Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Review & Giveaway: 100 Favorite Verses From the Old Testament by Shauna Humphrey


Heidi Reads... 100 Favorite Verses From the Old Testament by Shauna Humphrey

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it
http://www.amazon.comhttps://www.seagullbook.com/100-favorite-verses-from-the-old-testament.htmlhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

Studying—and truly understanding—the Old Testament can feel like an insurmountable task. But in this wonderful compilation of 100 of the most beloved Old Testament verses, author Shauna Humphreys reminds readers that this sacred book of scripture is brimming with treasures of wisdom for those prepared to seek them. Presented with complementary spiritual insights, vibrant explanations, and personal applications, each verse will motivate readers to delve into these sacred and powerful teachings as never before. Whether used in personal study or incorporated into family discussions or Church lessons, this inspiring volume is sure to enlighten the mind and stir the heart.

My Review

This is a wonderful book full of devotionals based on passages from the Old Testament. I liked that there is a table of contents listing the topic for each of the 100 verses, making it easy to select a particular passage. The author's credentials are impressive, including seminary teacher and Institute teacher. The style of writing and the messages brought forth are similar to the instruction I received in my seminary and Institute classes- putting the history in context, focusing on a principle, and applying it to our day and personal lives. Often other scriptures and words of our modern day prophets and apostles are included to expound on the topic. While a bit dry, the doctrine is on point and the insights are thought provoking. This would make a great gift with its stitched leather look, silver gilding on the pages, and ribbon bookmark.

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




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Friday, October 13, 2017

Review: Christmas at Gate 18 by Amy Matayo


Heidi Reads... Christmas at Gate 18 by Amy Matayo

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

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

Synopsis

Supermodel Rory Gray just wants to go home. After wrapping up a three-day high-fashion photo shoot overseas, she’s exhausted and ready for the holiday. A holiday that involves Hollywood parties, air-kissing the industry elite, and a whole lot of fakeness… but whatever. Once she gets through that torture, she’ll head to her beloved Seattle and the life of anonymity she misses so much. In less than twenty-four hours, she’ll be there.

Colt Ross has spent the past six months detaching himself from the Hollywood world he grew up in, and home is the last place he wants to be. But he’s been called back by his overbearing father for reasons he can only imagine. Likely reasons that involve taking over the family corporation or fund raising among Hollywood elite—something Colt has no interest in being part of. Not that he has a choice; when you’re the son of an industry executive, rubbing elbows comes with the territory. In less than twenty-four hours he’ll be home. After all this time away, home no longer appeals to him. Especially not at Christmas. Leave it to his father to ruin a holiday.

But when a late-season hurricane grounds both of their flights in the Dominican Republic, Rory and Colt find themselves stuck at the airport far longer than anticipated. As weather conditions worsen, they both begin to realize that this Christmas will be spent with strangers packed inside a single airport terminal—specifically at gate 18.

Rory and Colt are faced with a choice: band together in their misery or make this Christmas one they will never forget. For two people who aren’t real fond of the holiday, this Christmas might turn out to be the best they’ve ever had.


My Review

I love reading Christmas-themed novellas, and this one had a great twist! I can't imagine being stranded over Christmas away from my family, but for these two lonely characters they found something better than what awaited them at home. Rory is a survivor, making it on her own with only memories of a happier time. While at the airport we see the misconceptions people have of her as a supermodel of explicit photos, lobbing inappropriate remarks and suggestive offers at her. Colt is one of the perpetrators, which made me confused as to why Rory befriended him. Maybe because he's handsome it made it less offensive than the middle-aged man or the cranky honeymooners. In any case, Rory is in need of a friend, and Colt happily takes on the role of protector and entertainer. They share funny banter and sweet moments through the hurricane-level storm that's keeping their travel stalled. Since the point of view alternated between Rory and Colt, there is plenty of innuendo and borderline content in Colt's thoughts as a sexually active adult male. While I'm sure that is realistic to many men, it made me not respect him or like him very much. Charm only goes so far. Their relationship deepens as Rory shares bits of her past with him and he connects with her on a level he never has before with any other woman. (Probably because he treats them as objects). Can you tell I'm not a fan of the bad-boy persona? ;) He helps her to not feel shame about her career and be proud of the way she's taken care of herself without any supporting family. A surprise comes to light at the end of their "adventure" and it was nice to see that they were able to have a future together. While there is a bit of an inspirational thread, I wouldn't classify this as Christian fiction.

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


Review: An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter


Book Four in the Hawthorne House series

Heidi Reads... An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter

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

Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, and he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. He's certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, but while Frederica is strangely elusive, he can't seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, her uncle will only help them if she'll use her beauty to assist him in his political aims. Already uncomfortable with this agreement, the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she wishes to be free of her unfortunate obligation.

Will Griffith and Isabella be able to set aside their pride and face their fears in time to find their own happily-ever-after?


My Review

I was able to read each book in this series back to back, and it was so fun to be immersed in the Regency time period with the members of the Hawthorne family. This last book is Griffith's story, and I was excited for it since he was such a great character in the previous books. While the plot isn't too involved, it was enjoyable to see Griffith plan for one wife and end up falling in love with her cousin- who he discovers is unattainable, even for a duke. I admired his persistence while still trying to respect her wishes, and a sweet friendship formed amidst the attraction they felt but could not act on. There is some great humor to round out the angst and of course it was nice to read more about the continuing lives of Griffith's siblings and their spouses. I loved Griffith's relationship with his mother and the dynamics at play there. Of course it all works out in the end, and I especially appreciated Griffith's role in the conclusion and resolution of the obstacle that plagues Isabella.

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



Check out the previous books in the Hawthorne House series . . .

Prequel Novella (FREE e-book!)
http://amzn.to/2yfly1Y

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

Synopsis

Miss Amelia Stalwood may live in London at her absent guardian's townhouse, but she's never actually met any nobility, and instead of aristocrats, her closest friends are servants. Quite by happenstance, she's introduced to the Hawthorne family and their close family friend, Anthony, the reformed marquis of Raeburn. They welcome her into their world, but just as she's beginning to gain some confidence and even suspect she may have caught Anthony's eye, she's blindsided by an unexpected twist in her situation accompanied by nasty rumors. Will she lose her reputation when the world that has only just accepted her turns its back on her, or will she rest in the support of the friends who've become like family and the man who's shared his faith and captured her heart?

Book One
http://amzn.to/2wxLtQn

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

Synopsis

Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Entering her fourth Season and approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother's old school friend, a duke--with no intention of ever sending these private thoughts to a man she's heard stories about but never met. Meanwhile, she also finds herself intrigued by Marlow, her brother's new valet, and although she may wish to break free of the strictures that bind her, falling in love with a servant is more of a rebellion than she planned.

When Marlow accidentally discovers and mails one of the letters to her unwitting confidant, Miranda is beyond mortified. And even more shocked when the duke returns her note with one of his own that initiates a courtship-by-mail. Insecurity about her lack of suitors shifts into confusion at her growing feelings for two men--one she's never met but whose words deeply resonate with her heart, and one she has come to depend on but whose behavior is more and more suspicious. When it becomes apparent state secrets are at risk and Marlow is right in the thick of the conflict, one thing is certain: Miranda's heart is far from all that's at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.

Book Two
http://amzn.to/2yfjve9

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

Synopsis

Lady Georgina Hawthorne has worked tirelessly to seal her place as the Incomparable for her debut season. At her first London ball, she hopes to snag the attention of an earl.
 
With money and business connections, but without impeccable bloodlines, Colin McCrae is invited everywhere but accepted nowhere. When he first encounters the fashionable Lady Georgina, he's irritated by his attraction to a woman who concerns herself only with status and appearance.
 
What Colin doesn't know is that Georgina's desperate social aspirations are driven by the shameful secret she harbors. Association with Colin McCrae is not part of Georgina's plan, but as their paths continue to cross, they both must decide if the realization of their dreams is worth the sacrifices they must make.

Book Three
http://amzn.to/2fboHLB

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

Synopsis

 Life for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier if she hid in her older sister's shadow--which worked until her sister got married. Even with the pressure of her socially ambitious mother, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience to save her previously spotless reputation.

Lord Trent Hawthorne couldn't be happier that he is not the duke in the family. He's free to manage his small estate and take his time discovering the life he wants to lead, which includes grand plans of wooing and falling in love with the woman of his choice. When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he doesn't know, his dream of a marriage like his parents' seems lost forever.

Already starting their marriage on shaky ground, can Adelaide and Trent's relationship survive the pressures of London society?



Thursday, October 12, 2017

Review: An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter


Book Three in the Hawthorne House series

 Heidi Reads... An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter

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

Life for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier if she hid in her older sister's shadow--which worked until her sister got married. Even with the pressure of her socially ambitious mother, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience to save her previously spotless reputation.

Lord Trent Hawthorne couldn't be happier that he is not the duke in the family. He's free to manage his small estate and take his time discovering the life he wants to lead, which includes grand plans of wooing and falling in love with the woman of his choice. When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he doesn't know, his dream of a marriage like his parents' seems lost forever.

Already starting their marriage on shaky ground, can Adelaide and Trent's relationship survive the pressures of London society?

My Review

I love stories with a premise like this, where the couple gets to know each other and falls in love after they marry. There are so many obstacles to overcome- in this situation, it was mostly the lack of communication between Adelaide and Trent and their naiveté. I loved seeing Adelaide come into her own and learn to embrace her new independence. Being free of her family allowed her to blossom and true colors shine. Trent was a bit of an idiot of course as he worked through his feelings of feeling trapped into a loveless marriage, but once he opened his eyes and received some needed advice from his family, he was able to keep "trying again" with Adelaide until their choice to love was finally able to flourish. Great humor and great romance in this story, even if the plot was not as involved as the first book in the series.

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




Check out the previous books in the Hawthorne House series . . .

Prequel Novella (FREE e-book!)
http://amzn.to/2yfly1Y

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

Synopsis

Miss Amelia Stalwood may live in London at her absent guardian's townhouse, but she's never actually met any nobility, and instead of aristocrats, her closest friends are servants. Quite by happenstance, she's introduced to the Hawthorne family and their close family friend, Anthony, the reformed marquis of Raeburn. They welcome her into their world, but just as she's beginning to gain some confidence and even suspect she may have caught Anthony's eye, she's blindsided by an unexpected twist in her situation accompanied by nasty rumors. Will she lose her reputation when the world that has only just accepted her turns its back on her, or will she rest in the support of the friends who've become like family and the man who's shared his faith and captured her heart?

Book One
http://amzn.to/2wxLtQn

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

Synopsis

Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Entering her fourth Season and approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother's old school friend, a duke--with no intention of ever sending these private thoughts to a man she's heard stories about but never met. Meanwhile, she also finds herself intrigued by Marlow, her brother's new valet, and although she may wish to break free of the strictures that bind her, falling in love with a servant is more of a rebellion than she planned.

When Marlow accidentally discovers and mails one of the letters to her unwitting confidant, Miranda is beyond mortified. And even more shocked when the duke returns her note with one of his own that initiates a courtship-by-mail. Insecurity about her lack of suitors shifts into confusion at her growing feelings for two men--one she's never met but whose words deeply resonate with her heart, and one she has come to depend on but whose behavior is more and more suspicious. When it becomes apparent state secrets are at risk and Marlow is right in the thick of the conflict, one thing is certain: Miranda's heart is far from all that's at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.

Book Two
http://amzn.to/2yfjve9

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

Synopsis

Lady Georgina Hawthorne has worked tirelessly to seal her place as the Incomparable for her debut season. At her first London ball, she hopes to snag the attention of an earl.
 
With money and business connections, but without impeccable bloodlines, Colin McCrae is invited everywhere but accepted nowhere. When he first encounters the fashionable Lady Georgina, he's irritated by his attraction to a woman who concerns herself only with status and appearance.
 
What Colin doesn't know is that Georgina's desperate social aspirations are driven by the shameful secret she harbors. Association with Colin McCrae is not part of Georgina's plan, but as their paths continue to cross, they both must decide if the realization of their dreams is worth the sacrifices they must make.

Book Four
Heidi Reads... An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter

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

Synopsis

Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, and he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. He's certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, but while Frederica is strangely elusive, he can't seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, her uncle will only help them if she'll use her beauty to assist him in his political aims. Already uncomfortable with this agreement, the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she wishes to be free of her unfortunate obligation.

Will Griffith and Isabella be able to set aside their pride and face their fears in time to find their own happily-ever-after?