Blog Book Tour | “Sweet Melody” (A Seabrook Romance, Book One) by Heidi McCahan

Posted Friday, 6 September, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquiried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. 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.

I received a complimentary copy of “Sweet Melody” direct from the author Heidi McCahan in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I was excited about reading my first novel by this author:

As mentioned recently, before I was a book blogger myself, I was actively following the lives of INSPY Authors I had come across through their respective blogs and/or group author blogs they were featured guests; it was somewhere in this journey of mine prior to blogging where I first crossed paths with Ms McCahan. I know it was also round the time I was first starting to read and develop a keen interest in the Coming Home series by Brenda S. Anderson as they once shared the same publisher before they each had to embark on new routes in their publishing lives as the former publisher folded quite unexpectedly. I lost track of Ms McCahan’s career for a bit of time until last year, I believe it was when I was starting to actively grow more invested in reading Harlequin Heartwarming stories?

I noticed Ms McCahan was now writing for the Love Inspired imprint on the Contemporary side of the ledger, whereas I regularly devour their Suspense imprint and previously loved their Historical. There are some authors on their Contemporary line I do appreciate reading as well but I sort of became so smitten by the Suspense stories, that I haven’t actively sought out the non-Suspense Contemporaries! Laughs.

When I saw she was one of the authors going on tour this September, I felt it was good timing to revisit a #newtomeauthor and finally get the chance to become introduced to her writerly style. I was delighted in the finding out the premise of this story as her debut novel Unravelled is still awaiting me on my mountainous TBR!

When it comes to *food trucks!* in particular, you could say I have a hidden history with them – as I definitely was the girl who devoured all the new Food Network series which aired during a particular period of time – wherein, I still remember the first seasons of the race to find the best new food truck! Since then, they are more commonplace and have such a diverse range of menus of interest, you can truly find something for every palette and option of diet which is brilliant!

What was quite the lovely surprise for me when I opened the bookmail with this novel is finding not only was the novel enscribed but it held a bookmark! I was truly thankful for both and used the marker as I read Sweet Melody. I find it a special treat whenever an author tucks in a bookmark and takes the time to write us a note in their book. Truly grateful when they do this as it adds a personal touch and a kind note of gratitude is always in my bookish heart when I open my bookmail to find these kind gestures of joy.

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Blog Book Tour | “Sweet Melody” (A Seabrook Romance, Book One) by Heidi McCahanSweet Melody
Subtitle: A Seabrook Romance
by Heidi McCahan
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

When a struggling bakery owner is rescued by a wannabe songwriter with hidden culinary talents, they discover they can make sweet harmony … if they can only learn to work together.

Rhett Foster longs to change the world with his music, yet he can’t even finish writing one song. Battered by a string of failures and disillusioned, he returns home to Portland, Oregon. While he desperately wants to create a chart-topping hit, his dad mandates a new mission: move to coastal vacation hotspot Seabrook, Washington and expand the family’s successful restaurant chain.

In danger of destroying her late parents’ legacy if she doesn’t diversify her menu, Lindsay Carmichael will try anything to save her bakery. But with a tiny budget and an injured employee who can’t work, she has no choice but to sink the last of her savings into buying a dilapidated food truck and hiring Rhett as a part-time barista. What she doesn’t know is that the handsome songwriter has a secret … one that could destroy her business and her heart.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Sweet Romance

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1076432094

Published by Snug Corner Cove Press

on 1st August, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 242

Published by: Snug Corner Cove Press

Converse via: #Contemporary + #Romance and #INSPYbooks

About Heidi McCahan

Heidi McCahan

Heidi secretly dreamed of writing a book for most of her childhood, but a particularly painful rejection letter in middle school convinced her to tuck that dream away. Instead, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine from Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington and a Master’s Degree in Athletic Training from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

After a brief career as a Certified Athletic Trainer, Heidi married her husband Steve, then she dusted off her big dream of becoming a published author and launched her first contemporary romance into the world in 2014. A huge fan of coffee, dark chocolate, and happily ever after, Heidi currently lives in North Carolina with Steve, three active boys and one amazing Goldendoodle.

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My review of sweet melody:

I admit, one of the best places to be is inside a coffeehouse or a bakery; the smells alone give you an euphorical burst of joyfulness but its the atmosphere of those places which draw you in the most! As soon as you dive into Sweet Melody, you are welcomed into the world of this bakery – a bakery that is trying to sort out its own wings in the landscape of coffeehouses, wherein a bakery can stand on its own without having to conform into the masses of what is generally expected out of such places. I liked the tenacity of the owner, Lindsay, who wanted to give her place its own vibe but owning to the fact that without a few items inclusive to the space (like wicked gourmet coffee choices) she might be battling against the tides when it comes to her customer base.

You can feel for her really, as she wants to expand into having a food truck and anchour her bakery delights with a barista who can produce drinks that even a persnickety customer couldn’t complain about – in other words, she needs to find a hidden gem in the rough just like Jess did on Chesapeake Shores (the Hallmark series I happily binge watched via Hallmark Movies Now this Summer) wherein the person she finds can not just pull together the image she has for her bakery but create the experience she desires her customers to expect in regards to garnishing repeat business. In essence, she’s on the fringe of realising her dream for the business and finding herself nearly repeating the history of how and why her parents’ vision had once failed for their own eatery. Lindsay has a mind of worries and concerns; most of which stem from bad memories and of wanting to prove history wrong by making it on her own terms; you give her courage just to tackle the fickleness of the industry she’s engaged in but its her moxie to overcome the past which drives you into the heart of her story.

Rhett has the kind of father you are thankful you don’t have yourself – where each time you try to strike out on your own is a disappointment to your Dad. The strings attached to this return to family wasn’t the kind of offer I expected someone would take-on, as it placed Rhett at an immediate disadvantage and without a lot of promise for improvement. If anything, it was the kind of deal where you’d prove your father’s opinion about yourself rather than turn round the image of being the family’s black sheep. In other words, it was a sour deal from the start and Rhett would have been best to just walk away from it. However, knowing how hard it is to admit that your family is more toxic than friendly, I could see how he wanted to try reconciling with his father and the rest of this family before he made a clean cut in the end. I didn’t quite give a lot of hope his journey into Seabrook was going to lead him closer to his father as I felt the opportunity make instead wake him up to seeking out a path that isn’t connected to the family business. You just don’t oft find people changing their warts as quickly as I think Rhett wanted to hope possible.

In Rhett’s defence, what seemed to rankle me the most is that his Dad never quite gave him the chance to grieve the loss of his mother or to even recover from the aftermath of her death. He seemed to just pick up and move on – not just in his business affairs but in his personal life as well; all but replacing the family he had established with Rhett and his mother. In that regard, I felt Rhett had the most to prove even moreso than Lindsay as she at least had the backing of her parents, it seemed like her home life was far more on even ground than Rhett could claim himself and this is where the parallels continued between this novel and Chesapeake Shores.

One of my favourite moments came as soon as Rhett decided to make Lindsay a latte – it not only anchoured him to the bakery and to doing something outside the grip of his father’s domineering control but it gave him a chance to see how someone would accept him based on the merits of his own agency. Rhett might have taken a few hits to his self-confidence but the truth is always in the pudding and this bloke can make a wicked cuppa! It was interesting seeing how even Lindsay who likes to stay a bit more guarded let herself get swept into the orbit Rhett had cast because of his skills and the way he easily could converse with her about the business.

Of course, the plot continues to boil and thicken, with Rhett’s scheming father in the background trying to give his son early grey hairs and with Catherine’s secrets about her father’s political goals being kept from Lindsay, the two most important people in Lindsay’s life right now are dodging the truth whilst trying to help her realise her dreams. The irony of course is how easily Rhett fits into the bakery and how he has instincts which could help Lindsay thrive in this community. His father notwithstanding, as he is an opportunist and doesn’t know when to quit or say in his lane as they say – Rhett is finding his feet and seeing how he can grow in a field of his choosing rather than constantly feeling the pangs of regret his father has placed on his shoulders.

This is definitely an age of reckoning story inasmuch as it is a second chance novel about how to right your own sails, carve out your own future and find the courage to stand against those who do not understand you (such as Rhett’s father). There is a lingering level of attraction percolating in the background as well – where Rhett and Lindsay dance a bit with a flirtation towards each other, it doesn’t quite catch fire immediately as their both juggling too much in their private lives. You can see the potential for their relationship starting to take root but one of them never fails to find a reason to hold back and put the progress back on the back burner.

The INSPY overlays into the story are lightly touched upon and are not overly mentioned; they are more streamlined into the context of the situations which arise in sequence for the characters rather than being firmly paced between chapters. McCahan’s approach is more inclusive of leading by example, being mindful of prayerful intentions in one’s life and of listening to your intuition and leaning on your spirituality as you live rather than writing the traditional INSPY Contemporary which is influenced more on verse and using a more traditional presence of the lessons therein. This gives the novel a gentle tone of inclusion and allows readers of all backgrounds to find traction within its scope.

I love how the whole time we’re getting to see this unfold in real-time within the space of the novel, there are other factors at work which are trying to upend the whole affair. McCahan keeps you rooting for Lindsay and Rhett, but even Catherine has reasons to need a cheerleader as her own family is a reminder of Rhett’s whose influence in her own life is just as shady has what Rhett has to put up with himself. Even within Seabrook, Lindsay was surprised to find willing hands to help her fuell her dreams with the food truck – this came together in different ways, all of which happily paint the portrait of how Seabrook despite being an organised community still has strong roots to the small towne atmosphere it eludes to hosting. The people here are resilient but they’re also kind-hearted and resourceful.

On the Contemporary inspy styling of heidi mccahan:

You feel like releasing a groan yourself alongside Lindsay, as that is how descriptively cunning McCahan begins Sweet Melody by eclipsing you so dearly centred into her life as a woman in need of a truck to understand the devastation she felt when the truck of her dreams isn’t quite as second-handed ready for a new owner as she had hoped it might be. In that brief opening sequence, you could feel the gravity of the story tucking round you because this was a woman who was not just on a mission to secure a truck but she was a woman trying to redevelop her business and expand her reach into the community. She wasn’t without vision either – as you could truly gather from her opening remarks that not only would this particular truck need repairs, it would also need a creative design to cover over its flaws.

The only surprise I found really was the fact the bakery was called “Sugar Buzz” and not “Sweet Melody” as I thought it was a more fitting name – not just because it tied into the cover art and what you’d derive from it but because the name itself didn’t quite confer with the personality of Lindsay and her passion for the business itself. “Sugar Buzz” to me felt like it was named too quickly and didn’t hone in on what Lindsay was trying to accomplish in the experience she wanted to give her customers.

McCahan has a gentle style to her INSPY Contemporary Romances – she lets you drink in the world she is creating for you first, gives you time to find feet inside the story and grants you this lovely place where despite the fact there are moments of adversity, there is a willingness to seek out the unexpected and the good in order to overcome what is giving the characters the most stress and anxiety to overcome. True to life, she breathes life into this series by instilling a lot of real life instances of grief – from having your barista unable to work due to an injury enroute to the bakery itself and by the financial strains of trying to re-launch a new niche market within the industry you already occupy. McCahan has definitely thought hard about how she wanted the Seabrook Romances to look, feel and taste to the reader and it is a delight to curl inside this entrance of the series to see where the foundation will not just begin but will give wings to where future installments could continue forward from here.

A note about a bit of extra research: on Seabrook, Washington (yes, its real!)

Uniquely, as I like to track down IRL locales rooted inside books and series, I found Seabrook to be a planned community similar to others like it round the country wherein everything is pre-planned and pre-organised with the intention of creating a society within a community where every neighbour is genuinely happy to be in a towne built for celebrations, family gatherings and a general vibe of neighbourly outreach.

It was hard to get a read on the community from online resources, even though you can see through the photos on Instagram the kind of community celebrations they like to instill on their yearly calendar; what I liked most about the series McCahan is presenting us is a view into Seabrook that might or might not exist in the real version of it. The heartwarming feeling you have about it as your reading the novel – it might still exist there in the reality of Seabrook but one thing about planned communities, is that sometimes they are not quite what you’re expecting to find within them. I definitely love the vision McCahan has of the towne and if even a partial reality is inclusive of the real place, it would be a lovely visit to have IRL.

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This blog tour is courtesy of: Prism Book Tours

Prism Book Tours

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Sweet Melody blog tour via Prism Book Tours

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End 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 book 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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Reading this story counted towards my 2019 reading challenges, specifically:

2019 New Release Challenge created by for and is used with permission.

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “Sweet Melody”, the author photograph of Heidi McCahan, blog tour banner and the Prism Book Tours badge 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 (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 Friday, 6 September, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Contemporary Romance, Cookery, Family Drama, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern Day, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Sweet Romance

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