Friday, April 29, 2016

Review: The Captive by Julie Coulter Bellon


Heidi Reads... The Captive by Julie Coulter Bellon

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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

Synopsis

Former Navy SEAL Jake Williams is the newly appointed head of a task force assigned to rescue a kidnapped American diplomat. Their only hope is Mya Amari, the daughter of a notorious Algerian hostage negotiator, but she is full of secrets and complications– something Jake takes as a personal challenge. As they grow closer, the threat to the mission escalates and time runs out for the hostages. Can Jake unravel the web of deception to save them all without getting caught in the crossfire?

Mya Amari has been in hiding nearly her entire life to escape her father’s enemies. But when her sister is kidnapped along with an American diplomat, she’ll do anything to bring her home– including walking into the enemy’s lair. She doesn’t trust anyone, especially the too-handsome-for-his-own-good Commander Williams, but when all her careful plans explode out of control, he’s the only one she can turn to with the truth about her family. Is it too little, too late?


My Review

This is the first book I've read by this author so I didn't quite know what to expect beyond some good reviews I had read. I enjoyed the main characters Jake and Mya, but felt like I only got to see the surface of their personalities and sensed there are more layers there. Since this is the first book in the Griffin Force series I hope their characters are delved into more deeply in future books, as well as other members of the task force. There are some scenes with action, but they are spaced widely with scenes of transportation and descriptions of the safehouse and the mission, which seemed vague. The technical precision I'm used to in the writings of other suspense authors was missing, but it also allowed the plot to not get hung up on details. An element of quick romance was present, based on mutual physical attraction. It will be interesting to see how the long term relationship plays out throughout the series.

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

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon!

Bout of Books

I'm excited to be joining the Bout of Books read-a-thon! Hoping to make significant progress on my to-read list...

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 9th and runs through Sunday, May 15th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 16 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Friday, April 22, 2016

Join Becky Wade for a Facebook Party May 5th!



wade event promo - fb 

A female bodyguard plus her star NFL client plus danger equals a great recipe for romance! Her One and Only, book four in Becky Wade's Porter Family novels, releases May 3. To celebrate, Becky is hosting an author chat party on her Facebook page on May 5 at 5 PM PDT/8 PM EDT. Join Becky for an evening of book chat with other bookworms and prizes.

Plus a portion of all pre-sales and sales the release week of Her One and Only will be donated to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. For more details on how to purchase a copy, click here.

wade 400 - fallen heroes

About the Book

After ten years in the NFL, super star Gray Fowler is accustomed to obsessive fans. But when Gray starts receiving death threats from a stalker, his team hires an executive protection agency to guard him until the culprit is caught. Dealing with bodyguards 24/7 is a headache, especially when one of them is a young, beautiful woman. How can a female half his size possibly protect him better than he can protect himself?

Dru Porter is a former Marine, an expert markswoman, and a black belt–none of which saved her from disaster on her last assignment. In order to rebuild her tarnished reputation, she’s determined to find Gray’s stalker and, since relationships between agents and clients are forbidden, avoid a romantic attachment between herself and the rugged football player with the mysterious past.

Yet every secret that leads Dru closer to the stalker also draws her closer to Gray. As the danger escalates, they’ll survive only if they can learn to trust their lives — and their hearts — to one another.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Review: Spring in Hyde Park (Timeless Regency Collection) by Jennifer Moore, G.G. Vandagriff, Nichole Van


Heidi Reads... Spring in Hyde Park (Timeless Regency Collection) by Jennifer Moore, G.G. Vandagriff, Nichole Van

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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

Synopsis

A HAPPY ACCIDENT by Jennifer Moore
Jonathan Burles father has just died, making him the new Marquess of Spencer and the most sought after bachelor in London. An unfortunate accident leads to a forced marriage to Maryann Croft, a young woman who possesses no title, and an unexpected secret. With the unstable beginning to their marriage, finding love together seems impossible.

THE DISDAINFUL DUKE by G. G. Vandagriff

Lady Saphronia Huffington has always thought of herself as plain next to the beauty of her sister, Lady Lavinia. So when her sister becomes engaged to Lord Gilbert Caldwell and Saphronia is paired for wedding events with his brother, the granite-faced Duke of Mayfield, who is known to prefer beauties, she sharpens her wit. Thus begins a lengthy sparring contest during which the Duke realizes Saphronia is anything but plain.

AN INVISIBLE HEIRESS by Nichole Van

Miss Belle Heartstone has everything money can buy—houses, servants, carriages, clothing, jewels. A husband, however, is proving much harder to, ehr . . . purchase. Colin Radcliffe, the newly minted Marquess of Blake, is in desperate need of funds—preferably of the wife-free variety. When circumstances draw the two together, Blake might be the only man able to see beyond the Belle’s outer fa├žade, and fall in love with the woman inside.

My Review

Regency novellas are my favorite! There's something about the setting, the manners and society rules of the time period that I find fascinating. I enjoyed Jennifer Moore's story of an unexpected marriage, and the way Jonathan and Maryann struggled through miscommunication to learn to trust each other. G.G. Vandagriff's story was a bit wordy for my taste, the plot was fine but the writing style isn't one that resonated with me. I was happy to finish the collection with Nichole Van's delightful tale of looking past one's circumstances to appreciate the true character of a person. These novellas are ones I can see myself re-reading in the future.

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

Review & Giveaway! The Reluctant Duchess by Roseanna M. White


Heidi Reads... The Reluctant Duchess by Roseanna M. White

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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

Synopsis

Will Fleeing the Scottish Highlands Only Leave Her in More Danger?

Lady Rowena Kinnaird may be the heiress to a Highland earldom, but she’s never felt good enough–not for her father, not for the man she thought she’d marry, not for God. But after a shocking attack, she’s willing to be forever an outcast if it means escaping those threatening her life.

Brice Myerston, the Duke of Nottingham, has never been one to shy away from manor-born ladies, yet the last thing he needs is the distraction of the newly introduced Lady Rowena. He has enough on his plate having recently come into possession of a rare treasure for which many would kill, yet those around him seem intent on pairing him with this desperate but beguiling girl.

Rowena is reluctant to marry this notorious flirt. And when she learns that Brice is mixed up in some kind of questionable business with a stolen treasure, she fears she’ll end up in more danger than she fled.

My Review

There are so many things I enjoyed about this book! Rowena's consistent Scottish burr was a delight to imagine in my head as her voice. It made her character distinctive and unique from the others in the story. Her brokenness of spirit creates empathy and her strength of will, admiration. The way she learns to recognize God's blessings in her life and turn to Him is a subtle and inspiring theme. The intrigue of the plot is one continued from the previous book in the Ladies of the Manor series, The Lost Heiress. Once again I read the second book before the first, but I felt like the author did a good job of catching the reader up (without being obvious or info dumping) so this book can be read as a stand alone. Brice's friends who starred in the first book make a significant appearance in this book so it made me anxious to read The Lost Heiress and not only read their love story but see the origins of the diamonds entering and disrupting their lives. Brice is a great hero- charming and friendly, yet fiercely protective of Rowena and a spiritual leader to both her and their friends. I appreciated that he also had a journey of self-realization and turned to the Lord for grace in overcoming his weaknesses. The dangers faced by Rowena and Brice kept the story moving forward, yet there was a definite focus on their relationship and efforts to learn to trust and love.

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

Enter the Tour Giveaway!

To celebrate the release of her book, Roseanna is giving away a few of Rowena's favorite things...


http://roseannamwhite.blogspot.com/p/rowenas-comforts-giveaway.html

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Follow the Blog Tour

April 12: Just Commonly
April 12: Book by Book
April 13: Melissa Wardwell
April 14: A Holland Reads
April 15: Splashes of Joy
April 15: Story Matters
April 16: Bookworm Mama
April 16: bigreadersite
April 17: cherylbbookblog
April 17: A Greater Yes
April 19: Henry Happens
April 19: Karen Hadley
April 21: Proverbial Reads
April 21: Heidi Reads…
April 24: Giveaway Lady
April 24: Under His Wings

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Change of Heart by Jennifer Moore



Change of Heart
 
Change of Heart by Jennifer Moore

This summer, Nathaniel Cavanaugh vacations in Lobster Cove to spend quality time with his kids after his estranged wife’s tragic death. Successful and well-connected, he is on the fast-track to the highest legal positions in the country, but his family life suffers. After an accident throws Val nearly into his lap and costs her a job opportunity, Nathaniel surprises himself by overlooking her outlandish appearance and lack of qualifications to offer her a job as his nanny for the summer. Valdosta McKinley wishes for an internship at a Paris Art Institute to use her newly acquired art-history skills. She knows Nathaniel could never develop feelings for a girl from a trailer in a rural West Virginia holler—a lesson she learned the hard way years earlier. Will pursuit of their professional goals require Nathaniel and Val to give up the dream of being a family?

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JenniferAuthor Jennifer Moore Jennifer Moore is a passionate reader and writer of all things romance due to the need to balance the rest of her world that includes a perpetually traveling husband and four active sons, who create heaps of laundry that is anything but romantic. She suffers from an unhealthy addiction to 18th and 19th century military history and literature. Jennifer has a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Utah and is a Guitar Hero champion. She lives in northern Utah with her family, but most of the time wishes she was on board a frigate during the Age of Sail.
 





$25 Blog Tour giveaway

Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 5/1/16 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com 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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Blog Tour Schedule 

April 18th  
I Am A Reader - Spotlight
Julie Coulter Bellon - Review
Literary Time Out - Review
Cuzinlogic - Spotlight
Literary Chanteuse - Spotlight
Susan Heim on Writing - Spotlight
April 19th  
Getting Your Read On - Review
Tifferz and her Sisterz - Review
Heidi Reads... - Spotlight
Why Not? Because I Said So! - Spotlight
beck valley books - Spotlight
Coffee Books & Art - Spotlight
April 20th  
My Book a Day - Review
Reading List - Review
Katie's Clean Book Collection - Review
Bunny's Review - Spotlight
LeahSay's Views - Spotlight
April 21st  
Wishful Endings - Review
Simple Wyrdings - Review
Kindle and Me - Spotlight
My Creatively Random Life - Spotlight
Queen Of All She Reads - Spotlight
April 22nd  
Books Are Sanity!!! - Review
Bookworm Lisa - Spotlight
Hearts & Scribbles - Spotlight
Mel's Shelves - Spotlight
BookHounds - Spotlight
April 26th  
Singing Librarian Books - Review
Rockin' Book Reviews - Spotlight
Min Reads and Reviews - Spotlight
Rebecca Belliston - Spotlight
Diana's Book Reviews - Spotlight

Monday, April 18, 2016

Review: Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg


Heidi Reads... Like Never Before by Melissa Tagg

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

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

Synopsis

Maple Valley became Amelia Bentley's haven after her heart and her dreams of a family were shattered. But her new life as a newspaper editor is shaken when the small-town paper is in danger of closing. Her one hope: A lead on an intriguing story that just might impress the new publisher... if only she knew who he was.

After his biggest campaign success yet, widowed speechwriter Logan Walker now has the chance of a lifetime- a spot on a presidential campaign. But his plans are interrupted when he finds out he's inherited his hometown newspaper. He travels home intent on selling the paper and spending some much-needed time with his young daughter before making the leap into national politics.

But instead of a quick sale and peaceful break from his hectic career, Logan finds himself helping Amelia chase her story. She's scrappy, but wounded. He's dependable, but lost. They may butt heads more than expected, but a series of leads on Maple Valley's quirky unsolved mystery is just the start of the sparks that fly in the office and in their hearts.


My Review

Once again I was happy to be back in Maple Valley with the lovable Walker family, but found myself missing a connection with the main characters and their romance. The plot of the story moves along nicely and I enjoyed getting to know Amelia's tenacious personality and more members of the tight-knit community. She and Logan have a solid friendship and fun banter, but when it came to chemistry, I felt it was lacking that tension and emotion- kind of like watching an interesting movie without the musical soundtrack that really gets you feeling. I'm still looking forward to reading more in the series, especially about Walker siblings Reagan and Beckett.

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

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Review: From the Start by Melissa Tagg


Heidi Reads... From the Start by Melissa Tagg

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

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

Synopsis

Kate Walker used to believe in true love and happily ever after. While her own love life may have left her brokenhearted, it hasn't kept her from churning out made-for-TV romance movie screenplays...until a major career slump and a longing to do something meaningful send her running back to her hometown of Maple Valley.

Permanently sidelined by an injury, former NFL quarterback Colton Greene is temporarily hiding out in a friend's hometown to avoid the media and the reminders of all he's lost. Maple Valley seems like the perfect place to learn how to adjust to normal life. The only trouble is he's never really done normal before.

While Kate plays things safe and Colton is all about big risks and grand gestures, they both get what it's like to desperately need direction in life. An unexpected project gives them both a chance to jumpstart their new lives, but old wounds and new dreams are hard to ignore. Starting over wasn't part of the plan, but could it be the best thing that's ever happened to them?


My Review

I enjoyed getting to know the family we were introduced to in the free prequel novella to start off the Walker Family series, Three Little Words. The strong family theme in a contemporary setting is one of my favorite trends in a series. The small town community is easy to envision and provides a great secondary cast of characters. Each member of the family plays a role in subtly influencing Colton and Kate while they are temporarily staying in Maple Valley to help in the wake of a natural disaster. The circumstances that they find themselves in and their opportunity to re-imagine their futures are the focus of the novel, and I was disappointed to find that while reading I always felt aloof from the romantic emotions of the characters- it was more observing rather than feeling along with them. The light-hearted nature of the writing might have played a part in that, it made the story fun but didn't delve deeper. Kate and Colton did friendship so well and I loved their banter, but missed the romantic tension and chemistry. Overall this was a pleasant reading experience and I look forward to reading more of the series.

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

Friday, April 15, 2016

Showers of Books Giveaway Hop!


http://bookhounds.net

Welcome to the Showers of Books Giveaway Hop! I'm giving away a print copy of The New England Romance Collection as well as two surprise books from Harlequin's Love Inspired line! Enter in the Giveaway Tools widget below and visit the other blogs in the hop to enter some more great giveaways!
http://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis
New England is not just colorful in autumn but throughout the history of its states—including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Through the trials and triumphs of the early years of American history, to the turbulent 1930s, enjoy five stories laced with history, faith, and romance. Will these couples find a place to call home among the northeastern states?


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Review: An Amish Market by Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin, Vannetta Chapman


Heidi Reads... An Amish Market by Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin, Vannetta Chapman

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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

Synopsis

All the color and variety of a quaint Amish shop in a charming collection of novellas by four of your favorite authors. Feel free to come in and browse!
 
Love Birds by Amy Clipston
While Ellie Lapp and her mother are still mourning the loss of her brother, Seth, Ellie starts working at one of the gift shops in town. Seth’s friend Lloyd is talented at carving wooden birds, but his father disapproves and expects him to take over the family farm someday. Ellie sees the beauty in Lloyd’s creations and insists Lloyd sell the birds in the gift shop where she works. As Ellie and Lloyd spend more time together, they begin to develop feelings for one another, but she accidentally betrays his trust. Will she lose any hope of a future with him?
 
A Bid for Love by Kathleen Fuller
Every week, Hannah Lynne brings her home-churned butter to the local market. And every week Ezra stops by to purchase some. Hannah Lynne knows not to read too much into it—Ezra is a confirmed bachelor and barely even glances her way, despite any hope to the contrary. But when Ezra bids an exorbitant amount to win the quilt she had her heart set on, Hannah Lynne can’t stop her heart from taking over her mind. Could Ezra finally be in the market for love?
 
Sweeter Than Honey by Kelly Irvin
Shattering a jar of pickled beets wasn’t the impression Isabella hoped to make on her first trip to the local Combination Store of Bee County, Texas. But as embarrassed as she was by the accident, she didn’t think it warranted the frosty reaction from the handsome manager of the store, Will Glick. As she soon learns, though, Will’s heart has been broken one too many times. And now, for some reason, Isabella finds herself determined to be the one to repair that broken heart and renew his faith in love.
 
Love in Store by Vannetta Chapman
Stella Schrock works at the Old Mill in Nappanee, Indiana, with new employee David Stoltzfus, a recent widower. When strange happenings begin occurring around town, it appears as if someone wants to close the mill. Stella and David have to work together to solve the mystery of what is happening at the Old Amish Mill, and in the process they might just find that God has more in store for their future than they would ever have dreamed possible.


My Review

I enjoyed each of these novellas by some of my favorite authors of Amish fiction- the variety of characters, settings, and plots. It was interesting how some used the Amish market theme more than others, but all were well-rounded stories that didn't feel rushed or lacking in development. I especially enjoyed the theme of unexpected love in A Bid for Love and Sweeter Than Honey. A wonderful collection of simple and pleasant stories that can be enjoyed several times.

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

Review: The {Re}Model Marriage by Maria Hoagland


Heidi Reads... The {Re}Model Marriage by Maria Hoagland

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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

Synopsis

From the outside, Kirk and Jamie appear to have a beautiful home and the perfect marriage. Inside, the aging Craftsman is falling apart, their marriage is crumbling from neglect, and Jamie Royce wants out! Kirk, on the other hand, isn’t ready to give up on either the house or their relationship.

With their divorce scheduled for the day after their daughter’s high school graduation, Jamie and Kirk have to fix the home’s problems to lift their selling price out of the basement. Working to renovate the home together, they discover secrets—in the home, in their marriage, and in the fertility clinic that helped give them their daughter—and find themselves questioning what true love really is.


My Review

I don't read many romance books with a troubled marriage as the focus, but this one did it right. It was sad and disheartening to see how insecure and defensive Jamie and Kirk were, and how they let pride prevent them from being honest with each other. That was balanced out by the author skillfully weaving in pieces of their falling-in-love story to illustrate not only why their relationship was worth saving, but also the root of some of their issues. Communication, or the lack thereof, is the biggest hurdle they need to overcome. It's too easy as a reader to want to yell at them, "just say something!!!" but also recognizing that the difficult emotions they are feeling are all too realistic. I kept on reading quickly, trying to hurry to the point where they turn things around, but also found myself fascinated by the home renovations they undertake originating with demolishing a leaky bathroom. I found it to be a good metaphor for how they needed to fix their marriage- strip down the "quick fixes" until the true problem under the surface is revealed, and start over from there, building things carefully and correctly. Each chapter has a helpful tip about various aspects of home renovation, several of which I want to remember for the future!

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

Monday, April 11, 2016

Review & Giveaway: Lady Helen Finds Her Song by Jennifer Moore


Heidi Reads... Lady Helen Finds Her Song by Jennifer Moore

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttps://deseretbook.com/p/lady-helen-finds-her-song?autocomplete=true&variant_id=134102-paperbackhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

Spring 1813
The exotic splendors of India are legendary, and the colorful sights of her new home in Calcutta immediately captivate eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Poulter. Whereas many of her fellow British expatriates despise the culture they see as barbaric, Helen sees excitement in the unusual locale. It is in this vibrant, bustling city that she finds a kindred soul in Captain Michael Rhodes, an Englishman whose lifelong love of India runs deep. Their friendship quickly grows, yet despite their undeniable connection, she could never think of Captain Rhodes as more than a dear friend.

Her love, in truth, has been captured by dashing British Lieutenant Arthur Bancroft. This handsome soldier represents the embodiment of all she's dreamed of in a husband. Preoccupied by her growing affections, Helen never dreams that beneath the glamor of the city, hostilities are reaching a boiling point. When battle ultimately threatens both of the men in her life, she must make a choice: pursue the man who symbolizes her British past, or let herself love a man who promises an unknown future in the land she loves. But amid the casualties of war, will her declaration of love come too late?


My Review

I loved this unique Regency reading experience! The setting of India was a character in itself, and the authors descriptions were vibrant and blended in to the narrative without becoming overlong. Seeing the country and culture through Helen's experiences added a feeling of wonder and appreciation since she savors the new and interesting aspects of her journey. She begins somewhat naive, but because of her observant and open nature she embraces the differences. Her friendship with Captain Rhodes helps her to become more confident since he has a deep love for India and they feel a connection. She is musical and has developed melodies representing members of her family. She hasn't been able to write one for herself however, and hopes to discover her song on this life-changing journey. I also enjoyed the gentle romance between Helen's mother and stepfather that serves as an example to Helen of what it means to love. A beautiful story of discovering what is truly important.

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