Friday, December 9, 2016

Review: Garden of Her Heart

USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield joins us with her latest release, a sweet World War II romance. I'm also including the review I wrote of her book and an excerpt!

Can forbidden love blossom amid the constraints of war?
The moment the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, life shifted for Miko Nishimura. Desperate to reach the Portland Assembly Center for Japanese-Americans, she’s kicked off the bus miles from town. Every tick of the clock pushes her closer to becoming a fugitive in the land of her birth. Exhausted, she stumbles to her grandparents’ abandoned farm only to find a dying soldier sprawled across the step. Unable to leave him, she forsakes all else to keep him alive.
After crashing his plane in the Battle of the Atlantic, the doctors condemn Captain Rock Laroux to die. Determined to meet his maker beneath a blue sky at his family home, he sneaks out of the hospital. Weary and half out of his mind, he makes it as far as a produce stand he remembers from his youth. Rather than surrender to death, Rock fights a battle of the heart as he falls in love with the beautiful Japanese woman who saves his life.
A poignant, sweet romance, Garden of Her Heart proves love can bloom in unlikely places even under the most challenging circumstances.

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I’ve read many of Shanna’s books before, but this one interested me especially as I prepare to look into WWI and WWII history for myself soon. This one pleasantly surprised me as I was drawn into the world of the Japanese living in the Pacific Northwest shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor as well as interracial marriage.

Characters: 1/1

The characters were varied, intriguing, and engaging. I’m afraid Petey stole my heart, but I think that’s what he was supposed to do. I did like Rock and Miko as well, but I loved Petey’s usage of so many different phrases, metaphors, and similes. It was hilarious! If you don’t read the book for any other reason, just read it for that.

Dialogue: 1/1 
The dialogue seemed very appropriate for the time period and characters and never made me stop reading.

Plot/storyline: 1/1

The plot was cohesive throughout, easy to follow, tense, funny, and everything a good story should be.

Overall writing quality: 1/1

Shanna has always had a way of drawing the reader in so they don’t want to stop reading. She didn’t fail in this book, either.

Un-put-down-ability: 1/1

Garden of Her Heart had the perfect amount of times that made it easyish to put the book done which was good because I had already stayed up too late reading a book earlier in the week. That isn’t to say that the book wasn’t good, it was one of those books that had spots where you felt okay with leaving the characters where they were for a while so you could function or do something. But then at the end, you will want to make sure you have a little time set aside to read because you will definitely not want to put it down.

Conclusion: 5/5

 As I said earlier, even if you only read the book to read about Petey, do it. He’s the show stealer. But if you like a book with a good romance, you should read this one. It’s a clean romance about a couple who is thrown together providentially and help each other survive.

Note: I received an ARC copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

“Mmm, mm. Nobody bakes cake like Miko and Grandma Yamada,” Petey said, taking a big bite. “Can you teach Mom how to make it like yours? Her white cake always tastes like she used cornmeal mixed with sawdust and forgot to add the sugar.”

Rock choked on a bite and took a drink from the glass of milk Miko handed to him. If nothing else, the neighbor boy provided a welcome diversion.

Petey finished his cake, thanked Miko, and promised to return to check on them another day. Before he ran off, Miko caught him around the waist and sat him on the table so he was nearly eye level with her and Rock.

“Petey, you know I love you to pieces and you are welcome to visit anytime you like, but I
need you to do something for me.” Miko eyed the boy, glad to see he attentively listened to each word she spoke.

“You name it,” he said, grinning at her. “If you want me to jump off the top of that barn, just say the word. You need me to chase down a bus, I’ll run ’til my legs give out. You ask me to sing ‘Yankee Doodle,’ I’ll tune up the pipes and belt it out without a band.”

“It’s nothing quite as elaborate or drastic as all that.” She tweaked Petey’s upturned nose. “You’ve seen the war posters that talk about loose lips sinking ships, haven’t you?”

“Sure, I have.” Petey leaned toward Rock. “Everybody’s seen them and even if you ain’t feasted your eyes on one, you hear ’em say it on the radio all the time.”

“Yes, you do,” Rock agreed.

Miko placed a gentle hand on the boy’s shoulder. “What I’m trying to explain, Petey, is that it’s very important no one knows I’m here. Not even your mom and dad. Will you keep it a secret, just between us?”

“Will I? Will I keep a secret?” The boy vaulted off the table and danced a little jig. “Boy, will I! The Germans could string me up by my toes, the Japs could poke me with bayonets, the Italians could roast me over a pit, but I ain’t talking. If they ask, I don’t know nuthin’.” Petey shrugged and pulled an angelic, innocent face. “Miko? I haven’t seen her for a long while. She went off with Grandma and Grandpa Yamada for the summer, don’t ya know. They’re on a marvelous trip and who knows when they’ll be back.”

Petey turned and raced across the yard. He stopped at the corner of the barn and saluted Rock, then bowed to Miko. “These lips won’t sink a ship or a girl as swell as you.”

Miko blew him a kiss, then the boy disappeared in the direction from which he’d come.
“Whew,” Rock said, propping his elbow on the table and resting his chin on his hand. “That boy is like a cyclone riding a twister.”

USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with relatable heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”
Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, this hopeless romantic is out to make it happen, one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.
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  1. Thank you so much for hosting me today, Faith, and for reviewing the book. So happy you enjoyed it! Best wishes and Merry Christmas!


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