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.

Book Talk Tuesday: STILL THE ONE

I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of this book and I’m so happy I did!
I love Susan May Warren’s Deep Haven novels and this was the perfect return to the Minnesota town. Megan Carter, single mom and wedding planner, is saving every penny to buy a venue for her business. Cole Barrett, former Army Ranger is returning to town long enough to sell his grandfather’s house and tie up the loose ends of his life. Unfortunately, his grandfather’s garage apartment has tenant who refuses to budge.
Megan and Cole were childhood friends until Cole moved away. Now adults and forced to work together, memories and sparks fly.
Rachel D. Russell nailed the essence of the Deep Haven books: the charm, the characters, and the caring they show for each other.
I loved this book and highly recommend it and can’t wait for my chance to visit Deep Haven again!

Book Talk Tuesday: Restoring Heritage Series

Happy Tuesday and talking about books. This isn’t a normal book review. It isn’t even a two-fer. It’s a four-fer. Or a two+two-fer.

I had the opportunity recently to read Tari Faris’s new series, Restoring Heritage. It consists of a prequel novella, then two novels, then an interim novella, while we wait for novel #3.

The books are set in the small town of Heritage, Michigan and like all the best series have characters who pop in and out of each others’ stories.

Heritage seems to be dying. Businesses are leaving, storefronts are empty, and houses are vacant.

In P.S. GOODBYE, Caroline and Leah Williams are trying to keep their family business afloat. Caroline is also trying to start a new business as a life coach. So when a wounded former Special Forces operator returns to town needing a job, they agree to help out each other. But it can’t be that simple, can it? No, it can’t.

The first full length novel, YOU BELONG WITH ME, is Luke and Hannah’s story. Best friends and next-door-neighbors in high school, they’re now all grown up and still friends, even though both of them want more, but believes the other doesn’t see them “that way,” and that they aren’t worthy of the other.

Hannah is a Realtor, desperate to save the historic homes and shops of Heritage, and somehow redeem her family’s tarnished name. But her every plan and idea is stymied by a local developer wanting to buy the downtown buildings and put in a strip mall.

Luke has his own reasons for helping Hannah and growing closer to her, then retreating. It takes news that shatters everything he thought he knew about his past to bring him to embrace his future. The local pastor, Nate, two sisters Janie and Olivia, and Hannah’s brother, Thomas, are secondary characters.

Novel #2, UNTIL I MET YOU, is Nate and Olivia’s story, along with Nate’s brother, a newcomer to Heritage and another newcomer. This is a story of second chances and redemption, and I’m afraid to say much more would be to give away too many spoilers.

The final installment (so far) is a Christmas novella, WHILE IT WAS SNOWING. This is about one of Olivia and Janie’s brothers Gideon and his friend and co-worker, Dan. That is Danielle. He suddenly realizes she’s a–gasp–girl–when he sees her for the first time at a wedding.

Danielle can’t get wait to get out of the dress and back to Gideon treating her like one of the guys. Although if she’s honest with herself, she kind of liked how he looked at her. Like something inside him was finally seeing her.

All four stories work great as stand-alones, but they mesh together well, too. I really enjoyed them. Faris does a fabulous job at weaving in spiritual truths without preaching. The stories are well constructed and well told.

I highly recommend them!

What’s your favorite small town series?

Book Talk on a Monday: STELLA

I absolutely adored this book! Told from the point of view of a beagle, it is full of heart and love for our canine friends.
Stella was a service dog trained to sniff explosives. She lost her handler when a bomb went off at the airport and now suffers from PTSD. She’s been given several chances to be rehomed, but none of them worked out. Until she met Cloe. Cloe turns out to be just who Stella needs. And Stella is just the dog Cloe needs. Cloe has epilepsy and Stella smells the changes in Cloe’s body before she has a seizure. She just has to convince Cloe’s mother what her keen nose is detecting.
I’ll be buying copies of this for my middle-grade granddaughters. They love dogs and reading and this is the perfect book for them.

Stella, by McCall Hoyle

I received a free advanced copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley. This did not induce me to review the book, favorably or not.