Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Review: Marrying Christopher by Michele Paige Holmes

Heidi Reads... Marrying Christopher by Michele Paige Holmes

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


Having seen both his sisters Grace and Helen happily married, Christopher Thatcher is free to pursue his dream of life in America. With adventure in his heart and mind, he boards one of the first steamships set to cross the Atlantic in the record breaking time of only twenty-five days. Within the first two of those, his resolve—to avoid women and the complications they often bring to a man’s life—falters when he meets Marsali Abbott, a young woman with a past even more troubling than his own. Whether from years of habit protecting his sisters, or simply because he feels drawn to Marsali, Christopher chooses to help her and becomes her friend. As the truth about what awaits Marsali in America becomes evident, he is faced with a more difficult choice, one that will impact their lives far beyond four weeks together at sea.

My Review

It took me a while to get into this story because of some repetition in thoughts and uninteresting depictions of the steam ship, but about halfway through, things really pick up and get interesting. It's hard to describe the last half of the book since I don't want to spoil the twists and they are not mentioned in the official book synopsis. Suffice it to say that there is action, miscommunications, longing, romance, and a few more villains thrown in. Throughout all the unfortunate circumstances awaiting in America, Christopher and Marsali's love strengthens in the face of adversity and I had to keep quickly reading to see how it would all play out. Christopher's siblings from the first two books make appearances and the outcome of those books is explained, so if you plan on reading them as well I recommend reading them in order. Otherwise, this novel can be read as a stand alone just fine.

(Thank you to Ebooks for Review for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Review: Falling Like Snowflakes by Denise Hunter

Heidi Reads... Falling Like Snowflakes by Denise Hunter

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


When the Christmas season finds Eden in Summer Harbor, Maine, she's on the run from trouble. Romance is the last thing on her mind.

Riding in a bus in the thickly falling snow, Eden Davis wonders how it ever came to this- fleeing under cover of night with young Micah sleeping fitfully in the seat beside her. When a winter storm strands them in Summer Harbor, Maine, Eden wonders if what might have been the end could be a new beginning.

Beau Callahan is a habitual problem-solver. He's recently left his job with the sheriff's department to take over the family Christmas tree farm to save it from insolvency. But he's flummoxed. During the busiest season of the year, he's shorthanded. Then Eden shows up looking for work, and Beau believes he's been rescued. Competent, smart, and beautiful, Eden's also guarded and quiet. He soon figures out she comes with a boatload of secrets. But Beau can't seem to help himself from falling for her.

As Christmas Eve approaches, Beau discovers he'll do anything to keep Eden safe. But who's going to protect his heart from a woman who can't seem to trust again?

My Review

Such a great story! I seriously don't know how Eden kept it together in her dire circumstances. She is the consummate survivor and mama bear, doing whatever it takes to keep her son safe. Her past is revealed in bits and pieces so there is a feeling of suspense involved. Beau has a lot on his plate with his work, his family, and his love life. Even though it seems like he rescues Eden, she is also rescuing Beau's family during their own crisis. Their relationship is platonic since Beau is her employer and has a girlfriend (that his younger brother is suffering unrequited love for), but as they rely on each other their friendship grows and attraction flares. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this complicated story and seeing how things worked out. Beau and Eden are great together and I also can't wait to read the stories of his brothers since we got to know a little about their past and see the direction of their paths...

(Thank you to BookLook Bloggers and Thomas Nelson Publishing  for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon Wrap-up

I didn't get all 11 of my books read- a little ambitious for life with a toddler ;) but I was happy to get the following read during the read-a-thon...


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Review: Love's Every Whisper by Naomi Rawlings

Heidi Reads... Love's Every Whisper by Naomi Rawlings

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


Victoria Donnelly is, as always, a failure. With five years of failed courtships behind her and the calendar inching closer to another birthday, Victoria's determined to redeem herself and snag a proposal from a wealthy childhood acquaintance, Gilbert Sinclair. But returning to Eagle Harbor stirs up long forgotten memories. And worse, old affection for her betrothed's enemy.

Elijah Cummings has loved Victoria for fifteen years. But fishermen's sons don't marry shipping barons' daughters. He knows it. She knows it. The entire town knows it. Resolved to keep his distance from Victoria, Elijah focuses on establishing a much needed life-saving station, risking his own life by rescuing sailors stuck aboard shipwrecks.

He knows how to save drowning sailors, but how is he to save a woman from the biggest mistake of her life—without destroying both their hearts in the process?

My Review

This is one of those rare occasions where I loved the second book in a series more than the first! What stood out to me the most was how much action was depicted with the scenes of Elijah and his crew rescuing sailors and passengers from boats that hit rocks or sandbars during frigid storms on Lake Superior. I loved Elijah's passion for saving lives that otherwise would have been needlessly lost. His love for Victoria seems hopeless, but they continue to encounter each other and their restrained affection creates a palpable romantic tension. Every character in the story is flawed (some more than others) but all came to life because of their determination through the struggles each faced. I was sad for the emotional abuse Victoria endures from her family and Gilbert and how each attempt at expressing herself was met with contempt and manipulation. Thankfully she forms an unlikely bond with Elijah's defiant sister Rebekah and through her example learns of the true source of strength and confidence- relying on the Lord. Elijah and Victoria each focus on certain scripture verses for help as they struggle to follow their hearts amid pressure and conflict from family and the community.

(Thank you to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

E-book sale: $1.99 for Tried and True by Mary Connealy

Tried and True

Only $1.99 for the e-book of the first book in Mary Connealy's current series Wild at Heart. I loved the first two books Tried & True and Now & Forever, rating them both 5 stars. (Read my review for Tried & True here and Now & Forever here). The third and final book, Fire & Ice will be released on October 6th.
(Be sure to check the price since e-book sales are for a limited time)


Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters!

Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister—and the most civilized. Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It’s a risk—they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as “boys”—but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.

Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Review: Love's Unfading Light by Naomi Rawlings

Heidi Reads... Love's Unfading Light by Naomi Rawlings

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


Tressa Danell is finished with men—from the wastrel who left her a widow, to the smelly trapper who keeps proposing, to the banker who wants to repossess her bakery. Every hour is spent working to pay off her late husband’s debt and keep a roof over her son’s head, though it’s doubtful she can do both for very long. But one thing’s certain—she’ll never be beholden to a man again.

Tired of living in a small town that blames him for actions his father committed ten years ago, Mac Oakton is scheduled to leave Eagle Harbor. So why does the pretty widow at the bakery keep tugging at his heart? He can’t get involved in her predicament when he’ll only be around for two more weeks.

But when Tressa’s burdens overwhelm her, they both face a decision. Can Mac set his own plans aside to help? And can Tressa accept his support if that means giving up her independence . . . and being obligated to a man again?

My Review

In the setting of the Great Lakes and a lighthouse community is a story of triumph over trials by seeking God's unwavering love during tribulation. There is an overall feeling of tension and despondency as Tressa is struggling just to keep her head above water. I just couldn't see how things were going to work out, but I was rooting for her and Mac the whole time and trusting that a happy ending would come. I enjoyed the few occasions of playful teasing between them which was a surprise and contrasted sharply with the mood of the book. It was difficult to bond with the community since both Mac and Tressa were victims of blatant hostility, gossip and prejudice for the sins of his father and her husband, they each only had one family of friends to turn to. I'm looking forward to reading the newly released second book in the series since this first book introduces the main characters that follow. I would recommend Love's Unfading Light to fans of Jody Hedlund's Beacons of Hope series.

(I purchased a copy of this book; this is my honest review)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Review: A Match for Addy by Emma Miller

 Heidi Reads... A Match for Addy by Emma Miller

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


Spinster Addy Coblentz fears she'll never marry. So her parents hire the new matchmaker who's moved to their Amish community of Seven Poplars. But Addy doesn't just want a match. She wants love. While some of her potential suitors are perfectly fine, only one man catches her eye. Gideon Esch is everything Addy's looking for: strong, kind—and handsome. But he's only a poor hired hand who can never give her family the stability they want. With her future happiness at stake, will Addy follow the rules…or follow her heart?

My Review

I liked the twists in this book. While Addy wants her own family, she is horrified that her parents hired the matchmaker to help her, especially when she is attracted to newcomer Gideon. She has lots of people giving her advice and trying to refine her rougher edges. I had a hard time with her mother who is sharp and seems to be acting in self-interest when she insists Addy marry for wealth so they will be taken care of in their old age. Gideon's thoughts are funny as he doesn't think he's ready to settle down or find a bride... until Addy slowly gets under his skin. They are sweet and fun together, even in their hard moments. A well-rounded story with a nice ending.

(Thank you to Harlequin and Love Inspired Books for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Review & Giveaway: Heart's Journey by Kristen McKendry

Heidi Reads... Heart's Journey by Kristen McKendry

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


Adventure is in her blood, so when wealthy eighteen-year-old Rachel Hamilton’s treasure hunting father disappears in the wilderness of British Columbia, she considers only one course of action: she will embark on a quest to find him. But for a well bred woman with little understanding of the world beyond her upper class existence, the harsh realities of the trail quickly become apparent. Woefully unprepared for the hardships of crossing a wild and unsettled continent, Rachel is hungry, lost, and distraught when handsome frontiersman Peter finds her in the middle of nowhere. Taking pity on the downtrodden young woman, Peter promises to escort her to the safety of civilization. Little does he realize he’s taking on a naïve and foolishly brave girl who will test the limits of his patience. But he also discovers the same naïve girl will blossom into a strong, competent, and captivating woman as they undertake an epic journey that will forever alter both their lives.

My Review

Heart's Journey is a wonderful book with characters that come alive and a well-paced adventure through the wilds of Canada. There are some harrowing moments, but what I loved was how Rachel slowly grew as she is exposed to a whole new world and the people in it, both good and bad. Peter is essential in helping her on this journey, not only physically but mentally as she learns to see things from a new perspective and reconsiders the quick judgements she makes based on her limited upbringing. The families they interact and bond with are endearing and create an excellent cast of secondary characters. The various terrains they travel across are easy to visualize and appreciate in their wild beauty, even through their desperate circumstances. I loved how Rachel came to prefer the freedom of the great outdoors after her body grew acclimated to the tough conditions. The book has the vibe of an epic pioneer trek but with a more unique setting and a variety of interesting subplots. The romance was perfect and enhanced the tale of Rachel's journey rather than becoming the focus of the book. There are great moments between she and Peter as their relationship also undergoes a journey of its own. Highly recommend!

(Thank you to Covenant Communications for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Review: Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund

Heidi Reads... Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


It is 1814 and the British have taken hold of Mackinac Island and its fort, forcing American residents to swear an oath of loyalty to the British crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a voyageur--a fur trader who left his family home to find freedom and adventure. He's been gone five years and when he returns, his family's farm is at the mercy of the British invaders.
Torn between the life he's grown used to and guilt over leaving his brother and mother, he's drawn back into the loyalist fight against the British--and into a relationship with Angelique Mackenzie, a beautiful local girl who's been befriended by the daughter of the British commander. As tensions mount and the threat of violence increases, both Angelique and Pierre must decide where their loyalties rest, how far they will go to find freedom, and how much they will risk to find love.

My Review

This novel is set in an amazing place and time. I felt like I learned so much about a part of the country and a period in history that was glossed over in my education (I had a horrible history teacher- so tragic!) The characters in this book made it come alive and it was so easy to envision every aspect. My attention was held throughout and didn't feel as though the story was predictable. Because the island is somewhat isolated and caught between two sides in a war, there is a feeling of tension and loneliness and apprehension. Angelique lives in circumstances that elicit pity, yet she is strong, brave, and compassionate. I admired her sacrifice as she kept the mother of Pierre alive through the harsh winter in depraved conditions. Pierre was a bit too cocky for me yet he is undergoing a humbling change as he turns from the ways of his past and moves towards God. Even though the future is uncertain and full of danger, Pierre and Angelique have a camaraderie and banter that make falling in love easy, even though they fight against it for various complicated reasons.

(Thank you to Bethany House Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

Review: Her Christmas Guardian by Shirlee McCoy

 Heidi Reads... Her Christmas Guardian by Shirlee McCoy

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it


Former army ranger Boone Anderson immediately senses danger when he spots Scout Cramer and her precious little girl while holiday shopping. Then two cars suddenly give chase in the parking lot—kidnapping the child. His worst suspicions are confirmed, and professional instincts propel him into action. Having lost his own infant daughter years before, Boone is determined to reunite the beautiful single mother and her missing child. But when a secret from Scout's past finally catches up to her, she must work with her self-appointed guardian to save her daughter. Before the kidnappers cancel Christmas for all of them… permanently.

My Review

There was definitely a feeling of desperation in this suspense novel of kidnapping and hostage rescue. I liked the characters and the team that Boone worked with. The sense of connection between Scout and Boone helped make the light romantic feelings between them believable in the midst of a crisis. There were some plot points that felt muddled and didn't quite come together, as well as some decisions made by the police and hostage team that didn't seem realistic.

(Thank you to Harlequin and Love Inspired Books for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)