Thursday, February 26, 2015

How to Catch a Prince - A Review

Published - February 2015, Zondervan Books
Series - Royal Wedding Series Book 3
Author - Rachel Hauck
Title - How to Catch a Prince
Format - ebook, paper
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American heiress Corina Del Rey and Prince Stephen of Brighton secretly married over five years ago, right before Stephen went to war in Afghanistan. But when Stephen returns home, broken and wounded, he gives Corina her freedom. Corina lost her twin brother in the same battle that Stephen was wounded in. At a time when she needs her husband the most, he is pushing her away. Hurt and confused, Corina returns home to Georgia and attempts to put her life back together. Until Stephen shows up very unexpectedly one day. Prince Stephen thought that his marriage was over. He's a star rugby player and the days of war and romance are behind him. When his brother, King Nathaniel discovers a document that Stephen thought was buried, he has no choice but to contact Corina. Will this pair find their happily ever after or will they say good-bye to the love they once shared?

I have adored every single book in this series. This one was no exception. I literally dropped everything to read it. I think it may very be my favorite of the series.

I loved how both Corina and Stephen were bound by the same grief yet needed each other to move on. Their entire romance was so sweet. I loved how they kept being thrown together to make things right. I think what I loved the most was Stephen's breaking point.

I was so happy when Corina finally learned the truth of what happened to her brother and that she was willing to forgive those involved. Those answers brought healing to her family as well.

This is a series that I highly recommend for anyone who loves fairy tales and happy endings.

I received this book for free from the Booklook Bloggers program for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of happy endings, romance, Becky Wade, Rachel Hauck, fairy tales

Rating - 5 stars

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Book Heroines

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly theme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish.

I really enjoy figuring out these posts. Some of the topics are simple. Others make me think. And then there are the ones that I struggle with. This one falls somewhere between all of those.

This week, the topic is the top ten favorite book heroines. It really is hard. Because most of the books have a hero more so than a heroine. But here is what I came up with (sorry, no pictures this time).

1. Katniss Everdeen  - She's the lead in the Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins. She's awesome. She volunteers for the games to save her sister. And then unintentionally becomes the figure head for a revolution.

2. Hermione Granger - She's one of the Golden Trio in the Harry Potter Books. She's probably the one member of the Trio that keeps the others grounded. Sure, she's a know-it-all, and bossy. But she is extremely loyal.

3. Lucy Pevensie - She's the youngest of the four siblings, the prophesied kings and queens of Narnia. She's the one that has the biggest heart. She is sensitive and is close to Aslan's heart. 

4. Moraine - She's the Aes Sedai who locates the Dragon Reborn in the epic Wheel of Time Series. While it's true that we don't know whether to trust her or not, she ends up becoming a pretty awesome character and very strong woman.

5. Sorcha - The heroine of  Daughter of the Forest, what fascinates me about her is that she is so strong. She is willing to live in silence to make the shirts out of nettles for her seven brothers and break the spell. I really do love this book.

6. Brooke Martin - The star of Terri Blackstock's stand alone Emerald Windows, Brooke finds the courage to return to the town she left after high school despite the opposition from her family and the community.

7. Lonnie Sawyer - The herorine in JoAnne Bischof's Cadence of Grace series, Lonnie is wounded. She's hurt by the man she loves. And her story told in these three books has really made me cry for her. Because she shows an inner strength that can't be explained without reading her story.

8. Susanna Truitt - She's the normal, ordinary girl who falls in love with a prince in Rachel Hauck's Once Upon A Prince. Yet what she has to sacrifice in order to follow her heart is pretty amazing. 

9. Lady Elisabeth Kerr - She's the heroine of Liz Curtis Higgs's Here Burns My Candle & Mine is the Night. What I love about her is her faith. The book of Ruth is my favorite in the Bible, and this character is based on Ruth.

10. Angel - The prostitute turned wife from Francine Rivers's Redeeming Love, Angel shows the reader exactly what it means to be on the receiving end of grace. My small group has just finished a study of grace, and Angel came to mind a couple of times as we went through the study. You see, she didn't deserve forgiveness let alone the love of someone like Michael Hosea. But her path to redemption is one filled with grace and mercy.

What about you? Who are some of your favorite book heroines?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Guest Post - Emerald Barnes, Author of Entertaining Angels

Welcome friends to a very special post today. I've got a guest here. She's the author of the book Entertaining Angels & Before I Say I Do. Both of the books look really good. When I was contacted a while back about reviewing the books, I unfortunately wasn't able to agree to reviewing the books due to a packed schedule, but I did agree to host the author here with a guest post. So without further ado, here is Emerald Barnes and her guest post which is an interview with the author by one of the characters! ~Dawn

Chase: Let’s welcome Author Emerald Barnes to the stage.

I shake my head as I walk to the empty chair sitting in front of Madison and Chase.

Emerald: Thanks, Chase.

Madison: She laughs. In a strange turn of events, we get to interview our creator.

Emerald: I’m not sure this is a really good idea, guys. I should be interviewing you.

Chase: You’ve already interviewed us. Can’t do it again.

Emerald: I roll my eyes and laugh. Whatever you say, Chase.

Madison: Let’s get started, shall we? Emerald, you’re all about promoting a healthy body image and building up women, so what would you say is your best feature?

Emerald: Well, I guess I probably shouldn’t say my eyes. Madison shakes her head. I think I would have to say my smile. It’s what most people notice first about me, so they’ve said. One woman I met in an airport said that I had such a sweet and kind smile, and most people didn’t look at a stranger and smile. I made a new friend that day, so I would say that.

Chase: But do you like your body? You’ve said a hundred times over that Madison’s story is so very much like your own.

Emerald: It is very much like my own. Except, I didn’t have you in high school. Chase beams at me and then at Madison, grabbing her hand. She smiles shyly. But, I can honestly say on some days I’m okay with it, not really hating it, but others, I still struggle with looking at myself in the mirror. It’s not easy loving a body that the world tends to say is “ugly.” The world’s views seep into my mind, and I can’t help but feel so ugly.

Madison: She nods, complete understanding in her eyes. It’s not easy. I still struggle with it from time to time, myself. Chase stares at her in confusion.

Chase: You’re both beautiful. Remember what God said, you two.

Madison and I exchange a look and nod.

Emerald: You’re right. We have to remember that we’re beautiful despite what the world says.

Madison: Exactly. Now, let’s move on to a safer topic. She laughs. Why did you create us?

Emerald: You were stuck in my head, and I had to write about you. Your journey might have been very different if I hadn’t listened to the small voice in my head telling me to go this route. I was originally going to write just your love story, about you being the fat best friend and falling in love, but you needed to hear that you are beautiful. It was then that God interceded. He wanted us, and others, to know just how much we are loved, and how beautiful we are.

Chase: Personally, I’m glad our story happened the way it did. Did you ever once doubt what you were doing?

Emerald:  I laugh. Just all the time. I wasn’t sure how it would be received. I thought that it was so uncommon and strange, but it’s been well–received thus far. Everyone seems to love you two, including me, but it wasn’t easy. I kept thinking that people would discredit our book due to me not really knowing how angels worked and the like, but I was wrong. Thankfully.

Madison: Yes, thankfully. I can’t thank you enough for our happy ending.

Chase: It hasn’t ended yet. Isn’t that right, Emerald?

Emerald: He’s right. You two just had your own short story in which you were wed. Congratulations. They both smile. But, I’ll be bringing you two into each book in the series, I think. I know you’re in book two. I can’t imagine that you wouldn’t be in the others.

Madison: So you’re saying you’re turning this into a whole series?

Emerald: Indeed I am. I can’t desert all of the people out there who need help. Stories need to be told, and people need to know the love of God, especially teens, in their lives.

Madison: I couldn’t agree more. I think I want to work with teens somehow. I could always use my story to help them.

Chase: I think that’s a good idea. Don’t you, Emerald?

Emerald: I smile a knowing smile. Of course I think that’s a great idea. Your story could reach hundreds – or more. You can help them, Mads, and that’s what Entertaining Angels is all about.  It’s about reaching people who needs to know that they are loved.

Chase: Well, I know that message came across to Mads. I sure do hope it did others.

Emerald: So do I.

Madison: We’re getting off topic. We always seem to do that. Emerald, tell us what you think about angels. How was it writing about them?

Emerald:  I always knew that angels existed, but I never really knew how they worked. Well, I knew they protected us, but I never thought about them coming to earth in human forms to help us. I love the idea of having a guardian who cares enough to save us from the supernatural forces working against us, as well as basically being the hands for God. They do what He wants them to, and I really feel like I’ve gotten a deeper understanding of how much God loves us by writing about angels and how He uses them to protect us from harm.

Madison: Well, I think you did a great job. There was something so fun and interesting about Zach. Of course I would think so, right? He’s my guardian, but I think you managed to capture his essence. I guess what I’m saying is that people loved him, too.

Chase: Of course they did. He’s Zach.

Emerald: I laugh. I hope you two are right. I know I love him. Maybe I accidentally wrote about my own guardian.

Madison: Hey now. He’s mine.

Chase: He raises his eyebrow. Ladies, he’s an angel. He can be in more than one place at a time.
Madison and I laugh.

Emerald: Of course. How about we end this interview now? I have to go write more books.

Madison: Good idea. Make us a cool couple, okay? I don’t want to get all weird when we get older.

Emerald: No worries about that.

Chase: Now, everyone, check out our book, Entertaining Angels, and then read our short story. (It’s personally my favorite.) Chase gives everyone a cute little wink before wrapping Madison into his arms.

 About Emerald Barnes:
Emerald Barnes graduated with a B.A. in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing at Mississippi University for Women. She resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it.

She mainly writes suspense/thrillers in the YA genre, but she dabbles in other genres and her books are enjoyed by all ages! She’s constantly working on new novels and has more ideas than she knows what to do with. She blogs which takes up more of her time than she anticipates but loves it so very much! She’s also a volunteer at the World Literary Cafe which is amazing, and she is a crazy grammar nazi who proofreads novels!

She’s an auntie to three beautiful nieces and two handsome nephews who take up the other half of her time, but she couldn’t imagine spending her time in any other way!

She’s a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person. God is number One in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor.

Entertaining Angels:
Madison Andrews can’t face her reflection in the mirror. All she sees is a big, fat nobody. Yet, deep inside she longs for something more, something that’s not skin deep.

Along comes Zach, the new guy in school. He’s smoking hot and totally out of her league. She somehow catches his eye, and he makes her feel beautiful for once. But just as she gets close to Zach, her nerdy best friend, Chase, won’t let Madison doubt her true beauty, no matter how many meals she skips.

Even as Madison begins to realize that she is more than what she thinks, darker forces are at work, darker than the lies and mocking from her peers, stopping her from amounting to her full potential. Can Madison find true happiness in her own skin?

Before We Say I Do:
Following the best-selling first book of the series, Entertaining Angels, comes Before We Say I Do, An Entertaining Angels Short Story.

Chase Sanders and Madison Andrews are about to declare their love for one another in the most sacred of ways. Everything has been going perfectly, especially when an old friend returns to town to stand by Chase’s side on their big day. But is Zach there to see their union, or is he concealing the truth of why he’s actually back in town?

Chase has lived perfectly fine without his father around, but now that his father is divorcing again, he is seeking forgiveness. Chase can’t look at his father, let alone forgive him.

Before Chase and Mads can say “I Do,” Chase must first learn to let go of the past before the dark forces that haunt his nightmares come to life.

*This is a short story and isn't a prequel to Entertaining Angels. In order to understand it, you'll need to read Entertaining Angels first.* 

Connect with Emerald:
Inspiration Blog
Google +
Amazon Author Page

Buy Links:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Crimson Cord - A Review

Published - February, 2015, Revell Books a Division of Baker Publishing Group
Series - Daughters of the Promised Land Book 1
Author - Jill Eileen Smith
Title - The Crimson Cord
Format - ebook, paper
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Rahab is the wife of a gambler who took one too many risks. Because of her husband's recklessness, she finds herself sold as a slave to pay her husband's debts. Slavery isn't all she is forced to become. Soon she finds herself forced into prostitution. With each passing day, Rahab yearns for her freedom and to regain her self-respect. When two Israelite spies enter Jericho, Rahab takes a leap of faith and offers them shelter if they will promise her safety. With the walls coming down around her, Rahab soon discovers the forgiveness of a God she doesn't know, but yearns to know. But will she ever know love?

I don't typically read Biblical fiction. It isn't one of my favorite genres. But when I do pick up a book based on the Bible, I typically find myself captivated. This one was no exception. I know who Rahab is of course. Her story is a familiar one to me. But I always enjoy finding out the more to the story.

One of the things I enjoyed about this book was that this author explained how Rahab came to be a prostitute. I felt sorry for her. She ended up being an outcast in her own family. I loved how she would search for answers and once the Israelites came to her rescue, she was able to find answers.

There were parts of the book I skimmed over. That's normal for me with Biblical fiction. And with most of what I read. But I still found the book to be a pleasant read. There was a lot of action. And just getting a chance to delve deeper into Rahab's story was good too.

I received this book for free from Revell Books for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Biblical fiction, Francine Rivers, Mesu Andrews, Jill Eileen Smith

Rating - 4 stars

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Book Related Problems I Have

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly theme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish

I absolutely LOVE this week's top ten! Which means when that happens, I'll probably come up with more than ten things. And this will be a very picture laden post.

This week, we're talking about problems. No, not problem-problems. But book related problems. And for me, these are all so true.

1. My To-Be-Read List is huge. And it is steadily growing. I don't have a list. I have a pile, a mountain, and library, etc. There are probably more on there than I can actually read in my lifetime.

2. Fictional characters become like real people to me. I become so attached to fictional characters that I fully expect people to understand what I mean when I talk about "Todd and Christy" (for example) like I just saw them that day. Because I did see them that day.

3. I am typically reading multiple books at one time - AND I can keep them straight!

4. I have fallen asleep with the lights on, the book or Kindle lying either across my chest or on my face.

5. I plan vacations to fictional places. Like Glenbrooke, Oregon, Hogwarts, Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.

6. One more chapter means "leave me alone until I finish the book."

7. I could get lost for days in Barnes and Noble.

8. I complain I have nothing to read despite over-flowing bookshelves - both real and virtual.

9. I have at least one book with me at all times. Usually more than that. At the moment, I think there are 5 in my car.

10. When someone asks me my favorite book, I have a hard time choosing just one.

11. I've developed crushes on fictional characters.

12. I have laughed and cried in public due to the book I was reading.

What are some of your bookish problems?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Saturday Scribbles Vol 7

It's time for another edition of Saturday Scribbles. The part of the week where I just talk about whatever.

I got a new gadget for Christmas. Well not a gadget like a new phone or tablet, but something just as fun, for me at least. I got this really fun cake pop maker. And it's blue!

I've been wanting a chance to try it. So I was over at my best friend's house this week. I asked her if she wanted to experiment with me and try one of the recipes included in the instruction manual. She said yes. So we tried the chocolate recipe.
First, let me just say that the batter is very yummy! It's thicker than cake batter, but not as thick as cookie dough. But the real fun came when we were putting the batter into the molds.
Talk about a lot of trial and error! We scooped about half of the spoon into the mold. Then we tried a little more on the next batch. Then a little less the next time. I think it'll still require more experimentation to get it to be just right. 
So once all the batter is in the molds, you close the lid and it cooks for about 5 minutes. Very easy. It did get very hot though. And it's a bit messy. Especially if you're like me and wear more flour than you get in the cookies or whatever you're making. 
Once they have baked for about 5 minutes, you open the lid and continue cooking. They sure smelled good and looked somewhat pretty. 

You put them in the fridge to cool before icing. We discovered that the last batch needed more oil on the molds because they cracked and looked funny.

Dipping the balls in chocolate
I had chocolate wafers that we melted to use as icing. I guess that you could use regular icing. I don't know. But we discovered that wax paper, toothpicks, and spoons worked great in getting all of the cake ball covered in icing.

I think that for a first attempt, they turned pretty good. They certainly tasted good!

I'm looking forward to experimenting some more with this fun new toy. Maybe with the cooking temperatures, and variations on the types. I do wonder if I could make pancake balls one morning.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Where Rivers Part - A Review

Published - February, 2015, Revell Books a division of Baker Publishing Group
Series - Texas Gold Collection Book 2
Author - Kellie Coates Gilbert
Title - Where Rivers Part
Format - ebook, paper
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Dr. Juliet Ryan has worked hard to get where she is at. She's a scientist who is committed to providing millions with safe drinking water, and she is the quality assurance director at a top firm in Corporate America where she enjoys much prestige in that role. Her father is another story. He and Juliet don't get along, despite them both being brilliant scientists. Juliet can't trust him. Or forgive him. A harmful viral outbreak becomes linked to contaminated drinking water, and Juliet soon finds herself in the midst of a huge corporate scandal. With lives at risk, Juliet frantically searches for answers and discovers that she must figure out a way to trust the one man who has hurt her more than any other in order to bring down the parties involved.

I have to be totally and completely honest and say that I enjoyed this book much more than the author's previous book. While I still didn't care for the main character, at least at first, I found the subject matter in this book to be much more interesting than that of the first book.

I actually kinda liked Juliet's father. Sure he'd made mistakes. But he also recognized that fact. I thought it showed how much he had changed with his efforts to reach out to Juliet.

What really caught my attention was seeing Juliet struggle with her role in the scandal. As she uncovered more and more, she was encouraged to be silent. I thought that she should have figured out what was right and stuck by it no matter what.

The action regarding the scandal was fast paced and rather fascinating. I kept turning pages to find out how much worse it was going to get.

While the book was good, it's not a favorite of mine. I'm glad I gave the author a second chance after not really caring for her previous book.

I received this book for free from the Revell Books for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of women's fiction, legal thrillers

Rating - 4 stars