Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Book Review with a Giveaway: To Save a King by Rachel Hauck

About the Book

Book: To Save A King
Author: Rachel Hauck
Genre: Christian Royal Romance
Release date: May 8, 2021

A modern-day fairytale of rescue and hope from NYT bestselling author Rachel Hauck

Growing up in small town Hearts Bend, Tennessee, Gemma Stone had big dreams. So she headed to Hollywood to make her mark in the world.

But dreams have a way of becoming nightmares. When she returns home twelve years later, she’s limping through life and harboring a dark secret.

Running a rescue ranch and raising her friends’ orphaned daughter is her sole mission now. All the while she’s well aware these defenseless ones are also rescuing her.

HRH Crown Prince John has learned a royal title cannot shield him from heartbreak. He had the perfect life as heir to the revered House of Blue, the royal dynasty of Lauchtenland, and married the love of his life. Then tragedy changed everything. Is there any way to be saved from a life of grief?

When he finds himself in Hearts Bend on a mission for his mother, Queen Catherine, he catches up with a good friend–country music great Buck Mathews. He has no intention of joining the 4th of July fun until he’s cajoled into a three-legged race with the beautiful Gemma Stone.

The disastrous race leads to a quick friendship. They are easy and comfortable around one another because love is absolutely not an option.

John desperately wants to hold onto the memories of his wife while Gemma refuses to trust her heart to any man. Even a prince.

When trouble in Lauchtenland calls the prince home, he realizes how much Gemma has rescued him. Saved him and restored his hope for his role as future king.

For Gemma, falling in love with the prince must be quenched. If it weren’t for her past, she’d give him her heart in a second. How could she risk bringing her shame to the House of Blue and the world stage?

However, she’s not the only one who can rescue and heal the wound. If she saved Prince John, why can’t he save her? And when he tries, will she have the courage to say yes to the best role of her life?

“Another compelling royal story by the master of princely tales!” Susan May Warren, USA Today bestselling, RITA award-winning novelist

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

A man and a woman who have been hardened by the cruelties of life and poor decisions are drawn to each other in this modern-day fairy tale.  Crown Prince John of Lauchtenland and Gemma Stone of Hearts Bend, Tennessee, spend a summer together building a lovely friendship, but there is much to be done in each of their hearts before they can commit to each other.  What it takes to get them to that point makes a wonderful story by a favorite author, Rachel Hauck.

For lovers of fairy tales, there is a handsome prince who sweeps Gemma off her feet.  There is a beautiful young lady attending royal balls and wearing spectacular dresses.  And as Hauck's readers have come to expect, there is an enchanting, spiritual element to this story, which gives the novel its substance.

There is a connectedness in all of Hauck's novels, which I love, but the story does stand on its own.  

Fans of Hauck's writing will slip easily into her world as they read this book.  New readers are invited to immerse themselves in this treasure of a story.

I received an eARC of this book from the author, through Celebrate Lit, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

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. Three more of her titles are under film contract.

Rachel was awarded the prestigious Career Achievement Award for her body of original work by Romantic Times Book Reviews.

A retired member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Executive Board, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. She is a past Mentor of The Year.

In the real world, 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

One of the biggest challenges in a series is keeping the reader interested. Even more of a challenge is writing in a trope like royals.

I never set out to write a second royal series. With five stories in the Royal Wedding Series, I thought I’d explored the topic to my satisfactions.

Yet when readers asked for more, and when I found myself in a season to produce my own stories, another royal series seemed like the perfect fit.

But can I be honest? Really honest? Come close. I’ll tell you a secret. Closer…

Royals can be a bit boring. At least to write. You laugh but I’m serious.

What do we really know of their day to day lives? They attend national functions, patron charities, represent the nation on walkabouts around the world. They are ambassadors with no real political agenda. They champion causes.

But what exactly do they do with their days? What are the inner workings of palace life? What are the real expectations? Do they call the queen “her majesty” when talking among themselves? When talking to her? Are they as formal as it seems on television?

Yet royals are the most documented people in history. So there is a lot to glean from when I make up my worlds.

But at the end of it all, the key for me in writing royal characters is to make them real, everyday people. The prince is the kind of chap you want to chat with over tea. The heroine is the sort of girl you’d love to see become a princess. Maybe even see a bit of yourself in her.

In To Save A King, Crown Prince John is trying to emerge for a year of grief. Gemma Stone is desperate to escape her past.

Gemma’s story has somewhat of an edge to it. In her attempt to achieve her goals, she walked a path she never thought she’d walk when she was a girl growing up in Hearts Bend, Tennessee. And it proved her undoing.

While we may have never faced a past like Gemma’s, we can all relate to personal betrayal of our values from gossip to immorality. I hope Gemma’s story reminds us the nearness of love and forgiveness.

On a lighter side, I recently learned British society has moved away from chap and bloke, replacing it with the American term “guy.” Isn’t that funny. Louise Lee, my narrator, said it was funny to read those words in To Love A Prince since they were more her parents’ generation. Ah, the signs of a more global society.

Well, I didn’t care if they have gone out of style for young people. I used them anyway. I like them. Maybe we should adopt “chap” and “bloke” over here. What do you say, guys?

I hope you enjoy To Save A King, book two in the True Blue Royal series and find your heart cheering on broken, wounded characters to a happily ever after worthy of a prince and princess.
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 9
Blogging With Carol, May 9
Worthy2Read, May 9
For Him and My Family, May 10
Genesis 5020, May 10
The Book Chic Blog, May 10
CarpeDiem, May 10
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, May 11
Hebrews 12 Endurance, May 11
Splashes of Joy, May 11
Cultivating Us, May 11
Texas Book-aholic, May 12
Just Writing, May 12
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 12
Kayem Reads, May 12
Blossoms and Blessings, May 13
Betti Mace, May 13
Inklings and notions, May 13
deb’s Book Review, May 14
Mypreciousbitsandmusings, May 14
Inside the Wong Mind, May 14
Moments, May 14
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 15
Rachael’s Inkwell, May 15
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 15
Connect in Fiction, May 15
The Christian Fiction Girl, May 16
Kathleen’s Blog, May 16
Remembrancy, May 16
Mary Hake, May 16
Where Faith and Books Meet, May 17
She Lives To Read, May 17
Wishful Endings, May 17
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 18
Back Porch Reads, May 18
All-of-a-kind Mom, May 18
Livin’ Lit, May 18
Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 19
Simple Harvest Reads, May 19 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Bizwings Blog, May 19
Mamma Loves Books, May 19
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 20
By The Book, May 20
The Sacred Line, May 20
Daysong Reflections, May 20
Through the fire blogs, May 21
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 21
Artistic Nobody, May 21 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)


To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize of a Kindle Fire!!
*May be different than one pictured.

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


Sunday, May 2, 2021

Book Review with a Giveaway: Hope Between the Pages by Pepper Basham


About the Book

Book:  Hope Between the Pages

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Christian Historical

Release date: April, 2021

Uncover the Story Behind a One-Hundred-Year-Old Love Letter

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

Clara Blackwell helps her mother manage a struggling one-hundred-year old family bookshop in Asheville, North Carolina, but the discovery of a forgotten letter opens a mystery of a long-lost romance and undiscovered inheritance which could save its future. Forced to step outside of her predictable world, Clara embarks on an adventure with only the name Oliver as a hint of the man’s identity in her great-great-grandmother’s letter. From the nearby grand estate of the Vanderbilts, to a hamlet in Derbyshire, England, Clara seeks to uncover truth about family and love that may lead to her own unexpected romance.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

I absolutely LOVED this book!  It was rich.  The settings were beautiful, the characters lovely, and the romance was sweet.  What I especially loved about this story is that the author took the time to fully develop the characters, setting, and plot in both stories of this dual-time novel.

Sadie Blackwell serves in the midst of the affluence of the Biltmore Estate in 1915 Asheville, North Carolina.  Like her mother before her, she tends to the massive library,which suits her book-loving heart perfectly.  She entirely appreciates the adventure and imagination that are in between the pages of those beloved books.  Clara Blackwell works in her family's bookstore in Biltmore Village in the present day, but threats to her family's heritage send her on a quest to learn more about her family's history.  She is also a fan of the magic within books.  Both women seek to honor God in their lives.  Both women jumped into the adventures presented to them, and were delighted at the results.  They also believed in the hope presented within the pages of fairy tales.  I loved the conclusion that even though they might be in a fairy-tale setting, it is love that makes the fairy tale real.

Hope Between the Pages is part of the Doors to the Past series, but each novel stands alone.

If you love stories about books, libraries, or bookstores, you will love this book.  Fans of the Biltmore Estate and Village will appreciate the insight into life there in 1915.  Lovers of genealogy will be thrilled with this book.

I received an e-ARC of this book from the author, through Celebrate Lit, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her historical romance novels, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge and The Red Ribbon, and her contemporary novels, the Mitchell’s Crossroads and Pleasant Gap series, showcase her Appalachian heritage, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.

More from Pepper

Books are a uniquely portable magic – Stephen King

Appalachia is known for having a high illiteracy rate. A place of beautiful scenery and rugged landscapes, the people of the mountains developed stories through oral storytelling much more than “book learning”.  As a young girl growing up in this world, I loved hearing my granny share tales from up to five generations ago, filling in the narrative gaps between a birth date and a death date on a tombstone – giving flesh and breath to the stone-etched names.

It’s no surprise then, with a heart cultivated from rich oral stories, I fell in love with reading. Books became that “portable magic” that took me places my little Appalachian community couldn’t provide. I fell in love with the Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew. Wept through the end of Bridge to Terabithia and Old Yeller. Traveled to the plains with Sarah Plain and Tall and fell in love with horses with The Black Stallion. But when I was in seventh grade, I read my very first “British” novel, The Secret Garden. In that one introduction, my world expanded into mysterious English manor houses and British classics. Before long, I’d consumed Jane Eyre, Austen’s classics, some Dickens, Dracula, Frankenstein…and the list goes on! And then…I found Tolkien and Lewis – and the ‘real’ world swelled into OTHER worlds.

I’m grateful for true stories of book-loving pioneers traveling into the world of Appalachia to provide books and literacy training to “my people”, because I know some of those books made their way to my tiny elementary school library…and not only brought me the chance to discover stories, but to write them too!

Isn’t it amazing how books can do that?

In Hope Between the Pages, I wanted to bring the same awe and discovery I felt as a child (and continue to feel as an adult reader) to the story of two people whose words had seemed small. Stories stretched their worlds, but the stories also gave them wonderful imaginations and positive perspectives. It’s still amazing to me that ink-and-paper words can make such a lasting impact on hearts and minds. They can lead us to dream, teach us new things, encourage our hearts, help us to think outside the box, swell our imaginations, broaden our horizons, and encourage our hope.

Books are not a replacement for real adventures and relationships, but they certainly provide a beautiful “door” into other lives and worlds that we may never have a chance to experience in real life. Sadie, my historical heroine, and Clara, my contemporary heroine, both have kept close to home but traveled greatly through books…and BOTH are given the opportunity to reach beyond the bindings to discover real-life adventures. I’d like to think that their love for stories helped them have the courage to step away from the page and into their own tales even more prepared than they would have been without stories.

What are some of your favorite books you read as a child? Did any of them influence you to become a more avid reader?

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, April 24
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 24
Reflections From My Bookshelves, April 24
Worthy2Read, April 24
Texas Book-aholic, April 25
Reviewingbooksplusmore, April 25
Christian Bookaholic, April 25
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 25
She Lives To Read, April 26
Books and Everyday Life, April 26
For the Love of Literature, April 26
For Him and My Family, April 26
Wishful Endings, April 27
Bigreadersite, April 27
The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 27
deb’s Book Review, April 27
Inklings and notions, April 28
Connect in Fiction, April 28
Writing from the Heart Land, April 28
Blogging With Carol, April 28
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 29
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 29
Life of Literature, April 29
Pick a good book, April 29
Locks, Hooks and Books, April 30
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 30
Betti Mace, April 30
Kathleen’s Blog, April 30
lakesidelivingsite, May 1
Connie’s History Classroom, May 1
Fiction Book Lover, May 1
Jeanette’s Thoughts, May 1
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 2
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 2
Godly Book Reviews, May 2
Mary Hake, May 2
Older & Smarter?, May 3
Genesis 5020, May 3
Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 3
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 4
Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads , May 4
Blossoms and Blessings, May 4
sodbusterLiving, May 4
Splashes of Joy, May 5
Where Faith and Books Meet , May 5
Simple Harvest Reads, May 5 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Through the Fire Blogs, May 5
Pause for Tales, May 6
To Everything There Is A Season, May 6
Remembrancy, May 6
Lights in a Dark World, May 6
Live.Love.Read., May 7
Karen Sue Hadley, May 7
Amanda Tero, blog, May 7
The Write Escape, May 7


To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.