#Harlequin Heartwarming Book Review | “Single Dad to the Rescue” (City by the Bay Stories, Book Four) by Cari Lynn Webb

Posted Wednesday, 7 August, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 3 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I’ve been hosting for Prism Book Tours since September of 2017 – having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. As I enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors when I’m not showcasing book reviews on behalf of Harlequin Heartwarming which has become my second favourite imprint of Harlequin next to my beloved #LoveINSPIRED Suspense. I am also keenly happy PRISM hosts a variety of Indie Authors and INSPY Fiction novelists.

I received a complimentary copy of “Single Dad to the Rescue” direct from the author Cari Lynn Webb in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I previously enjoyed reading Cari Lynn Webb’s style of Contemporary Romance:

As we shift through this installment – we gather more questions than answers about Big E – he’s this elusive character threading in the background of the series, even though I realised in the first story he’s the catalyst of the changes in the Blackwell brothers lives, the hardest part is finding rationalisation. I had a sneaking feeling Grace’s parents were going to be understanding when it came time for her and Ethan to finally have their heart-to-heart conversation. The way she is herself you can tell a bit about how she was raised and the kind of parents she had. It would have felt much more awkward if this had been written in a very stereotypical way; I was so thankful Webb took this route instead!

OOh and just as I had hoped – we get more insight into Big E himself right at the ending of the novel – I am always full of big smiles from reading this series! The ways in which the characters are drawing closer together, re-affirming their own life goals and dreams whilst the balance of one family’s future is still slipping in and out of the safety zone – there is an overwhelming uplift to read the Blackwell Brothers series! You come for the heartache, the family drama and the budding relationships but what stays with you the most is the enduring nature of the characters who populate the series! This is there story – where each new installment is a delightful new piece of the puzzle which knits out their legacies!

It doesn’t take long to find your feet in the second installment – you get swept up in finding out more about Ethan and longing for Grace to find her voice whilst feeling worried over Sarah Ashley for how she’s choosing to overcome her own shortcomings! This story has what you were hoping to find and a bit more as well – for me especially, I was thankful the chaotic circumstances were not soon unwound and solved; it makes it more realistic to have the ranch in the throes of disaster still than trying to put a band-aid on a bad situation or worse, resolve the whole affair too quickly and make it feel less realistic!

-quoted from my review of The Rancher’s Rescue
(Book Two: Return of the Blackwell Brothers series)

I must admit, reading through the Return of the Blackwell Brothers at the end of 2018 and at the beginning of 2019 were amongst my favourite reads! You truly felt anchoured into the series, even though this was a continuity wherein multiple authors are adding-in their unique stamp of voice on the series itself, you can happily reside in one of their novels before moving forward through the series finding the characters are right where you left them! I loved how the pacing of the series worked per each author who tackled their individual installments but also how you felt that this was a larger story outside of their own spins on the characters, too. For me, the series evolved into this singular experience of residing with the Blackwell Brothers as they navigated life round Big E and what the changes in their lives would mean for their futures. I ache for a sequel series – as I felt there were a bit too many loose threads at the conclusion of the series this time round. Maybe if we’re lucky the authors might get back together and pen a second half of the story – at least, it is a happy thought to entertain!

During those readings, I first came to discover the Contemporary styling of Ms Webb. I had intended to ILL (inter-library loan) the first three novels of this series as I had for previously read Harlequin Heartwarming series this year (ie. Seasons of Alaska) – however, my local library is being affected by changes at the state level for their inter-library loan services. It used to be rather simplistic where each of us could seek out our own materials, place a hold for five requests and just await their arrivals and/or departures before requesting new materials. I have no idea what it will be like to place requests in the future but for now, I wasn’t able to request too many as I had put in my requests for the INSPY readathon I was undertaking in July.

Aside from that quirky hiccup in the gathering of Harlequin Heartwarming stories, I also had a week and a weekend full of plumbing angst! I wasn’t able to get to my books and although I remembered requesting one of the Harlequin authors I’m reviewing this Summer, I’ve misplaced the book due to the ensuing chaos of having severe plumbing issues and sadly, even if I had remembered where I put the book itself, I couldn’t have retrieved it in time for this blog tour or the one it belongs too. I honestly can’t remember if I requested Ava’s Prize or another title!

This is something I’ll sort out this week but the loss of the inter-library loans is what grieves my heart as I was enjoying back-reading the Heartwarming series. I found a secondhand book shoppe online where I can purchase them in the future but for now, it looks like I’ll just have to enjoy the ones coming in and the few titles a second local library has on their shelves without being able to binge read them. Not that I mind – the Heartwarming line is one of the few where I can jump in and out of sequences within their series and still find a wicked good romance to snuggle into whilst gaining the gist of the series in-progress!!

I am just thankful to be back in my library and able to read again – despite the evolving chaos and the fact everything is still a bit every which way to Sunday; the books are accessible again and I am blissfully happy to be reading them!

And, per my readings of the Blackwell Brothers? I have become truly curious about the stories outside the series the authors are penning! This is my second time to feature one of them this year and I couldn’t be more thrilled and humbled for the opportunity!

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#Harlequin Heartwarming Book Review | “Single Dad to the Rescue” (City by the Bay Stories, Book Four) by Cari Lynn WebbSingle Dad to the Rescue
Subtitle: City by the Bay Stories
by Cari Lynn Webb
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

He offered her help
And he found love

Her home destroyed by a wildfire, Brooke Ellis finds temporary shelter at the home of paramedic Dan Sawyer and his young son, Ben. With the addition of Brooke and her lively fur family, Dan finds his carefully planned routine delightfully turned upside down. And his carefully guarded heart daring to trust in love again. When his ex-wife suddenly reappears, will it be Brooke to the rescue?

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1335510785

Also by this author: The Rancher's Rescue, In Love by Christmas, Her Surprise Engagement, Three Makes A Family, The Texas SEAL's Surprise, Trusting the Rancher with Christmas

Also in this series: In Love by Christmas, Her Surprise Engagement

Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 6th August, 2019

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

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the City by the Bay Stories:

The Charm Offensive by Cari Lynn WebbThe Doctor's Recovery by Cari Lynn WebbAva's Prize by Cari Lynn Webb

The Charm Offensive (Book One)

The Doctor’s Recovery (Book Two)

Ava’s Prize (Book Three)

Single Dad to the Rescue (Book Four)

In Love by Christmas (Book Five) ← forthcoming 3rd December, 2019!

Converse via: #Contemporary #Romance & #Harlequin

& #CityByTheBayStories

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About Cari Lynn Webb

Cari Lynn Webb

Cari Lynn Webb lives in South Carolina with her husband, daughters and assorted four-legged family members. She's been blessed to see the power of true love in her grandparent's 70 year marriage and her parent's marriage of over 50 years. She knows love isn't always sweet and perfect, it can be challenging, complicated and risky. But she believes happily-ever-afters are worth fighting for. She loves to connect with readers. Visit her at her website.

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my review of single dad to the rescue:

You can’t outrun the newsfeeds coming out of the Western states on any given day during Fire Season – the fires and the wreckage they cause in their wake is something that is just as difficult to process from afar as it most be for those who are living through it. It gives me chills whenever I learn about a new fire and a new city under the flames of attack. Your heart goes out to those people and you can only pray that they will either a) be rescued or b) were able to self-evacuate before the fires arrived and escape wasn’t possible. It is one of those moments where the fragility of our humanity is on display for the rawness that it is during a natural disaster and Webb brings us full circle into this environment as she describes how Brooke found herself homeless without a compass point towards where she should go after the fire.

I liked how the retired fire captain (Rick Sawyer) found Brooke, saw her cats and a dog with the instinct of knowing they were a lost family in need of direction. He took her under his wing, guiding her towards a shelter but finding that it was already booked. What came next was a sweet bit of random joy; the kind you hope more people might offer if they had the means to give it and that is where we first find ourselves caught inside a Contemporary Romance anchoured by the fires of NorCal and the desolation it causes to those who survive. Brooke has had a rough lived past, already caught in the tides of a life which pushed her past what she felt she could handle and now… she’s facing a situation beyond her control which re-set her life into another new direction. It is the kind of novel you begin to read and recognise that everyone has their own breaking points – where life becomes harder than hard without the capacity to know how to shift forward.

Rick’s son Dan is best friends with Ava (of whom I’m thinking is the lead focus of Ava’s Prize) – the kind of bubbly friend who knows how to get you to talk even if you’d prefer not too yet she has this intuition about her that readily puts you at ease. She has a shine of light about her – where you can immediately connect with her personality and she feels like the kind of best friend you’d love to have yourself. She understands Dan’s reluctance to contact his ex-wife and she also understands the anguish he’s had to go through due to her desertion.

I binged watched Signed, Sealed, Delivered this year via Hallmark Movies Now (the app to stream the series and movies they offer via Roku) wherein I learnt the fuller back-story behind why Oliver didn’t want to get permanently involved with Shane. In many regards, if you take Oliver’s back-story and Dan’s; they’d be similar in depth and explanation. Both men didn’t want to muddle the waters or take a new chance on dating a new woman who might wreck the perfection they’d sought out to maintain within a life absent of surprises as it was based on routine. The hardest part about reading Dan’s story and of having watched Oliver’s is how by emotionally checking out of their lives, they were far more vulnerable than they first realise. They think they are safeguarding themselves from future heartache but that’s not quite how it works. You have to be open to experience and to the emotional journey we take as humans; everyday is a chance to be affected by something else but without our emotions flowing free we are only in disservice to ourselves.

When Archie had his medical emergency, my heart lurched because anyone whose had dogs, cats, hamsters, cattle, birds and other small animals knows how dire a medical emergency can become when it comes to your companions in fur and hooves! So much can go wrong so quickly that you barely have a chance to ‘catch-up’ your emotions to the immediacy of the emergency which is still unfolding right before you.

The attention to detail and the care in which Webb describes the artfulness of healing through compassionate volunteering with rescue animals is part of what endeared me to this story. My heart felt caught inside the beauty of the compassion and the light of finding people who put others ahead of themselves. There was a quietness about the pacing as well; as animals similar to children, need to be heard and seen. The dogs and cats within Single Dad to the Rescue were full of the traumas of their circumstances; they needed serenity and a chance to find healing out of a relaxed environment where their needs were met without any presumptions about their progress.

It was here where we started to see what inspired Brooke to work with rescues and why working with them was restorative to her own spirit. She found joy in the work but it was the unspoken notes of gratitude from the animals she fostered and nurtured which spoke volumes about her character. Similarly, of course, was Dan’s incessive need to help even at times when he ought to be looking after himself. He never knew the word ‘no’ as other characters mention to him; especially the women at the pet shoppe! For him, he was driven by this crazy theory of dodging chaos by keeping to schedules, routines and a predictable sense of order. He had a few flaws in that trail of logic and reasoning; something I was quite sure early-on in the novel might become revealled lateron as no one is immune to the unexpectedness of life.

Although Webb doesn’t fully come out and claim that her characters (as well as the dogs and cats themselves) have been suffering through PTSD, you can gather the fact that they have been. Their scars are not visible on the outside except for when their exhausted and bits of their truths are revealled. Webb explores the limitations and the challenges of people who are caught inside their own situation to where they cannot see past it. They hug close to the complacency of not wanting to construct change in their lives because change could bring factors they cannot control and this is definitely a story about how the harder you try to control your life the more angst you will give yourself because life cannot be controlled. You can only control your own actions but not the sequencing of events that evolve outside them. Nor in the behaviour of others or the sense of morality and ethics others choose outside of your own convictions. That is the hardest bit really. In accepting that out of our own human condition that there are limitations towards what we can personally accept to handle when life throws us a situation we are unprepared to transition through such as how Dan and Brooke find themselves now.

At the same time of course, is the unexpected ex who wants to make her presence known and her needs to be demanded. This re-brought up the memory I had of Oliver of how self-centered his ex had been and how sometimes, in the mix of living, others who are outside your experience or have chosen to distance themselves from your life truly do not fully understand where you are currently on your path. Valarie wants to sweep back into her son’s life but at what cost? To the son and to the father? How can her narrow-minded view of motherhood fail to see that the needs of her son should outweigh the impulsive choices she wants to make on his behalf?

Throughout the trials facing them, Brooke is the calming voice next to Dan’s rock of strength. They fit together because they each benefited from the other; where they could re-shape the path they were walking into a relationship built not only on trust and grace but one where each of them could still have their own voice. They were injured through past relationships where they weren’t given the chance to breathe long enough to understand the reasons why their lives took several left turns. Although Dan’s ex was living life elsewhere from him, it was how this left an ambiguous sense of closure that rankled the most for him. On the flip-side, for Brooke, her past was harder to reconcile as it meant letting go of the things she couldn’t control – in effect, the things that none of us can control and have to accept just as they are.

This is a multi-layered story about the intersection of lives and the curious ways in which the heart leads us forward into a tomorrow that has more hope of promise than the past we’re trying to outrun. I loved the way Ms Webb composed this story, how she tucks us so dearly close to her characters and their internal battles; whilst providing us with a firm understanding about life, love, loss and the second chances we must choose to embrace if we hope to aspire towards a future filled with the hopefulness of a renewed sense of purpose.

on the contemporary rom styling of cari lynn webb:

I love how she concluded her author’s note by talking about hugging your friends and family; especially the ones who lift your spirits and have make your life feel extra special by their presence in your life. That is the kind of sentiment and celebration I try to remember to give whenever I can as there are certain people in our lives who make living full of light and love; it is good to remember to engage with them, let them know we appreciate them and give them back a bit of the love they give to us. I also agreed with her about how distance doesn’t alter the closeness friends can feel for each other, as I’ve had friends separate by loads of miles for most of my life and it never decreased how we felt about each other nor how close we became as friends.

The most guttingly realistic emotional arc was centred on Brooke – Webb anchoured us intrinsically into her psychological spiral. We felt what she bleed out of her heart – she was beyond the point where she could process what was emotionally overwhelming her as she had suffered a loss beyond words. How do you process seeing your home incinerated? How do you prepare yourself for rebuilding when you can barely breathe and choke past your emotional response to what has just happened? Webb takes you into her internal world – of where she second-guesses her ability to find strength out of hopelessness and how courage was on holiday because she didn’t feel an ounce of it whilst trying to believe in the goodness of those who are coming to her aide.

This is an emotionally intensive novel – from both Brooke and Dan; Webb takes us closer to both of their struggles as they both have found this methodology of surviving which works for them. They don’t want to alter the routines that have given them a false sense of normalcy in case they discover that the fragile confidence they’ve held inside that routine proved to be a shadow of their fears to where everything they were afraid of happening might suddenly begin to unravel the very last nerve they have left. Webb writes with an intuitive layer of understanding – of what happens when your trying to rise above your circumstances and how hard it is to work through the emotional upheavals you cannot prepare for in life.

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I honestly cannot wait to back-read this series and re-read Single Dad to the Rescue! It will be a wicked moment of joy for me to gather these stories and have them on my shelf! I’m not sure when that will be as foresaid earlier my inter-library loans are on hiatus locally and in regards to gathering copies I can keep for myself, that will have to wait a bit as well. The joy for me of course is finding a new series to aspire to be read and by one of my favourite authors I discovered out of Return of the Blackwell Brothers!! Eek. How wicked brilliant is that!?

ps: Thanks for the lovely Return of the Blackwell Brothers postcard!! I used it as a bookmark to read this novel as it was such a lovely surprise to find inside the book!

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I doubt this will surprise my readers, but lately, I am finding listening to Spotify is helping me re-align back into reading. It is a way of focusing on the novels in my hands and of finding certain soundscapes of sound which work well with the stories themselves. Whilst I was reading “Single Dad to the Rescue” I was tuned into the playlist “Country Kind of Love”.

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This review tour is courtesy of: Prism Book Tours

Prism Book ToursEnd of the Blog Tour badged provided by Prism Book ToursBy clicking this badge you can find out about the giveaway associated with the tour;
my particular tour stop doesn’t host the giveaway as I’m a review stop, however,
you’ll find many other bloggers who are hosting the information!

This review is cross-posted to LibraryThing.

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it.
I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst
readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read.
Bookish conversations are always welcome!
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{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Charm Offensive”, “The Doctor’s Recovery”, “Ava’s Prize”, “Single Dad to the Rescue” as well as the synopsis for “Single Dad to the Rescue”, the author photo of Cari Lynn Webb and her biography; and the Prism Book Tours badges were all provided by Prism Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2019.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 7 August, 2019 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Contemporary Romance, Indie Author, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction

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3 responses to “#Harlequin Heartwarming Book Review | “Single Dad to the Rescue” (City by the Bay Stories, Book Four) by Cari Lynn Webb

  1. Hi Jorie – thank you so much for reviewing and featuring Single Dad to the Rescue on your blog. I really appreciate it. Your kind words made my day. Next year, we’ll be returning to the Blackwells :) Wishing you a wonderful week!

    • Hallo, Hallo Ms Webb,

      I cannot even put into words how wicked awesome it was for you to disclose the #BlackwellBrothers are returning to us in 2020! I know I took to Twitter immediately to share my most immediate reactions as I was just full of #bookJOY — but goodness! To think a series I loved reading is now going to have a second half of stories is truly a remarkable bit of good news to have shared! Thank you for disclosing this to me and for giving me many future hours of readerly blissitude! I am so thankful other readers must have loved the Blackwell Brothers as much as I had – or even others on the tour, to have this come together for us all to enjoy! And, to think there are ‘sisters’ to be featured as well; as disclosed via tweeting.

      I am overjoyed I made your day when you saw this review – I felt the same way after I concluded reading it.

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