Saturday, June 30, 2018

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck

About the Book

Title: The Love Letter
Author: Rachel Hauck
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Genre: Contemporary
Tour Dates: June 21 – July 4
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dress comes a story of long-lost love and its redemption in future generations.
Romance has never been actress Chloe Daschle’s forte—in life or on screen. But everyone knows who 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.
 Click here to purchase your copy!
My Thoughts:
Wow. This story or stories, I should say, were intricately told and tied together. This is a time slip novel with the historical story taking place during the Revolutionary War and the modern story part of the time on a Hollywood movie set.

I enjoyed both stories. The name at the beginning of the chapter would tell us what viewpoint was next. This story was told in four points of view: Hamilton and Esther, and Jesse and Chloe. Sometimes I would not be ready to be done with one part of the story before I was suddenly taken away into either the past or the future. However, I ended up liking that part as it made the story seem breathless and everything that was happening was important and intertwined.
All four individuals are seeking to be loved, by that one special person. I really liked how the author defined marriage, and she did so a couple of times. In the modern times we are shown just how shallow relationships are, and how marriage is not honored the way it should be. Chloe’s own famous parents are not married but have lived “happily” together for many years. Chloe was different; she did not just want a promise or a superficial relationship. She wanted an abiding love, a covenant promise kind, which God joins together.
The story of the past made me think with honor and thankfulness all the more of the sacrifices those who lived and died during the Revolutionary War gave so that we may have the freedoms today that so many of us take for granted. That was a darker part of the story as because of war there was hatred, violence, death, and grievous wounds. As I was reading I was thinking how blessed we are as Americans to not have war happening right in our backyards like it did during the Revolutionary War. I cannot even imagine living in such a time as neighbor against neighbor, family against family.
There is so much more to this story, but my review is long enough. I highly recommend this engrossing read of love and sacrifice, and learning to let go and trust God has our best interests at heart.
I received a complimentary copy of this novel. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About the Author
Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA
Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.
Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times. She is a double RITA finalist, a Christy and Carol Award Winner.
Rachel sits on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, and is the comical sidekick to Susan May Warren at the amazing My Book Therapy. She is a worship leader and speaker.
A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, Rachel is a devoted Ohio State football fan. She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.
 Guest Post from Rachel Hauck
I’m always looking for story ideas. My husband does a standard disclaimer when I start drilling into a conversation with questions like:
“Really? So why did you do that?”
“Have you sought help?”
“Was it love at first sight?”
Hubster says, “Warning, anything you say can end up in a book.”
 Of course, stories abound! Interesting people abound!
Then again, sometimes ideas just hit out of the blue. A few years ago I had the idea of a young, contemporary couple meeting by “accident” only to learn that their great grandparents were in love but time, life, family, war, or society made their love impossible.
I suppose there are a hundred ways to tell such a story but when it came time to write The Love Letter, I was slightly infatuated with the Poldark series on PBS.
Set in 18th century Cornwall, the story and the characters were so dynamic I had to write my own version of Poldark.
But could I write a split time with a 240 year difference? I mean, they didn’t have electricity or phones in 1780! They didn’t even have a postal system. Letters were carried by traveling friends or family.
What possible conflicts could my historical characters face? What event could be so dark and tragic to keep them apart?
The Revolutionary War created a perfect backdrop for my young lovers.
I set the story in upcountry South Carolina not realizing the battle I chose for the back drop, the Battle of Cowpens, was the inspiration for the movie The Patriot. (A fav movie of mine!)
For the contemporary story, I started with shoes. I mean, doesn’t every thing start with shoes?
“Nice outfit but what shoes are you wearing?”
“You’re going on a date? You need new shoes.”
What we “walk in” can either empower or defeat us. There’s a spiritual metaphor I’ll mediate on for awhile.
However the shoe angle didn’t quite work so the contemporary story ended up in Hollywood with an actor/screenwriter and an actress.
Both worlds—1780 upcountry South Carolina and contemporary Hollywood—were a bit out of my southern bailiwick.
I did a lot of research on the war and the colonial south. Where I couldn’t find details, I filled in with my imagination.
As for Hollywood, I talked with a screenwriter friend, read books, watched interviews, and then, you know, made the rest up. Don’t you know I eventually ended up on a movie set—Once Upon A Prince—four days after I finished reading the galley proofs for The Love Letter!
One of the hardest parts of the story was the actual love letter. What did it say? Who wrote it and why? Was there more than one? No, only one. But why only one?
I must have written and rewritten the letter five different ways to Sunday before I settled on the magical one.
During the course of the book, I realized I’d never written a love letter. Have you?
I’ve written sentiments to my husband on an anniversary or birthday card. I speak my love and affection out loud all the time. But a bonafide love letter?
A love letter is it’s own art form. They range from sickly sweet with a lot of “darlings” and “sweethearts” to Shakespearean sonnets.
There’s a vulnerability that comes with writing a love letter. Putting one’s heart on the page creates a new level of commitment with your affections.
Will the reader receive your words? Will the reader respond in kind?
It’s fascinating to consider the purpose of a love letter. Have we lost something intrinsic to the human heart with our instant texting and email society.
Can you imagine Romeo texting to Juliet in 2018?
Saw you at your window. You looked hot.
Doesn’t quite have the same ring as: “But soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east and Juliet is the sun.”
Scripture is a continuous love letter. “For God so loved the world—”
Whether you write love letters or poems, or quick texts, or put XO’s on cards to loved ones, write a love letter this month.
Write one to yourself, to Jesus, a spouse, child, parent, friend, foe—
See how it will bless your heart! Off to write my love letter…

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, June 21
The Avid Reader, June 21
Genesis 5020, June 21
ansel book blog, June 22
C Jane Read, June 24
By The Book, June 25
Carpe Diem, June 26
Mommynificent , June 27
Radiant Light, June 28
Novels corner, June 29
Bigreadersite, June 29
Pause for Tales, June 30
Splashes of Joy, June 30
Remembrancy, July 2
amandainpa, July 2


To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away
Grand prize of a Kindle Fire 7
Semi-Grand prize of a book basket
2nd – 4th place prize of a copy of The Love Letter!!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: To Claim Her Heart by Jodie Wolfe

About the Book
Title: To Claim Her Heart
Author: Jodie Wolfe

Release Date: May 14, 2018
Genre: Historical Romance
In 1893, on the eve of the great race for land, Benjamin David prays for God to guide him to his ‘Promised Land’. Finding property and preaching to the lost are his only ways of honoring his deceased fiancee, but he didn’t count on Elmer (Elsie) Smith claiming the same plot and refusing to leave. Not only is she a burr in his side, but she is full of the homesteading know-how he sadly lacks.
Obtaining a claim in the Cherokee Strip Land Run is Elsie Smith’s only hope for survival, but not just any plot will do. She has a specific one in mind. The plot’s not only a way to honor her pa and his life, but also to provide a livelihood for herself. Elsie’s willing to do whatever it takes to get that piece of property, and she determined to keep it, but she wasn’t planning on a kind, handsome preacher standing in her way.
Her bitterness is what protects her, and she has not intentions of allowing that preacher to lay claim to her land … or her heart.
Click here to purchase your copy!
My Thoughts:
I read a lot, so imagine my excitement when a book has such an exceptional story and writing that it takes me on an adventure that I was not expecting. To Claim Her Heart was such a story and author Wolfe not only told me a story, I felt like I was right there in the midst of it.

This story just flat out surprised me. I love it when books do that. We have two people who are so different from each other facing a problem that unbeknownst to them actually brings them together. First to work together with the land and then to a sweet, sweet love.

If you want romance, pick this one up, to me it was exceptional. If you want to feel the gallop of a horse, the sweet taste of fresh water from a spring , what it might feel like to put roots down in the dust like the pioneers, than I highly recommend this story. It is one of the top 5 I have read this year.

The author also put at the beginning of each chapter a rule from a proper lady's guide book of either a do or don’t, but a rule that no young lady should break. This was just a little teaser of what the chapter would hold, especially since the rules were made to be broken. Once I got into the full swing of things those rules had me giggling up a storm just to see how they would get broken.  I can’t wait for more from author Wolfe.
I received a complimentary copy of this novel. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About the Author

Jodie Wolfe got bitten by the writing bug as a young girl after reading and watching Little House on the Prairie. She creates novels where hope and quirky meet. The power of story to influence lives and change hearts is what motivates her to weave tales that tell of the Savior’s faithfulness and forgiveness. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at

Guest Post from Jodie Wolfe

The Heart of a Book

I think there’s always a little bit of the author in each book they write, but sometimes something deeper and very close to the author is wrapped up in the pages of a story. That’s the case for To Claim Her Heart. This is the tale that my mother-in-law always wanted me to write. She was so proud of her family heritage and almost twenty years ago, she was anxious to share it with me. We visited Oklahoma where several of her relatives had staked claims in the last great race for land in our country – the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893. This September will mark the 125th anniversary of the land race.

While it saddens me that my dear mother-in-law never lived long enough to see this story in print, I’m thankful that she shared her rich heritage with me. In To Claim Her Heart I was able to mention a recipe passed down through her family for prune cake. I also made sure the heroine had a Rose of Sharon quilt that was given to her. My mother-in-law gave me this quilt dating back as early as 1834 when it was stitched by my husband’s great, great, great, great grandmother. It’s been passed down to the oldest daughter for generations. But, I think one of my favorite memories is the one that concerns outlaws and how my husband’s great, great, great grandmother dealt with them. To find out more about this actual encounter, you’ll have to read To Claim Her Heart. I hope your heart will be as touched by these stories as mine was when my mother-in-law shared them.


Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, June 19
Remembrancy, June 20
Novels corner, June 21
Among the Reads, June 23
Margaret Kazmierczak, June 23 (Interview)
Reading is my Super Power, June 24 (Interview)
Vicky Sluiter, June 25
Splashes of Joy, June 27
Pause for Tales, June 29
Bigreadersite, July 2


To celebrate her tour, Jodie is giving away a grand prize of a Kindle Fire!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Review: A Rebel Heart by Beth White

To Purchase

The Civil War is over, but Mississippi belle Selah Daughtry finds that former Union officer Levi Riggins has set siege to her rebel heart. Can she trust him to help her protect her home and family in these hard times--or will she lose her pride and self-respect in the process?

My Thoughts:

A Rebel Heart takes us back to five years after the Civil War has ended, and reconstruction of the south has begun. Selah Daughtry and her two sisters are about to lose their family plantation. Selah has tried to secure loans with no luck and only one possibility seems to offer hope: turning their plantation into a hotel.

There are an assortment of characters that we are introduced to, which help set up the next two books. The main characters of this story are Selah and Levi Riggins who is a Yankee and former Union soldier with a plethora of secrets. He makes for an interesting character even from the time he and Selah first meet which is quite memorable. Both of their lives also have been severely touched by the war.

There is a shroud of mystery in this book and I don’t want to give anything away, I will say this was a treat to read and watch how the author tells her story and unravels everything. I think what I really liked seeing was that the people, former slave owners and former slaves working together to bury the past hurts and build something new into the future. I am looking forward to the next two installments.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Review: Carry Me Home by Dorothy Adamek

To Purchase

Finella Mayfield hates two things: liars and thieves. And she's determined to marry a man who's neither. Chasing her dead father's dreams, the twenty-year-old English bride arrives in Australia in 1875 for an arranged marriage. Anticipating her future as village preacher's wife, she records her thoughts in her Everlasting journal.

But instead of her fiancé, Finella is met by Shadrach Jones, a poor farmer sent to collect her from the busy Melbourne pier.

This is not what her father planned. And it's only the beginning of the unraveling of Finella Mayfield ~ the bride with no groom.

All Shadrach longs for is rows of mustard and chicory. He's busy growing a farm near the Phillip Island fishing village of Cowes, and caring for Molly, his simple sister. Far from the brutal life they remember with their ex-convict father, Shadrach's building something new.

But he's also made a promise to a dying friend. To collect and marry the English girl destined to never be a preacher's wife.

Can Shadrach convince Finella she has a future with a farmer? Can he convince himself, knowing his family secrets will haunt their future?

My Thoughts:

My words will not do justice to this beautiful story of two people who are destined to love each other but have quite an uphill battle to get there. Author Adamek takes us to the Australian prairie as we travel with Finella so that she may meet and marry her fiancé. Unbeknownst to her, she is in for much more tragedy than she would have thought possible.

Shadrach Jones has come to fulfill his promise to his dying friend and to take care of Finella by eventually marrying her. His wooing is a bit uncouth, but he is a man. He and Finella do not really see eye to eye, but both care very much for his 14 year old special needs sister, Molly. I would say that Molly is the glue that holds them together at first.

Shadrach is romantic in his own special way and when he wants to show Finella that he wants her to stay, he does so in a spectacular way. This was a very romantic story about a man and woman’s struggle to find themselves and each other in a country where convicts were once sent and to get past ill-conceived notions and prejudices.

I purchased this book when it first came out and finally sat down to read it. I cannot believe I let it sit on my shelf for that long. This is the first in a planned series and I look forward to and hope to get more of Shadrach and Finella’s story.