Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Review: To the Farthest Shore by Elizabeth Camden


Heidi Reads... To the Farthest Shore by Elizabeth Camden

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

It has been six years since army nurse Jenny Bennett's heart was broken by a dashing naval officer. Now Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher has abruptly reappeared in her life at the Presidio army base but refuses to discuss the inexplicable behavior that destroyed their happiness.

Ryan is in an impossible situation. One of the few men in the world qualified to carry out a daring assignment, he accepted a government mission overseas that caused his reputation to be destroyed and broke the heart of the only woman he ever loved. Honor bound never to reveal where he had been during those six years, he can't tell Jenny the truth or it will endanger an ongoing mission and put thousands of lives at risk.

Although Ryan thinks he may have finally found a solution, he can't pull it off on his own. Loyalty to her country compels Jenny to help, but she never could have imagined the intrigue she and Ryan will have to face or the lengths to which they will have to go to succeed.


My Review

There's something about the writing of Elizabeth Camden that keeps me glued to the pages, fascinated by the history, and invested in the outcome of the story. I loved the setting and the unique characters that had obstacles that they are working to overcome, and learn valuable lessons along the way. In the beginning Jenny and Ryan seem to be the perfect couple, but as they face trials- Jenny from her past, and Ryan from his future- their flaws are revealed and there is a lot for them to learn about communication, trust, and forgiveness. I would have liked to see more romance in their relationship, but their drawn-out struggles prevented it. A bit of suspense kept the pace of the story moving forward when Ryan and Jenny's relationship was stuck in a rut. The developments in the pearl industry, the details of the navy, nursing, and spying in late 1800's Japan, San Fransisco, and San Diego captured my interest and the characters brought the setting to life. Jenny's surrogate father Simon and Finn, the spy Ryan is training to take over for him were two favorites that provided important interactions and additional depth to the plot. 

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


Can't Wait Wednesday: Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright


http://wishfulendings.com


Coming this November is Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright! It has such a fun cover and I love contemporary stories that tie in to Austen. I enjoy the writing style of Julie Wright from the Tangerine Street series and her contributions to some of the Timeless Romance Anthologies.

http://amzn.to/2ruKIsK
http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.comhttp://www.bookdepository.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

Ever since Emma read Pride and Prejudice, she's been in love with Mr. Darcy and has regarded Jane Austen as the expert on all things romantic. So naturally when Emma falls for Blake Hampton and he invites her home to meet his parents, she is positive an engagement is in her future. After all, Blake is a single man in possession of a good fortune, and thus must be in want of a wife.

But when it turns out that what Blake actually wants is more of a hook-up than a honeymoon, Emma is hurt, betrayed, and furious. She throws herself deeper into her work as CMO of Kinetics, the fastest growing gym franchise in the nation. She loves her work, and she's good at it, which is why she bristles when her boss brings in a consultant to help her spearhead the new facilities on the East Coast. Her frustration turns to shock when that consultant turns out to be Blake's younger brother, Lucas.

Emma is determined not to fall for Lucas, but as she gets to know him, she realizes that Lucas is nothing like his brother. He is kind and attentive and spends his time and money caring for the less fortunate.

What she can't understand is why Lucas continues to try to push her back into Blake's arms when he so clearly has fallen as hard for her as she has fallen for him. It isn't until Lucas reveals to Emma that he was adopted into the Hampton family that she begins to understand his loyalty to Blake as well as his devotion to the child April-she is Lucas's biological niece.

Emma opens up to Lucas about the feelings of abandonment she has harbored ever since she was a child and her mother left the family. As she helps Lucas deal with his past demons, she is able to exorcise some of her own.

Realizing that her love life is as complicated as anything Jane Austen could have dreamed up, Emma must find a way to let Blake know that it's time for him to let her go and to let Lucas know it's time for him to love her back.





Thursday, May 18, 2017

Review: A Love So True by Melissa Jagears


Heidi Reads... A Love So True by Melissa Jagears

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

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Synopsis

Evelyn Wisely has a heart for the orphans of Teaville and works at a local mansion that rescues children out of the town's red-light district and gives them a place to live. But her desire to help isn't limited to orphans. The owner of the mansion, Nicholas Lowe, is willing to help her try to get the women working in prostitution out of the district as well--if she can gain the cooperation and support of local businessmen to go against the rest of the community. 

David Kingsman has recently arrived in Teaville from Kansas City to help with one of his father's companies in town. While he plans on staying only long enough to prove his business merit to his father, he's shown interest in Evelyn's work and is intrigued enough by her to lend his support to her cause. 


They begin with the best of intentions, but soon the complications pile up and Evelyn and David's dreams look more unattainable every day. When the revelation of a long-held secret creates a seemingly insurmountable rift between them, can they trust God still has a good plan for them despite all that is stacked against them?


My Review

I appreciated the focus of this book on the importance of not only helping orphans, but also their mothers escape lives of prostitution and poverty. Evelyn is single-minded in her mission to provide safety and security for those who will reach out and accept support, even sacrificing her reputation and hopes for a future family. For much of the book I didn't understand her hang-ups about men and her fear of romance, but eventually the secret is revealed. David admires her in spite of her brusque attitude toward him, and his cheerfulness and sincerity build the foundation of their developing friendship. Lydia and Nicholas from the previous book are close friends of Evelyn's and help her when they can, despite not understanding her reasons for shunning men. They fully appreciate her help running their orphanage and her goal of starting a women's home. Various mishaps happen throughout the story that give David and Evelyn opportunities to grow closer together, and through the ultimate test they face, they learn to trust in God's timing and plans, even when it's difficult.

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

Don't miss the other books in the Teaville Moral Society series!

http://amzn.to/2oFZ3xV
(Prequel novella; also published in With This Ring? novella collection)

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Synopsis

Ever since Charlotte Andrews bested four-eyed Harrison Gray in a shooting competition when they were teenagers, he decided a tough, show-off girl like Charlie didn't need him to look after her. Now a teacher at the local school, Harrison learns Charlie intends to marry a neighbor who comes from a long line of no-good troublemakers and, for some inexplicable reason, it falls to him to talk some sense into her...if she has any under that tomboy exterior.

Their heated confrontation unfortunately takes place right as a bad storm is coming on and, in the melee of arguing and taking shelter, Harrison's glasses are knocked off his face and broken when Charlie's horse crushes them under a hoof. Harrison and Charlie may have their differences, but she can see from his panic that the loss of his glasses is a blow to him. She volunteers to help him at school until his new pair of special order glasses arrive despite knowing the one place she can't best Harrison is in the classroom.

http://amzn.to/2pZsMpo

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

Synopsis

Lydia King knows what it's like to be in need, so when she joins the Teaville Moral Society, she genuinely hopes to help the town's poor. But with her father's debts increasing by the day and her mother growing sicker by the week, she wonders how long it will be until she ends up in the poor house herself. Her best chance at a financially secure future is to impress the politician courting her, and it certainly doesn't hurt that the moral society's president is her suitor's mother. Her first task as a moral society member—to obtain a donation from Nicholas Lowe, the wealthiest man in town—should be easy . . . except he flat-out refuses.

Despite appearances, Nicholas wants to help others but prefers to do it his own way, keeping his charity private. When Lydia proves persistent, they agree to a bargain, though Nicholas has a few surprises up his sleeve. Neither foresee the harrowing complications that will arise from working together. When town secrets are brought to light, this unlikely pair must decide where their beliefs—and hearts—truly align.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday: Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh


http://www.wishfulendings.com/2017/05/i-cant-wait-for-roar-by-cora-carmack.html

I am so excited for a new book from Courtney Walsh! She's one of my favorite authors of contemporary romance since she really brings out the emotion and I feel connected to the characters she writes. This story sounds like it will amazing and the synopsis has me totally intrigued. Just Look Up releases July 4th and is available for pre-order! 

http://amzn.to/2pLagCa
http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.comhttp://www.bookdepository.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

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.




Monday, May 15, 2017

Review & Giveaway: Wrong for You by Jenny Proctor


Heidi Reads... Wrong for You by Jenny Proctor

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.comhttps://deseretbook.com/p/wrong-for-you?autocomplete=true&variant_id=150620-paperbackhttp://www.bookdepository.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

Lane Bishop is a hardworking, intelligent, young woman. With her recent move to Chapel Hill, she is determined to leave behind the drama and effort of keeping up with the dating scene. Even so, Lane somehow manages to get dragged out by a gaggle of girls to go watch boys play soccer. Just watching is not Lane’s forte, so she joins in the fun and leads her team to victory.

Rather than feeling intimidated by the vivacious beauty on the opposing team, Jamie Hamilton is intrigued. Risking his “untouchable” dating status, he decides to pursue Lane—with a little help from his older brother Simon. With Simon’s behind-the- scenes assistance, Jamie proves irresistible, even to a disillusioned dater like Lane. But as she gets to know both brothers, Lane can’t help but wonder—beneath the grand gestures and romantic words, is she falling for the wrong guy?


My Review

This is a fun story that took me right back to my days in the YSA (young single adults) group at church. Lane's interactions with Jamie and Simon are entertaining and brought the feelings of anticipation and uncertainty associated with dating. The dynamics of Lane's relationships get more complicated as the plot progresses, and a well-rounded secondary cast help propel her towards the climax where secrets are revealed and she has some choices to make. Recommend to fans of clean contemporary romance and LDS fiction.

Review & Giveaway: True to You by Becky Wade


Heidi Reads... True to You by Becky Wade

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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

Synopsis

Exciting Start of a Brand-New Series by a Contemporary Romance Fan Favorite

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he's diagnosed with an inherited condition, he's forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother.

The more time they spend together, the more this pair of opposites suspects they just might be a perfect match. However, John's already dating someone and Nora's not sure she's ready to trade her crushes on fictional heroes for the risks of a real relationship. Finding the answers they're seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.


My Review

True to You is oh-so-good! It totally made me cry... and that's a good thing. By the end of the book I felt so much compassion for John and his struggle to accept and overcome some pretty tough things. As a mother who adopted her children, I completely related to the theme of adoption and was fascinated by Nora and John's search for his biological parents. The contrasts between Nora and John were stark, but their differences complemented each other and the chemistry between them was awesome. I loved the emotional journey they went on as they learned to trust God and rely on Him for peace and resolution. Nora's sisters were a fun and integral presence and I can't wait to read their stories! Some scenes were written from Willow's perspective so I wonder if her book is coming next... I highly recommend reading the prequel novella for details about Nora's parents which influenced her in this story. 

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

Don't miss the prequel novella in the Bradford Sisters Romance series, Then Came You... 
(the e-book version is FREE!)





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


Synopsis

A leather-bound journal. A single father. A woman in pursuit of freedom.

Garner Bradford, heir to the troubled Bradford Shipping empire, doesn't know much about babies. But he's going to have to learn fast because he's just become a single father to his newborn daughter. As he confesses through his journal entries, he's not entirely sure how to keep a newborn alive, whether or not he'll ever patch together his shattered heart, or how to forgive himself for his mistakes.

Career girl Kathleen Burke is wholly uninterested in settling down. She has big dreams, and none of them include Garner and his small hometown in Washington State. Yet she can't seem to get her handsome boss out of her head or her heart. There's something extraordinarily tempting about his beautifully sad green eyes. . . .

Told through journal entries, phone conversations, and letters, Then Came You is a unique, heart-stirring romance novella by acclaimed author Becky Wade.



Do opposites really attract? John and Nora might just be the perfect match. Find out in True to You, book one in Becky Wade's new series! Genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now. Former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he’s diagnosed with an inherited condition, he’s forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother. Finding the answers they’re seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.

Celebrate the launch of Becky Wade's new series by entering to win a fabulous prize pack and $100 cash card!

 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of True to You
  • A $100 Visa cash card
  • A prize pack hand-picked by Becky
 

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on May 30. The winner will be announced May 31 on the Litfuse blog.