Friday, March 27, 2015

How to Catch a Prince (By: Rachel Hauck)

How to Catch a Prince
By: Rachel Hauck

Book three in the Royal Wedding Series is the best of this trilogy! If your heart pitter-patters at the lives of royals and romance, you won't want to miss this read - it was so good, in fact, that we have added it to our Golden List!


American Heiress Corina Del Rey and Prince Stephen of Brighton (fictional European country much like England) fell in love a lifetime ago - or at least it seems that way. War, death and devastation tore them apart five years ago and each has done their best to forget and move on. Living on different continents, she is trying to get her career as a journalist started and he is a star rugby player. But when Stephen's brother, the King of Brighton, discovers what really lies in their past, Stephen is forced to reconnect with Corina and sort things out. Can these two work through the pain of the past to find love again? At first glance, it appears this book will be utterly predictable (although definitely enjoyable!). But it really isn't! There are surprises along the way, right from the very beginning, and with a bit of mystery thrown in. Seems that just when we knew where the story might be headed, it took another turn in a fantastically exciting direction. With exactly the right amount of plot, character development and action, this book quickly became a page turner.  


This category we were surprised at! Many times books centering around fairy tales, royal weddings and the like are largely fluff, merited on squeal factor and storyline, but this one went the extra mile to be deep and deal with some very harsh realities. Stephen and Corina, although born into privileged lives, are not strangers to grief and devastation. It is a frustrating, arduous journey for each of them (and subsequently us as readers!) to face their pasts, but ultimately is resolved in satisfying redemption.


God is all over this book, from Corina's strong dependence on Jesus to Stephen's journey back to the Lord from bitterness and anger. Corina's ability to hear her Creator speak to her heart, and her obedience to those Words are inspiring, and the Lord gives her the strength to obey Him. Stephen wrestles with where God has been when He has needed him, but (SPOILER alert) his redemption near the end of the book is one of the best we have ever read in a book. A few tears may have even leaked out of our eyes at that point. Also of note in the faith category is the very original storyline of some "heavenly beings" come down to earth to help Corina. Hebrews 13 says we must be sure to entertain strangers, for some may be angels - and this book delves into what that could look like. It was delightful to read!

Squeal Factor

Stephen and Corina have a very deep love for one another, and the chemistry is electric. As they remember their time together from five years previous, their memories are full of intimate, sweet moments that left us cheering for this relationship to find its ground again!


It's been awhile since we have put a book on our Golden List, and this one found it's way there quite unexpectedly! How to Catch a Prince has all the elements needed for a fabulous read. Romantic European settings, a royal family, Heavenly angels masquerading as people, and the depth of story to keep it all realistic makes this a must read for all book lovers. 

Rachel Hauck outdid herself with this one!  
Find it on Amazon: How to Catch a Prince

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Governess of Highland Hall (By: Carrie Turansky)

The Governess of Highland Hall
By: Carrie Turansky

The Governess of Highland Hall is the first book of the Edwardian Brides series. Set in early 1900's England, it is an excellent read.


Julia Foster is returning home to England after having been a missionary alongside her parents for the last 12 years in India. Her father's poor health has left the financial burden resting on her shoulders. Sir William Ramsey, the widower of Highland Hall, hires Julia as as governess to care for his two children and two nieces. But she has her hands full taking care of her new charges - some of who are quite against her being their new governess.

The story revolves around the people living upstairs and the help downstairs. Where does Julia fit at Highland Hall? Being a governess is above the help, yet not accepted in the family. She is purposeful in her role, however, and in helping her employer seek what is best for the estate. As she starts getting closer to William, she fears she may have one sided feelings. Is it possible for him to overcome social barriers and reciprocate the feelings as well?

Sir William Ramsey has inherited Highland Hall and along with it some financial burden, but is determined to keep the estate in the family. He is intrigued by his new governess, yet holds her at arms length since he is nursing wounds from his past. Will he fight for love, or for saving his estate and keeping up with social standings?


Carrie Turansky paints a great picture of life at Highland Hall and the lives of those living both upstairs and downstairs. Overcoming the barriers between social classes is developed beautifully throughout the book. Character development in the main and side characters are well done.


Evident throughout the story is Julia's vibrant faith and determined trust in the Lord. William has a faith that is lacking in trust and prayer, but learns to hunger for more! In addition to personal faith, the Old Testament Law and ways of life are beautifully explained in simple terms. If you've ever thought of the Old Testament as boring, this book will surely change your mind!

Squeal Factor

This is one area we would have liked more of. The relationship between Julia and William was sweet and satisfying, but would have enjoyed more leading up to the end.


Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed this book. Anyone who is fond of this time period will not want to miss out on reading this! You will love getting to know the characters and will delight in being a part of their journey. 

Find it on Amazon: The Governess of Highland Hall

Monday, March 2, 2015

Pearl in the Sand (By: Tessa Afshar)

Pearl in the Sand
By: Tessa Afshar

Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar is one of our favorite books of all time and part of our Golden List. We hope that you enjoy it as much as we do!

In this story, Tessa Afshar retells the events surrounding the fall of Jericho (around 1,400 B.C.). The young girl Rahab is sold into prostitution by her family to save them from starving to death in a great famine. As she grows older, her heart is mysteriously drawn toward an unseen God that she can't quite explain. 

During this period of personal wrestling, she recognizes two Hebrew men trying to enter her city as spies. She befriends them and asks them about this God who has been stirring her heart. This encounter changes the trajectory of her life. Never could she have dreamed all that the Lord would have planned for her - a new faith, a new family, a new home and a new life. Many of us are familiar with the story of Rahab, the harlot, from the book of Joshua in the Bible, but this is a fascinating, detailed look into what may have been the deeper story. 

Author Tessa Afshar is one of the best there is - she paints characters who are neither victim, nor hero. Through her writing, history comes alive as she draws you in to an exciting world right from the beginning and kept you turning the pages to see what will happen next.

Pearl in the Sand explores the very depths of the human soul. Idolatry, betrayal, wickedness, forgiveness, trust and worth all come up and are handled truthfully and graciously. In fact, Tessa is so good at conquering these difficult issues that you may leave the book examining your own heart and life for lessons that need to be applied! While these principles she writes about may have been written for our main characters, the deep longings of the heart extend to us here in real life too. 

This story is alive and bursting with faith! In its entirety, this Pearl in the Sand is ALL about the Lord, and the work He does in His people. Many of us easily remember the story of Rahab the prostitute, but do we stop to wonder about her faith? How does a Canaanite harlot come to know the Lord? What is the source of her courage to save the Hebrew spies? 

In addition to personal faith, the Old Testament Law and ways of life are beautifully explained in simple terms. If you've ever thought of the Old Testament as boring, this book will surely change your mind!

Squeal Factor
Rahab marries Salmone, an Israelite, and from their line eventually comes Jesus Christ, the Messiah. This book tells their love story and oh, how sweet it is! But a romance between a former prostitute and a leader in Israel is no simple feat - each must deal with the reality of their differences and their pasts. They must learn about redemption, self-sacrifice and humility. As they fall in love, the chemistry and tension crackle and make us fall in love with them too! 

There is no better way to describe Pearl in the Sand than phenomenal!. Honestly, we would have given the story line, depth and faith MORE than five stars if we could have! It was one of the first reads we placed on our Golden List, and appeals to women and men alike. This is one of the few books we would say is worth paying full price for and owning - you will probably read it more than once, and will loan it out quite often!

Find it on Amazon: Pearl in the Sand