Monday, November 30, 2015

Review: A Healing Heart by Melissa A. Hanson


Heidi Reads... A Healing Heart by Melissa A. Hanson

My rating: 2 stars / It was okay

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

On a bitter cold winter night Bailey Walsh’s family was killed in a traffic accident. Two years later as she lives with her aunt and uncle in Southern California, Bailey is still plagued by the nightmares of that terrible night. Everywhere around her are reminders of what she lost. Even her aunt, in a cruel twist of fate, is not just her mom’s sister, but her identical twin. Babysitting Riley, a spunky two-year old, is a sweet distraction and one constant light in her life. One day as she takes Riley to the park she meets Collin McKenna, a senior at her high school and her life is changed forever as he helps her find herself and realize her life is worth living. As the romance between them grows her broken heart begins to heal. However, still nagging in the back of her conscious is the fear that her new found happiness could come crashing down and she could lose everything she loves, yet again. Outside forces begin to tear them apart and Bailey must learn to trust in herself and realize that she is worthy of happiness. That sometimes love and healing comes in unexpected forms.

My Review

This book has a great premise, but the writing fell flat for me. It started out fine as Bailey is relating her situation to the reader, but as she encounters Collin the narrative turns into a play-by-play of the day and unimportant actions, the dialogue is stilted, including polite greetings and clich├ęs, and the inner thoughts have no depth. It's written in first person from three different perspectives- Bailey, Collin, and Savannah (Colin's childhood friend and Bailey's new competition). I didn't think Savannah's perspective was necessary- it was always short and could have been portrayed through Bailey's observations. I was disappointed the story felt rather two-dimensional, but the themes of grief and finding happiness in the wake of tragedy are ones I relate to. This is a story that I would recommend to young teenage readers.

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

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Grand Finale & Giveaway: A Heartwarming Thanskgiving



On tour with Prism Book Tours.

Grand Finale for
A Heartwarming Thanksgiving

Harlequin released 13 FREE short stories by beloved Harlequin Heartwarming authors during November via their site. You can still read these short stories through December 31st. The sale for 30% off Heartwarming titles also continues through November 30th. Grab the ones you want now!

A Heartwarming Thanksgiving Facebook Party

Join us for a grand ending to this month of wonderful Harlequin Heartwarming short stories with a Facebook party! All thirteen authors are stopping by and giving away more books!! Come join us on Monday, November 30th, from 12 pm to 2 pm EST HERE. If you can't make it, feel free to stop by later and check out the party.

If you missed any of the extra guest posts or excerpts for stories you might have missed, go back and check them out...

11/2: Snow Day Baby by Amy Vastine

Katie's Clean Book Collection - Short Story Guest Post
. . . when Harlequin came to me about this Thanksgiving short, I had to give Scott the ending he deserved. SNOW DAY BABY was born.
Sheridan pulled her hair over one shoulder. She had been a pretty girl who turned into an absolutely beautiful woman. Pregnancy looked good on her. Her skin was flawless and those green eyes had always been capable of taking his breath away.

Singing Librarian Books - Heartwarming Guest Post
You always know you’re going to get an emotional-satisfying read with a guaranteed happy ever after. Another great thing about this line – you can share these books with your friends, your mother, your sister, your daughter and not be embarrassed to say you’ve read them.

11/4: Wedding at Turkey Run by Liz Flaherty

Babs Book Bistro - Short Story Guest Post

. . . the Writer’s Lot in Life—which is nothing more than thinking “what if…” every time you turn around—took over, resulting in Wedding at Turkey Run.

“Sorry.” Although she wasn’t. Even taking into account the gorgeousness of his eyes, hair and smile, there was something about Zeke McNeil that set her teeth on edge.

Heidi Reads... - Heartwarming Guest Post
I was in Northwest Florida avoiding a terrible winter in the Midwest, but my heart was in the Northeast Kingdom. I made a discovery then, that not only were these books heartwarming to read, they were heartwarming to write, too.

11/6: Her Thanksgiving Soldier by Leigh Riker

Letters from Annie (Douglass) Lima - Short Story Guest Post
From the start, Caleb seemed to need his own story—and now he has it. I hope you enjoy reading “Her Thanksgiving Soldier.” I loved writing it.

Mel's Shelves - Excerpt
She tried to focus on her list, but it seemed his image was imprinted on her mind. Sleepy eyes and tousled hair. He looked good enough to…love? Even after yesterday when she’d cried in the car, and he’d kissed her, she wasn’t going there.

Brooke Blogs - Heartwarming Guest Post
Whether each author’s stories are funny or sad or both, they all contain lots of emotion. Heartwarming gives me the chance to explore some deeper issues with fully-realized characters to love.

11/9: Mr. Right All Along by Jen Snow

Katie's Clean Book Collection - Short Story Guest Post
Ah well, she gets her happily ever after in this Heartwarming Thanksgiving short Mr. Right All Along. Of course, not without a few bumps in the road;) 

Love thy Shelf - Excerpt
Her eyes lit up and immediately he knew where her thoughts were heading. “Cooking isn’t hard for you.” She grabbed his hands in her small soft ones, making his heart pick up speed. “Teach me,” she said.

Min Reads and Reviews - Heartwarming Guest Post
I’ve made a lovely home at Harlequin’s Heartwarming line. When my agent and I were looking for a place for my small town, contemporary, sweet series, it was the perfect fit.

11/11: Falling for the Cowboy by Sophia Sasson

Kindle and Me - Short Story Guest Post
I wrote this story because for me, thanksgiving is about home. It’s a holiday where we get together with our loved ones and are grateful we have each other.

He’d grabbed a cowboy hat off a rack, placed it on his head, and gave her a broad smile, looking a lot like the star of a country western film.

Colorimetry - Heartwarming Guest Post
I read books because I want to feel; I want to laugh, cry, yell at no one in particular. I want the freedom to experience a range of emotions that aren’t of my doing. That’s also why I write for Harlequin Heartwarming. This is a line where the stories are driven by an emotional payoff; that moment when you clutch your heart and feel the words in your soul.

11/13: The Marriage Gift by Tara Taylor Quinn

Babs Book Bistro - Short Story Guest Post
The Marriage Gift is a lot shorter than any of my other work, but it’s classic ttq. Emotionally compelling. A little dark. And ultimately joyful.

Shrugging, prosecuting attorney, Corrine Armstrong, pulled the offensive piece of material off the small, but nice wooden dinette she’d purchased two months before but had yet to host a meal on. She used to host a lot of meals. All the time. She used to have a large, impressive dining room table, too.

Brooke Blogs - Heartwarming Guest Post
I’m thrilled to be spending time in this new Heartwarming world as well. Where my heart can spill forth freely! I hope you find the result a blessing in your life.

11/16: Heart of a Hero by Pamela Tracy

Writing Pearls - Short Story Guest Post
Heart of a Hero is Nathan’s story. Imagine finding out your whole history is not the one you were supposed to have? That the parents who raised you weren’t your parents and that the mother who gave birth to you never stopped loving, never stopped searching, never stopped praying.

Nathan nodded. He knew Agatha. Back when he was a cop in nearby Adobe Hills, Arizona, he’d occasionally called her needing information. She knew everyone.

Waiting For Wentworth - Heartwarming Guest Post
I love Harlequin Heartwarming. Within the pages of the books, I can go places I’ve never been, meet heroes and heroes having adventures, and always walk away knowing that Happily Ever After is the perfect ending.

11/18: Thankful for You by Karen Rock

Christian Chick's Thoughts - Short Story Guest Post
I’m absolutely thrilled with the second chance love story I wrote for a secondary character in another romance I’d set in the Adirondacks, RAISING THE STAKES. In that book, two best friends co-own a diner. I wanted to give Maggie James, a woman who admires the gutsy gals she grew-up watching in black and white films with her grandmother, the happily-ever-after she deserved. 

Beams whined overhead and plunged. One careened into the opposite wall in a shower of sparks. Eric doggedly kept his focus. They would make it out. Alive.

Getting Your Read On - Heartwarming Guest Post
I love writing Heartwarming novels because they are deeply emotional and extremely romantic. As they are “clean reads” the author has lots of page room to devote to developing the love between two compelling characters and their journey to find it.

11/20: Autumn at Jasper Lake by Carol Ross

I Am A Reader - Short Story Guest Post
I thought the story would be something light-hearted and not-too-serious with a hero returning or moving to Rankins to escape a difficult past. He’d want to be left alone. I intended for the folks of Rankins to make my broody hero’s alone-time impossible. . . . Some of that happens. But, as is usually the case when I start writing, my characters began to take on lives of their own. And they had other plans. Plans that surprised me.

Ryder could feel two sets of eyes on his back as he and Tag started toward the cabin. Something in him itched to turn around and see if he was right. What could it hurt to take one more glance at the lovely Jessie and her dog Fife? Cool it, Ryder, he told himself, women and dogs were both off limits.

Colorimetry - Heartwarming Guest Post
The emphasis on feelings like affection, respect, admiration and “like” reflects the necessities (in my opinion) that make up a strong and lasting relationship. True love, in other words, is the hallmark of Heartwarming.

11/23: The Firefighter’s Promise by Kate James

Mel's Shelves - Short Story Guest Post
[T]he precipitating event in The Firefighter’s Promise is based on a very personal experience. . . . It was an interesting process for me to try to put myself inside my husband’s head while writing this story to understand what he must have been feeling and thinking.

     Amidst the scorching bursts of light, she saw him. Dark hair. Strong features. Blue eyes. There was a prick on her forearm and an odd taste in her mouth.
     She trusted those eyes and believed the voice that assured her he’d take care of her before everything went black.

Beck Valley Books - Heartwarming Guest Post
The Heartwarming series is for readers who enjoy well-written, deeply-nuanced stories that are clean and wholesome.

11/24: Wedding of His Dreams by Cari Lynn Webb

Bookworm Lisa - Short Story Guest Post
I had so much fun writing this story and watching Matt push Ruthie outside of her comfort zone. Of course Ruthie didn't budge easily from her by the book life, but Matt was more than up for the challenge. And Ruthie discovered the best happy-ever-after was the one she never planned for.

Kindle and Me - Excerpt
Matt squatted down and rubbed the golden coat of Lady, Steve and Becca's eight-month old Great Dane rescue puppy. But his focus remained on Ruthie as she circled around the tables toward him. He took in everything from her thick, loose braid that hung over her left shoulder to her scarf wilted against her belted jacket to her ease with the pony-sized dog that easily outweighed her by a good twenty-some pounds. 

Zerina Blossom's Books - Heartwarming Guest Post
I love strong emotional stories with characters defining what it means to be a part of a community, learning the value of family and discovering the power of their own happily-ever-afters. These are the types of stories I like to read and write.

11/25: The Sweetheart Tree by Rula Sinara

Reading Is My SuperPower - Short Story Guest Post
In my Harlequin Heartwarming Thanksgiving short story, The Sweetheart Tree, environmental activist Serena Myss doesn’t only take a short walk in the woods when her family suffers a tragedy…unable to cope with her emotions or loss, she leaves home for several years. In doing so, she leaves behind the very people who love her, including the man she once thought she’d spend forever with. . .

Officer Austin Shale had slapped handcuffs on plenty of wrists—most of them hairy—but never in his wildest dreams had he imagined locking them on the soft, slender wrists of Serena Myss. Well, maybe he had imagined it once or twice, but not with her shooting daggers at him with those piercing, hazel eyes of hers. She glared at the handcuffs he’d taken off his belt.

Writing Pearls - Heartwarming Guest Post
What I love about writing for Harlequin Heartwarming is that, although the stories in the line are fiction, they’re so true to real life that the pain, struggles and loss so many experience are as much a part of the characters’ journeys as they are ours.

11/26: Married by Thanksgiving by Melinda Curtis

Heidi Reads... - Short Story Guest Post
I love marriage of convenience stories, but if you aren't writing historicals or paranormals, it's hard to come up with a plausible plot for one. When I was asked to write a short for Thanksgiving, a marriage of convenience idea came to mind: one NFL quarterback - Clinton Hadley - desperate to get out of jail and play Thanksgiving weekend.

She glanced up at Clinton. He looked like the poster boy for the NFL. Finely chiseled features, crisply cut black hair, dark brown eyes that could dissect a defense in less than ten seconds. He was known for his ability to adjust a play on the fly, to take risks, to think outside the box. What line had he crossed? 

Love, Laughter, Friendship - Heartwarming Guest Post
There is physical attraction between the hero and heroine (and kissing!), but the love between them is more likely built on the foundation of one soul recognizing another than one perfect body being attracted to another.

We hope you found something to warm your heart and help you get into the holiday spirit! Don't forget to enter the giveaways, if you haven't already...

GIVEAWAYS

Goodreads Giveaway

13 Harlequin Heartwarming Books
Enter on Goodreads HERE.

Pinterest Giveaway


Pin one or both of these images to spread the word and enter to win this adorably festive Thanksgiving Table Set:


Pinterest Prize includes: four reversible, quilted placemats, four matching napkins, hand-painted matching napkin rings, matching table runner, matching quilted hot pad/trivet, floral centerpiece in pot, and hand-crafted pilgrim pair.
- Enter via the Rafflecopter below
- Open to US/CAN only
- Ends December 4th


Tour Giveaway

Grand Prize: Harlequin Heartwarming Year Subscription (Provided by Harlequin and to US/CAN only)
$40 VISA card (US only)
13-Book Heartwarming Prize Pack: The Best Laid Plans, Back to McGuffy's, If I Loved You, Love, Lies & Mistletoe, First Comes Marriage, Once Upon A Marriage, Small Town Secrets, Winter Wedding Bells, If Not For A Bee, When The Right One Comes Along, Wedding of His Dreams, After The Silence, and A Memory Away (print copies if US, ebooks if international)
8-Book Prize Pack: The Best Laid Plans, If I Loved You, Love, Lies & Mistletoe, First Comes Marriage, Once Upon A Marriage, Winter Wedding Bells, If Not For A Bee, When The Right One Comes Along, and After The Silence (print copies if US, ebooks if international)
Ends December 4th

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday E-book sale by Indie Christian Books!


Smiley 

Like most other bookworms, great books make their way onto my "things I'm thankful for" list every year. It's hard to choose favorites, but I went ahead and picked five books I read in 2015 and am thankful for...

http://amzn.to/1PPSqUthttp://amzn.to/1OsQeyQhttp://amzn.to/1OsQfD4

 http://amzn.to/1PPSoMfhttp://amzn.to/1PPSrHU

I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to another great year of reading! Speaking of more reading, here's one more thing to be grateful for. Books on sale! In honor of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, a group of independent Christian authors banded together to offer over seventy discounted books on Nov 27-30. There's literally something for everyone. Every single book listed on Indie Christian Books is on sale in one or more ways. Find discounted paperbacks, dozens of books offered with free shipping, $0.99 ebooks, package deals and more. Even if you have a budget of $0, new reading material awaits you. Don't know what to pick? The fearless Indie Christian Books team created a quiz that will generate a book list perfect for you! Check it out!

Book Quiz  

What awesome reads of 2015 are you grateful for? 
What books are you looking forward to reading in 2016?
A note on the Ebooks Only page. All books are listed as "Sold Out." This only refers to paperback copies of these titles. Please click onto the product pages to find descriptions and links to discounted or free ebooks.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Leah E. Good for her work organizing this sale, Gloria Repp for completing the time consuming job of uploading book info to the sale website, and Hannah Mills for her fantastic design work on the website graphics. Hannah can be contacted at hmills(at)omorecollege(dot)edu for more information about her design services.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Guest Post by Author Melinda Curtis with free short story and blog tour giveaway!



 On tour with Prism Book Tours.

We're highlighting 13 FREE short stories by beloved Harlequin Heartwarming authors available from Harlequin during November. All Heartwarming titles are 30% OFF during November from Harlequin as well! Use code HEART1115.

TODAY'S FREE SHORT STORY:

Married by Thanksgiving by Melinda Curtis

Football star Clinton Hadley has been in trouble with the law once too often recently. When a night out with friends turns into a night in jail, Clinton knows the judge is going to throw the book at him if he doesn't think of something. Fast. When his single lawyer, Brenda Thomas, mentions the judge goes easier on family men, Clinton decides to get married...to Brenda!

Read it HERE!


I love marriage of convenience stories, but if you aren't writing historicals or paranormals, it's hard to come up with a plausible plot for one. When I was asked to write a short for Thanksgiving, a marriage of convenience idea came to mind: one NFL quarterback - Clinton Hadley - desperate to get out of jail and play Thanksgiving weekend. Enter his lawyer - or at least the lawyer covering for his vacationing attorney - Brenda, a pretty woman new to her law firm who's been told to get their client out of jail at any cost. Too bad the judge on duty gives preferential treatment to family men and Clinton is single. Desperate for leniency, Clinton gets down on bended knee and proposes to Brenda. Clinton may think he's got this marriage of convenience covered, but he doesn't count on the judge being Brenda's uncle or his presence being mandatory at Uncle John's Thanksgiving celebration. Let the games begin!


Melinda Curtis is an award winning, USA Today bestselling author. She writes the Harmony Valley series of sweet, light-hearted romances for the Harlequin Heartwarming line. Brenda Novak says: “Season of Change has found a place on my keeper shelf.” Melinda also writes the sweet romantic comedy Bridesmaid series.


Other Heartwarming Books by this Author

Dandelion Wishes (A Harmony Valley Novel, #1) Summer Kisses (A Harmony Valley Novel, #2)
Season of Change (A Harmony Valley Novel, #3) One Perfect Year (A Harmony Valley Novel, #4)
 

TOUR SCHEDULE

Don't miss any of these FREE novellas or the extra tour content! Stop by each of the tour stops each day:

11/2: Snow Day Baby by Amy Vastine
Singing Librarian Books, The Power of Words, & Katie's Clean Book Collection


11/4: Wedding at Turkey Run by Liz Flaherty
My Love for Reading Keeps Growing, Babs Book Bistro, & Heidi Reads...

11/6: Her Thanksgiving Soldier by Leigh Riker
Letters from Annie (Douglass) Lima, Mel's Shelves, & Brooke Blogs

11/9: Mr. Right All Along by Jen Snow
Katie's Clean Book CollectionMin Reads and Reviews, & Love thy Shelf

11/11: Falling for the Cowboy by Sophia Sasson
Kindle and Me, The Power of Words, & Colorimetry

11/13: The Marriage Gift by Tara Taylor Quinn
deal sharing aunt, Babs Book Bistro, & Brooke Blogs

11/16: Heart of a Hero by Pamela Tracy
Writing Pearls, Wishful Endings, & Waiting For Wentworth

11/18: Thankful for You by Karen Rock
Christian Chick's Thoughts, Getting Your Read On, & Love, Laughter, Friendship

11/20: Autumn at Jasper Lake by Carol Ross
Reading Is My SuperPower, I Am A Reader, & Colorimetry

11/23: The Firefighter’s Promise by Kate James
Canadian Book Addict, Mel's Shelves, & Beck Valley Books

11/24: Wedding of His Dreams by Cari Lynn Webb
Bookworm Lisa, Kindle and Me, & Zerina Blossom's Books

11/25: The Sweetheart Tree by Rula Sinara
The Written Adventure, Reading Is My SuperPower, & Writing Pearl

11/26: Married by Thanksgiving by Melinda Curtis
Heidi Reads..., Love, Laughter, Friendship, & Singing Librarian Books 

11/29: Grand Finale
11/30: Facebook Party

GIVEAWAYS

Goodreads Giveaway

13 Harlequin Heartwarming Books
Enter on Goodreads HERE.

Pinterest Giveaway

 
Pin one or both of these images to spread the word and enter to win this adorably festive Thanksgiving Table Set:


Pinterest Prize includes: four reversible, quilted placemats, four matching napkins, hand-painted matching napkin rings, matching table runner, matching quilted hot pad/trivet, floral centerpiece in pot, and hand-crafted pilgrim pair.
- Enter via the Rafflecopter below
- Open to US/CAN only
- Ends December 4th


Tour Giveaway

Grand Prize: Harlequin Heartwarming Year Subscription (Provided by Harlequin and to US/CAN only)
$40 VISA card (US only)
13-Book Heartwarming Prize Pack: The Best Laid Plans, Back to McGuffy's, If I Loved You, Love, Lies & Mistletoe, First Comes Marriage, Once Upon A Marriage, Small Town Secrets, Winter Wedding Bells, If Not For A Bee, When The Right One Comes Along, Wedding of His Dreams, After The Silence, and A Memory Away (print copies if US, ebooks if international)
9-Book Prize Pack: The Best Laid Plans, If I Loved You, Love, Lies & Mistletoe, First Comes Marriage, Once Upon A Marriage, When The Right One Comes Along, Winter Wedding Bells, If Not For A Bee, and After The Silence (print copies if US, ebooks if international)
Ends December 4th

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Review & Giveaway: Huckleberry Hearts by Jennifer Beckstrand


Heidi Reads... Huckleberry Hearts by Jennifer Beckstrand

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

Young-at-heart octogenarians Anna and Felty Helmuth never miss the chance to find a perfect match for one of their grandchildren. And when their beloved Cassie returns to Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin, Anna has a feeling they might soon have a doctor in the family… 

Though Cassie Coblenz left her Amish community to go to college, Mammi and Dawdi’s farm will always feel like home. It’s the ideal place for an extended study break—at least until her grandmother’s handsome Englisch doctor becomes a regular distraction. Zach Reynolds is the kind of heartbreaker Cassie has learned to avoid, no matter how charming he may be.
 

Unlike every woman Zach has met in recent years, Cassie doesn’t fall at his feet. Strong, generous, beautiful within and without —she’s everything he could want. Yet the gulf between them deepens when a tragedy shakes his faith. Now the good doctor has one goal—to become a man who could be worthy of Cassie’s love…

My Review

Huckleberry Hearts is the sixth in the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series, but can definitely be read as a stand alone. I haven't read any of the previous books but now I want to! The grandparents Anna and Felty are quirky and charming. They are the only ones in Cassie's family who support her decision to find her own path, even though it's not with the Amish. Anna sees something in Zach that makes her select him for her matchmaking scheme, however unlikely the pairing is. I liked how the story line is different from other Amish fiction in that the main characters are not Amish although they have strong ties to the community. There are several strong themes that play out, including self-control, forgiveness and second chances, grief and trusting God, and staying true to one's self. There are many unexpected moments between Zach and Cassie that are pretty wonderful, but also some predictable ones where you can see the conflict coming. An admirable trait in Zach was that he tried his best to defend Cassie from her verbally abusive mother and brother while keeping his temper in check for her sake. I felt the story was well-written and held my attention throughout. I'm looking forward to reading more by the author!

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

About the Author

Jennifer Beckstrand is the bestselling Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer was nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award and the 2015 RITA® Award, and Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for Inspirational fiction. Both Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Christmas appeared in Examiner.com list of top ten inspirational books for 2014.

Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a background in editing. She and her husband have been married for thirty years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and four adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

Check out other reviews of Huckleberry Hearts on the Blog tour:

Nov 23: Kick off Celebrate Lit
Nov 23 Southern Chelle
Nov 24: Books!Books!Books!
Nov 25: Heidi Reads...
Nov 26: Artistic Nobody
Nov 27: Simple Harvest Reads
Nov 28: Bukwurmzzz
Nov 28: Cassandra M’s (spotlight)
Nov 29: cherylbbookblog
Nov 30: A Greater Yes
Dec 1: Texas Book Aholic
Dec 2: Two Girls and a Book
Dec 3: Quiet Quilter
Dec 3: Southern Gal
Dec 4:Reading is my Superpower
Dec 4: Power of Words
Dec 5: Bigreadersite
Dec 6: Henry Happens
Dec 6: Debbies Dusty Deliberations
Dec 7: Singing Librarian Books

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Review: The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson


Heidi Reads... The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man around. And her skills as an artist rival those of any artist she’s met. But for a woman in medieval times, the one skill she most desires is the hardest one to obtain: the ability to read.

After yet another young man asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides they need to move once again, but this time to a larger city. Rapunzel’s heart soars—surely there she can fulfill her dream. But Mother won’t let her close to a man. She claims that no man can be trusted.

After being rescued by a knight on the road to the city, and in turn rescuing him farther down the road, Rapunzel’s opportunity arrives at last. This knight, Sir Gerek, agrees to educate Rapunzel in order to pay back his debt. She just has to put up with his arrogant nature and single-minded focus on riches and prestige.

But this Rapunzel story is unlike any other and the mystery that she uncovers will change everything—except her happily ever after.


My Review

There are so many things that make this book a pleasure to read! The setting, the time period, the adventure, the characters, and the light romance all balance together to create an epic story. The author deviated enough from the classic tale to make it interesting and not predictable, but included elements that made it recognizable. Rapunzel's dilemma of submitting to her mother while desiring to stretch her wings puts her in a conflicting position. It was interesting to see her independence develop slowly, which made the transition realistic. Gerek and Rapunzel have a rough start to their friendship with her mistrust and his arrogance, but they learn to value each other even with social class differences. I especially enjoyed her teasing and sassiness which brought a light tone and a few chuckles. I could tell the book was written for a young adult audience and didn't feel like I connected with the emotions of the characters at a higher level, but it was a great adventure to go on.

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

Monday, November 16, 2015

Review & Giveaway: One Last Spring by Sian Ann Bessey


Heidi Reads... One Last Spring by Sian Ann Bessey

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.comhttps://deseretbook.com/p/one-last-spring-ppr?autocomplete=true&variant_id=127668-paperbackhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

The quiet village of Llanwddyn has long been a safe haven for Gwen, a young Welsh country girl whose life has been fraught with tragedy. Following the untimely death of her parents, it was her aunt's home in Llanwddyn that provided Gwen and her brother a refuge from their grief. Now, with the unwelcome news that the village is to be razed in the name of progress, an inescapable wave of change has begun.

When her brother departs to follow his dream of sailing the high seas, Gwen is left alone to navigate the shifting world around her. She soon finds herself relying on the support of her brother's best friend, Lewis, a gentle blacksmith whose kindness stirs her heart. Resigned to the fact that Lewis may never see her as more than a child, Gwen is soon swept off her feet by Thomas, a prosperous young Englishman. Torn between two men and two very different paths, Gwen has little time to determine what course her heart will follow. With time running out for her beautiful valley, will love come too late?


My Review

What a lovely book. It was so easy for me to relate to the main character Gwen, one who is sentimental, stubborn, and has a difficult time adjusting to change. I love that she is an artist, sketching her changing village from her perch on the mountain. Her way of coping with life is admirable, to make each day meaningful in some small way, whether it's taking a moment to appreciate nature or helping someone in the community. Even though the book is not fast-paced, it was one that I wanted to take my time reading and enjoy every page as it steadily moved forward with Gwen's feelings of anxiety and conflict along her journey of transition. The Welsh setting and words were completely charming. Highly recommend!

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


Blog Tour Schedule
November 16th
November 17th
November 18th
November 19th
November 20th
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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Gratitude Giveaway Hop! A Reluctant Bride by Kathleen Fuller




I love this time of year to refocus on all the blessings I have to be grateful for. Just one of them is the opportunity to read and review so many amazing books on my blog. I'm also thankful for all the friends I've made with fellow bloggers, authors, and readers! Thank you for your support!

Giveaway: A Reluctant Bride by Kathleen Fuller, ends 11/30

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Synopsis

She never wanted to marry. He hopes to make amends for past wrongs. Can love find a way to heal both of their hearts?

Sadie Schrock swore she would never marry. All of her other Amish friends could court and marry she was content to manage the family business and eventually take it over when her parents are ready to retire. But all of that changes when a reckless driver kills both of her parents and seriously injures her younger sister. With mounting hospital bills adding to the pile of debt her parents left behind, Sadie is left with no choice: she must marry. And not just any man the man who saw her at her weakest and walked away.

Aden knows what his brother did to Sadie years ago was inexcusable. And every day since that incident, Aden has lived with the guilt for not intervening sooner. When he is faced with the chance to protect Sadie once again, he can t let her down even if it means living with the scorn of the woman he loves for the rest of his life.

Working alongside Aden at the store, Sadie realizes he isn t the same boy who once betrayed her. Just when Sadie starts to let her guard down and perhaps develop feelings for her new husband, dangerous secrets are revealed. Now everything Sadie has worked so hard to protect is threatened, and she must find a way to save her family and herself.




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