Monday, June 18, 2018

Review: Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh

Book Two in the Harbor Pointe series

 Heidi Reads... Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


For Quinn Collins, buying the flower shop in downtown Harbor Pointe fulfills a childhood dream, but also gives her the chance to stick it to her mom, who owned the store before skipping town twenty years ago and never looking back. Completing much-needed renovations, however, while also competing for a prestigious flower competition with her mother as the head judge, soon has Quinn in over her head. Not that she'd ever ask for help.

Luckily, she may not need to. Quinn's father and his meddling friends find the perfect solution in notorious Olympic skier Grady Benson, who had only planned on passing through the old-fashioned lakeside town. But when a heated confrontation leads to property damage, helping Quinn as a community-service sentence seems like the quickest way out--and the best way to avoid more negative press.

Quinn finds Grady reckless and entitled; he thinks she's uptight and too regimented. Yet as the two begin to hammer and saw, Quinn sees glimpses of the vulnerability behind the bravado, and Grady learns from her passion and determination, qualities he seems to have lost along the way. But when a well-intentioned omission has devastating consequences, Grady finds himself cast out of town--and Quinn's life--possibly forever. Forced to face the hurt holding her back, Quinn must finally let go or risk missing out on the adventure of a lifetime.

My Review

I love that the characters in this story are honestly and realistically flawed, undergoing a journey of transformation, redemption, and healing. Quinn's love for floral design isn't the only thing motivating her to buy the flower shop and enter the competition. Her unresolved issues with the mother who abandoned her are very much a part of proving herself and hoping to be good enough for her mother to reconnect. I wondered why Quinn didn't just search her mother out, but what she really is looking for is to be wanted.

Grady is kind of a mess, and it took looking beyond his outer rebellious persona to see the trauma, rejection, guilt, and shame that he hides so well. I appreciated the author's style of revealing the deeper layers of each character little by little; it kept me engrossed and curious and continually connecting. Quinn and Grady's interactions are surface level at first, with assumptions made on each side. As they slowly get to know each other better, learn what motivates them, and witness kindness and thoughtfulness, their feeling deepen and their attraction builds on a stronger foundation. They still struggle with letting go and resist the support they have to offer each other at times, but the rocky moments of working things out brought greater value to their relationship. I loved the overall theme of hope and faith that things can get better when we let go and trust God to carry us. There is a strong supporting cast of family and community members that make Harbor Pointe home and I can't wait to read another story set in this tight-knit small town!

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

Don't miss the first book in the Harbor Pointe series . . .

Book One
Heidi Reads... Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh


After tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back home--a quaint tourist town full of memories she'd just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on work--something her eclectic family doesn't understand.

Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren't ideal.

Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can't find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he's found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all along--if only she'd just look up.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Review: A Pirate at Pembroke by Danielle Thorne

Heidi Reads... A Pirate at Pembroke by Danielle Thorne

My rating: 2 stars / It was okay


Keeping company with a reputed pirate is one thing, but falling in love with him could ruin the eccentric Crestwood family for good...

Sophie Crestwood is never going to catch a husband. Her father is a gossip, her mother has her nose in a book, and little Jack has shamefully been dismissed from boarding school. Worst of all, a pirate moves next door into Pembroke Hall.

When Sophie's sent to a matchmaking party at a neighboring estate, the pirate from Pembroke arrives and distracts everyone from the summer festivities. Unguarded, her feelings about the mysterious Captain Murdock bloom into a trusted friendship that Sophie fears may come to mean more than anyone would ever suspect.

My Review

My experience reading this book was varied. I was excited for the story from reading an excerpt during its promotional blog tour, but once I got into it, I discovered that overall the author's writing style isn't my cup of tea, as well as being annoyed by the main character Sophie. She seems likable enough, but also behaves in a shallow manner, at times immature, condescending, judgmental. Fortunately she improves over the course of the book, but later when she is called on her earlier behavior, she denies it, or at least never comes to a full understanding, which made me not feel sorry for the consequences she faces. I think telling part of the story from Captain Murdock's perspective might have balanced out Sophie's voice. There are some twists that brought action and interest to the plot, but much of the story was slowed by mundane details (which more serious lovers of history or the Regency era might appreciate more than me).

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

Review: Take a Chance on Me by Kaylee Baldwin

Heidi Reads... Take a Chance on Me by Kaylee Baldwin

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it


Madelyn Stewart knows how to have fun, no matter what her ex-husband claims, but between working two jobs and taking care of her five-year-old son, opportunities for fun are few and far between. So when she is given tickets to take her son to see a live taping of the MyHeartChannel show Take a Chance, they go, even though it means she’ll have to stay up all night to turn in her latest article on time. To her shock, the daredevil star, Chance Risk, is none other than Graham Sawyer, the quiet accounting major she’d dated in college—someone she’d cowardly broken up with by note and hoped to never see again. When she makes a major mistake on her article, she has to swallow her embarrassment and reach out to Chance for an exclusive or risk losing her job.

Chance Risk doesn’t talk to reporters. Not after the way he’s seen them destroy his brother’s marriage and career. But Take a Chance is starting to lose viewers, he’s desperate. Despite his better judgement, when Madelyn reaches out, he can’t resist the opening to figure out why she broke his heart eight years before. His only condition: she has to come to three filming locations with him and his crew to get a real sense of what the show is about.

Swept up in adventure, they start to feel the chemistry from college rekindling. But the reason Madelyn left eight years before still looms between them. If Chance can’t convince Madelyn to take a chance on love, she’ll walk away again. This time forever.

My Review

This is a sweet second chance romance story with some fun adventures mixed in with a heavy dose of real life. Although Madelyn is often worn down by single parenthood, working two jobs, and a dependent mother, she keeps working hard for those she loves. She has fears that get in the way of her relationships, and Chance helps her realize that there is more to life if she will take a little risk. He is one of those larger than life people, and his attraction to Madelyn and acceptance of her life is endearing. He has his own set of troubles, but he faces them head on and with determination. I didn't quite feel connected to the characters, but it was an entertaining story and an easy read.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

Unforgettable Love Event: Author Josi S. Kilpack & Giveaway


Miss Wilton's Waltz by Josi S. Kilpack 

A follow-up to Josi S. Kilpack's bestselling Proper Romance title The Vicar's Daughter. 

Lenora Wilton has spent her life hiding behind the keys of her beloved pianoforte and the vibrancy of her younger sister, Cassie. But Lenora is ready for a change and travels to Bath to live with her Aunt Gwen and teach music at an all-girls’ boarding school. She is different in Bath—more comfortable with herself—and enjoys the freedom and independence of her new life there. When Lenora meets Aiden Asher, she finds herself attracted to him, but her unexpected feelings become more complicated when she learns that Catherine—Lenora’s newest and most troublesome student in the school—is Mr. Asher’s niece. Catherine is a difficult student, and Lenora works hard to make progress with the girl. When the chemistry between Lenora and Aiden increases, they share a passionate kiss by the River Avon, and Lenora feels it is the beginning of a new forever—until she learns that Aiden has withheld an important detail about his life that changes everything. Lenora closes her heart to him, and Aiden, caught between his obligation and his heart, must do what he can to make amends. And Lenora, after years of hiding from everyone and everything, faces a decision only she can make.



She gave him a grateful nod—without a smile so as not to seem too grateful—then climbed ungracefully over the wall and moved down the stairs. At the riverbank, she brushed off the stone wall with the sleeve of her coat and took up her usual position of knees to chest and chin on knees. She stared at the water that glittered with the quarter moon as she’d known it would. She tried to review the last week and make a plan for how she would deal with Miss Manch in the coming one, but the man at the top of the stairs kept invading her thoughts. If she thought about him enough, would she understand why he cared so much about a niece who was so difficult? And was he becoming more handsome each time she saw him, or was that simply a trick of her imagination?



"I know fellow book lovers will understand when I say that I fell in love with the characters of this book. There's something about watching a character who is good and loving, who sacrifices for the good of her family, who doesn't complain or argue, finally find her voice and do something that she loves and wants." 

"Although the cover is adorable, I was not prepared for what a delightful read this book was! This is the first book that I have read by this author, and it won’t be the last." 



Author Josi S. Kilpack 

Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and credits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and has written twenty-five novels, one cookbook, and been part of multiple collaborations since then. She is a four-time Whitney Award winner and Best of State winner in Fiction. Josi currently lives in Willard, Utah, with her husband and children. When Kensington Press picked up her first national women's fiction novel, As Wide as the Sky, Josi was in need of a pen name to differentiate between her other genres. For years, Josi has been called Jessica Pack by people who hear her name but don't know her. It made her new pen name easy to choose. As Wide as the Sky will be released in paperback in 2018.


A Heart Revealed Lord Fenton's Folly A Lady's Favor The Vicar's Daughter


Giveaway Details Ends 7/6/18 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal or gift codes via 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. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.