Thursday, August 13, 2015

Book Tour: Portrait of Lies by Clair M. Poulson

 Portrait of Lies by Clair M. Poulson


It was a robbery gone bad, or so they said. For Detective Trey Shotwell, the murder of his mother, a prominent artist, was the catalyst for setting aside his own artistic aspirations to pursue a career in law enforcement—despite the opposition of his father, also a famous painter. When he agrees to attend an art auction featuring his father's work, the cruise ship locale provides the relaxation that Trey needs—and when he meets stunning fellow passenger Ariah Stanton, the undeniable chemistry they share is an unexpected bonus.

But the tranquil voyage quickly turns into a nightmare at sea. The Shotwell paintings have disappeared, and amidst the chaotic hunt for the thief, a murderer is free to roam the halls of the ship. Ariah finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time, and miraculously escapes the murderer—for now. But another victim is not so lucky...

The crime is eerily reminiscent of the death of Trey's mother so many years before. But this time, the young detective has the resources he needs to track the killer. As the pieces of the puzzle begin to come together, they paint the chilling picture of a sinister plot years in the making. In a manhunt that takes him from the high seas of the Pacific to the wilderness of Australia, Trey will stop at nothing to solve the crime and protect the woman he loves.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

E-book sale: $1.99 for Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer

TODAY ONLY download the e-book of Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer for only $1.99! I loved this book and rated it 5 stars, you can read my review here.
(Be sure to check the price before ordering since e-book sales are for a limited time)


Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston, Texas, to find her father deathly ill. Though she loves him, Nicole's father has always focused on what she's not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run Renard Shipping.

Vowing to find a suitable husband to give her father the heir he desires before it's too late, Nicole sets out with the Renard family's greatest treasure as her dowry: the highly coveted Lafitte Dagger. But her father's rivals come after the dagger, forcing a change in Nicole's plans.

After a boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana nearly took his life, Darius Thornton has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. Even if it means letting a female secretary into his secluded world.

Nicole is determined not to let her odd employer scare her off with his explosive experiments, yet when respect and mutual attraction grow between them, a new fear arises. How can she acquire an heir for her father when her heart belongs to another? And when her father's rivals discover her hiding place, will she have to choose between that love and her family's legacy?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Review: Cowgirl Trail by Susan Page Davis

Heidi Reads... Cowgirl Trail by Susan Page Davis

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


In 1884 Maggie Porter returns to the Rocking P Ranch. The sanatorium was not able to save her mother and now her father's health is failing. When the cowboys walk off the job leaving no one to drive the cattle to market, head ranch hand, Alex Bright, cannot convince the men to stay. How could Alex let this happen?
Maggie is desperate to save the ranch and she turns to the town's women for help. The new cowgirls must herd, rope, and drive the cattle to market. With only two days left, outlaws charge the small band of cowgirls in an effort to start a stampede. The cattle begin to scatter. Will they lose everything? Where will their help come from?

My Review

Talk about female empowerment! Maggie is a strong daughter raised on a cattle ranch stuck between a rock and a hard place. She wants her father to appease the cowhands to prevent a strike, but his pride and hidden financial troubles won't allow him to give in. Alex is also caught in the middle as the ranch foreman, but while Maggie's family loyalty places her on her father's side, Alex strikes with the men and loses not only his job but a chance to win Maggie's heart. Since the cowhands from the surrounding ranches have already left on cattle drives, the only people Maggie can turn to are the women of the community, her friends who are also tough western gals :) Alex and Maggie's friendship suffers from the rivalry of the strike, but I loved that he ultimately places her safety and well-being over any bitter feelings. He completely redeems himself in my opinion. Maggie is completely humbled by her experiences and with some sage advice from her right-hand cowgirl Carlotta, softens her heart and allows forgiveness to bring peace during troubled times. Recommended for fans of Mary Connealy's The Husband Tree.

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

Review: I Hope You Dance by Robin Lee Hatcher

Heidi Reads... I Hope You Dance by Robin Lee Hatcher

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it


Grant Nichols is a genius in the kitchen and a klutz on the dance floor. But his friend’s wedding is shaping up to be a shindig the likes of which Kings Meadow has never seen—including dancing. Lots of dancing. Then he learns that a local dance teacher, Skye Foster, is offering dance lessons for the wedding party. The first lesson is free, so what does he have to lose?

A former rodeo queen, Skye Foster teaches children ballet and tap during the day, but with the popularity of ballroom dancing and her own love of Country Swing, she’s been teaching adults in the evenings.

Grant comes from a family of ten siblings. He was the second oldest and believes he's had his fill of little rug rats. He’s happy with his bachelor state, despite the fact that he’s given up his ladies’ man lifestyle. Even he admits to his wilder nature and has been trying to clean up his act, with God's help.

Skye, on the other hand, loves being around kids. She would love to find the right guy and settle down to have half a dozen children of her own.

Grant and Skye are no match on paper. But when they step onto the dance floor, they create a melody all their own.

My Review

This is a sweet, pleasant story where the characters are nice and fall in love quickly. It's cute how they get along so well, but I missed the sparks that some romantic tension can bring. The plot climaxes when they finally realize they have different plans for children in their future family and it puts their relationship at risk. I liked how Grant turned to men he respected to get their advice and perspective. An easy, light read.

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

Review: I Can Pray Every Day by Catherine Christensen, Illustrated by Corey Egbert

 Heidi Reads... I Can Pray Every Day by Catherine Christensen, Illustrated by Corey Egbert

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


“Heavenly Father hears my prayers. I know He listens and He cares.” This adorable picture book is the perfect way to teach your little ones when, where, and how to pray. With colorful illustrations, rhyming text, and simple reminders of eternal truths, it’s bound to become a family favorite in your home.

My Review

This is a sweet, simple book about how prayer can be meaningful and personal. It emphasizes that children can pray anytime, anywhere, about anything. I love the illustrations which have a retro-vintage vibe and a cohesive color theme. Both my 8 and 2 year old daughters love reading it, so it's great for a wide variety of ages. This book would make a great gift!

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

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Review: Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman

Heidi Reads... Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


When Livy O’Brien spies a young boy jostling a man walking along the boardwalk, she recognizes the act for what it is. After all, she used to be known as Light-fingered Livy. But that was before she put her past behind her and moved to the growing town of Chestnut, Illinois, where she’s helping to run an orphanage. Now she’ll do almost anything to protect the street kids like herself.

Sheriff’s deputy Jake Russell had no idea what he was in for when he ran into Livy—literally—while chasing down a pickpocket. With a rash of robberies and a growing number of street kids in town—as well as a loan on the family farm that needs to be paid off—Jake doesn’t have time to pursue a girl. Still, he can't seem to get Livy out of his mind. He wants to get to know her better . . . but Livy isn’t willing to trust any man, especially not a lawman.

My Review

There are so many things I like about this novel- the western setting, the steadily building friendship and romance between Livy and Jake, but what really touched my heart was the abuse of child labor and street orphans. Livy's compassion for the orphans and Jake's duty as sheriff's deputy to investigate them as robbery suspects have them crossing paths and butting heads over how the situation should be handled. A few parts are told from the perspective of Luke, one of the boys living on the street, as he seeks to rescue his brother from captivity in a hidden sweatshop. It is astounding how little the lives of the orphans are valued not only by their abusers but defensive members of the growing town. With part of the mystery known to the reader and part of it revealed towards the end, there is an element of tension and suspense. The story includes other facets of frontier life that are woven in seamlessly, including the dangers of coal mining, a judgmental school teacher, and the dynamics of neighbors and friendships in a tight-knit community. I recommend this book to fans of Mary Connealy, Karen Witemeyer, and Regina Jennings.

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

About the Author

Award-winning author Pam Hillman writes inspirational fiction set in the turbulent times of the American West and the Gilded Age.

Born east of the Mississippi and a hundred years too late, Pam still boasts of wrangling calves, milking cows and putting up hay, first as a child, and later with her own personal hero, Iran, on their family farm in Mississippi.

A voracious reader as a child, Pam especially enjoyed stories involving the great Westward expansion, and television shows such as Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, and Gunsmoke. The western writer, Louis L’Amour, kept Pam mesmerized with his tales of cowboys and Indians, mountain men and outlaws, prim schoolteachers, hot dry deserts, and boom towns.

Pam’s life in the country and her love of the old west bring authenticity to her work and depth to her characters, something that has been recognized many times in the industry through writer’s awards.

Her debut novel, Stealing Jake, was a finalist in the International Digital Awards and the 2013 EPIC eBook Awards. Claiming Mariah, her second novel won the Inspirational Readers Choice. Her latest release, The Evergreen Bride, is set in the heart of Mississippi. Pam lives in Mississippi with her husband and family.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Review & Kindle Fire Giveaway: Among the Fair Magnolias by Tamera Alexander, Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love, Elizabeth Musser

 Heidi Reads... Among the Fair Magnolias by Tamera Alexander, Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love, Elizabeth Musser

My rating:


Four Southern women are at a turning point in history . . . and in their own hearts.

To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander
The Civil War cost Savannah Darby everything—her family and her home. When Aidan Bedford, an attorney from Boston, buys the Darby estate, he hires Savannah to redecorate. Can she find a mysterious treasure before her job is finished?

An Outlaw's Heart by Shelley Gray
When Russell Stark returns to Fort Worth, he’s determined to begin a new life. But when he arrives at his mother’s homestead, he discovers that she is very ill and the woman he loved is still as beautiful and sweet as he remembered. With time running out, Russell must come to terms with both his future and his past.

A Heart So True by Dorothy Love
Abigail knows all too well what is expected of her: to marry her distant cousin Charles and take her place in society. But her heart belongs to another. A terrible incident forces Abby to choose between love and duty.

Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser
Emily has a secret: She's in love with one of the freedmen on her family's plantation. Meanwhile, another man declares his love for her. Emily realizes some things are not as they seem and secrets must be kept in order to keep those she loves safe.

My Review

These four novellas are rich in history and details of Southern life. I felt like I learned several new things with each story. I was especially surprised to learn that during Reconstruction it was the Republican party that advocated for equal rights for black people and the Democrats were murdering, terrorizing, and seeking to prevent the blacks from exercising their freedoms and voting rights, as well as the Republicans that supported them. What a scary time in history. The bravery and courage of those men and women who acted on their beliefs during such violence and danger is inspiring.

Each story has a different setting- a Georgia plantation, a small-town Texas homestead, Nashville slums, and an island for wealthy vacationers. I have a personal preference for characters who experience hardship rather than reading about society's elite, since there is less entitlement and more refining of character. However, the men and women in all the stories seek to overcome hardships and pressures of society to find the path that God would have them follow.

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

Four best-selling novelists bring tales of four Southern women who face near impossible choices on their journeys in life and in love during the most turbulent decade of our nation’s history in Among the Fair MagnoliasDon't miss this collection of stories from Tamera Alexander, Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love, and Elizabeth Musser.

Join the authors in celebrating the release of Among the Fair Magnolias by entering to win their Southern Hearts Kindle Fire Giveaway and RSVPing to their August 13th author chat party!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HD 6
  • One copy of Among the Fair Magnolias
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/13. The winner will be announced at the Among the Fair Magnolias Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Tamera, Dorothy, Shelley, and Elizabeth, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!


RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 13th!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Review & Giveaway: Eleanor and the Iron King by Julie Daines

Heidi Reads... Eleanor and the Iron King by Julie Daines

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


Eleanor de Lacy is forced into an arranged marriage with her father’s greatest enemy, Brac Goch, the Welsh king. All Eleanor knows of Brac is that he is a ruthless, war hungry man.

Eleanor arrives at the Welsh castle of Bryn Du already expecting the worst. When the ghost of Brac Goch’s first wife appears and warns her that the Welsh king is not to be trusted, all of Eleanor’s fears are confirmed.

As the countdown to her wedding day approaches, Eleanor must figure out who is lying, who is telling the truth, who is loyal, and who is the traitor--and most of all, if she can love an enemy king.

My Review

I loved this book! The setting was amazing, I felt like I was there in the castle and mountainous woodlands. Eleanor is a strong young woman, but helpless in her role as political pawn. She's an interesting mix of independence and submissiveness. Her choices and reactions were not predictable, yet offered insight to her character. She is loyal and kindhearted, feisty and impulsive. Her skills with healing herbs are an invaluable asset to those around her in a time of limited medical knowledge, and it helps her make some new friends that ease the loneliness of her new home. Brac is also a study in contrasting characteristics- unyielding and compassionate, arrogant and teasing. The gentleness and humor confuses Eleanor since it's not only unexpected, she has never experienced that with her own father/king. It was endearing to see him try to connect with Eleanor even when she wanted nothing to do with him. I could not put the book down as Eleanor learns little by little that not all is as it seems or as she had been told and she no longer knows who to trust, except by instinct. The romantic moments between Brac and Eleanor develop naturally and enhance the emotion of the plot. The creepy phantom adds heightened tension and an element of fantasy but it blends seamlessly with the world the author has created. The pacing is steady throughout and climaxes in a battle where all is finally revealed. I highly recommend this novel and look forward to reading more by the author!

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

August 3rd
My Book a Day
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Bonnie Gets a Say
August 4th

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Book Blast: Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace by Becky Monson

Speak Now  

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace by Becky Monson 

If there’s one thing that Bridgette Reynolds has learned recently, it’s that the perfect shoes, the perfect hair, and the perfect dress do not make for the perfect proposal. In fact, sometimes they make for the not-so-perfect breakup. Now, Bridgette must do everything in her power to win Adam back. She knows they are meant to be. And nothing will stand in her way—not her friends, not her grandmother, not even the fact that Adam is now engaged to Serene after a whirlwind romance. Focused on her plan to win Adam back, Bridgette isn’t expecting Ian—her college best friend, her love, her big regret—to come back into her life. They sink back into their comfortable friendship as if no time has passed at all, making Bridgette start to question her feelings for Adam. But Ian has a few secrets of his own . . . secrets that could shatter their friendship once and for all. Bridgette has to make some major decisions—should she speak now? Or forever hold her peace?

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Praise for the Book 

"Can I give this book a 10? It was so fantastic!" -Taking Time For Mommy 

"Speak Now grabbed me from the beginning! This is the perfect escape/beach read - light and fun, amusing with some tearful moments." -Reviewing in Chaos 

"Chick-Lit at its most enjoyable." - Life With Katie 

Becky Monson 
Author Becky Monson 

By day, Becky Monson is a mother to three young children, and a wife. By night, she escapes with reading books and writing. In her debut novel, Becky uses humor and true-life experiences to bring her characters to life. She loves all things chick-lit (movies, books, etc.), and wishes she had a British accent. She has recently given up Diet Coke for the fiftieth time and is hopeful this time will last... but it probably won't.
$100 Book Blast Giveaway 
$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 8/28/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 

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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Review: With This Spark by Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, Pam Hillman, Myra Johnson

Heidi Reads... With This Spark by Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, Pam Hillman, Myra Johnson

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


With a love of God, country and romance, award-winning and best-selling authors Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, Myra Johnson and Pam Hillman take you back to a simpler time in America's past... but romance is never quite as simple as it might seem and these authors use their love of God and expertise to delight readers all over the world!

My Review

I'm a total novella junkie! I love the quick fix of starting and finishing a story at the end of a long day or during naptime. I'm always a fan of these short stories by my favorite authors like Mary Connealy, but collections like With This Spark also introduce me to authors I haven't read yet but discover that I love their style, like Pam Hillman! (I'm looking forward to reading more by her in the near future...) In fact, Castaway With the Cowboy was my favorite of this collection and I would give it an individual rating of 5 stars. The characters were ones I quickly connected with and there was enough action to make the story feel like a full-length novel. I also enjoyed Texas Tea by Mary Connealy, since it featured minor characters from some of her earlier books, but the explanation of how the families and individuals are connected would be confusing without reading the other books first (the Lassoed in Texas trilogy). All the stories feature that wonderful spark of attraction between the main characters that make me love reading romance ;)

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