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Monthly Archives: January 2017

A Royal Christmas Wedding, by Rachel Hauck

This book is #4 in The Royal Wedding Series. While I believe it’s not crucial that you read the previous three books before reading this one, it would definitely give you more of the big picture. And really, why not read the whole series?! 🙂 

Cheery, bright, and Christmasy… A Royal Christmas Wedding is a story of love and trust… and forgiveness.

Southern girl Avery Truitt tells herself that she’s over Prince Colin of Brighton. She tells herself that, but in her most honest moments, she knows it’s not true. When she and Mama decide to spend the Christmas season in Brighton with Avery’s sister, she knows she must put a mask on, because she can’t risk letting Colin see how much she still hurts.

The old Pembroke bell rings mysteriously at the end of the Harvest Celebration, causing all of Brighton begins to buzz with questions and anticipation — will the historic tradition be brought back to life.. will whoever rang the bell for his true love marry her on Christmas morning? Who rang it.. and for whom?

Rachel Hauck has a very fun storytelling style, and the way she combines the south with royalty to create modern day fairy tales.. there’s just nobody quite like her.

I think I’d liken this book to a red velvet truffle. Small but heartwarming and sweet, it’s like a party treat – between all the softly falling snow and the dream-like beauty of Cathedral City, I almost felt like I was in a snowglobe.. except we haven’t really had snow here lately.. If you’re accustomed to judging books by their titles, you might hear this one and think it’s fluff. But it’s really not. It’s a sweet story about trusting God and others. So much depth inside this little book… while still feeling pretty light.

P.S. The epilogue is adorable. While I loved this book, the epilogue just might be my favorite part.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2017 in Christmas, Fiction, Rachel Hauck, Romance, Royalty, Wedding

 

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Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful, by Susan May Warren 

Light and romantic, this story takes place in mountainous Montana. I’ve never been there, but I find myself fascinated with stories (and pictures!) of Montana, so the setting of this novella was a bonus for me.

Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful is the fun, cute, quick-moving story of Hannah and CJ and their personal struggles to find the courage inside themselves that everyone else already sees — including each other. They survive a horrific plane crash together, but in spite of their mutual attraction, they each manage to block the other from seeing how much their hearts need that connection… so they spend the following months both denying it. They surely both read more into it than was there, right? Yet they cling to their shared time online, talking as they team up to fight off zombies and save orphans in a game that gives them both false pictures of bravery.

This was my first-ever story by Susan May Warren, and I have to say, I liked it! I should probably have read the others in her Montana Fire series prior to this, but that didn’t scare me away. It was the equivalent of a cream puff. Very light, even with the struggles both main characters deal with.

Also, I listened to this via Audible, and Jackson Nickolay did a great job. I’m kind of picky about narrators, and while some of his voices for the characters (read: CJ’s little sister, for one..) weren’t exactly on my top favorites list, overall I really enjoyed his reading and voices.

(This is a novella. Mine says it’s the extended edition… I don’t really know what is extended, but I’m guessing that maybe the non-extended version doesn’t have the epilogue. And if that’s the case, make sure you read the extended one. Because you’ll be missing out if you don’t!) 

 
 

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The Piano Girl: Counterfeit Princess, by Sherri Schoenborn Murray

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but whatever it was, this book wasn’t it — it was so much more.

The Piano Girl: Counterfeit Princess was such a fun book. Even though I wanted to know what happened, I was truly very sad knowing I was coming up on the end of this story. I can always read it again, and I will, but there’s just something about reading a book for the first time that grabs my heart in a way that can never be with a reread. You just can never read a book for the first time twice. Profound, I know.

A well-written, imaginative story, this book by Sherri Schoenborn Murray has believable characters that I feel like I now know intimately. I really can’t rave enough. As I listened via Audible, as opposed to reading a paper copy, I would be negligent to not also tell you about the narrator. As much as I loved the story itself, Sarah Zimmerman made it even better. Her voices and expression added depth to each character and really brought out the humor. She did a beautiful job.

Princess Alia of Blue Sky is a fairly spoiled girl who suddenly finds herself on a journey she could never have dreamt of, a journey that’s quite difficult and long, to meet the betrothed she doesn’t even know she has. Over the course of the trek, under the guise of chicken farmer’s daughter (it’s a dangerous, war-torn world, and the princess whose marriage will unite two kingdoms would be a perfect hostage), Alia learns much about herself, her privileged life, and the people of both her kingdom and those surrounding. She meets murderously mean citizens but also genuinely kindhearted, gentle souls, who would give away the little they have if they think it will benefit someone else. She’s deprived of many comforts and often frustrated by Felix, her “chicken farmer father”.

Many obstacles arise in Alia’s path… gypsies, learning to peel potatoes, not knowing who is to be trusted, giants, swamp pox, and an enchanted forest maze… just to name a few. Once she arrives at her destination, Yonder, Alia’s adventures continue. With so many girls impersonating her, though, Alia must be careful, lest she be deemed a counterfeit princess as well.

This book kept me guessing, kept me wanting “just one more chapter”. 🙂 I so enjoyed following along through Alia’s story of growth and true love.

I’d liken this story to a lava cake… on the surface it strikes you as a chocolate cake with the potential of being fabulous, but the inside holds surprises greater than you might have imagined.

(I apologize for any misspellings… Since mine is the Audible version, I never saw the text of this book, only heard it.)

 

 

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