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

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Review & Giveaway: Wager for a Wife by Karen Tuft



Heidi Reads... Wager for a Wife by Karen Tuft

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

William Barlow's life has been forever altered: his estranged father is dead, and William has inherited the title of Viscount Farleigh. Along with the title comes a neglected estate, an enormous amount of gambling debt, and one astounding acquisition that will turn William's world upside down . . .

It is her first London Season, and Lady Louisa Hargreaves could not be more pleased. She has attracted the attention of the Earl of Kerridge, and the two are on the cusp of an official betrothal. That is, until she learns of a generations-old family debt: her grandfather gambled her hand in marriage and lost, and now Louisa must pay the price. She will marry not the earl but a man she just met, who has taken her freedom in one fell swoop. Even as she struggles to understand the handsome and aloof man she is to wed, Louisa is irresistibly drawn to him—and he to her. But she soon realizes he is harboring secrets, and as her wedding day approaches, she must discover what her future husband is hiding before she makes the gravest mistake of her life.


My Review

I enjoyed this Regency romance and the characters that came to life in their unusual circumstances. I loved the premise of the plot- the difficulties that both Louisa and William are dealing with, and the relationship that slowly develops between them, despite their differences. I learned some new details about the Regency era as new plot twists surfaced. A lovely romance with emotion, angst, tension, and a wonderful ending!

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

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Sunday, December 2, 2018

Review: Timeless Victorian Collection: The Queen's Ball by Anthea Lawson, Rebecca Connolly, Jennifer Moore


Heidi Reads... Timeless Victorian Collection: The Queen's Ball by Anthea Lawson, Rebecca Connolly, Jennifer Moore

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

THE QUEEN'S BALL: Three brand new Victorian Romance novellas by Anthea Lawson, Rebecca Connolly, and Jennifer Moore.

WALTZED by Anthea Lawson
Eleanor Tremont never expected her father to pass away unexpectedly – leaving her with a horrible stepmother, two grasping step-sisters, and no dowry whatsoever. Relegated to a servant in her own home, she struggles to come to terms with her bleak new life. Summoned to Queen Victoria’s Stuart Ball, can Ellie find her happily-ever-after despite impossible odds? Add an absent-minded Godmother, an orange carriage, and a dancing-slipper mishap, and prepare to be swept away into this fairytale romance…

A LOVE TO CLAIM by Rebecca Connolly
Abigail Sterling is not at all pleased to see that the man who broke her heart is in London, and even less pleased that he wants to renew their friendship. But, against her better judgment, she finds herself drawn to him, just as she always had been. Letters from a secret admirer keep her from completely giving into Matthew again, and soon her heart is torn between a familiar love and a mysterious one.

COMING HOME by Jennifer Moore
After the sudden death of her father, Clara Brightly is sent far from her home in India to live with relatives on the Isle of Wight. The islanders are suspicious of newcomers, and none more so than a local landowner, Grant Mason who, at first meeting, considers Clara to be arrogant and disdainful of the island he loves. When the two are appointed to lead the church choir in an island-wide competition, Clara discovers that she may have a place on the island after all. Grant comes to realize that what he took as haughtiness was merely shyness, and Queen Victoria’s ball at Osborne house seems the perfect place to tell her. But when Clara is offered a chance to return to India, she must decide once and for all what “home” really means.


My Review

I can always count on the stories in these collections to be unique, creative, and very different from each other despite a common theme! I liked getting to know the writing style of a new-to-me author, Anthea Lawson, and her Cinderella retelling. Rebecca Connolly and Jennifer Moore are favorites, and I really felt they shined with bringing the emotions of the characters to life and making me hope for a happily ever after. Each story felt fully formed and took me through the obstacles the couples had to overcome in order to find their true love.

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

Books in the Timeless Victorian Collections:
SUMMER HOLIDAY
A GRAND TOUR
THE ORIENT EXPRESS
THE QUEEN'S BALL

Books in the Timeless Regency Collections:
AUTUMN MASQUERADE
A MIDWINTER BALL
SPRING IN HYDE PARK
SUMMER HOUSE PARTY
A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS
A SEASON IN LONDON
FALLING FOR A DUKE
A NIGHT IN GROSVENOR SQUARE
ROAD TO GRETNA GREEN
WEDDING WAGERS

Double Review: Starstruck and Jilted by Carla Laureano


Heidi Reads... Starstruck by Carla Laureano

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Novelist Christine Lind has achieved her lifelong dream—a string of best-selling books and a cable-TV adaptation about to go into production. But on her way to London FanFest for the cast reveal, disaster strikes: their leading man is injured in a motorcycle accident… and his replacement is the one person she hoped she’d never seen again.

Nick Cleary has clawed his way to recognition as a Hollywood actor, but it’s long past time he get the chance to show he’s more than a pretty face and a chiseled set of abs. His big break comes in the form of a juicy lead role in a new steampunk fantasy series. There’s just one catch—casting has to be approved by the author… a woman he once devastated through his own youthful stupidity.

Christine is the last person to be starstruck by the handsome heartthrob, but as the clock ticks down to the cast announcement and Nick races to show that he’s really changed, she begins to wonder if there’s more to her ex than his Hollywood persona. Except now the consequences of being wrong no longer apply only to her career… but also to her carefully guarded heart.

My Review

I liked how Christine created an alter ego for her appearances before her fans, and that Nick was able to see past that to the real person inside. They definitely have a rocky past, and I appreciated that they both were able to eventually come to terms with their mistakes and own contributions to what went wrong. They are both more mature now and this is a great second-chance romance that explores  forgiveness and moving forward... after a little revenge, all in good humor ;)

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



My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

Exclusive e-book, free to Carla's newsletter subscribers!
More details on author's web site.

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Synopsis

Three days. Two jaded hearts. One unexpected love.

Bethany Hall is hiding out on a remote private island off the coast of Belize, creating romantic meals for the rich and the privileged. But when her client Derek Moretti’s bride jilts him at the altar, he’s left with a bitter view on love, a $30,000 a week bungalow, and for the first time in his life, nowhere else to be.

After Derek overhears his beautiful personal chef talking about how he dodged a bullet when his bridezilla left him, he begins to think that maybe she’s right. He convinces Bethany to act as his personal tour guide for the remainder of his trip, but neither expect that their purely platonic arrangement could shake their preconceptions about love.

Could Derek have been in the right place at the right time…just with the wrong woman?


My Review

This is a fun story complete with a narrow escape, beautiful travel excursions, and amazing food. I thought it was interesting how Bethany has created her own little world on the island, and yet has connections that allow her to give Derek glimpses into the tropical paradise. There's some attraction, some angst, and some great romantic chemistry as Derek and Bethany figure out what they really want in their lives and their relationship.

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


Saturday, December 1, 2018

Review: The Christmas Heirloom by Karen Witemeyer, Kristi Ann Hunter, Sarah Loudin Thomas, Becky Wade



My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

In Kristi Ann Hunter's "Legacy of Love," Sarah Gooding never suspected returning a brooch to an elderly woman would lead to a job . . . and introduce her to the woman's grandson, a man far above her station.

In Karen Witemeyer's "Gift of the Heart," widow Ruth Albright uses the family brooch as collateral for a loan from the local banker. But the more she comes to know the man behind the stern businessman, the more she hopes for a second chance at love.

In Sarah Loudin Thomas's "A Shot at Love," Fleeta Brady's rough-and-tumble childhood means she prefers hunting to more feminine activities. She never expected her family's brooch might be how a fellow hunter turns her attention from competition to romance.

In Becky Wade's "Because of You," Maddie Winslow has spent years in love with a man whose heart was already spoken for. When a church Christmas project brings them together and she stumbles upon an old family brooch, might it finally be her turn for love?


My Review

I enjoyed each of the stories in this collection by four of Bethany House's strong authors! It was neat that they took place in different eras, connected by the heirloom brooch that is passed down the maternal line. With each story I was immersed in the setting and characters, and a full story arc was achieved in the space of a novella. The romances were sweet and full of chemistry between the lead characters, making the stories come to life. This is a collection that I plan to read again in the future! It would also make a lovely Christmas gift for readers and fans of wholesome romance.

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


Review: The Christmas Remedy by Cindy Woodsmall, Erin Woodsmall


Heidi Reads... The Christmas Remedy by Cindy Woodsmall, Erin Woodsmall

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

When an Old Order Amish woman takes a job at a small-town pharmacy struggling to survive in a world of "big box" stores, her motive is to help her Plain community. But the advent of the holiday season brings an unusual mystery to the surface--and possibly love.

Twenty-four-year-old Holly Zook lives a unique life for a young Amish woman. Years ago, her bishop allowed her to continue her education and become the lead technician for Greene's Pharmacy, an old-timey drugstore that looks out for the Amish community--a group largely without secure healthcare plans. She knows she can't marry and hold onto her professional job. She's Amish, and she can only have one or the other, so she spurns love and works toward addressing treatable diseases--like the one that claimed her father's life.

As long as Holly continues to avoid Joshua Smucker, the one man who draws her like a warm hearth in winter, she should be fine. When something unexpected threatens Greene's Pharmacy, Holly and Joshua must work together to unravel what's happened and find the "missing" patient before the Board of Pharmacy shuts them down. As the snows of December arrive, with Christmas in the air, will Holly succumb to the generous spirit of the season?


My Review

This is a sweet Amish story with a mystery to be solved. I thought it was sad that Holly felt like she had to sacrifice marriage and a family in order to have a fulfilling career that would be so beneficial to the members of her Amish community. I liked Joshua and how he helps Holly, even after he discovers he has no hope with her. The element of light suspense kept the plot moving forward and I liked seeing how interconnected the Amish families are and how they were all happy to help. There is a definite warm feeling despite the snowy setting, and I was satisfied with how everything all worked out.

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


Friday, November 30, 2018

Review: Five Golden Wishes by Cari Lynn Webb


Heidi Reads... Five Golden Wishes by Cari Lynn Webb

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

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Synopsis

Dylan King never intended to get involved with Christmas Town. He'd arranged his business trip to include a short visit with his Aunt Odette. But now he's fixing furniture for Over the River Retirement Home residents, welding a fence for the carousel and extending his stay every other day. If he stopped making up excuses to spend more time with Sadie Kent, he could finally get back to business like he wanted.

Sadie Kent has fallen to a new low. Not only has she ditched Santa School (a birthday gift from her young daughters to regain her Christmas spirit after her holiday divorce last year), Sadie has seriously embellished her culinary skills. Between keeping her volunteer commitments and trying to find a job that won’t interfere with her daughters’ school schedules, baking and decorating Christmas cookies to help raise money for the carousel refurbishment might be one step too far. If Dylan King stopped offering suggestions and distracting her, and reigniting her holiday spirit, Sadie could prove she had everything under control.

Welcome back to Christmas Town where wishes in the heart, no matter how deep they're buried, find a voice. And the power of family and love endures.


My Review

I've read a couple other books in the Christmas Town series, and was happy to revisit the community that really knows how to get into the season! This is a sweet story between two people who have their hands full, but despite their lack of time for romance, are pushed together by three well-meaning busybodies. There is plenty of humor, especially involving Aunt Odette and her friends who have their finger on the pulse of Christmas Town. I felt like the chemistry and romance was a bit lacking- there was more telling than showing- and because their relationship was so platonic for 2/3 of the book, I didn't really feel it when things finally got moving in that department. Overall it was a pleasant story and nice addition to the series.

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


Monday, November 19, 2018

Review: The Echo Ridge Romance Collection by Rachelle J. Christensen



Heidi Reads... Echo Ridge Romance Collection by Rachelle J. Christensen

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

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

Synopsis

Come back to Echo Ridge and delight in 4 contemporary romances! Each heartwarming, inspirational story is set in beautiful upstate New York. This box set includes bonus epilogues and a sneak peek of Rachelle's new book! Savor a recipe with each of the stories and come back for more.

HOPE FOR CHRISTMAS
Anika Fletcher hates Christmas--its promises of good tidings and hope for the future are as tinseled as the ornaments on Kenworth's Hope Tree. Despite her feelings, Anika wants to maintain her daughter's faith in the magic of the season and gladly accepts a second job working with the handsome Carlos Rodriguez to restore Kenworth's old fashioned soda fountain. Carlos is no stranger to hard times and slowly shares his life of light and joy with Anika as they work together. Just as her fragile soul begins to feel hope again, an ill-timed act of charity changes everything. Anika isn't sure who she can trust or if hope is worth nurturing--especially at Christmas when it's easy to enjoy a kiss and believe love can last longer than the season.

THE KISS THIEF
As the head librarian of the Echo Ridge Library, Britta Klein thrives on order and categorization. Unfortunately, the old church-turned-library is in desperate need of a renovation. The Harvest Hurrah fundraiser seems to be the answer, but plans keep going awry. With help from Milo Geissler, accomplished musician, piano tuner, and kiss thief, each catastrophe is narrowly avoided. When Milo goes to great lengths to help Britta find a key classic book, she begins to wonder if there is more to life than books and order. Can she allow this man who speaks the language of music to tune her heart to a new song?
 

Welcome to Echo Ridge, New York where romance finds its way into the hearts and lives of the people who walk the streets of the close-knit community.
NOTE TO READER: THIS VERSION of The Kiss Thief contains a BONUS EPILOGUE!

THE PRINCESS BRIDE OF RIODAN
When a mysterious man offers to help Elise redecorate the old Bed & Breakfast, she gladly hands him a wallpaper steamer. After she discovers his true identity, she doesn’t know whether to curtsy or run and hide. Unfortunately, hiding isn’t an option because her heart is already tangled up with the handsome prince. At the same time, Elise’s old crush from high school wants a relationship and she’s forced to decide whether to chase after a fairy tale ending or stay grounded in reality.

COMING HOME TO LOVE
Do you remember your first love? Have you ever wondered what would happen if you had a second chance to follow your heart?
 

When Laney Richins left Echo Ridge, New York eight years ago, she vowed she’d never return, but life had other plans. Those plans included her cute little boy and a divorce, so Laney moved back home and started over. Working in the flower shop seems like the perfect plan until Billy Redford, the man she should have married shows up.

Billy Redford’s heart was broken when his high school sweetheart turned her back on him and fled Echo Ridge for the big city lights. Running into Laney in Echo Ridge now brings up past feelings he thought were long gone. She’s prettier than ever, still seems to read his mind, and despite his protests ends up on the building and decorating committee with him for the Homecoming dance. Billy knows how to build just about anything, but he isn’t sure he knows how to mend a broken heart.


My Review

I enjoyed each of these stories and the creative plots and likeable characters. They each have ties to the wonderfully cozy community of Echo Ridge, and it was fun to get to know more people there. The library is especially a place I would love to visit, and Britta and Milo's story was my favorite. Overall, I somehow didn't quite connect with the emotions and feelings so it was like I was simply reading about them instead of experiencing it with them. They were entertaining and fun though, so I'm planning to give the author another try with one of her longer books that has great ratings from my Goodreads friends.

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


Review: Seven Brides for Seven Texas Rangers Romance Collection by Erica Vetsch, Susan Page Davis, Vickie McDonough, Amanda Barratt, Gabrielle Meyer, Lorna Seilstad, Kathleen Y'Barbo


Heidi Reads... Seven Brides for Seven Texas Rangers Romance Collection by Erica Vetsch, Susan Page Davis, Vickie McDonough, Amanda Barratt, Gabrielle Meyer, Lorna Seilstad, Kathleen Y'Barbo

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

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

Synopsis

No One Is Too Tough to be Loved
Join seven Texas Rangers on the hunt for a menacing gang, who run straight into romances with women who foil their plans for both the job and their futures.

The Ranger's Reward
by Gabrielle Meyer
Texas Ranger, Griffin Sommer stops to check on the young widow, Evelyn Prentis minutes before the Markham gang arrives at her farm needing a place to hide. Griff and Evelyn are forced to pretend they’re married to keep Griff’s identity a secret, but will Evelyn’s young son let the truth out before Griff can bring the gang to justice?

More Precious than Rubies by Lorna Seilstad
Fun-loving, charismatic Texas Ranger Whit Murray is restless for an adventure. When bandits attack the train he is on and steal jewels Violet Tatienne is transporting home to her father’s jewelry store, the two of them must work together to find the thieves. Will each one’s individual goals keep them from discovering the real treasure is in each other?

Jesse’s Sparrow by Amanda Barratt
Former soiled dove, Sara Byrne longs for escape. . .and rides straight into danger. Ranger Jesse Rawlings wants only to defend and protect.  . .no love involved. But when Sara’s stagecoach is robbed and her possessions stolen, can she find the strength to aid a man she deems anything but trustworthy in bringing justice to the perpetrators?

The Countess and the Cowboy by Kathleen Y’Barbo
Ava Becker is furious that her brother sold her favorite stallion to the irritating Texas Ranger Ezra Creed. When the horse goes missing, Ezra blames Ava, who sets out to find the horse, landing in an outlaw’s camp instead. Can Ezra protect the persistent Ava without falling in love, or will love make for a dangerous chase?

Simple Interest by Susan Page Davis
While making his monthly deposit, Ranger O’Neal Brewster is forced to watch robbers escape with the prim and pretty bank teller as their hostage. Augusta Ferris quickly makes the outlaws regret kidnapping her, but she is determined to get back the bank’s money—whether the Ranger helps her or not.

Partners in Crime by Vickie McDonough
Micah McCullough, a Texas Ranger working undercover in the Markham gang, is tasked with guarding Laurel Underwood, a silversmith, who was kidnapped to create plates for printing counterfeit money. Laurel knows she doesn’t have the expertise. Her only option is to stall and seek escape. What will the outlaws do when they learn her secret?

Guard Your Heart by Erica Vetsch
When Constance Spanner witnesses a murder, Branch Kilborn is tasked with protecting her until she can testify against Cass Markham. This is the Ranger squad’s chance to abolish the Markham gang once and for all, but Branch soon finds that protecting Constance has become about more than just the job.


My Review

I liked the premise of this collection- each story features a Texas Ranger that is working to apprehend members of a notorious gang of robbers, and they each fall in love and have some success capturing at least one of the outlaws, with the final story wrapping up the case. I enjoyed the writing style and storytelling of some authors more than others; my favorite was probably Partners in Crime by Vickie McDonough. It was interesting and unique from the other stories with Micah undercover and Laurel as a prisoner of the gang. The subplots with Laurel's relationship with her father and the young son of one of the outlaws brought depth to the romance and showed admirable qualities of the main characters.  I also enjoyed Guard Your Heart by Erica Vetsch because Branch is the least likely of the rangers to fall in love and adamantly opposed to it, so his journey towards romance was fun to read ;)

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


Friday, November 16, 2018

Review: Lies, Love, and Breakfast at Tiffany's by Julie Wright




Heidi Reads... Lies, Love, and Breakfast at Tiffany's by Julie Wright

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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Synopsis

The Lie
Women in Hollywood are just pretty faces. But Silvia Bradshaw knows that’s a lie, and she’s ready to be treated as an equal and prove her worth as one of Hollywood’s newest film editors.

The Love
She and Ben Mason had worked together as editors before Silvia got her big break, so he’s the perfect person to ask for feedback on her first major film. But even as their friendship begins to blossom into something more, a lawsuit surfaces, jeopardizing both Ben and Silvia’s jobs—as well as their fledgling romance. Audrey Hepburn once said: “The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.” Silvia agrees. Or she used to. It’s one thing to risk her job and her heart, but can she really risk Ben’s, too? Does she have the right to make decisions for her own happiness when they affect so many other people?

The Breakfast
With everything to lose, Silvia meets Ben for breakfast at his favorite diner, Tiffany’s, for one last conversation before the credits roll on true love.


My Review

This book is a hoot! And with wonderful depth! Isn't that a great combination? First of all, I will forever remember the unique main character- Silvia had cancer as a five year old which left her with inner scars as well as outer- she lost her eye and has a glass eye she named Audrey (the little details about her vision and glass eye as an adult are fascinating!) Her fears stemming from her experiences in the hospital influence her relationships and priorities. I loved that she is strong and ambitious in a cutthroat Hollywood career, but also struggles with vulnerability and confidence at times. Ben is pretty awesome, and unrequited love (that is eventually rewarded) is one of my favorite tropes! He and Silvia have a comfortable friendship, fun banter, and quirky mannerisms that really made them come to life. It was interesting to see Ben as the vulnerable one as he shares his long-time angst over his romantic feelings and sadness when they had drifted apart. Their chemistry is amazing and only grows as Silvia sorts through her feelings for Ben. She has a loyal friend in Emma and her grandmother, and I enjoyed the dynamic they each brought to Silvia's life. She learns important lessons through the obstacles she faces and grows as she begins to model her life into one of compassion like the real-life Audrey Hepburn. This is a book not to miss!

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