Book Talk Tuesday: The Engagement Plot

I’m working on a trilogy of novellas set on reality dating shows, so when The Engagement Plot appeared on my radar, I decided to request a review copy.

I’m glad I did.

EngagementPlot

Hanna is a charming heroine and Will is an appealing hero. The story begins after they meet and get engaged on a show call The Price of Love. Hanna is a Christian and she kept her virtue and values front and center during the show which ended with Will on one knee and offering her a ring. During the airing of the finale Will said something that caused Hanna to break off the engagement.

We catch up with them about eight months after the show’s finale when Will arrives at Hanna’s Minnesota home to apologize. Her first inclination is to throw him back into the blizzard, but as they spend a few days together, they see a way to save both her reputation and his job, so the engagement plot is on.

Overall, I enjoyed this a lot and it kept me turning the page. It is definitely a Christian romance, but the faith elements rise organically from the characters.

Hanna and Will each had their own reasons for going on the show, for ending the engagement, and for concocting the new engagement plot. I have a few quibbles with some plot points, but they didn’t detract from my enjoyment.

The Engagement Plot is a fun and charming story of romance, second chances, and true love persevering against all odds. I recommend it!


I received an advance copy of The Engagement Plot in return for an honest review.

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Book Talk on a Thursday

It’s no surprise to any regular readers here that I adore Susan Mallery and her books. I just finished SECOND CHANCE GIRL, the second novel in Mallery’s new Happily Inc series.

book-cover-second-chanceCarol is the animal preserve keeper. Yes, Happily Inc, set in the desert of Southern California, has a wild animal preserve. And Carol takes care of the animals. She’s particularly concerned with Millie, the giraffe. Giraffes are herd animals and Millie is lonely. Carol starts a fund-raising program in town to purchase more giraffes.

Matthias Mitchell is the fourth of the five Mitchell guys to get his story. He’s a ‘love ’em and leave ’em’ type of guy. Who’s incredibly good looking and Carol is crushing on. He’s also a talented glass artist who creates plates and vases instead of the sculptures he’s capable of and that his father and brother are known for.

Carol believes she’s nothing special, so she’s reluctant to put her heart on the line for Matthias. Matthias knows he’s avoiding the hurt and obsession he’s observed in his parents’ marriage.

There’s also a subplot involving Carol’s sister, Violet, and a dashing English duke.

Because this is a Mallery romance and because the name of the town is literally Happily, you know how things turn out. But what I love about Mallery is that her characters are real people and they respond to their situations like real people.

I’m not a desert person, so I don’t love the location of Happily Inc as much as I loved Fool’s Gold, but I understand it was time to move on.

As usual in many of Mallery’s books, there’s an adorable pet. Matthias ends up taking care of his mom’s beagle, Sophie, for most of the book. She gets into trouble and generally ends up leaving a trail of mayhem behind.

SECOND CHANCE GIRL is a charming and fun romance and I’m eager for more from Susan Mallery.


I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. Done and done!

Monday Musings: Quilting Quandaries

Next week I’ll be on my way to Ireland and the UK. Trip of a lifetime, anniversary/birthday celebrations, and vacation all rolled into one.

For a knitter and quilter, this poses a problem.

Accessories for patchwork top view on a white surface

How much yarn and fabric should I buy?

Reasons for buying lots and lots of yardage and skeins:

  • I don’t know when or if I’ll ever return and have the opportunity to buy, so I want to have no regrets.
  • Fabric and yarn are fairly lightweight, and won’t add much bulk to my suitcase.
  • There might be patterns or colors not available here.

Reasons to forbear buying anything new and shiny and pretty:

  • With the internet, anything I see can probably be purchased later, just for more money and added shipping costs.
  • I have two completed quilt tops waiting to be finished and one partially pieced top waiting. I should not buy more fabric until those projects are completed.

See my problem?

But oh, the pretty pretty colors and patterns … Colorful balls of yarn on a wooden table

Book Talk Tuesday: YOU SAY IT FIRST

Finally! It’s summertime and the reading is light and funny.

Susan Mallery’s usual summer offering of a trio of Fool’s Gold books has arrived.

Well, sort of.

Okay, not at all.

Mallery released a women’s fiction story earlier this summer. (I loved it!)

And at last, one of my favorite small town writers has released a new, small town, fun, light romance novel. So ignore the calendar, it may be mid-August, but summer is now officially here.

cover-you-say-it-firstYOU SAY IT FIRST is the first of Mallery’s new Happily Inc stories. Happily Inc is a small town in the desert of southern California. It’s a wedding destination town and many of the local businesses cater to the wedding industry.

Pallas Saunders inherited Weddings In a Box from her former boss and the original owner. Although Pallas had planned to go into the family banking business, she finds she enjoys the wedding planning and is touched by the generosity of Gerald, who willed her the business. She wonders what she did to earn Gerald’s love and trust.

Nick Mitchell (a familiar character to Fool’s Gold fans) has recently moved to town to be further away from his father closer to his two younger brothers. He’s an artist killing time before his next commission takes him overseas. He ends up working for Pallas, restoring some wooden panels she uses in wedding decor.

They hit it off and pretty soon are falling in love. Except they each think it’s a short-term fling, only for fun. Pallas’s mother is demanding and controlling and Pallas isn’t used to dealing with people who don’t expect anything from her. Nick has seen his father’s passion for his art subsume the whole family while his mother’s passion for his father dwarfed her own health and needs. He learned the lesson well: Passion consumes everything. And he’s not interested.

As their relationship grows, Pallas learns that the best love is freely given, not earned and not demanded.

Pallas’s work has some challenges and her circle of friends rally around her to help her grow the business into something special. This also introduces the reader to some of the characters who will soon have their own stories.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I can’t wait for the next one. Although I miss Fool’s Gold, Happily Inc appears to have many of the elements that made Fool’s Gold so special. I look forward to getting to know more of Happily Inc’s citizens and journey with them to finding their own Happily Ever Afters.


I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I honestly loved it!

 

 

Book Talk Tuesday: A MATTER OF TRUST

I do love me some Susan May Warren. And while it seemed a little odd to be reading about snow boarding and high mountain snow rescues in the middle of August, it actually helped me ignore the 100+* days outside.

A-Matter-of-Trust-CoverA MATTER OF TRUST is the third entry in Warren’s Montana Rescue series and is as good and compelling as I’ve come to expect from her.

Gage Watson was a extreme sports snowboarding champion. Until someone died. Gage lost his sponsors, his career, his faith, and his essence. He’s working in Montana now, on the PEAK Rescue team.

Ella Blair, state senator, big sister, and one-time love of Gage’s, has traveled to Montana to stop her brother from doing something foolhardy, even stupid: follow Gage’s renowned descent of one of Montana’s most challenging mountains. But to stop her brother, she has to see Gage again and keep a terrible secret.

Gage and Ella end up making the descent together, following her brother’s trail, hoping to find him before a storm hits the mountain.

Warren is a gifted writer and her descriptions of the snow, the snow boarding, the treachery of the mountain, and its hidden dangers took me right to the mountain with the characters. I tried learning to snow ski in my thirties and Stud Muffin and I decided it was a sport that you had to learn when you were young and fearless. So even though I’m not a skier, I felt the rush of the icy air, the crunch of the snow layer, the huff of frozen breath in the morning.

The other PEAK Rescue characters appear and I’m eager to get to Pete and Jess’s story. Oh, and Ian and Sierra’s, of course.

I loved this gripping and enthralling installment and I’m looking forward to the next.

 

 

Wednesday Wanderings

I’ve had a couple days in North Dakota so far. And have actually ventured into Minnesota a couple of times. I’ve seen sugarbeet fields. I’ve seen a demonstration of high-tech pesticide application. I’ve seen a WWII-era plane fly eleven feet over the ground, right in front of me, also demonstrating pesticide application.

I have eaten wurst, Mongolian grill, green chili pizza (although that was in Denver), kuchen, popcorn as an appetizer, and a lovely fruit pizza.

I’ve met people from all around the country. I’ve  learned about pesticide safety practices. I’ve  learned a lot about respirators.

All in all, North Dakota rocks!

Book Talk Tuesday: Jane Steele

I love mysteries. I love spunky heroines. I love humor and dry witty banter. I love Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters.

Imagine my delight to discover JANE STEELE by Lyndsay Faye.

Jane SteeleJANE STEELE is part homage to JANE EYRE, part fair play mystery, part Sikh primer, part romance, part faux-memoir, and a complete pleasure to read.

Young Jane Steele lives in the Victorian era, with her French mother in a guest house on an English estate. Her mother tells Jane that she is the rightful owner and heir to the estate.

The story begins with Jane confessing to the reader her first (yes, first) murder. After the death of her mother and her cousin, young Jane is sent to a boarding school. A truly horrible boarding school. Think more Little Princess/Jane Eyre and less Hogwarts.

The story follows Jane through her school, to London, then back to her estate home, now occupied by the dashing Charles Thornfield, his young ward, and his butler Mr. Singh.

Some of the reviews on Amazon describe this book as “Jane Eyre as a serial killer,” or “Dexter meets Jane Eyre.” These both miss the mark. There is death, but there is also justice, love, honor, and grace.

I loved this one!