Friday, May 26, 2017

Review: The Cherished Quilt by Amy Clipston


Heidi Reads... The Cherished Quilt by Amy Clipston

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

Tragedy tore Christopher’s world apart. But Emily believes there are enough pieces left behind to stitch together a beautiful new beginning.

Emily Fisher is eager to meet the new employee at her father’s shop in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. But when Christopher Hochstetler arrives, his cold demeanor freezes her attempts at building a friendship.

Longing for a fresh start, Christopher travels from Ohio to Bird-in-Hand to work at his uncle’s shop. Christopher’s heart is still wounded from memories of home, and making new friends is the last thing on his mind—he knows the pain that comes with losing those you love. When Emily is kind to him, he tries to remain distant, but he soon finds himself stealing glances at her throughout the day.

When Christopher shares his tragic reasons for leaving home, Emily decides to make a quilt for him as a gesture of their friendship. Even though he is not a member of the church, she’s found someone with whom she can imagine a future. The two are quickly falling in love when a family emergency calls Christopher back to Ohio without warning.

Emily finishes the quilt, in spite of her pain. But when Christopher receives it, will he have the courage to follow his heart?


My Review

One of the things I love about this series is how the sisters in this Amish family help men who are hurting and vulnerable. And then fall in love with them, of course ;) There is great chemistry between Emily and Chris, and even though their friendship developed quickly, it seems they have known each other longer since they understand and support each other so well. Emily is a compassionate and service-minded person, and her natural instincts are to reach out and befriend Chris even when he is stand-offish. Her special care for him is balm to his wounded spirit and she gets him to open up when nobody else could, which helps start the healing process for him. I loved the strong sense of family and acceptance from the Fishers and how they envelop Chris in their circle and home. I was taken off guard by the conflict that comes between Emily and Chris, and their friendship and budding romance is put to the test as Chris must finally face important issues on his own to resolve them. I appreciated the theme that turning to God for relief from the trials we face blesses us with peace and the feeling that all will be well.

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



Don't miss the other books in the Amish Heirloom series!

http://amzn.to/2a7Ez9w


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Synopsis
 Veronica Fisher knows how lucky she is to be marrying her best friend. Seth Lapp is kind, hardworking, and handsome—but most importantly, he loves Veronica.

When an accident on the job steals Seth away from her, a heartbroken Veronica is certain she will never love—or be loved—again. Yet when she discovers a batch of forgotten recipes and opens a bake stand to sell her Mammi’s raspberry pies, Veronica picks up a regular customer  who gives her heart pause.

Jason Huyard was with Seth when he lost his life—a memory that haunts him still. So when he seeks out the grieving fiancĂ©e to convey his condolences, the last thing he expects—or wants—is to fall in love. Nonetheless, Jason soon finds himself visiting Veronica’s bake stand every week . . . and it’s for more than the raspberry pies.

Now, as Veronica’s heart thaws, Jason can’t bring himself to tell her he was there when Seth died. Can he ever reveal where he was on the day her life derailed? Or will his secret rob them of the second chance at love they both want?

http://amzn.to/2aVRDnA


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

Synopsis

Years ago, a picnic basket brought two hearts together. For Rachel and Mike, history may be about to repeat itself.

Rachel Fisher is devastated when the young man she’s loved for years leaves her to date her best friend. Her heart is broken, and she has all but given up on love. Determined to keep her mind off the pain, she starts teaching at an Amish school for children with learning disabilities.

Since his father became ill, Mike Lantz has been overwhelmed with the responsibility of providing for his family and caring for his six-year-old brother, John. When John joins Rachel’s class and she learns that his mother is deceased and his father sick, she desperately wants to help the family, even with something as simple as a meal.

With her parents’ old picnic basket, Rachel begins sending food to the Lantz family. As the weeks go by, John’s grades start to improve, and the attraction grows between Rachel and Mike. They can’t deny that their friendship is growing toward something more, but both of them are hesitant to risk a more serious relationship.

The last thing Rachel wants is another heartbreak, and Mike is worried about providing for his loved ones. Will the two be able to reconcile their past hurts with new hope for the future?

http://amzn.to/2qajM0V

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

Synopsis

In the final installment of the Amish Heirloom series, the Fisher sisters learn the mystery behind their parents’ marriage—and about the sibling who has never been spoken of.

Mattie Fisher’s three daughters know that she’s been keeping a secret from them. With each item pulled from the beloved family hope chest, they’ve discovered a new clue about their mother’s past.

But there’s a reason Mattie has been keeping her history hidden, and she’s not sure she’s ready to reopen old wounds. Will dredging up the past change the way her children view her? Or her marriage to their father? And can she handle the pain of revisiting the memories that preceded the last few happy decades?

Mattie’s story is one of grief and learning to love again. But like the best things preserved in a hope chest, it's a story of love and redemption born out of heartache—and it's past time to share it.




Thursday, May 25, 2017

Review & Giveaway: J. Golden Kimball: The Remarkable Man Behind the Colorful Stories by Kathryn Jenkins Gordon


Heidi Reads... J. Golden Kimball: The Remarkable Man Behind the Colorful Stories by Kathryn Jenkins Gordon

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.comhttps://deseretbook.com/p/j-golden-kimball-the-remarkable-man-behind-the-colorul-stories?autocomplete=true&variant_id=152117-paperbackhttp://www.bookdepository.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

He is J. Golden Kimball, and when he is gone, there will never be another. He was the original product, and when Providence had finished him, the pattern was lost and never found again.

LDS Church history is comprised of the accounts of multitudes of men and women who set the groundwork for the Church. And while there are plenty of ordinary individuals woven into that patchwork of history, there are also a handful of unique individuals who enliven the past and provide inspiration for the future. Known as the “swearing Apostle,” J. Golden Kimball is just such a character, one whose legacy of colorful language is surpassed only by his fierce loyalty to the gospel.

In J. Golden Kimball: The Remarkable Man Behind the Colorful Stories, readers are invited to come to better know this legendary man made famous by his unique humor and powerful testimony. From a chronicle of Kimball’s youthful adventures to the legacy he forged in his more than forty years as a General Authority, gear up for a rollicking ride through the life of one of the liveliest servants of the Lord.

My Review

Even though I was raised in the Mormon church, I hadn't heard about J. Golden Kimball before. This book gave inspiring and fascinating insight into his early life, his missionary work in the volatile and violent post-Civil War Southern states, his struggles with his marriage, family and finances, and most importantly, his stalwart testimony of the gospel. Several of the anecdotes made me chuckle or laugh out loud, and I found that I didn't want to put the book down- which never happens with nonfiction for me! This is by far the most enjoyable biography I've read. Even though Kimball is perceived as an optimistic, humorous, and irreverent character, there was a respectful tone as the difficult and sad parts of his private life were explored. I was able to feel the Spirit as I read about the second generation of Latter-day Saints that Kimball served and served with. I loved learning more about this man of God who wasn't perfect and was beloved for it.  

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

Extras

Listen to a brief audio recording of J. Golden Kimball, including some humor, his advice to young people, his feelings for the prophet, and his testimony of the gospel. (Starts at 46:14)

 J. Golden Kimball was 30 years old when he served a mission to the Southern states

J. Golden Kimball, Ben E. Rich, Elias S. Kimball
 (l-r) J. Golden Kimball, Ben E. Rich, Elias S. Kimball (J. Golden's brother), each served as mission president to the Southern states mission

http://archive.sltrib.com/story.php?ref=/sltrib/news/55513621-78/golden-kimball-church-guns.html.csp
J. Golden Kimball served as a member of the First Council of the Seventy, and later became the senior president of the Seventy.



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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Review: To the Farthest Shore by Elizabeth Camden


Heidi Reads... To the Farthest Shore by Elizabeth Camden

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

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Synopsis

It has been six years since army nurse Jenny Bennett's heart was broken by a dashing naval officer. Now Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher has abruptly reappeared in her life at the Presidio army base but refuses to discuss the inexplicable behavior that destroyed their happiness.

Ryan is in an impossible situation. One of the few men in the world qualified to carry out a daring assignment, he accepted a government mission overseas that caused his reputation to be destroyed and broke the heart of the only woman he ever loved. Honor bound never to reveal where he had been during those six years, he can't tell Jenny the truth or it will endanger an ongoing mission and put thousands of lives at risk.

Although Ryan thinks he may have finally found a solution, he can't pull it off on his own. Loyalty to her country compels Jenny to help, but she never could have imagined the intrigue she and Ryan will have to face or the lengths to which they will have to go to succeed.


My Review

There's something about the writing of Elizabeth Camden that keeps me glued to the pages, fascinated by the history, and invested in the outcome of the story. I loved the setting and the unique characters that had obstacles that they are working to overcome, and learn valuable lessons along the way. In the beginning Jenny and Ryan seem to be the perfect couple, but as they face trials- Jenny from her past, and Ryan from his future- their flaws are revealed and there is a lot for them to learn about communication, trust, and forgiveness. I would have liked to see more romance in their relationship, but their drawn-out struggles prevented it. A bit of suspense kept the pace of the story moving forward when Ryan and Jenny's relationship was stuck in a rut. The developments in the pearl industry, the details of the navy, nursing, and spying in late 1800's Japan, San Fransisco, and San Diego captured my interest and the characters brought the setting to life. Jenny's surrogate father Simon and Finn, the spy Ryan is training to take over for him were two favorites that provided important interactions and additional depth to the plot. 

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


Can't Wait Wednesday: Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright


http://wishfulendings.com


Coming this November is Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright! It has such a fun cover and I love contemporary stories that tie in to Austen. I enjoy the writing style of Julie Wright from the Tangerine Street series and her contributions to some of the Timeless Romance Anthologies.

http://amzn.to/2ruKIsK
http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.comhttp://www.bookdepository.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

Ever since Emma read Pride and Prejudice, she's been in love with Mr. Darcy and has regarded Jane Austen as the expert on all things romantic. So naturally when Emma falls for Blake Hampton and he invites her home to meet his parents, she is positive an engagement is in her future. After all, Blake is a single man in possession of a good fortune, and thus must be in want of a wife.

But when it turns out that what Blake actually wants is more of a hook-up than a honeymoon, Emma is hurt, betrayed, and furious. She throws herself deeper into her work as CMO of Kinetics, the fastest growing gym franchise in the nation. She loves her work, and she's good at it, which is why she bristles when her boss brings in a consultant to help her spearhead the new facilities on the East Coast. Her frustration turns to shock when that consultant turns out to be Blake's younger brother, Lucas.

Emma is determined not to fall for Lucas, but as she gets to know him, she realizes that Lucas is nothing like his brother. He is kind and attentive and spends his time and money caring for the less fortunate.

What she can't understand is why Lucas continues to try to push her back into Blake's arms when he so clearly has fallen as hard for her as she has fallen for him. It isn't until Lucas reveals to Emma that he was adopted into the Hampton family that she begins to understand his loyalty to Blake as well as his devotion to the child April-she is Lucas's biological niece.

Emma opens up to Lucas about the feelings of abandonment she has harbored ever since she was a child and her mother left the family. As she helps Lucas deal with his past demons, she is able to exorcise some of her own.

Realizing that her love life is as complicated as anything Jane Austen could have dreamed up, Emma must find a way to let Blake know that it's time for him to let her go and to let Lucas know it's time for him to love her back.





Thursday, May 18, 2017

Review: A Love So True by Melissa Jagears


Heidi Reads... A Love So True by Melissa Jagears

My rating: 3 stars / I liked it

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Synopsis

Evelyn Wisely has a heart for the orphans of Teaville and works at a local mansion that rescues children out of the town's red-light district and gives them a place to live. But her desire to help isn't limited to orphans. The owner of the mansion, Nicholas Lowe, is willing to help her try to get the women working in prostitution out of the district as well--if she can gain the cooperation and support of local businessmen to go against the rest of the community. 

David Kingsman has recently arrived in Teaville from Kansas City to help with one of his father's companies in town. While he plans on staying only long enough to prove his business merit to his father, he's shown interest in Evelyn's work and is intrigued enough by her to lend his support to her cause. 


They begin with the best of intentions, but soon the complications pile up and Evelyn and David's dreams look more unattainable every day. When the revelation of a long-held secret creates a seemingly insurmountable rift between them, can they trust God still has a good plan for them despite all that is stacked against them?


My Review

I appreciated the focus of this book on the importance of not only helping orphans, but also their mothers escape lives of prostitution and poverty. Evelyn is single-minded in her mission to provide safety and security for those who will reach out and accept support, even sacrificing her reputation and hopes for a future family. For much of the book I didn't understand her hang-ups about men and her fear of romance, but eventually the secret is revealed. David admires her in spite of her brusque attitude toward him, and his cheerfulness and sincerity build the foundation of their developing friendship. Lydia and Nicholas from the previous book are close friends of Evelyn's and help her when they can, despite not understanding her reasons for shunning men. They fully appreciate her help running their orphanage and her goal of starting a women's home. Various mishaps happen throughout the story that give David and Evelyn opportunities to grow closer together, and through the ultimate test they face, they learn to trust in God's timing and plans, even when it's difficult.

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

Don't miss the other books in the Teaville Moral Society series!

http://amzn.to/2oFZ3xV
(Prequel novella; also published in With This Ring? novella collection)

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Synopsis

Ever since Charlotte Andrews bested four-eyed Harrison Gray in a shooting competition when they were teenagers, he decided a tough, show-off girl like Charlie didn't need him to look after her. Now a teacher at the local school, Harrison learns Charlie intends to marry a neighbor who comes from a long line of no-good troublemakers and, for some inexplicable reason, it falls to him to talk some sense into her...if she has any under that tomboy exterior.

Their heated confrontation unfortunately takes place right as a bad storm is coming on and, in the melee of arguing and taking shelter, Harrison's glasses are knocked off his face and broken when Charlie's horse crushes them under a hoof. Harrison and Charlie may have their differences, but she can see from his panic that the loss of his glasses is a blow to him. She volunteers to help him at school until his new pair of special order glasses arrive despite knowing the one place she can't best Harrison is in the classroom.

http://amzn.to/2pZsMpo

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Synopsis

Lydia King knows what it's like to be in need, so when she joins the Teaville Moral Society, she genuinely hopes to help the town's poor. But with her father's debts increasing by the day and her mother growing sicker by the week, she wonders how long it will be until she ends up in the poor house herself. Her best chance at a financially secure future is to impress the politician courting her, and it certainly doesn't hurt that the moral society's president is her suitor's mother. Her first task as a moral society member—to obtain a donation from Nicholas Lowe, the wealthiest man in town—should be easy . . . except he flat-out refuses.

Despite appearances, Nicholas wants to help others but prefers to do it his own way, keeping his charity private. When Lydia proves persistent, they agree to a bargain, though Nicholas has a few surprises up his sleeve. Neither foresee the harrowing complications that will arise from working together. When town secrets are brought to light, this unlikely pair must decide where their beliefs—and hearts—truly align.