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!

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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!

 

 

Monday Morning Musings: Book Review

Even though it’s not a Book Talk Tuesday, I’m posting a book review on Monday. I really enjoyed this one, and can’t wait to share about it.

cover-secrets

A few books stay with you after you finish the final page and close the book. SECRETS OF THE TULIP SISTERS is one of those.

The Tulip Sisters are a fun group of women. I wish they lived closer. I wish they were real.

Kelly is the uber-responsible older sister who works the family tulip farm and loves it. She and her dad are close. Her long-time boyfriend recently broke up with her and she’s sad that it didn’t upset her more. What’s bugging her now is that Griffith, her high school crush, is back in town and keeps showing up wherever she is.

Olivia is the flighty younger sister. Or is she? Olivia shows up in town after ten years away, expecting a reunion with her own high school boyfriend. The homecoming is not quite as heartwarming as one might hope. With either the ex or her family.

Helen is Kelly’s best friend, and an honorary sister, with a huge secret of her own.

Life is … if not good, at least acceptable, for all three women. Until Kelly and Olivia’s mother shows up, bringing havoc and leaving a trail of mayhem in her wake.

I love this book! Fun dialogue and situations, believable characters, emotionally engaging writing. It’s going on my keeper shelf.

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I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Which this is.

Book Talk Tuesday: DAUGHTERS OF THE BRIDE

We all know I’m crazy about Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold and Mischief Bay series. Susan visits a new town in her latest book (and first hardcover!).

Dcv-dotbAUGHTERS OF THE BRIDE takes us to Los Lobos, on California’s Central Coast. Courtney, Rachel, and Sienna are the title characters. Rachel’s the oldest, a single mom still in love with her cheating ex, and used to doing it all. Sienna is the middle sister, the “pretty” one, works tirelessly for a local shelter for battered women, and dating a man she’s not sure she likes, much less loves. Courtney is the youngest of the trio, working as a housekeeper in the local hotel and going to college but keeping it a secret from her family.

After being widowed early and left with three daughters to raise, Maggie has finally allowed herself to fall in love again. The wedding planning brings out the best — and worst — in her daughters.

I really enjoyed this book. I finished it in about a day and a half. The writing has plenty of Susan’s trademark humor. And sex. Yep, it’s steamy. So you’ve been warned.

My only quibble, and it’s a teeny tiny one, is she kept referring to Los Lobos as being in Central California. I live in Central California and there are no beach towns here. Los Lobos is on the Central Coast. It could be Morro Bay or Half Moon Bay or Santa Cruz or Pismo. Any of the small towns. And nowadays, they’re all anything but “sleepy” as Mallery describes Los Lobos.

But that aside, I loved the book and would gladly read more set in Los Lobos. Or anywhere Susan Mallery cares to take us.


I received a free copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review, which I gave.

 

Book Talk Tuesday: Best of My Love

I’m reviewing this with mixed emotions.

I love the book, but I’m sad it’s the last planned entry in Mallery’s Fool’s Gold series.

cover-best-of-my-loveWe met Shelby Gilmore a couple of years ago. Her brother was in last year’s trilogy and he found true love with Destiny. Shelby suffered at the hands of an abusive father and a too passive mother. Her brother protected her as best he could, until he was injured and Shelby’s mother was dying and needed Shelby’s presence. Her father took out his rage and frustration on her.

Aidan Mitchell runs his family’s tourist adventure business in Fool’s Gold and he enjoys some no-strings-attached weekends with attractive and willing tourists.

Shelby knows she has trust issues and she wants to get over them and find love and have a family. Aidan was perfectly happy until an incident let him see himself as he really was: a jerk.

Shelby hears about it too, and decides Aidan is perfect for her project. She makes him an offer: they will be friends and in building their friendship, they will learn how to relate to the opposite sex. Shelby will learn to trust and Aidan will learn how to treat women.

The experiment goes well. Too well. Of course, this is a romance and this is Fool’s Gold, so you know what will happen. What I love about Mallery’s Fool’s Gold series is that even though we know the ending going in, the getting there is so much fun.

If the series had to end, I’m happy it’s ending on a fun note and that sweet Shelby gets her happy ever after.

And I’m waiting anxiously for Mallery’s new series, set in Happily, Inc, California, a destination wedding town. Sounds like fun!

Book Talk Tuesday: My TBR Pile

A quick look at what’s coming up to the top of my To Be Read stack.

First up on my Kindle is Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid.

Comes highly recommended!
Comes highly recommended!

A couple of people have recommended this series quite highly and I’m looking forward to diving in.

I’ve just started another Susan Mallery, Only Yours, a Fool’s Gold book from a couple of years ago. I’m working through her older stuff and so far this is another winner.

OY

Finally, I’m also reading Jen Hatmaker’s latest, For the Love. I’ll probably be reviewing this one next week. It’s full of wisdom, grace, encouragement, and a few recipes.FTL

Book Talk Tuesday: Marry Me at Christmas

If it’s fall, it must be time for a Fool’s Gold Christmas story from Susan Mallery.

I love these stories, for so many reasons.

They’re romances, hello!?!?!

Marry Me at Christmas
Marry Me at Christmas

They’re set in Fool’s Gold, the best fictional town in California.

They’re set at Christmas time, when we love to snuggle with a warm afghan, a cup of tea, and a good book.

The steamy love scenes of the other Fool’s Gold books don’t appear. I like my love scenes to be behind closed doors, and the Christmas books meet my criteria.

In MARRY ME AT CHRISTMAS, we finally get to meet action movie star Jonny Blaze who’s been mentioned in the other 2015 Fool’s Gold books. Madeline Krug, part owner of the local wedding dress shop, is asked to plan Jonny’s sister’s wedding planned for the day after Christmas. Jonny has been her movie star crush and she’s intimidated by the thought of even meeting him, much less working with him.

Madeline manages to be professional and she and Jonny plan the wedding and attend some of Fool’s Gold’s local holiday festivities.

I love stories about two worlds colliding and I especially love stories about when a public life and a private life collide. Because at heart, we’re all just people swimming along in our lives, trying to work, love, and laugh and feel like we have a purpose. Whether our purpose is touching people’s lives through the arts or pouring coffee, we’re all happiest doing what we’re meant to do.

So all that combines to make MARRY ME AT CHRISTMAS a great book, for winter, for Christmas, for anytime. I love it!

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I received a free copy in return for an honest review.