Friday, April 28, 2017

Review: Love's Winter Hope by Naomi Rawlings

My rating:4 stars / I really liked it


Journey back to a time when neighbors knew each other's names, and a handshake meant a person's honor. The bestselling Eagle Harbor Series continues with Book 5, Love’s Winter Hope.

When Jessalyn Dowrick’s husband left her and their three daughters to head west five years earlier, she had no choice but to pick up the pieces of her broken life and continue without him, eventually supporting herself as Eagle Harbor’s seamstress, and secretly hoping her husband would return. But days soon slipped into months, and months into years, all without word of Thomas or a cent of the money he’d promised to send.

While working day and night to build a new life that his wife would be proud of, Thomas wrote Jessalyn every week, asking her to come to South Dakota. But she never arrived. In fact, she never answered a single one of his letters. When he returns to Eagle Harbor in search of answers, he finds a woman who thought him dead . . . and soon regrets he didn’t come after her earlier.

As winter closes in and storms trap Thomas in town until the harbor opens in the spring, will he be able to convince his wife he’s worth a second chance? 

My Review

I've fallen in love with the Eagle Harbor series! I appreciate the strong characters that endure a harsh landscape and trying circumstances, turning to their faith and each other. Jessalyn is a good friend to the other women in the community and has built a successful business on her own while raising young children. She has a difficult time accepting Thomas when he returns, even though it was someone else's actions that prevented them from communicating. It takes a lot for Thomas to regain her acceptance and trust, and she worries constantly over the future. I admired that Thomas led his family with gentleness and relied on the Lord for guidance when he struggled with patience. There is an element of suspense with a series of robberies and shady men lurking around, and part of the story is told from Isaac's perspective as the sheriff, also providing a lead-in for his story in the next book. I'm really looking forward to reading more!

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

Don't miss the other books in the Eagle Harbor series

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


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?

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


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?

Heidi Reads... Love's Sure Dawn by Naomi Rawlings


No matter how hard she tries to help, Rebekah Cummings always ends up causing more problems than she solves. This time, though, things will be different. She'll find a way to pay her family's debts, even if doing so requires leaving Eagle Harbor. Maybe then they'll start treating her as a capable woman who makes her own choices.

Gilbert Sinclair is going to marry an heiress. With his latest business venture sunk at the bottom of Lake Superior, he needs money to replace the steamship he lost, so he heads to Chicago where his father's business connections should land him a suitable wife. Like most things in his meticulously planned life, everything goes as expected—until he discovers Rebekah Cummings working as the new cook on his ship.

Rebekah well remembers the pain she endured the last time she tried trusting Gilbert, and Gilbert can't afford to pursue the love of a working class woman. But they can't stop the forgotten feelings swirling between them—or ignore the sacrifices they'd both have to make for a future together. 

Heidi Reads... Love's Eternal Breath by Naomi Rawlings


Lindy Marsden once dreamed of having a husband, a house, some children, and maybe even a sewing machine. But since she grew ill five years ago, those dreams have become too much to hope for. Now she just wants to provide for herself and help the abandoned children she found living in the woods until their father returns… and avoid doctors for the rest of her life. Their medicine never leads to any good, and she has the scars to prove it.

Seth Harrington loves being a doctor, but treating patients in the small town of Eagle Harbor is nothing like working at a prestigious Boston hospital, especially with the other doctor in town trying to steal Seth's patients. When he's called to treat a reluctant woman, Seth finds Lindy Marsden's fiery dislike for him rather insulting. He has the ability to help her, but she wants nothing to do with him. Until she shows up on his doorstep one night...

When the plight of a young abandoned boy brings Seth and Lindy irrevocably together, Seth finds himself in the most difficult situation of his career. His expertise can help him heal the sick, but will his love be enough to soothe Lindy's wounded soul? 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Review: An Awakened Heart by Jody Hedlund

Heidi Reads... An Awakened Heart by Jody Hedlund

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


Trying to heal the ache she feels in her empty life, wealthy Christine Pendleton decides to volunteer at Centre Street Chapel. Ministering to one of the most deprived parts of New York City, the chapel aims at making a difference in the lives of the impoverished immigrants flooding the city. After seeing firsthand the hopelessness of the poor women and orphans, Christine is convinced more can be done to help them.

Guy Bedell has been serving at the chapel and pouring his heart out for the people he's grown to care about. When Christine begins to challenge his methods and offers a new vision for reaching out to the community, can he trust that perhaps God has bigger plans in store for him--plans that may include this feisty socialite?

My Review

I loved this novella! Such a good introduction to the characters that will be in the author's new Orphan Train series. There is a sweet romance in this story with Christine and Guy who are amazing characters, which made the novella feel complete, while at the same time introducing us to the sisters and children who will become part of their lives. I seriously cannot wait to read the first full-length book in the series, With You Always.

Don't miss the first book in the Orphan Train series!

Releasing June 2017! Available for pre-order.

A Riveting Look at the Orphan Train from Historical Novelist Jody Hedlund

When a financial crisis in 1850s New York leaves three orphaned sisters nearly destitute, the oldest, Elise Neumann, knows she must take action. She's had experience as a seamstress, and the New York Children's Aid Society has established a special service: placing out seamstresses and trade girls. Even though Elise doesn't want to leave her sisters for a job in Illinois, she realizes this may be their last chance.

The son of one of New York City's wealthiest entrepreneurs, Thornton Quincy faces a dilemma. His father is dying, and in order to decide which of his sons will inherit everything, he is requiring them to do two things in six months: build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad, and get married. Thornton is tired of standing in his twin brother's shadow and is determined to win his father's challenge. He doesn't plan on meeting a feisty young woman on his way west, though.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday: Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility by Hillary Manton Lodge

Isn't that cover gorgeous?! It was what first caught my attention, then the author, then the Austen theme. All good stuff! Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility by Hillary Manton Lodge releases June 2017!


“Know your own happiness. You want nothing but patience - or give it a more fascinating name, call it hope.”
― Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Just a few years after their father’s business scandal shatters their lives, Jane and Celia Woodward find themselves forced out of their San Francisco tea shop. The last thing Jane wants is to leave their beloved shop on Valencia Street, but when Celia insists on a move to Austin, Texas, the sisters pack up their kid sister Margot and Jane’s tea plants, determined to start over yet again.

But life in Austin isn’t all sweet tea and breakfast tacos. Their unusual living situation is challenging and unspoken words begin to fester between Jane and Celia. When Jane meets and falls for up-and-coming musician Sean Willis, the chasm grows deeper.

While Sean seems to charm everyone in his path, one person is immune – retired Marine Captain Callum Beckett. Callum never meant to leave the military, but the twin losses of his father and his left leg have returned him to the place he least expected—Texas.

In this modern spin on the Austen classic, Sense and Sensibility, the Woodward sisters must contend with new ingredients in unfamiliar kitchens, a dash of heartbreak, and the fragile hope that maybe home isn't so far away.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Review: Just a Kiss by Denise Hunter

Heidi Reads... Just a Kiss by Denise Hunter

My rating:5 stars / It was amazing


Riley Callahan’s plans to reveal his secret feelings for his best friend are derailed when his life is drastically altered in Afghanistan.

Watching the love of his life fall for his brother was enough to send Riley straight to boot camp. But over a year later, he’s officially a marine, and Beau and Paige are no longer an item. When Riley’s tour in Afghanistan is up, he intends to confess his feelings to Paige and win his best friend’s heart once and for all.

But all that changes when an IED takes the life of a comrade and leaves Riley an amputee. Now he’s heading home, injured and troubled. His plans to win Paige are a distant dream. She deserves so much more than the man that’s left. All he can do now is put some healthy distance between them. But upon his return he discovers his family has arranged for him to stay with Paige.

Paige is a nurturer at heart and happy to take care of her best buddy. By all appearances Riley is adjusting miraculously well to his disability. But as the days pass, Paige begins to see that the smiles and laughter are just a mask for the pain he’s hiding. To make matters worse, her job is in serious jeopardy. The animal shelter that she’s poured her heart into has lost its funding, and she has three months to come up with the money needed to save it.

As the weeks wear on, Paige’s feelings for Riley begin to shift into uncharted territory. Why is she suddenly noticing his arm muscles and the way his lips curl at the corners? Will she be able to deny her feelings for another Callahan brother? And will Riley let his heart heal so he can let Paige in?

My Review

There's something about an injured military hero that really tugs on the heartstrings. Riley was already suffering from unrequited love for his best friend/brother's girlfriend, but now he's getting used to life as an amputee and struggling with feelings of inadequacy and PTSD. Paige's loyalty and devotion to him in his time of need is admirable, but instead of growing closer together, they encounter more difficulties in their relationship. Riley's emotional pain has him fighting his feelings for Paige even as she is falling in love with him. Lots of drama and angst as Paige and Riley's relationship finally shifts into romantic territory and they both learn how to fight their own battles and issues while supporting each other. Great chemistry and tension, especially with the kisses that are more than "just a kiss" ;) 

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

Don't miss the other books in the Summer Harbor series!

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?

Heidi Reads... The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing
(Read my review here)


She only remembers loving him. But he can’t forget the way she left.

Following a concussion, Lucy Lovett can’t remember the last seven months of her life. She doesn’t remember leaving her fiancĂ© Zac Callahan weeks before their wedding or moving to Portland, Maine. And she sure doesn’t remember getting engaged to another man. All she remembers is loving Zac more than life itself.

It’s taken Zac months to move on after Lucy left him with no explanation. He’s thrown himself into his family’s farm and his restaurant business in Summer Harbor. Now Lucy’s back, vulnerable, homeless, and still in love with him. She needs his help putting the pieces together, but letting her back into his life is a risk—and the stakes are high. If he follows his heart he’ll win back the love of his life. But if her memory returns he’ll lose her all over again.