#HarlequinHeartwarming Book Review | “Second Chance for the Single Dad” (Pacific Cove Romance, Book Four) by Carol Ross

Posted Thursday, 9 April, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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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. This is how I came to love discovering the Harlequin Heartwarming authors & series as much as it has been an honour to regularly request INSPY stories and authors. Whenever I host for Prism, I know I am in for an uplifting read and a journey into the stories which give me a lot of joy to find in my readerly queue of #nextreads. It is an honour to be a part of their team of book bloggers.

I received a complimentary copy of “Second Chance for the Single Dad” direct from 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 Summer, 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!

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 now that I’ve just celebrated my 7th Blogoversary on Jorie Loves A Story – it is a wonderful New Year of reading Harlequin Heartwarming and championing the authors like Ms Ross who bring my bookish life so much lovely joyful respite into my readerly life! I am thankful I can spend Spring reading more Heartwarming novels and I have a bit of a happy bit of news to reveal about how I’ve booked my first Heartwarming #SatBookChat this Autumn, 2020 as well! Scroll all the way down for the happy news!

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#HarlequinHeartwarming Book Review | “Second Chance for the Single Dad” (Pacific Cove Romance, Book Four) by Carol RossSecond Chance for the Single Dad
by Carol Ross
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

She’ll save him a dance…
…if he follows his heart.

Dance teacher Camile Wynn has a new student. Reclusive Rhys McGrath is learning to waltz so he can take his orphaned niece to a father-daughter dance. Camile is surprised by her connection with him, but there’s a generous heart behind Rhys’s awkward exterior. When she learns Rhys could lose custody of his niece, Camile goes behind his back to help him…but will her lies end up hurting him instead?

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

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335889621

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, Keeping Her Close, Series Spotlight w/ Notes: Return of the Blackwell Brothers, Catching Mr Right, The Secret Santa Project, His Hometown Yuletide Vow

Also in this series: Keeping Her Close

Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 3rd March, 2020

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 377

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

A bit of a note about Rhys McGrath (the lead character)

Although I first suspected Second Chance for the Single Dad was part of Ross’s series Pacific Cove, I couldn’t get a lead-line on this online. The only clue I did uncover is from the novel itself wherein Ms Ross acknowledged she wanted to involve a story about Rhys after having written Keeping Her Close. Thereby, I am uncertain if this is considered ‘the next’ installment of that series or simply a spin-off wherein a character receives their own storyline. Until I finally sorted out this is part of Pacific Cove and I need to update my listing for the series itself – as previously I didn’t get the same information about it! *Whew!* Now I have more books to gather from my favourite online used book shoppe!

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Pacific Cove Romance series:

Pacific Cove books one and two collage provided by Prism Book Tours.

Keeping Her Close by Carol RossSecond Chance for the Single Dad by Carol Ross

Christmas in the Cove (Book One)

Summer at the Shore (Book Two)

→ Keeping Her Close (Book Three) → *lightbulb!* its the third book! (see also Review)

Second Chance for the Single Dad (Book Four)

Formats Available: Paperback* and Ebook

*Harlequin has the luxury of offering Regular, Large & Larger Print editions which I personally can attest are lovely to be reading! Especially after a migraine or when my eyes are fatigued.

Converse on Twitter via: #ContemporaryRomance & #HarlequinHeartwarming

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7th Annual Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

This story received my award for Best Contemporary Romance.

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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 second chance for the single dad:

If I hadn’t been smirking so much reading about Rhys and Anne talk about all the ways in which her brother could get out into the community of Pacific Cove, I think I might have laughed myself silly! Ross opens this charming novel off on a fun note – wherein a frustrated sister is attempting to nudge her brother out of his recluse ways and to instill in him a purpose and reason for stepping outside his comfort zones for the good of his niece. A niece he has custody of and is facing a custody dispute as there are other family members who feel they could do a better job; though on the surface of things it feels like its all about perspective and not about hard evidence to the contrary. I liked Anne immediately – she took her frustration with Rhys and re-fuelled it into a list she could present to him about what his options would be if he decided to take her advice and get out of the house once in awhile.

Typical of course, Rhys as responding with this grievously annoyed anger but he gave her the courtesy of listening to her choices and then, checking them off just as quickly. He was the type of bloke you feel could give you grey hairs if you weren’t careful enough round him because he is beyond set in his ways – he doesn’t yield or bend very well nor does he defer to someone else who has an opinion that is outside his own set of logic. In essence, he’s stuck in a rut and clearly only wants to do things the way he sees fit to do them – which sometimes is a good thing but in this particular case, Anne had more than proved her point why changing a few things in his life might actually lead to something positive. Not that I gathered Rhys felt that it would but I definitely could sense from Anne this nudging of hers was going to go someplace new and exciting! Plus, who hasn’t had someone locked in horns with absolute obstinacy in their life?

If there were a singular moment where you could instantly connect with a character it would be the heartache Camille was feeling (and reeling over) whilst dealing with her taco truck clueless boss! The ways in which we felt connected to her plight and the immediacy of why in that particular scene you gathered a full sense of her angst as a dancer is a true credit to Ross whose given such a heap of backstory in such a small scene! I loved how we get a full sense of who Camille is and why this particular setback in her life isn’t going to break her or dissuade her from pursuing her goals. It is in those moments where I feel Ross shines the most – as she finds these entrances at the beginning of her novels to truly give you a sense of the gravity of what her characters are facing and why those obstacles in their path are the kind you can rally behind to see them overcome!

One of the best scenes is the conversation about Camille teaching Rhys – the irony of course is how Camille has a history with Rhys but its not one she wants to disclose. Rhys on the other hand is a pro at hiding his feelings and thoughts – to the extent he never quite shares a bit of himself when he’s round others. A social recluse as much as a contemporary hermit – it is quite amazing he’s a single father because so much of his interpersonal mannerisms goes against the kind of image and personality you’d expect of find in a single Dad. Part of that intrigued me – how Rhys can function as a single parent and how hard he must struggle to socially fit into society as socially speaking Rhys is barely able to tread water!

Rhys is such an obtuse kind of bloke! He doesn’t even care how he comes across to women (or anyone else for that matter!) nor does he especially put weight on conversations or social graces. It is hard to even reconcile how his sister Anne thinks she can reform him a bit – to soften his character and to get him into a place where he could actually function where he could not just present himself as a person with interests and the ability to care about others but to see past his own nose for once! I think part of his issues aren’t just the fact he has social anxiety as I think that is a lesser part of his strife – more of it I felt was the fact he places himself above his peers and thereby, he’s set himself up for disappointment. He feels he’s superior in some ways to others round him and that his way of looking at things – the way he processes information and knowledge is somehow above the norm. He could be right in that regard but who goes through life thinking that all the time!? Apparently, Rhys!

Small townes are infamous for rumour mills but the kind of rumours circulating about Rhys are comical at best because even though he’s a complete stranger to anyone in the towne – the imaginative ways he’s being slighted is beyond hilarious! The way people invent these entire backstories for persons they never truly know is astounding though in today’s insta-media world I can see why they don’t want to wait to ferret out the information the traditional way. Especially considering that I don’t believe a lot of people believe in the dividing lines between public and private life anymore – partially to blame for social media and the pressures of celebrities and others with public-led careers to strive to share their personal lives in public platforms – I think there has been a blurring of why we need such insta-knowledge about everyone all the time. For Rhys you can readily understand why he wants to keep his private life private but for those who live in this towne its like asking to go against the nature order of modern life.

Rhys was starting to take me by a bit of a surprise by the time he had settled into his dance lessons with Camille. There were some hidden layers to his personality – little nudges of interest which I felt might tip his hat towards Camille if he could learn to harness more of the diplomacy he was showing her whilst they danced. It was interesting – he wanted to change for Camille but when it came to others in the community he was less inclined to soften his approach to interacting with them. He was quite an interesting character because he outwardly admits he’s socially inept but he also has a conscience about his actions even if he leads you to believe he doesn’t. There is something hard to pin down about Rhys though – something that he keeps close to himself and doesn’t share with others round him. It was for that reason I still found him perplexing but from a distance because he’s just a hard character to get a read on.

Not since watching Fever Pitch has a writer endeared me to get through a sequence of a very bad bout of flu! I credit both the film and Ms Ross for knowing how to write a sequence of illness that although a bit difficult in places to read or observe, the ending of that sequence proved more telling than the cause of the illness! In this case, you become a bit more endeared to Rhys – he shows a softer side to his personality which generally comes across as too arrogant for his own good. In this instance, he’s kinder, more compassionate and he’s putting someone else ahead of his own needs – which he does exhibit as a single father to Willow but outside of his family and being a parent, he doesn’t quite stretch himself to find ways to personally engage with others. This was a moment that gave us a break from his rockier social gatherings and gave us a chance to see how he would handle himself in a crisis – and that is where he surprised me the most! He truly has more to give than I believe he even realises himself!

What I found more interesting is how Camille was using her background in Psychology to better understand Rhys – an observation Anne made herself. Camille was at a fixed point in her life where she was barely surviving because her degree had taken a few wrong turns and her job status was murky at best – she was treading water and she knew it which is one reason why she was keen to help Rhys because he could help her find a bit of stability in that key issue of her life but what she needed more was to recognise what her gift was to share with the world. She had keen insight into human behaviour and she understood behaviour patterns in ways others might shrug off. You could see this in towne whenever others were discussing Rhys behind his back, Camille was there to point out the truths from the fiction. She definitely should work in a field where she could put her instincts to good use as I loved watching how her thoughts worked through the observational data she was gathering whenever she was interacting with Rhys.

In so many regards, Second Chance for the Single Dad is a potboiler of a drama waiting to reach the point where all the parties involve have to take a firm look at each other and decide what is the best course of action to take knowing all the details of what brought them together. You have one family pitted against another due to a custody battle and on the other hand, you have a woman whose trying to em-better her future by what she can achieve in the present. Both situations require a bit of dexterity and gumption because neither side wants to yield – Camille is fiercely independent and is working actively towards her own personal goals whilst Rhys has a reason to be protective of his private life and affairs. It is how Ross chooses to take you through their lives and to show how resolution can come in unexpected ways which gives you the best uplift of all to read the story!

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

Carol Ross is one of the Harlequin Heartwarming authors I’ve felt connected to through her stories – as she has such a keenly realistic styling about her series; from the way she crafts the back-histories of her characters, to the settings she chooses and the ways in which she gives you an emotional tug of narrative. I was not surprised to find myself bemused by Rhys and wanting to find a way to distract Camille off the disappointments of having to have multiple jobs just to make ends meet or at least the illusion of it. Camille definitely needed a few more friends to commiserate with and Rhys just needed a firm nudge to get himself out of his own headspace for awhile!

What I loved about how Ms Ross paced this novel is how she let you get into Rhys and Camille’s lives – Camille is holding back a bit from Rhys and he’s befuddled in such a cleverly keen way because he doesn’t understand what is holding Camille back – that in of itself was ingenious because Rhys has this personality for being single-minded and all-inclusive to himself. It would be fitting for him to be set-up in this way (so to speak) if only to teach him a lesson about sociability and how to properly interact with others which is definitely his downfall.

Ross expertly moves through the trickier parts of grief and the long reaches of how grief can affect people’s judgement of each other. At the heart of this story is the tragic loss of a young woman’s parents and how that has a ripple effect on those left behind. It is a story rooted in having a convicting belief in doing the right thing and knowing you are the right person to step into the shoes of those who have passed on in order to rise through the adversities of their absence to be of a benefit to the child they left in your care. What I felt was beautiful about how Ross approached telling the story is how muddling it is to sort yourself out in the process of trying to do the right thing and be the person someone else can lean on as you both find a path towards healing after such difficult loss.

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

Prism Book Tours

Sharing on behalf of the review tour for March:

Review tour for Second Chance for the Single Dad via Prism Book Tours banner.

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Why my review is posting a bit later than planned:

I originally was hoping to read this novel closer to when it arrived by post – although the books were mailed late, I still thought I had enough time to read this before the deadline which ironically was my 7th Blogoversary for Jorie Loves A Story. However, in the weeks leading into my 7th Blogoversary – my family had two back-to-back medical emergencies – wherein both my parents visited the ER; of the two, Mum was the unexpected one as we didn’t think she’d have such a serious accident on a day out doing general errands. You just are never quite prepared in life to get a call from a paramedic and I was thankful a family friend was able to give me a ride to the ER even if in the end we had to turn round and go back home to wait for further word – as the ER and the hospital was closed to visitors. That day ended on a good note when I helped precipitate Mum’s release with a phone call. She’s been on the mend ever since then (this was the last Sunday of March) and doing loads better each week.

I’ve been struggling with reading for the past three months if I were to be honest – 2020 just seemed to start on wrong footing for me. This week despite starting off on rocky ground as my internet’s connectivity was shattered on Sunday and the rest of the week was a bit numbing with a job application that didn’t pan out – the upswing is on Thursday, after Mum received good news at her job (her hours have increased) I started to find my traction again with reading. I’ve had some hits/misses since January – both one thing I have loved about Harlequin’s Heartwarming imprint is the uplift of joy I have in reading the stories. The authors definitely understand the kinds of Contemporary Romances I want to be reading right now – from the realistic back-stories to the convicting emotions you feel as you tuck into their character’s lives – I must admit, whenever I am slated to read one for a blog and/or review tour – I get a bit giddy!

Thus, I was thankful I could binge read two of these back to back – as I first devoured Second Chance for the Single Dad – continuing my joy of discovering Pacific Cove and re-picking up the Heroes of Shelter Creek series not with the second novel (which I accidentally had forgotten released last September) but with the third Her Surprise Cowboy – and you now how much of an affinity I have for *cowboys!* and Western Romances!

I was thankful to have a small extension to get into these Heartwarming stories and find a way to just breathe in the joy of reading a romance and having a proper respite from IRL woes! (big smiles)

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This review is cross-posted to LibraryThing.

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “Second Chance for the Single Dad” and the “Christmas in the Cove” & “Summer at the Shore” cover collage, author photograph of Carol Ross, author biography as well as the Prism Book Tours badge and Review Tour badge for “Second Chance for the Single Dad” were provided by Prism Book Tours and are being used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. LibraryThing banner provided by LibraryThing and is used with permission. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review banner; 7th Annual Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards badge (using Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo) and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2020.

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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)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie


Posted Thursday, 9 April, 2020 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Contemporary Romance, Family Life, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Life Shift, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Single Fathers, Small Towne Fiction

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