Showing posts with label reading challenge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reading challenge. Show all posts

Thursday, January 2, 2020

2020 Reading Challenge Selections!

Okay, disclaimer- I haven't had much luck with the year-long challenges I've done in the past, I think because I had picked books I thought I should want to read, but didn't actually want to read when it came down to it. I came across this reading challenge at KJ's Book Nook and liked the categories, so I'm giving it another try, but this time I stayed inside my comfort zone... for the most part ;)

KJ's Book Nook 2020 Reading Challenge

A book you meant to read in 2019
Among Sand and Sunrise by Stacy Henrie
A book that won an award in 2019
 Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse

A book published in 2020 
An Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz
A book you haven't read by an author you love
Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay
A book by a new to you author
The Friend Zone by Sariah Wilson

A book with 400 pages or more
An Amish Picnic: Four Stories 

by Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, Kathleen Fuller, Vannetta Chapman
A book with 200 pages or less
A Bear's Bride by Shari L. Tapscott
A book with a beautiful cover
Rakes and Roses by Josi S. Kilpack

A book you've read but haven't reviewed
Jane by the Book by Pepper Basham

A book set in a country you want to visit
Promised by Leah Garriott

A book with the letter "W" in the title
Freedom in the Mountain Wind by Misty M. Beller

A book with recipes inside
A Table by the Window by Hillary Manton Lodge

A book you got for free
 On Wings of Devotion by Roseanna M. White
A book that cost you more than $5
 Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, Elyse Resch

A book published in your birthday month
Can't Help Falling by Kara Isaac

A book with a three word title
 The Innkeeper's Bride by Kathleen Fuller

A book that's been on your TBR list for 2+ years
Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund

A book you love that never fails to make you smile
Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

A book WITHOUT people on the cover
Lake Season by Denise Hunter

A book by an author's pen name
Rebound by Sophia Summers

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

#TFBRC One Word Title

Heidi Reads... Willowkeep by Julie Daines

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


Charlotte Darby’s ship is sinking. Penniless and alone, she is struggling to care for herself and her young sister in the harsh seaport town of Kingston upon Hull. When a solicitor from London brings news that she is the heir to a vast estate in Kent, it seems her days of rough seas are over. Willowkeep is prosperous and grand, far too much for a shipping merchant’s daughter to manage, and she quickly comes to rely on the help of Henry Morland, the estate’s kind and handsome steward.

Henry has worked hard his entire life, but all the money he’s saved won’t be enough to get his father out of debtor’s prison. Henry’s fondness for Charlotte and her sister is only another reminder of his low status and lack of money. Though he is willing to do whatever it takes to keep Charlotte happy and looked after, as the county’s wealthiest lady, she can never be his.

Courted by a charming man of the ton, threatened by those desperate to get their hands on her money, and determined to keep her sister safe from the same fate that cost her the rest of her family, Charlotte turns to the ghost of the beheaded queen, Anne Boleyn, for help. But no matter the size of the fortune, life—and love—are never smooth sailing.

My Review

I've been on a Regency kick lately and Willowkeep totally satisfied as another great reading experience. It really stood out with the main character Charlotte being raised in a fishing village as a commoner, and the author did an excellent job portraying the difference in her upbringing, especially through her speech and expressions. Another unique aspect of the story is her care for her younger sister who has developmental disabilities. Her loyalty and compassion shine through her protectiveness of Susie. Henry's easy acceptance of both girls, but especially Susie, make him a trusted friend of Charlotte's and a source of comfort and strength in her new home and world where society can be difficult and judgemental. Charlotte's thoughts about Anne Boleyn brought a historical perspective to the story which was fascinating, usually any references to the history of the time in similar books are limited to the Napoleonic War or the current royal family. For Charlotte to feel a connection to a historical figure from before her time was fascinating. I loved Charlotte's journey from a life of physical harshness and desperation to a more emotionally and mentally trying environment. Henry identifies her as anomalous, but in a more positive way than her aunt; he finds her to be exceptional while others see her as irregular. Even with his own set of personal problems, his dedication to Charlotte and Susie's well-being is endearing and I couldn't help but wish for a happy ending for them both. I highly recommend Willowkeep to fans of Julie Klassen and Sarah  E. Ladd.

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

Monday, November 26, 2018

#TFBRC Novella

I absolutely love novella collections!!! One of my favorites to re-read is A Match Made in Texas. Three of the stories are by some of my favorite Christian fiction authors, and if you buy the novella e-books individually they are only $1.99! (I included the links to the individual novellas in the synopsis). An Unforeseen Match by Regina Jennings has one of my most favorite first kiss scenes ever!

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


In the small town of Dry Gulch, Texas, a good-hearted busybody just can't keep herself from surreptitiously trying to match up women in dire straits with men of good character she hopes can help them. How is she to know she's also giving each couple a little nudge toward love?

A Cowboy Unmatched
Neill isn't sure who hired him to repair Clara's roof--he only knows Clara desperately needs his help. Can he convince this stubborn widow to let down her guard and take another chance on love?

An Unforeseen Match
Hoping to earn an honest wage on his way to the land rush, Clayton ends up on Grace's doorstep, lured by a classified ad. He may have signed on for more than he expected though--and he may have found the one woman who can keep him from moving on.

No Match for Love
Andrew can't fathom how refined Lucy ended up as the caretaker to his dotty aunt, and somehow her arrival has prompted even more bizarre occurrences around the ranch. When they join forces to unearth the truth, will the attraction between Andrew and Lucy develop into more?

Meeting Her Match
When the tables are turned and a tenderhearted meddler becomes the beneficiary of a matchmaking scheme, her world is turned upside down. As her entire life changes, will she finally be able to tell the banker's son how much she cares for him?

My Review

I loved the first story by Karen Witemeyer! I was anxious read about Neill Archer, the youngest brother from her book Short-Straw Bride (which was wonderful). A sweet relationship developed quickly between Neill and the strong Clara, and the action from the plot was non-stop. There was a nice balance between moments of character development and romance, and the excitement really moved the story forward.

The second story by Regina Jennings turned out to be my favorite. The unusual premise was so interesting and the main characters so vivid. Again, several sweet moments between them as their relationship developed, and the personality clashes kept things lively. Great romantic tension and chemistry!

The third story by Carol Cox was okay, but the characters were not developed enough for me to feel an emotional connection to their story. There didn't seem to be any reason for the main characters to fall in love other than that they were there and convenient. The attraction was stated, and then all the focus was on the mystery. A three star rating for me on this one, but the other stories were strong enough to carry the five star overall rating.

The last by Mary Connealy was a story of unrequited love full of emotion and tempered with a huge dose of humor, as usual. It was fun to read the story of the matchmaker and how the town conspired to make her match.

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

Friday, November 23, 2018

#TFBRC Black & White

Wow, there really aren't many covers in black and white out there! Luckily I found one on my Goodreads 5 star ratings list, a sweet novella that is only 99 cents! Reading my review below made me want to read the story again, and I hope you will want to also ;)

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


1907, England
Lucien Baxter’s best and most incorrigible friend, Will, dies unexpectedly, leaving behind his new bride and unborn child the week before Christmas. Will’s last request is that Lucien watch over Cora, not just as a benefactor, but as a husband. When Lucien does his duty and proposes to Cora, he’s turned down flat. Over the course of the next twelve months, Lucien discovers that marrying Cora wouldn’t be any sort of duty after all, but a matter of following his heart.

*Note for readers: A YEAR OF LOVE was previously published in A Timeless Romance Anthology: Silver Bells Collection, as TWELVE MONTHS.

My Review

This is a perfect example of a novella that quickly draws the reader in, makes it easy to connect emotionally with the characters, builds the anticipation of what will happen next, and offers toe-curling romance with a satisfying resolution. I loved how Lucien supports Cora during her first days of mourning, and that she lets him and draws strength from him. Even though Lucien was good friends with Will, he is different from Will in all the right ways, and a true friendship naturally blossoms as he and Cora are genuine with each other. This is a story that put a smile of my face as I read and finished it :)

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

Thursday, November 22, 2018

#TFBRC Grateful

The type of story the prompt "Grateful" made me think of is second-chance love. Love in the Details by Becky Wade is the "Year of Weddings" novella set in November *and* a second chance love story, so it was perfect for my pick for today! The e-book is only $1.49, so if you haven't read it yet, get yourself a little reading treat ;)

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


She left him to save his future, but they’ve never gotten over each other.

When Josh returns to his hometown of Martinsburg, Texas, to help his best friend get married, he didn’t intend to run into church wedding coordinator—and ex-girlfriend—Holly. He can’t help but pine after the girl he never got over.

Holly broke up with Josh years ago in an attempt to ensure his future success. But she loved him then and still loves him now. As she helps him plan his best friend’s wedding, she can’t help but feel horrible for the pain she caused him. And even though she longs to be with Josh, she doesn’t feel worthy of his big-time lifestyle when she is more comfortable in her small town world. Will Josh and Holly be able to keep things as they are when their true feelings threaten to surface at every turn?

My Review

There's something about a hero longing for the woman he's always loved but could never have that gets me every time! Josh wasn't planning to pursue Holly but after their first encounter since years of separation he just can't help himself. The clincher is that Holly never wanted to lose him but outside forces compelled her to set him free- against both their wills, and she didn't tell him why- which seriously ups the angst factor. I love how Josh conspires to spend more time with Holly and they fall back into their friendship and banter despite the palpable undercurrents of attraction and yearning. The novella is definitely character focused and was such a pleasure to read!

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