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Christmas at Silver Falls–saving the family heritage

Christmas at Silver Falls

by Jenny Hale

Christmas at Silver FallsFrom Jenny Hale, author of books set in summer and at Christmas time, comes another “heartwarming, feel-good Christmas romance” in the form of Christmas at Silver Falls.  Scarlett Bailey realizes that this Christmas will probably be the last Christmas gathering of her family at her Gran’s beloved White Oaks Inn. Gran will be forced to sell because she is unable to compete with the newer resorts springing up in the area. Charles Bryant, one of the developers of the popular resorts, shows up unexpectedly in the area, and Scarlett determines to enlist his help in saving the Inn. The complicated becomes even more so when Julie and her young son Trevor, who have obviously undergone hard times, make a dramatic entrance that changes everything.

Christmas at Silver Falls is a fun Christmas read with a beautiful setting. Not all the characters were as well fleshed out as they might have been, but you can not come away without feeling for them in their predicaments.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Bookouture for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Publication:   October 15, 2019—Bookouture

Memorable Lines:

“We all go through things like that in life, and the good news, at least from what I’ve found, is that after the lows you notice the highs, and when you’re up there, it feels so good. Just hang on. It’s coming.”

Scarlett felt hope surge in her veins like rocket fuel.

“In an old run-down cottage, you are like fresh bouquets; you’re like a misty-morning view, a sunrise, a barefoot dance in a field of wildflowers…”

Finding Christmas–a holiday romance

Finding Christmas

by Karen Schaler

Finding ChristmasThe beginning of this Christmas romance is overly sugar sweet—or I was a tad “Grinchy” at that particular time. It isn’t long, however, before the conflict is presented and the interest level ramps up. Emma Sanders (aka Miss Christmas) loves Christmas as did her parents whose memory she tries to honor in her devotion to all things Christmas. The other thing she is devoted to is the community center she runs and the people it serves. The story centers around Emmie, her boyfriend Grant who is a lawyer, and Sam, a writer who mistakenly follows clues for a scavenger hunt intended to inspire Grant with the Christmas spirit.

Although the reader can quickly predict the outcome, the rest of the story is quite engaging as you watch the conflicts and misunderstandings of the romance play out. All of the characters are altruistic, but you’ll soon pick your favorites. Yours might even be Dasher, a border collie mix who adds fun to the story.

Finding Christmas has a beautiful Christmasy setting. Author Karen Schaler will lead you through a wonderland of snow, twinkling white lights, and evergreen decorations to a satisfying conclusion as the characters find Christmas. 

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to HarperCollins (William Morrow) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Romance

Publication:   October 15, 2019—HarperCollins (William Morrow)

Memorable Lines:

Grant gave her a look. “Emmie, this is where I work. I don’t need…decorations.” Emmie’s eyes grew huge, and she looked at him like he’d just said he didn’t like puppies.

She loved seeing firsthand how even the smallest gift of kindness could make such a difference in someone’s life. She had seen over and over again the power of reaching out to someone, offering comfort when they needed it the most—how even the simplest gesture could connect people and give them hope.

After her parents passed away, Emmie had promised herself never to put off doing the things she really wanted to do, knowing tomorrows are never guaranteed. She had learned that saving something to do “someday” meant you were risking never having that special experience happen at all.

The Christmas Calendar Girls–an advent calendar that helps others

The Christmas Calendar Girls

by Samantha Tonge

The Christmas Calendar GirlsFern, Davina, and Cara bond over children who attend the same school in Birchwood Estate. With different personalities and strengths they value each other rather than hold jealousies. In The Christmas Calendar Girls by Samantha Tonge, the ladies work together to save the food bank that is a lifeline for so many in the community, from the addict to the unemployed parent struggling to provide.

It’s the busy Christmas season and late to begin a project to raise money, but Fern has an idea to save the food bank and engender community spirit and good will. Her friends jump on board to help.

All is not smooth sailing, however, with the project and its changing deadlines or in the “calendar girls’ ” personal lives. Fern is a widowed journalist trying to find a new normal for herself and her daughter Lily. Perhaps she is ready to have a relationship again. Kit, a former client of the food bank, stirs her heart, but is he ready for romance? Davina has always been close to her twin boys, but the more sensitive of the two begins pulling away and the pair get into a fight at school. Cara is fantastic with food, very creative, and a doting, stay-at-home mom. Suddenly she seems to have lost it all as she burns foods, uses the wrong ingredients, and  forgets school notices and weather appropriate clothing for her kids. She fears the onset of early dementia.

Watching these characters grow as they lean on each other and gradually reveal their secrets and rooting for them as they try to help those less fortunate, makes for a gentle, interesting, and inspiring story. Birchwood Estate will never be the same.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Aria for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Publication:   October 3, 2019—Aria

Memorable Lines:

That’s what Cara’s homely place was like…If it was a person it would have been a welcoming aunt, who always had your favorite biscuits in and never forgot to send birthday money.

“Bringing everyone together, friends and family, over food and drink, with the purpose of helping people facing difficult times…your idea really does encapsulate everything that the festive season should be about.”

Sometimes I worried I’d never meet another man. I didn’t need one to look after myself and Lily. But I wanted the company. The closeness. I missed that.

Lassoed by the Would-Be Rancher–capturing a cowgirl’s heart

Lassoed by the Would-Be Rancher

by Melinda Curtis

Lassoed by the Would-Be rancherShane Monroe wants so badly to save the little town of Second Chance for both selfish and unselfish personal reasons. He wants to put his expertise in business to work with creative ideas to attract tourists to the area. Shane encounters local resistance; and while he works to smooth things over, he meets Franny, a widow with three children who owns the Bucking Bull Ranch. Franny and Shane share an attraction and admire each other’s skill sets, but are sure that a relationship would have no future.

This romance is packed with danger in the form of massive, feral bulls. It has likable characters who struggle with parent/adult child relationship issues. There is somewhat of a mystery too as Shane tries to establish a basis for historical significance for the town. Is the tale of Merciless Mike Moody a myth? Is there really gold buried in the mountain?

Franny’s children are typical video-game loving boys, but they have learned early, from living on a ranch, that country living requires taking on a lot of responsibility from an early age. We meet several more of the diverse group of Monroe cousins in Lassoed by the Would-Be Rancher.

I had a great time reading this book and learned a lot about bulls and rodeo. The ending is very sweet but don’t skip ahead or it won’t make sense. “Good things come to those who wait.” That is good advice for me as I anticipate the next book in the Mountain Monroes Series.

I would like to extend my thanks to Melinda Curtis for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Romance (Clean)

Notes: #4 in the Mountain Monroes Series but works as a standalone. There is a chart showing the family relations and the author provides any background from previous books that is needed.

Publication:   January 1, 2020—Harlequin Heartwarming

Memorable Lines:

Her eyes…They were a soft gray. The gray of baby rabbits, chubby ponies and funeral melancholy.

On Grandpa Harlan’s road trips, they’d stopped to help more strangers than Shane could count. Flat tires. Engine trouble. People caught short, asking for gas money to get to the next town. Grandpa Harlan didn’t discriminate or judge. He treated everyone as if they were trusted equals.

The wind rattled the windowpanes. His gaze rattled her.

Rescued by the Perfect Cowboy–cowboy appeal

Rescued by the Perfect Cowboy

by Melinda Curtis 

Rescued by the Perfect CowboyWhatever the natural appeal of kids, double it when you encounter twins. That is certainly true of Alex and Andy, the “adorable little heathens” whom their mother Sophie Monroe describes as “rambunctious, but lovable.” Sophie has relocated to Second Chance with her four year olds after her divorce and losing her job as curator of the Monroe art collection. If you have journeyed this far in the Mountain Monroes Harlequin Heartwarming series, you can easily predict that romance is in the wind, but that predictability does not take away the fun of watching the romance progress with more than a few hitches along the way.

The plot is filled out with local history, the antics of the twins, quirky local characters, and highfalutin Monroes. The central characters are Sophie and Zeke, a cowboy recuperating from a truck accident, who has a big secret to hide. In the background is the continuing search for a way forward for Second Chance and its residents. We meet new characters, both locals and more of the Monroe clan. The two groups provide quite a contrast: hard working versus the privileged. Can they manage to work together for everyone’s benefit?

I would like to extend my thanks to Melinda Curtis for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Romance (Clean)

Notes: #3 in the Mountain Monroes Series but works as a standalone. There is a chart showing the family relations and the author provides any background from previous books that is needed.

Publication:   October 1, 2019—Harlequin Heartwarming

Memorable Lines:

Snow cradled Zeke’s fall in its chilly arms. It wrapped its icy fingers around his neck and over his ears. It packed him tighter than a crystal vase being shipped by a fancy department store at Christmas.

“I’m your cowboy nanny, unless you still want to fire me.” How could she fire him? He was the Wild West version of Mary Poppins, fixing problems she didn’t think could be fixed.

“If it’s art you love, that’s what you’ll study. And if you decide to change course, who’s to judge? Look at me. I’ve reinvented myself a half dozen times. Trust your feelings.”

Snowed in with the Single Dad–twins and more twins

Snowed in with the Single Dad

by Melinda Curtis

Snowed in with the Single DadLaurel, who frequently acts as a double for her famous actress twin Ashley, takes her role too far on a date with handsome actor Wyatt with some lasting consequences. She escapes to Second Chance where she meets Mitch, a lawyer who is managing the inn and his just turned teenage daughter Gabby who has perfected eye rolls. Laurel is a creative dress designer, but she always puts the needs of others, especially her sister Ashley, ahead of her own. Among the locals, the quirky but artistically talented sisters Odette and Flip are mainstays in Second Chance and are instrumental, along with Mitch, in helping Laurel find her own dream as Second Chance lives up to its name in this sweet romance. 

I would like to extend my thanks to Melinda Curtis for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Romance (Clean)

Notes: #2 in the Mountain Monroes Series but works as a standalone. There is a chart showing the family relations and the author provides any background from previous books that is needed.

Publication:   June 1, 2019—Harlequin Heartwarming

Memorable Lines:

She’d seen Mitch smile before. Kind smiles. Polite smiles. Rueful smiles. But never a smile like this. A smile of pure, unapologetic joy. That smile. It reached into her chest like a heart-to-heart hug. It said everything was going to be all right.

He laid his cell hone faceup on the table, the sure sign of a man who considered whatever might happen in the world more important than the person they were dining with.

Her mother was a master manipulator. She recognized the dead end they’d come to and took on a new attack as smoothly as a shark circled back for the kill.

The Mountain Monroes–series summary

The Mountain Monroes

A Heartwarming Harlequin Series by Melinda Curtis

Series Summary:

Grandpa Harlan left the Monroe grandchildren out in the cold by stipulating in his will that their parents, in order to inherit, must fire the grandchildren  from their current jobs.In addition, the cousins must all agree on the disposition of Second Chance, the mountain town they inherited. Meanwhile, the residents of the remote town, who hold leases for one dollar per year, are held to non-disclosure agreements for one year after Harlan’s death. A shrewd multi-millionaire, he has managed to remain in control even after his death.

I recently had the opportunity to read books 2-4 in the series and couldn’t have been more delighted.

The first book in the series is Kissed by the Country Doc and my review can be read here. 

Reviews on books 2-4 will be posted sequentially in individual reviews. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did. They are, indeed, “heartwarming” and clean in terms of language, violence, and sex.

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