Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Review: Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey

Book Four in the Chesapeake Valor series

Heidi Reads... Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing



Private Investigator Kate Maxwell never stopped loving Luke Gallagher after he disappeared. Now he's back, and together they must unravel a twisting thread of secrets, lies, and betrayal while on the brink of a biological disaster that will shake America to its core. Will they and their love survive, or will Luke and Kate become the terrorist's next target?

My Review

This is a fast-paced, gripping, and intense book, the conclusion of the Chesapeake Valor series that follows a group of friends that serve in various fields of criminal justice. I was so excited to read Kate and Luke's story, especially since he's been such a mystery from the beginning. This is a series that I think is best read in order, but honestly you could still read Dead Drift on its own and be fine. I appreciate that the author catches the reader up with the characters and their relationships without info-dumping the plots of the previous books, so even if you read this book first, you can still go back and enjoy the stories of the other friends in the previous three books (which are all excellent!)

I loved learning more about Luke and Kate's relationship from when they were together before his prolonged absence courtesy of the CIA. It showed why they never gave up on each other and made their reunion that much sweeter- after Kate gave him heck to pay, of course ;) The highly dangerous cases they are working on solving and attacks they are trying to prevent bring them closer together, and also heighten the fears they have of losing each other again. They have issues to work out and also get to know each other again as the changes people they have become- although the important things haven't changed. They have amazing chemistry, and I also loved the deeper ways they connect, through their faith and supporting each other.

Besides the terrorist case Luke is leading, Griffin and Finley are following up clues from his sister Jenna's murder, and the two plots woven together create a nice balance and kept the pace cracking along, making the book impossible to put down. With twists and turns along the way and dramatic, nail-biting climaxes, the story wraps up with satisfying conclusions for this group of friends that have become tight-knit and stalwart once again. Highly recommend this book and the entire 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 Chesapeake Valor series . . .

Book One
Heidi Reads... Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey



In college, Griffin McCray and his four best friends had their lives planned out. Griffin and Luke Gallagher would join the Baltimore PD. Declan Gray would head to the FBI and Parker Mitchell would go on to graduate school as a crime scene analyst. But then Luke vanished before graduation and their world--and friendships--crumbled.

Now Griffin is a park ranger at Gettysburg, having left life as a SWAT-team sniper when a case went bad. The job is mostly quiet--until the day he captures two relic hunters uncovering skeletal remains near Little Round Top. Griffin just wants the case to go away, but charming forensic anthropologist Finley Scott determines that the body is modern--a young social justice lawyer missing since spring--and all evidence points to the work of an expert sniper. When FBI agent Declan Gray takes over the case, past and present collide. Griffin soon realizes he'll need to confront some of the darkest days of his life if he--and those he cares about--are going to escape a downward spiral of murder that crosses continents.

Book Two



Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright--and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.

Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead--and the photographer insists he didn't take the shot. Worse, her friend can't be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.

 Book Three



FBI agent Declan Grey is in the chase of his life--but isn't sure exactly what he's chasing after. Threatened by a terrorist that "the wrath is coming," Grey fears something horrible is about to be unleashed on American soil. When his investigation leads him to a closed immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw to help him. She's sought justice for refugees and the hurting around the world, and if there's anyone who can help him, it's Tanner.

Tanner Shaw has joined the FBI as a crisis counselor . . . meaning she now has more opportunity to butt heads with Declan. But that tension also includes a spark she can't deny, and she's pretty sure Declan feels the same. But before anything can develop between them, they discover evidence of a terror cell--and soon are in a race against the clock to stop the coming "wrath" that could cost thousands their lives.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Review: Alaskan Hideaway by Beth Carpenter

Heidi Reads... Alaskan Hideaway by Beth Carpenter

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it



He traveled 3,800 miles to be alone… but is it what he really wants?

Relocating to Alaska after a family tragedy seemed an ideal way for author R.D. “Mac” Macleod to grieve in peace. But solitude feels overrated when Mac’s around B&B owner Ursula Anderson and her orphaned goddaughter, Rory, who’s already bonding with his dog. Worse, he’s imagining a future with Ursula and Rory. Is it time to finally forgive himself?

My Review

The gentle pace of this story took me a bit to get into, but I enjoyed Ursula's story of those in her life whom she loves and supports. She and Mac are an older couple which generally isn't my preferred age for the romance books I read, but I appreciated their perspective on life, their wisdom and sacrifices. Ursula is active with running the inn and cross-country skiing, and brings joy to many, including the young girl she is raising and her friends and family in the community. I loved how she and various business owners quickly work together to throw a reporter off the scent of Mac's trail. 

Mac is one tormented character, and the persistence of Ursula's genuine compassion and acts of kindness draw him out of the darkness where he can feel hope and experience a respite from his inner pain. As their friendship deepens, Mac is able to provide support to Ursula as well, and though they have their share of bumps in the road, the romance blossomed naturally. The setting of Alaska in the winter was perfect and I loved the little details that brought it to life, especially the reindeer run which sounds like a riot! Alaskan Hideaway is a nice follow up to the previous books in the series, and I look forward to more from the author.

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

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Guest Post & Giveaway: Falling for the Cowgirl by Tina Radcliffe

Welcome to my stop on the JustRead Publicity Tour's BLOG TOUR for Falling for the Cowgirl by Tina Radcliffe!



Title: Falling for the Cowgirl
Series: Big Heart Ranch, Book 2
Author: Tina Radcliffe
Publisher: Love Inspired
Release Date: June 19, 2018 (Print) July 1, 2018 (Ebook)
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Western
Links: Goodreads l Book Bub

Traveling for Book Research
By Tina Radcliffe

Confession time! I the only place I have ever traveled for research is to the deep and scary recesses 
of my mind.
I’ve lived in many places, which is a plus when deciding where to set a book. I’m from Western New 
York, mere blocks from Lake Erie. I’ve lived many years in Oklahoma, Colorado and now Arizona. 
During my time in the Army, I temporarily called Alabama, Massachusetts, and Germany home.
I first learned to appreciate the unique attributes of each home when I was in Germany. The barracks 
I lived in originally housed the German Luftwaffe. I can remember hanging out the window one 
evening and looking at the Gablingen Kaserne (my base) and thinking, I may never pass this way again. 
(Okay, yes, Seals & Crofts did inspire that thought).
There are distinctly unique locale memories from every place I have lived. The key is to layer the details 
in to enrich your story, not to create a travelogue.
Western New York: Picking grapes in summer, building snow forts in winter.
Alabama: Red ants. During basic training, I sat on a hill which turned out to be red ants.
Massachusetts: I’ll never forget visiting Walden Pond, and Author’s Ridge, a section of Sleepy Hollow 
Cemetery in Concord.
Oklahoma: Too many wonderful memories. I lived there for nearly two decades, which is why I’ve set 
six Love Inspired books here.
Colorado: I called home for 17 years. My favorite local. I have set 4 Love Inspired books there.
Arizona: My current home. Is it time for an Arizona series?

My favorite writer’s trick is to create a fictional town based on a real town. This allows me the structure 
I need for planning distance, evaluating the weather and flora. It also allows me use my past to bring the 
story to life. The other plus is that using a fictional town allows you artistic license. There will be no 
reader letters to advise you that the Denny’s on the corner of Main and State Street is now closed.
As a contemporary fiction writer are many ways to enhance and update my memory.
Google Earth- This tool provides a 3D map of the earth and the street 
view. I used this to explore Del Norte, Colorado the fictional setting for 
my Paradise books and to get the layout for Pawhuska, Oklahoma for 
Big Heart Ranch series.
YouTube videos- We all know the value of YouTube for learning a new 
skill. I’ve used it to watch recordings of tornados (though I have been 
in several) and to view a road trip my hero and heroine would take.
Online forums- Online tourist forums and the comments on popular 
sites like Yelp are hugely helpful to discover nuggets of information 
about local eateries and traditions.
Chamber of Commerce- Don’t forget to contact the chamber for your 
fictional or real location. They can send booklets and brochures that 
can trigger story ideas. I’ve called and talked to them to verify facts.

Interviews- It goes without saying that interviews are a great way to make sure you have the correct 
information. I called and spoke to a local sheriff for one of my Paradise series books and have spoken 
to quite a few experts on the phone for my Big Heart series. A few simple questions answered by an 
expert can untangle a plot issue.

To me, it’s as much fun to layout a fictional town as it is to create compelling characters. Some authors 
would argue that a well build fictional world is as much a character as the hero or heroine. I agree.
What do you think? Do you enjoy fictional towns? Or do you prefer authors set books in real location?

She won the job… Can he win her heart?

Hiring Amanda “AJ” McAlester as his assistant at the Big Heart Ranch isn’t foreman Travis Maxwell’s first choice—but his sisters insist she’s perfect for the job. And AJ’s determined to prove she’s just as qualified as any man. But with money on the line, AJ and her innovative ideas could put him at risk of losing everything…including his heart.


Tina March 2018 2
Originally from Western, N.Y., Tina Radcliffe left home for a tour of duty with the Army Security Agency stationed in Augsburg, Germany and ended up in Tulsa Oklahoma. While living in Tulsa she spent ten years as a Certified Oncology R.N. Her move to Colorado led to a career as a library cataloger. A freelance writer for over twenty years, Tina is a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, two-time Carol Award finalist, and a 2014 ACFW Carol Award winner. She currently resides in Arizona where she writes fun, heartwarming romance.

Stay up to date on all her releases by signing up for her newsletter HERE. (http://bit.ly/2angfWP)

TO CONNECT WITH TINA: website, facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram, Book Bub


Tina has graciously offered (1) winner an awesome Falling for the Cowgirl prize pack that includes:

  • An autographed copy of Falling for the Cowgirl
  • Corkcicle Canteen Classic Collection-Water Bottle & Thermos-Triple Insulated Shatterproof Stainless Steel, 9 oz, Gloss Pink
  • ESVAN Original Floral Tote Bag Shoulder Bag for Gym Hiking Picnic Travel Beach
  • $20.00 Amazon Gift Card

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below.  Complete prize open to US mailing addresses only. If international winner, winner will win the gift card only.

ENTER HERE or use the Entry Form below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway will begin at midnight June 25, 2018 and last through 11:59 PM on July 4, 2018. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Be sure to stop at a stop each day for extra entries!


For the full tour schedule, click on either of the launch pages below.

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Review: Narcissistic Tendencies by Jennifer Peel

Heidi Reads... Narcissistic Tendencies by Jennifer Peel

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing



Psychologist Kate Morgan loves her job evaluating clients for the matchmaking service Binary Search. That is, until the one and only Nicholas Wells becomes a client and the new face of the company. Now Kate must take on a new role as his relationship manager to "fix" the actor-turned-writer-and-producer--not to mention egotistical, possibly narcissistic celebrity--and save Binary Search's reputation.

Once upon a time this would have been a dream come true, but older, wiser, and live-within-her-rules Kate knows more than she would like to about narcissists. Annulment is an ugly word and one she can't or won't forget. But is Nick the man he says he is on paper or is he the man she sees before her eyes? An adoring father with a generous heart who's willing to smooth out some of his rough edges for the right woman, making her think who's fixing who?

Can this Hollywood playboy and reluctant matchmaker make the ultimate connection?

My Review

Yup. Once again, a late night finish since I can't seem to put down a Jennifer Peel book once I've started. All the characters are so vivid, and the first person perspective really puts the reader in the mind of Kate. I loved her voice and way of looking at things, from a psychologist's point of view. She understands her own flaws and hangups, and struggles to trust and risk a deeper relationship with others. The dynamics between her and Nick are fascinating and realistic, and she is very much aware of his appeal and the way it overshadows the narcissistic personality he described on his questionnaire. It was fun to watch her discover his true nature and him deal with her doubts and resistance. I loved the motherly type bond she forms with his daughter Skye, as it shows her nurturing and loving side, and the genuine way she embraces those she decides to let in. The chemistry between Kate and Nick is pretty strong from the beginning, but it's when they begin to understand each other and deepen their friendship that the hesitancy drops and sparks fly. I loved the way I was able to connect with the characters in this book, even when it was told from one point of view. Tears came to my eyes at a couple points in the story which is a big indication that I'm fully immersed. Loved this book and highly recommend!

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

Don't miss the first two awesome books in the Dating by Design series!

Book One



Kenadie Marshall suffered the most public of humiliations, being left at the altar. Instead of wallowing in her misery, she makes it her mission to help others find true and lasting love, all while swearing off relationships for good. Between the software application she developed and a team of relationship managers, her brainchild, Binary Search, has an uncanny knack for choosing the perfect match almost every time.

Attractive and loveable Jason Hadley is taken with Kenadie Marshall from their first meeting. Determined to win her over, he does anything and everything he can think of, even if it means using her firm’s service and dating other women to stay close to her.

Will Kenadie realize she’s met her match before it’s too late? Or will Jason’s ploy go too far? Find out in His Personal Relationship Manager, a romantic comedy with an epic battle of wills.

Book Two



Two professional matchmakers. One fake relationship. He's a playboy. She's a good girl. What could possibly go wrong?

According to Binary Search's matchmaking service, Meg and Zander's odds of ever having a successful relationship are statistically improbable. Meg has run the numbers and knows the probability, but for some reason she can't quit thinking about her coworker, Zander--the self-proclaimed eternal bachelor.

To make matters more interesting, Zander approaches her with an unusual proposition. He's in need of a pretend girlfriend. Meg thinks this could be the answer to get him out of her system, and maybe knock the arrogant man down a few notches in the process. But what she doesn't realize is there is more to this man, something he carefully hides behind his arrogant exterior. And when her feelings begin to be anything but pretend, she knows the odds of getting hurt are more than probable.

Will they let the odds over come them, or will they find that all the reasons they are wrong for each other are exactly what make them a perfect fit?