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

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Review: The Artful Match by Jennifer Delamere


Book Three in the London Beginnings series

https://amzn.to/2KxvEoX

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

Cara Bernay has never fit in. At loose ends in 1881 London after a near tragedy costs her a job, she befriends a rising young artist. With his help, she begins planning a new life and developing her own artistic talent. But soon Cara finds herself at odds with the artist's brother—a handsome but serious-minded earl who wants to force his brother back to a "respectable" life.

Henry Burke, the Earl of Morestowe, feels the weight of growing financial burdens. His profligate and emotionally unstable brother is making matters worse, and Henry needs him back home. Despite misgivings about Cara's mysterious background, Henry sees she's a positive influence on his brother and on Henry's unruly young ward, and he strikes a deal with her to return with them to their estate.

But the family has their own secrets, and when Cara, drawn ever closer to Henry, stumbles onto the truth, she must choose between following her heart and pursuing a bold plan that could bring disaster.


My Review

I was surprised by Cara's naiveté and the potentially dangerous situations she allows herself to be drawn into. Fortunately the people she encounters and trusts don't have nefarious intentions, but I was worried for her the whole time she was in London! I can see how her sisters worried over her and her impulsive tendencies. I enjoyed the art scene she finds herself in and the way Cara is excited to develop her talent and passion as she searches for a purpose for her life. She is good for Henry and it was fun to see their very different personalities complement each other. A sweet romance with difficult family dynamics and secrets that create an interesting plot. A nice finish to the series!

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



Don't miss the previous books in the London Beginnings series . . .

Book One
Heidi Reads... The Captain's Daughter by Jennifer Delamere


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

Synopsis

When a series of circumstances beyond her control leave Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater which is presenting the most popular show in London. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage.

An injury during a skirmish in India has forced Nate Moran out of the army until he recovers. Filling his time at a stable of horses for hire in London, he has also spent the past two months working nights as a stagehand, filling in for his injured brother. Although he’s glad he can help his family through a tough time, he is counting the days until he can rejoin his regiment. London holds bitter memories for him that he is anxious to escape. But then he meets the beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate can’t wait to leave behind.

Book Two
Heidi Reads... The Heart's Appeal by Jennifer Delamere


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

Synopsis

Strong-minded and independent Julia Bernay comes to London to study medicine and become a doctor--a profession that has only just opened up to women. She witnesses a serious accident, and through her quick actions saves the life of an ambitious young barrister named Michael Stephenson.

Coming from a family that long ago lost its money and its respectability, Michael Stephenson has achieved what many would have thought was impossible. Hard work and an aptitude for the law have enabled him to rise above his family's stigma and set him on the path to wealth and recognition. But his well-laid plans are upended when the accident brings Julia into his life.

Michael soon discovers he's met a woman every bit as stubborn and determined to make her mark on the world as he is. Sparks fly--but will they find common ground?



Review: Charming the Shortstop by Heather B. Moore, Rebecca Connolly, Sophia Summers


https://amzn.to/2Uv8SD5

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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

Synopsis

He’s not looking. She’s been burned. But sparks fly, and they decide to go on a date. Just this once.

When professional baseball player Axel Diaz travels back to Belltown University for a friend’s wedding, he’s not planning on bringing a date. Until he meets Brighton West, the flight attendant who he can’t get off his mind. Although dubbed “Cold Axe” by some of his female fans, Axel asks Brighton to be his date to the wedding, all the while wondering why of all times and places he is breaking his no-dating streak. But the more he gets to know Brighton, the more he realizes she may be the one woman who can melt his cold heart.


My Review

Axel may be my favorite of the Belltown Six so far! He's devoted to his mother, teenage sister, and career, leaving no time for dating... but that's just an excuse. He doesn't feel like he's relationship material because of his issues with his father. It was great to see how his strong feelings for Brighton make him see that the risk is worth taking. I loved how he was a little vulnerable around her, and made his interest known instead of playing games. Brighton is overwhelmed by him but as she focuses on Axel as a person instead of his baseball fame, she sees what makes him so amazing. Their developing relationship was a pleasure to read, and even though there isn't a huge conflict or climax, the character-driven story made me so glad for their happy ending. Loving this series! The books are written so they can be read in any order, so don't hesitate to pick one up!

(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.


https://amzn.to/2EEdT2m

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








Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Double Review: The Sewing Sisters' Society & A Most Inconvenient Love by Ruth Logan Herne



https://amzn.to/2DjqoiL

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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

Synopsis

Hattie McGillicuddy might not look like your typical matchmaker, but Hattie makes things happen in the little town of Second Chance, South Dakota. With the arrival of the railroad and official statehood, Hattie’s determined to bring brides west, and not just any brides. Brides who need the wide open prairie as much as the prairie- and the prairie men- need them! Three pioneer stories of unlikely love are woven around a little town full of homespun characters that take us back to another place and another time but with the same faith, hope and love we cherish today.

Macy can’t sew a lick, and she’s come to town with a sacrifice and a secret, but when Hattie’s first apprentice is attracted to the pastor of the only church in town—the man raising her illegitimate son— will the truth set her free? Or make her leave the town and her son behind?

Unjustly accused, Nellie comes west to escape the law. She has a way with tucks and gathers, and every Western town could use more tucks and gathers. She’s determined to improve the drab look of the prairie and manages to brighten hearts as well. But will her quick speech and firm ideas of women’s suffrage draw Levi Eichas closer or send the somber carriage maker running?

Grief has robbed Ann Hazel, but when her aunt pushes her to go west and help an ailing Hattie McGillicuddy turn hems, Ann’s shamed into it. She’s managed to avoid life for awhile, but when Sol Eichas’s nanny comes down sick, Ann reluctantly agrees to help. As she winds her way around Sol’s heart and home, can the two troubled souls leave the past behind to embrace a future together?


My Review

These stories of sweet romance and a second chance at life and love worked perfectly as novellas in a collection. I liked that they had the same setting in a small but developing town, and exploring the relationships between each couple. Hattie is a sweetheart and I enjoyed her personality and the way she mentored the young women, providing a common thread connecting the stories. I felt like I got to know the characters quickly and connected to their struggles and feelings. Well-written novellas are a pleasure to read for the instant gratification of a happy ending ;) The following full-length book in the series, A Most Inconvenient Love, is a must-read to follow up with the lives of each of these endearing couples as they make up a strong supporting cast.

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


https://amzn.to/2VbQQW1

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

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

Synopsis

Sober businessman Seb Ward may have come from a wealthy lumber-baron family in Minnesota, but he knows that appearances can be deceiving, and that his illustrious family is pretty dysfunctional. Being in another state has provided the buffer he sought from his father’s misdeeds, but when a little boy shows up on a train… a little boy who looks enough like Seb to be his own child… Seb’s faced with a dilemma. Raise the boy as his own, or let his mother suffer the embarrassment of “a brother by another mother.” And when the boy takes a shine to the Rachel Eichas, the newly contracted school teacher, Seb can’t help but do the same. But Rachel was raised by an unloving, business-first father and there’s no way she’s looking for those same qualities in a husband. Can she see through Seb’s focus and drive to find the loving man within?

My Review

I enjoyed this sweet story of a lumber mill owner and the local schoolteacher and how they came together despite some misunderstandings and conflicts in the town. I felt like I was missing a bit of backstory to many of the townspeople and family members that are mentioned, and while the author did a decent job catching the reader up, I wish that I had read The Sewing Sisters' Society novella collection first, where it tells their stories so I could get to know them first and appreciate them more in this book. I appreciated Sebastian's loyalty to his mother and self-sacrifice in taking on his young half-brother without dispelling the rumors, but hoping that his character would speak for itself. Rachel learned about trust as she got to know Sebastian and determine for herself what kind of man he was. She went through some difficult years with her strict father, but enduring that trial strengthened her and her sisters, as well as their bond. I enjoyed her disposition- friendly and helpful, but cautious and thoughtful as well. I liked the small town setting and the way the neighbors supported each other, even with the typical busybodies and negativity stemming from gossip and the disgruntled. The tone of the narrative was a bit peculiar, and it was interesting the way the author wove in snippets of scripture as they came to the minds of the characters.

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

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Review: A Song for the Stars by Ilima Todd





My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

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

Synopsis

Inspired by a true story

Hawaiian Islands, 1779

As the second daughter of a royal chief, Maile will be permitted to marry for love. Her fiancé is the best navigator in Hawaiʻi, and he taught her everything he knows—how to feel the ocean, observe the winds, read the stars, and how to love.

But when sailors from a strange place called England arrive on her island, a misunderstanding ends in battle, and Maile is suddenly widowed before she is wed.

Finding herself in the middle of the battle and fearing for her life, Maile takes John Harbottle, the wounded man who killed her fiancé, prisoner, and though originally intending to let him die, she reluctantly heals him. And in the process, she discovers the man she thought was her enemy might be her ally instead.

John has been Captain James Cook’s translator for three voyages across the Pacific. He is kind and clearly fascinated with her homeland and her people—and Maile herself. But guilt continues to drive a wedge between them: John’s guilt over the death he caused, and Maile’s guilt over the truth about what triggered the deadly battle—a secret she’s kept hidden from everyone on the island.

When Maile is tasked with teaching John how to navigate using the stars so he can sail back to England, they must also navigate the challenges of being from very different cultures. In doing so, they might also find the peace that comes when two hearts become one.


My Review

I loved the way the two perspectives of Maile and John were shared in this book- both in first person perspective, with Maile telling the story and John's through journal entries. Sometimes letters or journals in storytelling makes me hesitant, but the author used it very successfully here, with John's emotions coming out clearly, his sense of wonder over the fascinating culture, his struggles vulnerabilities. Maile has tones of Disney's Moana with her independence, love of the ocean, and loyalty to her people. The historical story has darker themes however, with culture clash, misunderstanding, war, death, and grief. I thought the author did such a good job balancing the strong elements of the book and weaving them together- character development, interesting history and culture of the Hawaiian people, action with the battle scenes, and significant moments between Maile and John. They are both working through the devastation of loss, but Maile especially is confused and overwhelmed as she grieves her fiancé, heals and protects John, defends her father, worries over her people and the future, and experiences kindness from John. I liked seeing the lighter moments between them when they make each other laugh and some playfulness come out. John coming to know the ocean in the special way that Maile does is profound to him and deepens their connection. Their romance is so sweet and genuine and heartfelt. I appreciated the lovely storytelling that made this book stand out and it's one I highly recommend! 

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


Monday, April 8, 2019

Review & Giveaway: The Unexpected Champion by Mary Connealy


http://justreadtours.com/2019/04/08/welcome-to-the-unexpected-champion-blog-tour-giveaway

Book Three in the High Sierra Sweethearts series

Heidi Reads... The Unexpected Champion by Mary Connealy

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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

Synopsis

City dweller John McCall never expected to be out in the High Sierras of 1868 on a wild-goose chase to find the Chiltons' supposedly lost grandson. But now that he's out here, things have gotten even more complicated, mostly due to wildcat Penny Scott. She's not like any woman he's ever met--comfortable in the woods, with a horse, and with a gun.

When Penny and John are taken against their will by a shadowy figure looking for evidence they don't have, both realize they've stumbled into something dangerous and complicated. With their friends and family desperately searching for them, Penny and John must make a daring escape.

When they emerge back into the real world, they are confronted with a kidnapper who just won't stop. They must bring a powerful, ruthless man to justice, even as this city man and country woman fight a very inconvenient attraction to each other.


My Review

The conclusion to the High Sierra Sweethearts series did not disappoint! Full of adventure, humor, and tough characters with tender hearts. I enjoyed getting to know Penny more, and John had some surprises up his sleeve in this book! He has a great attitude, and I was impressed that he was so proactive in hunting down his kidnapper instead of remaining a victim. Penny and he are a great match as they both learn from each other's very different skill set. I liked the new settings the characters explored and the new types of adventure as they investigate in the city. I felt like this third book brought something fresh to the series as well as wrapping up the loose ends of the mystery and bringing more of the characters we fell in love with in the first two books. I'd love to read novellas for Adam and Utah!

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



Don't miss the previous books in the High Sierra Sweethearts series . . .

Book One
 Heidi Reads... The Accidental Guardian by Mary Connealy

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

Synopsis

She's the only witness to a wagon train attack. Keeping her safe, though, means his world is about to be turned upside down.

When Trace Riley finds the smoldering ruins of a small wagon train, he recognizes an attack by the same group who left him as sole survivor years ago. Living off the wilderness since then, he's finally carved out a home and started a herd--while serving as a self-appointed guardian of the trail. He'd hoped the days of driving off dangerous men were over, but the latest attack shows otherwise.

Deborah Harkness saved her younger sister and two toddlers during the attack, and now finds herself at the mercy of her rescuer. Trace becomes an accidental guardian when he offers the only shelter for miles around and agrees to take them in until they can safely continue their journey. His simple bachelor existence never anticipated kids and women in the picture and their arrival is unsettling--yet enticing.

Trace and Deborah find themselves drawing ever closer as they work together to bring justice to the trail and help the group survive the winter--but every day closer to spring means a day closer to leaving the mountains forever.

Book Two
Heidi Reads... The Reluctant Warrior by Mary Connealy


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

Synopsis

Union army officer Cameron Scott is used to being obeyed, but nothing about this journey to Lake Tahoe has gone as expected. He's come to fetch his daughter and nephew, and seek revenge on the people who killed his brother. Instead he finds himself trapped by a blizzard with two children who are terrified of him and stubborn but beautiful Gwen Harkness, who he worries may be trying to keep the children.

When danger descends on the cabin where they're huddled, Cam is hurt trying to protect everyone and now finds Gwen caring for him too. He soon realizes why the kids love her so much and wonders if it might be best for him to move on without them. When she sees his broken heart, Gwen decides to help him win back their affection--and in the process he might just win her heart as well.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Mary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.

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GIVEAWAY


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http://justreadtours.com/2019/04/08/welcome-to-the-unexpected-champion-blog-tour-giveaway