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

Monday, September 23, 2019

Review: You Belong With Me by Tari Faris


https://amzn.to/2lELiDq

My rating: 2 stars / It was okay

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Synopsis

Realtor Hannah Thornton has many talents. Unfortunately, selling houses in the town where her family name is practically poison isn't one of them. When a business tycoon determines to raze historic homes in the small town of Heritage, Michigan, and replace them with a strip mall, Hannah resolves to stop him. She sets about helping Heritage win a restoration grant that will put the town back on the map--and hopefully finally repay the financial debt Hannah's mother caused the town. But at first no one supports her efforts--not even her best friend, Luke.

Luke Johnson may have grown up in Heritage, but as a foster kid he never truly felt as if he belonged. Now he has a chance to score a job as assistant fire chief and earn his place in the town. But when the interview process and Hannah's restoration project start unearthing things from his past, Luke must decide if belonging is worth the pain of being honest about who he is--and who he was.


My Review

I normally enjoy stories like this, but I was stressed out reading this one. I think the situations the four main characters were in seemed hopeless and they were unhappy, full of angst, and didn't have a sense of humor. Hannah and Luke's stalled romance was blamed on each other, and I was confused for much of the book why their dynamic was the way it was. Thomas and Janie were the same way- there is tons of past history alluded to but the reader is kept in the dark for much of it and I was just frustrated with them all. I wanted to sit them all down and tell them to just open their eyes and communicate. Although, that wouldn't make for much of a story then. I just think they were all wound too tightly for me to truly enjoy. A good dose of humor would have gone a long way for me in balancing the vibe of the book.

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



Don't miss the prequel novella in the Restoring Heritage series- the e-book is only 99 cents!

https://amzn.to/2lEQDdW

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Synopsis

What if a woman who’s all about the goals and plans falls in love with man who no longer believes his life has a purpose? A novice life coach needs to cement her reputation with one great success story. When a wounded former Special Forces operator walks back into her life looking for a job, she decides to work with him—a win-win for them both.

​If Caroline Williams had her way, she’d help everyone in town find their purpose in life—unfortunately, no one seems to want her help. But she refuses to give up, and her new status as a certified life coach should provide her with some badly needed credibility. All she needs is her first client. When Grant Quinn walks in looking for a job, Caroline knows he needs more than that—he needs a new plan for his life. But when Grant refuses to be honest about his dreams and his struggles, Caroline’s business might come crashing down before it starts.

Wounded former Special Forces operator Grant Quinn understood the cost when he enlisted and served his country with pride. The scars on his face are reminders of what he lost, but he is moving on—now if he could just convince his family that he’s fine. When Caroline steps back into his life and offers to help find him a job in exchange for being her Guinea pig in her new life coaching business, he agrees. After all, what better way to show his family he’s okay than with a new, stable job? But when the anxiety he’s been running from ruins his one interview, his plans come crashing down. Can he trust Caroline enough to be honest about everything?

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Review: Wally's Misadventure by Chrys Wimer


https://amzn.to/2GU3q3u

My rating: 2 stars / It was okay

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Synopsis

Wally had been cooped up all winter and was ready for a great adventure! His chores came first, then after his father reminded him of the rules, Wally was off. The first rule was to never go exploring alone, but when none of Wally’s friends could go, he was determined to go anyway. Look inside to find out what Wally faces on his adventure!

My Review

I'm a huge fan of children's books and love collecting my favorites- current releases and those from my own childhood, especially those with remarkable illustrations. I enjoyed the forest setting of Wally's Misadventure and the variety of creatures he interacts with on his journey. 44 The overall feelings I got while reading the book were first of disappointment as Wally's friends are each too busy to play with him, and then of anxiety as he ventures into an unknown part of the forest alone and encounters some dangerous animals and situations. The narrative is a bit stilted, but the book is obviously written to be used as a teaching tool with children to open discussions of what to do in similar situations. Several elements of the digital illustrations are amateurish and distracted me from the story. I especially think the landscapes were too dark/intense and prevented the animals from standing out from the background.

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


Saturday, February 23, 2019

Review: Atoning for Ashes by Kaitlin Covel


https://amzn.to/2EtfsjH

My rating: 2 stars / It was okay

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Synopsis

Josie Chadwick dreams of marrying for love in Cornwall, England, but with her father's debt threatening to destroy all she holds dear, her romantic options are dwindling. When her elder sister Delia is disowned, Josie finds herself heiress of Chadwick Park, torn between dreams and duty. After sacrificing her heart to atone for Delia's sin, Josie clings to the hope she will learn to love a distant husband, whom she fears is incapable of requiting her affection.

Charles Radcliffe's heart has been scarred and hardened by rejection. He fears hurting his new bride, but his fears of betrayal and rejection are stronger, making it impossible for him to trust her love―let alone the love of her God.

As Josie and Charles face their new life together, ominous events warn of dark family secrets that could shatter them both. More than a loveless marriage is at stake if they cannot stand as one. Will they learn to trust God and each other before it's too late?


My Review

I thought this book sounded like something I would enjoy with the setting and marriage of convenience theme, but unfortunately the writing style is not my cup of tea. I found it melodramatic and overly preachy. The characters are all tormented by secrets, self-pity, or rejection. Josie draws strength from her faith, and often pleads with the Lord in desperation. The tone of the book reminded me a bit of Wuthering Heights, dark with quickly shifting moods. I think it is a book that I would recommend to readers who enjoy a healthy dose of angst, drama, and extremely emotional characters.

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


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

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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

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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

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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

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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.