Showing posts with label Julianne Donaldson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Julianne Donaldson. 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

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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

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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

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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

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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.




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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?


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fall Reading Recommendations: Various Genres



I'm so excited for fall! I picked some of my favorite 5-star books that I think are perfect for reading this season. (Check out my Christian Fiction picks here). Today's list has books from clean romance, classics, young adult, and children's. I loved all these books and plan to re-read them (if I haven't already...)

http://amzn.to/2wrTXNG

*currently only $2.99 for Kindle! (Be sure to double check the price)

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

Synopsis

Eleanor de Lacy is forced into an arranged marriage with her father’s greatest enemy, Brac Goch, the Welsh king. All Eleanor knows of Brac is that he is a ruthless, war hungry man.

Eleanor arrives at the Welsh castle of Bryn Du already expecting the worst. When the ghost of Brac Goch’s first wife appears and warns her that the Welsh king is not to be trusted, all of Eleanor’s fears are confirmed.

As the countdown to her wedding day approaches, Eleanor must figure out who is lying, who is telling the truth, who is loyal, and who is the traitor--and most of all, if she can love an enemy king.


http://amzn.to/2xMITee

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

Synopsis

Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never marry. Her plan is to travel to India instead—if only to find peace for her restless spirit and to escape the family she abhors. But Kate’s meddlesome mother has other plans. She makes a bargain with Kate: India, yes, but only after Kate has secured—and rejected—three marriage proposals.

Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore determined to fulfill her end of the bargain and enlists the help of her dearest childhood friend, Henry Delafield. But when it comes to matters of love, bargains are meaningless and plans are changeable. There on the wild lands of Blackmoore, Kate must face the truth that has kept her heart captive. Will the proposal she is determined to reject actually be the one thing that will set her heart free?

Set in Northern England in 1820, Blackmoore is a Regency romance that tells the story of a young woman struggling to learn how to follow her heart. It is Wuthering Heights meets Little Women with a delicious must-read twist.


http://amzn.to/2hdG4rX

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

Synopsis

High in the Transylvanian woods, at the castle Piscul Draculi, live five daughters and their doting father. It's an idyllic life for Jena, the second eldest, who spends her time exploring the mysterious forest with her constant companion, a most unusual frog. But best by far is the castle's hidden portal, known only to the sisters. Every Full Moon, they alone can pass through it into the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom. There they dance through the night with the fey creatures of this magical realm.

But their peace is shattered when Father falls ill and must go to the southern parts to recover, for that is when cousin Cezar arrives. Though he's there to help the girls survive the brutal winter, Jena suspects he has darker motives in store. Meanwhile, Jena's sister has fallen in love with a dangerous creature of the Other Kingdom--an impossible union it's up to Jena to stop.

When Cezar's grip of power begins to tighten, at stake is everything Jena loves: her home, her family, and the Other Kingdom she has come to cherish. To save her world, Jena will be tested in ways she can't imagine--tests of trust, strength, and true love.


http://amzn.to/2wCXUuj

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

Synopsis

There is much want in the kingdom and the tales of Jackaroo, the masked outlaw who helps the poor in times of trouble, are on everyone's lips. Gwyn, the innkeeper's lively daughter, pays little attention to the tales. But when she is stranded during a snowstorm in a cabin with the lordling Gaderian, and finds a strange garment that resembles the costume Jackaroo is said to wear, she begins to wonder....

http://amzn.to/2fwcIFb

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

Synopsis

“This woman was one of the most impudent, scurrilous, wicked creatures of this world; and she did now throughout her whole trial discover herself to be such a one. Yet when she was asked what she had to say for herself, her chief plea was that she had led a most virtuous and holy life.” —Reverend Cotton Mather, 1692

USA Today Bestselling author Heather B. Moore brings the life of her 10th great-grandmother to center stage. Susannah North Martin, accused of witchcraft in 1692, joins five women in the Salem Jail, all sentenced to death for their crimes. Amidst tragedy, Susannah finds hope and compassion as she remembers a well-loved life, and readers discover that love reaches far beyond the grave as Susannah faces the magistrates in Salem.


http://amzn.to/2ylPCZL

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

Synopsis

A MERRY DANCE by Josi S. Kilpack. When Lila overhears her uncle talking about a man coming to look for property in the county, she doesn’t think twice, until her uncle says he hopes Lila will find enough interest to marry the man. How can she marry someone named Mortimer Luthford, not to mention that his advanced age of thirty-three, and especially since she’s already in love with her absent cousin Neville? But when Mortimer arrives, Lila has to try every trick known to women to act not interested in the rather fascinating man, which proves a very difficult fa├žade to maintain.

UNMASKING THE DUKE by Donna Hatch. The last thing Hannah Palmer wants to do is flirt with men in a crowded ballroom, but when her sister throws a Masquerade Ball, Hannah can’t say no to the invitation and takes comfort behind a mask. She dances with a charming masked man, matching him wit for wit. When the glorious evening culminates in a kiss, and the two remove their masks, Hannah is horrified to discover the man she’s been flirting with all night is her most despised neighbor, the Duke of Suttenberg. No matter how charming the duke was at the ball, and how wonderful the kiss, he is the last man she’d ever accept.

WHAT’S IN A NAME by Nancy Campbell Allen. Penelope Timely has a terrible secret. She’s been writing letters to the Duke of Wilmington, pretending to be her ever-proper twin sister, Persephone. Now, the duke has written that he’ll be coming for the Autumn Masquerade Ball and Festival. Penelope will have to continue the charade while the duke is in town in order to protect her sister. The Duke of Wilmington isn’t fooled for a moment, but instead of confessing that he knows about the deception, he finds himself utterly charmed by Penelope and jumps into the game of deception to see how far the twin sisters will take it.


http://amzn.to/2xiqm8t

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

Synopsis

For Kate Porter in 1880s Canada, working as a governess is simply a means to an end, and she aspires to a high-society future that will lift her out of her middle-class existence. When she accepts a new position as tutor to Alonzo Colaco's children, she sees it as a step in the direction of her dreams. She eagerly envisions a grand house awaiting her...but when her new employer meets her at the train station driving a gaily painted gypsy wagon, Kate suspects her new job will not be all she anticipated.

Kate finds herself living in the woods in a refitted train car as she teaches the charming children of Alonzo, a tinker by trade. After trying in vain to secure another job, Kate is left with little choice. She must simply bide her time until a better position comes along. Soon, however, she abandons her preconceptions along with her bustle in favor of the joys of a simple life---and the possibility of true love. But when opportunity knocks, will Kate really be ready to walk away from all she has come to care about to pursue her high-society dreams?


http://amzn.to/2ws3jsQ

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

Synopsis


Shy Adelle Hansen hears demons, but she’s determined to make friends at her new high school by keeping her ability secret.

When she overhears supernatural voices celebrating the impending death of the school quarterback, Levi Anderson, she knows she has to do something to prevent it. However, the demons aren’t the ones plotting; they’re just celebrating the chaos, and Adelle must contend with earthly forces as well if she wants to preserve Levi’s life.

Handsome, popular Levi doesn't appreciate Adelle’s self-appointed role of guardian angel. As Adelle battles to keep him safe, she’ll have to protect her heart, too. Can she do both?


http://amzn.to/2xdANZ7

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

Synopsis

The Harvester is set in Gene Stratton Porter's Limberlost Swamp series. David Langston lives a simple life harvesting medicinal herbs to sell in the city. He believes that he has all that he needs in life, that is until he meets Ruth and everything changes. A gentle love story that changes everyone who reads it.

http://amzn.to/2wrYBLK

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

Synopsis

Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved home on the island of Barbados and join a family she has never met. Torn between her quest for belonging and her desire to be true to herself, Kit struggles to survive in a hostile place. Just when it seems she must give up, she finds a kindred spirit. But Kit’s friendship with Hannah Tupper, believed by the colonists to be a witch, proves more taboo than she could have imagined and ultimately forces Kit to choose between her heart and her duty.

Elizabeth George Speare won the 1959 Newbery Medal for this portrayal of a heroine whom readers will admire for her unwavering sense of truth as well as her infinite capacity to love.


http://amzn.to/2fg1ZBR

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

Synopsis

Children will delight in following the black cat's progress through the dark wood, into the dark house, and eventually to the surprise discovery at the back of the toy cupboard, in this mysterious, beautifully illustrated picture book.

http://amzn.to/2wCwy7I

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

Synopsis

The plan was to serve a mission, marry her boyfriend, and live happily ever after. But all of that changed when Quinn got a Dear Jane email. Now she's stuck at home with no boyfriend, no job, no major, and absolutely no social life. Will Quinn ever find the path that leads to her eternal happiness?