The Happiness Pact by Liz Flaherty and **Giveaway**

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💚💚💚💚 4-hearts

fullsizeoutput_ac2Libby Worth and Tucker Llewelyn have known each other since they can remember. In fact, they’re only 27 minutes apart.  As handsome as Tuck is, Libby sees him as her forever friend, not imagining that they could ever be anything more. Tuck is closer to her than her own brother, and he’s seen her through the most difficult times of her life. (Or so he thinks. He doesn’t know about “the viper.”) Now the two have turned thirty-four, and each wants something different to happen in their life. Tuck realizes he wants a nuclear family, and Libby wants to add some adventure to her rather ordinary life. So they make a pact to help fulfill each other’s desires. Since each knows everything there is to know about the other it should be a rather easy task. But what’s that odd feeling Libby gets when trying to pair Tuck up with other women? And why does Tuck feel compelled to do whatever it takes to add adventure to Libby’s life in order to make her happy?  Tucker senses that Libby is hiding something, something that’s weighing her down. Is her secret the obstacle that restrains her heart from committing to a loving relationship?
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This sweet story pulled me in within the first few pages. Tragedies have affected both of the main characters, but Libby has had a more difficult time coping, unbeknownst to her best friend, Tuck.  The Happiness Pact touches on the effects that tragedy can have on ones mind and body, and how trying to tackle our own fears is not always the best route to take. But mostly it shows how the love of friends, family and a close-knit community can help us to overcome our challenges so that we can feel free to love, and to enjoy living.  And, of course, since this is a sweet romance book, there’s an endearing love story.

The Happiness Pact is a testament to how love can triumph despite hardships in life. Liz Flaherty has an inventive imagination. The scenes in her books envelop you in warmth and comfort.  Recommended for those who enjoy light, sweet romance stories with a smidgen of more complex themes.

Liz Flaherty has kindly supplied me with a prize pack to give away.  To enter, LIKE this post, and then tell me if you enjoy sweet romance stories, and if you do, what do you appreciate about them?  Contest open to U.S. residents only. 😔  Winner will be announced on 7/7/2018.

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Thanks, as always, for visiting Cozynookbks.

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Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’s Sweetshop of Dreams (Audiobook-Tantor Audio) **Top Pick**

I know I’ve loved a book when:

-The audiobook version is 13 hrs. long and I’m utterly disappointed when it ends

-I find myself chuckling throughout the day recalling random scenes

-I start researching other books by the author so I can add one to my tbr

-I stalk the author online and follow their social media posts

This is how I felt after devouring Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’s Sweetshop of Dreams. I enjoyed this book immensely. The audiobook narrator, Beverley Crick, did an outstanding job portraying the various characters, both male and female, in the book. An incredible performance. This book checked off all of the boxes that make for a thoroughly satisfying read.

And now a peek at the plot…..

Rosie Hopkins, age thirty-one, is an auxiliary nurse living in a tiny London flat with her status-quo boyfriend, Gerard, age thirty-six. She’s convinced herself that she’s satisfied with her life, but her friends and family consistently suggest otherwise. Angie, Rosie’s mother who lives in Australia, has commandeered her to move to the English countryside to care for her elderly great aunt, Lilian, who used to run a sweetshop but is no longer up for the task since a terrible fall has taken its toll on her. Rosie’s job is to transform the neglected, abandoned shop into a proper sweetshop so that it can be sold and aunt Lilian placed in a comfortable senior home to live out her days. Rosie resists with numerous excuses as to why she shouldn’t go, but after considering having the most favorable circumstances amongst all of her relatives, along with her inner desire to have a break from Gerard, acquiesces and decides to go.

Rosie eventually settles into village life with its quirky residents and beautiful landscape. She even gets the opportunity to demonstrate her adept nursing abilities on a few occasions. Subsequently, she’s beginning to feel useful in the small town of Lipton. When Gerard finally gets around to visiting, she realizes what a disappointment he really is; his idiosyncratic ways so clearly visible and pathetic when compared with the rugged men she’s met out in the country. Rosie is reevaluating her life, and just where will she end up? Can she find love and a new life in the little town of Lipton, or will she choose to return to her familiar life in London with Gerard?

I adored this book. It was so well crafted. An excellent story. The audio narrator brought it to life and I didn’t want it to end. Be warned though, there is a bit of language in this book here and there, but overall it’s a cozy, sweet read with loads of British wit and charm. Fabulous!

Thank you, Tantor Audio, for a complimentary download of Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’s Sweetshop of Dreams. In exchange I have provided an honest review.

Have a lovely week!!

The Best Man by Kristan Higgins

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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After devouring Now That You Mention It recently, and loving it, I felt compelled to squeeze in another book by Kristan Higgins. So I went with the first book in her Blue Heron series, The Best Man.  She’s two for two now folks.  I loved this book too!  It’s more romance than women’s fiction, but equally enjoyable. Here’s a little glimpse into the plot…

Faith Holland’s fiancée, Jeremy Lyon, dumped her at the altar, and Faith blames his best man, Levi Cooper, for the breakup. To escape the humiliation of her failed nuptials, Faith flees to California intending to stay until the gossip subsides. Three years later her sister, Honor, calls her home to help out with a situation involving their dad. It won’t be easy facing the pity that well-intentioned friends will dole out, but Faith is looking forward to returning home to her family, their vineyard and Jeremy. Jeremy?! Besides, as an architectural landscaper she can do some renovation work on the family’s old barn and acquire other projects that will keep her occupied. She’ll need the distraction since she still loves Jeremy despite what he did to her. But wouldn’t you know it, the first person she runs into when she gets back to her hometown is Levi, now the police chief of Manningsport. She still hates him, and is forthcoming about her feelings towards him. He’s never seemed to like Faith and judging from his reactions to her arrival that hasn’t much changed. He is ruggedly handsome though, she can’t deny that. And when Faith finds herself in need of assistance on more than one occasion, it’s Levi who comes to her rescue. Might their hostilities be masking something that they’ve both been unwilling to confront for many years?

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Ahh….the enemies to lovers trope. I loved it!! There were so many great things about this book: watching the romance develop, the fully fleshed-out characters, the humor, the secret that Faith carries and how it affects her life with her family, her relationship with Jeremy, Faith’s adorable dog, Blue, and the surprise visitor who shows up in Manningsport and threatens to destroy everything. It all kept the plot moving. I enjoyed every component of the story. Kristan Higgins’s stories are like a jigsaw puzzle; a lot of little pieces that need to come together to form a complete picture. How she manages to reconstruct those pieces so effectively is what has me coming back for more.

The Best Man will make you laugh (I cracked up at the ladies’ verbal jabs at poor Levi), it will make you sad, it will have you rooting for the underdog. But in the end you will feel gratified that you’ve spent time with the Blue Heron family of characters. Definitely recommended for lovers of romance.

Are you a fan of Kristan Higgins?  What do you think of her books. Please share. I’d love to hear what you think. And thanks, as always, for visiting. Have a great day!!

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His Baby Dilemma by Catherine Lanigan

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ – 5 hearts

Grace Railton had a crush on Mica Barzonni ever since they shared a kiss as teenagers, but she didn’t get the sense that the attraction was mutual. Twelve years later when Grace’s aunt Louise has back surgery and Grace leaves her home in Paris to come help out at The Louise House, her aunt’s ice-cream shop in Indian Lake, Indiana, Mica and Grace get reacquainted. He’s still unimaginably handsome with his black hair and Mediterranean blue eyes. The only difference is that he’s lost the use of his left arm and shoulder after an injury he suffered while trying to repair his mother’s car. The two become caught up in emotions, but their cozy reunion is short lived. Grace returns to her career in Paris and Mica doesn’t hear a word from her until fifteen months later when she is back in Indian Lake, about to present Mica Barzonni with the shock of his life—their six month old son, Jules.

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My concept of Mica Barzonni

After this shocking revelation, is Grace serious about wanting Mica to take care of Jules for a few months while she goes back to Paris to nurture her current career opportunities? Mica isn’t happy about this proposition, and he makes his thoughts on that clearly known. There’s no doubt he still has feelings for Grace, which he doesn’t make known, but their goals are so dissimilar. Mica’s a farm boy interested in farm equipment and machinery. Grace is a fashion designer who grew up in pursuit of the next beauty pageant. Mica has always downplayed Grace’s ambitions, considering them foolish. In his mind they could never be compared to the hard work and dedication that’s needed to run a farm. But after observing her at work one day, in her element, he’s forced to admit that there’s a lot more to the fashion world than he’d realized. Might he have misjudged her? His feelings of anger and betrayal are being replaced by admiration and love. But Mica’s reluctance to express his feelings might cause him to lose Grace forever. And he may be running out of time since it seems there’s an interested Frenchman on Grace’s heels ready to snatch her up.

I have to admit that I wasn’t crazy about Grace when I started reading this book. She was a difficult character to assess initially. I felt like her work ambition was eclipsing her role as mother to little Jules. But as the book progressed she redeemed herself. I saw how much she loved her baby and how conflicted she was. I recognized that Mica was unsure of himself, mostly because of his accident and the perceived limitations it imposed. Also, he’d been a loner and a brooder for most of his life and it was difficult for him to be vulnerable with anyone, including Grace. The two of them drove me nuts at times, suppressing their feelings for each other, but I grew to love them. The scenes with Mica and Jules were so utterly heartwarming that it made me feel, momentarily, like I wanted to have a little baby around again. Well…a grandbaby maybe, LOL.

I LOVED this book. It touched me. And Catherine Lanigan’s worldliness with regard to subject matter—fashion and machinery in this case, gave me insight which I appreciated since I love learning new things when I read. Her knowledge, wisdom, and/or research shines through in her books and gives them a depth that I find particularly enjoyable. Definitely recommended for lovers of sweet romance.

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Thank you for reading. Have a great day!!

Under an Adirondack Sky by Karen Rock


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Summary:

Rebecca Day’s job is in jeopardy. She works in the public school system as a school psychologist for at-risk teenagers, but it’s unlikely that her tenure will be approved since faculty and parents are not thrilled about her low-key disciplinary methods. Determined to prove her worth and retain her position, Rebecca proposes a retreat to Tupper Lake in the Adirondacks with the school’s troubled adolescents, initiating a pilot program that she feels will help them with their behavioral issues. For one of the troubled students she counsels, Connor Walsh, this program’s success is particularly important because if he doesn’t make significant progress he will be expelled from school. Aiden Walsh, his older brother and guardian, is too busy working long hours at the family business to give Connor the attention he needs. Rebecca observes Aiden’s distracted presence at meetings pertaining to his brother’s future and pegs him an uninterested workaholic. Aiden thinks Rebecca’s methods are overly lax and ridiculous. The two don’t hit it off very well, especially when Rebecca makes Aiden aware that he’s required to accompany Connor on their Adirondack adventure. Things start out rough, but time away from their everyday lives reveals unique circumstances and positive qualities that neither realized the other possessed. But can Aiden make his brother the priority when his heart is being pulled in another direction?

If you can imagine 20 troubled teenagers in the wilderness, and the verbal exchanges that take place amongst today’s youth, then you can get a pretty good picture of what’s taking place here. There’s irritability, competitiveness and quarreling. But in time the kids learn to interact together and they begin to see the value of teamwork and that life can still be worthwhile without their smartphones. I liked how the teens personalities are portrayed through their dialogue. You get a good sense of each character. The descriptions of the setting are great, and Karen Rock is definitely skilled in writing convincing romantic scenes that are suitable for a Heartwarming book.

I enjoyed this book. It had a down-to-earth feel that I think many would appreciate. I did.

Heart’s Refuge by Cheryl Harper

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫  4.5 stars

Sarah Hillman’s no-kill animal shelter, Paws for Love, is in dire need of funding. Desperate for help, she reaches out to Will Barnes, a former H.S. classmate, and owner of Barnes Financial. Trouble is, Sarah was formerly the little rich, snarky, mean-girl who taunted her classmates, including Will, and “Beanpole Barnes” doesn’t feel much compassion for daddy’s little rich girl when she approaches him for assistance—at least initially. Sarah verbally taunted Will’s sister, Jen, too. And Jen and her two friends are the source for the funds needed to keep Paws for Love running. But Sarah seems to have changed, there’s no denying that, and Will’s attitude towards her begins to soften. Could it be that the shift in financial status since Bobby Hillman skipped town, leaving his shady luxury auto business behind and his daughter broke, has humbled her? Only time will tell, but meanwhile Paws for Love is a worthy cause and Will feels an obligation to seek aid for the foundering shelter. Sarah may be slowly winning his heart, too. Can Sarah be trusted, or is she putting on an act to get what she wants?

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How can you grow to love a mean-girl character? A former bully?  In Heart’s Refuge, Cheryl Harper makes you do it. This story stole my heart. The sweet shelter animals, the main character’s transformation and the community support were all reasons why I enjoyed Heart’s Refuge so much. This book is part of a series, and I suspect that a few loose ends will be tied up in the next book. Even so, I loved it and would definitely recommend this sweet, heartwarming story.

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Until next time….

Second Chance Romance by Jill Weatherholt

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4-stars

Divorce attorney, Melanie Harper, is a sad soul. She lost her family in a tragic accident and now she’s all alone, living in her three-story townhouse in Washington, DC. She lives to work. The only family she has left is her 65 yr. old aunt Phoebe who operates The Coffee Bean, aka “The Bean,” with co-owner, Jackson Daughtry, and lives happily down in the valley of a little town called Sweet Gum. Phoebe continually invites her niece to come visit, but she’s always too busy. Until now. Melanie decides to visit, but she intends to convince her aunt to come back and live with her in DC.  Jackson, paramedic and handsome, young, silent partner to The Bean, is not happy about this new development. Phoebe has been like a mother to him, especially after his mom, Phoebe’s best friend since childhood and original co-owner of The Coffee Bean, died only one year after his father. And though he feels frustrated by her plans to take Phoebe away, he can’t help but notice how attractive she is. But women are off limits for Jackson. He has some major trust issues since his wife abandoned their family—he and his young daughter, Rebecca. Life being unpredictable, Jackson and Melanie wind up working together. Will this turn out for the best, or will a sudden appearance from his ex-wife derail any hopes of them finding love.

Second Chance Romance is a very sweet account of how two emotionally scarred individuals learn to trust and to have faith in love again after suffering loss. I chuckled at the main characters’ verbal sparring when they first became acquainted with each other. Jackson’s young daughter, Rebecca, is a prominent figure in the book and she is adorable.

I enjoyed this quick, light romance book. If you’re looking for a little sweet escape from more emotionally draining reads, you’ll find solace in Second Chance Romance.