Category: Small Towne USA

An INSPY Blog Book Tour | “Stay with Me” (A Misty River Romance, Book One) by Becky Wade

Posted Sunday, 24 May, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review banner created by 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 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 “Stay with Me” direct from the publisher Bethany House 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

What I have previously shared about my love of reading Ms Wade’s stories:

I *love!* how realistically real this series feels to our own world – it’s a wonderful composite both in setting and tone whilst it hones in our contemporary awareness of technology and certain socially conscience recognition’s which seek to either make us smile or laugh! For instance, Ms Wade has definitely taken a leaf out of my own journal for how to knit out a laugh from an analogy of a contemporary New Age car (ie. Tesla) and make it cross-relate to how relationships can be short-lasting! (as observed in True to You) She fuses wit with humour in such a layered approach as to make you nearly forget this isn’t a story based on real persons who lived but rather it’s a fictional series created in such a way to grant you the illusion her characters *could!* live if only they could step straight through the threshold of their fictional existence.

What truly captured my heart about Ms Wade’s Contemporary style is the authentic nature of her style – you can tell she has had experience outside of INSPY, as her style feels mainstream but has an INSPY core of heart. I think this is why I like the authors I am finding lately for Contemporary INSPY – their writing the cutting edge INSPY Contemporaries I am hungry for as a reader with enough of the content I’m seeking out of the mainstream but cannot find. For this, I feel truly blessed I was given the opportunity to start reading her stories!

Secondly, what warmed my bookish heart is her instinctive nature of threading continuity into her stories – from novella to novel, her intentional connections between her characters and her story-lines are some of the best I’ve come across – irregardless of which genre I am writing! Continuity sometimes is overlooked in serial fiction (by some) but it is something I hail as being the mark of a superhero writer, because to knit into an on-going series the organic inclusions of previous stories, is rather impressive!

One of the treasures for me to be reading Wade’s stories is how she uses her turns of phrase – such as how a rotary phone has gravity to draw a highlight towards a particular observation early-on in the novel. She has great instincts for making her stories rooted in a contemporary world we can immediately identify by using connective observational expressions most people will recognise and see as a piece of their own lives being reflected through the Bradford Sisters Romance series. I know I have and I am dearly thankful for how she carried the continuity of this styling throughout each of the installments. You can readily identify her style as if you could hear her voicing the words aloud and through the recognition of her voice in how she says the words.

Ms Wade has charmed me dear hearts! I simply have a heart gladdened by the presence of one of her stories in my life! She knows how to tuck you into a world you never want to disappear away from and to give you that cosy comforting feeling you’re hoping to find whenever your about to reattach into a series you simply find #unputdownable due to how the heart of its characters resonates so well with your readerly sensibility.

-quoted from my reviews of “Falling for You” and “Sweet on You”

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

An INSPY Blog Book Tour | “Stay with Me” (A Misty River Romance, Book One) by Becky WadeStay with Me
Subtitle: A Misty River Romance
by Becky Wade
Source: Publisher via Prism Book Tours

Loving her is a risk he can’t afford . . . and can’t resist.

When acclaimed Bible study author Genevieve Woodward receives an anonymous letter referencing her parents’ past, she returns to her hometown in the Blue Ridge mountains to chase down her family’s secret. However, it’s Genevieve’s own secret that catches up to her when Sam Turner, owner of an historic farm, uncovers the source of shame she’s worked so hard to hide.

Sam has embraced his sorrow, his isolation, and his identity as an outsider. He’s spent years carving out both career success and peace of mind. The last thing he wants is to rent the cottage on his property to a woman whose struggles stir his worst failure back to life. Yet, can he bear to turn her away right when she needs him most?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780764235603

Also by this author: Falling for You (Spotlight w/ Notes), Then Came You, True to You, Falling for You, Sweet on You

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


Published by Bethany House Publishers

on 5th May, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 400

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Published by: Bethany House Publishers (@bethany_house)

an imprint of Baker Publishing Group

Formats Available: Hardback, Trade Paperback and Ebook

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Misty River Romance series:

Take a Chance on Me by Becky WadeStay with Me by Becky Wade

Take A Chance On Me (Prequel)

When baker Penelope Quinn steps in to help her brother’s family through a medical crisis, she’s forced into close proximity with charming Air Force fighter pilot Eli Price.

Penelope has one iron-clad dating rule—she does not date airmen. Months ago, she relaxed her rule with Eli and immediately lived to regret it. After a long deployment, he’s now back in Misty River and, to her dismay, she finds him just as tempting as always.

Eli’s spent months thinking about funny, feisty, creative Penelope. He once leveraged his focus and drive to become a pilot, his childhood dream. Now he’s set on leveraging that same focus and drive in order to convince Penelope to give him one more chance.

This romantic prequel novella introduces readers to the quaint mountain town of Misty River and a brand-new series from Christy-winning author Becky Wade!

 NOTE: Some good news – the prequel is released into paperback! I look forward to gathering a copy of this hopefully before the second novel is released!

Stay with Me (Book One)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Converse via: #StayWithMe, #ContemporaryRomance or #Contemporary
as well as #INSPYRomance, #INSPY, #ChristianFiction & #BeckyWade

About Becky Wade

Becky Wade

Becky’s a California native who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and settled in Dallas. She published historical romances for the general market before putting her career on hold for several years to care for her three children.

When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction. She loves writing funny, modern, and inspirational contemporary romance! She’s the Christy Award and Carol Award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, the Porter Family series, and the Bradford Sisters Romance series.

Photo Credit: Creative Photography

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Read More

Divider

Posted Sunday, 24 May, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Drugs & Alcohol, Fly in the Ointment, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Mental Health, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Small Towne USA, Sweet Romance

#HarlequinHeartwarming Blog Book Tour | “Her Surprise Cowboy” (Book Three of the Heroes of Shelter Creek series) by Claire McEwen

Posted Friday, 10 April, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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.

I received a complimentary copy of “Her Surprise Cowboy” direct from the author Claire McEwen 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

This is one of my top favourite #CowboyRomances by Harlequin Heartwarming:

The beauty really are the authors Harlequin has within Heartwarming and Love Inspired – they know how to write the drama within the romance but also how to write compelling series with realistic characters & narratives which are a joy to be reading. I get quite giddy whenever there is a new author to read from Heartwarming or Love Inspired – whilst having the chance to participate on one of their blog tours is quite icing on the romantic cake! I love celebrating authors who are writing the STORIES which give me a heart full of blissitude to be #amreading – thus, for the past two years I’ve been hosting PRISM’s blog tours, I’ve been doubly blessed to become acquainted with the Heartwarming imprint and their series!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Cowboy Romances I am wicked addicted to reading
by this lovely imprint are the following:

The Rocky Mountain Cowboys by Karen Rock

Return of the Blackwell Brothers by Carol Ross, Anna J. Stewart,
Melinda Curtis, Cari Lynn Webb & Amy Vastine

The Heroes of Shelter Creek by Claire McEwen

I’ll be honest – before I even knew a whisper of a hint of where this story would take me – the novel perked my interest for a singular word in the book’s title: *cowboy!* I know, that sounds interesting doesn’t it? How can one word in a book’s title give you the wickedest sweet joy of anticipation in order to read a story? You’d have to go back into my childhood & teenage years to realise that I read quite a lot of lovely Cowboy & Western Fiction! So much so, this is one reason I was wickedly thankful to have found the Rocky Mountain Cowboys & Return of the Blackwell Brothers over the last few years – because they’ve given me *contemporary!* cowboys I can rally behind rather than my usual guilty pleasure of reading the Historicals!

Open country, horse-back riding, close-knit families & communities who care about each other is what draws me into Cowboy Fiction & stories of the West. However, you can find cowboys in nearly every state – outside of my wanderings in the Rockies and other points West – I have found some of the most delightful stories are about Northern California ranchers & ranches! This particular story is set in NorCal and I was wicked excited about meeting the community of Shelter Creek but even moreso – the characters who populate the towne and the series itself!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

I *completely!* forgot there was a sequel releasing in September, 2019! Mind you, most of last Autumn was the beginning of my six months of health afflictions (combination of migraines & bad colds) – however, the *good news!* is I’ve found “After the Rodeo” listed on a used book website and that makes me smile because when I’m able to order a copy I’ll be purchasing this lovely along with a few other Harlequin Heartwarming stories I’ve not had the chance to ‘add’ to my personal library!

I look forward to ‘meeting’ Jace & Vivian’s story after I’ve had the chance to bring this story home. I’m not a stranger to reading a Harlequin Heartwarming series ‘out of sequence’ of the series either – I’ve done this in the past with Karen Rock’s Rocky Mountain Cowboys and there are others as well – it is one of the few imprints & publishers wherein the authors make it easier for you to navigate between installments of their series!

Something I am truly thankful to have experienced – even though, in the end, I’ll be gathering all the installments and re-reading the series start to finish as I personally love watching the growth and maturity of a series as it takes root, stock and height in the development of the characters’ lives, the community’s involvement behind their lives and the continuity the writer intuits into the series – I know for other readers, they like to dip in and out of a series.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#HarlequinHeartwarming Blog Book Tour | “Her Surprise Cowboy” (Book Three of the Heroes of Shelter Creek series) by Claire McEwenHer Surprise Cowboy
Subtitle: Heroes of Shelter Creek
by Claire McEwen
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Looking for redemption…

Finding a future

Rancher Liam Dale is in Shelter Creek to make amends for his troubled past. He had no idea vet assistant Trisha Gilbert would be there, too—and he’s even more shocked to discover he’s a daddy! Trisha has good reasons not to trust him and a baby boy to protect. But now that he knows he’s a father, Liam longs to transform this unexpected reunion into a true family.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335889676

Also by this author: Reunited with the Cowboy

Also in this series: Reunited with the Cowboy


Genres: Contemporary Romance, Ranches & Cowboys, Romance Fiction, Western Fiction, Western Romance


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 7th April, 2020

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

The Heroes of Shelter Creek series:

Reunited with the Cowboy by Claire McEwenAfter the Rodeo by Claire McEwenHer Surprise Cowboy by Claire McEwen

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Reunited with the Cowboy (book one) – Caleb & Maya’s story

After the Rodeo (book two) – Jace & Vivian’s story ← the one I missed!

Her Surprise Cowboy (book three) – Liam & Trisha’s story

Rescuing the Rancher (book four) → forthcoming September, 2020!

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

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 via: #CowboyRomance, #WesternRomance & #ContemporaryRomance
as well as #HSCPrism and #HarlequinHeartwarming with #HeroesOfShelterCreek

About Claire McEwen

Claire McEwen

Claire McEwen writes stories about strong heroes and heroines who take big, emotional journeys to find their happily-ever-after. She lives by the ocean in Northern California with her family and a scruffy, mischievous terrier. When she’s not writing, Claire enjoys gardening, reading and discovering flea-market treasures. She loves to hear from readers!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

Divider

Posted Friday, 10 April, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, California, Child out of Wedlock, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Western Fiction, Cowboys & Ranches, Drugs & Alcohol, Family Life, Life Shift, Modern Day, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Self-Harm Practices, Single Mothers, Singletons & Commitment, Sisterhood friendships, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Unexpected Pregnancy, Western Fiction, Western Romance, Women's Fiction

#HarlequinHeartwarming Blog Book Tour | “Always the One” (Meet Me At The Altar series, Book Four) by Tara Randel

Posted Thursday, 13 February, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

Book Review banner created by 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 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 “Always the One” direct from the author Tara Randel 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 appreciate reading

the Meet Me At the Altar series by Tara Randel:

Serena’s store Blue Ridge Cottage is the kind of eclectic papery shoppe I’d love to find IRL! Especially as it brings me back to the joyful past of being an ardent letter writer who loved sending letters through the post office! Stationery stores and typewriter repair shoppes are a bit harder to come by these days as much as a solidly outfitted scrapbooking and/or rubberstamp shoppe for those of us who love paper crafting, mixed media collage and the art of creating handmade greeting cards. You can get lost inside a store like Serena’s inasmuch as you could a book shoppe! The choices, the designs and the curiously clever way she used vintage furnishings to display her wares was enticing enough but it was the soul sister vibe she carried off by endearing herself to fellow typospherians which made it seem sweeter somehow!

Mrs M is quite the stitch and a half! She is the kind of landlord who has a grandmotherly attitude which lands her into a bit of a tricky spot when she wants to earnestly offer her grandson to a winning match such as Serena! She can’t help herself really, if you observe her as she tries to encourage a love match between two singleton’s who aren’t entirely ready for the prospect of a relationship! Matching is a fun activity for the person whose doing the pairings but for those on the opposite end of the match? I could see why Serena was hesitating to acknowledge the cunning smiles and the curious way Mrs M attempted to stall in the shoppe long enough for Logan to collect her for their day out.

Logan enjoys his job a bit too much if you ask me! He gets too much pleasure out of uncovering a person’s secrets and of finding out what they wish to hide from the world. Not that that is always a bad thing mind you, but in his eyes? He seems to place himself above reproach and just because there was a bad apple incident who affected his grandmother’s life years ago; he’s now embolden to believe others will follow suit. Others like Serena who just want to carve out an honest business and make it as an independent shoppe owner in an era of chains and box stores. You had to feel for him a bit – for his misguided sense of duty as it is one thing to honour your grandmother and protect her interests but it is another to marginalise everyone just because you can’t believe that someone would be honourable and trustworthy. Even Mrs M called him on that!

Serena loved being involved in the local activities Golden provided but sometimes the cost of participation was more than she was willing to yield. You could almost see the mistake in judgement on her face when Logan started to grill her again for information. He thinks he’s this suave bloke who could charm the daisies off any woman but in reality, he’s hard-edged and if your intuitive, you can see what he’s doing even before he finishes his enquiry.

My three favourite characters ended up being Serena’s father, Jasmine (the new love of his life) and Mrs M; mostly as the three of them are the crafty parental figures who knew how to get forward motion churning in the lives of Serena and Logan. They needed a lot of pushes and nudges to work through their feelings, re-think what they felt they knew of each other and of course, like most relationships that have a rocky foundation they needed help finding common ground. All of this is put together through the vision Randel had in showcasing how ordinary life can be messy but its the hours betwixt and between which count the most.

The person I felt the most sorry for was Logan and Reid’s father – I think he never truly gave himself permission to feel the losses he experienced nor had the capacity to find a way to heal through self-forgiveness for his own past sins. Logan’s father was a proud man but what he needed most was his sons to accept his faults, understand his frailties and still find a reason to accept him as a father who loved his sons most of all. This is why the series feels rooted in a family drama set in a small close-knit mountain community. Everyone is in a different stage of progress towards resolving something of their lives or of their past; no one is unaffected by the secrets but it is those secrets which cause more harm than good.

What pulls me back into the plotting of Meet Me At the Altar series is the thickening plot points – there is an overlapping arc of narrative threading between the novels which is leading into a revelation period. There is one underscoring mystery involving Serena’s own past, her family and especially the goings on with her father which stem from the investigative instincts of detectives both private and publicly employed. It is within this scope that Randel encourages your curiosity because each new installment of the series hugs you closer to the truth but also pulls away from it quite a bit in order to lengthen the reveal.

I am hoping there are a few more stories yet to come in this series – I’d love to see what becomes of Reid, but also the supporting characters of Heidi and Carrie. There are more characters whose lives are entwined with the leads and I would love to see how their lives begin to work out as well!

What gives you the best joy of course is watching how Ms Randel knits her characters closer together at moments where they’d prefer to remain isolated, alone and single. She doesn’t let them root there in their own self-pity, but rather attempts to push them towards the people who have unconditional love to share and friendship which will last longer than a rumour. This is a series that is about working through your problems, trusting in yourself to have the chance to repair the past and finding a place as calm as Golden to renew your spirit as you redefine your path.

-quoted from my review of Trusting Her Heart
(Meet Me At the Altar series, Book Three)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#HarlequinHeartwarming Blog Book Tour | “Always the One” (Meet Me At The Altar series, Book Four) by Tara RandelAlways the One
Subtitle: Meet Me At The Altar
by Tara Randel
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

She’s the love of his life… but is he still hers?

FBI agent Derrick Matthews has finally found his childhood sweetheart and the love of his life—but she isn’t exactly happy about it! Years ago, Hannah Rawlings disappeared overnight when her family went on the run, and she blames Derrick. She tells him she’s moved on and he should, too, but Derrick fears Hannah’s still in danger. He vows to protect her—even if that means betraying her trust…again.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-335-88957-7

Also by this author: His One and Only Bride, His Honor, Her Family, Trusting Her Heart

Also in this series: His Honor, Her Family, Trusting Her Heart


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


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 4th February, 2020

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 385

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming

Converse via: #Contemporary + #Romance and #HarlequinHeartwarming

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Meet Me At The Altar series:

The Lawman's Secret Vow by Tara RandelHis Honor, Her Family by Tara RandelTrusting Her Heart by Tara RandelAlways the One by Tara Randel

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

how this series began within the pages of : The Lawman’s Secret Vow

To have and to hold — until the case is solved?

When an undercover assignment pairs laid-back Florida detective Dante Matthews with by-the-book cop Eloise Archer, he knows it won’t be easy. And not just because they’re competing for the same promotion. Now they’re living together under the same roof, and it’s getting harder to ignore his deepening feelings for his “wife.” Can he convince Eloise to partner up—for life?

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

As an aside – when it comes to the redesign for Harlequin Heartwarming – I am on board with it as far as the front covers are concerned with one note of criticism from a reader who loves her serial fiction. The series names have been moved to the back cover and that is most distressing as it is harder to sort out which books are meant to be read in which sequence per series. I noticed that they are not routing through the series names either online except thankfully on Fantastic Fiction. That is the only mark of criticism I have though as I liked the triangle graphic on the upper left but I wish the series names were still on the front covers.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

About Tara Randel

Tara Randel

USA Today Bestselling Author Tara Randel has enjoyed a lifelong love of books, especially romance and mystery genres, so it didn't come as a surprise when she began writing with the dream of becoming published. Family values, mystery and, of course, love and romance are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. Tara lives on the West Coast of Florida, where gorgeous sunsets inspire the creation of heartwarming stories, filled with love, laughter and the occasional mystery.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

Divider

Posted Thursday, 13 February, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern Day, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA

A #blogmas #HarlequinHeartwarming Blog Book Tour | “The Christmas Kiss” (Back to Bluestone River series, Book Two) by Virginia McCullough

Posted Friday, 13 December, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#blogmas 2019 badge created by 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 enquiried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Christmas Kiss” direct from the author Virginia McCullough 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 enjoy reading a Virginia McCullough
Harlequin Heartwarming novel:

Ruby is the kind of woman who likes to see the potential in life rather than the sour lemons that can upset your plans. She wouldn’t be the first to admit that losing a job she believed in struck her in the heart and was effectively difficult to re-group after due to how much of herself she put into the belief her job was one that had mattered. Instead, she put on the kind of brave face you hope will soak through you the longer you wear it and decides to re-settle into her hometowne of Bluestone River! This coming off the suggestions of her bestie Emma kept nudging her with photos of the open prairie grasses, the calming scenes of wildlife and the potential of what Ruby might find once she arrived. I think the key word there is how Ruby might find something she hadn’t planned to find and thereby, finding a new way forward when life felt like it was falling apart. That’s a sentiment I think most can relate too when things go south and you have to rebuild your life.

Counter to Ruby’s woes are Emma’s concerns for her own health – as she has a serious condition that requires not just surgery but loads of patience as the recovery isn’t an easy one. These are two woman at cornerstones of their lives seeking comfort and shelter together if only to weather the storms and find a way to come through them a bit less affected than if they were to ride them out alone. Although the same could be said for Mike and his young son Jason; as they were two warriors riding into their own storm as well. Mike was the kind of father who was not just committed to his son but he was an encourager of random joy. He liked to keep the legacy of how he was raised in the growing years of his son Jason, even if his own childhood and his son’s held a few stark differences between them. For instance, when Mike was growing up he wasn’t struggling with PTSD like his son but there was solace in being back in Bluestone River. The area held a calmness over it – where the natural world in of itself had the best calming effect on the residents and perhaps, a healing effect as well.

I liked how McCullough took her time in allowing Jason to come round to others; how he interacted with his father, his teacher and even new persons he was just starting to meet like Ruby and Peach (the dog). His behaviour matched what you would expect from a young child who was struggling with the issues he had and yet, each time he was in-scene, it felt organic, honest and real. Nothing felt forced and I appreciated the realism and the extra touches of honesty threading into how Jason was portrayed.

McCullough tackles childhood PTSD and what causes a child to be mute rather than to speak through their emotions and their crises; giving new empathy for how PTSD affects children but also, how sometimes children find the hardest part of their recovery and healing process is resuming the art of speaking. Words have a lot of hidden meanings but they also hold a lot of truths that can be hard to speak; which I felt is partially why Jason might have stopped speaking as his reality had become shattered in such a tragic and traumatic way, it was easy to see why his voice might have become silent for awhile.

There is an ease of awareness and of setting here – you can tell McCullough has taken her time to develop this series, of giving us a well-rounded and well-thought out plotting to where the foundation of the series can build out of this first installment. It is a place that isn’t entirely without its prickles of angst but it has a heart-centred feel to it which gives you the hope of what could happen if people allow themselves to forgive the past and to seek a future without allowing the past to dictate how your life is meant to be lived.

-quoted from my review of A Family for Jason

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A #blogmas #HarlequinHeartwarming Blog Book Tour | “The Christmas Kiss” (Back to Bluestone River series, Book Two) by Virginia McCulloughThe Christmas Kiss
Subtitle: Back to Bluestone River
by Virginia McCullough
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Will working together

…lead to together forever?

Recently divorced, Parker Davis needs to focus on his new job so he can provide a stable home for his daughter in time for the Christmas holidays. The problem is, he’s frequently at odds with his boss. He and Emma O’Connell approach everything differently. Yet he finds her intriguing, and Bluestone River festivities keep pushing them together—often enough that two people at odds could find themselves evenly matched in love!

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335510969

Also by this author: A Family for Jason

Also in this series: A Family for Jason


Genres: Christmas Story &/or Christmas Romance, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Romance Fiction


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 3rd December, 2019

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 375

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming

Converse via: #Contemporary + #Romance and #HarlequinHeartwarming

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Back to Bluestone River series:

A Family for Jason (book one) : Ruby & Mike’s story (see also Review)

The Christmas Kiss (book two) : Emma & Parker’s story

I love how the sequel involves Emma! She’s Ruby’s best friend & she helped Ruby become re-established back into Bluestone River. I thought it was fitting she’d get her own story after finding out how tied-in she is to the community & Ruby’s life!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

About Virginia McCullough

Virginia McCullough

Born and raised in Chicago, Virginia McCullough has been lucky enough to develop her writing career in many locations, including the coast of Maine, the mountains of North Carolina, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and currently, Northeast Wisconsin. She started her career in nonfiction, first writing articles and then books as a ghostwriter and coauthor. She’s written more than 100 books for physicians, business owners, professional speakers and many others with information to share or a story to tell.

Virginia’s books feature characters who could be your neighbors and friends. They come in all ages and struggle with everyday life issues in small-town environments that almost always include water—oceans, lakes, or rivers. The mother of two grown children, you’ll find Virginia with her nose a book, walking on trails or her neighborhood street, or she may be packing her bag to take off for her next adventure. And she’s always working on another story about hope, healing, and second chances.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Friday, 13 December, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern Day, Mute | Medical Loss of Voice, Prism Book Tours, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Single Fathers, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Special Needs Children

An early #blogmas Book Review | “Home for Christmas” (Book No.12 of the Shores of Indian Lake series) by Catherine Lanigan One of the #HarlequinHeartwarming series I love reading!

Posted Friday, 22 November, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#blogmas 2019 badge 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.

I received a complimentary copy of “Home for Christmas” direct from the author Catherine Lanigan 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

Before I begin sharing my thoughts on this 12th installment,
let’s look back and re-visit what I enjoyed in “Hers to Protect”:

You could feel the frustration Violet Hawks had within her – she was a rookie who wanted to make her mark on the force but in a way which would catapult her forward rather than keep her grounded in a small towne (such as Indian Lake); as she had goes to escape into a larger metropolis where her skills could be sharpened on more challenging cases. Except for the main concern hitting Midwestern small townes is the same as it is elsewhere (ironically or not) – the rise on drug runners and lines of distribution of said drugs is becoming a small towne issue rather than a big city trade. This is why local police and law enforcement have to think outside the box and rely on their detectives and officers to stay vigilant about enforcing the law in order to combat the complexities of erasing the drug trade from their region.

Being a woman who wants to advance in her field, you could almost feel the tension from Violet’s co-workers (all men) who did not wish to see her find traction on a case remotely of interest to their Chief. This is another keen example of Ruth Bader Ginsberg legacy case (showcasing “on the basis of sex”) wherein what is inherently wrong between the genders is a disillusion of equality and the fact most issues between men and women arise out of preferential treatment skewing inequality against the other.

One thing that irks my ire inasmuch as Violet’s are the people who think money and their own self-deducing sense of power can entitle them to just about anything they please. Thus, when you see how she arrests Josh for his outwardly poor choices in driving in excess of speeds past 200 mph – you can see why she made the choice to arrest his sorry butt than to debate the merits of his ironically self-inflated ego to compensate for said poor choices in driving speeds! You really want to rally behind Violet – not just for the flak she might be hedging to take once she’s back at HQ but for how she stood her ground, drove home her point in a decidedly calm manner of delivery and also didn’t let the county sheriff derail her effects to take-in a person who felt he was above the law.

You had to laugh really, how Josh didn’t check his conscience until after he spoke to his agent? If you flashback to the CARS sequence of films, even Lightning McQueen had to learn that life lesson! If all you do is coast through life on an ego trip and view everything as one entitled perk after another – then where do you draw the line? Josh Stevens is your typical celebrity racer who hasn’t learnt how to eat humble pie but something told me Violet Hawks was going to be part of the proverbial change in his inflated perspective of self.

In true Lanigan fashion, there is always something a bit extra bubbling beneath the surface of her characters – by the time you sort through the kind of childhood Josh Stevens had lived and the traumatic deaths he had endured from his family, you can see a margin of reason towards his recklessness now as an adult. It wasn’t an excuse for his choices but it was a reason of intention behind them which softened your ire against him. He wasn’t just a reckless driver for the benefit of the joy in the height of driving without limitations – there was more to it than that and this is what made him an interestingly flawed character to read about as the story evolved.

Mrs Beabots is the kind-hearted landlady you definitely wish you had in your life – not just for the random dinner parties and the kindnesses she gives to make you feel welcome as a neighbour but for how she proves that community begins with people reaching out to people. She is also the spearheaded visionary behind the new start-up non-profit to help the foster children in Indian Lake – which proves that sometimes a lot of change can begin with a singular act. She was the secondary character who stood out to me the most within the pages of Hers to Protect. I had a feeling the rest of the supporting cast were making re-appearances from previous stories – I eagerly await making their acquaintances as I journey back into the series lateron this year; however for now, it was Mrs Beabots who held my heart.

One of the reasons I love reading (or watching) police procedurals is how the cases are worked from the inside out. You can have a seemingly one layered case to solve but the more you dig into the particulars of what is involved the more complicated the whole thing becomes and this is what I was loving about the direction Hers to Protect was taking as it gave way to seeing how small townes are policing their communities with an edge of insight generally resolved for larger departments in larger cities.

Lanigan excells in giving you a feel for the track as Josh retakes his position as a driver in the high stakes racing renown for an Indianapolis race. Repleat with the dangers that go with racing in general – you can’t peel your eyes off the race even though your concern for Violet’s heart is on the line as well. There is a tempering of emotions between Violet and Josh which make sense since their both in new territory – her for bracing herself against a potentially attractive bloke who may or may not be involved in her current case whilst for Josh, the temptations for feeling smitten by anyone is new for a bloke whose tried to remain emotionally neutral for most of his life.

By the time this story concludes, you feel as hugged inside Indian Lake as your first visit – Lanigan has created a close-knit community where neighbours become extensions of your family and where friendships thrive against the backdrop of the love and warmth only a small towne can provide. I enjoyed watching how Josh grew out of the desperation he was facing as a racer – as a lot of what plagued him on the track was internal and emotionally dimensional to his past. He found a new lease on life in a place he would hardly have considered if life hadn’t intervened and that is what makes this such a sweet second chance romance – as it wasn’t a second chance relationship but rather of carving out your own niche of living in a place which took you by surprise.

-quoted from my review of Hers to Protect

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

An early #blogmas Book Review | “Home for Christmas” (Book No.12 of the Shores of Indian Lake series) by Catherine Lanigan One of the #HarlequinHeartwarming series I love reading!Home for Christmas
Subtitle: Shores of Indian Lake
by Catherine Lanigan
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Can a magical Christmas under glass…

…bring them back together for good?

Widowed dad Adam Masterson still doesn’t understand why Joy Boston left Indian Lake and broke his heart all those years ago. Now she’s returned to sell her grandfather’s beloved poinsettia greenhouse—and Joy and Adam’s connection is as strong as ever. But Joy has a life in New York. And Adam has only until Christmas to convince Joy that she belongs in Indian Lake—with him.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-335-51092-1

Also by this author: His Baby Dilemma, Rescued by the Firefighter, Hers to Protect

Also in this series: His Baby Dilemma, Rescued by the Firefighter, Hers to Protect


Genres: Adoption & Foster Care, Christmas Story &/or Christmas Romance, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 5th November, 2019

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

The Shores of Indian Lake series:

The Shores of Indian Lake series collage by Prism Book Tours

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Previously I’ve read the following in the series:

His Baby Dilemma (book nine) | see also Review

Rescued by the Firefighter (book ten) | see also Review

Hers to Protect (book eleven) | see also Review

Home for Christmas (book twelve)

(*) I’ve acquired a copy of “Sophie’s Path” to be read in conjunction with borrowing the rest of the series via inter-library loan

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

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 via: #ShoresOfIndianLake and #HarlequinHeartwarming

About Catherine Lanigan

Catherine Lanigan

Catherine Lanigan is the international bestselling and award-winning author of forty published titles in both fiction and non-fiction, including the novelizations of Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile, as well as over half a dozen anthologies, including “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living your Dream”, “Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul”, and more.

Ms. Lanigan’s novels have been translated into dozens of languages including German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese. Ms. Lanigan’s novels are also available in E-books on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com, Apple Store, Mobi and Kobo. Several of her titles have been chosen for The Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Clubs. Her Vietnam war-based novel, The Christmas Star, won the Gold Medal Award Top Pick from Romantic Times Magazine and has also won Book of the Year Romance Gold Award from ForeWord Magazine as well as Book of the Year Romance from Reader’s Preference.

Lanigan is the author of a trilogy of non- fiction books regarding angelic intervention in human life: Angel Watch, Divine Nudges and Angel Tales published by HCI and Cedar Fort. Skyhorse published Lanigan’s “how-to” book on writing: Writing the Great American Romance Novel. Lanigan was tasked by the NotMYkid Foundation to write a non-fiction book addressing teen addictions. Ms. Lanigan’s first Young Adult adventure novel, The Adventures of Lillie and Zane: The Golden Flute, was published by Cedar Fort.

Currently, she has published eight novels in the Shores of Indian Lake series for Harlequin Heartwarming: Love Shadows, Heart’s Desire, A Fine Year for Love, Katia’s Promise, Fear of Falling, Sophie’s Path and Protecting the Single Mom. Family of His Own pubs July, 2016. She has recently contracted for one more in the series: His Baby Dilemma.

As a cancer survivor, Ms. Lanigan is a frequent speaker at literary functions and book conventions as well as inspiring audiences with her real stories of angelic intervention from her Angel Tales series of books.

She is an outspoken advocate for domestic violence and abuse and was honored by The National Domestic Violence Hotline in Washington, D.C. (THE EVOLVING WOMAN). She has been a guest on numerous radio programs including “Coast to Coast” and on television interview and talk show programs as well as blogs, podcasts and online radio interview programs.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Friday, 22 November, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Equality In Literature, Foster Care, Indie Author, Modern Day, Orphans & Guardians, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA