Sunday, November 25, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: THE ROYAL WEDDING COLLECTION, by Rachel Hauck

If you're a Hallmark movie fan (especially the royal wedding movies) then you've probably seen the movie adaptation of Rachel Hauck's book, ONCE UPON A PRINCE. That's the impetus for getting at least the 1st book in this trilogy. Along with the fact that Rachel is an amazing teacher and worship leader -- heard her at this year's ACFW conference -- and she's the featured guest at this year's Faith and Fellowship Book Festival in Columbus, Ohio, December 1. (and an OSU football fan!)

CLICK HERE for info, and come see her (and me, too!!)

On to the review:

I bought all three books because hey, it's ebooks so no worry about shelf space, and 2nd hey, a lot cheaper to buy all 3 together and besides, I was really, really in the mood for some romance.

ONCE UPON A PRINCE -- Nathaniel (prince of Brighton) and Susanna
PRINCESS EVER AFTER -- Reggie (great-granddaughter of the long lost princess of Hessenberg, ally of Brighton) and Tanner
HOW TO CATCH A PRINCE -- Stephen (Nathaniel's brother) and Corina

Can I just say ... *sigh* What fun! Satisfying, funny, clever, and anything that smelled faintly of cliche was dealt with cleverly so it just plain worked.

Nathaniel is on diplomatic business for his father, the king, and taking a bit of a vacation when he meets Susanna. He has fun hiding his identity and being an ordinary guy, and when duty calls, he's honest with her -- it's against Brighton law for them to try to have a future. She understands that. She's not in the market for another broken heart. But of course they get thrown together, and they try to obey God and do what's right, and there's the whole political/diplomatic mess with Hessenberg distracting Nathaniel.

Reggie is happy restoring vintage cars, and has fond memories of the princess game she and her great-grandmother used to play. Until Tanner shows up on her doorstep after a long search through letters and immigration records, to tell her, guess what? You're our princess, we need you to get involved in a big political change 100 years in the making. Reggie's a smart girl who knows better than to get involved in foreign politics. And besides, she'd have to wear dresses and deal with scheming politicians and social upheaval. Who'd want that? Then there's Tanner's painful, shameful secrets and strained family relationships.

Stephen has some BIG secrets in his past, tied to the war in Afghanistan, and a lot of guilt. He considers himself completely unworthy of his position -- and doubly so when it comes to Corina, who loves him, who he loves, and who happens to be the twin sister of one of his soldier buddies who died protecting him. She wants the truth about what happened to her brother, and he's got this tendency to keep trying to throw himself on his own sword, metaphorically speaking.

Do I need to say that love conquers all -- as long as there's a lot of prayer, a lot of tears and soul-searching, and a hefty dollop of divine, spiritual interference?

*sigh* Just lovely. And I devoured all 3 books in 6 days. Ummm, more please?

Friday, November 23, 2018

Feature: SUMMER SONG, in the Tabor Heights short story anthology

Wanna get this anthology for FREE?

Come to the Mt. Zion Ridge Press Facebook party on Cyber Monday, and find out how!

CLICK HERE to sign up to attend.

You know you want to come.
You know you want to find out about upcoming books from Mt. Zion Ridge Press -- and oh yeah, how to get the free ebook.

The Tabor Heights books, and the companion series, Quarry Hall, are currently off the market, BUT they're coming back! You'll find out more about those plans when you come to the party.

What else do you have to do on the Monday after Thanksgiving, when you're absolutely wiped out from shopping on Black Friday???

The 4th story in the anthology is SUMMER SONG.
It appears in the From the Lake to the River anthology, the launch publication of Mt. Zion Ridge Press. This story is a follow-up to the Tabor Heights novel, FIRESONG, about a Christian band on the verge of their career taking off -- but maybe at the expense of ministry.

In SUMMER SONG, Dani and Kurt's romance is having some trouble. Their involvement in ministry keeps them both on the road -- and separated. They jump at a chance to work at a boot camp for summer music ministry. But problems seem to follow them...


A quick glance around showed her co-leader, Shelby, had arrived and settled in. Her sleeping bag was spread out on the bunk on the other side of the door from Dani's. Suitcase and duffel bag neatly stowed underneath. A string of butterfly patio lights hung from the frame. Dani liked that whimsical touch.

An answering machine picked up on the other end of the line. Shelby came through the door right then, with a neon pink plastic basket of toiletries in one hand, clothes hung over her arm, and a towel around her neck. A good guess was that she had been to the bathhouse. She wore gray shorts and t-shirt, with the stylized Ohio State O, and a buckeye. She stowed her basket and hung up the towel on the end of the bunk, as Dani left a message why she was calling.

"Not good," Shelby said, after Dani hung up. "Dani, right?"

"If you're Shelby." She settled down on her bunk. Cabin co-leaders had been asked to take bunks next to the door. Drew joked that they were stationed there to prevent campers fleeing for their lives after they realized what they had gotten into.

"Did you hear the news at dinner? Firesong is spending boot camp with us, and they're looking to add to the band. You know, kind of like Broadway shows on the road, different teams. I mean, what are the chances of actually traveling with Firesong? But just knowing you kind of have their name, singing their songs, that'd be so cool."

She paused for breath, while Dani scrambled to think of something to say to shut down the torrent of words before it got awkward. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Feature: ONE SMALL CHILD, in the Tabor Heights short story anthology

You KNOW you want this anthology.
Especially since it'll be FREE!

Come to the Mt. Zion Ridge Facebook party on CYBER MONDAY and find out how you can get your copy.

CLICK HERE to go to the page and mark that you'll be attending.

The Tabor Heights books, and the companion series of stories, Quarry Hall, are currently off the market.
BUT ....
Mt. Zion Ridge Press will be re-releasing them in the very near feature. Come to the Facebook party and learn more!

The 3rd story is ONE SMALL CHILD

Max and Tony are getting ready to be married, but first they have to deal with even more fallout from the events of last spring, when a conniving actor set out to destroy Max's reputation and her career as a screenwriter before it even got started -- by pretending to BE the up-and-coming screenwriter, Max Keeler.


"I don't know, Leia," Tony muttered, his grin turning sickly. "I'm getting a bad feeling about this."

Normally Max would have sighed and slapped his arm, and maybe laughed, depending on her mood -- but she felt just as apprehensive as Tony looked. Taking a deep breath, she said a silent prayer that she was wrong, and turned on the light.

The sound stopped immediately. She looked down, just as a gust of wind blew powdery snow into the theater. Stunned, she still had the presence of mind to close and latch the doors.

"I thought that cliché went out with tying damsels in distress to railroad tracks," Tony said, and stepped around her to kneel, putting the basket on the floor between them.

Big eyes in a wizened little face blinked up at him, putting a lie to the temporary -- wishful -- belief that a doll lay in the bright orange, soft plastic basket, just like one that Max had seen in the Dollar Spot at Target last week. She wanted to say something witty, or at least smart-alecky as Tony picked up the basket and carried the baby from the chill box office into the warmth of the lobby. She pushed the doors open again and looked out, to glance up and down the street, on the off-chance that whoever had put the baby there -- as a joke, it had to be a really bad joke -- was watching, waiting for a reaction, to jump out in another moment and laugh and yell gotcha!

No one and nothing moved on the snowy street, under the steel gray stormy morning sky.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Feature: SILVER HEARTS, in the Tabor Heights anthology

You KNOW you want this anthology.
Especially since it'll be FREE!

Come to the Mt. Zion Ridge Facebook party on CYBER MONDAY and find out how you can get your copy.

CLICK HERE to go to the page and mark that you'll be attending.

The Tabor Heights books, and the companion series of stories, Quarry Hall, are currently off the market.
BUT ....
Mt. Zion Ridge Press will be re-releasing them in the very near feature. Come to the Facebook party and learn more!

The 2nd story in the anthology is SILVER HEARTS.

Rose Weinberg, a widow, comes to Tabor Heights to help her brother Joel during a family crisis. She soon becomes a vital part of the family. And when a would-be suitor from her childhood follows her to Tabor Heights, Jeremy is terrified that they'll lose their Aunt Rose.


"Rose Weinburg? Widow of Morris?"

"Speaking." She was ready to slam the phone down. If this turned out to be one of those moronic telemarketers, she might just be peeved enough to call her father and tell the nasty old man what she thought of all his legalism and my-word-is-law-you-are-only-a-woman-don't-presume-to-think. She wouldn't put it past him to tell telemarketers who called their house how to find her.

"It's Mischa. How are you, darling?"

"Mischa?" She choked. "Mischa... Wyse?" Clutching the counter, she closed her eyes and said a prayer that she was mistaken. Then again, how many Mischas had she known in her entire life?

It was on the top of her tongue to blurt, 'Speak of the devil!' Only a few days ago, for the first time in more than forty years, she had thought of the fat, silly, somewhat pompous boy from her high school days.

"That's right!" Mischa crowed. "My dear girl, I just heard the horrid news. And I must tell you, I am hurt -- but not half as much as horrified on your behalf," he hurried on.

"On my behalf?" Rose looked for the nearest chair, to sit down. Then she silently scolded herself for being so dramatic. What had Mischa Wyse ever been to her, that she would be affected by a phone call from him? "Wait a minute, how did you find me?"

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Feature: HOMESPUN, from the upcoming Tabor Heights short story anthology

How, you may ask, can you get hold of this anthology?

Especially since it'll be FREE?

Come to the Mt. Zion Ridge Facebook party on CYBER MONDAY and find out.

CLICK HERE to go to the page and mark that you'll be attending.

First story in the anthology is HOMESPUN

This is the story behind the story, telling how Joel and Emily Randolph met and fell in love and came up with the idea of Homespun Theater, the community theater in Tabor Heights.


A little body with an amazing mop of black curls squatted in the pool of light from the Green Room door, playing with one of the wooden tops that Gregori liked to carve during performances while waiting for his lighting cues. She looked up as Joel approached and opened her mouth as if she would say something, then shook her head. She stood up and held out her hand.

Bemused, Joel bent over. He had learned a long time ago that no matter how small the children, they hated when adults went down on one knee and emphasized how short they were. He shook her hand.

"Hello. I'm Joel. What's your name?"

"I'm Max."

"Max?" He grinned, sure he had heard her wrong.

"Max? What are you doing out here?" A little woman with pure white curls and a neon orange jogging suit paused in the doorway, leaning on her glossy black cane. "Honey, remember what Mommy told you? Don't go running around strange places." She took hold of Max's hand to lead her back into the Green Room. "I'm sorry. We just got here, and she's been riding for six hours and... well, you know children. If they can't run around once every hour..." Her smile was full of mischief and life, and Joel found himself grinning back at her.

"But it's not a strange place," Max said, all seriousness. "It's a theater. I know all about theaters."

"You do, huh?" Joel gestured for them to precede him into the Green Room. "How's that?"

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: TEAROOM FOR TWO, Susan Page Davis

Book 1 of the Tearoom Mysteries published by Guideposts.

One of the fun parts of going to a writing conference is learning about the projects of other writers, or publishers. At the ACFW conference this past September in Nashville, I was lucky enough to meet up with a Guideposts editor and she gave me this book.

Fun! I'm handing this one to my mother, and I'm sure this is one of those series we're both going to be racing each other to read the next installment. Guideposts' books are part of a club, but I think -- don't quote me on this -- individual books, especially older series, can be bought individually. I sure hope so!

Jan and Elaine are cousins, widows, who decide to combine their resources and their love of tea and open a tearoom in Maine, where they were children together. In the course of picking up bits and pieces for their tearoom, such as decorations and mismatched teapots and tea cups, they stumble into a mystery that turns downright thrilling, and even dangerous at times.

Don't worry -- this isn't Cabot Cove, where anyone and everyone runs the risk of being either the murderer or murdered.

The first mystery deals with an ugly old teapot the cousins pick up for practically nothing at a flea market. Their first clue that something is up is when the dealer tries to buy it back. Then other people get downright rude, invasive, and dishonest, trying to get their hands on it. As the mystery deepens and the stakes rise, Jan and Elaine prove they're smart and tough, even when it could be dangerous to refuse to back down, or do the right thing.

The perfect way to spend a chilly, wet fall afternoon. I was almost glad to have a miserable cold and an excuse to just sit and read for a couple hours straight. Brew a pot of your favorite tea and dive in.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018


Fantasy from Mundania Press:


Be careful what you wish for!
Aggie, Brody and Lara learn the hard way that tampering with magic and investigating without the guidance of their mysterious guardian, Anton Dorayn, leads to big problems. All they meant to do was test a few theories, but a supposedly harmless picnic in the park stirs up magic and opens a doorway into another world. Is it the home the three barely remember?

Between finding Werelings who claim to be relatives, a waterlogged ghost searching for her true love, magic that doesn't follow the supposed rules and wizards who suddenly want to kill Lara, it's not a day in the park by any stretch of the imagination. All they know is that they have to protect the friends who fell through into the mirror world with them and unlock the secret of the magical disaster that hit them ten years ago, before unraveling magic destroys the land, and possibly the world.