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

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Review: Light My Fire by Susan May Warren


Heidi Reads... Light My Fire by Susan May Warren

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

Former bad-boy Tucker Newman has learned his lesson—as the temporary team leader of the Jude County Smokejumpers, he’s all about following the rules to keep his team safe. Especially when he has to partner with a group of local low-security prisoners to knock down the raging fire. But the prisoners are not who they seem, and when they stage a break, kidnapping one of his teammates, he’ll have to break every rule he knows to get her back.

US Marshal Stevie Mills knows that to get the job done, she must work alone. She simply can’t risk another person getting hurt because of her. When she discovers that a wanted fugitive accused of rape and murder has not only been set free to fight the fire—but is now on the lam with a hostage-- the last thing she needs is a zealous smokejumper getting in the way of her pursuit.

Whether they like it or not, Tucker and Stevie must join forces if they hope to save lives, and in the meantime, they just might discover a new definition for the word teamwork, in book 1 of the Summer of the Burning Sky.

My Review

A fast pace and non-stop action made this book one I couldn't put down! I was thrilled when I heard the author is writing more stories about the smokejumpers and hotshots that fight wildfires. Tucker comes from a difficult background, but has learned that following the rules keeps people from getting hurt- most of the time. He feels responsible for those under his leadership, and struggles with his faith when things go south.

Stevie has a past full of regrets that she hasn't forgiven herself for, and thinks those she lives the most and hurt the most can't either. She has a tough exterior and a dogged determination to work hard and get the job done, characteristics that attract Tucker, but it's the vulnerable side that she shares with him that bring them close together.

Mix firefighting with fugitives in the run and it's a recipe for high stakes danger. The escalated tension brings emotions to the surface and as struggles are revealed, Tucker, Stevie, and team member Skye provide much-needed encouragement and support in the midst of their trials. The end of this book provides a great lead-in to the next, and I can't wait to continue the adventure!

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


Monday, June 18, 2018

Review: A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter


Heidi Reads... A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

When Katherine "Kit" FitzGilbert turned her back on London society more than a decade ago, she determined never to set foot in a ballroom again. But when business takes her to London and she's forced to run for her life, she stumbles upon not only a glamorous ballroom but also Graham, Lord Wharton. What should have been a chance encounter becomes much more as Graham embarks on a search for his friend's missing sister and is convinced Kit knows more about the girl than she's telling.

After meeting Graham, Kit finds herself wishing things could have been different for the first time in her life, but what she wants can't matter. Long ago, she dedicated herself to helping women escape the same scorn that drove her from London and raising the innocent children caught in the crossfire. And as much as she desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, revealing the truth isn't worth putting him and everyone she loves in danger.


My Review

My favorite thing about this book is the contrast of personalities between Kit and Graham. They both have so much to learn from each other and both bring a new and fresh perspective to their friendship and relationship. Graham's cheerful and light-hearted nature brings joy to the children and the women who care for them. Kit's mission and purpose shows Graham a serious side to the consequences of society's dictates and he admires her determination to work towards solutions. There is some danger and suspense as long-held secrets come to light, and Kit learns over time to do the right thing and trust God to provide solutions as she turns her cares over to Him. There is conflict that comes between Kit and Graham, but I loved what ultimately brings them together as they continue to pursue ways to help those in need. Loving this new series!!!

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



Don't miss the FREE prequel novella in the Haven Manor series . . .

https://amzn.to/2k9ivCx

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Synopsis

Margaretta Fortescue desperately needs to disappear from London society, and her only hope is to follow the rumors of another young woman who recently made a life for herself away from the glare of society. Her search leads her to the market town of Marlborough where, in spite of her efforts to avoid attention, she can’t seem to elude local solicitor, Nash Banfield.

All Nash wants is a quiet, sedate life—no risks or surprises. When Margaretta, clearly on the run and unwilling to answer questions, interrupts his solitude, his curiosity and his principles won’t let him leave this determined woman without assistance.

But will the truth of what Margaretta is running from be worth finally opening his heart up to a chance at love?



Review: Things I Never Told You by Beth K. Vogt


Heidi Reads... Things I Never Told You by Beth K. Vogt

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

It's been ten years since Payton Thatcher's twin sister died in an accident, leaving the entire family to cope in whatever ways they could. No longer half of a pair, Payton reinvents herself as a partner in a successful party-planning business and is doing just fine--as long as she manages to hold her memories and her family at arm's length.

But with her middle sister Jillian's engagement, Payton's party-planning skills are called into action. Which means working alongside her opinionated oldest sister, Johanna, who always seems ready for a fight. They can only hope that a wedding might be just the occasion to heal the resentment and jealousy that divides them . . . until a frightening diagnosis threatens Jillian's plans and her future. As old wounds are reopened and the family faces the possibility of another tragedy, the Thatchers must decide if they will pull together or be driven further apart.


My Review

This wasn't as difficult of a book to read as I had imagined. It deals with sisters, loss, and grief, but it focuses more on the process of healing that they go through- not only with their grief but also their fractured relationships. There was an underlying sense of change and turning towards something new, even when some of the characters felt helpless or hopeless. Payton had an authentic voice, and her part of the story is told in first person, so I would consider her the main character. We also see some third person point of view from Jillian, the sister diagnosed with cancer, and Zach, the acquaintance from high school that is seeking to make things right with Pepper's death. The journey is heartfelt but never corny or cliche. The dynamics of the sisters' relationship is forefront in the plot as they are brought together and undergo a little pressure cooking from wedding planning, the cancer, memories of Pepper, and the holidays. I appreciated that part of the change in the end involved forgiveness and choices to try harder and allow a new dynamic to form. One of my favorite quotes from the book came from Jillian's thoughts: 

"Could things be changing between her and Johanna and Payton? Shifting so they could have better- more respectful- communication? Learn to accept one another as adults, not just continue to react to each other the way they had growing up?"

Also this from Pepper: "Sometimes you just have to forget all the other stuff and remember we're sisters."

I'm glad that I read this book as it prompted me to examine the relationships I have with my own sisters and think of ways I can be a better sister and friend. And that's what really good books do ;)


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


Review: Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh


Book Two in the Harbor Pointe series

 Heidi Reads... Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

For Quinn Collins, buying the flower shop in downtown Harbor Pointe fulfills a childhood dream, but also gives her the chance to stick it to her mom, who owned the store before skipping town twenty years ago and never looking back. Completing much-needed renovations, however, while also competing for a prestigious flower competition with her mother as the head judge, soon has Quinn in over her head. Not that she'd ever ask for help.

Luckily, she may not need to. Quinn's father and his meddling friends find the perfect solution in notorious Olympic skier Grady Benson, who had only planned on passing through the old-fashioned lakeside town. But when a heated confrontation leads to property damage, helping Quinn as a community-service sentence seems like the quickest way out--and the best way to avoid more negative press.

Quinn finds Grady reckless and entitled; he thinks she's uptight and too regimented. Yet as the two begin to hammer and saw, Quinn sees glimpses of the vulnerability behind the bravado, and Grady learns from her passion and determination, qualities he seems to have lost along the way. But when a well-intentioned omission has devastating consequences, Grady finds himself cast out of town--and Quinn's life--possibly forever. Forced to face the hurt holding her back, Quinn must finally let go or risk missing out on the adventure of a lifetime.


My Review

I love that the characters in this story are honestly and realistically flawed, undergoing a journey of transformation, redemption, and healing. Quinn's love for floral design isn't the only thing motivating her to buy the flower shop and enter the competition. Her unresolved issues with the mother who abandoned her are very much a part of proving herself and hoping to be good enough for her mother to reconnect. I wondered why Quinn didn't just search her mother out, but what she really is looking for is to be wanted.

Grady is kind of a mess, and it took looking beyond his outer rebellious persona to see the trauma, rejection, guilt, and shame that he hides so well. I appreciated the author's style of revealing the deeper layers of each character little by little; it kept me engrossed and curious and continually connecting. Quinn and Grady's interactions are surface level at first, with assumptions made on each side. As they slowly get to know each other better, learn what motivates them, and witness kindness and thoughtfulness, their feeling deepen and their attraction builds on a stronger foundation. They still struggle with letting go and resist the support they have to offer each other at times, but the rocky moments of working things out brought greater value to their relationship. I loved the overall theme of hope and faith that things can get better when we let go and trust God to carry us. There is a strong supporting cast of family and community members that make Harbor Pointe home and I can't wait to read another story set in this tight-knit small town!

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



Don't miss the first book in the Harbor Pointe series . . .

Book One
Heidi Reads... Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh


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

Synopsis

After tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back home--a quaint tourist town full of memories she'd just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on work--something her eclectic family doesn't understand.

Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren't ideal.

Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can't find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he's found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all along--if only she'd just look up.




Thursday, June 14, 2018

Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop!


http://bookhounds.net
 I'm spotlighting the new addition to Dawn Crandall's Everstone Chronicles series, the novella Enchanting Nicholette! Be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom for a print copy of the second book in the series that includes Nicholette's backstory, The Bound Heart. 




My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

In this captivating novella by Dawn Crandall, Nicholette Everstone is already a widow at the age of twenty-two: her husband was murdered on their wedding day. She has just returned to Boston after two years of mourning in Europe. Although her husband was loving, the marriage was an arranged one, and Nicholette would like to wed again--this time for love...and to someone safe

As she acclimates to life in Back Bay again, Nicholette meets someone she can't help but fall for. But when she learns of the danger and sacrifices Cal Hawthorne takes on for the safety of others, will her heart be strong enough to keep her fears of "what if" at bay?


My Review

Fans of The Everstone Chronicles series will absolutely love this addition to the series! Cal Hawthorne and Nicholette Everstone are pleasant and charming together, but Cal has secrets and Nicholette struggles with any sort of danger that puts loved ones at risk. I enjoyed their friendship and loved the chemistry as they are instantly attracted to each other. There is a good pace to the story and it felt longer than a novella with its full plot and character arc.

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


About the Author


Dawn Crandall’s debut Gilded Age Victorian romance, The Hesitant Heiress, was a 2015 ACFW Carol award finalist in the debut category and received the 2015 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the 2015 Write Touch Reader's Choice Award and the 2015 Romancing the Novel Reader's Choice Award. Her follow-up novel, The Bound Heart, received the 2016 Laurel Award from Clash of the Titles. Dawn earned a BA in Christian Education from Taylor University. She’s been balancing books and babies lately as her two sons were both born as the first four books of her Everstone Chronicles series were being released from Whitaker House from 2014 to 2016. Dawn lives with her husband and two young sons on a hobby farm in her hometown in northeast Indiana.

GIVEAWAY




Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Review: More Than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer


Heidi Reads... More Than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

Many consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Orphaned at a young age and possessing a pair of mismatched eyes--one bright blue, the other dark brown--Eva has fought to find her way in a world that constantly rejects her. Yet the support of even one person can help overcome the world's judgments, and Eva has two--Seth and Zach, two former orphans she now counts as brothers.

Seeking justice against the man who stole his birthright and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in 1880s Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his father's death. Only instead of finding a solitary ruthless gambler, he discovers a man not much older than himself with an unusual family. When Zach's sister, Evangeline, insists on dousing Logan with sunshine every time their paths cross, Logan finds his quest completely derailed. Who is truly responsible for his lost legacy, and will restoring the past satisfy if it means forfeiting a future with Evangeline?


My Review

I love when an author can draw me right into the story and setting and make me feel like I'm there! Evie's background as an orphan on the orphan train is tragic, yet she uses her trials to strengthen her faith and stays optimistic. She has such a fun and funny personality, it was a pleasure to read about her mannerisms and special way of warming up even the most recalcitrant cowboy. Her insecurities about her eyes and the way many of the townspeople respond to her difference sharply contrasts with the young woman that Logan gets to know, and he provides encouragement and support. Logan has his own spiritual journey as he struggles with the concepts of justice and vengeance, and his blossoming relationship with Evie. I liked seeing the interactions between Logan and Evie's overprotective brothers and the way they slowly began to trust each other. The discovery of an abused young woman shakes up the plot and adds mystery and danger as Logan and the siblings protect her and themselves against a ruthless and conniving villain. Secrets, family loyalty, and romance all complicate the decisions Logan and Evie have in front of them, and I was completely immersed in the story the whole time. Highly recommend!

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


Review: Waiting For You by Heather B. Moore


Book Four in the Pine Valley series . . .

https://amzn.to/2HXukHm

My rating:5 stars / It was amazing

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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.


My Review

I'm with Gwen- not a fan of the spoiled frat boy type. Thankfully, she's wrong about Seth and gracefully acknowledges her mistake when she realizes that he's sacrificing to make his own way and is generous and compassionate. It was entertaining watching him prove her wrong with incredible patience. They had great chemistry that was fun as well as passionate and I enjoyed their playful moments, especially in the kitchen ;) They each have issues with their parents, and it was interesting to see how they encouraged each other to make amends and develop a stronger relationship with them... even if it came with sacrifice. I love contemporary romance with depth in the characters and themes, and this one fits the bill!

(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


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

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


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

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
  

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

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.