Showing posts with label Carla Kelly. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Carla Kelly. Show all posts

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Favorite Books of 2017: Novellas and Collections


You all know how much I love novellas, so of course I had to share my favorites that must not be missed! Here are my top 10 novellas and collections that I rated 5 stars in 2017. (The last book isn't technically a novella but it is the compilation of the novel and novella in hardback... aaaaaand it's my favorite book of all time- Merry Christmas to me!)




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

Love, love, love this series! I read one right after the other and then re-read my favorite parts from all three again when I was done. In all the books, there are deep emotions simmering beneath the surface in the characters, brought to light by the highly dangerous circumstances they find themselves in, resulting in explosive sparks! There is a blend of vulnerability and strength that is appealing. I think we all feel flawed and vulnerable in some way, but want to believe that we will have the strength to not only persevere but succeed when trials come. I kept reliving the stories of all three books in my mind for days afterward.



Heidi Reads... Valentine's Day Collection (Timeless Romance Anthology) by Janette Rallison, Heather B. Moore, Jenny Proctor, Annette Lyon, Heather Tullis, Sarah M. Eden

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

After reading some deep historical novels, this novella collection of light contemporary romances was just what I needed! It made me smile, giggle, and get swoony (I've recently decided this is the best way to describe that butterflies/toe curling feeling when the romantic moments are really touching). I'm always impressed that the stories in the Timeless Romance Anthologies are so creative and varied. Here's what I thought of my favorites in the Valentine's Day Collection...

A BRUSH WITH THE LAW by Janette Rallison
So. Funny. This is the one that made me giggle and think, "Girl, what are you thinking?!" Bethany has a great sense of humor to deal with the mishaps that keep her in the sights of a local policeman.

EVERY OCCASION by Heather B. Moore 
The chemistry is hot in this one! Maurie has a good perspective on life and her dysfunctional childhood, but that doesn't make returning home less painful. Grant was the one light in her youth but he has a confession of his own to make... great tension and backstories to make the characters vulnerable with each other.

HOLD YOUR BREATH by Jenny Proctor 
I haven't read anything by Jenny Proctor before but this definitely won't be the last! I loved the determination of Kayla to stick to her plan of no dating while training for the Olympics, and Nate's equal resolve to not let her get away. They had fantastic chemistry and charming banter.

HEY, HELEN! by Sarah M. Eden   
One of my favorites of the collection, the secret love angle was so romantic and it was perfectly balanced with humor from Helen's column and compassion as she helps Neil take a difficult stand with some family issues. A strong story to end the anthology with, I finished with a big sigh of satisfaction :)



Heidi Reads... A Holiday in Bath by Julie Daines, Caroline Warfield, Jaima Fixsen

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

I loved this novella collection! Each story was set in Bath, England during the Regency era, and it was so fun to learn historical details about that location. The first story by Julie Daines was full of drama, intrigue, and emotional turmoil (without being melodramatic). The friendship and affection that develop between the vulnerable Marianne and protective Mr. Northam balances out the darker parts of the story, and I loved how everything wrapped up. The second story by Caroline Warfield was a delight, and since I haven't read anything by this author before I'm looking forward to seeking out her other books. Lucy's sweet and compassionate nature make her a perfect match for the charming Edmund who is looking to turn his life in a direction different from his parents' expectations. The last story by Jaima Fixsen has plenty of kissing as the title implies, and while I liked the characters, their relationship seemed too based on physical attraction. It was still a fun story and finished the collection off nicely.



Heidi Reads... My Dearest Love by Sarah M. Eden

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

What a sweet love story! I fell in love with the O'Connor family living in the tenements of New York City. Instead of allowing the harsh circumstances pull them apart, their bond keeps them strong and supportive of each other. Ian is a man confident in his skills, yet adorable with his uncertainty and vulnerability when it comes to a certain lass. Biddy is completely alone but her mother's words to keep making the best of things helps motivate her to work hard in the loud factory. This is my favorite kind of romance, where we get to see the two develop a friendship that progresses into love. Ian's brothers Patrick and Tavish have great personalities and I hope we get to read more about them in the future. The ending is bittersweet which brought out more emotion and curiosity about where the family's journey will take them.



Heidi Reads... Falling for a Duke (Timeless Regency Collection) by Rebecca Connolly, Nichole Van, Janelle Daniels

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

Such a great collection! Each story captured my interest and held it with interesting characters, unique plots, and great settings. I especially loved the creative way the author incorporated the past with the present in VINGT-ET-UN | TWENTY-ONE. The story starts with Eliza and Liam resenting each other, but as we learn of their former friendship layer by layer and see them come together again in spite of the obstacles, the emotions heighten and I could not stop reading! I KISSED A DUKE was pretty fun and I liked seeing Madeline learn to stand on her own in a demanding and unforgiving society. ON THE DUKE’S ERRAND had an amazing setting in Scotland and it was interesting to learn about the conflicts there and how David did his best to get to know the people and their circumstances. He and Ceana had great chemistry and worked together well with his charm and her fiery personality.



Heidi Reads... The Heart Only Grows by Michele Paige Holmes

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

Be still my heart! How I loved this sweet story of two orphans that brought together two lonely people to form a family. I've always been fascinated by the history of the orphan train, and since we have adopted our two daughters, it's a topic that is close to my heart. I love characters like Addie, she is a woman who has suffered hardship, but it has made her more compassionate and an advocate for the orphans. Miles' sorrow is understandable, and I loved how Addie accepted what he was able to offer- and not offer- with gratitude. I also loved that he was quick to look beyond himself to the family now in his care and couldn't help but respond. A wonderful novella with characters that are easy to connect to, great pacing, and a full story arc- just the kind of reading that makes me cozy up and sigh with happiness :)



Heidi Reads... Christmas Grace by Jennifer Moore, Krista Lynn Jensen, Chalon Linton, Anita Stansfield

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttps://deseretbook.com/p/christmas-grace-5191770?autocomplete=true&variant_id=157250-ebookhttp://www.goodreads.com

I absolutely loved this collection of heartfelt holiday stories set in Regency England! Each one had a perfectly sweet romance full of the hesitation and anticipation of unexpected love. I felt like it was easy to get to know the characters quickly and connect with them and whatever their struggle or heartache was. I loved watching the happy endings unfold for each of the couples in the stories and I loved the cozy feeling that the snowy Christmas setting brought. I honestly couldn't pick a favorite because I loved them all so well- that must be a good sign :)



Heidi Reads... A Season of Love by Carla Kelly

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

The writing of Carla Kelly is so refreshing, I always look forward to reading a story by her. And this one has five stories! The characters are ones that are easy to like, and I quickly connected with them and their feelings through the various struggles or trials they are enduring. I appreciate that they are strong people with admirable traits, and most of the conflict comes from exterior sources. Overall the stories are sweet, but they still contain the author's trademark grittiness and realistic world view including the lower classes of British society. I also love the wry humor that subtly brings a lighter note to the narrative without diminishing the emotions and deeper themes.



 Heidi Reads... Happily Ever After: Six Fairy Tale Romances (A Timeless Romance Anthology) by Jessica Day George, Julie Wright, Sarah M. Eden, Julie Daines, Heather B. Moore, Annette Lyon

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

I absolutely love a good fairy tale retelling, and this collection is full of them! Every one of the stories is creative while still being recognizable. The authors did a wonderful job of pulling me into the story quickly and keeping me guessing as to how things would resolve. I thoroughly enjoyed all the stories, but my favorites were The Miller's Daughter (based on Rumpelstiltskin), Black Fern (based on Beauty and the Beast), and Scarlet (based on Little Red Riding Hood). Something about the relationships in those particular stories resonated with me, the settings were easy to envision, and the tension or anticipation was palpable.




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

As much as I adore my well-read paperback version of Edenbrooke and it's lovely cover, this gorgeous hardcover comes with the companion novella Heir to Edenbrooke.

Edenbrooke:
Words cannot express how much I adore this book. It's always the first book I recommend! I totally relate to Marianne, her insecurities and strengths, and Phillip is the perfect hero in my mind. The romantic tension is Off. The. Hook. I literally can't count how many times I've read it (especially my favorite parts).

Heir to Edenbrooke:
I absolutely adore Edenbrooke, and to have a novella from the hero's perspective is a dream come true :) I loved the insights it gives into Phillip's life before he meets Marianne, and it helped me more understand him and his actions in Edenbrooke. Of course I wish there was more of him and Marianne together from his point of view, but I think it's pretty perfect for what it is. My imagination can fill in the rest ;)



Do you enjoy reading novellas? 
What are some of your favorites?


Friday, November 3, 2017

Review: A Season of Love by Carla Kelly



Heidi Reads... A Season of Love by Carla Kelly

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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

Synopsis

At Christmastime, love is just a wish away! Join master romance writer Carla Kelly in this joyful celebration of the most wonderful time of the year. Set in regency England, these Christmas tales will take you from dangerous adventures on snowy roads to cozy little cottages, filled with holiday mischief. Five fun stories in one book!

My Review

The writing of Carla Kelly is so refreshing, I always look forward to reading a story by her. And this one has five stories! The characters are ones that are easy to like, and I quickly connected with them and their feelings through the various struggles or trials they are enduring. I appreciate that they are strong people with admirable traits, and most of the conflict comes from exterior sources. Overall the stories are sweet, but they still contain the author's trademark grittiness and realistic world view including the lower classes of British society. I also love the wry humor that subtly brings a lighter note to the narrative without diminishing the emotions and deeper themes. This is a holiday collection that is at the top of my recommendation list this year! Fans of Regency and historical romance won't want to miss it!!!

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