too risky.
When she runs into her friend and high school crush Buck Mathews, she discovers Love might have other plans for her[BV1] .
Buck’s career is on the verge of an momentous leap. But seeing JoJo awakens feelings he’d buried long ago. Falling in love is easy, but winning her heart will take more than one of his melodic tunes and clever lyrics.
JoJo and Buck want opposite things for their lives, leaving no room for compromise. Can love, especially the kind that touches hearts at Christmastime, overcome her fears andhis quest for greatness?
When a very special gown – the wedding dress – begins to make its presence known, JoJo and Buck’s hearts bend in a way neither ever thought possible.

Click here to get your copy.

My Thoughts:

Rachel Hauck has earned her way to the top of my list of favorite authors , writing novels that capture my interest in the first chapter, hold me totally engrossed in the plot and won't release me until I have read the last page. Thus, I have very high expectations when a new book is announced. Although I am not always satisfied with novellas , as I don't want them to end, "The Wedding Dress Christmas" was no disappointment. A delightful tale full of realistic characters that have you walk along beside them through a rather rocky road of life. This third book in the Wedding Collection is the best yet!!!

The characters, realistic and complicated individuals , draw you into their lives, which are not those of fairy tales. I loved the peek at the Wedding Shop. Doesn't every female? But it is not an ordinary shop. Rachel Hauck always makes her characters and setting somewhat quirky and special. God is always in the lives, often making the seemingly impossible happen, but in His time and in His way.

The plot was full  of twists and turns, surprising me, as with such a short story, that is a difficult task. Rachel writes in her unique storytelling style to engage readers in very different situations. The element with the Castle family and the holiday curse had me on the edge of my seat, awaiting another complication in the lives of these dear people. Only a "God moment" can give Mrs. Castle something very special after a tragedy. 

I was captivated by the very special wedding dress. I loved the magic of the dress and had my own thoughts about its past. 

This was a fabulous read! I was thankful that it was a novella because I just could not put this book down!!  It was a beautiful story !!

Rachel deserves a gold medal for this book! Being able to include the details and complicated plot all done in her unique style, was simply amazing!!!
I am eagerly awaiting her new creation.


This book was supplied by CelebrateLit . The thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own.

About the Author:


Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.
Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Reviews. 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.
Rachel has been awarded the prestigious Career Achievement Award for her body of original work by Romantic Times Book Reviews.
A member of the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. She is a past Mentor of The Year.
At home, 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

Hello Royal Rockstar Readers!
I’m thrilled to share The Wedding Dress Christmas with you. I’ve heard from so many how much The Wedding Dress has touched them, and as I noodled over new story ideas, my thoughts drifted toward the wedding dress and Christmas. What’s more romantic than a Christmas wedding?
This novella is set in Hearts Bend, Tennessee, the fictional town ofThe Wedding Chapel and The Wedding Shop. Even if you’ve never read one of books inThe Wedding Collection, you’ll enjoy this story, the mystery of the dress, and the women whose lives it changed.
I love weddings. They remind us of the purity and the hope of love, the power of commitment. Something powerful is released when two people pledge to spend their lives together, loving and serving one another in both good and bad times. Every wedding I attend reminds me of the vows I made to my husband and I sign up all over again.
Stories are a powerful reflection of life. Yes, fictional stories are often told with wild hyperbole, but that’s what makes them fun to read.
I also love wedding stories because they remind us of God’s love for us, and that one day there will be the grandest wedding of them all. Isn’t it wonderful that God planned a wedding before He created the earth?
In The Wedding Dress Christmas, JoJo and Buck have their issues, but love proves strong enough to conquer them all.
Thanks for going on this little tour with me and The Wedding Dress Christmas.
Yours,
Rachel

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, December 18
Livin’ Lit, December 18
Robin’s Nest, December 18
By The Book, December 19
Wishful Endings, December 19
All-of-a-kind Mom, December 19
Among the Reads, December 20
Genesis 5020, December 20
Life as Lanhams, December 20
Daysong Reflections, December 21
Bigreadersite, December 21
Simple Harvest Reads, December 22 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Remembrancy, December 22
Britt Reads Fiction, December 22
She Lives to Read, December 23
Empowermoms, December 23
Inside the Wong Mind, December 23
Mia Reads Blog, December 23
Splashes of Joy, December 24
Christian Bookaholic, December 24
Hallie Reads, December 24
Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 25
Blogging With Carol, December 25
For Him and My Family, December 26
Hebrews 12 Endurance, December 26
Mamma Loves Books, December 27
Betti Mace, December 28
Batya’s Bits, December 28
Quiet Quilter, December 29
janicesbookreviews, December 29
A Reader’s Brain, December 30
Inklings and notions, December 30
Texas Book-aholic, December 30
Carla Loves to Read, December 30
Back Porch Reads, December 31
CarpeDiem, December 31

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a print copy of the book and a Visa gift card for $25. Swag!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Two Sweet Christmas Tales That Should Not Be Missed! Make sure that you enter the giveaway!


                      "Mistletoe Melody"
                     "Mistletoe Mission"
                      By Stacey Weeks

About the Books:


Genre: Contemporary inspirational romance
Release Date: Book 1 (December 1, 2018) Book 2 (December 1, 2019)
Mistletoe Melody:
Former musician, Melody Staff, spends Christmas at a bed and breakfast in the village of Mistletoe Meadows. While everyone sings familiar carols of Christ drawing near, Melody stumbles over misplaced notes. Her recent diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis has scared off her fiancé and thrust her life into a grand pause. She’s not sure her heart will ever sing again.
Quentin Oxford has endured a devastating year. His preteen daughter suffered a stroke, and they’ve grieved his wife’s sudden death, but the Lord coaxes a surprising refrain from Quentin’s heart as God rewrites his and Melody’s score into a holiday love song that will last for Christmases to come.
Mistletoe Mission:MistletoeMission_w12873_750
While her own relationships always end up doomed, Emily Colt is still determined to create happily-ever-afters through her wedding and event planning business. In hopes of expanding her business, she enters her latest project–staging the Christmas wedding of the year–into a town-wide contest. But between crossing paths with the first man to break her heart and dodging a saboteur, she doubts even career success is within her grasp.
Jilted pastor, Luca Wilson, fled to the mission field to escape a broken heart. All the hurt rushes back when he returns home to officiate his cousin’s wedding, and he finds Emily, the girl to whom he once promised forever, organizing the celebration. Despite his lost faith in love, their unforeseen reunion rekindles a spark, and Luca vows to help her save her struggling business. But to succeed, they will have to learn what it means to trust each other and believe in the God of Christmas miracles.

Click here to purchase Mistletoe Melody and here to purchase Mistletoe Mission.
My Thoughts:

As short stories usually leave me wanting more, I approached these two books with some trepidation. The description of each of these books sounded appealing, but would I feel satisfaction and complete after reading them? I can honestly say that these short novels quickly overcame my concerns. Whew! I would be able to write positive reviews with complete honesty.

"Mistletoe Melody" was a sweet Christmas tale showing all readers that second chances are always available. All we have to do, is accept them and use a positive attitude to approach the hardships that must be endured.  This heartwarming story is certainly not written as a fairy tale where life is full of joy, challenges are easily overcome and the characters live happily ever after. These characters were very real. Their lives involved sickness and the difficulties that must be endured , accepting it and how God can heal us, perhaps not physically but heal our souls so that happiness can reign. I was intrigued with the ability to look beyond one's own struggles to putting others' needs above all else and the resulting joy. A good example that we should all keep in mind.

"Mistletoe Mission" was another sweet Christmas tale that deals with real life situations where not all goes as planned or according to ones's wishes. I enjoyed catching up with my friends previously encountered in "Mistletoe Melody".  It is a very different Christmas story, the main character having little hope for herself ever getting married thus throws her efforts into making a friend's wedding a success. When Emily finds some romance which could lead to her dreams coming true, she honestly isn't sure how to deal with it. Do we not always question what God throws in front of us when we least expect it?
Athough the ending of the story was quite predictable, I loved the strength of God's power to gift us with things least expected . I was left with the feeling that complete trust in Him gives us second chances, hope and true happiness for the future.


This book was supplied by CelebrateLit. The thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own.

About the Author:


Stacey Weeks is the multi-award-winning author of Glorious Surrender (2016) and ChasingHoliness (2020), inspirational romances The Builder’s Reluctant Bride (2016), Mistletoe Melody (2018), Mistletoe Mission (Dec 2019) and inspirational romantic suspense novels In Too Deep (2017), and Fatal Homecoming (2019). Stacey lives in Ontario where she speaks at women’s conferences, teaches writing and bible study workshops, and writes about the things of the Lord. www.staceyweeks.com


More from Stacey

It is strange, sometimes, what inspires a story. At the time of writing Mistletoe Melody, the ten-year-old daughter of a good friend was on the recovery side of a massive stroke. This young girl inspired Janie, and she gave the character her contagious smile, a mischievous pre-teen sense of humor, and a fierce love for family. You don’t read all of Janie’s story in Mistletoe Melody, but perhaps you will in a later novella.
Melody was the result of my lovely twenty-something niece receiving a shocking diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. She endured painful tests, had hopes raised and dashed, and was blessed when the Lord saw fit to work through a drug trial to ease her suffering. Watching her life, her plans, and the things she assumed were a given for her future get shaken to their core sent me to the Scriptures.
Not too long before drafting Mistletoe Mission (book two set in Mistletoe Meadows), my husband and I travelled to Haiti. As our driver transported us from the airport to the compound on which we stayed for the duration of our trip, he pointed in the general direction of the beach that receives cruise ships and tourists. He said that portion of Haiti is separated from the rest and is considered by some to be the most beautiful section of Haiti. I disagree.
To be fair, I didn’t visit the cleaned-up beach just around the other side of the mountain, but I saw something most tourists do not get to see. I met the people and visited several in their homes. I witnessed the determination and hard work that life requires from them. I observed a light in their eyes, fueled by a love for Jesus. There is nothing more beautiful than a person on fire for the Lord, a person who is ready to be a light in a dark land.
Luca’s character is loosely based on the Director of Missions and Compassion at Hope Bible Church in Oakville, Ontario. He arranged our trip – my first overseas mission trip – and it changed my life. I have huge respect for the work he is doing, and I am thrilled to see how God is blessing the work.
Another real-life connection that made its way into Mistletoe Mission is a business that inspired the fictional start-up I called One Village. Little by Little is a business for mission committed to empowering Haitian parents. Little by Little sells the Morse Code bracelet featured in Mistletoe Mission. I fell in love with the concept of this business, and it was my delight to write a fictional version into the story. You can visit Little by Little’s website and order a bracelet like the one featured in the book (or maybe you’ll win the one I am giving away on this tour!). http://www.littlebylittle.ca/store/p326/morse-code-bracelet.html
Be blessed this holiday as you seek the Lord who has done and is doing great things.
Stacey

Gift From Stacey

Here are a few fun coloring items from Stacey!

Get your copy of Under the Summer Mistletoe for free here. (For Canada, click here)




Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, December 20
Blogging With Carol , December 22
A Reader’s Brain, December 23
Emily Yager, December 24
Genesis 5020, December 26
Remembrancy, December 28
Inklings and notions, December 28
Quiet Quilter, December 29
Texas Book-aholic, December 31
janicesbookreviews, January 1
Batya’s Bits, January 2

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Stacey is giving away the grand prize of the winner’s choice of a Morse Code Bracelet!! (found here: http://www.littlebylittle.ca/store/p326/morse-code-bracelet.html)
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Heartwrenching and Humorous ! Examining some deep issues with the foster care program!




                   “The Dating Charade”
                    By Melissa Ferguson

 About the book:
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Fiction, Romantic  Comedy
Release Date: December 3, 2019
Cassie Everson is an expert at escaping bad first dates. And, after years of meeting, greeting, and running from the men who try to woo her, Cassie is almost ready to retire her hopes for
a husband—and children—altogether.
But fate has other plans, and Cassie’s online dating profile catches the eye of firefighter Jett Bentley. In Jett’s memory, Cassie Everson is the unreachable girl-of-legend from their high school days. Nervously, he messages her, setting off a chain of events that forces a reluctant Cassie back into the dating game.
No one is more surprised than Cassie when her first date with Jett is a knockout. But when they both go home and find three children dropped in their laps—each—they independently decide to do the right and mature thing: hide the kids from each other while sorting it all out. What could go wrong?
Melissa Ferguson’s hilarious and warmhearted debut reminds us that love can come in very small packages—and that sometimes our best-laid plans aren’t nearly as rewarding and fun as the surprises that come our way.
Click here to get your copy.

My Thoughts:

There are many books on the market that deal with the foster care system, but this is the first time that I have read a romantic, and yes, even humorous tale that deals with this issue in such a sensitive, delightful way.

The two main characters, Cassie and Jett both appealed to me in such a way that I could identify with both. They were loving, kind individuals that drew me into their lives and had me travelling their rocky road of life right along with them. Their date at the beginning of the book was certainly different from the later attempt! These lovable characters both had a surprise awaiting them ... three children each! How do you find love when you are coping with youngsters who have been uprooted from their own families and have to  adjust , somewhat unwillingly. Sad and realistic!! These youngsters melted my heart as I felt their confusion and pain of losing parents whether through death or circumstances. 

The plot, with its many twists and somewhat humorous turns kept me engrossed from beginning to end. This author is a talented storyteller that had me feeling every emotion that came along. When a book keeps me reading late into the night, it has to be a GREAT one! The one thing that the somewhat quirky characters did, was to hide the fact that they were dealing with three children apiece. This results in somewhat hilarious consequences! 

This romantic read, with laughs and tears, is one that will definitely appeal to a large audience. Easy to read with deep meaning !! 

Without hesitation, I would class this as a five star book!!



This book was received from CelebrateLit. The thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

About the Author
Melissa FergusonMelissa Ferguson lives in Bristol, Tennessee, where she is an adjunct professor at King University and pens books that make her laugh and grow. She used to have hobbies like running and backpacking the Appalachian Trail outside her door. Now she and her husband are outnumbered, and her hobbies include diaper changes, chasing toddlers in parking lots, and admiring the Appalachian Trail out her minivan window while singing “Winnie the Pooh.” She survives by Jesus, rom coms, and roughly two espresso shots a day. The Dating Charade is her first novel.

Read an Excerpt

Read an excerpt of The Dating Charade here.

Blog Stops

Genesis 5020, December 16
Kat’s Corner Books, December 17
Robin’s Nest, December 17
EmpowerMoms, December 17
All-of-a-kind Mom, December 18
For Him and my Family, December 18
Carla Loves to Read, December 19
CarpeDiem, December 19
Cultivating Us, December 19
Quiet Quilter, December 20
SusanLovesBooks, December 21
Texas Book-aholic, December 22
A Reader’s Brain, December 23
janicesbookreviews, December 23
Emily Yager, December 24
Vicky Sluiter, December 24
Hallie Reads, December 25
Remembrancy, December 25
Just the Write Escape, December 26
Simple Harvest Reads, December 26 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Pause for Tales , December 27
As He Leads is Joy, December 28
A Rup Life, December 28
Batya’s Bits, December 29
With a Joyful Noise, December 29
Inklings and notions, December 29

A Great New Read from Popular Author, Vannetta Chapman!!

  An Amish Baby for Christmas By Vannetta Chapman                    Synopsis: With a baby on the way… can this struggling widow save her ho...