Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Review: Goodbye, Magnolia by Krista Noorman

Heidi Reads... Goodbye, Magnolia by Krista Noorman

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it


Wedding photography is Maggie's passion. The art of capturing a moment forever in time is magical to her, and she's worked hard to become the best of the best. Week after week, she works with couples as they plan their happily ever afters, but she hasn't been so lucky in love.

Behind the camera, it's easy to hide from the pain and rejection of her past. The life she has made for herself is safe and predictable, until the owner of a rival photography studio sets up shop in her small town and comes to her with an unexpected proposal. Suddenly, everything she has worked so hard to build is threatened and her simple, controlled life is thrown into chaos.

As she travels the state of Michigan photographing weddings, she struggles to keep her business afloat and the wall around her heart intact. But along the way, she learns more about loyalty and love than she ever imagined.

My Review

I have mixed feelings about this one. The beginning had a choppy timeline, and I didn't feel like I had the chance to get to know or connect with Maggie's character until later in the book. (On a side note, the chapter titles identifying what would happen in that chapter with specific dates were distracting and disturbed the pacing for me.) As a photographer I loved the descriptions of her college photo class experiences- it made me remember my own. In Maggie's first encounters with Simon, she comes across as a heartless shrew. I understand not liking someone, but she was downright rude with no provocation. Later I realized it was a defense mechanism for Simon's charm, but it not only made me initially dislike Maggie, I also wondered what on earth he saw in her. As time passes Maggie's redeeming qualities become apparent, but she continues to be unaccountably rude to Simon. I enjoyed the last half of the book when she finally becomes civil and her vulnerabilities are revealed. The descriptions of wedding photography and its business are spot on; I could really sense the joy she received while photographing, but also the exhaustion that comes at the end of a long day on your feet and the endless hours in front of the computer editing photos later. Simon is a charming suitor for Maggie, but miscommunication, pride, and mixed signals on his part and lack of trust, thinking the worst of him, and jumping to conclusions on Maggie's part prevent them from establishing a true friendship despite the attraction that is building. Their thoughts and choices are sadly realistic, making life more complicated than necessary. The romantic moments together are amazing, but quickly followed by regret and one of them backpedaling (until the happy ending, of course!). Turning to God and renewing faith help them both find peace and balance, preparing them for a relationship with trust and hope for the future.

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

High Summer Read-a-thon Wrap-up

I did it! I read all the books I planned to... although I started Goodbye Magnolia the last day of the read-a-thon and finished it today... totally counts, right? ;)

High Summer Read-a-thon


Monday, July 27, 2015

E-book Sale: $1.99 for The Letters by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Only $1.99 for the e-book of The Letters by Suzanne Woods Fisher!
(Be sure to check the price since e-book sales are for a limited time)


Rose Schrock is a plain woman with a simple plan. Determined to find a way to support her family and pay off her late husband's debts, she sets to work to convert the basement of her Amish farmhouse into an inn. While her family, especially her cranky mother-in-law, is unhappy with Rose's big idea, her friend and neighbor, Galen King, supports the decision and he helps with the conversion. As Rose finalizes preparations for visitors, she prays. She asks God to bless each guest who stays at the Inn at Eagle Hill. As the first guest arrives and settles in, Rose is surprised to discover that her entire family is the one who receives the blessings, in the most unexpected ways. And she's even more surprised when that guest decides to play matchmaker for Galen King.
With her signature plot twists combined with gentle Amish romance, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites readers back to Stoney Ridge for fresh stories of simple pleasures despite the complexity of life. Fisher's tale of God's providence and provision will delight her fans and create many new ones. Welcome to the Inn at Eagle Hill.

E-book sale: The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah E. Ladd

Only $2.99 for the e-book of The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah E. Ladd!
(Be sure to check the price since e-book sales are for a limited time)


Pride goes before the fall . . . but what comes after?

Darbury, England, 1814

Amelia Barrett, heiress to an ancestral estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s infant baby. She'll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father, Graham, a sea captain she’s never met.

Tragedy strikes when the child vanishes with little more than a sketchy ransom note hinting to her whereabouts. Fear for the child’s safety drives Amelia and Graham to test the boundaries of their love for this infant.

Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she examines her soul and must face her one weakness: pride.

Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline.

Both must learn to accept God’s sovereignty and relinquish control so they can grasp the future He has for planned for them.

Book Tour: The House at the End of the Street by Jennie Jones

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Fall in love in Swallow’s Fall with
The House at the End of the Street
by bestselling Australian romance author Jennie Jones!

Introduction and Exclusive Excerpt
By Author Jennie Jones

The House at the End of the Street follows the adventures of the heart for Gemma Munroe (blond, sporty, home-loving artist and would-be toy shop owner) and the love of her life – Josh Rutherford (tall, tanned, skilled with horses and carpentry and reticent to say where he’s been for the last ten years). Now he’s back for a week and sparks are flying. Josh owns the toy shop and Gem wants to buy it. But there’s more trouble at Gem’s back than she’d thought, and Josh can’t bring himself to leave town without knowing she’ll be safe.

The House at the End of the Street is book #5 in the bestselling Swallow’s Fall series. But each book in the series can be read alone and frequently are – Jennie’s had plenty of readers buy book #4 and then go back for books #1, #2 and #3. 

Jennie’s fictional town of Swallow’s Fall is set in a remote country area in the Australian Snowy Mountains and boasts 100 residents. Lots of them falling in love, some of them longing for dreams to come true, some of them scheming or creating mayhem with their matchmaking plans – but all of them leaving a mark on this small country town.

Jennie has a great rapport with her readers all over the world and recently asked them if they’d read a new series: Daughters of Swallow’s Fall – and the resounding answer was – Yes!

Read on for the excerpt...

“What do you know about Grandy’s place?" he asked.

Gem’s eyebrows shot up. "The lonely homestead?"

"Why d’you call it that?"

She shrugged. "It’s been empty since he died. Most people just call it the house at the end of the street. What’s it to you anyway?"

"This and that." 

Gem’s exasperation bubbled, overwhelming the original idea of coming out here to calmly persuade him to leave town. ‘This and that,’ she parroted. "Is that all you’ve got? Why don’t you want anyone to know what you’ve been doing?"

The way he bowed his head and studied the ground, his broad shoulders slumped in some kind of despair, caused Gem some remorse.

"Are you in trouble, Josh?" she asked in a whisper. Maybe that’s why he was so evasive. Maybe he’d made a big mistake in life. Maybe he’d been in prison. No, wait—he had a tan.

He smiled at her, the skin creasing around his eyes. A little more depth to the crinkles now, suggesting that he’d done a lot of smiling over the years. That he’d enjoyed himself.

"No. I’m not in trouble." He seemed to come out of his reverie. He lifted a hand and swept it through her hair, brushing it back from her forehead. "Not the way you’re thinking." 

Gem stilled. The gesture was one she remembered from their best-friend days of long ago, but there had been nothing more than friendship in it then—this touch spoke of everything undealt with and unsaid between them since their moment this afternoon.

The House at the End of the Street
(Swallows Fall, #5)
by Jennie Jones
Adult Contemporary Romance
August 1st 2015 by Harlequin MIRA

Bestselling Australian author Jennie Jones takes us back to Swallow’s Fall for one more story: Gemma has a burning need to stay and make a home. All Josh has ever wanted is to get out. Now he has the chance, and all he needs to do is tie up a few loose ends…

Gemma Munroe loves hard, laughs hard and plays hard. Or at least she did before today. Her dream is finally within her grasp – owning the toy shop in Swallow’s Fall and establishing herself permanently. Only one person has the power to get in her way: Josh Rutherford – the love of her life who kissed her and left her ten years ago is coming home.

Josh will be in town for five days. Only five days. He’ll finally sever the ties to a youth filled with poverty by selling the properties that are now his. He’s returning healthy, wealthy and emotionally stable, and then he’ll leave forever. It’s all in the plan. Everything…except for Gem. He never forgot her, but he definitely forgot the effect she has on him. Now she’s got problems, and he can’t seem to leave without trying to help her solve them.

The town itself also has its own plans: Gemma and Josh are thrown together in Speed-Date fiascos, kissing experiments, bar fights and an issue with the North Star – Josh’s compass and the road to his next adventure. Seven weeks later Josh is still in town. Gem has to get through her best friends’ wedding and Josh has to get over Gem. Because he’s not staying. Is he?

Book Trailer

Other Books in the Series

Find at GoodreadsAmazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Bestselling author Jennie Jones loves writing rich, warm-hearted and refreshing stories of adventures of the heart. She’s a self-confessed would-be small town country girl and longs for the day when she and her family can set up home in a cute country cottage in the middle of a huge field. Until then, Jennie is enjoying life a five minute walk from the beach. She can hear the ocean as she types her stories.

Tour Giveaway

$10 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash and a Kindle copy of The House at the End of the Street
Open internationally (as long as you can receive winnings)
Ends August 2nd

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Review: Until the Harvest by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Heidi Reads... Until the Harvest by Sarah Loudin Thomas

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


When a family tragedy derails Henry Phillips's college studies, he's left unmoored and feeling abandoned. Although Henry tries to find escape in bad company, the only things that can tamp down his anger and grief are the family farm, his fiddle, and sweet but unusual pre-teen Mayfair Hoffman.
Unfortunately, Mayfair's older sister, Margaret, with the freckles and cute, turned-up nose, has the opposite effect. Worse, she's his grandmother's housekeeper and helper, so she's always around and ready to push his buttons. At first he thinks she doesn't care about his loss, before beginning to understand she's facing her own struggles. Mayfair's health and unique gift sit at the heart of those worries, and Henry and Margaret soon find themselves relying on each other as both Henry's future and Mayfair's life are put at risk.

My Review

I enjoyed revisiting characters from the first book in this series (Miracle in a Dry Season), but I have to say, Casewell's son Henry is so clueless! He allows his grief and the varying emotions that accompany it derail him from his planned future, and he comes to regret his poor choices- some he's actually embarrassed about, and others he just considers a close call. I felt like his grandmother and mother, Emily and Perla, as I shook my head over him. Margaret is a little lost as well, but since she's the most responsible caretaker of her little sister, she focuses on hard work and serving others as she discovers God's will for her life. There are also themes similar to the ones found in Miracle in a Dry Season such as the sweetness and love of a child transforming a hard and bitter man, grief over the loss of loved ones, uncertainty over one's future, and hesitancy at the opportunity for love.

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

Review: Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas

 Heidi Reads... Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


It's 1954 and Perla Long's arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.

Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor...until he meets Perla. She's everything he's sought in a woman, but he can't get past the sense that she's hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla's unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.

My Review

Deep and thoughtful writing depicts a simpler time, but with timeless conflicts faced by the community and the individuals in it. There is a heavy focus on themes of judging and the need for forgiveness- of others and self. Casewell has a genuine heart that is seeking for truth as his perceptions shift and he allows his heart to open. Perla is bravely trying to start over and provide for her daughter. There is a sense of desperation that increases with the drought and the division of loyalties, but in the situations where Christ-like love is given and shared, peace prevails until the miracle everyone is praying for comes to pass. A somewhat leisurely pace throughout the whole book, but the insights and reflections call for it.

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

E-book sale: 99 cents each for the Hope For the Holidays historical and contemporary novella collections

(Be sure to check the price since e-book sales are for a limited time)
 Hope for the Holidays: Historical Collection
Only 99 cents for the e-book Hope for the Holidays: Historical Collection by Mary Connealy,  Ruth Logan Herne, Myra Johnson, and Julie Lessman. I really enjoyed this novella collection and rated it 4 stars!


"Sophie’s Other Daughter" by Mary Connealy
Laura McClellen is just answering a call for her big sister, Doctor Beth, at the Reeve's home. Ike Reeves shows up for a surprise Christmas visit, exhausted and filthy. Ike claims the right to escort Laura home and outlaws after Ike turn a simple ride into a fight for their lives.

"A Town Called Christmas" by Ruth Logan Herne
When gruff English pioneer Edward Stillwell offers a former prostitute a job, he gets more than he bargained for: a wagon train more! With winter rolling in, can Sylvie’s faith, hope and optimism be just what the guilt-laden Idaho rancher needs to love Christmas—and people-- again?

"Designs on Love" by Myra Johnson
Ranch foreman Jacob Collins has had designs on Vera Mae Beasley since their schooldays. When the pretty seamstress returns home to settle her late family's affairs, Jacob hopes his Christmas surprise will win her heart and convince her to stay.

"A Whisper of Hope" by Julie Lessman
With a husband dead set against adoption, Charity O’Connor Dennehy has barely a whisper of hope for more children, but if hope doesn’t disappoint … will it be enough to find a precious bundle under her tree?

Hope for the Holidays: Contemporary Collection

Only 99 cents for the e-book Hope for the Holidays: Contemporary Collection by Mary Connealy, Audra Harders, Ruth Logan Herne, Sandra Leesmith, Tina Radcliffe, and Missy Tippens. I really enjoyed this novella collection and rated it 4 stars!


"Hope for Christmas" by Mary Connealy
Kelsey is alone, lost, pregnant, stuck in a blizzard and surrounded by wolves.
And then things get worse. Tanner Harden finds her but with trouble coming and a baby at risk, can they stay alive long enough to fall in love?

“Her Christmas Cowboy” by Audra Harders
Can a single mother looking for forgiveness, and a reclusive cowboy convinced he’s beyond redemption, find hope and love in a simple Christmas pageant?

"Longing for a Miracle" by Ruth Logan Herne
Christmas dimmed when an automobile accident claimed Tasha Sorkos’s little girl… could saving Rafe Karralis’s sick daughter bring the light of faith, hope and love back into her eyes?

"A Heart Full of Hope" by Sandra Leesmith
Elena Delgado loves her father’s new business partner, Stephen Edwards. As they work together to find funding for the project that will bring jobs and hope to their small community in time for Christmas, will Stephen notice her? Or is he still in love with the fiancĂ©e who left him?

“I’ll be Home for Christmas” by Tina Radcliffe
Dr. Matthew Christopher doesn't believe in happily ever after. Can wedding planner Patience McCord melt the heart of the last bachelor in time for Christmas?

"One Perfect Gift" by Missy Tippens
In this sweet Cinderella story with a country music twist, a homeless single mother with a secret may get more than she expected for Christmas, including hope, love and home, sweet home.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Review: The Curiosity Keeper by Sarah E. Ladd

Heidi Reads... The Curiosity Keeper by Sarah E. Ladd

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


“It is not just a ruby, as you say. It is large as a quail’s egg, still untouched and unpolished. And it is rumored to either bless or curse whomever possesses it.”

Camille Iverness can take care of herself. She’s done so since the day her mother abandoned the family and left Camille to run their shabby curiosity shop on Blinkett Street. But when a violent betrayal leaves her injured with no place to hide, Camille has no choice but to accept help from the mysterious stranger who came to her aid.

Jonathan Gilchrist never wanted to inherit Kettering Hall. As a second son, he was content working as a village apothecary. But when his brother’s death made him heir just as his father’s foolish decisions put the estate at risk, only the sale of a priceless possession—a ruby called the Bevoy—can save the family from ruin. But the gem has disappeared. And all trails lead to Iverness Curiosity Shop—and the beautiful shop girl who may or may not be the answer to his questions.

Curious circumstance throws them together, and an intricate dance of need and suspicion leads the couple from the seedy backwaters of London to the elite neighborhoods of the wealthy to the lush, green Surrey countryside—all in the pursuit of a blood-red gem that collectors will sacrifice anything to possess.

Caught at the intersection of blessings and curses, greed and deceit, two determined souls must unite to protect what they hold dear. But when a passion that shines far brighter than any gem is ignited, each will have to decide how much they are willing to risk for their future, love, and happiness.

My Review

This is an intriguing tale with a variety of characters, each with ulterior motives that Camille can only guess at. I loved the setting of the gritty London streets since that's not the norm in Regency romances. Even though Camille can hold her own there, she is not comfortable in her surroundings and I was happy to see her take control of her future. The countryside is a stark contrast and Camille does not take it's beauty and freshness for granted. Jonathon and Camille are a perfect match for each other with their guileless gentility. I didn't feel like their romance had much passion, especially with their hesitancy to trust each other, but there was a definite feeling of hope, that they wanted to trust and love.

(Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishing and Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

 About the Author

Sarah E. Ladd received the 2011 Genesis Award in historical romance for The Heiress of Winterwood. She is a graduate of Ball State University and has more than ten years of marketing experience. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing husband, sweet daughter, and spunky Golden Retriever.

Visit Sarah online:   

Review: Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth K. Vogt

Heidi Reads... Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth K. Vogt

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


Wedding bells and storm clouds collide in the first engaging novel in a brand-new series about destination weddings, the power of love, and the possible mishaps and missteps that happen on a couple’s journey down the aisle to “I do.”

Paramedic Vanessa Hollister has put her adolescence behind her, including the unwanted label of being the new kid in town over and over again, thanks to her father’s military career. She’s overcome what her mother called “the biggest mistake of her life” and is planning an elegant destination wedding in Destin, Florida with her new fiancĂ©. But will the reappearance of her first husband from her what-were-you-thinking teenage elopement disrupt her dream of an idyllic beach wedding?

As a professional storm chaser, Logan Hollister is used to taking risks. However, a reckless decision during the last tornado season has him questioning the future of his team, the Stormmeisters. Coming face to face with his ex-wife eight years after their divorce compels him to confront his greatest regret: losing Vanessa. Does their past give him the right to interfere with her future?

A fast-moving, powerful hurricane throws Vanessa and Logan together as they evacuate to a storm shelter along with other residents of the Florida Gulf Coast. Forced to spend time together, the pair battles unexpected renewed feelings for each other.

Vanessa and Logan are faced with a choice: Should they accept, once and for all, their teenage marital mistake? Or is God offering them a second chance at happily ever after?

My Review

My husband wants to be a storm chaser when he grows up. Thankfully, we live in California and he is a teacher... for now :) Vanessa and Logan are both in periods of transition when they unexpectedly reconnect. The perilous circumstances heighten the emotion and while they struggle in the here and now, several flashbacks share the sweetness of their love story and the tragedy when it went wrong. The book started out kind of slow for me with Vanessa an Ted planning their wedding, but it effectively contrasted with the energy of Vanessa and Logan's relationship once their paths collided. There is plenty of angst as Logan is filled with regret and seeking for a second chance, only to be shut down repeatedly by Vanessa. I had a hard time with how she felt their problems were Logan's fault, yet the flashbacks show how her refusal to communicate or compromise contributed to the disintegration as well. She does relent to spend some time with Logan, but instead of closure, their deep feelings are reawakened. The last part of the book moved in a direction I didn't anticipate, and it was interesting to see how things were resolved. The secondary cast of characters was well-rounded with Vanessa's high school friend Mindy (who was great), some elderly neighbors, parents, siblings, and Logan's storm chasing team members. Each served to help Vanessa and Logan in their pursuit to follow God's plan for their lives and find peace.

(Thank you to Howard Books and Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

About the Author

Beth K. Vogt believes God's best often waits behind the doors marked "Never." A 2015 RITA® Finalist and a 2014 Carol Award finalist, Beth is a contemporary romance novelist with Howard Books. Her 2014 novel, Somebody Like You, was one of Publisher's Weekly's Best Books of 2014. In 2015 she introduced her destination wedding series with both an e-novella, Can't Buy Me Love, (May) and a novel, Crazy Little Thing Called Love (June).

Visit Beth online: