Showing posts with label review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Review: Never Vie for a Viscount by Regina Scott


Heidi Reads... Never Vie for a Viscount by Regina Scott

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

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Synopsis

The perky Lydia Villers is determined to leave behind her life as a social butterfly and do what she’s always dreamed of doing, pursue a career in natural philosophy. A shame the only scientist available to assist her is the one man she had once hoped to wed.

The brilliant Frederick, Viscount Worthington, Worth to his friends, has been betrayed too many times, including by the bubbly beauty who now wants to work at his side. How can he believe Lydia’s intentions are true this time? After all, someone is intent of sabotaging his efforts to create the perfect hot air balloon. But with the help of Miss Thorn and her beloved cat Fortune, the enthusiastic young lady and the wary lord might just discover that only together do they make the perfect chemistry.


My Review

I enjoyed getting to know Lydia better and how her curious mind works. The world of inventors and scientists during this era was fascinating and I found the procedures for testing the materials enlightening. There was a big focus on the work of creating and testing the hot air balloon and the challenges involved, which was great, but I felt like it detracted a bit from the development of the romantic relationship between Lydia and Worth. There is some conflict and scandal with a rival scientist and some suspense with the sabotage that brought excitement to the story. To fully understand Lydia's relationship with her brother and friends that are either mentioned or make an appearance, I recommend reading the previous books in the series. The author includes some backstory but I think this is a series best read in order. I like the writing style and unique plots she comes up with! Looking forward to the next book and also seeing if secondary characters Miss Thorn and Julian will finally get together!

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

Excerpt

Lydia was the picture of domesticity. Scarlet fabric flowed across her lap to pool on the floor on either side of the spindle-backed chair. Head bowed so the glow from the lamp on the table beside her glinted on pale curls, she took careful, even stitches. Something inside Worth unfurled, warmed, as if he’d come to the hearth after a long time in the snow.

She inserted her needle in the pin cushion on the table, smoothed her hands over the fabric, picked it up, and …

RIP!

He took a step back, and she must have noticed the movement, for she glanced up with her usual sweet smile.

“Experiment number twelve,” she announced.

He ventured into the room, feeling as if the walls leaned too near on either side. Now that he looked closer, he could see any number of holes in the fabric, thread hanging.

“Unsuccessful?” he asked.

“I suspect it depends on your measure of success,” she said, voice cheerful. “Miss Pankhurst advised me to attempt a stronger bond between two panels. I have attempted several lengths of stitches and now width, as in rows set side by side. So far, none has prevented the fabric from tearing on a good tug.”

“Perhaps you should test the strength of your thread,” he suggested.

She held up the spool. “I was only given one strength. Perhaps you could remedy that.”

“I’ll speak to Charlotte.”

She nodded. “Nothing coarse, I think. Silk, three-ply at least, undyed.”

Here less than a day and already she was dictating. “Rather specific. Your reasoning?”

“A hypothesis, if you will.” The world sounded strange on those rosy lips. “Miss Pankhurst reports that the more tightly woven fabric best meets the criteria you provided her, which she is, apparently, not at liberty to tell me. The combing and dying process must provide some stress on the thread. Therefore, tightly woven, undyed thread might also meet your criteria.”

Flawless. He bowed to her. “Madam, you impress me.”

She picked up her needle and drove it into the fabric. “I also hypothesize that you are too easily impressed.”

Worth straightened. “Based on what evidence?”

She began sewing again. “You must have accepted my brother’s word before pursuing me last year, though I’m certain you could have found evidence to suggest it wasn’t your best course. You accepted my word initially, with insufficient evidence in the end to sustain it. You obviously accepted someone else’s word against mine.


Friday, February 15, 2019

Review: Heart of Red, Blood of Blue by Rebecca Belliston


Heidi Reads... Heart of Red, Blood of Blue by Rebecca Belliston

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

A girl on the run. A kingdom to save.

Princess Gisela of Steinland was born without color. Albino. To add to this curse, her betrothal to Prince Jerrik of Kronga ends in his death and starts a ten-year-war her father is determined to win, even if it means bringing her out of hiding to do it. Now the savage Krongon war commander, Bloodless Kristoff, seeks the hearts of the entire royal family, especially Gisela's.

Desperate, her father agrees to another alliance that involves her marrying an old brute of a king. Unwilling to be the sacrificial lamb, Gisela goes on the run. Thrown into the center of a battle between three kingdoms, she finds herself fighting for her life and the right to be truly loved.

Can the girl who started the war find a way to end it?


My Review

Epic, intense, full of adventure, deception, and character growth! I especially loved seeing Gisela discovering her flaws and rising to the challenges before her to realize her inner strength. The plot is strong with the politics and dynamics of kingdoms, greedy kings, evil assassins, commanders of armies, the commoners they either oppress or support, and the women who must stand strong despite the injustice running rampant. I was never confused or overwhelmed by the details, even when there is a bit of mystery or suspense because we are seeing things through Gisela's limited perspective only, which I enjoyed. I felt like there was a great balance between the relationships, the action, and revealing the big picture little by little. There is romance which of course I loved, and Gisela learns important but hard lessons about trust, loyalty, and the characteristics of genuine love. I was enthralled the entire time and was pleasantly surprised with the twists and turns on Gisela's journey from an isolated and naive princess to a powerful force that directly influences the fate of the kingdoms and the outcome of the war. I know this will be one of my favorites of the year, and *highly* recommend!

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


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Review: A Cowboy in Shepherd's Crossing by Ruth Logan Herne



Heidi Reads... A Cowboy in Shepherd's Crossing by Ruth Logan Herne

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

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Synopsis

From bachelor to daddy…

Cowboy bachelor Jace Middleton was ready to leave Shepherd's Crossing for good—until he learns his family's unspoken secrets.

Now Jace finds himself not only caring for his twin baby nieces, but working with beautiful, strong-willed designer Melonie Fitzgerald to renovate his grandmother's run-down estate. Love wasn't part of the plan…but Jace soon finds himself wishing Melonie could become part of his unexpected family 

My Review

I enjoy this author's writing style; her strengths are conversation and a cozy, homey sense of family and community. I had a hard time connecting with Jace and Melonie in this book, I think because there wasn't much character development before the plot takes off and becomes the focus. Usually the conversation and interaction between the characters allows for more development, but in this case I felt like skimming through the mundane chit chat. Jace and Melonie are attracted to each other, but an unfortunate first meeting left each with not the best impression, and they both hold themselves back and keep each other at a distance. The drama and obstacles in their lives provide the tension and conflict, and the projects that throw them together physically eventually bring them together emotionally.

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


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Review: Hitching the Pitcher by Rebecca Connolly, Sophia Summers, Heather B. Moore


Heidi Reads... Hitching the Pitcher by Rebecca Connolly, Sophia Summers, Heather B. Moore

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Sawyer Bennett has a secret. A risky thing, being one of the popular Belltown Six Pack, a group of six guys from the same college baseball team, all of whom got drafted and now play in the Major Leagues. Between the media frenzy over them and his bond with the guys, his secret has to stay carefully hidden if he wants it to stay that way. He needs to focus on his pitching and let everything else fall away.

Running into his former college girlfriend wasn’t supposed to happen. Falling for her again wasn’t supposed to happen. Confessing his secret to her was definitely not supposed to happen. But the harder he falls for Erica Moore, the more important his secret—and she—becomes.


My Review

This was a fun introduction to a new series! Even though the main character is Sawyer, we get to know all the members of the Six Pack, some more than others. I'm looking forward to reading each of their stories! I really liked Erica, but Sawyer was such a head case! He definitely provided the drama and angst with some self-defeating behaviors as he struggles and works through some issues. Erica had the patience of a saint! I was proud of her for giving Sawyer the space he needed and knowing when to leave the ball in his court (or field). :) My husband coaches high school baseball and after reading this book we had an insightful conversation about the mental game that is also played and can prevent a perfectly talented and skilled player from succeeding. Overall, I enjoyed the dynamics of the ball player characters and the chemistry between Erica and Sawyer. Can't wait for the next book!

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



Welcome to Belltown! Six baseball players meet in the college town of Belltown, Massachusettes, becoming best friends, their lives intertwining as they each get called up to the Major Leagues.

Follow Sawyer, Cole, Axel, David, Ryker, and Levi in these six swoony sports romances.

Belltown Six Pack Series:
Hitching the Pitcher
Falling for Centerfield
Charming the Shortstop
Snatching the Catcher
Flirting with First
Kissing on Third


Join the Facebook Group for updates, fun extras, and interacting with the authors!







Thursday, February 7, 2019

Review & Giveaway: Escape to Everly Manor by Chalon Linton


Heidi Reads... Escape to Everly Manor by Chalon Linton

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

Nineteen-year-old Lizzy and her young brother, Thomas, find themselves orphaned after a tragic accident claims the lives of their parents. Their estranged Uncle Cline arrives to claim his inheritance, and his roguish ways cast a shadow over the manor. Both the family estate and guardianship of his niece and nephew were left to him, and diabolical Uncle Cline is determined to indulge in his newfound wealth and rid himself of his charges. Desperate to save her brother from a dangerous life at sea, and herself from being married off to a detestable old gentleman, Lizzy knows there is only one choice left— they must run.

Lizzy and Thomas sneak away and find refuge in an abandoned cabin. There they remain hidden until fate acquaints Lizzy with Mr. Barton, a charming gentleman who is immediately intrigued by the mysterious young woman. Concealing her identity, Lizzy is unaware that there is much more to this compassionate man than meets the eye. Through his kindness to herself and her brother, Lizzy begins to trust him. Soon Lizzy realizes Mr. Barton may be her best hope for a life in which she can live—and love—as she chooses . . .

My Review

I loved the unique plot in this Regency romance! The characters are memorable and I loved Barton and Lizzy's interactions, even if their misunderstandings were frustrating at times. There is a strong supporting cast of characters that rounded out the story, and I enjoyed the family dynamics and evidence of their devotion to one another. Lizzy is so protective of her brother, and Barton is full of compassion for the both of them, making him a perfect hero! The setting of the small village was idyllic and the adventure made the pace of the book move steadily forward.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Review: The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall


Heidi Reads... The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

War Forces a Choice Between Love and Country
 
A trip home from England to Maryland in 1812 finds Emeline Baratt a captive on a British warship and forced to declare her allegiance between the British and Americans. Remaining somewhat politically neutral on a ship where her nursing skills are desperately needed is fairly easy—until she starts to have feelings for the first lieutenant who becomes her protector. However, when the captain sends her and Lieutenant Owen Masters on land to spy, she must choose between her love for him or her love for her country.


My Review

I enjoyed the early American setting on both land and sea and the theme of patriotism that runs throughout the book. There is plenty of action and I appreciated the historical details that brought authenticity and made me grateful I live now instead of then! The swift pace of the plot made it hard to put the book down and even though I didn't quite connect with the main characters' emotions, I found the story captivating with twists and turns that made me wonder how on earth there would be a happily ever after. I loved the premise that Emeline and Owen are both spying for the same side, yet don't know that about each other and hold the perceived loyalties of the other against them. I would have thought that they'd realize it sooner, but I understand the risk involved if they happened to be mistaken. They were both likeable characters that grew in their faith and learned important life lessons.

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


Review: On the Shores of Tregalwen by Deborah M. Hathaway


Heidi Reads... On the Shores of Tregalwen by Deborah M. Hathaway

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

A Clean, Regency Romance Novella

When her estranged mother beckons her to London, Hannah Summerfield has no choice but to answer her call. Forced to leave behind her peaceful life in Cornwall, she bids farewell to the seaside, her grandparents—and her childhood sweetheart, Thomas. She becomes subdued at once by Society’s rigid rules and her mother’s censure, and when Thomas’s letters unexplainedly stop, she is left to wonder if she ought to embrace her new life in Town after all. But when her mother pressures her to accept an unwanted proposal, Hannah cannot help but flee to the one place she has ever called home—to the only boy she has ever loved.

After three years apart, Thomas Causey has all but given up hope of Hannah ever returning to Cornwall, fearing she has fallen in love with another. But when she appears on his doorstep, soaked through with rain and covered in mud, he allows himself to long once more for a future with the woman he still loves.

However, Thomas quickly realizes that Hannah is not who she was before. She has left London for a reason—a reason he cannot uncover. He longs for the truth they once so easily shared, but Hannah must first find the courage to rediscover herself—and what her heart truly desires.


My Review

This is a sweet romance without much conflict, but it was still a pleasure to read as Hannah follows her impetuous desire to visit Cornwall and leaves her manipulative mother and London society behind. Thomas and Hannah's renewed friendship turned to romance rather quickly, and I would have enjoyed more of them getting to know each other again. It works well as a novella though, and inspired me add Cornwall to my travel bucket list!

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


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Review: The Ultimate Bachelor Challenge by Annette Lyon


Heidi Reads... The Ultimate Bachelor Challenge by Annette Lyon

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

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Synopsis

Two singles alone on Valentines Day: one is newly dumped, and the other has something to prove.


When Sam’s long-time boyfriend, Steve, texts that he has something important to ask her on Valentine’s Day, she’s sure that he’s going to propose. Determined to look great for the big day, she hits the all-night laundromat to wash her favorite outfit. When her clothes are chugging away in a machine, Steve calls and pops a question—and not one she’d ever expected.

Reeling with shock, she’s left facing the holiday alone, unless you count the only other person at laundromat, a guy leaning against his own washer, intent on his phone, a guy named Connor. But he had his own plans for Valentines Day—and while they might involve Sam, she’s in for another unexpected situation.

(Originally published in A Timeless Romance Anthology: Valentine's Day Collection)

My Review

Super fun and cute, I really liked Samantha and Connor together as they worked together on a YouTube challenge for Connor's channel in a face-off against his rival. The author did a great job with the set-up, bringing equal parts anticipation and character development. My only issue is that it ended so abruptly! I first read this story in the novella collection it was originally published in, and I remember being let down then by the chopped off ending. I was hoping that the author would develop the story more and finish the Ultimate Bachelor Challenge with Sam and Connor like other authors have done when releasing their novella as a single, but no luck. I would have loved to see more of their romance and the way they would take down Trevor and win the challenge.

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


Review: The Flight of a Butterfly by Rachel Ward


Heidi Reads... The Flight of a Butterfly by Rachel Ward

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Lucy Simpson just survived the worst day of her life. Rather than stick around to deal with the fallout of losing her accounting job and the betrayal of her longtime boyfriend, she makes a split-second decision to pull up roots and move to Hawaii.
 

She arrives with a suitcase, a reservation at a cheap hotel, and a whole lot of hope. Relieved to be an ocean away from her overbearing father, Lucy creates a list of experiences to help her explore what she really wants from life. Her new friends from the singles ward become her cheerleaders and help her cross items off the list one by one. As she does, she learns a little bit more about herself, about life and about love. But when a family emergency calls her home, will she be forced to choose between her old life and a new love?

My Review

I love Hawaii for the setting in a book, and this one was unique in that it showed the non-touristy part and some gritty situations that can be found in all parts of the world. It takes a lot of guts to up and move at a moment's notice, with no plans at the other end for housing or employment... either that or desperation. It's so out of character for Lucy, yet she perseveres and follows through with her new circumstances, even though it would be easier to run home. I liked learning about all the friends she made along the way, and thought it was interesting who she chose to be judgemental about; some cases were surprising. Her friendship that eventually developed into romance with Ben was my favorite part of the book, he was so patient with her. *Awesome first kiss* I appreciated that the main characters are members of the church I belong to, but was disappointed that there was little to no faith mentioned. I think it's too bad when authors avoid opportunities to share the faith of their characters which misrepresents how integral prayer and worship are in the real lives of the members of the church, as well as how we feel about God. In this book Lucy completely relied on herself instead of trusting God, and her interactions with the church were purely social. I could understand if there was a progression in her spiritual growth, but there really wasn't any, she just continued to struggle and basically ignore God. The main lesson she learned was to stop running from her problems and face her emotions.

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

About the Author


Rachel grew up reading every book she could get her hands on and spending time with her cat. At least, that was the report in every annual Christmas letter. The humiliation was enough to spur her into action, and she began writing and she never stopped. Rachel studied English at Brigham Young University-Idaho and then wrote and blogged in between the births of her six children. She currently lives in West Jordan with her family, and while she no longer has a cat, she still reads every book she can get her hands on.




Review: Healing Hearts by Sarah M. Eden






Heidi Reads... Healing Hearts by Sarah M. Eden
 
My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Wyoming Territory, 1876

As the only doctor in the frontier town of Savage Wells, Gideon MacNamara knows his prospects for a bride are limited. The womenfolk in town are either too young, too old, or already spoken for. So, being a practical man, he decides to take advantage of the matchmaking service of the day—mail-order brides—and sends away for a woman with nursing experience.

When Miriam steps off the stagecoach in Savage Wells, she sees a bright future in front of her. But when the town—and Gideon—meets her, ready for a wedding, her excitement quickly turns to horror. Somehow Dr. MacNamara's message had gotten turned around. He didn’t want a nurse, he wanted a wife. When she refuses to marry him, she finds herself stranded in Savage Wells with some very unhappy townspeople.

But Gideon is not like the other men Miriam has met. Embarrassed by the misunderstanding, he offers her a job, and the two begin an awkward—and often humorous—dance of getting to know each other as they work to care for the people of their town. Romance blossoms between the two, but when a former medical associate of Miriam’s arrives in town, Gideon and the other townsfolk must rally around Miriam to protect her from a dangerous fate. Gideon and Miriam must decide if they are willing to risk their hearts for each other even as buried secrets are brought to light.


My Review

It was wonderful to return to the setting of the isolated Western town of Savage Wells! I quickly grew to love Miriam and Gideon, and enjoyed how they worked so well together as doctor and nurse. Miriam has major trust issues because of her past rejection from her family and the doctors that took advantage of her vulnerable circumstances. It was eye-opening to learn some of the history of asylums and made me thankful for the brave individuals who sacrificed and risked to expose the abuse. Gideon has been unlucky in love, but proves himself throughout the book that he is reliable and worthy of Miram's trust and affection. There are still several obstacles for them to overcome, especially when Miriam's secret come to light and an unwelcome visitor comes to town. I loved the loyalty the town had to Miriam and they way her new friends supported her during her trials. It was fun to have Paisley, Cade, and Hawk from the first book play significant roles in this second book, and I'm looking forward to more! (Fingers crossed) :)

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

Don't miss the first book in the Savage Wells series . . .

Heidi Reads... The Sheriffs of Savage Wells by Sarah M. Eden


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Synopsis

He's the most fearsome sheriff in the West. A force to be reckoned with. The stuff of legend.

So is she. . . . May the best sheriff win.


Paisley Bell knows the eccentric people of Savage Wells. From the absentminded shopkeeper who always thinks she's been robbed to the young man who has returned shell-shocked from the war, Paisley has compassion for them all. When the sheriff up and leaves town, Paisley steps up and assumes the responsibility, partly because she loves the work, but also because she needs the income to take care of her sick father. So when the town council decides that the position of sheriff should really go to a man, Paisley finds herself fighting to prove that she's the perfect candidate for the job, even though she wears a skirt.

Cade O'Brien is heartily sick of shooting people. In his many years as a lawman, Cade has seen his share of blood and violence. So when he answers an advertisement for a sheriff job in the sleepy town of Savage Wells, he believes he's found the peace and quiet he's always desired. But when he discovers that his biggest competition for the job is a woman, he begins to question his decisions.

Tension between the two begins to sizzle when both Cade and Paisley realize the attraction they have for each other, but when Paisley's former beau shows up in town, along with a band of bank robbers, the blossoming relationship between the two sheriffs is tested. They will have to work together to thwart the bank robbers and keep the town safe.