Showing posts with label Shelley Gray. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shelley Gray. Show all posts

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Review & Giveaway: A Daughter's Dream by Shelly Shepard Gray

Heidi Reads... A Daughter's Dream by Shelly Shepard Gray

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


Rebecca Kinsinger has always dreamed of being a teacher. But when she’s given the opportunity she’s been waiting for at Charm Amish School, she’s dismayed to discover that teaching is hard work—work she’s afraid she’s not very good at.

That is, until Lilly Yoder joins the class. A thirteen-year old who’s just lost her parents, Lilly is in need of someone like Rebecca. For the first time since starting her new job, Rebecca feels a sense of purpose. But when she meets Lilly’s uncle, Jacob, his good looks and sweet, easy-going temperament are hard to ignore. How can she even entertain romantic thoughts of Jacob when his niece is her student?

Suddenly becoming Lily’s sole caregiver, Jacob Yoder never thought he’d be a single parent—or a farmer. Having been living in Florida as a carpenter, Jacob feels more at home wielding a hammer than a backhoe. The only bright spot in his life is Rebecca Kinsinger. As Lily and Rebecca develop a bond, Jacob’s fondness for the pretty teacher grows, too.

But when a fateful accident brings them together, Rebecca and Jacob must choose between duty and desire. Will they follow the path before them? Or set out to find true happiness…and true love?

My Review

I enjoyed this second book in the Charmed Amish Life series. It can be read as a stand alone as an explanation of what happens in the first book is included in the narrative, but I recommend reading A Son's Vow first if you have it so the story isn't spoiled (I rated it 5 stars- it was excellent!). A Daughter's Dream is definitely more laid back than its predecessor. Rebecca's journey along the path of life is one she took willingly, and as she explores other options for her future, she keeps a positive attitude when things don't go as she imagined. Her blossoming friendship and romance with Jacob is so sweet and void of tension, it developed quite naturally with special moments that were a pleasure to read. Lilly is the character that I felt was portrayed with the most angst, yet even her path seemed to smooth out quickly with the support of her family and friendship with Peter. Some of the story is also told from the perspective of Rachel, the schoolteacher, but I didn't feel that it added much to the plot. The themes of healing and seeking God's will for one's life were heartfelt and I loved being back in the Amish community of Charm. Something that stands out to me about this series is the noticeable lack of interaction with church leadership. I don't think it's a bad thing, just very different from other Amish fiction I've read. The characters seem more independent and willing to handle their own problems, and there isn't the feeling of pressure to conform to standards a particular bishop sets. I recommend this series to fans of family sagas and Amish fiction.

(Thank you to Avon Inspire and Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Fabulous e-book sales and a freebie!

Check out these great deals! 

Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund- 5 stars! One of my favorite historical authors!

Take a Chance on Me by Susan May Warren- 5 stars! This is the first book in the Christiansen Family series, one of my favorite contemporary series!

The Chicago World's Fair Mystery series by Shelley Gray- I've only read the last book which was amazing, and I'm so glad to be able to get the first two books at such a steal :)

I recently read A Twist of Faith by Pepper Basham and enjoyed it, 4 stars!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Review: Whispers in the Reading Room by Shelley Gray

Heidi Reads... Whispers in the Reading Room by Shelley Gray

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


Lydia’s job at the library is her world—until a mysterious patron catches her eye... and perhaps her heart.

Just months after the closure of the Chicago World’s Fair, librarian Lydia Bancroft finds herself fascinated by a mysterious dark-haired and dark-eyed patron. He has never given her his name; he actually never speaks to a single person. All she knows about him is that he loves books as much as she does.

Only when he rescues her in the lobby of the Hartman Hotel does she discover that his name is Sebastian Marks. She also discovers that he lives at the top of the prestigious hotel and that most everyone in Chicago is intrigued by him.

Lydia and Sebastian form a fragile friendship, but when she discovers that Mr. Marks isn’t merely a very wealthy gentleman, but also the proprietor of an infamous saloon and gambling club, she is shocked.

Lydia insists on visiting the club one fateful night and suddenly is a suspect to a murder. She must determine who she can trust, who is innocent, and if Sebastian Marks—the man so many people fear—is actually everything her heart believes him to be.

My Review

Loved it! This book is so well-written with it's subtle peeling back of the layers of the plot. There is a sense of mystery from the beginning that kept me fully engaged. The setting is wonderful- I absolutely love libraries! The depiction of Chicago at the turn of the century is also subtle, the author avoids making it a cliche or caricature of the city. Lydia feels that she is plain and on the fringes of society, but accepts who she is as a person and embraces her interests. One of the things that is so appealing about Sebastian as a hero is that he saw beauty in her where others did not. I was enthralled with the contrasts of Lydia and Sebastian's worlds and how they overlap. Themes of self-worth and self-sacrifice are ones found in several characters as they learn to reevaluate their standing in society and see themselves through God's eyes. Highly recommend!

(Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Zondervan Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
About the Author

Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series. Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray), "The Protector," recently made the New York Times best seller list. A native of Texas, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Colorado and taught school for ten years. She and her husband have two children and live in Southern Ohio.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Review & Kindle Fire Giveaway: Among the Fair Magnolias by Tamera Alexander, Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love, Elizabeth Musser

 Heidi Reads... Among the Fair Magnolias by Tamera Alexander, Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love, Elizabeth Musser

My rating:


Four Southern women are at a turning point in history . . . and in their own hearts.

To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander
The Civil War cost Savannah Darby everything—her family and her home. When Aidan Bedford, an attorney from Boston, buys the Darby estate, he hires Savannah to redecorate. Can she find a mysterious treasure before her job is finished?

An Outlaw's Heart by Shelley Gray
When Russell Stark returns to Fort Worth, he’s determined to begin a new life. But when he arrives at his mother’s homestead, he discovers that she is very ill and the woman he loved is still as beautiful and sweet as he remembered. With time running out, Russell must come to terms with both his future and his past.

A Heart So True by Dorothy Love
Abigail knows all too well what is expected of her: to marry her distant cousin Charles and take her place in society. But her heart belongs to another. A terrible incident forces Abby to choose between love and duty.

Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser
Emily has a secret: She's in love with one of the freedmen on her family's plantation. Meanwhile, another man declares his love for her. Emily realizes some things are not as they seem and secrets must be kept in order to keep those she loves safe.

My Review

These four novellas are rich in history and details of Southern life. I felt like I learned several new things with each story. I was especially surprised to learn that during Reconstruction it was the Republican party that advocated for equal rights for black people and the Democrats were murdering, terrorizing, and seeking to prevent the blacks from exercising their freedoms and voting rights, as well as the Republicans that supported them. What a scary time in history. The bravery and courage of those men and women who acted on their beliefs during such violence and danger is inspiring.

Each story has a different setting- a Georgia plantation, a small-town Texas homestead, Nashville slums, and an island for wealthy vacationers. I have a personal preference for characters who experience hardship rather than reading about society's elite, since there is less entitlement and more refining of character. However, the men and women in all the stories seek to overcome hardships and pressures of society to find the path that God would have them follow.

(Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Thomas Nelson Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

Four best-selling novelists bring tales of four Southern women who face near impossible choices on their journeys in life and in love during the most turbulent decade of our nation’s history in Among the Fair MagnoliasDon't miss this collection of stories from Tamera Alexander, Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love, and Elizabeth Musser.

Join the authors in celebrating the release of Among the Fair Magnolias by entering to win their Southern Hearts Kindle Fire Giveaway and RSVPing to their August 13th author chat party!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HD 6
  • One copy of Among the Fair Magnolias
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/13. The winner will be announced at the Among the Fair Magnolias Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Tamera, Dorothy, Shelley, and Elizabeth, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!


RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 13th!