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….

Review: Sailing in Style

Sailing in Style
Sailing in Style by Dana Mentink

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💙💙💙💙💙 Sailing in Style is the second book in the Love by Design series, and I have to say it is one of my favorite Heartwarming books to date. This one really struck a chord with me. I had a wonderful time aboard the old River King, a paddle-wheel riverboat, along with the menagerie of characters in the book. I laughed, I pondered, I imagined, I hoped….I was pleasantly engrossed in the story to the final page, which of course ended satisfyingly sweet.
Dana Mentink’s suspense-writer instincts are a little evident in this book and I LOVED that. There are so many great facets to this novel, and the romance aspect is but one of them. In it we find
a run-down historic riverboat in desperate need of some TLC, a crook, a bit of intrigue, a legend, a mystery, former lovers, a celebrity wannabe, sweet old feisty women, a parakeet named Peaches, and my old pal Baggy the dog, the lovable, pitiful creature that resembles a mole or something.  The characters truly run the gamut, and this made the story both fun and exciting. I enjoy a book that I can’t wait to get back to.  The author accomplishes this by finishing off each chapter at a fever pitch, leaving you in anticipation of what’s to follow. It was a romance book, yes, but oh so much more. It was like I was watching a good movie in my mind. Dana Mentink has a way with words that I easily relate to. Her comedic voice resonates with me and I think that’s why I have an affinity for her books, and each one seems to just get better and better. Sailing in Style exceeded my expectations and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys romance plus a whole lot more.
Thank you Dana Mentink for a copy of this much beloved book. I have provided an honest review in return.

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Review: After the Silence

After the Silence After the Silence by Rula Sinara

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💜💜💜💜💜 Hope Alwanga needs a break. Interning in the emergency room of a public Nairobi, Kenya hospital with limited staff, working feverishly on the sick and injured for little money and with hardly any sleep is challenging even for a person in optimum health. So when Hope’s brother Simba sees her faltering in his lab during a visit after work, he insists that she take some time off from her hectic job. Simba’s friend and colleague Jack Harper has recently lost his sister Zoe. Zoe’s husband, instant single dad and Marine Ben Corallis, is caring for their three children back in Pennsylvania, USA with the assistance of Zoe’s parents. But when Simba and Jack suggest that Hope take a vacation to the U.S. to help out Ben with his kids as a nanny of sorts for a few months, Hope is skeptical.  How can caring for three young children, one of which hasn’t spoken since her mother died, be considered a relaxing vacation? After some gentle prodding from both men she agrees and heads to America.  Will Hope be satisfied with a few months of respite from her demanding job and return to Kenya rejuvenated and ready to dive back in, or will she find that the needs of a broken family are too important to leave behind?  Will she discover that dreams come in many forms, and that it’s always best to follow your own rather than those that others have mapped out for you? After the Silence is Book 2 of the From Kenya, With Love series—The Promise of Rain is the first in the series. After having read The Promise of Rain I eagerly anticipated the sequel, and as expected it fulfilled my expectations in the form of a deeply emotional and thoroughly gratifying read. (Although this is Book 2 in the series it can be enjoyed as a standalone as some backstory details are interwoven in the narrative to acquaint the reader with the characters and circumstances.) I loved the way the characters from The Promise of Rain were incorporated into After the Silence. Rula Sinara did a beautiful job of alloting many of the characters an inner conflict of their own that kept me fully engaged and wondering how each one would overcome their challenges and embrace the life that was meant for them to live. I also felt that the characters’ stories could be further expounded on, in what I hope will be Book 3 in the series. A tender and deeply moving story of loss, love, absolution and healing. After the Silence will grip your heart and won’t let it go until it concludes and you feel warm and comforted from the inside out. View all my reviews

Review: The Bluebird Bet

The Bluebird Bet
The Bluebird Bet by Cheryl Harper

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💙💙💙💙💙 Elaine Watson, Tall Pines doctor, is determined to purchase the neglected Bluebird Inn from a patient and owner of the Inn, Robert Collins. Robert’s beloved wife, Martha Collins, took pride in The Bluebird Inn and her labor of love was a beautiful place that Elaine fondly remembers visiting with her parents when she was just a girl. Martha is gone now and along with her went the meticulous efforts of maintaining the Inn. When a health crisis nearly takes Robert’s life, save the good doctor Elaine’s diligent care, he decides not to continue taking life for granted by heading out on his own travel adventures. What will become of the Bluebird Inn?  Elaine refuses to acknowledge her childhood place of contentment being lost forever, so she offers to purchase and restore it. Only problem is Robert’s son Dean is just as determined and wants to turn the Inn into a fishing camp. Who ultimately wins this battle of wills, and what will become of the old Bluebird Inn?  Will the good doctor employ her instinctively caring nature and physician’s training to help a wounded man heal, or is this war at all costs to obtain the Inn she wants to call her own?

I loved, loved, loved this Heartwarming story!  The Bluebird Bet is Book #2 in the Welcome To Tall Pines series; A Minute On The Lips was the first (which was also great). Cheryl Harper’s fluid storytelling skills and sense of humor pulled me into the narrative and I felt immediately connected to the characters, setting and the story overall. Devouring 100+ pages in one sitting without stirring is a great feat for me and means that I am thoroughly enjoying the writer’s style.  This was my experience with The Bluebird Bet. Great story, fun and endearing characters, lovely setting, familiar friends and a convincing love story with a happy ending. Would you like those elements in your sweet romance story? Then you’re sure to love The Bluebird Bet.

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