Book Talk Tuesday: Once Upon a Royal Summer

ONCE UPON A ROYAL SUMMER by Teri Wilson is as lovely and sweet and charming as if you combined a fairy tale, Hallmark, and cotton candy. Which is what Wilson and Hallmark Publishers did. With a dash of Disney, sans naming Disney or anything close to copyright infringement.

Lacey Pope is a theme park princess, Princess Sweet Pea. She loves her job. She loves making children happy. She loves being part of a real-life fairy tale. Her fiance’ though, isn’t a fan, and is eager for her to move on to her “real” career. This is one reason they realize they aren’t right for each other and break it off. Lacey wonders why she isn’t more devastated.

Henry is a single dad to Rose. He also happens to be the crown prince of Bella-Moritz, a small kingdom off the south of France. He brings his young daughter to Lacey’s theme park for Rose’s 7th birthday. Rose falls in love with Princess Sweet Pea. As Henry and Lacey spend more time together, their attraction grows. But how can a fairy tale princess and a real life prince have a happily ever after.

Obviously, if you’re a romance lover, you know they’ll find a way.

This is a fun book, perfect for a day at the beach or by the pool. I enjoyed it and recommend it.


I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher, but that did not induce me to review it, favorably or not.

Book Talk Tuesday: THE STEPSISTERS

Susan Mallery is one of my writing examples. She puts out excellent books regularly. She keeps in contact with her readers. She writes stories that touch the heart. And her newest, THE STEPSISTERS, is another wonderful example of her women’s fiction.

Daisy and Sage were stepsisters, once upon a time, when Daisy’s father was married to Sage’s mother. Daisy and Sage share a half-sister, Cassidy. Now they’re all grown up and haven’t seen each other in years and are perfectly fine with that.

But when Cassidy needs help, Daisy and Sage agree to put the past behind them and focus on their sister. They’re all three surprised to learn that things they thought they knew about the past, and each other, may not be the whole truth. When a thoughtless and selfish act threatens their newfound friendship, they must decide if their family is worth fighting for.

While I don’t have stepsisters (or brothers), I do have half-siblings, though we were always treated as full members of the same family. Family dynamics can be tricky to navigate and Mallery shows that so well in THE STEPSISTERS.

I enjoyed this one a lot and highly recommend it!


I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, but was not induced to review it, favorably or not.

Book Talk Tuesday on a Thursday: CRAZY FOR YOU

May is an odd numbered month, so we’re back in Deep Haven! Yay!

CRAZY FOR YOU is the third offering from Sunrise Publishing and I snagged an advance reader copy. It will release Tuesday, May 25. It can be pre-ordered right now for $4.99, and the price will go up once it’s released, so grab it now!

Deep Haven Fire Chief Pete Dahlquist is related to half of Deep Haven. Which makes dating difficult. And all sides of the family want something different from him.

Former military paramedic Ronnie Morales is new to town and needs to keep her job with the newly formed Crisis Response Team. She moved to Deep Haven to get her little brother out of the big city and away from the friends and trouble he was drawn toward.

Sparks (both the good and the bad kind) fly when Pete and Ronnie meet. When tragedy strikes, sides are taken and lines are drawn. Both Pete and Ronnie have to learn hard lessons about forgiveness and humility.

Michelle Sass Aleckson has captured Susan May Warren’s characters, setting, and voice in a wonderful addition to the Deep Haven canon. I loved everything in this story. From Pete’s dilemma of choosing his family or his town to Ronnie having to dial back her intensity to show the people of Deep Haven that she can fit in.

I highly recommend CRAZY FOR YOU!


I received a free advance copy of this book, but it did not induce me to review it favorably or not. I just happened to love it!

Book Talk Tuesday: UNDER THE SOUTHERN SKY

I bought this one on a whim. I’d heard good things about it and people I respect said it was great. The blurb intrigued me, so I pre-ordered it a few weeks before it released, something I don’t typically do. Good thing Amazon tells me when I’ve already bought something, because I went to order it again a few days before it released, at yet another person’s recommendation.

I started it as soon as I opened the package and devoured it within a couple of days. It’s wonderful.

Amelia is an investigative reporter and she discovers the embryos her childhood friend Parker and his late wife had frozen are now considered abandoned. This sets off a chain of events that bring Amelia and Parker back home and also provides the key to unlocking secrets, some of them decades old.

Harvey writes about the south with authenticity as thick as Carolina humidity on a July afternoon. I could practically shake sand from the pages of my book. I loved it and am so glad I read it. It’s one that will stay with me a long time.

Book Talk Tuesday: A WATERFRONT WEDDING

A Waterfront Wedding has everything I’ve come to expect from Hallmark Publishing. A sweet romance, lots of small town fun, and a satisfying ending.

We return to Hearts Landing in A Waterfront Wedding by Leigh Duncan.

Evelyn Heart is restless. She’s the bookkeeper for the Captain’s Cottage, the most sought after wedding venue in the premier destination wedding town in America—according to Weddings Today magazine. But lately she’s wanting more than shuffling papers and crunching numbers and submitting supply orders. But what exactly, she’s not quite sure.
Ryan Court has spent the last year renovating the old Boat Works in Hearts Landing, turning it into another wedding venue. He and Evelyn had been childhood friends who’d drifted apart.
Evelyn and Ryan are thrown together to work on the town’s annual Wedding in a Week extravaganza. Working so closely together reawakens feelings each had thought they’d firmly dealt with in the past.
This is a charming story, and it was fun to return to Hearts Landing and to catch up with some of the previous characters we’ve met there.
I highly recommend A WATERFRONT WEDDING.

I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher but this did not induce me to review it, favorably or not.

Tuesday TwoFer: MURDER BY PAGE ONE

I’m a sucker for a good, old-fashioned murder mystery. Add in books and literary references and it’s even better!

Marvella Harris, or Marvey, has recently moved to Peach Coast, Georgia from New York City, to take a job at the local library, working to increase community outreach and services. She’s made some friends and enjoys her job. She’s at her friend Jolene’s bookstore for an author signing when she and Jo and another friend discover one of the author’s has been murdered. The local sheriff deputies seem convinced of Jo’s guilt, so Marvey jumps in to prove there are other equally viable suspects.

This has plenty of colorful Southern characters and small town vibes. I liked the way Marvey dropped in mentions of other books, and her jewelry making hobby. She also has a cat, who doesn’t seem to enjoy their new home.

The murderer is nicely revealed with enough clues and red herrings so the reader doesn’t feel cheated.

Overall, I enjoyed this and recommend it. I’d gladly read the next in the series.

——

I received an advance copy of MURDER BY PAGE ONE from Hallmark Publishing, but it did not induce me to review it, favorably or not.

Book Talk Tuesday: WILD WOMEN AND THE BLUES

It’s finally here! I’ve been waiting for this book for awhile. I snagged an advance copy through NetGalley and now my own pre-ordered copy is here. I’m one happy reader.

If you love historical fiction, dual timelines, stories with a twist, strong female protagonists, and great writing, the you’ll love WILD WOMEN AND THE BLUES.

Speakeasies, bootleg hooch, and mobsters. 1925 Chicago had it all. Honoree Dalcour was a dancer at the Dreamland Cafe, and rubbed elbows with Louis Armstrong, his wife Lil Hardin, and Black filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. Sawyer Hayes is hoping to interview her in 2015. Through a series of encounters, we learn the secrets each are keeping and how Honoree’s will impact Sawyer.

Bryce writes with an authentic voice, befitting the Jazz Age. She knows what she’s doing and it shows. I loved the characters, the story, the setting, everything.

I highly recommend this one!


I received a free advance copy through NetGalley but was not influenced to review it favorably.

Book Talk Tuesday: CAN’T BUY ME LOVE

Welcome back to Deep Haven! I’m so happy to be here again!

CAN’T BUY ME LOVE is the second entry in the Deep Haven Collection from Sunrise Publishing. I reviewed the first book, STILL THE ONE, in January, and have been waiting not-so-patiently for CAN’T BUY ME LOVE. It will be released March 16, but lucky me, I got an advance copy!

CAN’T BUY ME LOVE is an updated fairy tale, a Cinderella retelling, set in Deep Haven, on the shores of Lake Superior, in northern Minnesota.

Ella Bradley moved to Deep Haven looking for a fresh start. She’s a housecleaner, soap maker, small business owner, and budding entrepreneur. She just needs to get her foot in the door with the Vassos hotel chain to make her pitch. She doesn’t expect to meet the playboy son of the founder. And he doesn’t mean to lie about who he is. Not exactly.

I loved it and highly recommend it!

CAN’T BUY ME LOVE has everything I love about the Deep Haven series. A town that treats everyone like family. (Well, except for Ella’s landlord, that is.) A gentle romance that grows organically. Chocolate chip cookies. A spiritual growth arc.

The only sad thing now is waiting for book 3, CRAZY FOR YOU, out in May.


I received a free copy of CAN’T BUY ME LOVE from the publisher. This did not induce me to review the book, favorably or not.

Book Talk Tuesday: RESCUING HARMONY RANCH

This was a fun book from Hallmark Publishing and included the elements I’ve come to expect in a Hallmark book: a spunky heroine, a hunky hero, a good reason to keep them apart, but a fun time watching them fall in love and figure out a way to be together anyway.

Jocelyn and Mack were childhood sweethearts in Colorado, until her mother moved her to New York City. Their love story ended, although neither forgot the other. It’s been a decade, and when Jocelyn’s grandmother needs her help, Jocelyn drops everything to fly back to the ranch. After finding out the ranch is in trouble, Joss and Mack are forced to work together to save it. And they find out they still have feelings for each other. But how can they make a relationship work when her life is in New York and his in Colorado?

I enjoyed this entry in the Country and Cowboys series from Hallmark Publishing. I’ve read at least one other in the series, too. This was well written, and Jocelyn and Mack are both strong characters. There’s one cliched plot element I saw from the beginning and wished hadn’t been used, but I guess the author and her brainstorming team couldn’t find a way to keep the couple apart without using it.

Overall, I liked this one a lot and I recommend it!


I received a free electronic copy of this book from the publisher, but it did not induce me to review it, favorably or not.

Book Talk Tuesday: THE VINEYARD AT PAINTED MOON

I love Susan Mallery’s romance fiction, but I really, really love her women’s fiction. THE VINEYARD AT PAINTED MOON is her latest release and it’s wonderful. It’s full of all the things I love about Mallery’s books: warmth, family, friendship, love, and humor. And as the title implies, this one includes wine!

I read it an about a day and a half, I enjoyed it so much.

Mackenzie is a gifted winemaker, so it’s a good thing she married into a family with a winery and vineyards. The only thing she’s ever wanted is to belong to this family she loves so much. So it nearly breaks her heart when she and her husband realize their marriage is over. Mackenzie has to decide if that means she needs to also leave her job and home. Her sister-in-law is her best friend. Her mother-in-law employs her. Just how much is she willing to lose, along with her marriage?

This is set in Eastern Washington, a land growing in popularity for wine grape growing. A character from Mallery’s SISTERS BY CHOICE makes an appearance early in the story, and returns later on.

I enjoyed this one a lot. The characters feel like women I’d be friends with. Except for one who is truly evil, but I won’t spoil the story.

I highly recommend THE VINEYARD AT PAINTED MOON, and I suggest reading it with a glass of Syrah.


I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, but it did not induce me to review it, favorably or not. That was my choice.