#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | feat. a #HarlequinHeartwarming novel: “Keeping Her Close” (Pacific Cove Romance, Book One) by Carol Ross

Posted Saturday, 9 November, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

After launching this lovely new feature of mine during [Autumn, 2018] it is a pleasure of joy to continue to bring #SaturdaysAreBookish as a compliment focus of my Twitter chat @SatBookChat. If you see the chat icon at the top of my blog (header bar) you can click over to visit with us. The complimentary showcases on my blog will reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of the chat are the stories I am reading which compliment the conversations.

#SaturdaysAreBookish throughout [2019] will be featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read across genre and point of interest. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – the stories I am reading might simply inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

I am excited about where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction. Here’s a lovely New Year full of new authors and their stories to celebrate!

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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 “Keeping Her Close” direct from the author Carol Ross in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I love reading Carol Ross & Harlequin Heartwarming novelists:

You might have caught my #TopTenTuesday recently where I disclosed how much I personally LOVE reading Harlequin Heartwarming novelists – so much so, I felt they need to be championed more often for the lovely stories they are writing for us due to how wickedly enjoyable they are to be read! I know I am one of their dedicated readers whose in full appreciation for their style of crafting Contemporary Romances & giving us characters, settings, and series we find wicked addictive whilst blessedly #unputdownable!

Of all the lovelies I spoke about on that particular post and s/o of #booklove + #bookjoy – Carol Ross by far is the one author I’ve happily had the opportunities to read the most frequently! I have strong pulls of the heart for both her collaborative serial (which has a *sequel!* coming in New Year, 2020!) Return of the #BlackwellBrothers (a tag you can happily follow in the twitterverse) and for her small towne series Seasons of Alaska – both of which filled my [2019] will hours of bookish joyfulness!

A the year is about to fold – it was an absolute delight to find there was a review tour featuring a new series for Ms Ross via Prism! I regularly express gratitude to Prism Book Tours for helping me become introduced with Harlequin Heartwarming and for inspiring me to fetch their stories regularly through inter-library loans at my local library and/or borrowing directly from a reciprocal library which has a few of their authors in their card catalogue! In future, I’ll be ‘filling in gaps’ of my personal library and in my reading queues by frequenting Thrift Books online as I found they are one of the best resources for purchasing these novels second hand which makes collecting them fit my book buying budget!

I spent my 6th Blogoversary on Jorie Loves A Story lamenting about my love for Ms Ross’s Seasons of Alaska series and it is hard to believe I haven’t had the proper chance to seek out another one of her lovelies until now! What a beautiful celebration to anchour Autumn into Spring!

Plus, the weekend I planned to read ‘Keeping Her Close’ was marred a bit by a sledgehammer of a migraine which effectively wrecked my #weekendreads for the #SpooktasticReads readathon I am hosting – wherein, I was hoping to finish another audiobook (ie. ‘The Soft Whisper of Dreams’) and begin my first #WitchyReads as well! I’m thankful I pre-planned to grab my Pacific Cove Romance novel betwixt and between the #SpookyReads as I wanted to read a bit of Contemporary Rom before the 1st of November when I switch into high gear for #SpecLit with a strong empathsis on Science Fiction, Magical Realism and the allure of Fantasy!

At least this was the game plan before my health took several left turns and I needed some time to recover my energies and just to feel like ‘myself’ again. I ended up reading this quite a bit delayed from the hours I wanted to spend inside the story but I was thankful for the patience of PRISM as I couldn’t have attached my heart into the story sooner if I desired too due to the health issues I was recovering from – the best bit for me though is having the chance to soak into a new Carol Ross novel as she’s fast become one of my favourites for this imprint! Reading “Keeping Her Close” was a bookish hug of JOY!

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#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | feat. a #HarlequinHeartwarming novel: “Keeping Her Close” (Pacific Cove Romance, Book One) by Carol RossKeeping Her Close
Subtitle: A Pacific Cove Romance
by Carol Ross
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Hired to protect her
…unable to resist her

The job sounds simple: teach a businessman’s daughter how to stay safe. But former navy SEAL turned bodyguard Kyle Frasier has a personal motive, too. Harper Jansen is his late best friend’s fiancée. Loyalty demands he protect her, not that Harper looks in need of rescuing. In fact, it’s Kyle who needs help—balancing duty with his desire to build a life with the one woman he shouldn’t want…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335510877

Also by this author: The Rancher's Twins, Mountains Apart, A Case for Forgiveness, If Not for a Bee, A Family Like Hannah's, Bachelor Remedy, In the Doctor's Arms

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


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 1st October, 2019

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 376

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThe Pacific Cove Romance series:

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

Keeping Her Close (book one)

Christmas in the Cove (a prequel?)

Whilst browsing Ms Ross’s page on Fantastic Fiction – I came across this title – as you’ll read in the synopsis for the story, it feels like this might have been a prequel and/or a one-off set in Pacific Cove which has now become re-spun or extended through a wholly new series. I discovered this a bit too late to read ahead of ‘Keeping Her Close’ but I am going to be seeking it to potentially read for my #ChristmasReads this year!

Formats available: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #ContemporaryRomance & #HarlequinHeartwarming

About Carol Ross

Carol Ross

USA Today bestselling author Carol Ross grew up in small town America right between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains, in a place where you can go deep sea fishing in the morning and then hit the ski slopes the same afternoon. The daughter of what is now known as free range parents, she developed a love of the outdoors at a very early age.

As a writer, Carol loves to breathe the life she has lived into the characters she creates, grateful for the “research material” that every questionable decision, adrenaline-charged misstep, and near-death experience has provided.

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My review for keeping her close:

Rather fittingly, the opening chapter for Keeping Her Close delves into the heady debate about salmon farms and wild salmon fishing practices as this is something which is circling through headlines in various capacities as there is a new industry for controlling not just how much fish is consumed per year but how much fish can become farmed and exponentially turn a hefty profit margin for the companies who are commercially changing the aquaculture landscape. Also of note, environmentally its beyond hurtful and economically speaking it can affect smaller townes which might think they’ve found a solution to a stagnant local economy but in reality have brought future irrevocable destruction to their living ecosystems and biosphere. This of course is another layer of the issues as Ross is explicitly focusing on damming practices and the constrictions of reduced access to waterways where salmon naturally run.

You are usually fortunate to have one chance at securing a new job when your changing careers but you have to give credit where it’s due and for Kyle, his natural instincts for observing what is happening round him is what gave him the upper edge to curb the difficulties in securing a job he would enjoy pursuing. I nearly laughed into a smirk realising that his spilt second tactics not only would grant him more flexibility to pick the job he desired most but it also proved the pudding a bit about how good he was at his job!

Nothing says romance like a rebounder to date! At least, that is what Harper is considering as she accepted a blind date with a bloke he had quite a heap in common with despite the fact they were both equally unlucky in the romance department! I am unsure if it is best to rebound with someone else whose rebounding but I suppose the alternative could mean that you stay single for longer and/or have a further reduced social life. Either way, both her and her date were at different cross-roads whether they realised that or not.

I am not entirely sure how Harper is going to come back from her #epicfail at meeting Kyle but that is one thing I love about tucking into one of these romances – (either Heartwarming or Love Inspired Suspense) you get to take their journey with them and even if they bungle it dearly, there is something redemptively lovely about how the writer chooses to re-align their hearts and give them the space they need to redeem themselves! Seeing her squirm though – that was quite sad in some respects because she had just convinced herself that she was doing the right thing by putting herself in a vulnerable position to seek out dates again. You felt for her like you did Bridget Jones!

What further complicated this first meeting was how Harper soon realised she had inside information about her dead fiance that Kyle wasn’t privy too. This was going to be a mark of conscience for her as you could see how she struggled to weight her options – to tell or to withhold. The road she took was her own choosing but at what cost to her spirit? Both of them were entering each others’ lives with the ghost of a dead man between them; haunting them both in different ways and stepping through a void in the ether neither of them fully realised by how deep of a chasm of misdirected admiration. You had to give credit to Ross – for weaving such a tight and taunt tightrope for Kyle and Harper to be walking. Another nod towards why I could readily see her as a Love Inspired Suspense novelist – she has wicked instincts and she knows how to weave a compellingly realistic Romantic Suspense novel!

Kyle was finding that his lifestyle choices were not as readily easy to explain to his family who worried over him due to the high risk jobs he tackled whilst he had served his country. The fact that he wanted to replace that high risk situational routine with contract work was not sitting well with them at all. You can understand why as well – especially given the evasive nature he was referring to his job enquiry and the fact he revealled hardly any facts to calm their claims it was still dangerous work led me to believe that he might be having second thoughts himself. A lot of his internal strife I felt stemmed from the loss of his best friend – he had placed a lot of his own aspirations into what they could have achieved together. In many regards, I felt he owned it to himself to grieve a bit more, think a bit harder on his future and not rush into anything right now whilst his emotions were running high. Sometimes in life it is better to take a step back than to keep ploughing forward which I hoped Kyle might soon realise for himself.

Goodness! I definitely felt Harper’s angst trying to circumvent Kyle’s non-understanding of her life as a photographer! He wanted her life to be more neat and tidy; where all the hours in a row had their own check-boxes and he could just move through those hours alongside her to where her life was not just predictable it was outlined, scheduled and vetted! Sadly for him, Harper had a completely unscheduled and non-conventional life which makes honing in on what she’s doing rather difficult – this led me to smirking quite a heap and curiously wondering why Kyle didn’t try a different approach guarding Harper. Sometimes I think men overlook the obvious and opt to go the harder route!

As we find ourselves visiting with Kyle’s family, you start to wonder if his Mum (whose happily health food conscience but with a family whose not on the bandwagon sadly) or sister Mia might have their own stories lengthened at some point in the series – as his family has a few unconventional circumstances within their sphere. I was most eager to learn more about how the sisters in particular are raising the nieces and nephews whilst I felt the bantering and the sibling issues between Mia and Kyle were realistically authentic towards showcasing how sometimes siblings do not always see eye to eye on everything. Nora, their Mum was a refreshing character in her own right because she not only teaches yoga but she also has this lovely presence about her which gives off the vibe of serene contentment. You really want to spend more time round her just to soak in some of her incredible energy!

Ross thankfully did give us a few pertinent details about Kyle’s extended family – especially how the nieces and nephews are being raised differently than expected however, I still want more of their lives – this is why I liked how Karen Rock placed us into each of the siblings’ lives through her Rocky Mountain Cowboy series? I was hoping perhaps future installments of Pacific Cove might track the same way and/or move between siblings and family members as well as other members of the community at large as this is fast becoming such a dearly intriguing series to read,  I am finding it rather difficult a) to take time away from it and b) worrying over not getting the proper chance to get to know all the lovely characters better in future installments!

In the background of the story is this lovely small towne – the community of Pacific Cove, which I fell in love instantly as it has that cosy welcoming vibe you’d expect in a towne of its size! They have volunteers at the animal shelter focusing on the strengths of their unadopted pets whilst they also come together with other community positive events and/or gatherings. I especially liked the sub-focus on the setting being rooted in the Pacific Northwest and the allure of how that setting can provide certain kinds of experiences you cannot get most places except for a few which have the same kind of nautical environment as the region. Ross takes you there both visually and emotionally as she explores the natural world alongside the rhythm of her character’s lives.

Yet, its how she entwined a suspenseful plot inside a small towne romance which charmed me the most as Kyle and Harper were at such a distinctive crossroads in their lives. They met at a point in time where they needed each other moreso than they needed anything else. The kind of drama which awaits you in Keeping Her Close uplifts your spirits because at the heart of the story is this beautiful family who had to work through their past and the deceptions which can cause the most pain if they are not addressed. Ross had a lovely new series on her hands as she takes us into a place where irregardless of your background or your present, you have a chance at a new beginning!

on the continued joy I have reading a carol ross contemporary romance:

I can honestly say, if Ms Ross starts writing Romantic Suspense novels for Love Inspired Suspense I can see she would be an insta-hit with those readers! As soon as I pulled myself into the opening chapters of Keeping Her Close – I felt the surge of joy I have reading LIS novels! You get the edgy vibe that something is not quite right, someone is keenly perceptive about what is going on and how you’re simply awaiting the events to unfold. You get a fast paced burst of intrigue with the whispers of alarm running through Kyle’s mind as he starts to pull pieces of observation together and that’s what I love about LIS novels! You never know when the balance in the story will alter itself and Ross has a keen instinct about how to keep you on the edge and hankering for more as you turn the pages!

My absolute favourite moment of the novel is when Kyle mentioned the paintball gun exercise because it tipped the scales in regards to seeing an interaction between him and Harper you weren’t expecting possible! I loved how Ross inserted that dialogue exchange at a moment where you felt these two were as opposite as the actual poles from the Arctic to Antarctica! Cleverly, it was also a full-on cheeky way of seeing classic Ross shine through a bit as this novel is a departure from the romances I’ve read of hers in the past and I must say, its wicked brilliant!

One of my favourite discoveries within the Heartwarming line is the presence of family – the interlocking ways in which family are center-most invested in the stories and how family places such a strong and healthy role for the characters, too. Ross didn’t disappoint me – she gave me a wholly wonderful family in Kyle’s and a more interesting one in Harper’s. Similar to other series I have come to love from Heartwarming is how you’ve never knowing if it will be a family member or a community member who comes up next in the series! I’d say, due to such a strong opener of a novel – Ross has enough potential in this series to have it run for quite a long while! I look forward to watching it develop and seeing where it goes from here.

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I am blessed to have hosted for: Prism Book Tours
as they first introduced me to Harlequin Heartwarming!

Prism Book Tours

Sharing on behalf of the review tour for October:

Review tour for Keeping Her Close via Prism Book Tours banner.

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Reading this novel counted towards some of my 2019 readerly goals:

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

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “Keeping Her Close”, author photograph of Carol Ross, author biography as well as the Prism Book Tours badge and Review Tour badge for “Keeping Her Close” were provided by Prism Book Tours and are being used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. 2019 New Release Challenge created by mylimabeandesigns.com for unconventionalbookworms.com and is used with permission. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #SaturdaysAreBookish banner 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 Saturday, 9 November, 2019 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Contemporary Romance, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction




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