Showing posts with label 5 stars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 5 stars. Show all posts

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Review: The Cost of Betrayal by Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, Lynette Eason


Heidi Reads... The Cost of Betrayal by Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, Lynette Eason

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

In Dee Henderson's novella "Betrayal," Janelle Roberts is freed--thanks to people she doesn't know--after serving six years of a twenty-year sentence for a murder she did not commit. But a murderer is still at large, and Janelle needs to be somewhere safe with someone she can trust. She may not survive another betrayal.

In Dani Pettrey's "Deadly Isle," Tennyson Kent is trapped on the isolated island of her childhood by a storm surge, and she is shocked when the typically idyllic community turns into the hunting grounds of a murderer. Cut off from any help from the mainland, will she and first love Callen Frost be able to identify and stop a killer bent on betrayal before they become the next victims?

In Lynette Eason's "Code of Ethics," trauma surgeon Ruthie St. John saves the life of Detective Isaac Martinez. After a betrayal leads to him getting shot and then attacked while in recovery, Isaac is now a key witness determined to testify. But someone is intent on silencing him--and those around him--forever. Together, Ruthie and Isaac go on the run, desperate to escape the killers hunting him.


My Review

Wow! Each of these stories is amazing, yet so different from each other. I enjoyed them all equally and felt they complemented each other so well. The first story "Betrayal" from Dee Henderson is so fascinating, I loved seeing the process of a cold case break wide open at the hands of a couple of FBI agents who were in the right time at the right place. I thought it was interesting how it switched perspectives to show a broader view of the story. I appreciated that the conclusion was so realistic and didn't take the conventional approach that I expected.

"Deadly Isle" by Dani Pettrey was intense and had great romantic tension! The pace was swift yet the characters felt fully developed as they work to investigate and solve the mystery so tragically close to home. Teni and Callen have a history and the memories that surfaced while they helped each other during the raging storm brought a sense of belonging and relief.

"Code of Ethics" by Lynette Eason also had a fast pace and the sense of working against the clock. I liked that Ruthie was comfortable with law enforcement and their procedures because of her family, even though she is a doctor. There are twists and turns as she and Isaac dodge the killers while searching for the evidence that will prove his suspicions correct. I loved the attraction and bits of romance that were slipped in as Ruthie and Isaac got to know each other while also depending on each other for their lives.

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


Saturday, September 22, 2018

Review & Sweepstakes: The Daily Question for You and Your Child: A Three-Year Spiritual Journal #PRHpartner



Heidi Reads... The Daily Question for You and Your Child: A Three-Year Spiritual Journal

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

A fun, thought-provoking 365-question guided journal and keepsake that sparks daily interaction with your child to create a memory book capturing your child's life, personality, and faith journey.

This interactive prompted journal allows a parent to create a keepsake of three years of their child's life. By answering each of the 365 questions together on the same date each year, readers will get a unique and precious picture into their child's feelings, development, and personality. Some of the questions focus on spirituality and the child's heart, while some are meant to capture their creativity, spirit, and sense of humor. All questions spark conversations and memories that span well beyond the pages of this book.



My Review

What a fun idea to ask your child the same question but with one year spanning each of the responses! And to have a full year of questions to ask- this is a priceless resource for bonding and really getting to know the creative mind of your child. I loved the array of themes for the questions, and can't wait to get started with my daughters. While some questions seem geared towards older kids, with a little explanation or adaptation they would work for younger kids as well. The majority are perfect for all ages. The quality of the book is great, it's a nice hardback with a slot for putting a family photo in the cover, and the pages are a good weight. This is an awesome activity keepsake that would make a thoughtful gift!

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



SWEEPSTAKES

The Daily Question for You and Your Child Sweepstakes!

https://waterbrookmultnomah.com/the-daily-question-for-you-and-your-child-sweepstakes/

Don’t have the journal yet? Here’s a few questions you can choose from!
  • Name someone who makes you smile, and explain why.
  • When do you like to pray?
  • One a five-year mission to colonize Mars, you can bring two things from your room. What are they?
  • Why do you like your friends?
  • Would you rather have the ability to fly or have a pet dinosaur?
  • What age feels really old to you?
  • Are you afraid of bugs, or do you think they’re cool?
HOW TO ENTER: 
  1. Posting a video of your child going through 1-2 questions from the book The Daily Question for You and Your Child on @WaterBrookMultnomah’s Facebook Page as required in the applicable Sweepstakes announcement using the hashtag #DailyQuestionSweepstakes; or
  2. Posting a video to your Twitter account of your child going through 1-2 questions from the book The Daily Question for You and Your Child as required in the applicable Sweepstakes announcement using the hashtag #DailyQuestionSweepstakes; or
  3. Posting a video to your Instagram account of your child going through 1-2 questions from the book The Daily Question for You and Your Child as required in the applicable Sweepstakes announcement using the hashtag #DailyQuestionSweepstakes.
Video posts must be no longer than one minute.

PRIZE PACK:

One (1) Grand Prize Winner(s) will receive the following:
Winner will be chosen at random. See official rules here.






Thursday, September 20, 2018

Review & Giveaway: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Amy Matayo #LWTO


Heidi Reads... Lies We Tell Ourselves by Amy Matayo

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

Presley Waterman is a rescuer: of animals, of businesses, of people. Like the stray cat she's allergic to, but continues to care for. Like her small-town newspaper, a business that’s been dying a slow death for the better part of a decade. And like Micah. Her best friend and the man she has loved since they were kids, back when no one else cared.  

As for him…

Micah Leven loves Presley. She’s the girl who’s always been there to help, the one who knows all the ugly things about him and makes him believe he can be a better man, the one who will never leave because she’s promised over and over. 
But he also loves Mara. 

Mara is his ideal. She’s the dream he conjured up as a boy and never wavered from. She’s beautiful, ambitious, driven, a fellow newscaster at his Atlanta station, and the perfect asset for the life he’s always wanted. Together, they could conquer the world and their respective careers. Even better, with Mara he could prove that he did—in fact—finally amount to something. Maybe then his father would be proud.  

There are just a few things Presley and Micah have both forgotten. One, just because you rescue someone doesn’t mean they’ll love you for it. Two, some dreams disappear when reality wakes you up. Three, the only way to silence lies is to face the truth head-on.

This is the story of the man torn between two existences, the woman who finally took the choice away from him, and what happens when you stop listening to lies once and for all.

Even if the biggest liar is you.



My Review

I was not sure what to expect with this book since the other books I've read from the author have ranged from humorous to raw and gritty, always with a bit of an edge. I'm happy to say that I was sucked in from page one, and a lovely balance was struck between subtle humor, flawed characters with loveable quirks, and a raw vulnerability that brought emotion to the surface, with that trademark edge, of course ;) The manner in which the story is told is creative and unique- the way viewpoints switch, the choice of childhood flashbacks, how the plot twists are revealed, and the longest and best epilogue ever. Seriously, all epilogues may just be ruined for me. (I almost had a heart attack when I swiped to the next page on my Kindle Paperwhite and it said EPILOGUE. Then I glanced down and saw that I was 86% of the way through so there was time for lots more good stuff... unless I was being tricked because there was a crapload of promo stuff at the end... All those thoughts ran through my head in a split second, but I just dove right in and prayed for things to work out! And it was executed excellently; I was filled with anticipation and suspense).

Even though I didn't like the way Micah often treated Presley, it was hard to be mad at him because the author skillfully allows the reader to witness the emotional abuse from his childhood and teenage years, which makes it easier to understand his fears about his relationship with her and why his priorities are so screwed up. Woven in is the foundation of their friendship and the admirable qualities about him that made me not question why Presley loves him or puts up with him. It was also hard to want Presley to do what she needed to do for her own emotional health and sanity, because you don't want anyone to ever leave him again- you know what that would do to him. The dynamics of their friendship were slowly revealed by showing the spectrum of conflict, loyalty, desperation, humor, attraction, angst, and hope. (As a side note, I have to say it was gratifying for therapy and counseling to be portrayed in such a positive and helpful light. Eliminating the stigma will go a long way in more people reaching out for the help that they need and is available). This book is unforgettable with its deep and profound thoughts as Presley and Micah sort through their past, present, and futures to discover what the lies are and how to empower themselves to take hold of the truth. As I finished the book and experienced a satisfying book hangover, thinking about what I just read prompted self-reflection of some of the lies I tell myself and by recognizing them as such, I felt encouraged to take action and not let them hold me back from accomplishing my goals anymore. It actually felt therapeutic and pretty great to have that mental breakthrough with something I've been struggling with.

Highly recommend!!!

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






GIVEAWAY

I loved this book so much I want *everyone* to read it! I'm going to personally buy and give away a Kindle e-book of Lies We Tell Ourselves, just enter in the widget below.




Check out some more amazing books from author Amy Matayo . . . the ones below I have read but she has several more that I'm itching to get to! #mustreadallthebooks


Heidi Reads... The Thirteenth Chance by Amy Matayo


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Synopsis

Baseball star Will Vandergriff knows any number of women who would happily pretend to be his girlfriend. In a last-ditch effort to restore his good standing with his team’s higher-ups, he enlists the help of his neurotic, goody-goody neighbor. Schoolteacher Olivia Pratt might be a bit quirky and a bit of a loner, but she’s a lot more inviting than she knows. Will hopes that bringing her to his next game might revamp his reckless reputation and help get his career back on track. The only problem? The plan works a little too well. Not only do the higher-ups love Olivia, but Will plays his best game yet. Suddenly his losing streak is a thing of the past, and Olivia is his new good-luck charm. Will feels anything but lucky.

After years of keeping the world at bay, Olivia Pratt is pulling off the ultimate performance—not only reluctantly posing as Will’s girlfriend but also insisting that she’s oblivious to his major-league appeal. But she can only lie to herself for so long. Being by Will’s side feels good. Really good. Maybe it’s finally time to make a pitch for everything she really wants—and to find out just how exhilarating love can be.

Heidi Reads... In Tune With Love by Amy Matayo


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Synopsis

April is willing to do anything for her sister’s wedding—until she comes face to face with a guy from her past.

April Quinn is thrilled to be her sister’s maid of honor, until the wedding coordinator quits and the responsibilities get dumped on her. It’s April’s worst nightmare—especially since her sister has more objections and opinions than a lawyer presenting a high-profile court case. When the wedding singer walks out at the last-minute, her sister hires a replacement. When April finds out who the replacement is, she’s ready to call it quits as well.
Because there’s only one person in April’s past that she never wanted to see again, and her sister just handed him a front row seat to the wedding.

Jack Vaughn finally has the career he’s always wanted. After playing in bars and singing in weddings as a struggling musician for half a decade, he’s just released his second album and sales are skyrocketing. But while visiting his parent’s Nashville home the weekend before his first headline tour, he runs into an old friend. When she asks him for a last-minute favor, he can’t bring himself to say no. Even though saying yes means he has to come face to face with April Quinn—the girl who hasn’t spoken to him in years.

And rightly so, since he stole something from her that he’ll never be able to repay.
 

Heidi Reads... The Whys Have It by Amy Matayo


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Synopsis

His music holds the heart of America... but his soul holds a terrible secret.

Chart topping pop musician Cory Minor has it all—fame, money, more women at his disposal than time to spend on them. He’s living the life most American men only dream of. Until an ordinary concert in Springfield threatens to destroy everything he’s worked for. 

As he and his band leave the arena for his next show, Cory’s tour bus crashes into two teenage girls, killing one girl instantly and leaving the other barely clinging to life. Lawsuits are threatened, tabloids are talking, and Cory’s idyllic world falls apart. But what no one knows is that this scene is all too familiar. Because this isn’t the first accident Cory has caused. This isn’t the first time he’s destroyed someone else’s life to save his own. 

It’s just the first time he’s had to face it head on. 

Small town girl Samantha Dalton has no one—no mother, no father, and now no sister. She’s lost everything in a world that celebrates excess. So when Cory Minor shows up at her doorstep offering money and apologies, she turns him away too. You can’t lose what you don’t have, and she can’t take another letdown, especially not from someone who has managed to rip away all she had left. Samantha has been fine on her own for years, she’ll be fine now too. 

At least that’s what she tells herself. 

But Cory won’t leave. He’s persistent in the worst possible way. 

Will Cory’s determination to make things right pay off in the end, or will Sam keep pushing him away until there’s nothing left to fight for? How can two people learn to rely on each other when life keeps hurting them both?




Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Review: Echo Ridge Romance Collection by Lucy McConnell


Heidi Reads... Echo Ridge Romance Collection by Lucy McConnell

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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

Synopsis

Pick up this collection of four sweet contemporary romances based in the small town of Echo Ridge in Upstate New York from award-winning author Lucy McConnell and escape into the fun, flirting, and happy ever afters.


While You Were Skiing

Mia Davis’s new job in guest relations at Ruby Mountain Ski Resort gets complicated when the gorgeous Ryder Montgomery falls off the ski lift, tells everyone they are engaged, and then loses consciousness.
 

Worried about a head injury, Mia plays along, making him lunch, kissing in the front entryway and planning a future together; a future Mia wants with all of her heart.
 

Things become all the more complicated when Ryder’s estranged family gets involved. Caught up in the fantasy and romance, Mia has to tell the truth or risk losing a part of herself and the man she loves forever.

 

Brand New Second Chance
 

With a broken heart and an unsure future, Abigail Martin moves home to Echo Ridge to capture the parts of her teenage years she missed out on because she'd had a steady boyfriend. Kissing a random guy, flirting with strangers, hanging out at Fay's after a football game - all of it. 

Carter Montgomery offers his help, because he's a helpful kind of guy, and she quickly falls for his quiet humor, kindness, and heated kisses. Fearing that she hasn't lived enough of life to settle down, Abigail must decide if she's going to break Carter's heart or give love a new second chance.

 


The Lion, the Witch & the Library
 

Jennifer Solomon's birthday wish is for the one thing she's been too shy to go after: Kirke Staples, Echo Ridge’s resident playwright, an avid mountain biker, and her best friend.
 

Friend, as in don’t kiss, don’t covet, and don’t under any circumstances fall in love with the man.
 

But it’s too late—she’s already fallen in love. Hoping for a birthday kiss that will change everything, she arranges an "accidental" meeting with the handsomest man on the library board. Her carefully laid plans are thrown off track when the beautiful Bay Barington sweeps into town and casts a spell over Kirke. In her efforts to win Kirke’s heart, Jennifer is forced to take a look at her inner self and decide what type of woman she wants to be, a lion or witch.


The Candy Counter Heiress

Someday Reese Gates will own The Candy Counter at Kenworth's Department Store; but someday can't come fast enough when Kenworth's manager threatens to bring in a national candy provider. With her ailing grandmother stressing her parents, Reese secretly takes matters into her own hands hoping to save her family from additional worry and prove herself capable of running the company.
 

Her deception deepens as she ropes the handsome computer guru, Andy Edwards, into helping her expand the business through an online retail site. Reese wanted to shake things up, but she wasn't planning on her heart getting caught in the mix by Andy's stolen kisses. If she can hold it all together until after the Christmas orders are filled, then she can reveal her successful online company to her family and finally act on her feelings for Andy.
 

Unfortunately for Reese, she can't mold life like she can a chocolate Santa. Between a fire in the department store that destroys their stock and Andy discovering her deception, Reese stands to lose everything she's been working for. With a prayer in her heart, she reaches for her own Christmas miracle.

My Review

This is the first time I've read any books from the Echo Ridge series, which I discovered is actually four separate anthologies with stories by several different authors. This collection that I read contains the four stories that were author Lucy McConnell's contribution to the anthologies. They are connected in that the characters are from the same community and know each other as friends or acquaintances, so the stories can be read in any order. (The only exception is that I think While You Were Skiing should be read before Brand New Second Chance, since the male lead in each are brothers and there is a bit of an inside joke from the older brother's story that makes an appearance in the next story. It's explained, but would be more meaningful having read the first story already).

I loved reading each of these novellas. They actually seemed a bit longer than novellas, but are short enough to be read in 1-2 sittings. They each have a full story arc, great characters, and a lovely small town setting in the mountains. The plots were interesting and entertaining, and I loved the sweet romance each couple found. There was enough depth to satisfy me and prevent them from being fluffy or too chick-lit. I connected with the emotions of the characters and it was so great to have one happy ending after another as I read through the collection. I'm looking forward to checking out the stories of the other authors in the Echo Ridge series, and definitely plan to read more from this author!

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


Review: Finding Us by Heather B. Moore


Book Five in the Pine Valley series

Heidi Reads... Finding Us by Heather B. Moore

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

Felicity Miner is not normally an anxious person, and she’s been on her own since high school. But after a shoplifter steals from her bookshop, she calls the cops. When Officer Leo Russo shows up, Felicity has to tell herself that just because the romance novel she’s been reading has a hero police officer doesn’t mean she needs to project her imagination onto the real man. Yes, Officer Russo is unexpectedly generous, and he helps make Felicity’s home more secure when her worries won’t settle down. But the more Felicity is around Officer Russo, the more she imagines a future between them. Is he merely doing his duty, protecting and serving the citizens of Pine Valley, or is there potential for something more?

My Review

The cover of this book may seem unassuming, but it is chock full of memorable characters with quirky and likeable mannerisms and personalities! As much as I enjoyed the other books in the Pine Valley series, I do believe this one is my favorite. Bookstores, bikes, hot chocolate, and autumn! What I loved most about Leo and Felicity is how genuine they are. As themselves, and with each other. They accepted one another for who they are- quirks, flaws, and everything. The flirting and banter was cute without being cheesy or cliche, and so fun to read. Leo and Felicity both have things they are struggling with, and come from very different families. I think that helped them give each other a new perspective when supporting and encouraging through the other's issues. I really connected to their emotions and it brought depth to the story and made the romance one full of anticipation and delight. This is one that I plan to read again for sure! Highly recommend!

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



Don't miss the other books in the Pine Valley series . . .

(They are all stand alone novels and can be read in any order)


Book One
Heidi Reads... Worth the Risk by Heather B. Moore


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Synopsis

When Alicia moves back to Pine Valley to help her mom through a serious addiction, the last person she wants to see is her teenage crush, Jeff Finch, who destroyed their friendship in one single disastrous night. But Alicia is determined to not let anything about Jeff affect her, especially since she hasn’t seen him in ten years. All she knows is that he’s living a successful and charmed life, and she is more than happy to keep anything between them in the past. But when he shows up with a date at the restaurant where she works, Alicia realizes she’s still not over her feelings, and Jeff is definitely looking at her in a way he never has before.

Book Two
Heidi Reads... Where I Belong by Heather B. Moore


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Synopsis

Jane Morris makes a living by cleaning the houses of the wealthy residents of Pine Valley, and she tries hard not to judge their extravagant lifestyles. But when one of her clients goes through a devastating breakup with his fiancĂ©, Jane finds herself in the middle of his emotional mess. She wants to help him, but Cameron Vance is a man she could easily lose her heart to. Jane agrees to be his date to the charity event of the year, organized by Cameron’s mother. But the magical night shows Jane that if she’s a Cinderella, then Cameron is definitely a candidate for Prince Charming.
 
Book Three
Heidi Reads... Say You Love Me by Heather B. Moore
  

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Synopsis

Clara Benson is not looking for a relationship, especially not after her losing her teaching position, followed by a disastrous breakup with her fiancé, and the sudden death of the grandma who raised her. In fact, Clara picks up and moves to escape her mess of memories. She hopes that Pine Valley will be the perfect place to heal from heartache.

When she meets her boss’s lawyer, Dawson Harris, Clara can’t deny her attraction. But she’s determined to choose herself, and her healing, over a guy who might be charming, attractive, and oh, so appealing. Easy, right? But when Dawson becomes the one person who can straighten out her mess, she realizes that finding herself doesn’t have to be mean losing Dawson.

Book Four
https://amzn.to/2HXukHm


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Synopsis

Gwen Robbins loves her job waitressing at the Pine Valley resort restaurant, and as a single woman, she has no trouble turning down any offers of dates from the restaurant patrons. Even when her boss, Seth Owens, shows interest in her, she’s not tempted in the least, no matter how strong their attraction.

But when Seth helps her through a crisis, she begins to see him in a different light. He’s not the rich and privileged business owner she first makes him out to be, but a man who’s making huge sacrifices to follow his own dreams. As Seth encourages Gwen to mend her own divide with her family, she realizes her heart is slowly opening toward a better future.