An early #blogmas #25PagePreview | feat. #HarlequinHeartwarming author Cathy McDavid’s “A Secret Christmas Wish” (Wishing Well Springs, Book Three)

Posted Wednesday, 10 November, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#blogmas book review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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. 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 “A Secret Christmas Wish” direct from the author Cathy McDavid in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts –

As I’ve eluded over the past several seasons of 2021 – my life has been a bit upturnt throughout the year as I’ve returnt to work full-time whilst at the latter half of October, I took-on a secondary job in combination with my first job. I began working three nights per week which is now expanding into four nights per week – blessedly, I love my work environment and my co-workers (in both jobs!) which makes the transitions and learning curves at both quite the blessing. However, in recent weeks and months, my family and I have been going through different bouts of difficulties whilst more immediately to this blog tour – I just came off a hard batch of hours (wherein my family was dealing with quite a heap in a short period of time) whilst nursing a bad migraine over the weekend which extended a bit into the early bits of this week.

I know this time round it was caused by an increase of stress and a few blog tours have been affected recently by events IRL which have taken my focus away from reading. Which is why I wasn’t able to read too far afield into this story right now and decided to cut my review back into a preview spotlight post rather than stress myself further and cause further delays as this was one of those migraines which didn’t let me read too much until it cleared and then, of course, I was greeting my tour deadline! Oy.

This is a series I ‘met’ last November, as an early #blogmas treat – as I have quite the affinity for Christmas Romances (Contemporary or Historical) and Western Christmas Romances are even more brilliant as I love tucking into Western Roms. Previously I read her  other series the Sweetheart Ranch!

Most especially if you’ve been visiting with me the past several years whilst I’ve become introduced to Harlequin Heartwarming and their lovely authors who keep writing series I cannot put down and eagerly await new installments. Of course, once they run their course, its even harder to put them down and step away from those characters and settings – but that gives me the joy of knowing another series or story is just round the corner from a favourite Heartwarming author.

This time round, I seem to have misplaced the sequencing of order with this series – as another story was published in the Spring of 2021 ahead of this third release. I knew about it last year, but of course – that has felt like a million miles away as honestly, if I were to contemplate how last November folded into this November, it would feel impossible that a year blinked past me! I still lament despite the medical emergencies of my parents last year where I was revolving through the ER like it was all the fashion to do so during a global pandemic – this year in particular has felt harder somehow and much more intense – isn’t that ironic?

I’ll have to gather a copy of the second novel at some point and properly bring myself current with this series. For now, I look forward to reading this novel in full but ahead of that – I wanted to share my initial thoughts and impressions about “A Secret Christmas Wish” for this lovely blog tour which is meant to inspire all of us to pick up our Christmas Romances now that Autumn has finally gripped our hearts and our weather. Wells, for some of us – Autumn still feels like a dream awaiting to arrive as its just not quite cold enough for sweaters but there is the hope of it on the horizon!

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An early #blogmas #25PagePreview | feat. #HarlequinHeartwarming author Cathy McDavid’s “A Secret Christmas Wish” (Wishing Well Springs, Book Three)A Secret Christmas Wish
by Ms Cathy McDavid
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

The magic of Christmas

Could make her wish come true!

A small-town Christmas wedding. What could be more romantic? Unless you’re a plus-one for hire like single mom Maia MacKenzie. Too bad handsome cowboy Brent Hayes is her new coworker—and completely off-limits! Neither of them can afford to lose their job…or invest in a relationship. But when she sees Brent’s adorable connection with her young son, Maia can’t help wishing for a Christmas miracle.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Romance Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Ranches & Cowboys, Western Romance

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1335426475

Also by this author: The Cowboy's Holiday Bride

Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 26th October, 2021

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

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The Wishing Well Springs series:

The Cowboy's Holiday Bride by Cathy McDavidHow to Marry A Cowboy by Cathy McDavidA Secret Christmas Wish by Cathy McDavid

The Cowboy’s Holiday Bride (book one) : (see also Review)

My impressions about how this series first began:

One of the happy discoveries I made very early-on into reading The Cowboy’s Holiday Bride is that Ms McDavid has created a new wedding venue series – as I had a feeling she might return to this kind of storytelling. It was a refreshing surprise finding Wishing Well Springs is quite similar to Sweetheart Ranch! Especially on the level of how the land, the ranch and the usage of the grounds for weddings and events is what is providing a way for the family who owns the property to keep the land in the family. There was a slight mention of how most of the land was lost to the family and how this small bit which is leftover is what has kept a part of their legacy intact. I could sympathise with them – whenever you lose something this important to you, it is hard to reconcile moving forward. It felt like there was a lot riding on the success of Wishing Well Springs as much as the tender balance within the partnership – as two siblings owned the ranch itself whilst they had a third partner who was meant to be equal to their shares of the business. And, that is where you find the first bout of conflict erupting between Cash and Phoebe as Cash had overridden Phoebe’s ability to be an equal partner when he made a choice about the business with his sister Laurel.

What was more interesting though is how much Cash was only interested in the business side of the wedding venue rather than focusing on the needs of the clients. You can tell this quickly was taking a toll on Phoebe’s resolve because she was dealing with a bull-headed bloke who wasn’t quite as clued into the wedding industry as he presumed! He was more interested in dollars and cents than he was in people’s lives – as Phoebe explained it brilliantly herself – they weren’t there to judge the choices of their clients’ they were meant to encourage them on their journey towards having a wedding of their dreams. The key being the weddings they hosted were the clients’ dreams not their own.

McDavid has the knack for creating Western ranches and wedding venues with the care and concern of those who work there whose main goals are to celebrate the couples to whom they are serving. McDavid you can tell loves these kinds of settings and again, it did not surprise me that two of her series now (which I’ve happily read) with Heartwarming are focusing on this kind of business and are equally set in smaller townes which can thrive on the kind of traffic and business these endeavours can give the local community.

In this new series, she has set the stage for an interesting collection of stories – as at the heart of the Wishing Well Springs wedding venue is one sister trying to assert herself out of the shadows of her sisters (ie. Laurel), a retired rodeo cowboy whose trying to re-define himself and his life (ie. Cash) and a woman who is in love with the joy of hosting weddings and other events with the dedication of someone who isn’t used to being limited to budget (ie. Phoebe). Each of them have their own bit of baggage they are carrying into the business too – as I thought it was interesting how McDavid created this series rooted out of the fact none of the business owners and partners are happily settled in matrimony themselves!

I felt this provided just the right amount of irony for the series – how they can plan and produce weddings but they cannot find that kind of sweetened harmonic happiness in their own lives which they regularly give to their clients. There is a lot of tongue-in-cheek moments between Phoebe and Cash – where they are each not necessarily willing to compromise with the other but where they get into bouts of arguments where you can tell neither one minds being the one to compromise in the end. You can see how they are simply two persons who never fully gave each other the time or inclination to pursue romantically and in that kind of way, the set-up McDavid has provided for the backdrop of this novel is apt fodder for a romance reader to soak inside because of the drama it organically brings into the story-line.

After reading the novel though I am on the fence about how I feel about the ending – although, there was resolution and restitution in regards to Cash’s issues in both communication and the issues he has with relationships, I felt there was still more work to be had in how he can improve his future by the work he needed to still resolve out of his past. He had such a lot of emotional and psychological baggage that for me, I felt his story might have been better served over two stories rather than one as he just felt like a work-in-progress to me rather than a polished stone by the end of the novel.

-quoted from my book review for The Cowboy’s Holiday Bride

How to Marry a Cowboy (book two)

A Secret Christmas Wish (book three)

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Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming,
an imprint of Harlequin Books (@HarlequinBooks)

Formats Available: Ebook and Paperback

Converse via: #Contemporary #WesternRomance & #Harlequin Heartwarming

About Ms Cathy McDavid

Cathy McDavid

In the third grade, NY Times, USA Today and Amazon bestselling author Cathy McDavid made it her goal to read every Black Stallion book ever written. Who knew such an illustrious ambition would eventually lead to a lifelong love of all things western, owning a stagecoach pulled by six mules, and a career writing contemporary romances for Harlequin?

With over 50 titles in print and 1.3 million-plus books sold, Cathy is also a member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll. This “almost” Arizona native and mother of grown twins is married to her own real-life sweetheart.

After leaving the corporate world six years ago, she now spends her days penning stories about good looking cowboys riding the range, busting broncs, and sweeping gals off their feet — oops, no. Make that winning the hearts of feisty, independent women who give the cowboys a run for their money. It's a tough job, but she’s willing to make the sacrifice.

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#25PagePreview banner created by Jorie in Canva.

A Secret Christmas Wish : by Cathy McDavid

I thought it was interesting in the beginning of the story, how Maia was talking about how people didn’t want to attend weddings as a singleton. The irony there of course is I was invited to a friend’s wedding when I was eighteen and it led to meeting a retired pastor and his wife – of whom, I corresponded with for quite a long time after the wedding. Sadly my friendship with the friend who invited me didn’t last as long but her path and mine diverted a bit after the wedding whereas the pastor’s wife and I shared a lovely correspondence until it ran its course. I hadn’t even contemplated being there without a date – I was happily included in all the pre-wedding moments and afterwards, as I was staying with my friend directly, I was able to be there to help celebrate the happy affair with the couple before they took leave on their honeymoon.

I never felt like a fifth wheel or someone out of step with the rest of the wedding party as there were others who were unattached or simply attending to support either the bride or the groom for whichever way we were all connected. I think its sad if some feel the pressure to be more than they are or to put on an appearance of having a life they do not yet have for themselves. We should all feel free to be ourselves irregardless of what others may think because after all, it is more important we remain authentic to whom we are than to try to keep up the appearances of what others presume to be our truth.

Maia left a strong impression on me as I liked how she was trying to fill the gap between what people wanted others to perceive about their life and what their lives actually entailed. I might not agree with their choices but seeing how Maia fared in those situations was cleverly writ because it showcased how sometimes the job you have not only places you outside your comfort zone but it puts you in a position where you take-on a role someone else has created for you to fill. In that regard, she was a superhero of weddings by giving confidence to those who needed her services.

Brent was a bit harder to pin down than Maia but McDavid did start building his character’s journey early-on in the storyline – including how she was weaving his mental health into his character’s central arc narrative. He, like Maia was the fill-in date for those attending weddings and whilst Maia had noticed him, he had definitely noticed her in return. They had a bit of an unexpectedly magnetic chemistry you couldn’t deny and he could see her truer self through the veils of her pretending to be someone she wasn’t whilst on the job. Of course, the same could be said for him but he wasn’t one to reveal as much about himself as Maia was about herself.

I felt it was a wonderful meet-cute set-up to have them attending the same wedding – to see where they both go from here will be an interesting journey as I know his character is going to go through a lot of upheaval and personal growth whilst with Maia, I had a feeling she was seeking something she hadn’t yet realised what she was in search of as I had the vibe she just wasn’t as happy in her work life as she once had been. Time will tell of course!

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On the Contemporary Western styling of Cathy McDavid:

One thing I appreciate about Heartwarming novels, is how they give their authors a chance to ‘speak’ with their readers ahead of the reader soaking into their stories. This gives us a chance to peer into the writer’s mind and see what inspired them to create the characters, the series and/or the subjects/topics explored in the story at hand. In this particular case, I was thankful Ms McDavid mentioned her leading hero of the novel was going to be battling through depression as stories which focus on Mental Health & Wellness are needed in today’s Contemporary Romances – and it is something I have sometimes outed stories for not going far enough to deal with in the past – in fact, my first reading of this series, I thought more should have been done to help Cash. In another story recently, I felt therapy should have been an option explored in an INSPY Contemporary New Adult novel.

It is also a good thing to mention in case we’re not fully prepared to take that journey if our lives have a bit too much stress or if we feel we need a lighter read before we segue into a story which discusses Mental Health and addresses it through the character’s journey. For that I was quite appreciative of the author’s note ahead of this novel.

I’m looking forward to filling in the blanks between the first and third novel once I pick up a copy of the second whilst noting where this story continues to bloom past the first twenty five pages. There is a lot of depth of character in those pages and a lot of setting the stage for what is coming next – I like when authors like McDavid give us something to chew on about their characters early-on in a novel – as it helps us feel anchoured and rooted into the story as it starts to evolve forward. Plus for me, finding that emotional connection to characters is what holds my attention the most and she did a fantastic job giving me that anchour in this one!

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This book review is courtesy of: Prism Book Tours

Prism Book Tours

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A Secret Christmas Wish blog tour banner provided by Prism Book Tours and is used with permission.

By clicking this badge you will find the blog tour route where my fellow book bloggers are sharing their honest thoughts & impressions about the book as well as other lovely posts connected to the story and the author. There is also a bookaway attached to the tour – be sure to take a moment to visit the tour’s schedule for full details.

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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 Cowboy’s Holiday Bride”, “How to Marry A Cowboy” and “A Secret Christmas Wish”, synopsis and biography of the author Cathy McDavid as well as the 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: #blogmas book review banner, #25PagePreview banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2021.

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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, 10 November, 2021 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Christmas Romance &/or Holiday Story, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Western Fiction, Cowboys & Ranches, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Western Fiction, Western Romance

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