California Girls by Susan Mallery

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 – 4.5 stars

Three sisters are dumped in the same week.

Finola, the eldest of the trio, is a morning-show host who’s blindsided by her husband’s betrayal with a young, famous singer, on her own television show! Just when she was ready to go ahead with a major plan for their marriage, it’s shattered in a moment.

Zennie, the middle sister, feels comfortable being alone. She dates, but always seems more satisfied relaxing at home by herself. She’s content with her job and her friends. Her recent sort-of boyfriend senses her lack of enthusiasm about their relationship and breaks off whatever it is they have together. Zennie is a bit caught off guard by this, but only mildly affected. A free agent, she decides to do her best friend a favor—she’s going to be her surrogate! But did she realize what she was getting herself into? And why does she find herself missing the man she pushed away?

Ali is the youngest of the three sisters and feels the smallest in comparison to Finola and Zennie, both in attractiveness and in accomplishments. Her fiancé didn’t even dump her for another woman, he just didn’t want to be with her anymore. To add insult to injury, he didn’t even have the decency to tell her himself, his brother broke the news to her, and he’s been so helpful in helping her get her life back on track. Why is he doing that?

I enjoyed this book about three sisters who reinvented their lives after breakups. While single they took a closer look at themselves and went after what they believed in, even if their actions weren’t immediately received favorably. But of course, in Susan Mallery fashion, each woman’s story ends on a positive note. ☺️

Have a great weekend everyone!

The Winner of the Susan Mallery Giveaway Is….



Night Owl Book Café (@nightowlbcafé)

CONGRATULATIONS to Night Owl Book Café. Please contact me with your mailing address so that I can send you your prize.

Thanks everyone for your patience, comments and support. I appreciate each and every one of you.

What kind of prize would you like to see in future Cozynookbks giveaways?

Have a great weekend and stay safe. 🤗

Lakeshire Park by Megan Walker

Lakeshire Park by Megan Walker

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5-stars

Amelia Moore and her younger sister, Clara, are in a terrible predicament. Both of their biological parents have passed on and the young women are living in Brighton under the charge of their stepfather, Lord Gray, who constantly reminds them that they are a burden, and that he cares for them financially solely because of the promise he made to their mother, Arabella. Amelia is determined to secure a husband for her younger sister before sickly Lord Gray perishes from his illness, leaving them destitute. Amid hopelessness, an invitation is finally extended to the young women by Sir Ronald Demsford of Hampshire to attend a house party. His estate is impressive, and the mere thought that Clara could find happiness with Sir Ronald as his wife, fills Amelia with exhilaration. Surely a match can be made. That is if the sniffy, impertinent Mr. Peter Wood doesn’t curtail Amelia’s plan for Clara with similar intentions for his own younger sister.

I…LOVED….this book!! 😃 What splendid writing! Ms. Walker’s Regency era novel exudes a freshness; its language is pleasant and easy to decipher, yet not simplistic. The scenes flow effortlessly, and the speech, manners, architecture, landscape and costumes all mirror the time period for which it was intended. I enjoyed the casual development of the admiration between Peter and Amelia; it was natural and convincing. The adept balance of wit and seriousness further compliments this artfully contrived story. Mr. Wood’s charismatic, and at times, impertinent manners gave me the giggles, and the glorious ending left me thoroughly contented and bubbling over with warmth and happiness amidst these uncertain times we’re currently living in.

Lakeshire Park is a lovely tale that I thoroughly savored from start to finish. I will be looking out for more books written by Megan Walker. Very highly recommended.

Thank you, Laurel-Ann Nattress and Shadow Mountain Publishing for a complimentary copy of Lakeshire Park. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

**GIVEAWAY** and Review – The Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery

👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 – 5 applauding hands

My first Susan Mallery book and I absolutely LOVED every minute spent reading it!! Seriously, I was immersed in this book, and when it was finished I was so impressed that it’s still sitting prominently in my book room because I can’t bear to part with it. That’s how much I loved it. I have a small collection of Susan Mallery’s books because I’d heard she’s a great writer, and because her marketing skills are top notch, but I still hadn’t read any of them mainly because of other reading commitments. Then two things happened: 1) I was surprised with a free mass market paperback copy of The Girls of Mischief Bay because I follow Susan Mallery’s Facebook group, and (2) my author buddy, Jill Weatherholt, suggested that I read a Susan Mallery book because she thought I’d like it. Consequently, I resolved to read her book. I am so glad I did! Thank you, Jill, for the recommendation. And thank you, Susan Mallery, for your generosity in providing me with a free book to enjoy. Since I already owned The Girls of Mischief Bay, I’m giving away my gifted copy (see below for details).

The Girls of Mischief Bay is about three women who became friends while attending yoga classes at the yoga studio that one of the women owns. Since there is approximately a ten year age difference between each woman, they are at different stages in their lives and dealing with various challenges incidental to their particular age group; some major and some fairly common, but nevertheless difficult. We learn how each woman responds to her particular plight, and how the friends rally together to support one another during each others’ times of distress. The process of working on their trials reveals their strengths, vulnerabilities and ultimately the outcomes of their situations.

I absolutely LOVED this book!! I laughed, I cried and I stayed up nights eager to know what would happen next with Pam, Shannon and Nicole. I connected with Pam’s character, and I was inspired by the wisdom that she imparted to her friends. I had an inkling that Pam’s wise words possibly echoed Susan Mallery’s own treasures of knowledge and wisdom acquired over the years. That’s just my guess. The emotional parts of this book were so eloquently written I wish I could tear out the pages and read them over and over again. But I dare not destroy this precious book. Incredible writing.

In conclusion, I liked everything about this book and I didn’t want it to end. When it was over I teared up and marveled at the perfect ending. I already ordered and received the next book in the series because I have to know how these ladies move forward with their lives. That’s how invested I’d become with these characters. Highly recommended.

Giveaway!! (U.S. only)

New Mass market paperback copy of The Girls of Mischief Bay with book sleeve and fabric bookmark

To enter for a chance to win the above prize pack which includes a copy of Susan Mallery’s The Girls of Mischief Bay, a book sleeve made by yours truly and a homemade bookmark, like this post and answer the following question:

Have you ever read a book(s) by Susan Mallery, and what did you think of it? Which Susan Mallery book or series do you recommend? (Optional)

Winner will be announced in the coming weeks when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and I’m able to visit the post office to mail out the prize.

Thanks for visiting Cozynookbks. 🤗

Review: Regretting You by @ColleenHoover #RegrettingYou #BookReview #ColleenHoover #NewRelease

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – 5 stars

I loved this book!! I’ve FINALLY read a book by Colleen Hoover and I can see why readers love her. Regretting You pulled me right in and I became emotionally bonded with the characters through the rich narrative that so fully captured their personas. As I progressed through each chapter I was surprised by secrets, lies, misunderstandings and misinterpretations that kept me eager to press on. And then there was the sweet expressions of blossoming young love that had me all flushed and giggly and happy—reminiscing about what it feels like to be in love when you’re young and relatively carefree from the adult pressures of life.

Overall, Regretting You was a great story that I enjoyed with excellently developed characters and a delightfully satisfying ending that I highly recommend. Loved it!!


Goodreads summary

From #1 New York Times bestselling author of It Ends with Us comes a poignant novel about family, first love, grief, and betrayal that will touch the hearts of both mothers and daughters.

Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.

Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.

With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.

While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.

The Rancher’s Redemption – Return of the Blackwell Brothers – Book 3 – by Melinda Curtis

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⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 – 3.5 stars

Rachel Thompson’s got her hands full as a single parent with her family’s ranch to save and trouble garnering respect from family members and a ranch hand who refers to her as “Little Lady.” Her dad is gone. Stress over their Double T ranch contributing to his demise, Rachel is determined to set the neighboring Blackwells straight over river water rights that they’re not entitled to, and which is wreaking financial havoc on the Double T. Ben, The Blackwell brother who’s the high-powered NY lawyer of the family, has been called in to defend their family over the water rights issue. Rachel, also a lawyer, feels out of her league being the small-town attorney that she is, going up against Ben, her childhood friend, now nemesis. To be honest, he’s a little irresistible, but Rachel has to do what she has to do to protect her family’s legacy. If only she knew about the secret that Ben is concealing, a truth that could change the future of the Double T, and their relationship.

The Rancher’s Redemption is Book 3 in the Return of the Blackwell Brothers series. I enjoyed Ben’s and Rachel’s story. One of my favorite scenes was Ben being chased by an Aberdeen Angus Bull named Ferdinand. Ben’s divided in his feelings about the ranch he grew up on and the life he’s made for himself in NYC. Watching his transformation throughout the course of the story was heartwarming. I’m looking forward to book 4.

———————

For those of you who kept me in your thoughts and prayers, thank you so much! It touched my heart to know that you were thinking about me during my hiatus. 💕

A Home Come True by Cheryl Harper

💚💚💚💚 4-hearts

Luke Hollister must’ve been out of his mind thinking that he could manage his hectic life by moving from Austin, TX, to small-town Holly Heights. Having left behind his demanding Austin Police Detective job to bring his expansive, needy family to Holly Heights was shaping up to feel like more than he could handle. But his foster siblings, his little niece, and his grief-stricken mother need him, and he feels an obligation to help them. And there’s more pressure now that he’s working on a case involving a local woman’s missing father, Big Bobby Hillman, who’s running away from the consequences awaiting him for a non-violent crime he’s committed. Luke has been harassing Sarah Hillman, Bobby’s daughter, and one of Holly Heights’s own, to get answers regarding her father’s whereabouts; but Sarah’s loyal friends are not having it, and they’ve put up a protective wall around her that he’s finding hard to penetrate. One of these friends, Jennifer Neil, is Luke’s next door neighbor and she’s tough as nails. Even though Luke’s mother has dubbed her “the crazy lady,” he finds her decidedly attractive, and even at her feistiest, he has trouble resisting his desire to kiss her. Then Jennifer makes a mistake that affects Luke’s family, causing him to question his feelings for her when she’s finally beginning to see the good qualities he possesses.

I enjoyed A Home Come True. I was entertained by the way Jen initially reacted to Luke—always referring to him as “Hollister,” and refusing to give him the time of day. And it was heartwarming to see the effort Luke put into taking care of his entire family after his father died, even though it was difficult and mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting. I also appreciated the strong bonds of friendship that existed among Sarah’s friends, and how despite the discord and aggression that was present with the characters in the beginning of the book, the end result was a HEA that left me contented and in anticipation of my next Heartwarming book.

Have a great day bibliophiles!! 😉

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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Throwback Thursday – The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

3CD4CC19-0762-495B-B2A2-A7110029C80CThrowback Thursday is hosted by Renee of It’s Book Talk.  This meme was created to share old favorites and/or books published over a year ago.  Today I’m going to be sharing The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George.


Why I chose this book:

Who could resist that beautiful cover? Reviews on this book are mixed, but to me The Little Paris Bookshop was profoundly introspective. I stopped to ponder many times while reading it. Made up of a host of eccentric characters, I felt as though I was being taken on an adventure ride each time I began reading. This book stayed with me long after it was over. See my full review here.

There was a uniqueness about The Little Paris Bookshop that made it a favorite. The nature of it was unlike anything I’d ever read before, and I remember I kept thinking ….

I really enjoyed this book. It had a mysterious quality that intrigued me. It still holds a place on my bookshelf, and I remember it fondly.


Have you read The Little Paris Bookshop? What did you think?  I’d love to know your thoughts.

Thank you for reading. Have a happy day!

Review: Come Sundown

Come Sundown
Come Sundown by Nora Roberts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A member of the Bodine family, Alice Bodine, has been missing for 25 years prior to the opening of the story. During the time she’s been gone, The Bodine Ranch and Resort, resided on by four generations, has grown into a thriving enterprise. Alice Bodine’s name is scarcely mentioned by the family because of the differing opinions regarding her hasty departure from their Montana home. On the day she left at age 18, leaving behind no more than a scribbled goodbye note, it was her sister’s wedding day. The family heard from her from time to time at first, and then nothing for decades. Little do they know that Alice was on her way back to Bodine Ranch three years after she left, but was abducted and held captive for 25 years. When she’s found, the entire family welcomes her back, sympathetic to her plight, and does everything in their power to help rehabilitate Alice. While her progress is slow initially, she begins to gradually come around and relief is felt by everyone. But the mystery of who abducted and brutally mistreated Alice for so many years still remains. Could the individual who took her be responsible for the deaths of two other young women who were found on Bodine property? Will Alice’s abductor be back to exact revenge on her for getting away from him?

Come Sundown was outstanding!! The parallel plot structure, excellent character development and amazing Northwest setting kept me engaged in the story. Getting a peek into life on a working ranch and resort in Montana was an educational experience that I enjoyed because it was formerly unfamiliar to me, and I loved learning so much about it, as well as the western part of the U.S.—the recreational activities there, the lingo, cowboys, horses, the humor and attire were all fascinating and fun lessons that will stay with me for a long time. The close-knit Bodine family and the camaraderie they shared was a true highlight, and anyone who reads this book is sure to be taken in by the endearing characters, especially the cowboy, Callen Skinner, whose gentlemanly ways and boyish charm won me over. By the time I was finished with the book I was ready to take a trip to Montana.

I highly recommend this book to those who would enjoy a romance/thriller. Excellently written and difficult to put down, Nora Roberts delivers with Come Sundown. This was my first Nora Roberts book, and now I know what all the hoopla’s about. She’s an amazing storyteller.

I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, and in exchange I have provided an honest review. The free ARC in no way influenced my thoughts or opinions of the book.

 

View all my reviews

Review: Sam’s Letters to Jennifer

Sam's Letters to Jennifer
Sam’s Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐ Sometimes things are not always what they appear to be….

Samantha, “Sam”, is Jennifer’s beloved grandmother. The two are very close since Jennifer’s mother died when she was 12. Now an adult and in the process of trying to cope from a more recent loss, Jennifer learns that her grandmother has taken a fall and is in critical condition. It doesn’t look good. Jennifer leaves her apartment in Chicago and moves into her grandmother’s house on Lake Geneva so she can visit her daily at the hospital. Upon moving in she finds well over a hundred letters detailing her grandmother’s life that she left for Jennifer to read a few at a time. She begins to do so and learns that her grandmother’s 50 year marriage to her grandfather wasn’t what it appeared to be. Meanwhile, Jennifer reconnects with an old friend she grew up with. Brendan, a doctor, has taken a leave from his practice and is staying with his uncle near her grandmother’s lakefront house. Things begin to get cozy between the two of them when Jennifer is shocked to learn of a devastating secret that Brendan has just revealed to her. Can Jennifer find happiness amid all the heartbreak?
Before I saw the movie version of Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas, I had no idea that James Patterson wrote the book. It was such a beautiful romance story that when I came across Sam’s Letters to Jennifer, also written by James Patterson, I knew I had to read it. I was not disappointed. I can confidently say that James Patterson knows how to write tender and effecting love stories. Sam’s Letter’s to Jennifer is a poignant story about finding love, losing it, and then holding on to the prospect of loving again when it doesn’t seem possible. There’s more than one love story playing out in this book, and the ways in which several lives converge and hope is renewed is beautifully told. This one’s a tearjerker. You’ve been warned. Recommended.

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Review: The Secrets She Kept

The Secrets She Kept
The Secrets She Kept by Brenda Novak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Josephine Lazarow had a lot of secrets….

The Secrets She Kept, book 2 in the Fairham Island series, picks up 5 years after The Secret Sister. Josephine Lazarow is dead. Her death has been ruled a suicide, but her son, Keith Lazarow, is not convinced. His mother would never take her own life, he insists. Once a down and out addict, Keith has turned over a new leaf. Turns out he has a knack for real estate and operates a multimillion dollar company in California. His newfound wealth gives him the means to delve deeper into his mother’s death. After consulting with his sister Maisey regarding the mysterious circumstances surrounding their mother’s death, she supports Keith’s decision to pursue a more thorough investigation. If only he could persuade the beautiful, highly intelligent and efficient Chief of Police, Harper Underwood, to get on board. Keith realizes that his negative reputation precedes him, and that it will take great effort on his part to reverse others’ preconceived notions of him, including the police chief’s. Meanwhile, Keith is trying to contain his feelings for the woman whose heart he broke 5 years earlier before he got clean, Nancy Dellinger. Realizing he made a tremendous mistake in taking her for granted, he desperately wants to start over with her. But Nancy has continually resisted his attempts and Keith is having a difficult time accepting her rejections. Will these distressing circumstances in his life push Keith over the edge and back to the drugs he’s worked so hard to put behind him? Did Josephine take her own life or did someone murder her?

The Secrets She Kept was every bit as good as The Secret Sister, which was a 5-star read for me. In it we find a great mystery alongside a solid, second-chance romance story. Brenda Novak is very adept at conveying human emotion. Her characters’ feelings and expressions are authentic and relatable. I also appreciate how there’s a purpose for every one of her characters. At the conclusion of the book the reader is not left wondering “whatever happened to so and so?”. Everything comes together at the end, neat and tidy, with each person accounted for. Some of the characters that we were introduced to in The Secret Sister have evolved and matured in The Secrets She kept, and for that reason I recommend reading the books in order. If I had to list any cons for this book there would only be one. I wish it was free of the heavy petting and sensual scenes since I prefer wholesome romance. Just my own personal preference. Brenda Novak’s writing is so good it doesn’t even seem necessary. Being that the romance aspect shared space with the mystery, these scenes were few and I did my best to skip over them. Had everything remained the same, and the romance been strictly sweet, it would be a 5++ read for me.

Overall, The Secrets She Kept was an excellent read with a thoroughly satisfying mystery and a HEA that will melt your heart.

View all my reviews

Review: Discovering You

Discovering You
Discovering You by Brenda Novak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

💜💜💜💜💜 Upon completing Discovering You, book 10 in the Whiskey Creek series, I could see how Brenda Novak acquired her best-selling author status. This book was ALWAYS hard to put down, and NEVER hard to pick up.  Ms. Novak’s story struck a chord with me. It was chock-full of everything that would keep a person fully absorbed in the story; a seemingly inappropriate relationship, obsession, rivalry, intrigue, suspense and of course, romance. (Uhh….this is not a wholesome romance book. There were a few, not a lot, of sexy scenes, which I preferred to gloss over.)  I was fully invested in the suspenseful parts of the book since I love romance with a bit of suspense. Ms. Novak handled this beautifully. I was on the edge of my seat, wondering how bad-boy Rod Amos was going to keep himself from being killed by his girlfriend’s (India Sommers) husband’s murderer; but he felt compelled to protect her, despite it meaning he might have to put himself in harm’s way. Rod and India certainly had many challenges to face in order to be a couple – India’s husband’s somewhat recent murder, her judgmental ex in-laws, Rod’s bad-boy image and blue-collar status, India’s guilt, her young child….  I really felt for Rod’s character. He was tough because of having lost his mother to suicide, and his father to prison. Fortunately he could depend on the love of his oldest brother, Dylan, who practically raised him. That’s another part of the book I loved, the brothers’ (five, including Rod) dialogue among themselves. It was portrayed in such a way that you cared about those men and their lives. Their affection for one another was palpable, even under the tough exterior, and this was endearing.

In a nutshell, Brenda Novak without question knows how to write a story. And even though I typically don’t comment on various errors I find in books, I noted that I didn’t catch even a spelling error in Discovering You.  It was flawless.

Aside from the fact that I prefer my romance sweet, this book, depicting modern-day relationships and contemporary life, was excellently executed and I thoroughly enjoyed the story.  Phenomenal.

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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: Now She’s Back

Now She's Back
Now She’s Back by Anna Adams
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫  Stubborn, unyielding and proud Noah Gage possesses more of his father’s undesirable character traits than he realizes or would care to admit.  His family’s a mess, but he seems to have made a commitment to caring for and protecting his mother and siblings from his abusive father for a lifetime at the expense of his relationship with his fiancé, Emma Candler. Emma is fed up with Noah’s guarded reserve, and the way he puts his family’s needs ahead of hers. This is the last straw, so after an altercation involving Noah’s father and some members of her family, Emma leaves Bliss, TN without Noah.  Fast forward four years and Emma is back in Bliss to make repairs to her deceased grandmother’s house, which has been left to her. Now that she’s back, will Noah and Emma bury the hatchet and rekindle the flame that may still burn within them for each other?

This sweet romance kept me engaged and in the end warmed my heart. The setting was very appealing since I am familiar with the beautiful Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.  I relished the descriptions of the scenery, and enjoyed wondering how Noah and Emma would mend their broken relationship. The secondary characters were interesting and added flavor to the story.  Overall I thought Now She’s Back was a gratifying read and I recommend it to those looking for a sweet, satisfying romance book.

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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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Hazardous Homecoming by Dana Mentink

IMG_3410.JPG ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️   Oooohhh….this was a good one, a great love-inspired suspense story. The suspense aspect kept me guessing to the very end, and I was both shocked and surprised by the outcome. Ruby’s friend goes missing and 20 years later she finds key evidence that could lead to what actually happened to her. However, this finding has the potential to negatively impact the lives of cherished loved ones, and in the midst of it all could ulimately shatter and destroy the bond of love between Ruby and Cooper, who seem destined to be together. I enjoyed this story of love and loss; and Ruby’s struggle to exercise faith in God was both moving and realistic given the trials she was faced with. More often than not I am hesitant to read inspirational fiction, not because I am not a believer, but because I AM. Oftentimes I find this particular genre of books to be too preachy, with the spiritual message often forced into the dialogue at seemingly inopportune times, and in an unnatural way. I can be happily reading along and suddently I’m barraged with a heavy dose of scripture and the author’s interpretation thereof. Isn’t that what inspirational fiction is? Perhaps to some, but not all. For those of us who are religious and possess scriptural knowledge interpretations are taken quite seriously, and if the reader perceives it as incorrect or misinterpreted the reaction can be one of annoyance rather than satisfying. The inspirational fiction category can be tricky in this regard. A writer may be attempting to upbuild readers when in actuality they may be accomplishing the opposite effect, offending the readers’s own cherished belief system and doctrinal interpretations. Dana Mentink handled this superbly in Hazardous Homecoming. She used just enough inspiration to render the book encouraging. It was not overly saturated or laced with scriptural doctrine so as to conflict with my own Christian beliefs. It was for this reason, and the fact that the story was suspenseful and intriguing that I gave Hazardous Homecoming 5 stars. I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

Harlequin Heartwarming – Love stories that touch the heart…

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My Harlequin Heartwarming collection

If you enjoy tender romance stories that are served up high on sweet, but low on heat, then Harlequin Heartwarming is what you’re looking for. This is wholesome romance at its best. These love stories contain deeply satisfying plotlines minus profanity and explicit sexual content. You can feel safe passing these books along to grandma or your teenaged daughter to enjoy; no worries about sending them off blushing from highly descriptive adult themes or offensive language.  I’ve only recently become acquainted with the Harlequin Heartwarming line of books, having discovered their authors’ discussion group by chance on the Goodreads.com website in early 2014, but have found them to be the romance stories that I so often craved; and I’ve been hooked ever since. You won’t find the religious element that is usually present in clean romance novels, but you will find great reads that embrace traditional family values with some mild drama and the occasional mystery, an added bonus. You are sure to be drawn in by the beautifully illustrated covers. Harlequin has done a spectacular job with the eye-catching covers that so nicely convey what’s waiting inside. Regrettably, paperback copies are presently available for purchase only at Harlequin.com, although Barnes & Noble and Amazon do provide them in e-book format, a revelation that has left me exasperated and perplexed. These books need to be on mainstream bookstore shelves for lovers of fine, unadulterated love stories. Meanwhile, to get your Harlequin Hearwarming fix, find them at Harlequin.com, or check out their authors’ awesome blog at http://heartwarmingauthors.blogspot.com, where you’ll find fun and interesting blog posts from a host of talented and creative Heartwarming authors. The blog is updated daily and includes, among other things, Hearwarming author interviews, writing advice and expressions, witty banter, contests and giveaways. Give them a try and the only regret you’ll have is that you didn’t find them sooner.

Laurie I