Showing posts with label 2 stars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2 stars. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Review: Last Kiss by Ranee S. Clark


Heidi Reads... Last Kiss by Ranee S. Clark

My rating: 2 stars / It was okay

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

Synopsis

Gwen Malone is back in her hometown of Clay, Wyoming, saving money while she figures out what to do next with her life and her dream of having her own online magazine. Then her ex, Cale Parrish shows up, working for her dad, of all things. Things are awkward, of course, since he broke off their engagement just a month before the wedding.
 

But Cale has known for a long time that he made a mistake five years ago, when he allowed the pressure to marry her right after his mission eclipse his true feelings for her. He can’t let Gwen slip away from him again.
 

Cale's thoughtful gestures and reminders of their once-perfect relationship begin to convince Gwen they should take a chance on them again—until a no-holds-barred kiss reminds her exactly how much she has to lose. Cale may be ready to jump right back in where they left off, but can Gwen trust him again so easily?

My Review

This is a sweet second chance romance in small town Wyoming. It focused on Gwen's indecision over her first love's return to town and attempts to rekindle their relationship. She's in limbo since she's stalled in her career and that sense of uncertainty is prevalent throughout the story. The plot wasn't exciting or compelling and I would have liked more depth and character development. Cale and Gwen were nice together, or at least Gwen's memories of how they used to be. Most of their present day interactions involved awkwardness and avoidance. I didn't feel invested in them, and was surprised at the jumps they made in the end after five years of zero contact. Perhaps if Cale and Gwen's previous time together had been more detailed, I would have felt there was more of a foundation to build on.

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


Friday, July 6, 2018

Review: Just the Way You Are by Pepper D. Basham


 Pleasant Gap Romance Book 1

Heidi Reads... Just the Way You Are by Pepper D. Basham

My rating: 2 stars / It was okay

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

Synopsis

Single mom, Eisley Barrett, prefers to keep romance safely housed within a centuries-old mystery, but when she travels to England to unearth the secret, an actor with a sordid past offers her reluctant heart a very different type of discovery.

Wes Harrison has a past he’s ashamed to confess. Suspicious and cynical, he’s managed to avoid romantic entanglements since a tragedy upended his career and life, that is until American Eisley Barrett comes along. Her authenticity and kindness upend his bitter assumptions and send his heart into unscripted territory.

When his past threatens to ruin a second chance at love, can some Appalachian matchmaking and letters from the grave salvage their unexpected romance?


My Review

I really thought I would enjoy this book more, but even with its quirky Appalachian and swoony British main characters, I had a difficult time connecting to them. I felt thrown into the story and wished for more of a setup to draw my interest to the plot. I was distracted by the alternate gushing and angsting of Eisley over Wes, and even though their kissing scenes were amazing, I felt like there was something missing. I think it would have helped to see more of their friendship developing early on, instead of being told about it. I did appreciate the way they shared their faith and even studied the Bible together. Eisley very much identifies as Appalachian, and the constant references to her personality and the contrast in cultures got old really quick.

The "treasure hunt" for details of a mysterious ancestor was fun, especially with secret passageways and abandoned castles, but even with layers being revealed, the story felt ambiguous. The villainess was rather two dimensional and predictable, and I thought it was a cliche plot device. It was a pleasant story overall, and all my Goodreads friends gave it 4 and 5 stars, so I'm definitely in the minority here. I'm not giving up on the author since I've read other stories of hers that I liked; this one was just a miss for me.


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


Friday, June 15, 2018

Review: A Pirate at Pembroke by Danielle Thorne


Heidi Reads... A Pirate at Pembroke by Danielle Thorne

My rating: 2 stars / It was okay

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

Synopsis

Keeping company with a reputed pirate is one thing, but falling in love with him could ruin the eccentric Crestwood family for good...

Sophie Crestwood is never going to catch a husband. Her father is a gossip, her mother has her nose in a book, and little Jack has shamefully been dismissed from boarding school. Worst of all, a pirate moves next door into Pembroke Hall.

When Sophie's sent to a matchmaking party at a neighboring estate, the pirate from Pembroke arrives and distracts everyone from the summer festivities. Unguarded, her feelings about the mysterious Captain Murdock bloom into a trusted friendship that Sophie fears may come to mean more than anyone would ever suspect.


My Review

My experience reading this book was varied. I was excited for the story from reading an excerpt during its promotional blog tour, but once I got into it, I discovered that overall the author's writing style isn't my cup of tea, as well as being annoyed by the main character Sophie. She seems likable enough, but also behaves in a shallow manner, at times immature, condescending, judgmental. Fortunately she improves over the course of the book, but later when she is called on her earlier behavior, she denies it, or at least never comes to a full understanding, which made me not feel sorry for the consequences she faces. I think telling part of the story from Captain Murdock's perspective might have balanced out Sophie's voice. There are some twists that brought action and interest to the plot, but much of the story was slowed by mundane details (which more serious lovers of history or the Regency era might appreciate more than me).

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


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Review: My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York: Adele's Journey by Amanda Barratt


Heidi Reads... My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York: Adele's Journey by Amanda Barratt

My rating: 2 stars / It was okay

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

Synopsis

Journey now to Niagara Falls, New York, of 1870 where...
She avoids danger at all costs. He makes his living by rushing headlong into it.

Outwardly, Adele Linley’s trip to visit her American cousins is nothing more than a summer vacation. In reality, she’s the daughter of an English aristocrat with barely a penny to her name seeking a rich American husband.

Having grown up in an overcrowded orphanage, Drew Dawson is determined to make a name for himself. He’ll take any honest job to provide for his sister—even crossing Niagara Falls by tightrope.

On a sightseeing trip to the Falls, Adele meets several eligible suitors. Incredibly wealthy and pompous, Franklin Conway takes an immediate fancy to her. But Adele would truly like to marry for love.  When she encounters the mysterious Drew in the garden, Adele is confused by her feelings for someone who is everything she is NOT looking for. Will they both stay the course they have chosen for themselves?


My Review

Adele is a bit of a hot mess. She puts on a good fa├žade, but her desperate circumstances lead her to desperate measures, and even more desperate choices. I appreciated the setting and learning a little history of Niagara Falls, but there was something about the story that prevented me from fully enjoying it. Perhaps it was Adele's duplicity and hypocrisy- taking the moral high ground over the tightrope walkers "exploiting" the Falls, while she pursues Mr. Conway for his wealth even though she can't stand him. I liked Drew and his devotion to his invalid sister and her care, but felt like there was a lack of chemistry between him and Adele, even thought they kept coming across each other coincidentally in order to bring two people from separate classes together. Drew's sister Hope was sweet and I would have liked to see more of her in the book. I was curious to see how the author would bring these two star-crossed lovers together in the end, and it was a bumpy ride- Adele's choices getting worse and worse until her final attempt to redeem the consequences of her betrayal. There was a spiritual message of trusting God but even though Adele went through the thought process, her actions proved that she still relied on herself and herself alone. While the ending included an epilogue, there were several loose threads that never got tied up, leaving me feeling dissatisfied.

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

More from the My Heart Belongs series...

My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss: Priscilla's Reveille by Erica Vetsch
My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains: Carmella's Quandary by Susan Page Davis
My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho: Rebecca's Plight by Susanne Dietze 
My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude's Mooring by Carrie Fancett Pagels
My Heart Belongs in the Shenandoah Valley: Lily's Dilemma by Andrea Boeshaar
My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah: Leanna's Choice by Angie Dicken 

My Heart Belongs in San Fransisco, California: Abby's Prospects by Janice Thompson (March 2018)
My Heart Belongs in Glenwood Springs, Colorado: Millie's Resolve by Rebecca Jepson (May 2018)
My Heart Belongs in Galveston, Texas: Madeline's Search by Kathleen Y'Barbo (July 2018)

 


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Review: Saving Sycamore Bay by Cami Checketts


Heidi Reads... Saving Sycamore Bay by Cami Checketts

My rating: 2 stars / It was okay

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

Synopsis

A football hero. A southern belle in need. Can they rescue her home together? 

Harrison Jackson graduated from Auburn University with his master's in accounting and thought he was leaving the world of college football and adoring fans to crunch numbers and make money. Little did he know his boss has other plans for him--a beautiful southern belle and her family's mansion that are both in need of rescue and more than a little TLC.
 

Grace Addison lost her mother and daddy within a year of each other, she is not going to lose the only home her family has known. Her ex-boyfriend and lawyer are trying to talk her into selling and she has no money to fight anyone, but she has her determination and her pride. When the most handsome and strong-looking man she's ever seen shows up on her doorstep, claiming he's been sent to help her, she thinks he's salvation and an angel combined. When she finds out he's an accountant, she laughs in his face.
 

Someone is determined to take or burn Grace's home no matter how hard she and Harrison fight. Can she trust Harrison to protect her or should she give up her dreams?

My Review

This story has a promising premise, but I just could not get through it easily. I liked Harrison's character and the way he is such a gentleman, but Grace was such a spaz, and not in a cute way. The romance happened way too fast and I didn't feel any real connection between them. I thought it was irrational that Grace was sad and upset that Harrison came because his boss asked him to, but since they were complete strangers, why else would he be there? Her childhood friend that keeps coming on too strong was over the top and made me want to roll my eyes. I guess I'm a fan of more subtlety in villains. There was also a lot of repetition of why Grace's situation was so impossible and I found myself skimming to get to the parts where the plot moved forward.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Review: Kiss Me in the Rain by Lindzee Armstrong


Heidi Reads... Kiss Me in the Rain by Lindzee Armstrong

My rating: 2 stars / It was okay

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

Synopsis

Will she risk the home she treasures for the man she loves?

Cypress Grove has always been a treasured constant in Layla's perfect life. Now the mansion will be sold to the highest bidder if she doesn’t date an investor's son. The problem? The man she really wants just rolled into town.

Tyler is done being responsible and never going after what he wants. Layla's finally given him the courage to quit grad school and use his student loans to flip houses. And he's decided to move near Cypress Grove to do it.

When Layla happens upon suspicious ledgers at the mansion, her family's financial woes take a sinister turn. As Tyler and Layla work together to find the culprit, the attraction between them threatens to burst into flames. But admitting their feelings could spell disaster for Cypress Grove.


My Review

This story did not capture my interest as I read. I think it began with not being able to connect with Layla and Tyler due to a lack of character development. It might have been different if I had read the previous book they were introduced in. I felt like I started the story halfway through. Things just started happening and I was reading what was going on, but felt removed from it all. Layla came across as snobbish in some ways (judging others as "gauche"), yet didn't understand why Tyler thought she wouldn't be okay dating someone who didn't fit her standard of living. The fake engagement plot felt a little over the top, and I agreed with Tyler when he called it a "crazy alternate reality." I thought it was cool that he wanted to restore old properties and flip the houses, but didn't think that using his student loan money was an honest way to get started. Shouldn't he have gotten a personal loan or business loan for that? It felt like the story jumped back and forth between Tyler's project and Layla's project instead of being more cohesive. Even though I thought this book was just okay, some of my other reviewer friends enjoyed it so you still might want to give it a chance, especially if you read Kiss Me in the Moonlight by the same author.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Review: Starting Over at Steeple Ridge by Liz Isaacson


Heidi Reads... Starting Over at Steeple Ridge by Liz Isaacson

My rating: 2 stars / It was okay

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

Synopsis

Tucker Jenkins has had enough of tall buildings, traffic, and business meetings to determine the next app that will change the world. He's sold his technology firm for billions and traded it for Steeple Ridge Horse Farm in rural Vermont.

Missy Marino has worked at the boarding stable and farm since she was a teen, and she's always dreamed of owning it. But her ex-husband left her with a truckload of debt, making her fantasies of owning the farm unfulfilled.

When she meets Tucker, she starts having a new kind of fantasy—one where they work with the horses together. Tucker didn't come to the country to find a new wife, but he supposes a woman could help him start over in Steeple Ridge. Will Tucker and Missy be able to navigate the shaky ground between them to find a new beginning?


My Review

This story had a good premise, but I didn't quite connect with the characters. I wish there had been more development before they jumped into a relationship- it felt kind of surface level. Missy is getting her feet back under her after a messy divorce, and Tucker hasn't dated since he left his pessimistic wife. Missy resents that he bought the horse farm, but his handsome looks and physique make her forget that for a while, until later in the story when some conflict is needed. Tucker quickly falls in love with the country life and appreciates Missy's no frills beauty. There didn't seem to be much substance to their friendship beyond working together and kissing- I would have liked to see more depth in their interactions. I was let down when Tucker turns out to be a pushover for Missy's drama, and found myself skimming through the last quarter of the book to make it to the predictable ending.

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


Monday, April 17, 2017

Review: Her Rancher Bodyguard by Brenda Minton


Heidi Reads... Her Rancher Bodyguard by Brenda Minton

My rating: 2 stars / It was okay

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

Synopsis

Bodyguard Boone Wilder isn't keen on his latest mission: watching over a pretty politician's daughter. Boone is from quiet Texas Hill Country, and Kayla is a showy city gal. But once safely settled at the Wilder Ranch, Boone watches Kayla enjoy cooking with his family, caring for his relatives and bottle-feeding calves. There's more to her than he ever knew. Still, the former soldier's wounds are way too deep to let Kayla close. But when he discovers that someone wants to hurt Kayla, Boone must risk his heart to protect what he cares about most.

My Review

I normally love reading books by this author, but I had a hard time getting into this one. I didn't feel a connection to the characters at all, it was like the story jumped right into the plot without any introduction to who they are. Because of that, it was hard to hold my interest. I noticed that this book is part of a series, I wonder if there is any initial character development in the previous books. Perhaps if I had started from the beginning and read them in order it might have helped.

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


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Review: A Gentleman's Kiss Romance Collection: 9 Modern Romances with an Old-Fashioned Quality by Ginny Aiken, Kristin Billerbeck, Lynn A. Coleman, Peggy Darty, Nancy J. Farrier, Rebecca Germany, Bev Huston, Yvonne Lehman , Gail Sattler, Pamela Kaye Tracy


Heidi Reads... A Gentleman's Kiss Romance Collection: 9 Modern Romances with an Old-Fashioned Quality by Ginny Aiken, Kristin Billerbeck, Lynn A. Coleman, Peggy Darty, Nancy J. Farrier, Rebecca Germany, Bev Huston, Yvonne Lehman , Gail Sattler, Pamela Kaye Tracy

My rating: 2 stars / It was okay

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

Synopsis

Are you ready for some good old-fashioned romance in a contemporary setting? Then you’ll enjoy these nine stories of modern women who are forced to slow down and take a new look at dating and romance when new men enter their lives. For some it will take vacation time, others will discover through music, while some need the gentle nudges from both God and Grandma. Delight in discovering how chivalry is not dead despite the stresses of today’s world.

My Review

I struggled through this collection of novellas. While the premise of each story was somewhat interesting, I found the dialogue to be either cheesy, stilted, preachy, immature, or unrealistic. Some were so slow paced they lost my interest, while others moved the plot forward in ways that seemed contrived. I loved the cover of the book and thought it gave the impression that the stories would be more romantic than I found them to be.

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

Friday, December 4, 2015

Review: A Healing Spirit by Melissa A. Hanson


Heidi Reads... A Healing Spirit 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

A freak ski accident brings nineteen-year old Mia Kinney within minutes of death. Hurt and scared, Mia is calmed by the southern drawl and clear green eyes of her rescuer.

Twenty-one year old Dylan Blackburn is one of the first Ski Patrol members on the scene. As his patient is airlifted to the local trauma center, he can’t shake her from his thoughts.

As Mia fights for her life, Dylan, is haunted by the blond hair beauty, and knows he needs to make sure she’s going to be okay.

With a troubled past Dylan has vowed never to completely open himself up to another girl, but Mia continues to knock down every wall he’s constructed. When his past arrives at his front door and threatens once again someone that he loves, will Dylan be able to save Mia yet again? Or will he be too late this time?

A story of love, friendship, and the determination to turn a horrible experience into something worthwhile.


My Review

The first third of the book is Mia's ski accident told from multiple perspectives- it was jumping around in brief vignettes so much that the flow was choppy and hard to hold interest; I ended up scanning much of it. The early character development was lacking, but the action moved things forward. The dialogue and narrative is not as stilted as the previous book in the series but could still use more depth. I don't think this is an author whose style is my cup of tea.

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