Showing posts with label 4 stars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 4 stars. Show all posts

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Review: Timeless Victorian Collection: The Queen's Ball by Anthea Lawson, Rebecca Connolly, Jennifer Moore


Heidi Reads... Timeless Victorian Collection: The Queen's Ball by Anthea Lawson, Rebecca Connolly, Jennifer Moore

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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

Synopsis

THE QUEEN'S BALL: Three brand new Victorian Romance novellas by Anthea Lawson, Rebecca Connolly, and Jennifer Moore.

WALTZED by Anthea Lawson
Eleanor Tremont never expected her father to pass away unexpectedly – leaving her with a horrible stepmother, two grasping step-sisters, and no dowry whatsoever. Relegated to a servant in her own home, she struggles to come to terms with her bleak new life. Summoned to Queen Victoria’s Stuart Ball, can Ellie find her happily-ever-after despite impossible odds? Add an absent-minded Godmother, an orange carriage, and a dancing-slipper mishap, and prepare to be swept away into this fairytale romance…

A LOVE TO CLAIM by Rebecca Connolly
Abigail Sterling is not at all pleased to see that the man who broke her heart is in London, and even less pleased that he wants to renew their friendship. But, against her better judgment, she finds herself drawn to him, just as she always had been. Letters from a secret admirer keep her from completely giving into Matthew again, and soon her heart is torn between a familiar love and a mysterious one.

COMING HOME by Jennifer Moore
After the sudden death of her father, Clara Brightly is sent far from her home in India to live with relatives on the Isle of Wight. The islanders are suspicious of newcomers, and none more so than a local landowner, Grant Mason who, at first meeting, considers Clara to be arrogant and disdainful of the island he loves. When the two are appointed to lead the church choir in an island-wide competition, Clara discovers that she may have a place on the island after all. Grant comes to realize that what he took as haughtiness was merely shyness, and Queen Victoria’s ball at Osborne house seems the perfect place to tell her. But when Clara is offered a chance to return to India, she must decide once and for all what “home” really means.


My Review

I can always count on the stories in these collections to be unique, creative, and very different from each other despite a common theme! I liked getting to know the writing style of a new-to-me author, Anthea Lawson, and her Cinderella retelling. Rebecca Connolly and Jennifer Moore are favorites, and I really felt they shined with bringing the emotions of the characters to life and making me hope for a happily ever after. Each story felt fully formed and took me through the obstacles the couples had to overcome in order to find their true love.

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

Books in the Timeless Victorian Collections:
SUMMER HOLIDAY
A GRAND TOUR
THE ORIENT EXPRESS
THE QUEEN'S BALL

Books in the Timeless Regency Collections:
AUTUMN MASQUERADE
A MIDWINTER BALL
SPRING IN HYDE PARK
SUMMER HOUSE PARTY
A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS
A SEASON IN LONDON
FALLING FOR A DUKE
A NIGHT IN GROSVENOR SQUARE
ROAD TO GRETNA GREEN
WEDDING WAGERS

Double Review: Starstruck and Jilted by Carla Laureano


Heidi Reads... Starstruck by Carla Laureano

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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

Synopsis

Novelist Christine Lind has achieved her lifelong dream—a string of best-selling books and a cable-TV adaptation about to go into production. But on her way to London FanFest for the cast reveal, disaster strikes: their leading man is injured in a motorcycle accident… and his replacement is the one person she hoped she’d never seen again.

Nick Cleary has clawed his way to recognition as a Hollywood actor, but it’s long past time he get the chance to show he’s more than a pretty face and a chiseled set of abs. His big break comes in the form of a juicy lead role in a new steampunk fantasy series. There’s just one catch—casting has to be approved by the author… a woman he once devastated through his own youthful stupidity.

Christine is the last person to be starstruck by the handsome heartthrob, but as the clock ticks down to the cast announcement and Nick races to show that he’s really changed, she begins to wonder if there’s more to her ex than his Hollywood persona. Except now the consequences of being wrong no longer apply only to her career… but also to her carefully guarded heart.

My Review

I liked how Christine created an alter ego for her appearances before her fans, and that Nick was able to see past that to the real person inside. They definitely have a rocky past, and I appreciated that they both were able to eventually come to terms with their mistakes and own contributions to what went wrong. They are both more mature now and this is a great second-chance romance that explores  forgiveness and moving forward... after a little revenge, all in good humor ;)

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



My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

Exclusive e-book, free to Carla's newsletter subscribers!
More details on author's web site.

http://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

Three days. Two jaded hearts. One unexpected love.

Bethany Hall is hiding out on a remote private island off the coast of Belize, creating romantic meals for the rich and the privileged. But when her client Derek Moretti’s bride jilts him at the altar, he’s left with a bitter view on love, a $30,000 a week bungalow, and for the first time in his life, nowhere else to be.

After Derek overhears his beautiful personal chef talking about how he dodged a bullet when his bridezilla left him, he begins to think that maybe she’s right. He convinces Bethany to act as his personal tour guide for the remainder of his trip, but neither expect that their purely platonic arrangement could shake their preconceptions about love.

Could Derek have been in the right place at the right time…just with the wrong woman?


My Review

This is a fun story complete with a narrow escape, beautiful travel excursions, and amazing food. I thought it was interesting how Bethany has created her own little world on the island, and yet has connections that allow her to give Derek glimpses into the tropical paradise. There's some attraction, some angst, and some great romantic chemistry as Derek and Bethany figure out what they really want in their lives and their relationship.

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


Saturday, December 1, 2018

Review: The Christmas Remedy by Cindy Woodsmall, Erin Woodsmall


Heidi Reads... The Christmas Remedy by Cindy Woodsmall, Erin Woodsmall

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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

Synopsis

When an Old Order Amish woman takes a job at a small-town pharmacy struggling to survive in a world of "big box" stores, her motive is to help her Plain community. But the advent of the holiday season brings an unusual mystery to the surface--and possibly love.

Twenty-four-year-old Holly Zook lives a unique life for a young Amish woman. Years ago, her bishop allowed her to continue her education and become the lead technician for Greene's Pharmacy, an old-timey drugstore that looks out for the Amish community--a group largely without secure healthcare plans. She knows she can't marry and hold onto her professional job. She's Amish, and she can only have one or the other, so she spurns love and works toward addressing treatable diseases--like the one that claimed her father's life.

As long as Holly continues to avoid Joshua Smucker, the one man who draws her like a warm hearth in winter, she should be fine. When something unexpected threatens Greene's Pharmacy, Holly and Joshua must work together to unravel what's happened and find the "missing" patient before the Board of Pharmacy shuts them down. As the snows of December arrive, with Christmas in the air, will Holly succumb to the generous spirit of the season?


My Review

This is a sweet Amish story with a mystery to be solved. I thought it was sad that Holly felt like she had to sacrifice marriage and a family in order to have a fulfilling career that would be so beneficial to the members of her Amish community. I liked Joshua and how he helps Holly, even after he discovers he has no hope with her. The element of light suspense kept the plot moving forward and I liked seeing how interconnected the Amish families are and how they were all happy to help. There is a definite warm feeling despite the snowy setting, and I was satisfied with how everything all worked out.

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


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Review: One Little Kiss by Kaylee Baldwin


Heidi Reads... One Little Kiss by Kaylee Baldwin

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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

Synopsis

Tessa has her future planned to perfection. First get into medical school and become a doctor like everyone else in her family—despite her queasiness around blood. Second meet and marry someone who is just as successful as her brother—the new, handsome doctor in her ward will be just right. And last, prove to her brother that, despite what he thinks, she has it all together. Easy, right? Except that she’s just been called to be the ward road show director for the upcoming stake singles activity, a distraction she doesn’t need. And when a mix-up means that she’s partnered with her bug-eating, seventies dressing home teacher? It’s a disaster with a capital D, and she knows that no one in her family can ever find out about this.

As a PhD student studying insects, Henry White has had his fair share of girls try to change him into someone more socially acceptable—including his ex- fiancé. When his sister convinces him to join the singles ward for his last year of school, he decides to play up his oddness in order to keep the singles at a distance. When he begins to work with Tessa on the road show, he finds that she’s managed to get past his defenses. One little stage kiss is all it takes to make him question everything. But then his ex-fiancé comes home from her mission with one goal in mind: win Henry back, no matter what it takes.

Tessa is soon faced with a choice. Go for the perfect life she’s always pushed herself to have, or find the courage to look past appearances and figure out what she really wants.


My Review

This book was lots of fun to read! I couldn't help but like Tessa- flaws, mistakes, and all. She is misguided in her attempts to please and impress her family with a career choice and "perfect" boyfriend, but the dynamics of her family made me understand her choices. Like Henry, I just wanted her to open her eyes to follow the path that *she* wanted, but never allowed herself to even dream about. Her supportive friends balanced out the pressure she felt from her parents and complete jerk of  a brother. I really enjoyed her friendship with Henry, who also comes to a point of transition because of his relationship with Tessa. He's been hiding behind a facade of unattractiveness to repel women in order to protect his trampled-on heart, but Tessa quickly sees past that and appreciates the genuine and kind man he really is. Lots of drama (but not over the top) and angst, but the kind that has the reader feeling for the characters. The banter is fun, and the chemistry between Henry and Tessa is strong, making the romantic tension add to the feeling of anticipation as I read. Loved the ending!

Side note: The characters are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and there are some terms or references that may be unfamiliar for those not of the faith, but I think would not detract from understanding the story.

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


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Review: Never Envy an Earl by Regina Scott


Book Three in the Fortune's Brides series

Heidi Reads... Never Envy an Earl by Regina Scott

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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

Synopsis

The saucy Yvette de Maupassant is used to danger. She’s spent the last 10 years spying for England in Napoleon’s court. Now that her work has been discovered, she must hide, and what better place than the remote wooded estate of the Earl of Carrolton? Her friend Miss Thorn and that delightful cat Fortune place her in a position where she can pretend to be companion to the earl’s sickly mother. Yet one look at the earl has Yvette rethinking why she wants to stay.

Gregory, Earl of Carrolton, is used to power. So why does one moment in the company of his mother and spinster sister leave him feeling powerless? And why does the look in a certain Frenchwoman’s eyes leave him weak at the knees? As danger draws closer, Gregory and Yvette must work together to protect her, his family, and the future of England, as they discover the greatest danger and delight is falling in love.


My Review

I love how individual the characters in this series are! The author does a wonderful job of giving each one a distinct personality with a range of mannerisms, strengths, and struggles. Yvette is especially unique because she is a former French spy (for the British) with a tragic history, yet she has a way of improving the situation she finds herself in. I loved her spirit and the way she stood up to Gregory's mother and sister, while still staying in their good graces. It was interesting how she had such compassion for Gregory and felt safe with him, yet is not sure about him and his true nature because of her trust issues.I liked getting to know Gregory and how he dealt with his family dynamics. It was nice to see how Yvette's influence on them all improved their own relationships with each other. A lovely Regency romance, as always!

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



Excerpt

Men. They must have been discussing what to do about her situation, yet they all stared at her as if she’d floated down from the ceiling dressed in chicken feathers. Mr. Villers’s mouth even hung open.

“Vite, vite,” Yvette said, coming to join them. “You must be quick. Meredith is with her ladyship, but I will be wanted shortly.”

Mr. Mayes brightened. She’d met the solicitor last month at Foulness Manor, the home of her friend Harry. Of course he would want news of Meredith—unless Yvette missed her guess, he intended to court the lady.

“Miss Thorn is still here?” he asked.

“For the time being,” the earl told him. Then he stepped forward to take Yvette’s hand in his. Such a large hand. Hers disappeared inside it, yet she felt perfectly comfortable.

“Miss de Maupassant,” he said, “Mr. Mayes and Mr. Villers came to let us know they have identified the man pursuing you. You must be brave. It is your cousin.”

The room dimmed. She must have swayed on her feet, for his hand slipped around her waist as if to hold her upright. She clung to his hand, to his warmth. She could not let her fear rule her.

“I should have known Claude would be involved,” she made herself say. “I am only surprised he crossed the Channel himself. Where is he now?”

“We’re not sure,” Mr. Mayes admitted. “One of our best men, Lord Trevithan, nearly caught him in London, but he managed to escape.”

He would, even from the dashing Lord Trevithan, who’d recruited her for a spy. Her cousin was a survivor. So many wrongs could be laid at his door, yet he always escaped capture, like a cockroach scuttling away from the light.

“You’re safe here,” the earl said in his deep voice, hand still holding hers. “He has no idea where you are.”

Yvette shook her head. “He had no idea where I was. Why do you think he allowed you to see him in London? He wanted you to know he was in England. You hurried to tell me, and he will hurry to follow you.”

Mr. Villers straightened, and Mr. Mayes’ handsome face tightened.

“You’re right,” the solicitor said. “We were fools. Carrolton, there’s nothing for it now. We’ll have to find another place for Miss de Maupassant.”

The earl stiffened, but once more the room seemed to darken. Leave Carrolton Park? She had only been here a few days, but she felt as if ribbons bound her to the place.



Check out the other books in the Fortune's Brides series . . .

Book One
Heidi Reads... Never Doubt a Duke by Regina Scott


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

Synopsis

After spending the last ten years following her late husband on campaign, the irrepressible Jane Kimball finds herself badly in need of a position to support herself. Marriage holds no appeal; she’s not likely to find a husband like her Jimmy again. But when Miss Thorn of the Fortune Employment Agency offers her a post with the Duke of Wey, Jane feels drawn to help the lonely widower with his three daughters. He may seem a bit aloof, but Miss Thorn’s cat Fortune approved of him. Why should Jane doubt a duke?

Alaric, Duke of Wey, commands his staff, his tenants, and the halls of Parliament, managing vast holdings in England and across the seas. Why is it he cannot manage his own daughters? As an old danger rears its head, he comes to rely on Jane’s practical nature, her outspoken ways to navigate the waters of fatherhood. And when necessity dictates he take a wife, thoughts turn to an unlikely governess who might make the perfect bride.

Book Two
https://amzn.to/2KCUhvz


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Synopsis

After caring for a crotchety countess, Patience Ramsey wants a more purposeful position. So, when Miss Thorn of the Fortune Employment Agency offers her the post of assistant to amateur apothecary Augusta Orwell, Patience jumps at the chance. Then her new employer introduces her at an Easter house party as the bride-to-be of her nephew Sir Harold Orwell. Miss Thorn’s cat Fortune may approve of Sir Harry, but Patience has no interest in borrowing the handsome baronet. She’s had her heart trampled on by false promises before.

Sir Harry has enough on his hands trying to restore the family name while spying for the English against the French. But the pretty Patience could cover for him when he must ply his trade during the house party, so he convinces her to agree to the charade. As Harry’s work brings danger closer, he begins to realize Patience embodies everything he could want in a wife. Can he convince her to overlook the scandals surrounding him and exchange their false engagement for a true love?


Book Four

Releasing November 2018!

http://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

Lydia Villers is determined to leave behind her life as a social butterfly and do what she's always dreamed of doing--pursue a career in science. A shame the only scientist willing to assist her is the one man she had once hoped to wed. Frederick, Viscount Worthington, Worth to his friends, has been betrayed once too often. How can he believe Lydia's intentions are true? With the help of Miss Thorn and her beloved cat Fortune, a determined young lady and a jaded lord might just discover that only together do they make the perfect chemistry.

Review: Just a Name by Becky Monson


Heidi Reads... Just a Name by Becky Monson

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

If there’s one thing Holly Murphy loves, it’s a solid plan. She has her entire life figured out—or so she thinks. But when life pulls the rug out from under her, she’s left to deal with a canceled wedding—hers, to be precise. And the promotion she’s worked toward for years is now in jeopardy because the team she supervises doesn’t like her management style.

Thinking that Holly is too tightly wound and needs a break from everything, her boss demands she take a vacation. But how can she take a vacation when her promotion is on the line? Trying to help out, her best friend, Quinn, suggests she still go on her honeymoon and conduct a nationwide search to find a man with the same name as her ex-fiancé to use his plane ticket. Leaving Holly to wonder if she’s the only sane person left on the planet.

Yet when her boss gets wind of the idea and loves it, Holly finds herself in a corner she can’t get out of. And when handsome Nate Jones from Newport Beach gets picked to go with her, she wonders if this whole thing won’t be so bad after all.

Can Holly learn to let go? Or will this crazy adventure send her running right back to her safety net?


My Review

What a fun book! Holly is flawed in ways I can't quite understand, not being a workaholic myself ;) The author did a great job of getting me in her head and even though I thought she was more than a little crazy for not wanting to take time off from her frustrating work situation to travel *to Europe*, I liked when she started to listen to her friends and stretched outside her comfort zone. She learned some invaluable life lessons and I enjoyed seeing her progress on her journey. There's a great balance of humor, angst, and romance. My favorite parts were with her ex-fiancee's best friend who obviously has an unrequited thing for her that she is oblivious to. I loved how patient he is with her and has to start from scratch to build a new friendship with her. Such great romantic tension! Perfect for fans of contemporary romance of the chick-lit-with-depth variety :)

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


Friday, October 26, 2018

Review & Giveaway: A Christmas Courting by Jennifer Moore, Chalon Linton, Jen Geigle Johnson, Heidi Kimball



Heidi Reads... A Christmas Courting by Jennifer Moore, Chalon Linton, Jen Geigle Johnson, Heidi Kimball

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttps://deseretbook.com/p/christmas-courting?variant_id=169590-paperbackhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

This holiday season fall in love, with heartwarming tales of Christmases past in A Christmas Courting, an enchanting collection of Regency romances.
 

Love and Joy Come to You by Jennifer Moore
Lord Covington has planned a quiet holiday with his grieving mother but finds his plans rudely disrupted when lovely Cassie Weatherby and her young siblings are invited for Christmas. Despite his reservations, however, he begins to recognize in Cassie a kindred spirit.
 

A Christmas Courting by Chalon Linton
When obligations keep her in London, Keturah Hensley sadly anticipates missing the festivity of Christmas at her family's country home and the company of her best friend, Christopher Shepherd. When she learns that Christopher will be joining her family in London for Christmas, she is delighted--but her elation is short-lived. Christopher is coming to Town to court the woman of his dreams, and Keturah fears she may have lost the chance to win his love.
 

Mistletoe Memories by Jen Geigle Johnson
From childhood, Patrick, Duke of Montrose, knew he'd found his perfect match in Lady Alice Tarrington. When he's sent on a grand tour, Patrick is confident he'll marry his sweetheart upon his return. But when he receives word that Alice is to marry another, will he be too late to claim her heart?
 

Second-Chance Christmas by Heidi Kimball
Francie and Gerard have been friends since childhood, but their friendship ended when she declined his heartfelt proposal of marriage. However, when her interactions with Gerard's holiday houseguests provoke in Francie unexpected jealousy, she realizes she must fight for Gerard's affections or risk losing him forever.


My Review

This is a lovely collection of holiday Regency novellas! It definitely put me in the holiday spirit, and it was fascinating to learn some of the traditions of the era for celebrating Christmas. There's something special and even magical about the Christmas season and I think it enhances the connections and emotions of the characters. The romance in each story is sweet and even though the couples had various obstacles to overcome (some with excessive angst), the happy endings left me with a smile on my face. I'm a fan of Jennifer Moore and Chalon Linton, and was excited to read two new-to-me authors. I'm looking forward to reading more of their other books.