Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck


The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck


Rachel is one of my favorite authors. I enjoy reading her work and following her writing career.

Let’s begin with the summary:

Romance has never been actress Chloe Daschle’s forte—in life or on screen. But everyone knows whom to call for a convincing death scene . . . and it might be killing her career.

When Chloe is given a peek at the script for an epic love story, she decides to take her destiny into her own hands and request an audition for the lead female role, Esther Kingsley. The compelling tale, inspired by family lore and a one-page letter from the colonial ancestor of scriptwriter Jesse Gates, just might break her out of this career-crippling rut. Jesse would rather write about romance than live through it after his past relationship ended in disaster. 

But once on set together, the chemistry between Jesse and his leading lady is hard to deny.
Centuries earlier, in the heart of the Revolutionary War, Hamilton Lightfoot and Esther Longfellow wrote their saga off the silver screen. Esther’s Loyalist father opposes any relationship with Hamilton, but Esther must face her beloved father’s disapproval and the dangers of war in order to convince Hamilton of their future together. Hamilton has loved Esther for years, and on the eve of battle pens the love letter she’s always wanted—something straight from the heart.
  
Set in stunning upcountry South Carolina, The Love Letter is a beautifully-crafted story of the courage it takes to face down fear and chase after love, even in the darkest of times. And just maybe, all these generations later, love can come home in a way not even Hollywood could imagine.

And now, my review:

As with Rachel’s other time-slip (genre) novels, this one gives us both an historical romance and a modern-day romance. This novel contains intricate details, and is at times, difficult to follow. (The author’s note mentions she had some trouble with this too and that her editor had to read it several times.) I feel I could benefit from reading this a second time. Still, the story lines kept me hooked. I cared about these characters.

There were some secular elements in the novel that sometimes made it feel a bit raw. When I read Rachel’s work, I watch for inclusion of people in her life, like band members. The narrative included a Chip Mac, a Tony, and a Rachel Hayes. Those were fun names to find.

I loved the Hollywood elements, especially since Rachel’s Once Upon a Prince was just released as a Hallmark movie and Rachel traveled to Vancouver (Hallmark’s Hollywood, at least as far as where they film many of their movies) to visit the set and make a cameo in the film with her husband. 

There were strong spiritual elements. I enjoy watching for Jesus to appear in her novels, and she didn’t disappoint. 

The historical story line centers on the Revolutionary War and includes mention of genealogy, a fun element that readers who are doing their own family research will enjoy. I highlighted a few lines full of wisdom in the advanced reader copy (ARC) that I read. 

Highly recommended! 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter


Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter

I enjoy keeping up with Denise’s books, so let’s get to it!

Here’s the summary:

After Brady Collins’ ex-wife dies, he receives devastating news—his nine-month-old son Sam isn’t his son at all. And Sam’s wealthy maternal grandparents want custody of the child. Brady knows he’s in for the fight of his life. But regardless of what any blood test says, Sam is his son, and Brady will go to any lengths to keep him.

Brady’s attorney tips him off that one major life change would virtually assure him of winning guardianship of baby Sam at the final hearing: an impending marriage. And his friend Hope is willing to step in as the loving and devoted fiancée.

Local radio celebrity Hope Daniels has been driven by a solitary goal her entire life, and after a happy accident she’s finally offered her dream job. But if the truth comes out about her arrangement with Brady, she may miss the chance of a lifetime and stand in the way of a dear friend’s dreams.

As Brady and Hope make sacrifices to help each other in their times of need, they risk uncovering a truth neither of them expects to find.

And now, my review:

Brady is a single father with a slew of trouble headed his way. He’s been friends with Hope forever, but they’ve stayed just that—friends. This is a modern-day “marriage of convenience” story that for the most part, worked. There were a few missed opportunities—an implied plot direction that didn’t pan out, but overall, I enjoyed this story. It held my interest the entire novel. 

Hope is a likable character. I sympathized with her. Just when her life started going very well, when her dreams were coming true, the past came up to haunt her. Some of the elements in this book that released the same day as my latest novel were the same. Hope needs therapy, but she isn’t willing to get it. Instead, she suffers and hopes things will get better, which of course, they won’t until she takes the big step. This psychological aspect was very familiar as I read (because of my own novel). I’m glad our books came out at the same time since they shared some aspects.

I liked that the hero and heroine were married already (by a short ways into the story). That meant that the romance could happen without the usual road blocks. But in some ways that meant this book sometimes felt like women’s fiction, which is fine. Themes included believing that our old coping mechanisms can still carry us through current trials. How friendship can turn to love. And sacrificing for those you love is difficult, but rewarding and heroic.

The way these characters sacrificed for each other was beautiful, a welcome example in a sometimes-selfish world.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Kindle Freebie until May 6!

Kindle Freebie: Finding Love in Friday Harbor, Washington

To celebrate the release of book two in the Washington Island Romance series, the first book is being offered as a Kindle freebie this week! Go grab your copy! 

Finding Love in Friday Harbor, Washington is a Christian contemporary romance, but it's more than a romance. You'll find themes of grieving, regrets, healing, family, and even some humor thrown in. One reviewer likened the book to a Hallmark movie, so if you enjoy them, you'll enjoy this story. While you're at Amazon, check out book two: Finding Love on Bainbridge Island, Washington, which just released May 1.

These are getaway books. Isn't it time for a getaway? Come visit picturesque Puget Sound and get caught up in stories of hope and second chances.

Here's the summary:


Will keeping his promise lead to another broken heart—or help them find love again?  

Professor Mikaela Rhoades has a plan: she’ll encourage her students’ marine biology research through an exclusive program while helping an old family friend’s whale touring business stay afloat. The challenge is the tour captain is her first love and ex-fiancé. Mikaela longs to help his family in the wake of his father’s death, but she’s keeping secrets. She’ll have to face her past and overcome her concerns about the future to make it through the summer. 

Captain Hunter Cahill has taken over the family touring business after his father’s death. Unfortunately, he’s drowning in grief and debt. He’s hoping the incoming stodgy professor will help resurrect the failing business, but he’s not prepared when that professor turns out to be Mikaela, his former fiancée. To make matters more difficult, he’d promised his father to pursue her if she ever returned to the island single. The more time they spend together, the easier it is to keep that promise, though she still plans to leave at the end of the season. How much will it cost him to spend the summer romancing Mikaela?

Get it free on Kindle today!

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Here's more info about Finding Love on Bainbridge Island, Washington, book two in the Washington Island Romance series, offered at $2.99 on Kindle for a limited time. Kindle Unlimited members read for free!


Finding Love on Bainbridge Island, Washington

Book two, Finding Love on Bainbridge Island, is a stand-alone, Christian contemporary romance novel. This book is also a reunion romance with characters who have regrets from their past, but are growing and might be ready for a second chance. 

Readers are enjoying the varied characters, especially Aunt Matilda, who brings humor to balance some of the weightier themes in the book of abandonment, PTSD, and personal growth. 

Here's the summary:

Neither of them is ready for a relationship, but love may not give them an out.
Jenna-Shea Brown considers herself a broken therapist. Years ago, she witnessed something that caused PTSD. She can’t let her boss or her patients know about her battle. Who would want to trust her to help them, when she can’t help herself? She’s finally able to find a fresh start in her family’s beach cabin, but the renovations aren’t complete. Her parents have hired her ex-boyfriend to finalize them, but his negligence led to her being in the wrong place at the wrong time all those years ago.

Liam Barrett is trying to prove he’s nothing like his deadbeat dad. He’s working hard, yet still failing. Adrenaline and adventure offer him a diversion, but maybe he can’t escape his genes. He’d like to make things right with Shea, but he’s unsure if she’ll forgive him. Meanwhile, he’s challenged to forgive his father. He’s also worried about Shea and all these episodes she won’t explain. Now that they’re back in close proximity, he’s falling for her again. But can anything heal the past?