Thursday, July 20, 2017

Review: The Innkeeper's Sister



About the Book:

Grayson Blake always has a purpose—and never a moment to lose. He's come home to Honey Ridge to convert a historic gristmill into a restaurant, but his plans crumble like Tennessee clay when the excavation of a skeleton unearths a Civil War mystery…and leads him back to a beautiful and familiar stranger. 

Once a ballet dancer, now co-owner of the Peach Orchard Inn, Valery Carter harbors pain as deep as the secrets buried beneath the mill. A bright facade can't erase her regrets any more than a glass of bourbon can restore what she's lost. But spending time with Grayson offers Valery a chance to let go of her past and imagine a happier future. And with the discovery of hidden messages in aged sheet music, both their hearts begin to open. Bound by attraction, and compelled to resolve an old crime that links the inn and the mill, Grayson and Valery encounter a song of hurt, truth…and hope.

My Comments:

One thing I like about romance novels is that they have happy endings.  Nevertheless, I like the endings to be realistic and sometimes, particularly with books that try to be more than just romance novels, I think the authors sometimes twist themselves (or the story) into knots to get the happy endings.  Things just don't add up, too many abnormal things happen and then voila, happy ending!

The Innkeeper's Sister is part of a series that introduced us to two missing boys--one from the Civil War era and one from the modern era. This story tells us what happened to one of them, and the author's note says that she didn't tell us about the other because it just didn't seem realistic.  I think that took courage on her part as it would be very easy, and very unrealistic, to write the story with both boys being found. 

In the other Honey Ridge books Valery is the drunken sister; the one who doesn't shoulder her share of the weight because she is always hung over.  In this book we learn about her demons and how she has not let them keep her from helping a sister she felt needed her.  We also watch her confront those demons and move past them into a promising future (its a romance novel after all).  

Like the other Honey Ridge books there is one story set in the modern day (Valery and Grayon's story of course) and one set in the Civil War era.  

I enjoyed the book and the series and based on the author's note, I suspect this will be the last Honey Ridge book, unfortunately.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade:  A.  

Monday, July 17, 2017

Finding Our Forever: My Review

Finding Our Forever (Silver Springs) by [Novak, Brenda]


About the Book:

New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak welcomes readers to the town of Silver Springs, where surprises wait around every corner! 

The search for her birth mother brought Cora Kelly to the New Horizons Boys Ranch. Getting a job there was easy enough, but confiding in Aiyana, the ranch's owner, that she's really her daughter? Cora's not sure she can do that, not unless she's confident the news will be welcomed. And once she gets to know Elijah Turner—Aiyana's adopted son and ranch manager—that decision becomes even more difficult. 

Although Elijah can't deny his deep attraction to Cora, he's always struggled with trust. Anyone with his past would, and there's something about the ranch's newest employee that isn't exactly as it seems. But if the feelings she awakes in his guarded heart are any indication, she might be just what he's long been waiting for.

My Comments:

Somehow I missed this one when it came out, though I've read other books in the series.  Luckily I've recently become a fan of my library's Overdrive account where I can check out Kindle ebooks and audiobooks.  

The main story in this book is the romance between Cora, a young woman who was given up for adoption as an infant, and Elijah, a man abused as a small child and later adopted by the woman who turns out to be Cora's birth mother.  Cora feels like a part of herself is missing and wonders if that is why she cannot seem to give herself completely to someone else.  Eli is so afraid of being hurt that he knows he closes himself off to others.

Besides the story of Cora and Elijah, this is the story of Cora and Aiyana.  When the story begins, Cora knows Aiyana is her birth mom--the detective had recently given her that information.  Cora decides to get to know her birth mom without letting her birth mom know who she is--that way, if having her reveal herself would cause problems, she could just leave without doing so.  She'd have her questions answered and wouldn't disrupt Aiyana's life.  I really liked that attitude--all too often books about adoptees who find their adoptive parents show people who burst into other people's lives with the attitude of "its my right and its what I want to do" without considering that their might be a reason their birth mother chose a closed adoption, or chose not to search for them after doing so became legally easier.  

The book has several steamy scenes, but if they aren't your thing, they are easy to skim and don't really add anything to the story.  

I enjoyed this book and I'm glad my library had a copy.  Grade:  B.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Blog Tour: Primrose Lane



About the Book:

Olivia Davenport has finally gotten her life back together. She's left her painful past behind, started over in a new town, and become Harmony Harbor's most sought-after event planner. But her past catches up to her when Olivia learns that she's now guardian of her ex's young daughter. With her world spinning, Olivia must reconcile her old life with her new one. And she doesn't have time for her new next door neighbor, no matter how handsome he is.

Olivia may act like she's got everything under control, but Dr. Finn Gallagher knows a person in over her head when he sees one. He'd really like to be the shoulder she leans on, but Olivia makes it clear she doesn't want his help. Since he's returned to town, his waiting room has been full of single women feigning illness. Yet the one woman he's interested in is avoiding him. But with a little help from some matchmaking widows and a precocious little girl, Finn might just win Olivia over.



My Comments:

Debbie Mason has another winner here.  I love visiting Harmony Harbor and all the folks at the Inn.  The supernatural grandmother is back and still trying to right the wrongs of her earlier days.  Finn is a real sweetheart and of course he and Olivia get their HEA.  This book makes a great pool or beach read--light, predictable and heartwarming.  

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy and allowing me to participate in this blog tour.  Grade:  B. 

Meet the Author:



Debbie Mason is the USA Today bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado series and Harmony Harbor series. Her books have been praised for their "likable characters, clever dialogue, and juicy plots" (RT Book Reviews). She also writes historical paranormals as Debbie Mazzuca. Her MacLeod series has received several nominations for best paranormal as well as a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. When she isn't writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, three wonderful children and son-in-law, two adorable grandbabies, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella.

Visit debbiemazzuca.com for Debbie’s Scottish Romances.

Author Q &A:

Q: Is Harmony Harbor based on any real towns?

A:  Parts of Gloucester, Massachusetts provided inspiration for Harmony Harbor.

Q:  Children seem to play a prominent role in this series. Is that incidental or something you set out to do?

A:   My books are family-centric, and while I adore children and think including them in a story can add both conflict and comedic moments, I don’t intentionally set out to do so.

Q:  What do you like best about being a writer?

A:  I pretty much love everything about being a writer, and I feel very lucky to be able to do it for a living.

Q: What is the hardest part about being a writer?

A:  Like the majority of writers, I’m an introvert. So I find it difficult to put myself out there.

Q:  Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

A:  Read, read, read, and read some more. And then write what you love to read.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Review: Serenity Harbor



About the Book:

Computer-tech millionaire Bowie Callahan is about the last person that schoolteacher Katrina Bailey wants to work for. As far as she can see, he's arrogant, entitled and not up to the task of caring for his young half brother, Milo. But Kat is, especially if it brings her closer to her goal of adopting an orphaned little girl. And as her kindness and patience work wonders with Milo, she realizes there's more to sexy, wary Bo than she'd ever realized. 

 

Bo never imagined he'd be tasked with caring for a sibling he didn't know existed. Then again, he never pictured himself impulsively kissing vibrant, compassionate Katrina in the moonlight. Now he's ready to make her dream of family come true…and hoping there's room in it for him, too…

My Comments:

I enjoyed another visit to the charming town of Haven Point.  Like other stories in the series, it stood well on its own; however characters from other stories make quick appearances and those not familiar with the series may wonder why they walk across the stage.

Bowie didn't know he had a younger brother until his mother died.  Suddenly this workaholic from a dysfunctional family was tasked with raising a disabled child.  He'd been through several nannies and had another one hired--but she couldn't start for a few weeks, and he needed someone asap.

Katrina has always wanted to be a mom and is looking for money to pay adoption expenses so she can adopt a South American orphan.  She meets Bowie and Milo when Milo is having a meltdown in a store.  Bowie offers her a job as a temporary nanny at far more money than a job like that usually pays, and since she needs the money, she takes the job.  Of course neither Bowie nor Katrina expects things to go further than employer/employee....

Like Thayne's other books, this one doesn't go beyond passionate kissing. 

As the mother of an autistic son I enjoyed watching Katrina work with Milo, though Thayne made it a bit too easy in my opinion.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  This was a quick enjoyable read so I'll give it a B.  


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