Friday, November 17, 2017

Review & Giveaway: For Castle and Crown by Sian Ann Bessey





My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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

Synopsis

After years spent fighting alongside King Richard in the crusades, Lord Edmund of Hawksford is finally returning to his ancestral home. But far from a joyful reunion, what awaits him is devastation. His elder brother is dead, killed in a tragic fire at Hawksford Castle—and the title of duke now falls to Edmund.
When he strives to rebuild the fire-scarred castle, Edmund learns that his was not the only life the fire shattered: his childhood friend Lady Phillipa survived the flames that took Edmund’s brother, but badly burned, she has hidden herself away from those she loves. Yet as the pair renews their acquaintance, they find that their affection runs deep—perhaps even deeper than they’d ever realized. 
As Edmund and Pippa begin to question whether the fire was truly an accident, they must discover the truth of the past before they can plan for their future. While coming perilously close to the answers they seek, Edmund and Pippa find themselves at the mercy of a dangerous foe who will stop at nothing to lay claim on Hawksford—and he will destroy any who stand in his way.

My Review

Sian Ann Bessey has quickly become one of my favorites, and once again I was completely transported to medieval times and immersed in the story. I loved the characters from the beginning and really felt for them with the intense trials they endured with strength. It has a steady pace with action interspersed and a climax that had me biting my nails! Childhood friendship that blossoms into love is one of my favorite types of romance, and I thoroughly enjoyed the sweet relationship between Edmund and Pippa. There are powerful themes of loyalty, sacrifice, and inner beauty that made the story deeper and more meaningful. Highly recommend!!!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Link-up: Free / Bargain Books



Sharing the Love of Books
Enjoy our selection of New Releases / Free & Bargain Books this week

Authors please feel free to add your own books
Readers please free to add your own finds
(any genre except erotica welcome)

This weekly link up is hosted by Beck Valley Books & these awesome book loving blogs...
Monday
 Leels Loves Books
Tuesday
Celticlady's Reviews | First Time Mommy Adventures 
Wednesday
Beck Valley Books | Between the Coverz | Bookalicious Traveladdict
Thursday
Miki's Hope | Heidi Reads...
Friday
Ebook Addicts | I Love Romance |
Colorimetry | Futures
Saturday
3 Partners in Shopping | I Create Purty Thangs | Wishful Endings 
Sunday

For Pre-orders post - PRE-ORDER / genre / title /author
For New Releases post - NEW / genre / title / author
For Free Books post - FREE / genre / title / author / end date 
For Bargain Books post - SALE / price / genre / title / author / end date
(Strictly no Erotica please.  Steamy romance is fine but watch those covers people, in case any underage child is viewing it!)

Here is this weeks awesome selection!

Would you like to share our linkup on your site? click here
Would you like to become a weekly host? sign up here


Come back and check out the new selection every week!


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Merry Matayo Giveaway!




 




Wrap-up: HoHoHo Readathon

HoHoHo Readathon

Well, life and a packed review schedule got in the way of meeting my goal of reading the entire Return to Christmas Falls series, but I did get a good start and read three of them! I'll get the reviews posted later this week.

Here's what I read:





Review: The Nativity Pageant by Neil K. Johnson



Heidi Reads... The Nativity Pageant by Neil K. Johnson

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.comhttps://deseretbook.com/p/the-nativity-pageant-booklet?autocomplete=true&variant_id=157682-ebookhttps://www.seagullbook.com/nativity-pageant.htmlhttp://www.bookdepository.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

Would you rather read the nativity story or be a part of it? Using simple stage directions, easy-to-find props, and a script that's straight from the scriptures, this book helps you act out the familiar story of the first Christmas for your friends and family. Start a new tradition this season with a simple pageant you'll look forward to performing year after year.

My Review

I love how simple yet thorough this slim 26-page booklet is for directing a Nativity pageant. It includes the cast, two narrators, stage direction, props, and optional songs. The cues for the actors include directions for movement and expression that will bring life and meaning to this powerful story, and are also easy enough for young children to follow. It's perfect for a family, church class, or Christmas party. We can't wait to use it this Christmas season with our daughters and their cousins!

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


Review: A Marchioness Below Stairs by Alissa Baxter


Heidi Reads... A Marchioness Below Stairs by Alissa Baxter

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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

Synopsis

Escaping from Bath and the news that her former love is about to marry another, Isabel, the young widowed Marchioness of Axbridge, accepts an invitation to her cousin’s house party. Yet, instead of finding respite, she stumbles into a domestic crisis of majestic proportions: The kitchen servants have succumbed to the influenza.

If that weren’t bad enough, her former sweetheart arrives with his fiancĂ©e, seeking shelter from the increasingly hazardous snow storm. Trapped inside Chernock Hall with a volatile mix of house guests, including abolitionists and slave owners, Isabel wishes she could hide below stairs for the duration. But, alas, she cannot. While helping in the kitchen, Isabel is cornered by her cousin’s disreputable friend, Marcus Bateman, who challenges and provokes her at every turn.

At last, the storm subsides. However, the avalanche of repercussions cannot be undone. Caught in the grip of the terrible winter of 1813, will Isabel’s greatest threat come from the weather, her abolitionist views, or from falling in love again?


My Review

There are a lot of things I liked about this book. Isabel's passion for abolition, her humility in helping her cousin by cooking for his house party, her sacrifices for her family, and her love of independence. The setting was easy to imagine and I appreciated the historical and period details sprinkled in. I didn't quite know how to take Mr. Bateman for a while (like Isabel) but as he proves himself devoted to her and supports her in ways nobody else did I came to like him more. He challenges her and is confident  enough to stand up to her. I didn't feel a connection to the emotions of the characters however, and felt a bit detached, even though the plot and banter were entertaining. Overall a great story and one I would recommend to fans of Regency romance.

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


Gratitude Giveaway Hop!



November is an excellent month for expressing gratitude, and I am especially thankful for books, the authors who write them, the opportunity to review them, and for YOU! Thank you for following my little blog! It's been so fun to connect with other avid readers :)

This giveaway is for a print copy (with signed bookplate!) of a wonderful book I read this year, Life After by Katie Ganshert. Read my 5 star review here, enter in the giveaway widget below, and hop along to some other blog giveaways! Happy Thanksgiving!

Heidi Reads... Life After by Katie Ganshert

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.comhttps://www.bookdepository.com/The-Elusive-Miss-Ellison/9780825444500http://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

It could have been me.

Snow whirls around an elevated train platform in Chicago. A distracted woman boards the train, takes her seat, and moments later a fiery explosion rips through the frigid air, tearing the car apart in a horrific attack on the city’s transit system. One life is spared. Twenty-two are lost.

A year later, Autumn Manning can’t remember the day of the bombing and she is tormented by grief—by guilt. Twelve months of the question constantly echoing. Why? Why? Why? Searching for answers, she haunts the lives of the victims, unable to rest.

Paul Elliott lost his wife in the train bombing and wants to let the dead rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to cause more pain for his loved ones. He wants normalcy for his twelve-year-old daughter and young son, to see them move beyond the heartbreak. But when the Elliotts and Autumn are unexpectedly forced together, he fears she’ll bring more wreckage in her wake.

In Life After, Katie Ganshert’s most complex and unforgettable novel yet, the stirring prose and authentic characters pose questions of truth, goodness, and ultimate purpose in this emotionally resonant tale.






Monday, November 13, 2017

Review & Goodreads Giveaway: The Darkest Summer by Rebecca J. Greenwood



Heidi Reads... The Darkest Summer by Rebecca J. Greenwood

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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

Synopsis

Lady Cora Winfield's life has always gone according to plan--her mother's plan. That's why Cora is so fascinated when she meets the dark Duke of Blackdell. Knowing his dangerous reputation, Cora's mother flatly forbids the match, and the duke decides to take matters into his own hands. Kidnapped and facing a scandal, Lady Cora must now decide whether love will be her downfall or the beginning of a new plan, one she never dreamed possible.

Set in the stormy summer of 1816, this Regency romance is a retelling of the myth of Hades and Persephone.


My Review

Loved it! The details of Cora and Adam, the duke, really made the story for me, as well as their mutual yearning for unconditional and affectionate love. Cora is passionate about horticulture and loves plants and flowers, even trying to rescue the plants that are getting waterlogged in Hyde Park and worrying over the wheat crop of England. Adam is struggling with a lingering injury from Waterloo and the sorrow and grief he has over losing his entire company of soldiers to the violence there. The initial attraction they feel for each other is unexpected and Adam's infatuation with Cora leads him to seek her out and discover her true characteristics beyond the ballroom niceties.

Cora's controlling mother is a complex character- at times seeming the villain in her treatment of her daughter, but also had me curious if her motivation was merely selfish or if she truly had deeper concern for her daughter's future well-being. While the pace at the beginning of the book is a bit slow, once Adam and Cora are off on their adventure the plot really spices up and emotions are brought to the surface and forced to be dealt with. Adam's closest servants that accompany them provide humor and more depth as their loyalty and regard for him reveals his true nature. A wonderful Regency novel with sweet romance and excitement!

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

Enter the Goodreads Giveaway for a copy of The Darkest Summer!



Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Darkest Summer by Rebecca J.  Greenwood

The Darkest Summer

by Rebecca J. Greenwood

Giveaway ends November 27, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway



Don't miss the FREE prequel novella, The Darkest Hour, available on Instafreebie
 
https://instafreebie.com/free/5jaYZ


http://www.goodreads.com
Synopsis

When dutiful Lady Hester Douglas, over thirty and long on the shelf, receives word that her brother Adam, the Duke of Blackdale, has survived the Battle of Waterloo, she abandons propriety and heads to Brussels to be by his side. Her widowed minister, Mr. Alasdair Gilchrist, escorts her on the journey from Scotland into a Europe recovering from years of war.

Once she reaches her injured brother, Hester must fight to keep Adam alive and tightly guard her heart’s deepest secret—she’s been in love with Mr. Gilchrist for years.

Will the pain of being with the minister, the man she loves and can never have, distract her from her purpose? Or will she overcome the barriers of age, rank, and station, and seize the love she’s dreamt of?

The Darkest Hour is a standalone inspirational Regency romance novella, and is also a prequel to The Darkest Summer.



About the Author

Rebecca J. Greenwood is an author, artist, and designer with a love of stories, especially Regency romances. She grew up in Texas as the oldest of six, and studied visual art with a music minor at Brigham Young University. Rebecca lives in Utah with her husband, where she listens to audiobooks, cooks experimentally, has an interest in alternative health, and constantly has a new project in mind. Visit rebeccajgreenwood.com to experience more of her art, writing, and upcoming projects.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Book Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: Christmas at Cade Ranch by Karen Rock


On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

http://amzn.to/2iz4rkBChristmas at Cade Ranch
(Rocky Mountain Cowboys #1)
by Karen Rock
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
November 7th 2017 by Harlequin

The Christmas they never had.

James Cade has one priority: keep the family ranch running smoothly in the wake of his younger brother's death. With Jesse's ex, Sofia Gallardo, and her young son, Javi, stranded at Cade Ranch over Christmas, this task just got a lot harder. The longer Sofia and Javi stay, the harder it is to imagine the ranch without them. James couldn't save his brother from his inner demons, but he can give his nephew a secure future. Maybe more—if he can figure out how to trust Sofia, and stop feeling like he's betraying Jesse. Because trying to stop thinking about beautiful, determined Sofia is impossible.


Excerpt
Sofia’s glossy black mane swung back from her face as she tilted it to study James. “No. I feel guilty because I’m glad you’re here and not—not—Jesse.” Tears welled in her eyes. “That makes me a monster.”
He cupped her shaking shoulders and their feet stilled. Something exploded in his chest. His heart maybe. She cared about him. She experienced the same powerful emotions that had taken him by storm from the moment he’d laid eyes on her. “Then I’m one, too, because I want you here, would have wanted you even if Jesse had brought you home, and I’m glad I don’t have to compete for you.”
She brushed something from his cheek, her touch achingly tender. “I’m not sure it would have been much of a competition.”
“We’ll never find out, just like we can’t change what happened.”
The sparkling light reflected in her brown eyes. “No. And maybe we shouldn’t wallow in it, either.”
He nodded. “Ma’s right. Jesse would want us to be happy. He cared about that most of all.”
Suddenly, the heaviness that’d been buckling his shoulders since Jesse’s death eased. The grief, the remorse he’d been carrying all these years was his own making. Not Jesse’s. He saw that now.
Jesse would want him to be happy. And nothing made him happier than Sofia.
And Javi.
“You care about others as much as Jesse did,” Sofia insisted and her indignant expression, her defense of him, stirred him deeply. “You just show it differently. I used to believe you wanted to control me because you didn’t think enough of me, and maybe that was true at first. Now I know it’s coming from a good place. You just want to keep everyone safe.”
“Protected,” he murmured, touched that she alone understood him. It felt like a homecoming. “I want to be that person for you and Javi. Controlling you or anyone is wrong, but I’ll always be the kind of man that looks out for others, especially my family.”
“Am I part of your family?” She choked up a bit on the last word. His eyes whizzed to the ceiling and he blinked fast, thinking about her lonely, difficult life.
With every breath he took while on this earth, he’d make it all up to her.
“Yes. More than that, even.”

About the Author

In a quest to provide her ELA students with quality reading material, educator Karen Rock read everything out there and couldn't wait to add her voice to the genre. In addition to her work as a Young Adult romance novelist, she's now an author for Harlequin's Heartwarming line and thrilled to pen stories that moms can share with their teenage daughters. She's loved Harlequin books since she spent summers going through her grandmother's Presents books that she passed along in paper grocery bags each year. As half of the writing duo J.K. Rock, Karen also pens young adult romance. When she's not busy writing, Karen enjoys scouring estate sales for vintage books, cooking her grandmother's family recipes, reinventing her gardens to suit her moods and occasionally rescuing local wildlife from neighborhood cats. She lives in the Adirondack Mountain region with her husband, her very appreciated beta-reader daughter, and two Cavalier King cocker spaniels, who have yet to understand the concept of "fetch" though they know a lot about love. For more information about Karen's upcoming books, check out her website.

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Other Heartwarming Books by the Author

Tour Giveaway


- 1 winner will receive a $50 Amazon gift card along with print copies of HIS KIND OF COWGIRL, UNDER AN ADIRONDACK SKY AND A COWBOY TO KEEP by Karen Rock, TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH by Elizabeth Lowell, THOSE TEXAS NIGHTS by Delores Fossen and FAMILY TREE by Susan Wiggs.- US Only.
- Ends November 15th