Friday, July 22, 2016

Review: Spring Thaw by Tammy Fish

Heidi Reads... Spring Thaw by Tammy Fish

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it



When an unforeseen accident tramples her dreams, Selena trudges through a desert of loneliness caring for an invalid husband. Finding herself a widow at twenty-eight, she grasps at the chance to experience a new life. Answering an advertisement for a marriage of convenience, she agrees to the platonic arrangement in order to care for the man’s young son. Leaving her home in Illinois, she travels by train to Oregon to discover a very different world from the one she left behind. Mesmerized by the beauty of this new land, she finds faith and fulfillment, but she never expects to find love.

Dirk lost his wife long before his son’s birth. Bitterness and pain solidified his emotions like the snowpack on Mt. Hood. He needs a mother for his son, but nothing more, so he places his request: No pictures necessary, references only. Selena agrees to the arrangement, but her heart interferes. Will Selena’s patient endurance be enough to melt her husband’s frozen heart?

My Review

I'm always a sucker for a good mail-order bride story! I felt like this one really touched on the difficulties of life and the situations that would lead people to make the choice of both requesting a bride through mail and becoming one. Selena is desperate for some hope in her life for a change as well as a new purpose, and is blessed not only by Dirk's protection, but most especially by her new relationship with his young son. The joy of motherhood is sweet and treasured by Selena since she lost hope of it long ago. The friendship and partnership between she and Dirk develops naturally over time. While Selena welcomes love, Dirk is conflicted over feeling more for Selena than he is prepared to and his stubbornness in avoiding a deeper relationship was frustrating. It takes as long as the spring thaw for Dirk's frozen heart to melt and reward Selena's patience. The author wonderfully describes the landscape of the Pacific Northwest, and I was fortunate to be on a road trip through the area as I read the book so it was easy to visualize the setting. The secondary cast of friends and neighbors are delightful and make the story well-rounded. I look forward to reading more by the author in the future.

(Thank you to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Review: Chemistry Lessons by Rebecca H. Jamison

 Heidi Reads... Chemistry Lessons by Rebecca H. Jamison

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it


Everyone in Lone Spur knows Rosie will accept even the most unlovable animal into her life. Men, though, are a different story.
Take Destry, the guy who bought the ranch next door. Sure, he’s handsome and wealthy, but he wears flip-flops to work his fields. Not that Rosie should worry about him getting hurt.
Her biggest concern is that she needs to buy her grandfather’s ranch before her uncle sells it out from under her. The problem is that on her teacher’s salary, she doesn’t qualify for a loan. Her long-time boyfriend, Tanner, proposes a solution—they can get married and qualify for a loan together, only Rosie isn’t sure if her heart is with her faithful fiancĂ©, her ranch, or her swoon-worthy neighbor.

My Review

I enjoyed this book for the most part. The characters are strong and are doing their best to succeed in the midst of their trials. I was impressed by Rosie's tough work ethic and her determination to save her grandfather's ranch. Destry is a nice counterpoint to her often uptight demeanor with his more laid-back and charming personality. He is also a hard worker but takes things in stride. The story was interesting and engaging, but I had a hard time that even though there is attraction from the beginning, Rosie and Destry spend practically the whole book in other relationships, for reasons of convenience. There is fear on Rosie's part to put her trust in someone new, and Destry puts his heart on the line but rather quickly turns to another woman. Most of the angst is from the characters' own flaws, yet they handle their real world problems much better than their relationships. The ending wraps up the happily ever after nicely, but I would have liked to spend more time with Destry and Rosie while they were in a relationship together.

(Thank you to Ebooks for Review for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

Review: Four Chambers by Julie Wright

Heidi Reads... Four Chambers by Julie Wright

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


From the Power of the Matchmaker series:
Every time Andra Stone crosses paths with Everett Covington, trouble follows. First she loses her scholarship. Then she loses the apartment she’d wanted more than anything. But tragedy hits hardest when she loses her grandmother—the best friend Andra has ever known. She determines that Everett is a talisman of ill fortune. When Everett comes to work in her hospital and is applying for the same position she’d been working toward since residency, Andra believes him to be her personal poltergeist.

The human heart has four chambers—four chances to get it right. Andra has only one chance left.

My Review

Poor Andra and Everett! They are so good together and good for each other, but fears and time consistently interfere in their budding relationship. I loved their college years together and that thrill of new love. Several years span the time between each reunion, and those later attempts are rife with angst. I appreciated that their confidence grew as they progressed in their respective medical careers, yet uncertainty in their personal lives keeps the tension building. Andra is so driven in her desire to be a top surgeon- I didn't relate to her priorities at all but it made her a fascinating character to read about! Everett is more balanced, but no less driven. The long time frame of their story slowed the pace for me overall but I was still invested in their romance and wishing for the happy ending they deserved.

(Thank you to Ebooks for Review for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: Beyond the Rising Tide by Sarah Beard

I absolutely loved this book, one of the better YA ones I've read. I rated it 5 stars and you can read my full review here. Highly recommended for teens and adults alike!

Beyond the Rising Tide

Beyond the Rising Tide by Sarah Beard

Kai met Avery only once--in the moment he died saving her life. Now when he's not using his new healing powers to help people, he watches helplessly as Avery's life is unraveled by his death. To help her, he risks everything by breaking the rules, dangerously blurring the barriers between life and death.  


Praise for the Book 

“Vividly imagined, this novel is the perfect mix of modern love story and literary fiction. One brimming with genuine emotion that had me re-reading passages simply because they were too beautifully written to experience just once.” --Julie N. Ford, author of With No Regrets

“This book is not only an engaging and satisfying supernatural romance, but also a beautiful story about life, death, and the gray places in between.” --E.B. Wheeler, author of The Haunting of Springett Hall

"This is one of those stories that stays with you long after the closing scene. It was beautifully imagined and vividly written and I absolutely loved it!” --Teresa Richards, author of Emerald Bound

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My chest feels heavy when I come out of the cottage in the morning, though I can’t pinpoint exactly why. Maybe it’s the mounting guilt of breaking rules and of taking something that doesn’t belong to me. Maybe it’s my looming departure from the living world, the knowledge that the sounds of the tide and the scents of the earth will soon be barred to me again. But I think it has more to do with Avery, because it’s her that I can’t get out of my mind. It’s her face I saw before I fell asleep last night. It was she who inhabited my dreams. And it was the desire to see her again that woke me up with the sun. My time with her will be over soon, and the weight of her coming absence is already threatening to crush me. I’m dead, so I should be the one haunting. Instead, Avery haunts me. I smell her scent even when she’s not beside me. I hear her voice echoing inside my head long after she’s gone. And when I’m not looking, she moves things around inside the chambers of my still heart.
Sarah Beard 
About the Author

Sarah Beard is the author of YA novels Porcelain Keys and Beyond the Rising Tide. She earned a degree in communications from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MFA in writing from VCFA. When she's not writing, she referees wrestling matches between her three boys and listens to audiobooks while folding self-replicating piles of laundry. She is a breast cancer survivor, a baker of sweets, a seeker of good love stories, a composer of melancholy music, and a traveler who wishes her travel budget was much bigger. She lives with her husband and children in the shadow of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains.

Blog Tour Giveaway 

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 8/1/16 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  

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