Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, March 23, 2015

How to Catch a Prince by Rachel Hauck (The Royal Wedding series book #3)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Litfuse Publicity Group book blogger campaign. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  


How to Catch a Prince (Zondervan, February 2015)
She caught her prince once. Can she catch him again?
American heiress Corina Del Rey’s life was devastated by war. Every thing she loved was lost. But after five years of grief, she’s shed her grave clothes and started over in the sunshine along the Florida coast.
But some things are not so easily forgotten. When a secret from her past confronts her face to face, she realizes she must follow her heart. Even if it cost her everything.
Prince Stephen of Brighton Kingdom is a former Royal Air Command lieutenant turned star rugby player, trying to make sense of his life after the devastation of war.
When his brother, King Nathaniel, discovers Stephen’s pre war secret, he must deal with an aspect of his life he longed to forget. But how can he do so without exposing the truth and breaching national security?
Yet, true love has a destiny all it’s own. As the cathedral bells peal through Cathedral City, Corina and Stephen must chose to answer the call of love on their hearts.
Or let it be lost forever?

Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, best selling author of critically acclaimed novels such as The Wedding DressLove Starts with Elle, and Once Upon A Prince. She also penned the Songbird Novels with multi-platinum recording artist, Sara Evans. Booklist named their novel, Softly and Tenderly, one of 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals. She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference speaker. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pets.

Find Rachel online: websiteFacebookTwitter

Dynamic Uno Here:  Once Upon a Prince (2013) and Princess Ever After (2014) are the first two books in the Royal Wedding series by Rachel Hauck, with How to Catch a Prince as the third.  While I prefer to read the books in order because some of the characters do reappear in the other stories, all three can be read as stand-alone books.

One of the many things I enjoyed in How to Catch a Prince were the characters.  I loved how despite their seemingly perfect lives, (who wouldn't want to be an American heiress married to a Prince?) we were able to get a glimpse into their very heartaches that make them seem so real. 

I also love the fact that Corina lives and works in Melbourne, Florida.  I live in the Tampa Bay area so to read about a character who lives in an area that is just a few hours away makes me smile.  (Maybe I too can meet a fabulous newswoman like Gigi who will give me a job so I can own a condo on the beach.  I know, keep dreaming.)

Another element I enjoyed were the "angels in disguise" at The Manor.  You'll have to read the book to find out what I'm talking about, but I felt like Adelaide and Brill added a bit of whimsy and gave sage advice when it came to Corina's decisions about Stephen.  Love well and Trust.

Overall, I really adored the characters in this book (and series) and I hope that there are many more to come!

Let me know what you think and Happy Reading!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

YouTube Thursday

With all of the changes happening in my life recently, I've begun to think about the goals and plans I had for myself before and during my college years.  I wasn't really sure about what I wanted to do when I "grew up" and truth be told, I'm still not sure.  However, I did have a list of places where I wanted to live and explore--maybe even a few careers I would like to try.

After the passing of my grandmother, I realized through a conversation with my aunt that I've kind of been holding my breath while life happened to me.  Rather than be the spontaneous and bubbly person that I really am, I've grown into a hard outer shell just waiting for the next thing to hit me.

I've started to let that breath out and bring in some revitalizing oxygen that I so desperately need.  I'm scared to death about some of the things I'm going to attempt, but really, in the end I think it will be worth it.  Even if the outcome is not what I would like, I do know that God is in control and that He works all things together for my good--even if I don't agree with Him at the time.

All of this to say, I found this song (This Is Not Goodbye) by the Sidewalk Prophets to be very inspiring and right in line with the changes I am currently trying to make.  I hope it inspires you too.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Happy Birthday Madison!

It's so hard to believe that you're turning the "sweet 16" today.  

You still love to play with your toys and adore snuggling with me anytime.  Thank you for bringing such joy in my life. 

Love you "punky!"

Friday, March 13, 2015

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe by Max Lucado with Candace Lee & Eric Newman (A Heavenly Novel)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Litfuse Publicity Group book blogger campaign. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  

About the book: 

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe (Thomas Nelson, February 2015)

What if you could ask God anything? What would you ask? And how would he answer?

Chelsea Chambers is on her own. After a public split from her NFL superstar husband, Chelsea takes a bold step out of the limelight and behind the counter of the Higher Grounds Café, an old-fashioned coffee shop in dire need of reinvention. But when her courage, expert planning, and out-of-this-world cupcakes fail to pay the bills, this newly single mom finds herself desperate for help. Better yet, a miracle.

Then a curious stranger lands at Chelsea's door, and with him, an even more curious string of events. Soon, customers are flocking to the Higher Grounds Café, and not just for the cupcakes and cappuccino. They've come for the internet connection to the divine. Now the café has become the go-to place for people in search of answers to life's biggest questions.

When a catastrophe strikes and her ex comes calling, Chelsea begins to wonder if the whole universe is conspiring against her quest to make it on her own. After a shocking discovery opens her eyes to the unseen world around her, Chelsea finds the courage to ask, and heaven answers in a most unexpected way.
Purchase a copy:

About the author: 
More than 120 million readers have found comfort in the writings of Max Lucado. He ministers at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Denalyn, and a sweet but misbehaving mutt, Andy.

Find Max online: websiteFacebookTwitter

Learn more about the book here!

Dynamic Uno here:  When I first picked up Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe, I didn't realize that I wouldn't be able to put it down.  Thankfully it's a quick read, so with a little bit of caffeine I was able to read it in almost one sitting. (A girl's got to get her beauty rest.) 

The plot challenged me to look at my own circumstances through a different light, and to acknowledge that God and his angels are constantly fighting battles for me--most of which I am unaware of--on a daily basis.  

After re-reading the last sentence, I need to let you know that this IS a light-hearted read. It just happened to speak to me about some of the issues I am dealing with currently.  In fact, several of the characters are down-right hilarious with their "outfits"  and quirks throughout the story.  I don't think I've smiled so much while reading in quite some time.  (In fact, the antics of Manny, made me laugh and endeared him to my whimsical side.)

I hope to see more Heavenly novels published because I'd love to learn more about the townspeople and how the Higher Grounds Cafe helps those in need.  If you're looking for a light-hearted book with quirky characters then grab this book now!  You'll enjoy it!

Let me know what you think, and Happy Reading!

By the Way...

  Max Lucado and Thomas Nelson would like to invite you to have coffee with Max! 

Tuesday, March 24th join Max and his daughter, Jenna Lucado Bishop, via a LIVE webcast where they will be chatting over coffee about Max's new book and much more.

Also, enter to win a chance at an iPad!  Click here for more details!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Betting on Hope (A Four of Hearts Ranch Romance) by Debra Clopton

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Litfuse Publicity Group book blogger campaign. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  

About the book: 

Betting on Hope (Thomas Nelson, February 2015)

 A bet gone wrong. A small town's meddling. And a cowboy intent on saving his ranch. 

 Maggie Hope is an advice columnist whose background leaves her with little advice to give . . . and it's beginning to show. When Maggie fills in at an interview with champion horse trainer Tru Monahan, the on-camera chemistry between them is undeniable. Maggie's bosses know this is the opportunity she's been looking for to launch her career---and their bank accounts. In order to save her column, Maggie takes Tru up on the bet that he can teach her to ride a quick-stepping cutting horse like any cowgirl, despite the fact that she has never been on a horse. And in the meantime, she can get the scoop on the man under the cowboy hat. 

 Tru has been on the competition circuit for longer than he'd like, but he knows it's the only way he can afford to keep the Four of Hearts Ranch that means so much to his ailing grandfather. So when his sponsors see the opportunity for Tru's fans to get to know the star on a more intimate level, he knows he must oblige. To his dismay, Maggie not only invades his small town of Wishing Springs, but she also invades his heart, and that is something he cannot let any woman do-for her own good. 

 In Wishing Springs, Maggie finds what she has always been looking for: a community and a home. But when her past catches up to her, it threatens everything, even the tender hope that this town holds all of her heart's desires. 

 Purchase a copy: Betting on Hope by Debra Clopton

About the author: 

Debra Clopton is a multi-award winning novelist and has written more than 22 novels. Along with writing, Debra helps her husband teach the youth at their local Cowboy Church. Debra's goal is to shine a light toward God while she entertains readers with her words.

Find Debra online: websiteFacebookTwitter

Dynamic Uno here: If you're just joining us, welcome to my blog!  For those of you that have been here since the beginning, thank you for sticking with me--even with my crazy absences here and there.

It should come as no surprise as to why I requested this book.  After all, cowboys and romance are right up my alley--combine the two and I'm hooked.

I must admit, when I first met the character of Maggie Hope, I didn't think I'd like her much.  She was complaining about having to do an interview for her friend who was unable to make it, and it just happened to be with a handsome cowboy. (Is she crazy?!  I'd love to interview a handsome cowboy!) 

Thankfully, as I read more about her and watched her character grow throughout the story, I actually found myself wanting to sit down and have a cup of tea, while she had some coffee, and discuss our lives.  Her childhood was fraught with ridiculous parenting and she had to learn to survive on the streets with her own wit.  I like to hear and read these "overcoming obstacles against all odds" type of stories, so I'm quite sure her telling of events would be quite fascinating.

Tru Monahan is the main cowboy bachelor in this story, although he has several brothers who are single as well.  After he bets Maggie that he can teach her to ride and cut for competition (this will be explained in the book), he ends up finding out that he may have taken on more than he can handle when he meets her fierce determination and attitude, as well as her penchant for being a klutz. (Thank goodness I'm not the only one who can trip over air.)

The community of Wishing Springs reminds me of the small town of Abilene, Texas. The people are friendly and helpful to a fault, which sometimes causes the rumor mill to spin out of control. When Maggie and Tru's friendship begins, half of the townspeople (mainly Clara Lyn and Reba at the Cut 'n Curl) have them married off in gossip only.  Thankfully, Tru and Maggie are more concerned about the deadline of the cutting contest and the bet than to worry about what the townspeople are saying about their relationship.

Add to that mix, Pops--who has Alzheimer's, Jenna--the pregnant teenager Maggie found walking alongside the road, and a handful of zany mishaps and you have the story of Betting on Hope.

I enjoyed reading this novel, not only because of the cowboy and romance factors, but because it made me laugh and swoon in all of the right parts.  Ms. Clopton has a quick sense of humor and a writing style that brings her characters to life--so much so that you feel like you're part of their community.

I look forward to reading more by Ms. Clopton and I can't wait to find out if Tru's other brothers get bitten by the love-bug.

Let me know what you think!  Happy Reading!