Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Review: Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon

Heidi Reads... Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it



Tracy Campbell never wanted to leave Hope Harbor, Oregon, or the idyllic three-generation cranberry farm where she grew up. But life–and love–altered her plans. When tragedy strikes and changes her plans yet again, she finds herself back in her hometown with a floundering farm to run and a heartbreaking secret. Romance is not on her agenda. Nor is it on Michael Hunter’s. The visitor from Chicago has daunting secrets of his own. But when Tracy recruits him to help save a struggling charitable organization, the winds of change begin to sweep through Hope Harbor, bringing healing, hope, and love to countless lives–including their own.

My Review

There is a solid foundation of background story and current plot lines from various characters' points of view, mainly Tracy and Michael's. The romance between the two of them alternated with too much holding back, then methodical rationalizing. Both were equally burdened with grief and guilt from their past relationships which helped with the give and take balance of support they shared. When they finally moved past the issues restraining them, the chemistry was pretty good, but still tempered by caution due to their fragile hearts. There are also tender mercies from heaven sprinkled in their experiences together and with other friends in the town.

I loved the cast of community members and their influence on the different facets of the story. There is a real lesson of lifelong regret from the life experience of Anna, Michael's reclusive landlord that shares her tragic secret with a family in need to prevent them from making the same mistake. Another favorite is Charley, the fish taco food truck vendor who unobtrusively shares pearls of wisdom along with his unconditional friendship.

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

Are You a Bushel or a Candlestick? by Eric D. Richards

Are You a Bushel or a Candlestick?

This is an inspirational talk on CD by a friend I grew up with! He is an amazing man and teacher. It is geared toward teens but can be enjoyed by adults as well, of any Christian denomination. Use Promo code "FALL15" for 25% off at Deseret Book (expires 9/6)

Are You a Bushel or a Candlestick?http://www.amazon.com


Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but have been afraid to try? Everyone has unique talents and abilities, and the Lord can use each one, no matter how random it may be. In this inspiring talk, Eric D. Richards shares a message that will motivate listeners to develop their talents so they can bless the lives of others. He says, “The Lord wants us to light the flame of our talent and place it on a candle and then invite the Lord to put it on a candlestick so it can give light to another person’s life. As others look at us and see our good works, they will want to give glory to their Heavenly Father.” With stories from the lives of outstanding Latter-day Saints who have “let their lights shine,” Brother Richards illustrates this message: “Your ability is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to God. You may feel invisible or inferior, but you are invaluable to Him. Discover your gifts, let them shine, and watch how the Lord uses your talents to bless others around you.”

About the Author

Brother Richards is here today because two missionaries chose to go tracting one day in San Diego. Later, his own mission began in Honduras and ended in Alabama (due to a bone tumor).  He played water polo and volleyball in college, during which time he met wife Megan as they worked as EFY counselors; the two were married in the San Diego temple and have 4 children.
His current assignment is writing church curriculum in addition to being a Seminary Principal;  in the summertime, he directs at EFY and speaks at BYU Education Week. Also, Deseret Book carries his audio CDs.
Brother Richards loves cooking for people, photography, remote controls, ice cream and iPhones.  He loves connecting with people on Instagram and on his Facebook page.
And, on a side note, he loves chocolate more than most women do.
Most of all, he loves teaching and being with valiant Latter-Day Saints.

E-book sale: Three amazing books for only $1.99!

(Be sure to check the price since e-book sales are for a limited time)

Only $1.99 for Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund. This book is on my to-read list but anything by this author is amazing :)


Lily Young longs to find her lost sister or will die trying. Heedless of any danger, she searches logging camps and towns, posing as a photographer's assistant. And then she arrives in Harrison, Michigan--and the sights of Connell McCormick.
Connell is determined to increase the fortune of his lumber-baron father and figures as long as he's living an upright life, that's what matters. But when Lily arrives in town she upends his world, forcing him to confront the truth that dangerous men have gained too much power while good men turn a blind eye.
Vexing but persuasive, Lily soon secures Connell's help, drawing them ever closer to each other. Will standing for what's right cost them both everything?


Only $1.99 for Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden. I rated this book 4 stars, I really liked it!


As a child, Lydia Pallas became all too familiar with uncertainty when it came to the future. Now, she's finally carved out a perfect life for herself--a life of stability and order with no changes, surprises, or chaos of any kind. She adores her apartment overlooking the bustling Boston Harbor, and her skill with languages has landed her a secure position as a translator for the U.S. Navy.
However, it is her talent for translation that brings her into contact with Alexander Banebridge, or "Bane," a man who equally attracts and aggravates her. When Bane hires Lydia to translate a seemingly innocuous collection of European documents, she hesitantly agrees, only to discover she is in over her head.
Just as Bane's charm begins to win her over, Lydia learns he is driven by a secret campaign against some of the most dangerous criminals on the East Coast, compelled by his faith and his past. Bane forbids any involvement on Lydia's part, but when the criminals gain the upper hand, it is Lydia on whom he must depend.


Only $1.99 for The Measure of Katie Calloway by Serena Miller. This is one of my 5 star favorite books- highly recommend!


The Civil War has ended, but in Katie Calloway's Georgia home conflict still rages. To protect herself and her young brother from her violent and unstable husband, she flees north, finding anonymity and sanctuary as the cook in a Northwoods lumber camp. The camp owner, Robert Foster, wonders if the lovely woman he's hired has the grit to survive the never-ending work and harsh conditions of a remote pine forest in winter. Katie wonders if she can keep her past a secret from a man she is slowly growing to love.
With grace and skill, Serena Miller brings to life a bygone era. From the ethereal, snowy forest and the warm cookstove to the rowdy shanty boys and the jagged edges of the saw, every detail is perfectly rendered, transporting the reader back to the time when pine was king, men were made of iron, and rivers were choked with logs on the way to the sawmills. Readers will have a hard time leaving the Northwoods when they turn the last page.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

E-book sale: $1.99 for Anna's Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher


Be sure to take advantage of this fabulous deal! Only $1.99 for the e-book of Anna's Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher. I absolutely loved this book and gave it 5 stars- read my review here.
(Check the price before buying since e-book sales are for a limited time)



When Anna Konig first meets Bairn, the Scottish ship carpenter of the "Charming Nancy," their encounter is anything but pleasant. Anna is on the ship only to ensure the safe arrival of her loved ones to the New World. Hardened by years of living at sea, Bairn resents toting these naive farmers--dubbed "Peculiars" by deckhands--across the ocean. As delays, storms, illness, and diminishing provisions afflict crew and passengers alike, Bairn finds himself drawn to Anna's serene nature. For her part, Anna can't seem to stay below deck and far away from the aloof ship's carpenter, despite warnings.  When an act of sacrifice leaves Anna in a perilous situation, Bairn discovers he may not have left his faith as firmly in the past as he thought. But has the revelation come too late?
Amish fiction favorite Suzanne Woods Fisher brings her fans back to the beginning of Amish life in America with this fascinating glimpse into the first ocean crossing as seen through the eyes of a devout young woman and an irreverent man. Blending the worlds of Amish and historical fiction, Fisher is sure to delight her longtime fans even as she attracts new ones with her superb and always surprise-filled writing.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Review: A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer

Heidi Reads... A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing



Stone Hammond is the best tracker in Texas. He never comes home empty-handed. So when a wealthy railroad investor hires him to find his abducted granddaughter, Stone eagerly accepts.

Charlotte Atherton, former headmistress of Sullivan’s Academy for Exceptional Youths, will do anything to keep her charges safe, especially the little girl entrusted to her care after her mother’s death. Charlotte promised Lily’s mother she’d keep the girl away from her unscrupulous grandfather, and nothing will stop Charlotte from fulfilling that pledge. Not even the handsome bounty hunter with surprisingly honest eyes who comes looking for them.

When the teacher he’s after produces documentation that shows she’s the little girl’s legal guardian, Stone must reevaluate everything he’s been led to believe. Is Miss Atherton villain or victim? She acts more like a loving mother than an abductress, and the children in her care clearly adore her. Should Stone break his perfect record?

Then a new danger threatens, and Charlotte is forced to trust the man sent to destroy her. Stone becomes determined to protect what he once sought to tear apart. Besides, he’s ready to start a new pursuit: winning Charlotte’s heart.

My Review

Boy, does Karen Witemeyer know how to write her heroes! I loved the strength, honor, humor, and hint of vulnerability that made Stone a man that Charlotte could finally count on. He has a soft spot for kids and the truth of the situation along with Lily's safety quickly becomes more important than his tracking record. The story is one of adventure, with some twists and plenty of action. What endeared this story to me though are the small details that subtly deepen the reader's understanding of each character and make them unique. Charlotte playing passionately on the piano to express her anxiety. Lily's obsession with dime novels of frontier heroes. The way that touch affects Stone at a deep level.

The relationship between Stone and Charlotte builds steadily as they learn to trust each other and overcome their own hesitations. Their romantic moments are heightened by the emotion of the desperate circumstances, but prove to be based on a love that each is yearning for. There are also two other couples that have roles in the mission to protect Lily who totally need novellas written about them (hint, hint Karen...)

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

Review: The Evergreen Bride by Pam Hillman

Heidi Reads... The Evergreen Bride by Pam Hillman

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing



Mississippian Annabelle Denson dreams of visiting cousins in Illinois and seeing a white Christmas. In the face of her excitement, Samuel Frazier hides his growing affection for her behind a quiet smile and a carpenter’s lathe. Samuel starts to worry that if she goes, Annabelle won’t return. Can he convince her to stay?

My Review

Ah, I love stories of unrequited love! You can just feel Samuel's longing for Annabelle, but he wants to wait until his fledgling business has the means to support a family before he declares his affections. Even though he'll miss her, he doesn't say anything to put a damper on her trip. The sweetness of the story comes from Annabelle's slow awareness of Samuel as an extremely attractive man with his strength, steadiness, and quiet humor. This novella was such a pleasure to read! For only 99 cents, it's a fabulous deal for a delightful story.

(I received a copy of this book from a giveaway which did not affect the honesty of my review)

Review: A Timeless Romance Anthology: Annette Lyon Collection by Annette Lyon

Heidi Reads... A Timeless Romance Anthology: Annette Lyon Collection by Annette Lyon

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing



The ANNETTE LYON COLLECTION contains brand new contemporary romance novella OUR SONG, as well as five hand-picked readers’ and reviewers’ favorites of Annette’s popular Timeless Romance Anthology novellas. Readers will love this selection of three contemporary and three historical romance novellas.

In OUR SONG, a charming romance novella, Cassie and Matt have been dating in the Yellowstone area for two years, and things are, well, average. When Cassie meets up with two college friends who are visiting, their love lives like sound like fairy tales: rose petals, chocolates, candles on the beach… Cassie goes home feeling like she’s missing out. After all, repeatedly watching Old Faithful erupt and walking through sulfur-smelling gases at Fountain Paint Pot don’t exactly say “romance.” Maybe things with Matt aren’t going anywhere, and it’s time to move on. Then she discovers that perception and reality are completely different things. Now she can only hope it isn’t too late to show Matt how much she really cares.

In the sweet novella GOLDEN SUNRISE, Natalie takes time out of her crazy schedule to fly to Vegas for her best friend’s wedding. Sierra and Jason, high-school sweethearts, are finally getting married. Fortunately for Natalie, her old high-school flame, Adam, has a work commitment and can’t be there as best man. But when she arrives at the wedding rehearsal—late and ragged—Adam is there. When Adam makes a wild suggestion, Natalie just may take him up on it, even though she knows he’s moved on. A single choice may mean Natalie is taking a shot at reclaiming the past—or that she's putting her heart in harm’s way a second time.

FIRSTS AND LASTS, an enchanting novella, begins with Dani’s last week in New York. She’s failed in her dreams to catch a break as an actress and is now ready to return home and dust herself off. As she visits the places on her final to-see list, she meets Mark, another New York City transplant with big dreams. Except Mark hasn’t given up on his. As they spend the day together, Dani realizes that even though she hasn’t hit the “big time” she might be living her dream after all. Only problem: she has a one-way ticket back home.

In the compelling novella WAR OF HEARTS, Anna, a journalist, is desperate to escape the magazine where Pete, her now-former boyfriend, also works. Heartbroken and still in love with him, Anna snags an assignment to cover the Winter War in Finland. She arrives at a snowy Finnish battlefront only to discover that Pete is already there—as her photographer. She’s determined to be professional about the situation until a battle breaks out in camp, putting her and Pete in harm’s way and putting their love to the test.

The captivating novella BETWEEN THE LINES follows Jane Martin, who is intelligent but extremely shy, especially around men. When the Aid and Cultural Society proposes a letter-writing program, Jane signs up, hoping she can find true friendship. The program doesn’t run as smoothly as expected, and unknown to Jane, one of the men in her city becomes her writing friend. Thomas Allred has always known shy and quiet Jane, but reading her letters written to his secret persona, opens his eyes to what an amazing woman she is. The only trouble is, Jane doesn’t know that the man who she is falling in love with through letters is also Thomas, the man who is falling in love with her in person.

In the charming novella A TASTE OF HOME, we meet Claire Jennings, who’s on her way to spend Christmas with her family. As she rides the train with William Rhodes, who grew up across the street, memories of Christmases past flood her mind. He may be twenty-one now, but she can’t forget his torturous teasing from their school years. At the rail station, Claire discovers that her home is under quarantine because her little brother has measles. She's stuck in town, away from her family, on her favorite holiday. William stays behind with her, and as Christmas Day approaches and her homesickness deepens, she discovers that perhaps he has changed in more ways than one.

My Review

So many great stories in this collection! My favorite one was the new novella, Our Song, since it made me cry just a little bit from the emotion of the story. It really kind of caught me off guard that I connected with the characters so much, but it was wonderfully written. I had read the other two contemporary stories in the collections they were published in, and it was fun to read them again since they take place in destination cities- New York and Las Vegas. The settings are definitely part of the action in each story. The historical novellas were just as enjoyable, each with a unique setting and situation. I love that the emotions of the characters are central to the plot since it makes me relate to them quickly, which is necessary due to the brevity of a novella. Each story is well-rounded and feels complete as the happy ending isn't really an ending, but a beginning in love for the couples.

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