Bittersweet by Shirlee McCoy

  • Title:  Bittersweet
  • Series:  Home Sweet Home #3
  • Author:  Shirlee McCoy
  • Pages:  352
  • Published:  July 2017 – Zebra
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  In Benevolence, Washington, the Lamont family’s luscious handmade chocolates are a beloved tradition—and the sweetest of comforts. And for the most reserved of the three Lamont sisters, they’re a much-needed way to challenge the past, rekindle hope—and make happiness for a lifetime.
 
Caring family and friends, tranquil streets—ex-prosecutor Willow Lamont wishes these could make her feel truly at home. She’s back to help her grandfather manage Chocolate Haven, a long-held dream come true. But she’s struggling to make their unique fudge—and to cope with a secret trauma that haunts her. Yet when she finds an abandoned baby who breaks her heart wide open, she wonders how long she can hide her emotions—especially from warm, handsome, and way too nosey Deputy Sheriff Jax Gordon.
 
Always an outsider, Jax knows more than he should about loss. But he didn’t expect his difficult search for baby “Miracle’s” mother would reveal such a vulnerable side to the accomplished, beautiful woman he’s always admired. Earning Willow’s trust is the hardest thing he’s ever had to do. Yet between her honesty and courage, he’s longing to fill her life with rekindled joy—and a forever of irresistible love.  (publisher)

My take:  Bittersweet is the story of Willow Lamont and Jax Gordon – two people who survived horrific events when they were young. Both dealt with their traumas in their own way and grew to be upstanding adults who only hoped to outrun their bad memories. When Willow returns to the small town where she grew up to help at her family’s chocolate shop she runs into Jax, a school friend from when they both lived in Benevolence. Neither has a problem with being friends but can they deal with what could happen if the underlying attraction they feel becomes more? Fate has plans of her own when a baby comes on the scene late one night. No spoilers here! This is the first of author Shirlee McCoy’s books I’ve had a chance to read. I thought it was a sweet and heart warming story about learning to trust and move forward. I’d definitely read another book by McCoy. Recommended to fans of the author and contemporary romance.


Praise for Shirlee McCoy’s Sweet Haven

“Fans of Debbie Macomber will appreciate McCoy’s sweet, funny, heartwarming romance with its friendly, small-town setting.” —Booklist (starred review)

“A delicious small‑town treat.” —Library Journal

*

Praise for Home Sweet Home

“The latest in McCoy’s Home Sweet Home series is a heartfelt story that will touch your heart. With her engaging storytelling, McCoy brings us characters with substance who are clear, distinctive, and endearing. Willow is a strong, courageous, and vulnerable heroine and Jax is a compassionate, reassuring hero who compliments her. A well-crafted plot filled with raw emotion and conflict is the highlight of this tender story of love, loss, and healing.”- RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

“McCoy has created two wounded souls and sent them on an unforgettable journey of healing. Readers will find this emotional roller-coaster ride of a story as compelling as it is heartwarming.”– Booklist 


 

Primrose Lane by Debbie Mason

  • Title:  Primrose Lane
  • Series:  Harmony Harbor #3
  • Author:  Debbie Mason
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Pages:  352
  • Published:  June 2017 – Forever

Description:  Love is the best medicine

Olivia Davenport has finally gotten her life back together. She’s left her painful past behind, started over in a new town, and become Harmony Harbor’s most sought-after event planner. But her past catches up to her when Olivia learns that she’s now guardian of her ex’s young daughter. With her world spinning, Olivia must reconcile her old life with her new one. And she doesn’t have time for her new next door neighbor, no matter how handsome he is.
Olivia may act like she’s got everything under control, but Dr. Finn Gallagher knows a person in over her head when he sees one. He’d really like to be the shoulder she leans on, but Olivia makes it clear she doesn’t want his help. Since he’s returned to town, his waiting room has been full of single women feigning illness. Yet the one woman he’s interested in is avoiding him. But with a little help from some matchmaking widows and a precocious little girl, Finn might just win Olivia over. (publisher)
My take:  The Harmony Harbor series is about the Gallagher family, heirs to the large hotel complex in town. When the matriarch Colleen died, her will stipulated her heirs be unanimous in their decision to keep the hotel in operation or to sell. They are not in agreement but with each book in the series at least one more Gallagher takes a position and it’s not always what they thought would happen.
Finn Gallagher is back in town convalescing from a terrible event before returning to Africa where he works with Doctors Without Borders. When he gets involved with the hotel’s event planner Olivia he also gets involved in her drama. Two years ago her only child succumbed to cancer. Some time later her husband was killed. She ended up in the small town of Harmony Harbor where she tried to forget about her past. When her past catches up with her she is faced with an impossible decision. Finn will need to make a decision as well – this isn’t what he was looking for.
Debbie Mason’s third installment in the Harmony Harbor series had me laughing out loud at some scenes and then quickly turning the pages as the drama played out near the end. I loved the physical comedy that went along with clumsy Olivia – very funny and well-written. I also enjoyed seeing characters from the previous books. There’s a bit of the paranormal in the series in that Colleen hasn’t crossed over yet. So she’s present to the reader but only certain other characters can sense her presence. It sounds a bit strange but I think it works. It all makes for an entertaining contemporary romance and I look forward to the next installment.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Debbie Mason is the USA Today bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado series. Her books have been praised for their “likable characters, clever dialogue, and juicy plots” (RT Book Reviews).  When she isn’t writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, their four wonderful children, two adorable grandbabies, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella.  You can learn more at www.AuthorDebbieMason.com.

PRIMROSE LANE

  • By Debbie Mason
  • Harmony Harbor, #3
  • June 27, 2017
  • Forever
  • Mass Market: $7.99 USD
  • eBook: $5.99 USD

 

Serenity Harbor by RaeAnne Thayne

  • Title:  Serenity Harbor
  • Author:  RaeAnne Thayne
  • Series:  Haven Point #6
  • Pages:  384
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Pub. Date:  June 27, 2017 – HQN Books

Description:  Computer-tech millionaire Bowie Callahan is about the last person that schoolteacher Katrina Bailey wants to work for. As far as she can see, he’s arrogant, entitled and not up to the task of caring for his young half-brother, Milo. But Kat is, especially if it brings her closer to her goal of adopting an orphaned little girl. And as her kindness and patience work wonders with Milo, she realizes there’s more to sexy, wary Bo than she’d ever realized. 

Bo never imagined he’d be tasked with caring for a sibling he didn’t know existed. Then again, he never pictured himself impulsively kissing vibrant, compassionate Katrina in the moonlight. Now he’s ready to make her dream of family come true…and hoping there’s room in it for him, too… (publisher)

My take:  Serenity Harbor is the newest book in RaeAnne Thayne’s Haven Point series. It’s the story of Bowie and Katrina, two people who aren’t looking for love. Bowie’s life took an unexpected turn when he found he had a little brother he didn’t previously know existed. Now he’s responsible for the little boy who is on the autism spectrum. He has no idea how he can juggle seeing to Milo’s needs as well as work a full-time job. Katrina is the answer to his prayers. Turns out, he can help her. She’s in the middle of complicated adoption proceedings of a little girl in Columbia. When Bowie offers Kat a sizable amount of money to care for Milo until permanent help arrives she can’t refuse him. That money will help her with adoption costs so she accepts the offer. What she didn’t see coming was the attraction to Bowie. She’d been concentrating only on bringing Gabi home to Haven Point – not her love life. She’d made so many mistakes in that area before that she’s going to set her sights on making Gabi’s life better and forget about romance.

I so enjoyed this story of people finding out that perspective can change your idea of how life should go. Yes, a few things worked out much easier than they probably would in real life but this is a novel and I just went with it. I love the series, the characters and the setting and recommend it fans of the author and contemporary, small town romance.


About the author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors, including six RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews magazine. RaeAnne loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at http://www.raeannethayne.com.


 

No One But You by Brenda Novak

  • Title:  No One But You
  • Series:  Silver Springs #2
  • Author:  Brenda Novak
  • Pages:  448
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Pub. Date:  May 30, 2017 – MIRA Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak welcomes you to Silver Springs, a picturesque small town in Southern California where even the hardest hearts can learn to love again… 

Struggling to make ends meet after a messy divorce, Sadie Harris is at the end of her tether. Her waitressing gig isn’t enough to pay the bills let alone secure primary custody of her son, Jayden, a battle she refuses to lose. Desperate, she accepts a position assisting Dawson Reed—the same Dawson Reed who recently stood trial for the murder of his adoptive parents. Joining him at his isolated farm seems risky, but Sadie is out of options. 

Dawson has given small town Silver Springs plenty of reasons to be wary, but he’s innocent of the charges against him. He wants to leave his painful past behind and fix up the family farm so he can finally bring his dependent sister home where she belongs. 

As Sadie and Dawson’s professional relationship grows into something undeniably personal, Sadie realizes there’s more to Dawson than the bad boy everyone else sees—he has a good heart, one that might even be worth fighting for. (publisher)

My take:  Can two people, down on their luck, find acceptance and even love when most of the world seems to be against them?

Sadie Harris, estranged from her husband (soon-to-be ex) and mother to a five-year-old boy is struggling to make ends meet. She just can’t seem to get ahead and her son’s father is trying to delay divorce by any means possible. He’s a bad guy and also a police officer who has the loyalty of his coworkers. No one seems to have a good opinion of Sadie because of what he’s told them. So it doesn’t help matters for her when she accepts a job being a caregiver to the sister of the local pariah, Dawson Reed. He was recently found not guilty of murdering his adoptive parents. He’s still guilty in the eyes of most of the townspeople and the local authorities.

Sadie and Dawson will have to contend with Sadie’s ex and others as they try to live normal lives. Brenda Novak’s novel was a quick and compelling read. Filled with interesting, odd, and a couple of abhorrent characters, the novel’s pages flew by and came to a satisfying conclusion. No One But You is second in the Silver Springs series but it can definitely stand alone. Recommended to fans of Brenda Novak and contemporary romance.


 

Finding Our Forever by Brenda Novak

  • finding-our-foreverTitle:  Finding Our Forever
  • Series:  Silver Springs #1
  • Author:  Brenda Novak
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Pages:  224
  • Published:  March 2017 – Harlequin Special Edition
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

My take:  Cora Kelly was adopted as an infant by affluent parents and lived a good life. That didn’t stop the need to know who her birth parents were and why they gave her up. When her search leads to her birth mother will she be prepared for the answers.
Cora, an art teacher, interviews at the school for troubled boys that was founded by Aiyana, her birth mother. The person who hired her is Eli, one of Aiyana’s adopted sons. Cora is stunned to know that her birth mother would let her go but adopt several sons. One more question that needs an answer. Eli will figure prominently in Cora’s story. They have an attraction to each other that neither bothers to fight. Lots of intimate scenes for these two. On one level that kind of bothered me. On another level it was understandable.
I thought the resolution of Cora and Eli’s story was surprisingly quick and pat. I can live with that. Finding Our Forever is the first in a new contemporary romance series by Brenda Novak. I liked it and look forward to reading the books that follow.


 

Forever a Hero by Linda Lael Miller

  • forever-a-heroTitle:  Forever a Hero
  • Series:  The Carsons of Mustang Creek #3
  • Author:  Linda Lael Miller
  • Pages:  384
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  March 2017 – HQN Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley; Little Bird Publicity

Description:  For the youngest Carson brother, finding—and fixing—trouble seems to be all in a day’s work.

Mace Carson doesn’t consider himself a hero. Back in college, he came upon a woman in trouble and intervened—but he was just one irate Wyoming cowboy with his boots planted firmly on the side of right. Now a successful vintner, Mace is shocked to be reunited with the woman he saved. But it turns out she’s in Wyoming on business…a corporate executive representing the company that wants to buy his winery. Only, he’s not selling. 

Kelly Wright has never forgotten that horrible night ten years ago when Mace came to her rescue, has never forgotten him. The surprising success of a winery in the middle of ranch country has brought her to Mustang Creek, and she’s secretly thrilled to discover Mace at the helm. Reluctant to mix business with pleasure, Kelly vows to keep things professional, until her attacker is released from prison and comes for vengeance…against both of them. (publisher)

My take:  It was fun to return to Wyoming and to see what was new with the Carson family in Forever a Hero. Linda Lael Miller’s stories about three brothers connected to the family ranch had me from the start. And it drew to a fitting close with this book.

It had to be fate ten years ago when Mace Carson rescued Kelly Wright from an attacker on their college campus. But because of circumstances there was no chance to have more of a relationship at that time. He’d be remembered by Kelly as her hero. They both moved on with their lives. One failed marriage and ten years later Kelly is working for a company that wants to buy Mace’s wine – all of his wine. He may not want to sell but he’d like to get to know Kelly more and maybe convince her to work for him. All bets are off when the man who attacked her is released from prison. Could he possibly be the person who sent her a menacing text? Once again, Mace is ready to step up and keep her safe.

This book is typical Miller in that the romance is so nice, it’s filled with funny people and pets, and the setting is spectacular. Those reasons are why I keep picking up her books and look forward to the next one. Recommended to fans of Linda Lael Miller and contemporary romance.


lindalaelmiller_authorphotoAbout the author:

“First Lady of the West” Linda Lael Miller has written more than 100 contemporary and historical novels. She was awarded the prestigious Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award from the Romance Writers of America in 2007 and the RT Book Reviews Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.


PRAISE FOR THE CARSONS OF MUSTANG CREEK TRILOGY

“[A] marvelous contemporary Western trilogy launch…fraught with amazing chemistry.” — Publishers Weekly Starred Review on Once a Rancher

“Another deftly crafted western romance by a true master of the genre, [Once a Rancher] continues to showcase this author’s truly impressive storytelling talents. A riveting read from beginning to end.” — Midwest Book Review on Once a Rancher

“Miller’s deep knowledge and love of the West shine through in a refreshing, tender romance that sees another Carson brother blissfully bite the dust and seamlessly bring fans up-to-date with characters they’ve come to love.” Library Journal on Always a Cowboy

“Longing has a way of overcoming doubts, and readers will root for this appealing couple. The glimpses of ranch life and the extended Carson family make this a Western to remember.” — BookPage on Always a Cowboy

“Miller writes some of the best cowboy books around.” — BookTrib on Always a Cowboy


Spotlight on Starlight Bridge by Debbie Mason

mason_starlightbridge_blogtour

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: STARLIGHT BRIDGE Author: Debbie Mason Series: Harmony Harbor, #2

On Sale: February 28, 2017 Publisher: Forever

Mass Market: $7.99 USD eBook: $5.99 USD

starlight-bridgeA second chance for romance…

Hidden in Graystone Manor is a book containing all the dark secrets of Harmony Harbor, and Ava DiRossi is determined to find it. No one—especially not her ex-husband, Griffin Gallagher—can ever discover what really tore her life apart all those years ago. With Griffin back in town, it’s more important than ever that she find the book before someone else does. Because her ex is still angry with her for leaving him. And he still has no idea Ava never stopped loving him…

Ava is no longer the vibrant, happy woman Griffin had once loved and married, and he would do anything to bring back the sparkle to her brilliant green eyes. But what’s never changed are the sexy sparks of attraction between Ava and Griffin, and he won’t give her up again without a fight. He knows there’s the real possibility of a future together…if the truth doesn’t burn the bridge between them forever.  (publisher)

My take:  Starlight Bridge is the second full-length novel in the Harmony Harbor series. It’s set in Graystone Manor run by an extended family that has recently seen their matriarch (and great-grandmother) pass. The fate of the Manor is in the hands of her descendants. They must unanimously agree to keep the inn running or sell it and split the proceeds.

In Starlight Bridge we have Griffin who has never gotten over losing Ava. She was forced to end their relationship when an event occurred over a decade ago. Now that circumstances have brought them together again will they get a second chance?

One interesting aspect of the series is that the deceased has not departed Graystone Manor. She seems to be overseeing (with the help of her friends who are still alive) the reunion of several grandchildren with the love each let get away. There’s also the matter of a tell-all journal of sorts that is hidden somewhere in Graystone Manor. If that book is found the secrets of many could be made known to all.

Debbie Mason’s series is light-hearted for the most part. The novels also have serious issues that the main characters must deal with in order to move forward. I enjoyed Starlight Bridge and, because of some foreshadowing at the end of this novel, look forward to reading the next book in the series.


debbie-mason-credit-debbie-mazzuraABOUT THE AUTHOR

Debbie Mason is the USA Today bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado and Harmony Harbor series. Her books have been praised for their “likable characters, clever dialogue and juicy plots” (RT Book Reviews). When she isn’t writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, three wonderful children, two adorable grandbabies, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella in Ontario, Canada.

 Author  Website   Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Goodreads

harmony-harbor

THE HARMONY HARBOR SERIES

Series Page on Goodreads

  • MISTLETOE COTTAGE, #1
  • CHRISTMAS WITH AN ANGEL, #1.5
  • STARLIGHT BRIDGE, #2
    PRIMROSE LANE, #3