Category: Post-911 (11th September 2001)

#CrimeFicFridays | featuring the Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Guarding His Midnight Witness” (Honour Bond series, Book 4) by Anna J. Stewart

Posted Friday, 8 April, 2022 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart banner created by Jorie in Canva.

This Spring, I have the pleasure of joy to be reading a select sequencing of stories writ by the lovely Ms Anna J. Stewart – of whom, I first became introduced to whilst reading the #BlackwellBrothers series via Harlequin Heartwarming! Whilst continuing to get to know her further through her guest appearances on @SatBookChat (the Saturday chat I’ve hosted since 2014 celebrating Romance, Women’s Fiction & Feminist Lit). You’ll find me reading selections from her Romantic Suspense stories for Harlequin as well as her wicked lovely series ‘Butterfly Harbour’ which is a celebration of family, community and new beginnings!

Full disclaimer: Spring usually arrives so fast & furious our Winter barely has time to make a proper arrival and departure – thereby, despite the fact, we’re being blessed this year with an extended Winter, my reviews for Ms Stewart will be peppered throughout the coming months – thereby arriving on Jorie Loves A Story throughout ‘Spring’ even as Winter starts to disappear.

Hence why I’m calling this special featured showcase of reviews:

Celebrating Spring whilst reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart!

I started this concentration in 2021 with the following reviews:
Undercover Heat and Colton on the Run

whilst I began this new concentration by sharing my review of:
Gone in the Night & Recipe for Redemption

Acquired Book By: Whilst speaking with Ms Stewart about being a guest on @SatBookChat in the New Year of 2021 (in late 2020) – I realised there was a whole collection of stories by her I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading! The first series which charmed my heart was Butterfly Harbour – which we happily discussed during #SatBookChat in January, 2021 and the series I am concurrently reading this Spring, 2022. At the time, she mentioned to me she also writes for Harlequin’s Romantic Suspense and I was quite curious about those stories as I regularly read their Love Inspired Suspense novels. The key difference between the two is Love Inspired is their faith-based imprint and the Romantic Suspense stories are Contemporary and mainstream. I tend to be a hybrid reader of both mainstream and faith-based markets which is why I agreed to reading her Romantic Suspense releases.

I returnt to reading her stories within the Romantic Suspense imprint of Harlequin with “Gone in the Night”, as I previously shared my reviews on behalf of “Undercover Heat” and “Colton on the Run”. It is part of the Honor Bound series of stories – which begins with three women interconnected through a shared tragic past (ie. Eden, Simone and Allie) whilst it will expand and pivot to feature the McTavish’s after their story is told. As of Spring 2022 – there are five novels released in this series, though the series will expand into eight installments. (which I learnt during #SatBookChat in February, 2022)

I received a complimentary copy of “Guarding His Midnight Witness” direct from the author Anna J. Stewart in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. Per the badge at the end of this review, I am also a member of the author’s Review Team.

NOTE: All the Press Materials for this series (Honour Bound) were provided by the author, Ms Stewart for use on my blog. Whether she gifted me the books herself or whether I purchased them – as I asked if I could use them as I blog about this wonderfully lovely series.

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a few notations about the series from “Gone in the night”:

Stewart writes fast paced Romantic Suspense – to where you nearly feel as if the momentum is going to swallow you whole as your reading one of her novels. In this particular installment of the Honour Bound series, Stewart shifts forward and backwards to re-anchour the reader into the drama of the series itself. You didn’t have to finish reading the first two novels in the series to gain traction in the third which was a blessing for me as I couldn’t quite reconcile reading the first two novels in this series but I was gripped by the third as if this were the first novel. Stewart gives a lot of layered re-hashing of the events which has plagued the three main characters of the series thus far afield as the Honour Bound series is a thread of stories connecting Eden, Simone and Allie.

As this is the third installment, the point-of-perspective is given to Allie whilst opening the door for Guarding His Midnight Witness when it comes to Jack McTavish. Through conversations during #SatBookChat, I learnt Stewart let her characters dictate the direction of the series which is why we are going to pivot from the girls’ to the McTavish’s in the next installments. I’m not sure where we will go from there as this is going to be an eight book series but the journey is one I am thankful to be taking after a bit of a hard go at the start of it.

Similar to the other Romantic Suspense novels I’ve read by Stewart, this one packs quite the emotional punch for her readers. A lot of this is rooted in psychological suspense undertones combined with emotional anguish and heartache; whilst inclusive of trauma and memory from the past which re-inflicts pain in the present. It is a layered story and one which is slow brewing – as Stewart sets the stage well in the beginning for the kidnapping case to serve as a catalyst for the story itself and let’s us re-hover of the past Allie, Simone and Eden have been surviving all along.

-quoted from my review of Gone in the Night

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As I came into this series a bit haphazardly, it might help other readers who are considering reading this series but are unsure where to begin it. As I disclosed on my review for Gone in the Night, it took me a bit to find traction within the series, as the first two novels just didn’t grip me as much as Allie’s story and it was through her story, I was pleasantly surprised to see the whole series open up for me as a reader as Stewart has brilliant continuity and interweaving threads of connection from one installment to the next; something she is known for throughout all her series (as I’ve read quite a few of her series from two imprints of Harlequin). She catches you up on the back-histories of these characters whilst giving you feeders of folly to consider for future. I love how she started to insert the pivoting sequencing into Gone in the Night by focusing on Jack McTavish and of course, how his story-line became a bit of a cliffhanger leading into Guarding His Midnight Witness.

It wasn’t a traditional cliffhanger, as the door was open for his character to return but there was a quasi-curiosity about how he would return and in what capacity (to avoid spoilers) due to the circumstances of the final chapters of the third installment. I was definitely curious how and where we would re-enter Jack’s life now in the fourth novel whilst seeing how within this fourth installment, how we would continue to pivot forward away from the girls (ie. Allie, Eden and Simone) even though I knew they would all be somewhat inclusive of the series even as it moves forward due to the found family aspect of the Honour Bound series overall.

Allie roots you into the series because of how emotionally connective she is to the crux of the story which evolves through the first three novels. She is the axis point in so many ways and because of that, I felt a closer connection to both her as a character and to the series overall. Her cover art is also a bit telling as she’s the only book so far which only features the female lead rather than showcasing both the heroine and the hero of the story. I’d say more but that might be considered a spoiler as well – so let’s just leave it here as a curiosity of noting the differences in covers.

And, this is of course how I came to appreciate the Honour Bound series. It isn’t necessarily because of the case files their investigating because this series does continue to push me past my own comfort zones and boundaries when it comes to Crime Fiction and Cosy Crime drama but at the heart of the series is a wonderful group of individuals who found each other and who have bonded to each other to create their own family. Their not just bound by fate or mutual respect/appreciation but they all have a sense of duty and honour within them as well.

Only the series by Harlequin Heartwarming and Romantic Suspense have I found I can dip in and out of series – not always, as sometimes the sequencing is required to understand the flow of a series – as I wouldn’t say I could move in/out of all the series I’m reading and find the same continuity or traction as I had within Honour Bound but there are more chances I could do this within these two imprints than I could with series published elsewhere. Therefore, if you’ve not yet discovered this series, be sure to know you can pick up the threads of it and move forward with the rest of us who were also late-comers to the Honour Bound series! I do advise starting with Allie’s story in Gone in the Night as it is a pivotal story within the series in regards to anchouring you to the beginning and to the next chapters of where the series now pivots forward.

NOTE: I personally spelt honor as *honour* however, if you follow the feeds on Twitter or other socially engaged platforms be sure to use the American spelling #HonorBound to find other readers who are sharing their bookish reactions to the series. I am only spelling it differently as I review it on my blog but note the official title all the same. For me, honor is honour but that’s just a personal quirk.

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The Honour Bound series:

More than a Lawman by Anna J. StewartReunited with the P.I. by Anna J. StewartGone in the Night by Anna J. Stewart

Guarding His Midnight Witness by Anna J. StewartPrison Break Hostage by Anna J. Stewart

More than a Lawman (book one)

Reunited with the PI (book two)

Gone in the Night (book three) | (see also Review)

Guarding His Midnight Witness (book four)

Prison Break Hostage (book five)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

View the list and keep tabs on this series via Fantastic Fiction!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Published by: Harlequin Romantic Suspense (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #RomanticSuspense and #HonorBound

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Posted Friday, 8 April, 2022 by jorielov in 21st Century, Book Review (non-blog tour), Contemporary Romance, Crime Fiction, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

A Spring of Romance | Butterfly Harbour alights on Jorie Loves A Story with “Recipe for Redemption” (Book Two) by Anna J. Stewart

Posted Saturday, 12 March, 2022 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart banner created by Jorie in Canva.

This Spring, I have the pleasure of joy to be reading a select sequencing of stories writ by the lovely Ms Anna J. Stewart – of whom, I first became introduced to whilst reading the #BlackwellBrothers series via Harlequin Heartwarming! Whilst continuing to get to know her further through her guest appearances on @SatBookChat (the Saturday chat I’ve hosted since 2014 celebrating Romance, Women’s Fiction & Feminist Lit). You’ll find me reading selections from her Romantic Suspense stories for Harlequin as well as her wicked lovely series ‘Butterfly Harbour’ which is a celebration of family, community and new beginnings!

Full disclaimer: Spring usually arrives so fast & furious our Winter barely has time to make a proper arrival and departure – thereby, despite the fact, we’re being blessed this year with an extended Winter, my reviews for Ms Stewart will be peppered throughout the coming months – thereby arriving on Jorie Loves A Story throughout ‘Spring’ even as Winter starts to disappear.

Hence why I’m calling this special featured showcase of reviews:

Celebrating Spring whilst reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart!

I started this concentration in 2021 with the following reviews:
Undercover Heat and Colton on the Run

whilst I began this new concentration by sharing my review of:
Gone in the Night

Acquired Book By: Whilst speaking with Ms Stewart about being a guest on @SatBookChat in the New Year of 2021 (in late 2020) – I realised there was a whole collection of stories by her I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading! The first series which charmed my heart was Butterfly Harbour – which we happily discussed during #SatBookChat in January, 2021 and the series I am concurrently reading this Spring, 2022. At the time, she mentioned to me she also writes for Harlequin’s Romantic Suspense and I was quite curious about those stories as I regularly read their Love Inspired Suspense novels. The key difference between the two is Love Inspired is their faith-based imprint and the Romantic Suspense stories are Contemporary and mainstream. I tend to be a hybrid reader of both mainstream and faith-based markets which is why I agreed to reading her Romantic Suspense releases. 

Whilst receiving her Romantic Suspense novels, I also received the bulk of Butterfly Harbour in order to continue reading the series as the stories continue to publish and to maintain continuity which is important to me as a reader. I was overwhelmed by her kindness and it is a joy this New Year, 2022 to finally start to feature the stories of Butterfly Harbor. 

The first novel of Butterfly Harbour isn’t available in print anywhere in the world (don’t worry – I did the legwork for you, its literally GONE) but it is available in a digital format for those who can read ebooks. Thereby, I am starting my readings of Butterfly Harbour with Recipe for Redemption which is the second novel in the series. However, this is one novel I purchased myself as the first novel in the series I received from Ms Stewart is the third novel: “A Dad for Charlie”.

As I purchased this novel myself I was not obliged to write a review on its behalf. I chose to write a review for my own edification as well as to continue to share my readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: All the Press Materials for this series (Butterfly Harbour) were provided by the author, Ms Stewart for use on my blog. Whether she gifted me the books herself or whether I purchased them – as I asked if I could use them as I blog about this wonderfully lovely series.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

a notation about reading this series “Butterfly harbour”:

As you might have inferred, I did seek out “The Bad Boy of Butterfly Harbour” via out of print book shoppes online – both in the US and overseas. It seems like the print copies were quite beloved by their readers as I couldn’t find a used copy of the novel anywhere. However, I was thankful for those who read digitally will be thrilled they can find a copy for themselves. I don’t mind starting on the second in the series as generally that is a second best place to begin a long-running series, as you know going in the author is gong to recap what is pertinent to know about the series and any characters therein who might have been revealled in the first novel. If you can’t start at book one, book two is definitely the best way to feel anchoured!

I will say, I did chase down a chapter sampler of The Bad Boy of Butterfly Harbour in order to seek out the author’s note in the beginning of the novel. Stewart shares heaps of insight in her author’s notes and I knew, if I couldn’t read the full novel, I definitely wanted to know what she had written about in that note! After all, it kicks off the whole series! And, I wasn’t disappointed! I loved how this series is connected to her grandmother and how butterflies play such a large role behind what initially inspired the choice to name the towne – it reminded me of memories of my own grandmother and how connective of a relationship you can share from grandmother to grand-daughter or even in my case, great-grand-daughter to great-grandmother! I was blessed to have two sets of grand-parents and a great-grand as well.

The note also gave out key information about the title characters of the novel and how that first novel was centred round a romantic redemption plot wherein both characters had to bury the hatchet about their past so to speak. I would have loved to have seen that evolution but I was perfectly happy to reside in Butterfly Harbour inbound from Recipe for Redemption all the same! Likewise, I was quite wicked happy when I realised how The Bad Boy of Butterfly Harbour was interlinked into Recipe for Redemption in regards to how the anchour is provided through a character important to Abby, of whom, is happily very present within the timeline of the sequel.

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The Butterfly Harbour series:

The Bad Boy of Butterfly Harbour by Anna J. StewartRecipe for Redemption by Anna J. Stewart

The Bad Boy of Butterfly Harbour (book one)

Can people truly change?

Two things keep Holly Campbell grounded: her precocious son and preserving her forty-year-old family diner in the face of expansion and change. She doesn’t need a blast from the past like Luke Saxon, who’s back in Butterfly Harbor after more than a decade away. The hard-luck kid who nearly destroyed her family, leaving her to pick up the pieces, is taking over as sheriff. She can’t trust him, even if Luke’s ideas for the town’s upcoming anniversary seem to show he’s trying to give back to their community. Has Butterfly Harbor found its unlikely savior? And has the widowed single mother finally found a man she can believe in, rely on…and love

Recipe for Redemption (book two)

A Dad for Charlie (book three)

Always the Hero (book four)

Holiday Kisses (book five)

Safe in His Arms (book six)

The Firefighter’s Thanksgiving Wish (book seven)

A Match Made Perfect (book eight)

Bride on the Run (book nine)

Building a Surprise Family (book ten)

Worth the Risk (book eleven)

The Mayor’s Baby Surprise (book twelve)

← *forthcoming release: April, 2022!

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View the list and keep tabs on this series via Fantastic Fiction!

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A Spring of Romance | Butterfly Harbour alights on Jorie Loves A Story with “Recipe for Redemption” (Book Two) by Anna J. StewartRecipe for Redemption
by Ms Anna J. Stewart
Source: Purchased | Personal Library

From the frying pan…

Abby Manning has to take home first prize in an amateur cooking competition to save her town’s landmark inn–and longtime home for her ailing grandmother. Too bad the Butterfly Harbor innkeeper is a complete disaster in the kitchen. Undeterred, Abby asks her latest guest to teach her the basics.

A family tragedy and ensuing scandal derailed Jason Corwin’s high-profile career. But is the gifted celebrity chef going to let one mistake define the rest of his life? Add in a generous helping of mutual attraction and another burgeoning scandal, and it could be a recipe for star-crossed romance…or disaster, especially if a win for Abby costs Jason his professional future.

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



Places to find the book:

Also by this author: Undercover Heat, Colton on the Run, Gone in the Night, Guarding His Midnight Witness

Series: Butterfly Harbor


Setting: Butterfly Harbor


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

Format: Trade Paperback

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

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance and #ButterflyHarbor
as well as #HarlequinHeartwarming

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Posted Saturday, 12 March, 2022 by jorielov in 21st Century, Book Review (non-blog tour), Chefs and Sous Chefs, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Cookery, Life Shift, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Romance Fiction, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA

#CrimeFicFridays | featuring the Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Gone in the Night” (Honour Bound series, Book 3) by Anna J. Stewart

Posted Friday, 11 March, 2022 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart banner created by Jorie in Canva.

This Spring, I have the pleasure of joy to be reading a select sequencing of stories writ by the lovely Ms Anna J. Stewart – of whom, I first became introduced to whilst reading the #BlackwellBrothers series via Harlequin Heartwarming! Whilst continuing to get to know her further through her guest appearances on @SatBookChat (the Saturday chat I’ve hosted since 2014 celebrating Romance, Women’s Fiction & Feminist Lit). You’ll find me reading selections from her Romantic Suspense stories for Harlequin as well as her wicked lovely series ‘Butterfly Harbour’ which is a celebration of family, community and new beginnings!

Full disclaimer: Spring usually arrives so fast & furious our Winter barely has time to make a proper arrival and departure – thereby, despite the fact, we’re being blessed this year with an extended Winter, my reviews for Ms Stewart will be peppered throughout the coming months – thereby arriving on Jorie Loves A Story throughout ‘Spring’ even as Winter starts to disappear.

Hence why I’m calling this special featured showcase of reviews:

Celebrating Spring whilst reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart!

I started this concentration in 2021 with the following reviews:
Undercover Heat and Colton on the Run

Acquired Book By: Whilst speaking with Ms Stewart about being a guest on @SatBookChat in the New Year of 2021 (in late 2020) – I realised there was a whole collection of stories by her I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading! The first series which charmed my heart was Butterfly Harbour – which we happily discussed during #SatBookChat in January, 2021 and the series I am concurrently reading this Spring, 2022. At the time, she mentioned to me she also writes for Harlequin’s Romantic Suspense and I was quite curious about those stories as I regularly read their Love Inspired Suspense novels. The key difference between the two is Love Inspired is their faith-based imprint and the Romantic Suspense stories are Contemporary and mainstream. I tend to be a hybrid reader of both mainstream and faith-based markets which is why I agreed to reading her Romantic Suspense releases.

This review marks my return to reading her stories within the Romantic Suspense imprint of Harlequin, as I previously shared my reviews on behalf of “Undercover Heat” and “Colton on the Run”. It is part of the Honor Bound series of stories – which begins with three women interconnected through a shared tragic past (ie. Eden, Simone and Allie) whilst it will expand and pivot to feature the McTavish’s after their story is told. As of Spring 2022 – there are five novels released in this series, though the series will expand into eight installments. (which I learnt during #SatBookChat in February, 2022)

I borrowed a copy of “Gone in the Night” from my local library through their interlibrary loan services (in 2021) whilst I bought a personal copy of the novel (February, 2022) and was not obliged to write a review on its behalf. I chose to write a review for my own edification as well as to continue to share my readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: All the Press Materials for this series (Honour Bound) were provided by the author, Ms Stewart for use on my blog. Whether she gifted me the books herself or whether I purchased them – as I asked if I could use them as I blog about this wonderfully lovely series.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

a notation about reading this series “Honour bound”:

I borrowed More Than A Lawman and Reunited with the PI via interlibrary loan in early 2021 – wherein I read most of the first novel and only part of the second, however, I understood the gist of the series based on what I had been reading. Sadly, with everything that was going on at the time I read them, I misplaced the notes I had on those readings. It was my first introduction to reading Romantic Suspense novels by Ms Stewart and I would have continued to read this series then, however, Gone in the Night was a bit delayed reaching me through inter-library loan. Thereby, I had to forestall continuing to read the series until I could find a personal copy of Gone in the Night. Which I admit, took until recently – as I happily received my copy of the novel the week of February, 26th, 2022.

I do remember More Than A Lawman and Reunited with the PI pushed me a bit as far as the plots were considered as I felt a bit out of my comfort zones in regards to where I like to read Romantic Suspense. I didn’t feel fully attached and comfortable within this series until I started reading Gone in the Night which is why that particular novel is what is kicking off my showcases for the Honour Bond series overall. Stewart did a great job at continuity within this series – as the three women: Eden, Simone and Allie are a united front with a shared history which haunts each of them in different ways whilst leading into a climax of terror. I felt more aligned with Allie’s story moreso than Eden’s and Simone’s which doesn’t happen very often for me in a series – yet, for whichever reason I just felt more in sync with the series with Allie’s story and felt that was the best place for me to start my reviews. I had shifted from this series to reading about the Colton’s, which is why the first Romantic Suspense review I shared for Ms Stewart was Undercover Heat.

I wanted to begin my showcases for the Honour Bound series by back-reading the stories leading into Guarding His Midnight Witness and this year’s release Prison Break Hostage. As a way of setting down a foundation for myself as a reader whilst offering the chance to introduce this series to my readers and visitors alike who might be equally as interested in this Contemporary Romantic Suspense series. I also have a feeling the series may pivot once it shifts past Eden, Simone and Allie’s storylines and I was curious to watch the series evolve forward past the initial three novels as it will focus on the McTavish’s. As the detective in Gone in the Night is featured in Guarding His Midnight Witness.

NOTE: I personally spelt honor as *honour* however, if you follow the feeds on Twitter or other socially engaged platforms be sure to use the American spelling #HonorBound to find other readers who are sharing their bookish reactions to the series. I am only spelling it differently as I review it on my blog but note the official title all the same. For me, honor is honour but that’s just a personal quirk.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Honour Bound series:

More than a Lawman by Anna J. StewartReunited with the P.I. by Anna J. StewartGone in the Night by Anna J. Stewart

Guarding His Midnight Witness by Anna J. StewartPrison Break Hostage by Anna J. Stewart

More than a Lawman (book one)

Haunted by the death of her childhood friend, journalist Eden St. Claire has dedicated her life to catching serial killers—and she’s always done so alone. But when the lethal murderer Eden is tracking puts her in danger’s crosshairs, she agrees to accept protection from longtime friend Detective Cole Delaney.

Cole has secretly carried a torch for Eden for years. She might not want to let anybody in, but the thought of losing her is unbearable. Passions flare as the threats intensify. Can Cole convince Eden to break her own rule to never fall in love…before the killer snuffs out their happily-ever-after?

Reunited with the PI (book two)

Exactly why should P.I. Vince Sutton take his ex-wife’s case? Because she, assistant district attorney Simone Armstrong, put his brother in jail? Because the ambitious spitfire still drives him crazy? No, he’ll take it because “The Avenging Angel” makes him a deal he can’t refuse. Sparks fly when Vince works all-too-closely with Simone to locate her missing key witness…but in the process, they are drawn into a cold case. As much as he tries, Vince can’t deny that he’s never gotten over beautiful Simone, but can he admit his feelings to her—and himself? And can he save her from the danger that’s heading their way?

Gone in the Night (book three)

Guarding His Midnight Witness (book four)

Prison Break Hostage (book five)

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View the list and keep tabs on this series via Fantastic Fiction!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Published by: Harlequin Romantic Suspense (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #RomanticSuspense and #HonorBound

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Posted Friday, 11 March, 2022 by jorielov in 21st Century, Book Review (non-blog tour), Contemporary Romance, Crime Fiction, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

#INSPYSundays | Returning to a series I’ve only discovered in the final installments: “Fancy Meeting You Here” by Christy Hayes

Posted Sunday, 31 October, 2021 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

#INSPYSundays banner made my Jorie in Canva.

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 enquired 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 “Fancy Meeting You Here” direct from author Christy Hayes in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I fell in love with Christy Hayes and her style of Contemporary Romance:

One of the best moments I felt in the storyline is where Kayla is talking to her Mum – their trying to make sense of Kayla’s new reality – sorting out the emotions of her pregnancy and trying to look ahead to the future where Kayla and Ben have to sort out how to forge their own tomorrow together. Whatever they would choose to do for their child, they would choose to do on their own terms – that was something Kayla’s Mum understood. His parents were the opposite variety – the controlling kind, who liked to hug themselves to the law and readjust everyone else to their own will and worldview. For Kayla’s Mum, in that one moment of sincere compassion for her daughter you saw how a true mother’s love could encourage a daughter during a moment of her life where darkness threatened to erase the Light. It was also where Hayes started to insert the INSPY threads of the narrative – where she was trying to point towards how God was at the intersection of their lives and was truly at the head of where their compass was starting to point them into a new path they would be walking together rather than apart.

Hayes kept me anchoured into the story – she didn’t make excuses for her characters, nor did she overtly bring into the forum of their duress the inspirational messages you might have felt could have been added into the fray of their spiralling anxieties. She was allowing them some space – some time to breathe and feel the weight of their choices – good, bad or indifferent, they had lived those hours together and Hayes was presenting the outcome of what happens when you take one reckless romantic night and wake-up with the consequences of that affair. She openly lets her characters choose their own words and to fumble their own way through tomorrow – in that regard she had my respect because it was a very adult way of presenting a New Adult narrative on what happens when co-ed University students suddenly find themselves contemplating Mr Mom and Mrs Baby scenarios.

I needed a story to pull me back into the joy of reading – Hayes gave me a story which rooted me into her characters’ lives, gave me a reason to champion their cause and gave me such an uplift of joy to discover their story to where I felt renewed in the healing grace of finding stories which lift our spirits during moments in our lives where sometimes connecting to stories is one of the hardest obstacles we need to overcome.

I love returning to the world of INSPY and/or heartwarming romances (such as Harlequin Heartwarming) wherein I know I can be greeted by a cast of characters who will give me something to chew on whilst anchouring me into their heart-centred storyline wherein I’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated for having met against the page. How blessed was I then to have sought out this blog tour and had the proper chance to ‘meet’ my first Hayes novel! It was a wicked brilliant introduction to her writing style and I hope others will pick up a copy to see what I found – adding to their own sought after blisstitude for uplifting fiction during the uncertain tides of everyday life (whilst we’re all surviving through a pandemic we never saw coming!).

Hayes tucks you close to the mindset and emotional state of Kayla – digging into her fears, her emotions and the ways in which her thought processes were trying to make sense of how altered her life was now that she had a confirmed pregnancy test in her hands. It was a moment that defines you and a moment where you have to sort yourself out before you can hope to move forward – something you could tell even Kayla’s roommates understood a bit before Kayla herself. Whilst at the same time, there is a definitive style in this novel – as Formula for a Perfect Life has the beauty of a Rom-Com within its folds – as it is told in a light-handed manner of exploring what a twenty-something college co-ed is going to to after a test is taken to determine her future. It is a novel hinging on Kayla’s actions and reactions to the test itself whilst everyone round her also has to react and adjust along with her – that in of itself was a bit genius as it takes the films I loved previously to a new area of enlightenment. Where the characters are younger, not quite as seasoned on life and still find themselves in a bit of a pickle when it comes to sorting out love, parenthood and the artful imbalance of romance and life!

One reason I like to read upcoming voices in Contemporary INSPY Romance is because of the changing ways the voice of the market is able to yield a wide field of narratives giving us a better grounded array of stories, characters and sequencing of stories to read. I sometimes find some of the authors’ have a style which is hit or miss for me personally, but I love the ability to seek them out all the same. With Hayes, I feel a bit vindicated that my openness to seek out new authors of Contemporary INSPY was well-placed because she’s struck the balance I was hoping to find with the ability to carve out a wicked good Contemporary Romance!

-quoted from my review of Formula for a Perfect Life
which also received one of my Cuppa Book Love Awards

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Reading Formula for a Perfect Life changed my perspective about reading Contemporary New Adult which a few authors have been able to give me after finding myself a bit burnt out on the genre overall. It was a hard sell for me initially (the genre, not the story!) as I never could quite grapple with the gap years between Upper YA and Adult, which is where New Adult is aptly suited and placed. I have the tendency of being a traditional YA reader rather than an Upper YA reader (though there are a few exceptions!) whilst I also appreciate Middle Grade; yet, when it comes to Contemporary Romance – for a long while I was starting to consider I was more apt to read an INSPY Contemporary than a mainstream one but that was before the days I read ChocLitUK (in the earlier years of Jorie Loves A Story) and long before I discovered Harlequin Heartwarming and Love Inspired Suspense.

Those Contemporary Romance authors changed my opinion but so have the INSPY Contemporary Romance authors who are switching up the genre itself and giving us wickedly in-depth stories which not only tackle heavier topics and realistic storylines (in a similar vein as the Heartwarming authors) but they are creating a lovely new niche of joy for those of us who grew up as hybrid readers of both INSPY and mainstream stories. This is the INSPY for the new generation – for readers who respect the tradition of INSPY but who also love seeing authors embrace a way to bring in the Contemporary angle to where INSPY can go in the future. This might be a step away from what people are expecting out of their INSPY novels but for me, its a refreshing change and one I continue to celebrate on my blog whenever I make a new discovery such as I had last year when I first read Christy Hayes.

However, that doesn’t mean I can’t get disappointed which I’ll be outlining on this review for Fancy Meeting You Here. As it could be a mixture o reasons why I had a slightly negative reaction to reading this novel right now (which I mention) or it could be, this particular novel in the series came off to me to be less spontaneously cheeky and a heap more darker with a full-on snark effect. I just struggled to connect to this story and the characters but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to read other stories in this series – its just for this go-round, I think my expectations were quite high and I just fell a bit short in stepping in line with the author’s vision of where the story took me.

She’s one of the forerunners in my opinion, along with Bethany Turner (Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish), Janet W. Ferguson (Magnolia Storms), Kellie Coates Gilbert (A Reason to Stay) and Becky Wade (the Bradford Sisters series and Stay With Me) to name a few!

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#INSPYSundays | Returning to a series I’ve only discovered in the final installments: “Fancy Meeting You Here” by Christy HayesFancy Meeting You Here
by Christy Hayes
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and this time there’s no keeping the flames under wraps.

After ending a passionate affair, Shelby Zurlo thinks she has it all—a career built on brains and not beauty and the independence she craves. But her graphic design business is struggling, and her solo status in a world made for couples leaves her lonely. When a client asks a favor—a favor she can’t refuse—Shelby runs headfirst into her biggest mistake and her biggest regret.

Nick Chamberlain is living the dream. He’s got a successful business venture, a strong and supportive family, and a social life most guys would envy. If only he could move on from the woman who shattered his heart and never looked back.

When a chance meeting forces Shelby and Nick to interact, sparks fly and tempers flare. Nick is determined to win Shelby back; Shelby is just as committed to keeping Nick in the friend zone. In a battle of wits, will stubborn hearts bend and sway, or snap in the headwinds of love?

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Sweet Romance, New Adult Fiction, Romance Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy (Rom Com), Motherhood | Parenthood



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1625720245

Also by this author: Formula for a Perfect Life

Published by CAH LLC

on 11th October, 2021

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 295

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The Stories in the Kiss & Tell series I’ve read:

Formula for a Perfect Life by Christy HayesFancy Meeting You Here by Christy Hayes

Formula for a Perfect Life (book five): Kayla’s story : (see also Review)

Fancy Meeting You Here (book six) : Shelby’s story

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& the stories I need to gather to read next:

Stalling for Time (book one) : Emily’s Story

The End Run (book two) : Zach’s story

Kiss & Make Up (book three) : Emily & Dylan and Zach & Jenna’s stories

Maybe Its You (book four) : Reagan’s story

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This is a self-published novel by CAH LLC

Converse via: #FancyMeetingYouHere, #ContemporaryRomance & #INSPYRomance
as well as #ChristianRomance, #IndieAuthor/s and #ChristyHayes

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About Christy Hayes

Christy Hayes lives outside Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and dogs. Christy writes Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance, Christian Romance, and Women's Fiction. When not writing, she’s reading, walking dogs, or stalking her college-aged kids on social media.

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Posted Sunday, 31 October, 2021 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Modern Day, New Adult Fiction, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Women's Fiction