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

Monday, October 15, 2018

Special Blog Hop, Review & Giveaway: Lady of a Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

Welcome to  Lady of a Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd Scavenger Blog Hunt with an awesome giveaway, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!  On each stop, there will be:
  • special content by the blogger, plus
  • a clue
  • then head back to the launch post on JustRead or straight to the main crossword puzzle to fill in the words and get the special phrase to enter the  giveaway!
Before we begin, there's a bit about Lady of a Thousand Treasures. 


Title: Lady of a Thousand Treasures
Series: Victorian Ladies, Book 1
Author: Sandra Byrd
Publisher: Tyndale House
Release Date: October 9, 2018
Genre: Historical/Gothic Romance
Links: Goodreads

Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry—the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust—who in her life is false or true, brass or gold—and what is meant to be treasured.


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4 stars / I really liked it

I loved all the amazing historical details in this story! It was fascinating to see how a middle class family interacted with the wealthy upper crust of society, accepting commissions and providing them with rare and valuable collectibles and antiques. Eleanor is in a highly unique position for a woman of her time, and I admired her perseverance under the pressures she is facing from all aspects of her life. While I found this book enjoyable to read, it sometimes felt like it would never end. Ellie's constant questioning of and wavering over Harry's character made it harder for me to connect with him, and while it provided a higher element of intrigue, it also detracted from the romance of the story until the very end. I felt quite a bit of anxiety and worry over Ellie's struggles and it seemed every time she would overcome one obstacle, another would surface, or multiple ones, until she is completely overwhelmed and in desperate circumstances. The societal politics of the collectors and procurers was forefront to the plot as Ellie works to save her uncle's company.

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



After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published fifty books.

Sandra's delighted to kick off her new historical romance series with Tyndale House Publishers, Victorian Ladies, with Lady of a Thousand Treasures. The three-book Victorian Ladies series follows her historically sound Gothic romances, Daughters of Hampshire, launched with the bestselling Mist of Midnight, which earned a coveted Editor's Choice award from the Historical Novel Society. The second book, Bride of a Distant Isle, has been selected by Romantic Times as a Top Pick. The third in the series, A Lady in Disguise, was published in 2017. Check out her contemporary adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, which was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2011, and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012.

Sandra has published dozens of books for kids, tweens, and teens, including the bestselling The One Year Be-Tween You and God Devotions for Girls. She continued her work as a devotionalist, with The One Year Home and Garden Devotions, and The One Year Experiencing God's Love Devotional.

Please visit to learn more or to invite Sandra to your book club via Skype.

CONTACT: website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram


Instructions: Head to every stop on the tour to collect a word to finish the crossword puzzle. Hint: You might want to print out the crossword puzzle (link below) and enter it everyday to make it easier.

Crossword Board:

Not a crossword puzzle fan? Just compile the clue words from each stop and enter it on the Rafflecopter entry.

This stop's CLUE is:  your



(1) winner will receive:
  • a copy of Lady of a Thousand Treasures (print to US addresses OR ebook to international)
  • Cork coaster set of the British Isles (US Only)
  • "To The Lighthouse" diffuser made by Seawitch Candles in Cornwall, England. (US Only)
  • $10 Amazon gift card (open international)
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight October 15, 2018 and lasts through 11:59pm October 22, 2018. Void where prohibited by law. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Be sure to stop on every stop on the Tour Schedule for all the clues to enter!


For the full tour schedule, click on either of the launch pages below.
(All stops expected to post by 12:00 NOON EST)

Launch Page at JustRead

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.


Review & Giveaway: Night at the Opera by Stacy Henrie

Heidi Reads... Night at the Opera by Stacy Henrie

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


When American heiress Gwen Barton aids an injured gentleman in an opera box in London, she shares a kiss with the stranger that changes her life. More determined than ever to be herself, in spite of the limp she’s sustained since childhood, she will marry for love and not a title. She also resolves to learn the identity of the man she helped—and kissed. Surely he can’t be the irritating Avery Winfield, though. But as circumstances continue to throw Gwen and Avery together, she begins to wonder if there is more to this man than she first thought.

While most of London only knows him as the nephew of a duke, Avery Winfield is actually working for the Secret Service Bureau to ferret out German spies from among the ton. It’s a profession that gives him purpose and a reason to remain a bachelor. But the more he interacts with Gwen Barton, an heiress from America, the more he begins to question his plans and neglected faith. Then he learns Gwen is the young lady from the opera box who helped him. Now his most important mission may have nothing to do with saving Britain from danger and everything to do with risking his heart for the woman he met that night at the opera.

My Review

I loved the characters in this book and the way the author brought them to life in a memorable setting. Gwen has her struggles and vulnerabilities, but her strong spirit and compassion for the less fortunate have given her purpose and the fortitude to allow her true self be known. I loved the way Avery doesn't pity her, and their banter is fun as they progress from thorns in each other's sides, to friends, to more. The spying activities that Avery pulls Gwen into bring an element of suspense, but I didn't get a sense of urgency or cunning from Avery. It was almost as if he expected the German spy to give himself up when confronted. I did like that there is a big focus on Gwen and her relationships, her feelings, and her inner journey. I appreciated that she didn't give up hope, and was determined to be helpful to the orphanages, especially ones that took in and provided for those with injuries and illnesses. I found it to be a lovely and compelling story!

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

More American Heiress Books

Beneath an Italian Sky (April 2019)
Among Sand and Sunrise (October 2019)

Connect with Author Stacy Henrie

Follow the Blog Tour


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 12, 2018

Review: Rose in Three Quarter Time by Rachel McMillan

Heidi Reads... Rose in Three Quarter Time by Rachel McMillan

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


Some people marry for love; others marry for music...

Rose McNeil is rising the ranks at the Mozarteum in Salzburg as a violinist to watch. Her musical Nova Scotian heritage has loaned an unparalleled technique to her interpretation of some of the most beautiful compositions in the world. The opportunity of a first chair assignment to the Rainer Quartet under the tutelage and baton of Oliver Thorne is a dream come true--- until her student visa expires and the threat of leaving Vienna looms. As much as she grieves the prospect of leaving Vienna and the quartet, it is Oliver—with his dry sense of humour and unexpected charm- she will miss most.

British ex-pat Oliver Thorne’s recent appointment as conductor to the Rainer Quartet make him the youngest in the role during its prestigious history. But it wasn’t the path he wanted. A tragic accident years ago forbade him from ever playing his beloved cello again. Now he spends his life conducting for premiere orchestras at the Musikverein. When he first hears Rose McNeil play, all the dreams he left by the wayside are reborn with her unexpected talent. When Rose learns she may have to leave Vienna, Oliver has to come up with a solution. Losing his first violinist is unfortunate, losing her is unimaginable.

So he comes up with a crazy idea: A marriage on paper only. She’ll take his name and his citizenship. They’ll split rent money and coin toss to decide who takes the bed or the futon every night. They’ll keep their secret from the orchestra. She’ll play and he’ll conduct and, most importantly...she’ll stay.

Unbeknownst to each other, Rose is in love with Oliver and Oliver is in love with Rose. They might even find a happy ending, if only their pesky marriage doesn’t get in the way.

My Review

This story provided a fascinating glimpse into the world of classical music and its performance. I loved the Austrian setting and the romance of Vienna, which the author skillfully described with subtlety and charm. Rose and Oliver's relationship is a complicated one- there is a foundation of genuine friendship there, yet he is the conductor of the group she plays violin with, which makes him a boss figure. The strict moral code of the historic "quartet" (there are actually more than four musicians) prohibits Rose and Oliver from a romantic relationship, making their marriage of convenience also a secret one. There are deeper issues preventing Oliver from admitting his true feelings for Rose, even to himself. I loved their rapport and the way they support and encourage each other. Over time, both Oliver and Rose become conflicted over the future, their careers, relationship, and roommate status. The emotions run high and tension abounds when their secret is revealed and they must find a way to find a satisfactory resolution for the opposition between their jobs and a future together.

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Review: A Gift Horse: A Christmas Carousel Story by Beth Carpenter

Heidi Reads... A Gift Horse: A Christmas Carousel Story by Beth Carpenter

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


Luke Mueller has good reasons to keep to himself. After his fiancée and best friend cheated him out of his company three years ago, he moved to Christmas Town and started a business restoring antique farm equipment. His only real friend was the octogenarian next door. Since she had no family around to support her, Luke pitched in to help, especially after she grew ill.

Now her granddaughter, Gwen Heatherton, has inherited the farm, and Luke wants nothing to do with a woman so self-centered she wouldn’t even visit her dying grandmother. But when Gwen requests his expertise to restore Christmas Town’s carousel in time to celebrate the anniversary of her grandmother’s friends, he agrees to help. For her grandmother’s sake.

As he works alongside Gwen in the carousel restoration, Luke discovers she’s not the selfish person he thought she was. If anything, she’s too generous with her time and energy, constantly volunteering for whatever needs doing, and in Christmas Town in December, that’s a lot. When Luke gets saddled with a canine escape artist, Gwen is there to help with that too.

The more time he spends with Gwen, the more Luke grows to admire her. He slowly learns to trust again. But Gwen has a secret that involves Luke. If he finds out, the foundation of trust they’ve built may be destroyed. And trust isn’t something that’s easy to restore.

My Review

So many great details to enjoy in this cozy holiday story! I loved Houdini, the beagle who lives up to his name, Luke's passion for figuring out mechanics and restoring almost obsolete items, and Gwen's determination to make a new life and place for herself in Christmas Town. As this is part of a collection, there are characters I could tell were significant, but I didn't have all of their story. That's good and bad, in a way, since I don't like when there are spoilers or info-dumps, but I also appreciate when the secondary characters are placed in the story in a meaningful way, and not just an unfamiliar cameo. I suppose I felt like Gwen, a bit of an outsider who is relatively new to the community. I liked how she saved her grandmother's farm from being sold off by her parents, and made an independent life for herself gardening and building her small business. Luke takes a while to warm up to her so he comes off as a grouchy curmudgeon at first, but his compassionate nature comes out the more he gets involved in the town project of restoring the carousel. The romance is sweet and starts with friendship, which I always love. The pace is steady as Gwen and Luke work with a deadline of Christmas Eve to fulfill their commitments during the busy time of year. A nice story for winter reading! I'm looking forward to reading the other books and getting to know more of the townspeople. 

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

Check out the other books in the Twelve Days of Heartwarming Christmas series . . .

A Christmas Carousel Proposal by Melinda Curtis & Cari Lynn Webb
Paint Me a Christmas by Anna Adams
Santa School by Melinda Curtis
The Dark Horse by Liz Flaherty
His Christmas Carousel Baby by Anna J. Stewart
Five Golden Wishes by Cari Lynn Webb
A Miracle for Christmas by Leanne Bristow
Pride and Presents by Cheryl Harper
Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Claire McEwen
Our Christmas Promise by Tara Randel
Defending Christmas by Carol Ross
The Hope Chest by Amy Vastine

Monday, October 8, 2018

Review: This Courageous Journey by Misty M. Beller

Book Four in the Heart of the Mountains series

Heidi Reads... This Courageous Journey by Misty M. Beller

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


As the fifth daughter in a family of nine, Noelle Grant spent her life striving to be unique. Her love of telling stories helps define her goal—to be known around the country as one of the top news correspondents of her time. And what better way to uncover sensational tales than to travel through the mountain wilderness to visit her brother? The trip comes together perfectly as she journeys with family friends who will be settling in the same area. Her first inkling that things may not be as perfect as she’d imagined shows up in the form of the mountain man hired as their guide for the final leg of the journey.

When Daniel Abrams agrees to guide the small group of easterners along his usual route northward to the Canadian mountains, his gut tells him he’s making a terrible decision. But if he doesn’t take them, who will? The crew’s leader refuses to consider turning back. As they start out, Daniel can’t help but notice the woman traveling under the care of her friends. Though she appears too genteel to last long in these mountains, she soon reveals a strength that draws him more than he should allow.

When the dangers of this wilderness become more than the group bargained for, Noelle must choose to delay her trip northward or proceed alone with the man she’s come to trust against all reason. She never dreams her decision will place her—and the man she loves—in a situation more hazardous than any story her imagination could conjure.

My Review

I can always count on this author to take me on an adventure in the wilderness! The harsh circumstances bring out the true qualities of the characters, and it's rewarding when they learn that they are stronger than they ever imagined. Noelle is a woman of determination, and she takes it in stride when the plans for her journey go awry. I appreciated that she took the time to pray and feel guidance from the Lord for her decision to keep going and trust Daniel. This is when the story really picks up, and the seemingly never-ending series of dangerous obstacles facing them draws them closer together where they must rely on each other for survival against the looming winter storms as they struggle through the mountains toward their destination. Even though this is a series and the characters in each book are loosely connected, they can be read as stand-alones.

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

Check out the previous books in the Heart of the Mountains series . . .

Book One
Heidi Reads... This Treacherous Journey by Misty M. Beller


Widowed and with child, Emma Malcom is fleeing from the reward offered for her arrest. She’s innocent of the dirty dealings her deceased husband orchestrated, but the angry townspeople didn’t stop to listen to her defense before she narrowly escaped with her life. Now, she and her twin brother, Joseph, must battle the mountain wilderness of the Rockies to reach Canada and the clean start she craves. But when a fall from the rocky cliff leaves Joseph wounded and weak, could the strange mountain man they encounter be God’s gift to see them to safety?

Simeon Grant makes bad choices. His deceased wife and twin babies are lost to him now because of his reckless decisions, and the penance he pays by living alone in this mountain wilderness is only a small piece of what he thinks he deserves. When a city woman, heavy with child, appears on his doorstep with her injured brother, her presence resurrects the memories he’s worked so hard to forget. And when she asks for his help to travel deeper into the mountain country, he can’t help wonder why God would force him to relive the same mistakes he’s already suffered through. Or maybe taking these two to safety could be the way to redeem himself.

But when their travels prove more treacherous than he imagined, Simeon finds himself pressing the limits of his ability to keep Emma and her brother safe. Can he overcome the past that haunts him to be the man she needs? Will Emma break through the walls around Simeon’s heart before it’s too late, or will the dangers of these mountains be the end of them all?

Book Two
 Heidi Reads... This Wilderness Journey by Misty M. Beller


Joseph Malcom has spent his life protecting those in need, but now that his sister is safely settled with her new family in the Canadian Rockies, his help is no longer required. That is, until he’s asked to safely retrieve the priest’s cousin to help minister to the local Indian tribe. But his passenger is not at all who he expects.

After the death of her mother, Monti Bergeron has nothing to keep her in Montreal. While the prospect of ministering to the Indians out West is daunting, she looks forward to assisting her beloved cousin in his mission work. The life of a nun may be just what she needs to heal her grief, serving her Heavenly Father and fellow mankind, especially if no more pesky suitors are around to ask for her hand in marriage. But the man who’s been sent to guide her through the mountains might make her second-guess her plans before she even begins.

As Monti settles into her ministry, Joseph finds his wandering feet drawn back to the Indian camp. Monti’s focus on God is more unsettling than he’d like to admit. Add to that her beauty which tests his willpower at every turn, and she’s made it crystal clear she doesn’t want a husband. But when his determination to keep distance between them puts Monti in danger, protecting her might require something Joseph might not be able to give.

Book Three


Adrien Lockman is through with the political unrest and bloodshed in his home country of France, so he sets off to the Canadian territory's mountain frontier, in search of a place where a man can live his own life in peace. The last thing he expects to find is a woman, half-starved and half-frozen in a shack nestled among the towering peaks of the great Rocky Mountains.

Mary Standish thought she'd finally found a place where she was accepted, trapping with her husband for the Hudson Bay Company. But when he dies after a gruesome grizzly fight, she determines to carry on their work. After all, life in these remote mountains is better than enduring the scorn and snubs of "civilized" folk. When she's forced to face a winter harder than any she's endured yet, her stubbornness may just be the death of her. Until a stranger appears at her ramshackle door.

Adrien had planned to explore the mountain country all winter before he settles down to build a farm in the spring, but he can't leave this woman to die in the elements. Even though she seems desperate for him to go. As Mary regains strength, she's torn between wanting to save her dignity, and craving the respect of this man who's slipped past her defenses. As the winter worsens, the truth becomes all too real--the only way they'll survive is together.

Review: Sins of the Past by Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, Lynette Eason

Heidi Reads... Sins of the Past by Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, Lynette Eason

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


Three Novellas from Bestselling Authors

In Dee Henderson's "Missing," a Wyoming sheriff is called to Chicago when his elderly mother goes missing. Paired with a savvy Chicago cop, the two realize her disappearance is no accident, and a race against the clock begins.

Dani Pettrey returns to Alaska with "Shadowed," introducing readers to the parents of her beloved McKenna clan. Adventure, romance, and danger collide when a young fisherman nets the body of an open-water swimming competitor who may actually be a possible Russian defector.

Lynette Eason's "Blackout" delivers the story of a woman once implicated in a robbery gone wrong. The loot has never been found--but her memory of that night has always been unreliable. Can she remember enough to find her way to safety when the true culprit comes after her?

My Review

All of these stories are fast-paced and full of suspense as the mysteries are worked out and solved. I liked the first story and the way it showed the methodical work of the police and detectives, leaving no stone unturned but having to prioritize certain leads before others. Sharon, the lead missing persons detective had a great rapport with John, the sheriff whose mother has gone missing, and I liked the friendship that developed there. The romance angle was kind of out of the blue because they are both so pragmatic and the focus was so much on the case, but friendship is always a good place to start ;)

I was so excited to read the second story since I'm a fan of the author's Alaskan Courage series. It was cool to get to know Ben and Libby and see how they met as young adults. It is set during the Cold War, and the politics with the Russians and espionage made for high tension as the murder is investigated. I would have liked more on the relationship and romance, but it was still a great story and had a full plot.

The last story Blackout had one of my favorite suspense tropes- amnesia of the victim. For me it automatically ramps up the anticipation and anxiety while the holes are being filled and not knowing where or when the danger will strike. A great conclusion to the collection.

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

Don't miss the next collection by these three suspense authors . . .

Heidi Reads... The Cost of Betrayal by Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, Lynette Eason


In Dee Henderson's novella "Betrayal," Janelle Roberts is freed--thanks to people she doesn't know--after serving six years of a twenty-year sentence for a murder she did not commit. But a murderer is still at large, and Janelle needs to be somewhere safe with someone she can trust. She may not survive another betrayal.

In Dani Pettrey's "Deadly Isle," Tennyson Kent is trapped on the isolated island of her childhood by a storm surge, and she is shocked when the typically idyllic community turns into the hunting grounds of a murderer. Cut off from any help from the mainland, will she and first love Callen Frost be able to identify and stop a killer bent on betrayal before they become the next victims?

In Lynette Eason's "Code of Ethics," trauma surgeon Ruthie St. John saves the life of Detective Isaac Martinez. After a betrayal leads to him getting shot and then attacked while in recovery, Isaac is now a key witness determined to testify. But someone is intent on silencing him--and those around him--forever. Together, Ruthie and Isaac go on the run, desperate to escape the killers hunting him.