Melissa Tagg: Throwing Out The Script

The April issue of Family Fiction is now available for your reading pleasure! I had the joy of writing an article all about Melissa Tagg and her newest novel, From the Start, in this issue.

I just purchased my own copy of the book, too, and it’s next in line for me to read! Also, check out the novella to the series, Three Little Words. I finished reading it the other day and it is the best novella I’ve ever read. Just perfect! (and free!)

Here’s the article. Enjoy!

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Review: Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd

After I read three raving book reviews from three trusted blogging friends, I could no longer ignore the mystery of this book.  And when it was compared to Jessica Dotta? You know I was sold.

Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd
Daughters of Hampshire, Book 1
Howard Books, 2015

Can you imagine returning home from a foreign country in which you served as a missionary with your parents who have recently passed away, only to discover that your very identity is questioned? That someone impersonated you, assumed your name, lived in your house, spent your money, and then died before your arrival?

Rebecca Ravenshaw experiences exactly that and is faced with the unexpected struggle to prove her identity so she can claim what is rightfully hers.

Who can I trust? What are their motives? Who am I truly safe with?

These are the questions I found myself asking as I walked in Rebecca’s shoes. The mystery surrounding her pretender lends an eerie feeling to this book, so the reader is constantly questioning everything. Everyone was suspicious, which made me read page after page, trying to figure out who was trustworthy.

The overall feeling of distrust and insecurity made this book an intriguing read. Which characters are true of heart and have honest intentions towards Rebecca? And who is the imposter in her home?

You’ll have to read the book to find out.

*Thank you to Sandra Byrd and the publisher for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.*

The Vow & An Uncertain Choice #HedlundChallenge2015 Discussion & Interview

The 2015 Jody Hedlund Challenge is a monthly series featuring the novels of author Jody Hedlund, hosted by Cassie of Bookshelves and Windows and Jamie of Books and Beverages. We invite readers and bloggers to join us in reading and discussing these books together. Every month, we’ll announce the book about four weeks before the discussion post will go live (alternating between Cassie and Jamie’s blogs). The following month, after everyone has read the book, we will discuss and interact with each other about our thoughts on each book with special appearances throughout the year! If you’re on Facebook be sure to join our group!Hedlund Logo

Hello everyone! I’m your host for March’s discussion about The Vow and An Uncertain Choice. Jody’s first venture into the world of YA is a success, don’t you agree? I love this novel and am so glad she is writing inspirational fiction for a younger audience. This month we also have Jody on the blog with a mini-excerpt of the interview I did with her for the article in Family Fiction!

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What did I like about this story? Well, with three suitors trying to win your heart, how can a girl go wrong? Add in a little mystery and a deadline, and you have a great book. Beyond that though, I loved the message Jody has for young girls about relationships. Lady Rosemarie faces a myriad of emotions as she enters this new territory of finding love. Jody has Rosemarie experience different phases of a relationship, ranging from attraction and flirting to infatuation, knowing your feelings, sharing common interests and learning to identify real love. And in doing so, she has given girls an example of how to navigate those new and unknown experiences.

One of the great things about this book is Jody wrote a discussion guide for moms and daughters to go through together that corresponds with the chapters in the book. It’s meant to be a way for readers to take a deeper look at relationship topics that young girls face. So we can go beyond the book and have conversations that matter.

If interested, Jamie and I have already reviewed the book on our blogs. Here’s my original review and here’s Jamie’s.

Time for discussion questions! Some of these are taken from Jody’s discussion guide, so check it out for the full guide. Answer a few of these, all of them, or just share your thoughts in the comments:

1. In An Uncertain Choice, Rosemarie never had a real opportunity to interact with young men due to being sheltered. What are the advantages to being overprotected? What are the disadvantages?
2. What do you think you’d do if the person advising you had some objections to the person you like? Would you be humble enough to take their wisdom into consideration? Would you perhaps gain the advice of someone else to compare?
3. Have you ever considered that falling in love is not only just an emotion, but also a deliberate choice and ongoing action?
4. Do you trust God to bring along the right person at the right time? Or are you trying to take control and rush things?
5. Who was YOUR favorite knight?

Now for the extra fun! I interviewed Jody Hedlund for the article I wrote in Family Fiction Magazine’s March issue. Jody had great answers, and I couldn’t quite fit all her wonderful quotes into the article, so you, my dear readers, get a special ‘extra’ look into Jody’s thoughts, inspiration, and hopes for An Uncertain Choice. All because you’re a part of the #HedlundChallenge2015! (For the original article, click here.)Thanks for the great interview, Jody!

How important is it to you to incorporate your faith and Christian themes into your novels?

I write for God’s glory and to touch lives for Him. That being said, An Uncertain Choice doesn’t contain overt spiritual messages. While there are references to needing God’s direction and to praying, the spiritual discussion and application comes out in the study guide (which has Bible verses to look up and questions to answer). The book itself would be quite safe for young women to pass along to their unchurched friends as a way to “hook” them into Christian fiction.

If you could tell readers one thing about An Uncertain Choice, what would it be?

It’s never too early to begin thinking about and praying for our future spouses. Next to making the decision about where to spend eternity, the choice of whom we marry is second in importance. It’s a decision for good or bad that can impact the rest of our lives, especially since God intends for us to live with our marriage partner for as long as we have breath. So we definitely want to be wise with the crucial choice of a mate.

With three books coming out from three publishers in 2015, you have a full year ahead of you. How have you been able to keep the many books you write distinct in your mind? What is the most exciting aspect of releasing multiple books in the upcoming year?

It’s my hope that readers who’ve enjoyed my previous books will enjoy my new ones too. I think readers will still hear my “voice” and find the same basic writing style (deep characterization, intriguing plots, and lots of historical details).

However, each distinct genre allows for some nuances and differentiation too. In addition to my medieval young adult books, I’ll still be writing historical romances (I’m currently in the middle of a lighthouse series set among real Michigan lighthouses). And finally, as I mentioned, I’ll also be writing historicals, starting with my Luther and Katharina book.

Those who’ve read my past historical romances know that I usually base my books on real people or real events. However, I’ve always changed names and fictionalized the story. Now, however, I’ll be writing those “real life” stories without changing names or facts. Readers won’t have to wait until the Author’s Note to find out who the story is about. They get to know right from the first page!

The most exciting aspect of releasing a number of books this year is that God is at work. I pray that He will move through the stories and change lives as a result.

And I leave you with this fun teaser from Jody: If Rosemarie doesn’t choose YOUR personal favorite knight, don’t despair! The other two knights will get books of their own. And you’ll be able to take a journey with them as they begin their own quests to find their places in the world, overcome shortcomings, and along the way find the woman that God has planned for them.

Let’s discuss! What are your thoughts on The Vow and An Uncertain Choice?

Review: How to Catch a Prince by Rachel Hauck

If you’re looking for a modern-day fairy tale with a glimpse into the eternal touching lives in a tangible way, then you have found it in How To Catch A Prince.

How to Catch A Prince by Rachel Hauck
Royal Wedding, Book 3
Zondervan, 2015

Corina and Prince Stephen may have not seen each other in six years, but that doesn’t mean their relationship is over. When their marriage is discovered as still legal and binding, Prince Stephen is pushed to re-open the door to Corina. But, while his plans are to quickly and painlessly have annulment papers signed, God has a different plan. Will Corina and Stephen learn to trust their hearts or forever let the past hold them back?

I loved the flashbacks to Corina and Stephen’s relationship, giving the reader glimpses into their love story. Despite their circumstances, they had fallen in love and seized the moments they had together for all they were worth. In present day, Stephen’s secret has put a wall between them, and his refusal to share with Corina is a big part of this book.

At times, I did feel like the argument the couple had was becoming circular. I was ready for something to happen to move past said argument, and when it did, what a breakthrough! I enjoyed it so much more from that point on (I just wish it had happened a bit earlier in the book). With the secret revealed, progress in their relationship could finally happen.

Death, painful memories, and unanswered questions surround their relationship. Will they find a way to love one another? With a bit of whimsy, Rachel Hauck takes readers on this journey to love well.

Once Upon a Prince remains my favorite of the series, and I think this book will appeal to any reader who loves contemporary with heart and fairy tales.

*Thank you to BookLook Bloggers for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.*

Announcing #HedlundChallenge2015 April Read | Captured by Love

The 2015 Jody Hedlund Challenge is a monthly series featuring the novels of author Jody Hedlund, hosted by Cassie of Bookshelves and Windows and Jamie of Books and Beverages. We invite readers and bloggers to join us in reading and discussing these books together. Every month, we’ll announce the book about four weeks before the discussion post will go live (alternating between Cassie and Jamie’s blogs). The following month, after everyone has read the book, we will discuss and interact with each other about our thoughts on each book with special appearances throughout the year! If you’re on Facebook be sure to join our group!Hedlund Logo

In April, we will be reading Captured by Love. As the Jody Hedlund Challenge continues, I’m excited to read this one together and hear everyone’s thoughts next month! Happy reading, my friends!


Captured by Love

Michigan Territory, 1814

A voyageur and a young woman swept up in a time of upheaval and danger discover firsthand the high price of freedom.

The British Army has taken control of Michilimackinac Island and its fort, forcing the Americans to swear an oath of loyalty to the crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a fur trader who returns after being away from the island for years, only to find the family farm a shambles and those he cares about starving and at the mercy of British invaders.

Torn between the adventurous life of fur trading and guilt over neglecting his defenseless mother, Pierre is drawn deeper into the fight against the British–and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a childhood friend who’s grown into a beautiful woman. She now finds herself trapped by the circumstances of war and poverty, and the cruelty of her guardian, Ebenezer Whiley.

As tensions mount and the violence rages on, Pierre and Angelique must decide where their loyalties rest and how much they’ll risk for love.

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD

Discussion Date: April 28, 2015

And don’t forget! We’ll be discussing The Vow and An Uncertain Choice next week, so come back for the discussion and a fun extra!

Review: An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund

“Did they have the qualities I most needed in a husband? I wasn’t exactly sure what those qualities were, but I realized that I coveted deeper sharing, honest relating, and common passion for the same causes.” 129

An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund
An Uncertain Choice, Book 1
Zondervan, 2015

Young readers are easily influenced by the books they read and many times the books offered to them aren’t the most wholesome or uplifting. With Jody’s arrival in the YA market, she is filling a much-needed space in the world of YA with An Uncertain Choice. Her book is thoughtful, uplifting, and exciting. Not only will young readers be intrigued by the plot and the ensuing mystery that surrounds Lady Rosemarie’s last month before committing herself to the convent, but they will also learn important lessons about love and marriage.

Jody effortlessly weaves subtle messages about learning what love is and being able to identify it, yet it is never an overpowering message. The story is always pushing forward, whether Rosemarie is making an important decision for her future or another mishap occurs in the castle.

Lady Rosemarie is bound by the vow her parents made, but the loophole allows for her to marry if she falls in love before her eighteenth birthday. With three of the most trustworthy, loyal, and courageous suitors presented to her, what girl wouldn’t be thrilled?

We meet the three eligible bachelors: Sir Collin Goodrich, Sir Bennet Windsor, and Sir Derrick Harding, each bringing their own personal flair to the castle. Each suitor has a distinct personality that comes off the page, and you can’t help but wonder who will capture Lady Rosemarie’s heart. Will it be the man who lavishes her with expensive gifts? Compliments her beauty? Makes her laugh?

Each man is worthy of her heart, but only one truly connects with her in a deeper, more meaningful way. Will she be able to see that love before it is too late? Or will she let fear hold her back from a life filled with love?

*With thanks to Jody Hedlund who provided a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. I am on her influencer team. This is my honest review.*

Summary (from Jody’s website):

Due to her parents’ promise at her birth, Lady Rosemarie has been prepared to become a nun on the day she turns eighteen. Then, shortly before her birthday, a friend of her father’s enters the kingdom and proclaims her parents’ will left a second choice—if Rosemarie can marry before the eve of her eighteenth year, she will be exempt from the ancient vow.

Before long, Rosemarie is presented with the three most handsome and brave knights in the land. But when the knights’ arrival results in a series of attacks within her land, she begins to wonder if the convent is the best place after all. If only one of the knights—the one who appears the most guilty—had not already captured her heart.