Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Review & Giveaway! Trouble in Paradise by Karen Tuft

Trouble in Paradise by Karen Tuft

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it



Andy Kendrick has always dreamed of bigger things than tiny Eagle Bluff, Arizona. So when the opportunity arises to shake off the dust of his hometown and move to the tropical paradise of Hawaii, he grabs it. But he never imagined that apiece of his past would follow him to his new life . . . Kimberly Briggs has lived her life on the fringes of the crowd, timid and afraid since the death of her brother, but when she learns that Andy, her lifelong crush, is moving to Hawaii, she's finally ready to step out of the shadows and take a risk.

Kimberly is the last person Andy expected or wanted to see in Hawaii. But when fate incessantly throws the pair together, there's little to be done but make the best of the situation. As the awkwardness fades and Kimberly begins to emerge from her shell, Andy realizes there's much more to her than he realized. But even as they revel in the adventures of island life, drawn together by a growing attraction, an unforeseen peril threatens Kimberly's life.

Can the once-timid young woman now draw upon the inner strength Andy has helped her discover so the two of them can build a life together? Will Andy grasp that love knows no geographical bounds?

My Review

First off I just have to say that I was glad to discover when reading the book that Kim does not follow Andy to Hawaii like it says in the synopsis... she moved there first in fact! It relieved my mind to know that she wasn't that stalker-obsessed with him and their meeting again really was a true coincidence. I totally identified with Kim's unrequited crush from elementary and high school- there's something about confident and charismatic boys that shy girls really admire and fall for.

Kim and Andy both have great character arcs and help each other to stretch and become better. Kim has already started the process of living outside her tiny comfort zone and breaking out of the shell of fear and overprotective parents. Andy is a typical guy- I struggled a bit with liking him in the beginning since his inner thoughts make him seem shallow and insensitive, but I eventually appreciated the realistic perspective. Kim inadvertently helps him to recognize and overcome his selfishness as he learns to get over himself and the sibling rivalry that motivates him and appreciate her for who she really is. Once he realizes how great Kim is their friendship finally blossoms and the sweet moments they share propel their relationship into something more... which brings a whole new level of drama :)

As an art major I loved that Kim was an artist and one of the ways she took risks was through her artwork. The Hawaiian setting was awesome- the author did a fabulous job painting a picture of the environment, culture, and community. The bit of mystery and action spiced up the plot and created a nail-biting climax. Since the characters are Mormon there are some occasional references specific to the religion but I think any Christian would enjoy this book.

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

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May 11th

Friday, May 8, 2015

Book Tour: The Truth About Hope by Kate James

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

We're blitzing the tour GRAND FINALE for
The Truth About Hope
By Kate James

Did you miss any of the reviews, interviews, guest posts, or excerpts for the tour? If so, go back and check them out now!

Launch - More About the Book & Author
What do you hope readers take with them when they read your book?
I would like readers to feel good about the story’s conclusion, and believe that no matter what hardships we may face, we can overcome them with faith, perseverance and—of course—love!

Word Wranglers - Interview
123When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It still surprises me sometimes, especially considering that I haven’t been at it very long. If someone else were to ask me, I would say that if they are passionate about it and have started writing, they are a writer. For me, it was when I finished my first manuscript.

Write & Rewrite - Kate Talks About Making Revisions
Author Kate James stops by today on the first leg of her blog tour for her new romance novel The Truth About Hope. Her revision story is one of the most charming ones I've come across, and I hope you enjoy it.

Underneath the Covers - Luke Carter
Luke and Hope were born in the same small town in Texas, had been best friends since grade school and were high-school sweethearts, until Hope was forced to move to San Jose to live with her father. Luke had never gotten entirely over Hope...

Letters from Annie (Douglass) Lima - Canyon Creek, Part 1
During one of our stays with our friends in Texas, we visited a breathtaking promontory close to their home. I’ve fictionalized it for The Truth About Hope. It is an important setting in the story as the event that precipitates the circumstances related to her departure and her reconnection with her high-school sweetheart, Luke, occur there.

Zerina Blossom's Books - Hope Wilson
We first meet Hope as a seventeen-year-old girl, just having lost her mother, and learning that she has to leave Canyon Creek, the small town in Texas where she was born, to live with her father in San Jose. Most devastating for her is that she has to say goodbye to all the people she knows and loves, including Luke Carter.

I Am A Reader - Excerpt
The buoyancy she’d felt as she’d driven toward the rising sun faded, and she felt a ripple of apprehension. In tune with her mood as always, Einstein ambled over and nuzzled her hand. She automatically stroked the top of his head. “Well, we might as well get this over with,” she murmured.

"I loved the way the characters value each other and aren't afraid to admit their mistakes. The story flows well and leaves a reader feeling satisfied. With a blend of mild suspense, hard work and values, and a sweet romance, this one is a hit!"

Copyright1985 - Excerpt
She lowered her head. “Great. Just great,” she muttered. Those mischievous fates just had to have another go at her today, didn’t they? Of all the people they could’ve thrown in her path, it had to be Luke. Probably served her right for not being able to keep her mind off him.

My Love for Reading Keeps Growing - Canyon Creek, Part 2
I remember vividly the spot where my husband and I stood on a brilliant May morning, and I knew I’d have to write that setting in a book at some point. The Truth About Hope gave me the perfect opportunity! I hope you enjoy this wonderful slice of Texas!

Story Broads - Excerpt
LUKE DIDN’T KNOW what had compelled him to go for his Saturday-morning run along Yardley Drive and up to Promontory Park. As he turned onto the gravel path from the sidewalk, he came to an abrupt halt. Sitting on the bench with her back to him was Hope. There was no mistaking that long, mahogany hair, even in a ponytail and under a ball cap.

i blog 4 books - Review
"Overall, this was a pleasant read. Animal lovers, in particular, will enjoy reading about Hope and Noah's efforts to rescue animals."

Rockin' Book Reviews - Review & Interview
"The story of love, family struggles, faith, hope and forgiveness had me captivated from the beginning. The story of Hope sent a sense of reality and a real desire for her to have true happiness."

You speak five languages. Which languages and what were the greatest challenges in learning each one?
The languages are English, Spanish, French, Hungarian and German, but sadly I did not remain fluent in the ones I did not use. I can still understand Spanish and French, but it would be a struggle to try to speak coherently.As a child, I found the languages easy to learn, especially being immersed in them. While not a challenge but an interesting consequence, probably into my early twenties my English was slightly accented, but no one could place the accent as it was an amalgam of the other languages I had spoken.

The Written Adventure - Canyon Creek, Part 3
Hope builds a fulfilling life of her own in the years since she’s left Canyon Creek. Yet, more than ten years after her departure, the emotional tug is still there when she returns . . .

"What I enjoyed most about The Truth About Hope, was the refreshing honesty of the characters. Hope and Luke still carry a flame for each other after all those years, and the reader gets the pleasure of following them on their journey toward forgiveness and a rekindled love."

Bookworm Lisa - Review
"The book is told in a narrative style. It's normally not my favorite writing style, but Kate James does a great job of making it work. She was able to keep my interest in the story and characters."

"I enjoyed following Hope through her life events. I really got a good sense of who Hope was and why she did what she did. . . . This was a good book, so easy to settle in with. The characters were all so likable. Yay for another sweet, clean romance!"

How do develop your characters? Do you use outlines, story boards, sketches?
KATE: Interestingly I’ve never thought about using sketches, despite the fact that I’ve always enjoyed drawing and painting. Thank you for the idea, though. I might have to try it! To answer the question, I have a general idea of what my characters look like, their traits and beliefs, when I start the book, but they evolve and grow as my writing progresses. The only guide I use for my writing is the book proposal or synopsis, but I can always visualize quite clearly what my characters look like, and have a good appreciation of how they will behave in specific circumstances.

The Truth About Hope
by Kate James
Adult Contemporary Romance
May 1st 2015 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Who is Hope Wilson?

Is she the girl her former hometown thinks she is? Or the girl Luke Carter once loved—and maybe still does?

When Hope returns to Canyon Creek, Texas, to honor her
father’s last wishes, there’s only one person on her mind: her high school sweetheart, Luke. The boy she lied to when she had to leave Canyon Creek as a teen, finding it easier to hide what she really felt than deal with the grief of loss. Her father’s fortune could make a big difference to Canyon Creek—but Hope finds that the townspeople have a long memory about his misdeeds. With a plan to make amends on his behalf, Hope learns the truth about herself. And the truth about love.

Kate James 2.jpgKate James spent eight years of her childhood living in foreign countries as her professional parents travelled on business. She lived in four countries and spoke five languages before settling down in Canada again to attend university. After graduating with a degree in civil engineering, she held a variety of positions in the field of real estate development and operations, and ran three substantial organizations. While her writing during this period was mostly business related, including presentations and speeches she delivered both nationally and internationally, her passion is and always has been fiction.

Kate's business and personal experiences enable her to write fiction with a deep, often first-hand knowledge of what she is writing about. This approach makes Kate's stories richer and more vivid.

Kate’s goal is to entertain you with well-written, engaging stories, set in intriguing places and with strong, likeable characters. “I hope my stories bring you pleasure and entertain you. Nothing pleases me more than receiving feedback from people who have chosen to spend their valuable leisure time with one of my books,” notes Kate.

Kate married her husband, Ken, in an elegant, ocean-front wedding on a tropical island. When they are not traveling, they split their time between their properties in southern and central Ontario in Canada.

Tour Giveaway

$30 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
5 Print Copies of The Truth About Hope (US/CAN Only)
1 ebook of The Truth About Hope (INT)
Ends May 15th

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

E-book sale: Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund

Love Unexpected

Jody Hedlund is an amazing author- this is a fabulous deal for one of her books! Download the e-book of Love Unexpected for only $1.99!
(Be sure to check the price since e-book sales are for a limited time)



All she's ever wanted was a home. But stranded at Presque Isle port after their steamboat sank, Emma Chambers and her brother, Ryan, couldn't be farther away from security. While Ryan at least can find work, Emma can't even find a place to stay. An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper, who recently lost his wife and is struggling to raise his young son, arrives in town. A traveling preacher believes they might be the answer to each others' problems, and after a hasty marriage, Emma is headed back to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger.

But nothing in her wandering life has prepared her for suddenly being asked to raise a child and keep a house. Struggling at every turn, Emma also suspects Patrick may be keeping something hidden from her. In town she hears whispers about strange circumstances surrounding his previous wife's death, and it seems as though Emma's answered prayer for a home and family may actually be something much more dangerous.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Review: A Simple Prayer by Amy Clipston

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it



Linda is no stranger to hardship. Now she dares to hope for a chance at love and a new beginning.

As the sole survivor of a buggy accident that left her orphaned at age four, Linda Zook was reluctantly raised by her Uncle Reuben. She longs to be worthy of someone, but the lasting trauma of her injuries and embittered upbringing have destroyed her self-worth. When Hannah Peterson asks her to work at the Heart of Paradise Bed & Breakfast, she’s finally able to realize some confidence.

Aaron Ebersol left the Amish community seventeen years ago when he could no longer bear the restrictions or the constant tension with his father. Despite years of unanswered letters to his parents and the roots he’s put down in Missouri, Aaron rushes back to the Amish community of Paradise, Pennsylvania, after receiving word of his mother’s stroke. Hesitant to get too close to the family he was once a part of, he decides to stay at the Heart of Paradise Bed & Breakfast. Talking with Linda allows him to explore his feelings about his family and his position in the Amish community.

As Linda and Aaron open up to each other, their feelings for one another turn into more than friendship, and Aaron must make a decision about his future as an Amish man.

Can Linda and Aaron forgive the family members who have deceived and forsaken them? And will Aaron be able to convince Linda that she is worthy of his love?

My Review

I completely enjoyed the growing friendship and budding romance between Linda and Aaron! Even though they were both raised Amish, they had completely different life experiences. Each has had a lifetime of heartache, but through their conversations encourage and support each other in overcoming their struggles and repairing relationships with family. There is some repetition in the dialogue where Aaron would have similar conversations with more than one person, which made me start to skim... however the romantic tension was great- just standing close to each other made Linda and Aaron intensely aware of their mutual attraction, although both feel unworthy of having love in their life. Aaron's redemption and the forgiveness he seeks comes easily from everyone in the community and family, except for his brother. It mirrors the story of the prodigal son, with Solomon refusing to give up his long-held bitterness at the expense of his mother's health and happiness. As Aaron helps Linda recognize her self-worth and gain confidence in the face of her uncle's despair and anger, she inspires him to persevere and seek to earn the approval of his brother by proving his good intentions toward the family.

There are some scenes with characters from the previous books in the series, but this can definitely be read as a stand-alone novel.

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

Monday, May 4, 2015

Tamera Alexander’s To Win Her Favor Blog Tour and Kindle Giveaway!

Can Maggie prove that her mare, Bourbon Belle, can take the top purse in the inaugural Peyton Stakes, the richest race ever run in America? Find out in Tamera Alexander's To Win Her Favor. To give her that chance—and to save Linden Downs from being sold to the highest bidder—Maggie must marry a man she's never met. A man she never would have chosen for herself.

Celebrate the release of To Win Her Favor with a Kindle Fire and book giveaway!

to win her favor - 400

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HD 6
  • A copy of To Win Her Favor
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 10th. Winner will be announced May 11th on Tamera's blog. Plus stay tuned for more opportunities to win after May 11 with a special Pinterest contest—more details coming soon!

to win her favor - enterbanner

Review: To Win Her Favor by Tamera Alexander

Heidi Reads... To Win Her Favor by Tamera Alexander

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing!



A gifted rider in a world where ladies never race, Maggie Linden is determined that her horse will become a champion. But the one man who can help her has vowed to stay away from thoroughbred racing for good.

An Irish-born son far from home, Cullen McGrath left a once prosperous life in England because of a horse racing scandal that nearly ruined him. He’s come to Nashville for a fresh start, hoping to buy land and start a farm, all while determined to stay as far away from thoroughbred racing as possible. But starting over proves harder than he’d wagered, especially when Maggie Linden’s father makes him an offer he shouldn’t accept yet cannot possibly refuse.

Maggie is certain that her mare, Bourbon Belle, can take the top purse in the annual Drayton Stakes at Nashville’s racetrack––the richest race run in America. Maggie only needs the chance to prove it. To give her that chance, and to save Linden Downs from being sold to the highest bidder, Maggie’s father––aging, yet wily as ever––makes a barter. His agreement includes one tiny, troublesome detail––Maggie must marry a man she’s never met. A man she never would have chosen for herself.

Cullen and Maggie need each other in order to achieve their dreams. But their stubborn, wounded hearts––and the escalating violence from a "secret society" responsible for lynchings and midnight raids––may prove too much for even two determined souls.

My Review

This book captivated me from the beginning. The setting is not one I would normally be interested in- post-Civil War South, however the author brings the characters and landscape to life in a way that I can't help but be fascinated. I definitely enjoyed the marriage of convenience theme, and this story is  now one of my favorites in that category. Maggie and Cullen are each caught between a rock and a hard place- Maggie because she will lose the family farm to auction, Cullen because nobody will deal with an Irishman. They are both desperate to pursue their dreams, and Maggie's father had enough foresight and faith to offer a solution that would secure the future of both his daughter and their land.

I didn't realize there was such bitter racism against the Irish in the South. It was eye-opening to learn about the attitudes and prejudices that were commonplace. Even Maggie struggled with overcoming her prejudice of Cullen's ancestry but as she grows to respect him for his character she is able to let go of the attitudes passed down by her mother and community. Cullen and Maggie's relationship is fraught with tension; they deal with secrecy and trust issues, feelings of unworthiness, financial difficulties, pressure from society, vandalism and violence from "wolves" (KKK members), and an undeniable attraction and growing love for each other.

I would recommend this book to adult readers since the marital relations between Maggie and Cullen are referred to several times (although tastefully done).

(Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and BookLook Bloggers for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Giveaway Hop Celebrating Children's Book Week!!!


I absolutely love children's books! I have a collection that rivals a used bookstore... and not enough shelves in my girls' room to have them all out at once, so we rotate :) This week I'm giving away new copies of two of my childhood favorites- the "Little Critter" books Just For You and Just Me and My Dad by Mercer Mayer (they are hilarious!) Be sure to check out the other giveaways from blogs participating in the hop! Special thanks to Tressa from Wishful Endings for hosting!

About Children's Book Week

Children’s Book Week is the annual celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading.

Established in 1919, Children’s Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. Every year, commemorative events are held nationwide at schools, libraries, bookstores, homes – wherever young readers and books connect!

For more information visit: http://www.bookweekonline.com

Clean Sweep ARC Challenge

Clean Sweep ARC Challenge sign-ups

I'm pretty daunted by my list of books to read and review, so I was excited to learn about the Clean Sweep ARC Challenge that's going on this month! My goal is to read the 14 books pictured below in the month of May. I made a bookshelf for them at Goodreads to keep track. If you're interested in participating you can join up through May 15th, click the image above to get more info. Wish me luck and happy reading!




Friday, May 1, 2015

Free e-book! Summer of Promise by Amanda Cabot

Summer of Promise by Amanda Cabot

Download the e-book of Summer of Promise by Amanda Cabot for free!
(Be sure to check the price since e-book sales are for a limited time)



Though she had planned to spend the summer in Vermont, Abigail Harding cannot dismiss her concerns over her older sister. Charlotte's letters have been uncharacteristically melancholy, and her claims that nothing is wrong ring false, so Abigail heads west to Fort Laramie, Wyoming. When her stagecoach is attacked, Wyoming promises to be anything but boring. Luckily, the heroics of another passenger, Lieutenant Ethan Bowles, save the day.

Abigail plans to marry when she returns to Vermont, just as soon as she attends to her sister. As the summer passes, she finds herself drawn to this rugged land and to a certain soldier determined to persuade her to stay. When summer ends, will she go back East, or will she find her heart's true home?

Free e-book! Deadly Devotion by Sandra Orchard

Deadly Devotion by Sandra Orchard

Freebie alert! Download the e-book of Deadly Devotion by Sandra Orchard for free!
(Be sure to check the price since e-book sales are for a limited time)



Research scientist Kate Adams and her colleague Daisy are on the brink of a breakthrough for treating depression with herbal medicine when Daisy suddenly dies. Kate knows that if it hadn’t been for Daisy’s mentorship, she wouldn’t have the job she loves or the faith she clings to. So when police rule Daisy’s death a suicide, Kate is determined to unearth the truth.
Former FBI agent Tom Parker finds it hard to adjust to life back in his hometown of Port Aster. Though an old buddy gives him a job as a detective on the local police force, not everyone approves. Tom’s just trying to keep a low profile, so when Kate Adams demands he reopen the investigation of her friend’s death, he knows his job is at stake. In fact, despite his attraction to her, Tom thinks Kate looks a bit suspicious herself.
As evidence mounts, a web of intrigue is woven around the sleepy town of Port Aster. Can Kate uncover the truth? Or will Tom stand in her way?