Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck (quick review)

princesseverafter_hauck_zondervanFrom the Cover:

Regina Beswick didn’t know she was born to be a princess.

She’s content to be a small-town girl, running a classic auto restoration shop, unaware that a secret destiny awaits her.  One that will leap from the pages of her grandmother’s hand-painted book of fairy tales.  Culture for the Grand Duchy of Heisenberg.  When he is tasked to retrieve the long-lost princess, he must overcome his fear of failure in order to secure his nation’s future–and his own.

Yet lurking in the political shadows is a fierce opponent with sinister plans to abolish the throne forever.

Overwhelmed with opposition, Regina must decide whether she’s destined to restore old cars or an ancient nation.  Together–with a little divine intervention–Regina and Tanner discover the truth of her heritage and the healing power of true love.

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During my workday this week, I’ve been listening to audiobooks of Rachel Hauck’s Royal Wedding series in preparation for reading the print review copy that the publisher’s Fiction Guild sent to me of book 4, A Royal Christmas Wedding.  This, as the second full length novel, was again an enjoyable modern-day fairytale.

While many of the same elements were in place – the quirky southerners, the supportive family, personal struggles and past failures, political opposition/machinations, and a couple that you root for as a reader – and it was a fun read, it did not have me smiling as Once Upon a Prince did.  What I enjoyed most were the touches of humor and the inclusion of Regina’s great-grandmother Alice’s diaries, the scenes which involved memories of her, and the way in which the fairytale book she made is woven into the story.

Somehow this was a less believable story, especially in some song related scenes, and the main characters – as well as their families – were not quite as charming to me.  That this would be  a story included in a series that otherwise is about the three princes of neighboring Brighton does make sense but, in listening, I was struck by the thought that this might have worked better, for me, as a novella.

I realize this review seems rather negative, but this is an enjoyable book and I rated it 3 out of 5 stars.  My experience of it might have been better on the printed page and with more distance space between it and the previous novel, as it seems to have suffered most from comparison to the first book of the series.  I’m looking forward to continuing on with book three tomorrow.

Princess Ever After, The Royal Wedding Series #2, by Rachel Hauck | Zondervan, 2014 | Overdrive library audiobook: Oasis Audio, 2014, read by Eleni Pappageorge, 10 hrs 38 min

A March Bride by Rachel Hauck (novella review)

amarchbride_hauck_zondervanFrom the Publisher:

Susanna Truitt (Once Upon a Prince) is three weeks from royalty. She’ll soon marry King Nathaniel II of Brighton Kingdom. But when the government insists she renounce her American citizenship before the wedding, coupled with the lack of involvement by family and friends, Susanna’s heart begins to doubt whether this marriage is God’s plan for her. (from Spring Brides, Zondervan, March 2015)

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Fourth in the A Year of Weddings 1 collection and falling at about 1.5 in Rachel Hauck’s Royal Wedding series, A March Bride is a sweet little novella to while away an hour or two reading or in my case, listening to.  It has been over a year since Susanna Truitt met her prince, now King Nathaniel of the island kingdom of Brighton.  Only a few weeks from their royal wedding, the erstwhile rib shack waitress/landscape architect and self described “redneck girl from Georgia” isn’t feeling the fairytale.

Under pressure due to political opposition, both are beset by insecurities and old worries about their past romantic disasters have returned.  Nate has become distant and distracted while Susanna is overwhelmed and suffering from a serious case of homesickness.

All is overcome, of course, with the help of some straight talk from family and friends and a little insight about a  biblical role model.  What makes this novella so worth the read/listen is all of the how, when and where of getting from crisis to the inevitable wedding.  Having thoroughly enjoyed Susanna and Nate’s courtship in Once Upon a Prince,  I am glad that the story of their wedding was published as a novella rather than becoming merely a plot device or footnote in one of the subsequent novels.

I was particularly impressed by how judicious the author was in her use of back story. Weaving in pieces of information that as a whole would summarize the previous novel, she informs the new reader in such a way that it didn’t feel like a complete and boring rehash to me as Nate and Susanna’s courtship was still very fresh in my mind.

Recommended for anyone who enjoys a sweet, modern-day fairytale romance  and faith filled characters who have flaws.   As a reader, I am glad that I’ve discovered this series after it is complete, so that I can indulge in listening to all but the final book (of which the publisher’s Fiction Guild sent me a print copy for review) as audiobooks while at work this week.

A March Bride by Rachel Hauck | Zondervan, February 2014 | Audiobook, 2h49m, narrated by Julie Lyles Carr

Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck (quick review)

onceuponaprince_hauck_tnzFrom the publisher:

Once Upon a Prince, the first novel in the Royal Wedding series by best-selling author Rachel Hauck, treats you to a modern-day fairy tale.

Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess―just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn’t going according to plan. When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life.

The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simons Island is the queen of his heart. A prince has duties, and his family’s tense political situation has chosen his bride for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna’s aid under the fabled Lover’s Oak, he is blindsided by love.

Their lives are worlds apart. He’s a royal prince. She’s an ordinary girl. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel’s coronation.

It’s the ultimate choice: His kingdom or her heart? God’s will or their own? Continue reading

Siren’s Fury by Mary Weber (review)


From the Publisher:

“I thrust my hand toward the sky as my voice begs the Elemental inside me to waken and rise. But it’s no use. The curse I’ve spent my entire life abhorring – the thing I trained so hard to control – no longer exists.”

Nym risked her life to save Faelen, her homeland, from a losing war, only to discover that the shapeshifter Draewulf has stolen everything she holds dear. But when the repulsive monster robs Nym of her storm-summoning abilities as well, the beautiful Elemental realizes her war is only just beginning. Continue reading

Crafting with Feminism by Bonnie Burton (review)

craftingwfeminism_burton_quirkI love books, I enjoy crafting, and I’m a (moderate) feminist so I jumped at the chance to read and review Bonnie Burton’s new book, Crafting with Feminism.  Now, I already have a bit of a feel for Bonnie’s personal style through live hangouts she has done with Felicia Day (who wrote the introduction) on YouTube, so I knew to expect some humor and I assumed there would be something wine related.  I was right on both counts Continue reading

Monthly Recommendations: Monster Mash

A year has gone by since my Creepy Reads recommendations post and I have a few new books and series to add with the Monster Mash theme for October.

I’m guessing that, if you have been following my blog for a while, you won’t be surprised that I’m posting this last minute and that there is a decided lack of books, with one exception, that would be directly classified as Horror.  I limited myself to one book or series for each category (Picture Book, Intermediate/MG, YA, Adult), or else there would be two Adult books in the Horror genre: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger and My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix (I just posted a review of his previous book that I enjoyed even more, Horrorstör).

So, here is October’s Monthly Recommendations for Monster Mash books.  As a bonus, most of these books can serve as inspiration for great Halloween costumes or year-round cos-play:

Continue reading

Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix (review)

horrorstor_hendrix_quirkbooksAmy is drowning in student loan debt and trying desperately to keep her retail job, while waiting to hear back about a transfer request. Her supervisor, Basil, seems to have it in for her and she has no actual friends among her co-workers at Orsk’s Cuyahoga County, Ohio store. To help pay her bills, she becomes part of a group of employees who stay overnight to discover who, or what, is causing the mysterious damage in the parody of an IKEA store. There is Basil, the manager who can quote store policy, Ruth Anne, the 47 year old complacent long-term employee, Trinity, the energetic and sometimes annoying Continue reading