Digital review copy courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley
Return to Hope’s Crossing this Christmas in New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne’s latest heartwarming story of matchmaking at the holidays!
Sage McKnight is an ambitious young architect working at her father’s firm who takes on her most challenging client in Mason Tucker. The former pro baseball player is still healing from the physical and emotional scars after a plane crash left him a wheelchair-using single dad, and he’s determined not to let anyone breach his emotional defenses. Sage knows her work on Mason’s new home in Hope’s Crossing is her best work yet, and she won’t let her grumpy client prevent her from showcasing her work personally.
With Sage’s gift for taking broken things and making them better, the matchmaking talent of the quirky locals and a generous sprinkling of Christmas cheer, Mason doesn’t stand a chance against the power of this magical holiday season.(publisher)
I’ll say right up front All Is Bright is going to be one of my favorite Christmas themed books in the CR genre. The trope of grumpy hero meets optimistic and unstoppable heroine doesn’t alway work for me but in Thayne’s hands it was a win. Sage and Mason have separately faced very difficult emotional and physical challenges but are at the point of moving forward in their lives.
There are sub-plots involving interesting secondary characters, complicated families, and regular daily life. I enjoyed it all and especially appreciated the epilogue that put the bow on this gift of a novel.
If you’re a fan of author RaeAnne Thayne, contemporary romance with a Christmas theme, and a mountain town setting you’ll want to read All Is Bright.
About the author:
RaeAnne Thayne is the #1 Publisher’s Weekly, New York Times, and USA TODAY bestselling author of nearly seventy books. Her books have been described as “poirgnant and sweet,” with “beautiful, honest storytelling that goes straight to the heart.” She finds inspiration from the beautiful northern Utah mountains, where she lives with her family. She loves to hear from readers and can be reach through her webiste at raeannethayne.com.
Review galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley
Angel’s View Ranch has always been special to Annelise McCade. Once upon a time, it was her family’s land, until her grandfather sold it to billionaire Wallace Sheridan. Now employed as the live-in caretaker, Annie is just trying to make it through the holidays with both her sanity and her niece’s and nephew’s faith in the magic of Christmas intact.
The six-year-old twins recently lost their mother, so Annie tells herself it wouldn’t be a problem to bring them to Angel’s View. Why should it be? The Sheridans haven’t visited in years, not since Wallace died. They would never know the twins were there…until Tate Sheridan shows up out of the blue two weeks before Christmas.
Crushed to learn that Tate is there to sell his grandfather’s property—and mortified that her secret guests have been discovered—Annie offers her resignation. But Tate asks them to stay and help him get the house ready for one last family Christmas before it’s put on the market.
Annie and Tate have three days to work their magic before the Sheridan clan arrives—and to work through the growing attraction between them. But Annie simply can’t fall for the man who will put her out of a job and a home. Still, the sparkle of the season is impossible to deny…and this Christmas has surprises in store for everyone.(publisher)
RaeAnne Thayne delivers everything I want in a Christmas Romance. It’s a heartwarming story about people in various stages of grief just hoping to get through this joyous time of year.
I loved every moment spent reading this book. That’s what makes Thayne one of my go-to authors. She speaks to my heart.
Highly recommended to fans of Contemporary Romance, the author, and touching stories.
Now I’m tempted to dig out the Christmas decorations – I’m inspired to go over and above this year!
I’ve accepted a few Christmas review galleys that will publish in September and October so I thought I’d shine a spotlight on them today. I’ll hold off on reading for a while but have to say I’m looking forward to each book!
From May Kay Andrews, the New York Times bestselling author of Hello, Summer, comes a novella celebrating the magic of Christmas and second chances in The Santa Suit.
When newly-divorced Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen, she is definitely looking for a change in her life. The Four Roses, as the farmhouse is called, is a labor of love—but Ivy didn’t bargain on just how much labor. The previous family left so much furniture and so much junk, that it’s a full-time job sorting through all of it.
At the top of a closet, Ivy finds an old Santa suit—beautifully made and decades old. In the pocket of a suit she finds a note written in a childish hand: it’s from a little girl who has one Christmas wish, and that is for her father to return home from the war. This discovery sets Ivy off on a mission. Who wrote the note? Did the man ever come home? What mysteries did the Rose family hold?
Ivy’s quest brings her into the community, at a time when all she wanted to do was be left alone and nurse her wounds. But the magic of Christmas makes miracles happen, and Ivy just might find more than she ever thought possible: a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love.
The reigning legendary queens of Regency Romance, bestselling authors Madeline Hunter, Sabrina Jeffries, and Mary Jo Putney, deck the halls with this delightful Christmas collection of three sparkling holiday interconnected romances, as stranded travelers find merriment, mistletoe, and holiday romance awaiting at a quaint country inn…
THE UNEXPECTED GIFT by Madeline Hunter Jenna Waverly has closed her inn, anticipating a blissfully quiet Christmas, until a snowstorm brings the first of several strangers to her property. Lucas Avonwood, as charming as he is secretive, is on a mission to track down a scoundrel, but the inn’s lovely owner is giving him a more compelling reason to stay… WHEN WE FINALLY KISS GOOD NIGHT by Sabrina Jeffries When Flora Younger first met Konrad Juncker, she thought she’d found her match, only to have her hopes dashed. Konrad is now a famous playwright whose plays Flora has secretly panned in reviews. But a chance meeting in a secluded inn may help them rewrite this star-crossed romance…
WHEN STRANGERS MEET by Mary Jo Putney Kate Mcleod is shocked to find that her fellow guest in the snowbound inn is the dashing soldier who may or may not be her husband. Daniel Faringdon barely remembers that long-ago night when he rescued her from disaster, but the desire they discover now will be impossible to forget, or to ignore . . .
Maybe this Christmas can thaw his frozen heart—and heal hers.
Hollywood starlet Tia Beckett knows one moment can change your life. Her career had been on the fast track before a near-fatal accident left her with a debilitating facial scar. Certain her A-lister dreams are over, she agrees to house-sit at her producer’s secluded estate in Silver Springs. It’s the escape from the limelight Tia’s been craving, until she discovers she’s not the only houseguest for the holidays. And her handsome new roomie is impossible to ignore.
Artist Seth Turner has good reason to keep his distance. Losing his wife after only a few years of marriage has left a deep scar, even if he is still happy to spend a semester teaching art classes at the New Horizons Boys Ranch for troubled teens. Despite nursing her own wounds, Tia finds her curiosity piqued by enigmatic Seth, whom she recognizes as something of a kindred soul. Maybe spending Christmas together could be another game changer for both of them—this time, for good.
“[Thayne’s] books are wonderfully romantic, feel-good reads that end with me sighing over the last pages.”—Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author.
Celebrate the season with this sparkling holiday romance, perfect for fans of Debbie Macomber, Dorthea Benton Frank, and Nancy Thayer!
Ranch manager Annie McCade thought her twin niece and nephew could join her at the Angel View Ranch for Christmas with her absent employer being none the wiser. But when the ranch’s owner, Tate Sheridan, shows up out of the blue, Annie’s plans are upended. Soon she finds herself helping Tate make a Christmas to remember for his grieving and fractured extended family.
Sleigh Bells Ring is the latest heartwarming, festive Christmas story by New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne.
After a confession of murder, a sleuthing English teacher will need a Christmas miracle to prove a condemned man innocent
Colorful Christmas lights dapple the family homes in the idyllic lakeside town of Sweet Haven when Jennifer Dean, a young librarian at the local elementary school, is brutally murdered. There are witnesses and her boyfriend Travis Blake confesses to the crime… but something doesn’t quite add up. Blake is a third generation Army Ranger, awarded the Silver Star for his heroism in Afghanistan―how could a beloved son of this tight-knit burgh commit such a grisly deed?
As a community of military families a few miles down the road from an Army base, no one in Sweet Haven wants to investigate a war hero like Blake, not even the top brass at the police department. In steps Cameron Winter, a rugged and lonesome English professor haunted by the ghosts of his own Christmas past, whose former lover asks him to prove Blake innocent. The Sweet Haven murder reverberates in his mind, echoing a horrific yuletide memory from his youth, and Winter knows there are darker powers at play here than a simple domestic dispute. If he can solve this small-town mystery, just maybe he can find peace from his inner demons as well.
The thirty-sixth novel by two-time Edgar Award winner Andrew Klavan, When Christmas Comes is a seasonal tale of tradition, family, and murder; its chilling twists are best experienced curled up beside a burning Yule log.
MacKenzie Dienes’s life isn’t perfect, but it’s as close as she could ever hope to get. Her marriage to Rhys, her best friend’s brother, is more friendship than true love. But passion is highly overrated, right? And she loves her job as the winemaker at Bel Apres, her in-laws’ vineyard. So what if it’s a family business and, even after decades of marriage and incredible professional success, she’s still barred from the family business meetings? It’s all enough…until one last night spent together leads to an incredibly honest—and painful—conversation. Rhys suggests that they divorce. They haven’t had a marriage in a long time and, while he wants her to keep her job at Bel Apres, he doesn’t think they should be married any longer. Shocked, MacKenzie reels at the prospect of losing the only family she’s ever really known…even though she knows deep in her heart that Rhys is right.
But when MacKenzie discovers she’s pregnant, walking away to begin a new life isn’t so easy. She never could have anticipated the changes it would bring to the relationships she cherishes most: her relationship with Barbara, her mother-in-law and partner at Bel Apres, Stephanie, her sister-in-law and best friend, and Bel Apres, the company she’s worked so hard to put on the map.
MacKenzie has always dreamed of creating a vineyard of her own, a chance to leave a legacy for her unborn child. So when the opportunity arises, she jumps at it and builds the Vineyard at Painted Moon. But following her dreams will come at a high price—one that MacKenzie isn’t so sure she’s willing to pay…
My take:The Vineyard at Painted Moon is the story of family run winery headed by a vindictive, narcissistic matriarch. When her son Rhys and daughter-in-law Mackenzie decide to divorce a series of events cause large-scale change within the Bel Apres winery. This book had me thinking back to the tv series Falcon Crest (80s nighttime soap). There’s an over-the-top mother/villainess, characters to cheer on, and a lovely epilogue. A good starting over story, emotional and soapy. It would be a good beach read or one to take you out of the quarantine blues. Also included are recipes as well as wine info and pairings.
About the author:
#1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives―family, friendship, romance. She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages. Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her at SusanMallery.com.
With a past like hers, Jessica Clayton feels safer in a life spent on the road. She’s made a career out of helping others downsize—because she’s learned the hard way that the less “stuff,” the better, a policy she applies equally to her relationships. But a new client is taking Jess back to Cape Sanctuary, a town she once called home…and that her little sister, Rachel, still does. The years apart haven’t made a dent in the guilt Jess still carries after a handgun took the lives of both their parents and changed everything between them.
While Jess couldn’t wait to put the miles between her and Cape Sanctuary, Rachel put down roots, content for the world—and her sister—to think she has a picture-perfect life. But with the demands of her youngest child’s disability, Rachel’s marriage has begun to fray at the seams. She needs her sister now more than ever, yet she’s learned from painful experience that Jessica doesn’t do family, and she shouldn’t count on her now.
Against her judgment, Jess finds herself becoming attached—to her sister and her family, even to her client’s interfering son, Nate—and it’s time to put everything on the line. Does she continue running from her painful past, or stay put and make room for the love and joy that come along with it?(publisher)
My take: RaeAnne Thayne’s latest novel is a stand alone story about two sisters overcoming a horrific event that set their lives on different trajectories. When they end up in the same town Jess and Rachel are dealing with life on their own terms. Rachel is a social media influencer whose life isn’t quite as perfect as her Instagram posts would lead people to believe. Jess arrived in town to help a client declutter her large home. She didn’t expect the client’s son to make her question everything she’d done for years to protect her feelings. The Path to Sunshine Cove is a touching story of learning to rethink what’s important in life. I think fans of RaeAnne Thayne and stories about sisters will enjoy it as much as I did.
Description:A widowed young mother’s search for the perfect Christmas for her little boy leads her to Silver Bells, Colorado. Abby Powell becomes enamored with the heartwarming small-town community—with snow!—but not so much with her new client’s less-than-jolly son, Ethan Lancaster.
Ethan, a single-minded businessman, has learned the hard way that love and family are not for him. But he never counted on the lovely newcomer to town—or the emotional pull she and her son, Christopher, would have over him. As Ethan and Abby work together to restore Holiday House, the Lancaster’s historic family mansion, in time for Christmas, Ethan’s heart begins to open along with his home.(publisher)
My take: When Abby Powell is contacted by Lucy, her former college roommate, she’s in the middle of packing up her Arizona home to move to Texas. Lucy’s grandmother fell and needs assistance in her home until Lucy can get home from abroad. Abby agrees to help and heads to Colorado with her young son for a few weeks. When she arrives she meets her client’s grandson Ethan who thinks his grandmother should be at a rehab center instead of in her home with a stranger. Abby is in an uncomfortable situation but will stay until Lucy arrives.
A little backstory: Abby’s life changed in a heartbeat by an event that made her a widow. She has an adorable son and is looking toward the future. Lucy and her brother Ethan had an unconventional upbringing by their parents, both narcissists, that left them with a screwed up view of relationships and an inability to have normal ones. It was easy to sympathize with them.
Christmas at Holiday House is set in a charming mountain resort town during the holidays. It’s a heartwarming tale about finding the courage to not allow fear to stand in the way of happiness. Fans of contemporary romance and RaeAnne Thayne are sure to love it. Recommended!
Already a worldwide success in mass market and trade paperback formats, Susan Mallery’s newest hardcover is an emotional, witty, and heartfelt story about two best friends who are determined to help one another shake things up and live life to the fullest…only to discover that possibilities are everywhere–especially in the most unexpected of places.
Ellen and Unity have been best friends basically since birth, but they couldn’t be more different. Unity married her childhood sweetheart just after high school and became an Army wife, moving from base to base…until her husband’s shocking death in the line of duty leaves her a widow. Grief-stricken, it’s time for Unity to come back home to Ellen—the only person she can trust to help her rebuild her life. But Ellen has troubles of her own. Boys never seemed to notice Ellen…until one got her pregnant in high school and disappeared. Her son is now 17 and she’s wondering what to do with herself now that he’s heading off to college and he’s literally her entire world.
But now that Ellen and Unity are reunited, they’re done with their stale lives. It’s time to shake things up and start living again, knowing that they’ll always have one another to lean on. So they create a list of challenges they have to accomplish–everything from getting a tattoo to skydiving to staying out all night. And whoever completes the most challenges is the winner. But with new adventures and love just around the corner, there’s no such thing as losing…
My take: Ellen and Unity have been friends since they were young girls. Ellen, a single mom of a seventeen year old son, got pregnant the night of her junior prom (the last time she went out with her son’s father). She had her son, finished high school and then college while living with her parents, and then got on with life as a single mom. Unity married her high school sweetheart. He was in the army and when he was killed she returned to their hometown. Ellen and Unity have been stuck in emotional ruts and they realize they aren’t getting any younger so they challenge each other with writing a list of things each woman wants/needs to do. It was fun to see them start to come out of their shells as they crossed items off and courageously moved toward a new phase of life. Susan Mallery balanced the serious subjects with a light tone and humor. A reader discussion guide and a few recipes are included at the end.
About the author:
SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship and romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations,” and readers seem to agree—forty million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.
Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She’s passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two Ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as Mom.
Samantha Fremont has been struggling with the weight of her mother’s expectations for years. But now that her mother has passed away, it’s time for Sam to be bold and finally establish the fashion design business she’s always dreamed of. And the perfect opportunity has fallen into her lap. Her friend’s getting married and has asked Sam to create her wedding dress…if only she can avoid the bride’s infuriating brother, who’s temporarily the boy next door.
Ian Summerhill knows a sabbatical in Haven Point is exactly what he and his children need to recover from their mother’s death. His romantic relationship with his ex-wife may have ended years ago, but caring for her throughout her illness broke his heart. All he wants is to watch his little sister walk down the aisle and to see his kids smile again. And somehow his lovely new neighbor is instrumental in both. But as their uneasy truce blossoms into a genuine friendship and more, Ian has obligations in England he can’t ignore—and a secret that threatens the fragile trust he and Sam have built.(publisher)
My take: Fans of the Haven Point series will enjoy visiting the scenic Idaho town this summer. Samantha has her hands full with a successful boutique and clothing design business. She is putting the finishing touches on Gemma Summerhill’s wedding dress when she meets the bride’s brother (Ian) and his children. They rent the cottage next to hers and make a somewhat instant connection thanks to some adorable puppies. Neither Ian nor Samantha are looking for love but isn’t that just the time when love finds you?
So, if you’re a reader who enjoys a gorgeous setting, an unexpected chance for love, and the appearance of familiar characters from previous books – I think you’ll enjoy Summer at Lake Haven.
#1 Publishers Weekly, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne has written more than 60 books for HQN, Special Edition, Intimate Moments/Romantic Suspense and Bantam Loveswept. A seven-time RITA nominee, RaeAnne has received a career achievement award from Romantic Times for series romantic adventure, as well as a Pioneer of Romance award. She finds inspiration from the beautiful mountains of northern Utah, where she lives with her family.
Digital galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley
The life Olivia Harper always dreamed of isn’t so dreamy these days. The 16-hour work days are unfulfilling and so are things with her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when she hears that her estranged mother, Juliet, has been seriously injured in a work accident, Liv has no choice but to pack up her life and head home to beautiful Cape Sanctuary on the Northern California coast.
It’s just for a few months—that’s what Liv keeps telling herself. But the closer she gets to Cape Sanctuary, the painful memories start flooding back: Natalie, her vibrant, passionate older sister who downward-spiraled into addiction. The fights with her mother who enabled her sister at every turn. The overdose that took Natalie, leaving her now-teenaged daughter, Caitlin, an orphan.
As Liv tries to balance her own needs with those of her injured mother and an obstinate, resentful fifteen-year-old, it becomes clear that all three Harper women have been keeping heartbreaking secrets from one another. And as those secrets are revealed, Liv, Juliet, and Caitlin will see that it’s never too late—or too early—to heal family wounds and find forgiveness.(publisher)
My take:The Sea Glass Cottage is where Olivia Harper grew up and its where her mother and teen aged niece live still. When Olivia’s mother Juliet winds up in the hospital with a broken hip she comes home to help with the family business. What she finds is a niece who suddenly resents her, a mother who has a few secrets, and the new fire chief who makes her feel emotionally off-balance. But she can handle it all because she’s only there for a few weeks and then will go back to her life and job in Seattle. Olivia’s mom and niece have worries of their own and navigate the feelings and actions that may or may not give the desired results. This is a story about strong, proud people learning to ask for and accept help, learning that “the greatest risk carries the greatest reward”. No spoiler here but I can say I enjoyed how RaeAnne Thayne brought her characters through their drama. Recommended to fans of the author and women’s fiction.
About the author:
New York Times 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 Career Achievement and Romance Pioneer awards from RT Book Reviews.
Description:In Alaska, it’s always a white Christmas—but the sparks flying between two reunited friends could turn it red-hot…
If there’s one gift Erika Sheraton does not want for Christmas, it’s a vacation. Ordered to take time off, the workaholic surgeon reluctantly trades in her scrubs for a ski suit and heads to Wild River, Alaska. Her friend Cassie owns a tour company that offers adventures to fit every visitor. But nothing compares to the adrenaline rush Erika feels on being reunited with Cassie’s brother, Reed Reynolds.
Gone is the buttoned-up girl Reed remembers. His sister’s best friend has blossomed into a strong, skilled, confident woman. She’s exactly what his search-and-rescue team needs—and everything he didn’t know he craved. The gulf between his life in Wild River and her big-city career is wide. But it’s no match for a desire powerful enough to melt two stubborn hearts… (publisher)
My take: Dr. Erika Sheraton is devoted to her career. She’s a surgeon at a large hospital in Anchorage, Alaska. When ordered to take a two week vacation (something she’s never done) she heads back to the Alaska mountain town where she grew up. She stays with her best friend who just happens to have a handsome brother, Reed. They have an instant attraction that continues to grow into something neither of them expected. He’s on the area Search and Rescue team which figures prominently in the plot. I liked the main characters, the challenges and decisions they faced, and enjoyed how Jennifer Snow brought them to their HEA. I look forward to book two in the Wild River series.
Author Bio: Jennifer Snow lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband and four year old son. She is a member of the RWA, the Alberta Writers Guild, Canadian Authors Association and SheWrites.org. Her first Brookhollow book was a finalist in the Heart of Denver Aspen Gold contest and the Golden Quill Award. More information can be found at http://www.jennifersnowauthor.com.
Description:Holly Gibson has one wish this Christmas season: to find her young niece’s father. And she’s traveled hundreds of miles to the small town of Safe Haven to make that wish come true. But the mysterious Cash O’Dwyer is nothing like she expected. Strong and kind, he makes her heart beat faster. And suddenly that little secret she’s keeping about her sister stirs up all kinds of guilt…
Cash is stunned—and more than a little wary—to discover he’s a father. Having a family of his own was never part of his plan…until sweet baby Penny and her fiercely independent aunt Holly arrive in town. Now he’s trimming trees and stuffing stockings for three. But when the ghosts of Cash’s past threaten the future of his fragile new family, he’ll do whatever it takes to be the father Penny needs—and the man Holly deserves—for more than just the holidays.(publisher)
My take: At first glance Cash O’Dwyer seems to have everything. He has a successful career and a great relationship with his brothers and their families. That has always been good enough until the day he finds out he has a daughter. That’s a game changer he hadn’t expected. What will he do now that life has thrown a curve ball?
This is a story about figuring out what’s important and why. As in the previous novels in the series there’s a little romance, a little drama and a warm, cozy ending. Although Low Country Christmas can stand alone I’m glad I read all three in order because there are a few secondary plot points that continue throughout the series.
Description: In Happily Inc, love means never having to say “I do”…
Wedding coordinator Renee Grothen isn’t meant for marriage. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, plan. But she never could have planned on gorgeous, talented thriller writer Jasper Dembenski proposing—a fling, that is. Fun without a future. And the attraction between them is too strong for Renee to resist. Now she can have her no-wedding cake…and eat it, too.
After years in the military, Jasper is convinced he’s too damaged for relationships. So a flirtation—and more—with fiery, determined Renee is way too good to pass up…until his flame becomes his muse.
Renee is an expert at averting every crisis. But is she finally ready to leap into the one thing that can never be controlled: love? (publisher)
My take: Meant to be Yours is book 5 in the Happily Inc series. It’s the first one I’ve read and I wasn’t lost so don’t be afraid to jump in here. This is a story of two people who know they are not candidates for marriage but they want to take a chance on a relationship. This trope can go either way in my experience but I have to say I liked how Susan Mallery brought her characters along. Renee works at a wedding event business and Jasper is a famous author. He also deals with PTSD from his time in the military. Renee has her own demons from a former relationship that went bad. So these two have to go through some challenges to get to a possible happy ending. I enjoyed the wedding event theme and the rescued dog and cats that end up rescuing their humans. All in all, an enjoyable read. Recommended to fans of the series and Susan Mallery.
SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship, romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations,” and readers seem to agree—40 million copies of her books have sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.
Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She’s passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as mom.
Readers often ask me where my characters come from. Most simply just walk in my brain and introduce themselves. I learn their stories and secrets kind of like the readers do, a bit at a time. But in CHRISTMAS IN WINTER VALLEY, it was different for one character, TYE FRANKLIN.
I met a man who owned a wonderful bookstore in Terrell, Texas. There was something about him that made me ask, “Did you ever rodeo?”
He moved forward in his chair, spread his legs apart and answered. The love of rodeo was still there after twenty years. His body and mind was setting a horse even though we were in a restaurant as he told me of the thrills and heartaches. The adrenaline, the fun, the pain.
My character Tye came alive in my mind and I loved his story in CHRISTMAS IN WINTER VALLEY.
Christmas in Winter Valley by Jodi Thomas
Published: September 24, 2019 – HQN
Book courtesy of HQN and NetGalley
Description:Cooper Holloway would take nature over people any day—especially visiting relatives. That’s why he’s headed for a rustic cabin in remote Winter Valley, where he’ll care for a herd of wild mustangs. But Cooper’s plans are quickly thwarted by the arrival of two unexpected guests: one, a stranger in desperate need of his help, and the other, a very attractive young veterinarian.
Elliott is busy trying to keep Maverick Ranch running smoothly with Cooper gone, which is no easy task with family visiting. And when a long-lost love suddenly reappears in his life, Elliott knows he’ll have more than just books to balance this season.
With a big, chaotic family Christmas around the corner and love blooming in surprising ways, the Holloway men will have to make big choices about the future—just in time for the holidays.(publisher)
My take: It’s two weeks before Christmas and all across the Maverick Ranch creatures and cowboys are stirring. The Holloway brothers (introduced to readers in book 7 of the Ransom Canyon series) are busy running the family ranch, seeing to horses, and visiting in-laws out of town. They don’t have time for orphans, accidents, injuries and ex girlfriends but they’ll be forced to deal with all and then some. My favorite part of the book involved young Tatum and the ranchers who show him what family is all about. And I loved Tye and his growing relationship with the ranch cook. Christmas in Winter Valley is a charming and romantic book perfect to curl up with this Christmas season. Fans of Jodi Thomas will not be disappointed.
Book courtesy of HQN, NetGalley and Little Bird Publicity
Description:Hearts are lighter and wishes burn a little brighter at Christmas…
Elizabeth Hamilton has been lost. Trapped in a tangle of postpartum depression and grief after the death of her beloved parents, she couldn’t quite see the way back to her husband and their two beautiful kids…until a car accident stole away her memories and changed her life. And when she finally remembered the sound of little Cassie’s laugh, the baby powder smell of Bridger and the feel of her husband’s hand in hers, Elizabeth worried that they’d moved on without her. That she’d missed too much. That perhaps she wasn’t the right mother for her kids or wife for Luke, no matter how much she loved them.
But now, seven years later, Luke finds her in a nearby town and brings Elizabeth back home to the family she loves, just in time for Christmas. And being reunited with Luke and her children is better than anything Elizabeth could have imagined. As they all trim the tree and bake cookies, making new holiday memories, Elizabeth and Luke are drawn ever closer. Can the hurt of the past seven years be healed over the course of one Christmas season and bring the Hamiltons the gift of a new beginning?(publisher)
My take: If, like me, readers of the Haven Point series have been wondering about Luke and Elizabeth Hamilton – this is their book! Her disappearance several years earlier sparked many wild theories among locals, none that placed Luke in a positive light. When Elizabeth comes back to Haven Point she reveals what happened. RaeAnne Thayne gives readers a plausible, emotional story. This novel touches on depression (clinical and postpartum) and my heart went out to Elizabeth and the family she left behind. Coming Home for Christmas is a story of forgiveness and courage – and love. Perfect themes for the season. Recommended to fans of the series, RaeAnne Thayne, and a good Christmas story.
About the author:
New York Times and USA Today best-selling author RaeAnne Thayne loves words. Her love affair started as soon as she learned to read, when she used to devour anything she could get her hands on: cereal boxes, encyclopedias, the phone book, you name it! She loves the way words sound, the way they look on the page, and the amazing way they can be jumbled together in so many combinations to tell a story.
Her love of reading and writing those words led her to a fifteen-year career in journalism as a newspaper reporter and editor.
Through it all, she dreamed of writing the kind of stories she loved best. She sold her first book in 1995 and since then she’s published more than 60 titles. Her books have won many honors, including three RITA Award nominations from the Romance Writers of America and a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews.
RaeAnne finds inspiration in the rugged northern Utah mountains, where she lives with her hero of a husband and their children. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website a http://www.raeannethayne.com
Review book courtesy of HQN, NetGalley and Little Bird Publicity
My take: RaeAnne Thayne’s new stand-alone novel is about three women on the precipice of change. The events that transpired years earlier will determine their futures unless and until they find the courage to go after the future they desire.
When sisters Daisy and Beatriz were young girls, orphaned after their mother overdosed, they were taken in and cared for by their young aunt, Stella. Stella hadn’t even graduated from college at this point. Daisy and Beatriz were 11 and 9 years old. They all grew up together while their new family unit became strong.
Beatriz became a wife and mother while still in her teens. Her marriage may not have succeeded but she now had a lovely and smart daughter as well as an ex-husband who maintained a presence in his daughter’s life. Lately he seems interested in rekindling their relationship. She’s been there, done that and doesn’t want to move backward. She’d like to explore her feelings for her best friend since fifth grade!
As the novel opens Daisy meets a stranger in the toothpaste aisle of the grocery store and he’s convinced they’ve met before. She’s certain they haven’t. She’d remember meeting him. Daisy is the serious sister and has always taken on responsibility well beyond her years. That habit has proven hard to break – much to her detriment. It’s made her closed-off to expressing her emotions and that has made her life quite lackluster until her unexpected second meeting with ‘the stranger’. Will she open herself up to the possibility of experiencing more in her life?
Stella receives news on her 40th birthday that, while not a surprise, will definitely be life-changing. She also finds out that the only man she ever loved has moved to her town. Their lives become entwined from day one and give her hope for what she once thought an impossibility – a second chance.
I loved every minute I spent with the women in the gorgeous coastal setting of Cape Sanctuary, California. It’s a story of learning to trust and being open to new and second chances. Recommended to fans of Women’s Fiction and RaeAnne Thayne.
About the author:
RaeAnne Thayne is the author of more than 60 novels, including her beloved Haven Point series. Her books have won numerous honors, including four RITA® Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews. THE CLIFF HOUSE is her first-ever standalone hardcover novel, marking an exciting new chapter in her career.
On-sale: October 30, 2018 Mass Market Paperback $7.99 U.S. ISBN-13: 978-1335556783
Giveaway book provided by HQN; Little Bird Publicity
Lose yourself in the magic, charm and romance of Christmas in the Pacific Northwest as imagined in JoAnn Ross’s heartwarming Honeymoon Harbor series.
Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, Jolene Wells is forever indebted to the mother who encouraged her to fly—all the way to sunny LA and a world away from Honeymoon Harbor. Although Jolene vowed never to look back, returning home isn’t even a question when her mom faces a cancer scare. Which means running into Aiden Mannion all over town, the first boy she ever loved—and lost—and whom she can barely look in the eye.
Aiden’s black-sheep reputation may have diminished when he joined the marines, but everything he’s endured since has left him haunted. Back in Honeymoon Harbor to heal, he’s talked into the interim role of police chief, and the irony isn’t lost on the locals, least of all Aiden. But seeing Jolene after all these years is the unexpected breath of fresh air he’s been missing. He’s never forgotten her through all his tours, but he’s not sure anymore that he’s the man she deserves.
Despite the secret they left between them all those years ago, snow is starting to fall on their picturesque little town, making anything seem possible…maybe even a second chance at first love.
About the author:
When New York Times bestselling author JoAnn Ross was seven years old, she had no doubt whatsoever that she’d grow up to play center field for the New York Yankees. Writing would be her backup occupation, something she planned to do after retiring from baseball. Those were, in her mind, her only options. While waiting for the Yankees’ management to call, she wrote her first novella — a tragic romance about two star-crossed mallard ducks — for a second grade writing assignment.
The paper earned a gold star. And JoAnn kept writing.
She’s now written over 100 novels and has been published in 26 countries. Two of her titles have been excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine, and her books have also been published by the Doubleday, Rhapsody, Literary Guild, and Mystery Guild book clubs. A member of the Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll of best-selling authors, she’s won several awards, including RT Reviews’ Career Achievement Awards in both category romance and contemporary single title. In addition, she received RWA’s national service award and was named RWA Pro- Mentor of the Year.
Although the Yankees have yet to call her to New York to platoon center field, JoAnn figures making one out of two life goals isn’t bad.
Currently writing her Honeymoon Harbor series (set on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula) for HQN, JoAnn lives with her high school sweetheart, whom she married twice, in her beloved Pacific Northwest.
PRAISE FOR NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR JOANN ROSS
“An excellent start to a promising community series with a stunning Olympic Coast setting.” —Library Journal on Herons Landing
“Ross’s Shelter Bay series spotlights her talent for blending vibrant characters, congenial small-town settings, and pressing social issues in a heartwarming contemporary romance.” —Booklist
“Beautifully descriptive and gently paced, this heartwarmer captures coastal small town flavor perfectly.” —Library Journal on Seaglass Winter
“Ross is in top form…plenty of sex and secrets to keep readers captivated.” —Publishers Weekly on Blue Bayou
“Skillful and satisfying… With its emotional depth, [River Road] will appeal to Nora Roberts fans.” —Booklist
“A fast-paced novel about romantic relationships [and] parent-child relationships…. The narrative voice has a humor and rhythm that is fun to read…witty, kind, and meaningful.” —Kirkus on Seaglass Winter
“It isn’t often readers find characters they’re willing to spend a weekend with. However that’s exactly what Ross accomplishes…enveloping the reader in the lives of two endearing, albeit flawed, characters.” —RT Book Reviews on The Homecoming
Review copy courtesy of the publisher; Little Bird Publicity; NetGalley
It’s a long way from New York to Idaho…but could they have found a home at last?
Dani Capelli has never truly belonged anywhere. And from her earliest days as a foster child in Queens, she would have been lost if it weren’t for her love of animals. Until high school, when she fell hard for the wrong boy, and found herself pregnant—and married—by graduation. Two daughters later, Dani realized her mistake and filed for divorce, and with the help of scholarships and loans—and a lot of macaroni and cheese dinners—she enrolled in vet school. Things were finally looking up…until her ex-husband became her late husband, in the most notorious way possible.
Now Dani and her daughters need an out-of-town pass more than ever. So when the retiring Haven Point veterinarian offers her a chance to settle in the small Idaho town and take over his practice, she jumps at it. But adjusting to the charming mountain community isn’t easy; thirteen-year-old Silver begins acting out while six-year-old Mia is growing too attached to Haven Point and everything in it, especially their next-door-neighbor, Deputy Sheriff Ruben Morales. And Dani can’t blame her. Ruben is everything she’s secretly wanted—and everything she can’t bear to risk loving…and losing.
As the holidays draw near, their shared concern for Dani’s daughters brings them closer together, giving Ruben the chance to show this big-city woman just how magical Christmas in Haven Point can be…and that the promise of a home at last is very real in the most wondrous season of the year…(publisher)
My take: RaeAnne Thayne takes us back to Haven Point at Christmas time. Dani and her daughters are new in town. She’s the new veterinarian set to take over the ready-to-retire Dr. Morales’ practice. Older daughter Silver isn’t happy in a new place and school but younger daughter Mia loves the town and everyone she meets. When Silver acts out in a big way their neighbor becomes involved with the family.
Deputy Ruben Morales (son of Dr. Morales) is someone Dani wants to avoid. If she offends him it could jeopardize her future in Haven Point. The problem is, there’s a growing attraction and it’s not one-way. Ruben has made it a policy not to date women with children. He doesn’t know what to do when he realizes he actually enjoys Dani and her girls. This could go well or very, very wrong for everyone involved.
For good reason Dani has had trust issues her entire life. She wants to provide her daughters with a different life. Is that even possible without opening herself to the possibilities that present in Haven Point. She’s about to find out. Season of Wonder is a lovely novel about the good that can come from rising above challenges both big and small.
About the author:
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne loves words. Her love affair started as soon as she learned to read, when she used to devour anything she could get her hands on: cereal boxes, encyclopedias, the phone book, you name it! She loves the way words sound, the way they look on the page, and the amazing way they can be jumbled together in so many combinations to tell a story.
Her love of reading and writing those words led her to a fifteen-year career in journalism as a newspaper reporter and editor.
Through it all, she dreamed of writing the kind of stories she loved best. She sold her first book in 1995 and since then she’s published more than 40 titles. Her books have won many honors, including three RITA® Award nominations from the Romance Writers of America and a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews.
RaeAnne finds inspiration in the rugged northern Utah mountains, where she lives with her hero of a husband and their children. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at http://www.raeannethayne.com.
I love when author Jodi Thomas gives her readers a new book. It means she’ll be stopping by with a guest post in addition to another fabulous book in her series. Thanks for visiting, Jodi!
When I started my story of the Maverick Ranch for MISTLETOE MIRACLES, I wanted to begin with Griffin. I saw him as a far better man than he thinks he is and I knew by the time readers followed him through the story, they’d agree with me.
Griffin is the oldest of three boys. When his father grew ill, he took over the ranch always making sure that his brothers saw themselves as equal owners.
Isolated and with the weight of the ranch on his shoulders, Griffin knows that he has to do something to save the ranch. In the years since his father and mother died, he’s tried everything and now he’s faced with one option open.
He’ll have to marry for money. Oh, he promises he’ll just need to borrow enough to make the loan payment for the year, then he’ll be back on his feet. He promised he’ll be honest about why he’s marrying and he’ll be good to any woman taking him on as a husband.
But he’s totally unprepared for Sunlan. She’s everything any man, any rancher could want in a wife. She’s beautiful, smart, from an old ranching family, and to Griffin’s surprise, needs to get married worse than he does.
I hope you love Griffin, Sunlan and all the characters in MISTLETOE MIRACLES.
Mistletoe Miracles by Jodi Thomas
September 25, 2018 • MMP • HQN • 368 pages • ISBN 9781335005632• $7.99 U.S.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley
A small-town Texas Christmas story, where hearts are lost, love is found, and family always brings you back home.
Griffin Holloway is desperate: the Maverick Ranch has been in his family for generations, but lately, it’s a money pit. He’d sooner marry one of his horses than sell the ranch. Marriage, though, could be a solution. If he can woo a wealthy bride, he might save the ranch—just in time for Christmas.
Jaxon O’Grady likes his solitude just fine, thank you very much. But when a car accident brings the unexpected to his door, he realizes just how much one person can need another.
Crossroads is the perfect place for Jamie Johnson: avoiding nosy questions about why she’s single, she’s happy to keep to her lakeside home. So she’s baffled when she gets the strangest Christmas present of all, in the form of a Mr. Johnson, asleep on her sofa. Who is he, and why does everyone think he’s her husband?(publisher)
My take: The feeling I got while reading Mistletoe Miracles is why I will read any book Jodi Thomas writes. I read the first few pages and was quickly drawn into the charming and warm novel. I smiled as the Holloways found the solution needed to save their ranch; as the local hermit was thrust into a situation that forced him out of his self-imposed shell; and as fiction turned into reality for the high school drama teacher.
Mistletoe Miracles is fun, emotional and even dramatic in a few parts. I enjoyed it all and recommend it to fans of Jodi Thomas, contemporary romance, and a good story. While Mistletoe Miracles is the seventh book in the Ransom Canyon series it can stand alone. A few supporting characters are back but a reader doesn’t need to have met them before.
About the author:
A fifth-generation Texan, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable.
With a degree in family studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A&M University campus. Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, “When I was teaching classes full-time, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher or nurse or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, I’m still making the world a better place.” When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo and checking up on their two grown sons.