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.

Review: Home to Stay


Home to Stay by Kate James
My rating:            5 of 5 stars

💚💚💚💚💚

Home to Stay is San Diego K-9 Unit Book 4.

Sawyer Evans’s four-year-old son, Dylan, was kidnapped from their campsite while vacationing with family.  San Diego K-9 unit officer, Shannon Clemens, is called upon with her search and rescue dog, Darwin, to try to locate the missing child. The initial search is unsuccessful and Sawyer is livid. Shannon’s emotions are stirred by Sawyer’s deep agony over his son’s disappearance, and because of her own prior personal experience with loss, she feels compelled to help Sawyer find Dylan. In time, the distraught father and caring, compassionate officer develop feelings for one another. But when another incident causes tension between the couple, their connection is strained. Will the feelings they’ve developed be enough to overcome the obstacles they’re currently facing?

Home to Stay was thoroughly engrossing from the start.  As new developments in the abduction case surfaced, the suspense and intensity continued to build, keeping me interested and engaged in the story. The intriguing mystery surrounding Dylan’s disappearance propelled the plot forward. I was put in the mind of a romantic suspense novel—albeit a milder approach to the romance and suspense elements, making it suitable for a wholesome romance book. The relationship and dialog between Sawyer and his son was endearing—so sweet and pleasant to read. Dylan was a darling little boy, and I looked forward to scenes where he was present. The relationship between Sawyer and Shannon was at times complex because of surrounding circumstances and I kept trying to envision how things would turn out for the two of them.

Riveting and imaginative, I enjoyed this book immensely. An intriguing mystery, suspense, police procedurals, a strained romance and HEA, are some of what you’ll get in Home to Stay. Very highly recommended.

I received a free copy of this book from the author. In exchange I have provided an honest review.

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Review: Recipe for Redemption

Recipe for Redemption
💚💚💚💚💚 Recipe for Redemption by Anna J. Stewart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jason Corwin’s life is in a shambles when he arrives at the Flutterby Inn in Butterfly Harbor, a California coastal town, where he’s been sent to clear his head from the recent misfortunes that have befallen him. After having lost his twin brother, his career as a renowned chef and his reputation, Jason has convinced himself that walking away from his former life, instead of fighting to reclaim it, is the best option. That’s until he meets Abby Manning, the beautiful, young and feisty Flutterby Inn Manager who can’t cook if her life depended on it. So why on earth did she join a cooking contest? Abby could use Jason’s help in the kitchen if she has any chance at winning the prize money that she desperately needs to save the inn that’s been her grandmother’s home for decades. But Jason is uppity, reticent and judgmental, and he grates on her nerves. That is until Abby’s playful nature gradually peels away the layers of Jason’s scarred heart to reveal the sensitive, charming man underneath. Soon they are working together amiably, healing each other. But will a bombshell threaten everything they’ve managed to accomplish together and destroy the strong feelings they both share for one another?

I loved this sweet romance novel. The pacing impressed me as it built gradually and then gained impetus to the very last page. Sometimes a book starts strong and then wanes. This was not the case with Recipe for Redemption. It reached a point where I was flipping pages so fast I couldn’t believe I was at the end already. There are many things that I enjoyed about this book. I loved the relationship between Abby and her grandmother. There are tender, heartwarming moments between them that touched my heart. There are two very precocious kids that had me laughing out loud at their antics. Even the town, Butterfly Harbor, had much to recommend itself with its picturesqueness and supportive neighbors that rallied round Abby despite their knowledge of her inept cooking skills. A semi-eccentric character, a villain and the presence of butterflies all add to the endearing quality of this story.
Anna Stewart’s writing is emotive, funny and definitely worth investing time in. A most delightful read. Highly recommended.

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Sophie’s Path by Catherine Lanigan -Review and GIVEAWAY

Sophie’s Path by Catherine Lanigan 

My rating:  5 of 5 stars 💚💚💚💚💚

Sophie’s Path gets off to a highly dramatic start. Sophie Mattuchi, a cardiac ablation surgical nurse, who also dedicates time to assisting in the ER on weekends, has been called in to help with three individuals brought into the ER after being involved in a severe car accident. Jack Carter was the driver of one of the vehicles, and Sophie’s soothing voice comforts Jack while she addresses his injuries. Although badly wounded, Jack’s concern is not for himself, but it’s concentrated on two of his employees that were riding with him. Although in a fuzzy state of mind, he remembers the blood-curdling scream of his young protegé, Aleah. Is she okay? Sophie, tending to the stricken passengers, and noting the young girl’s deteriorating condition, rushes to assist her. At that precise moment, the man responsible for the accident, an addict, appears to be in a more critical state than Aleah. Sophie turns her attention to the dying man, to Jack’s shock and dismay. He’s enraged at Sophie for leaving Aleah to tend to the addict, and he doesn’t hide his feelings about it long after his release from the hospital. Consumed by Jack’s dissatisfaction with her decision, Sophie begins to question her judgment regarding her actions that night.

Not one to wallow in self-doubt, and realizing that she can’t alter the past, but that she can change the future, Sophie becomes determined to get support to provide assistance to addicts. In addition to those efforts, she begins sponsoring a young addict, Jeremy, through the Recovery Alliance initiative— devoting a lot of time she doesn’t have to nurturing and encouraging him when he’s feeling dejected, lost and hopeless. With her regular position at the hospital, weekend ER assistance, and her commitment to the Recovery Alliance program, Sophie is spreading herself dangerously thin. These varied demands are taking a toll, and lack of recharging is affecting her nursing abilities. She has to make a choice about priorities in her life. Will she ever have time for Jack Carter, the man whose ire has finally begun to soften towards her, revealing the compassionate, generous, attractive man that he truly is?

If that weren’t enough, Sophie’s beginning to feel a sense of belonging from the very people she’d tried to manipulate in the past. Their willingness to forgive and accept her is melting her heart. She wants the family that’s embracing her. She wants Jack. She wants to help with the Revovery Alliance. She wants to be a proficient cardiac surgery nurse. She wants to work in the ER. She wants to run to stay fit. She wants this, she wants that. She learns that she can’t have it all.

Arising circumstances will cause Sophie to change the course of her life and reexamine what’s truly important, and what’s worth fighting for.

Sophie’s Path is a tender, emotionally charged book without being angst-ridden. Catherine Lanigan delights us with her personable, conversational writing style that’s appealing in that it brings the characters, their surroundings and expressions to life in a relatable way. The companionable dialogue helped me to fully comprehend what the characters were feeling, and I formed an instant attachment to many of them.

Sophie’s Path was highly enjoyable and I will be sure to read more of the books in the Shores of Indian Lake series. Recommended.

To learn more about all of the books in the Shores of Indian Lake series, click here.
To find Sophie’s Path online, along with other books in the series, click here.

GIVEAWAY:

I enjoyed this book so much that I’d like to give away a copy to one commenter who will tell me if he/she enjoys reading sweet romance books, and why. I’ll choose a winner at the end of May. Please leave an email address so you can be contacted if you win. Since this is a paperback book, the giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  I sincerely apologize to my International readers.

As always, thank you for reading.  ( :

Review: Sanctuary Cove

Sanctuary Cove
Sanctuary Cove by Kate James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💚💚💚💚💚 What do you get when you take a handsome, compassionate veterinarian; a beautiful, intelligent, yet insecure, animal lover; a small town in the Adirondack Mountains with breathtaking scenery; and a scandal involving a corrupt senator that could destroy many lives? You get Sanctuary Cove, a wholesome romance story with a healthy dose of intrigue for good measure.

Emma Meadows, Communications professional, is finding solace in her cottage in Sanctuary Cove with her Alaskan Malamute, Max, after having lost her job, criminal defense attorney fiancé, Richard, and the home they planned to live in after their nuptials. Realizing that Richard wasn’t the man she thought he was has been difficult, but Emma is determined to make a new start. When she spots a badly injured dog on the side of the road on her way to Sanctuary Cove and calls the resident veterinarian, Josh Whitmore, who arrives at the scene to care for the dog, there’s an instant attraction felt by both Josh and Emma, even though neither one is willing to acknowledge or entertain the thought of it at first. Josh is also moving on from a toxic relationship with crazy ex-girlfriend Crystal, and making any new love connections is far from his mind. But their attraction to one another is undeniable, and before long the two are getting to know one another. Josh detects Emma’s lack of confidence and is just the person to help her regain it and realize her full potential. But it’s a double-edged sword. When Emma’s work is sought after by a consulting firm that’s willing to give her everything she’s dreamed of professionally, moving to NYC could mean the end to her blossoming relationship with Josh. And since she’s embroiled in turmoil involving a corrupt senator and her opportunist ex-fiancé Richard, will she leave Josh behind in order to protect him?

Sanctuary Cove was a great story to get lost in. The descriptive surroundings, lovable canines, respectable main characters and an HEA that will melt your heart, makes it a wholesome romance book that you’ll want to invest time in reading. The scheme involving the senator was a nice subplot that added interest to the overall storyline. Imagining the trio of canines romping around in the open and lush landscape was soothing. I truly enjoyed this book. Recommended.

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Review: A Family Like Hannah’s

A Family Like Hannah's
A Family Like Hannah’s by Carol Ross
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💚💚💚💚💚 I loved A Family Like Hannah’s. Carol Ross has done it again with the fourth installment of her Season’s of Alaska series. At times heart wrenching, but mostly heartwarming, A Family Like Hannah’s is yet another example of her skill at creating solid, evocative stories. Carol Ross’s books exude a warmth and tenderness that immediately captures your attention and holds it as the story unfolds. Indicative of this is the natural, convincing way her characters find love. Hannah James, the principal character in A Family Like Hannah’s, is getting her life back on track after a tragic accident almost ended it. Still good natured, adventurous and athletic despite what she’s been through, Hannah’s dream has come true as co-partner and project manager for Snowy Sky, a ski resort in Rankins, Alaska. Tate Addison, Consultant for Snowy Sky, and unbeknownst to Hannah a dominant shareholder, has plans that threaten to upend her vision for the resort, and the two don’t get off to a promising start. Notwithstanding this, Hannah can’t deny her attraction to the handsome Tate. He’s stepped in to care for his neglected 6-year old nephew, Lucas, whom Hannah has come to adore. These factors and others endear Hannah to Tate, but Tate’s background of the same neglect and pain that Lucas endured initially causes him to conclude that Hannah is just too good for him with her large, perfect family and her seemingly unblemished life. He isn’t aware that Hannah’s hiding a secret that could halt any chances of the couples’ friendly relationship advancing to the next level anyway. Nevertheless, feelings between the two can’t be denied. Hannah is great with kids, especially Lucas, and she has an effect on Tate like no other woman he’s ever known. If they want to be together, the couple will have to see beyond the impediments that can easily keep them apart. The way they do this demonstrates Carol Ross’s adept ability to concoct sweet stories with a happy ending that leaves you feeling contented, satisfied and in anticipation of her next book so that you can revisit characters you’ve grown to love.

It was a delight to return to Rankins Alaska and to be reunited with characters from the first three books in the Season’s of Alaska series. And yet, A Family Like Hannah’s can certainly be enjoyed on its own. If an engrossing story with great characters, a sweet romance and a happy ending is what you’re looking for in your next read, you’ll love A Family Like Hannah’s. I did. Highly recommended.

I received a free copy of A Family Like Hannah’s from the author. No compensation was collected for my honest review.

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Review: Carousel Nights

Carousel Nights
Carousel Nights by Amie Denman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💜💜💜💜💜 Carousel Nights is book 2 in the Starlight Point Stories miniseries, and it was a delightfully, enjoyable read. The story focuses on Mel Preston, head of maintenance at the Starlight Point Amusement Park; and June Hamilton, part owner of Starlight Point. The two had dated for a summer seven years earlier when they were teens.  June, feeling destined for the bright lights of Broadway in NYC, left Mel behind to pursue her dreams. Now she’s back at The Point to help out her siblings, co-owners of Starlight Point, with various park upgrades for several weeks before returning to her life in NYC.  It’s not easy seeing Mel practically every day while he carries out tasks around the amusement park. And his adorable 5-yr. old son, Ross, is subtly stealing June’s heart as well.  It’s becoming obvious that the two are still attracted to each other, but Mel’s reluctance to act on his impulses stems from being left behind by June once before. And although she seems somewhat interested in rekindling their lost love, Mel knows he has to tread carefully because this time around he has another to consider besides just himself.  So who or what will ultimately win out with June?Will it be the handsome maintenance worker that she left behind years ago?  Or will she choose the fame and opportunity of a lifetime that awaits her back in The Big Apple?

This book really drew me in and held my attention. The amusement park setting was vivid and lively. I could feel the energy of the crowds, rides, and fireworks going off. I imagined Mel Preston busily going about his day handling varying degrees of emergencies, and June Hamilton, dressed in sparkly costumes, dancing in the Midway Theater.  Little Ross’s appearance in this book added an endearing quality.  He was a sweet presence; not whiny or childish, but slightly mature for his five years, and the interaction between father and son was a joy to read about. There were also a couple of nail-biting scenes involving a storm and a fire that amped up the story and helped to move it along at a nice pace.  I was on the edge of my seat at times eagerly anticipating the outcomes.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed this book. The romantic element was convincing and the ending was as sweet and satisfying as a hot fudge sundae after a plate of comfort food on one of your best days. Highly recommended.

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Review: The Country Vet

The Country Vet The Country Vet by Eleanor Jones
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫  Cass Truman isn’t exactly receiving a warm welcome from the residents of the little village in the Lake District where she’s decided to settle and begin her career as a veterinarian. The old farmers regard her skeptically, and unfortunately her first emergency call results in permission from its owner’s father to put down a pony that was in extreme distress and pain.  The pony, Rosie, was special to Jake Munro, and his father’s permission for the vet to put it down enrages him.  Jake is unreasonable and unwilling to accept Cass as a capable, qualified vet. As Cass begins to build a respectable reputation with the village locals she wonders why Jake is still surly and obnoxious as ever towards her.  What’s with the tall, handsome man who is obviously skilled at riding and caring tenderly for horses, but who’s rude and taciturn with people?  Cass soon learns of Jake’s sad and tragic past and makes an effort to excuse his foul disposition. In time Jake can’t ignore the attraction he feels towards Cass, but when a love from his past re-enters his life, will he allow guilt and regret to cause him to give up a chance to explore new possibilities with the sweet country vet who’s captured his heart?
The author dedicated this book “to all those who love animals and the countryside.”  When I read that I figured The Country Vet would be a book for me, and it was. I learned a few things about horses which was interesting, and I got to take in the sights and sounds of the English countryside. Add to that a sweet, young woman with a passion for helping animals, especially horses; a beautiful, feisty mare named Carlotta; an adorable puppy, Puddle, and a handsome man who’s trying to find his way after suffering loss, and you’ve got a story worth investing time in. Another enjoyable Heartwarming read.

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Review: Under the Boardwalk

Under the Boardwalk
Under the Boardwalk by Amie Denman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

💚💚💚💚 Under the Boardwalk was an enjoyable read. The amusement park setting was a perfect summertime theme, and I continually envisioned the carousel ride, the thundering roar of the roller coasters, the overhead cable cars, and the whimsical music playing all around. Here’s a little about the story…

Starlight Point amusement park owner Ford Hamilton has died, and his son, Jack Hamilton, has taken over as principal operator of the park.  He was the most practical choice among the siblings as he has been working alongside his father at Starlight Point since he was young. His two sisters are okay with his running things, and he’s ready to begin managing the park he’s always loved. Problem is his father left more than the park to him, he’s also left behind debt that Jack was unaware of. Jack’s solution involves increasing the flat fee and profit percentage from the lease vendors, many of which have been loyally working at The Point for several years under his father’s favored leadership. The increase doesn’t bode well for the seasoned vendors or the newest one, Augusta “Gus” Murphy, who has 3 bakeries at Starlight Point. She’s frustrated by the new negotiations, but she also finds Jack rather irresistible. How can she rally for the lease vendors and at the same time fall in love with the man who’s causing them all misery?

A very sweet story with a climactic ending.  A theme you won’t easily forget, and a satisfying HEA. A nice read for lovers of wholesome romance.

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**Interview and Giveaway** with Harlequin Heartwarming author Amy Vastine

I am interviewing Harlequin Heartwarming author Amy Vastine over on Goodreads today.  She has a new book out, The Girl He Used to Love, and she tells us all about it, and about her life as a writer.  Stop over, read the interview and comment for a chance to win one of her books.

http://bit.ly/29NYoCA

Thank you for following Cozynookbks.  ( :

 

Review: Winner Takes All

Winner Takes All
Winner Takes All by Cheryl Harper
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 Stephanie Yates is in love with her best friend Rebecca’s brother, Daniel Lincoln, who regards her more like a little sister than the mature young woman she’s become. When Stephanie finally gets up the nerve to ask Daniel out, it’s very bad timing and he rejects her invitation. Daniel is dealing with some serious issues of his own.  His arrogance in rejecting proper protocol at the Holly Heights hospital where he worked as a doctor, and disrespecting the Hospital Administrator has cost him his job and has sent him fleeing from Texas to the mountains of Peru, regretful and desiring to be as far away from home as his pride will take him. Having come into money, Stephanie’s friends have concocted a scheme to send her off to Peru to right whatever’s gone wrong between the two of them. Stephanie also plans to donate a large sum of money to fund Daniel’s projects there. But when Stephanie arrives in Peru, instead of a warm welcome, Daniel seems irritated by her presence. Is he simply not interested, or does her close proximity delight him to the point of distraction from his important work of setting up medical clinics in the developing land, a predicament he’d rather not be in.

Winner Takes All was another enjoyable Heartwarming read by Cheryl Harper.  I have enjoyed all of her Heartwarming books. I was captivated by the setting, the beautiful mountains of Peru. I could feel the tension as the team of medical volunteers climbed the steep mountains without rails. I imagined the sun disappearing almost instantaneously shrouding the solitary road in darkness. I felt like I was in the Andes mountains along with the rest of the chatacters, from Daniel’s team of medical helpers to the area residents.  Wondering how Daniel and Stephanie would resolve their feelings for each other was very satisfying.  Winner Takes All easily held my attention and I recommend it as a sweet romance read with an international flair that is sure to please.

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Review: If Not for a Bee

If Not for a Bee
If Not for a Bee by Carol Ross
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💜💜💜💜💜  I loved this book!!  An encounter with a bumble bee did not make for a pleasant introduction between Aidan Hollings and Janie Everett, and their future acquaintances weren’t faring much better. Janie, widowed and raising four boys, including a set of toddler twins, couldn’t be bothered with Botanist Aidan Hollings, although it would be difficult to avoid him since his sister was married to her brother. Why did he have to settle in Rankins, Alaska now anyway?  His meddling concerning a bumble bee had caused her boys pain, and that was the last thing she wanted to have happen.  However, was Janie being selfish and unwilling to accept how Aidan’s future meddling would transform the lives of her boys, teaching her lessons that would ultimately make her a better mother?  Although things started off on a bad note between Janie and Aidan, might he not be the one man who could help Janie to face her fears respecting her boys’ welfare, and propel them to their greatest potential?
As is customary with Carol Ross’s books, If Not for a Bee’s opening scene pulled me directly into the story. The pace was so refreshing, and even began to increase in intensity toward the end of the book which was a wonderful surprise, leading to a beautiful, Hearwarming ending.  There were so many great elements to this book. I loved how many of the characters learned to acquire confidence in their abilities, and to face their fears. I’m also happy that Janie got a second chance at love after all she’d been through.  I enjoyed this book so much and can’t recommend it enough to lovers of sweet romance.  Carol Ross’s books just keep getting better.  Thank you Carol Ross for gifting this book to me. In exchange I have provided an honest review.

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Review: What a Girl Wants

What a Girl Wants
What a Girl Wants by Jennifer Snow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💚💚💚💚💚 I loved this book!!  Ethan Bishop and Bailey Sheppard are best friends since grade school, but things have changed and Bailey realizes that she has fallen in love with Ethan.  Problem is Ethan’s still pining away over his ex-girlfriend of ten years, Emily, who jilted him for a corporate executive she knew for less than a month; her wanderlust taking her to Miami to be with her new beau, Greg Harrison, and away from the small town of Brookhollow, N.J.  Ethan has always considered Bailey one of the guys, and she’s no ordinary girl. She rides a motorcycle, owns a body shop garage and drives a tow truck.  But although tough, she’s also very beautiful.  Ethan hadn’t bothered to notice just how beautiful she really was until one particular day when he dropped by her house, catching Bailey off guard during a highly sentimental moment. What takes place next leaves him thoroughly confused.  Is he still in love with Emily? He can’t seem to stop thinking about his ex, but why does he suddenly feel so strongly about Bailey? Does he want to take their relationship to the next level and risk the comfortable friendship that they’ve always had?  When he’s ready to do just that Emily reappears, and the news she has could change his life forever.

What A Girl Wants was an enjoyable page-turner.  I was hooked from the start of the book, and each time I had to put it down I was eager to return to it.  There were so many great scenes; some very humorous and others deeply tender and emotional. There was a plot twist that kept the story interesting and had me glued to the pages until I finished the book. There were no lags in the storyline, and I must admit that What A Girl Wants is another one of my favorite Heartwarming books.  If you like a great romance set in a small town with a hunky firefighter who falls for the girl next door, and  lots more, then you’ll love What A Girl Wants. An excellent read.

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Review: Back to McGuffey’s

Back to McGuffey's
Back to McGuffey’s by Liz Flaherty

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💚💚💚💚💚 Back to McGuffey’s isn’t your typical romance novel.  There’s a maturity about it that greatly appealed to me. The main characters, Kate Rafael and Ben McGuffey are 37 and 39 respectively, and by this time in their lives they’ve already experienced many of life’s major challenges, including divorce, loss of a beloved home and long-held job, a terminally ill parent, and the painstaking realization that with the ticking of the proverbial biological clock, the dream of starting a family may not become a reality for Kate. The characters are dealing with real adult situations, and I like how the author undertook to have them handle life’s difficulties in a dignified and civilized way.  For instance, Ben McGuffey was married to a very beautiful woman, Nerissa, who is by this time happily remarried with children. She’s present off and on throughout the book with her husband and kids, but there’s no jealousy or bitterness when she’s in the presence of the woman that Ben truly loves, Kate. Nerissa honestly admits that what she had with Ben could never compare to what he could have with the true love of his life, the one he let get away, Katy. No cat-fights or petty jealousies. The two women can co-exist amicably without the childish caterwauling that could have ensued. This was refreshing.  Ben and Kate had broken up 13 years prior when Ben left to pursue his career in medicine.   Now he’s back to spend time with his ailing father during his final days and realizes he made a mistake when he let Katy go.  The love is there, but it’s not the giddy, young, silly kind. It’s a love of substance that’s achieved by people who have endured in life, and I appreciated how the two came together in a gradual way.

There are so many beautiful facets to Back to McGuffeys, but you’ll have to read it to find out more about Ben and Kate, Dirty Sally the cat and her best friend Lucy, an old dog; Jayson, the lovable young man with Down’s Syndrome and Maggie Hylton-Wise, a presumed curmudgeon with her own story to tell.  These and so many others will make you want to invest time in this book.

With chatacters you’ll want to applaud and root for, Back to McGuffeys is a highly enjoyable story that will warm your heart long after you’ve read it. Highly recommended.
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Review: When the Right One Comes Along

When the Right One Comes Along
When the Right One Comes Along by Kate James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💚💚💚💚💚 When the Right One Comes Along immediately raises your pulse with the opening scene of an earthquake. First response officer Calen (“Cal”) Palmer and his search and rescue K-9 partner, Scout, have just recovered 5 yr. old Kayla from earthquake wreckage, narrowly escaping with their lives. Palmer is wounded and trauma surgeon Jessica Hansen is mending his badly gashed leg. But why, Jessica wonders, is this man who is fortunate to be alive so irascible, and why does his bad attitude appear to be directed towards her?
Cal and Jessica couldn’t be more right for each other, but both are scarred from life-altering incidents in their past that prevent them from exposing themselves totally to one another, and this creates misunderstandings that cause a rift in their developing relationship. But there is so much more to this romance novel, including a child who could use a loving home and the clever German Shepherd, Scout, that will capture your heart.  There are action scenes and a glimpse into the lives of police dogs and their trainer/partners that I found particularly interesting and informative; and there was a carefully and beautifully crafted ending that brought all of the straggling pieces together into a neatly packaged HEA ending.
I loved this book so much and it was constructed so well that the flow kept me engrossed and interested from beginning to end.  Very, very well written and highly recommended.
Thank you so much Kate James for this copy of When the Right One Comes Along in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

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Review: Gentle Persuasion

Gentle Persuasion
Gentle Persuasion by Cerella Sechrist
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I adored this book!! Dane Montgomery is a hot commodity, an ace in his field of Marketing and Advertising and recruiters have been clamoring to bring him out of retirement where he’s made a new life for himself in Hawaii as a coffee purveyor and owner of the Okina Inn and coffee plantation.

Meanwhile Lillian Reid, a.k.a. the dragon lady, and owner of Reid Recruiting has entrusted her daughter and employee, Ophelia Reid, with the task of enticing Dane back to the states. Towers International, Reid Recruiting Agency’s biggest client wants Dane, and Reid is determined to rise to the challenge. Their company is at stake, along with Ophelia’s future of expanding operations to Paris where she’s dreamed of residing for most of her life. But when Ophelia meets Dane and observes what he has built she begins to have second thoughts about her intentions, and maybe even some feelings for the charasmaric and elusive Dane Montgomery. Which will she choose? Will she proceed with luring Dane back to the mainland with Towers International’s lucrative offers and incentives; simultaneously saving her mother’s company and winning Lillian Reid’s respect and approval and finally fulfilling her dream of moving to Paris? Or will she opt for love instead?

I truly LOVED this book!! It was an engaging story with nicely developed characters and a beautiful ending. I’d already read book 2 in the series, The Paris Connection, and loved it so much that when I had an opportunity to go back and read book 1 I jumped on it. Cerella Sechrist is an excellent storyteller and I’m confident that if you like wholesome romance you will thoroughly enjoy Gentle Persuasion. Highly recommended.

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Review: The Truth About Hope

The Truth About Hope
The Truth About Hope by Kate James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💚💚💚💚💚 The residents of Canyon Creek, TX are nursing a grudge against Hope Wilson and her father, Jock. Ever since Jock abandoned the town and closed down his manufacturing plant that employed many of the people of Canyon Creek, and Hope seemingly followed suit by carelessly and abruptly leaving over a decade later, the town is not particularly fond of either one of them. Now that Hope is back with intentions to make good on all of the hurt her father caused so long ago, it’s apparent that it will take more than a good deed to earn this town’s trust again. Even her boyfriend Luke who was a casualty to her leaving seems put off and aloof by her return. But in life things are not always as transparent as they might seem, and that’s certainly true in Hope’s case with regard to why she left Canyon Creek. Turns out even her father had his reasons.  Will the truth about Hope turn a town around, and will she find love again with the man whose heart she broke when she left him behind years earlier?

I loved this story right from the start. As it progressed I was pulled in and fully absorbed by the perseverance, determination, persistence and dedication of Hope Wilson. Her ex-boyfriend, Luke Carter, was a character that you could easily root for. I liked his level-headedness, bullheadedness and charismatic charm. Add to it a lovable old dog named Einstein, angry townsfolk and a couple that’s destined to be together but just as likely to have obstacles keep them apart, and you’ve got a page-turner that will delight you to the tear jerking end. The pace was great, the story was heartwarming and the ending was flawless.  This is a sweet romance that’s not to be missed.

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Review: Secret Refuge

Secret Refuge
Secret Refuge by Dana Mentink

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Keeley Stevens’s sister LeeAnn was murdered, stuffed in the trunk of Tucker Rivendale’s car. She’d still be alive if Tucker’s parole officer, Mick Hudson, hadn’t allowed him to roam free of a tracking device. He’d escaped, but now Tucker’s back in Silver Creek and he seems to be after Keeley. He wants what’s his, Keeley’s precious daughter June, her sister’s special needs daughter, Tucker’s child. Keeley will not allow him to take LeeAnn’s precious daughter, the child he didn’t seem to want anyway. Upon learning of LeeAnn’s pregnancy he’d urged her not to keep the baby.  Furthermore, Mick Hudson, A broken man whose wife left him and didn’t bother to tell him he’d had a son that died before he’d even known about him;  the man ultimately responsible for LeeAnn’s death, is everywhere she turns, trailing her as though he’s some cop who’s in charge of protecting her life, a job he clearly sucks at.  But how can she protect herself and June from Tucker? Does she really need Mick Hudson’s protection after all? Dana Mentink is continually gaining my respect and admiration as a suspense writer. Secret Refuge was a riveting, fast-paced, action packed, page turner. There were so many things I loved about Secret Refuge.  Some of my favorite things were that it was suspenseful and had twists and turns that kept me guessing. There was a sweet little romance that was tastefully executed in the storyline.  I also liked the mention of various bird species since Keeley Stevens was an Avian Photographer. And I truly appreciated that there was no profanity or extreme violence of any kind. Secret Refuge was a great, quick read that I highly recommend.

I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

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Review: His Hometown Girl

His Hometown Girl
His Hometown Girl by Karen Rock

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Jodi Chapman has a real dilemma on her hands. A single parent to her 4-yr. old autistic son Tyler, she wants desperately for him to attend Wonders Primary, a school with staff that’s trained to give specialized help to children like Tyler.  The problem is tuition is $16,000 a semester and Jodi doesn’t have that kind of money. She can’t even count on her low-life ex-husband who abandoned his family because he couldn’t deal with having a son with autism. To make matters worse he’s looking to decrease his child support payments. Just when things are beginning to look hopeless Jodi’s boss assigns her to a project that involves buying up farms for the company, Midland Corp., from struggling farmers in her home town of Cedar Bay, Vermont. If she can acquire 5,000 acres of farmland she will get a bonus and promotion that will enable Tyler to attend Wonders Primary.  But in the process will she lose the respect of her former boyfriend and nemesis, Daniel Gleason, whom she left behind in Cedar Bay 10 years prior without explanation?
Karen Rock wrote a beautiful wholesome romance story of love, redemption and healing.  While conflicts in life are inevitable, help can be attained when we’re willing to look in the right direction and accept it.  His Hometown Girl will tug at your heartstrings with its intimate look at autism, the value of close-knit community in times of hardship, and the realization that things are not always what they may appear to be; that assuming what seems to be the obvious is not always right.
If you’re looking for a sweet romance read with a little conflict, a bit of stubbornness and just the right amount of love, you’re sure to enjoy His Hometown Girl. I loved it!!

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