Category: Family Drama

An early #blogmas #HarlequinHeartwarming Book Review | “An Alaskan Family Christmas” (Northern Lights: Book Seven) by Beth Carpenter

Posted Friday, 13 November, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

#blogmas 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 “An Alaskan Family Christmas” direct from the author Beth Carpenter 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.comWhy I am loving finding #blogmas #ChristmasRomances this year:

Each year, I try to gather together quite a few #newtomeauthors and beloved authors alike to read Christmas stories by which are within my favourite genres of interest – such as Historical Fiction, Contemporary Romance or Historical Romance or even Speculative Fiction. I love to see what I can find each year – never knowing what I might discover, what might be publishing or in regards to blog tours – which stories are going on tour ahead of December!

Similar to past years, this November has seen quite a few #blogmas showcases ahead of Thanksgiving and right in-line with everyone sorting out what they want to read for the last season of the year where all of us are feeling rather festive and in the mood for a light read with a wicked good plot and an uplift of spirit by the conclusion! This is why I am thankful to be on this blog tour to return back to the Northern Lights series – as I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading Spring’s “Alaskan Dreams” which is slated to be read for one of my December #RomanceTuesdays showcases wherein I spotlighted this sixth novel of the series during its blog tour.

My health has been a bit of a juggling act the past few months – the first weeks of November I was hoping to dive into my Science Fiction reads to celebrate #SciFiMonth properly with a strong footing at the start of the month, however, I had to push those forward to this weekend and into next week. For now, I’m just grateful my migraine has finally ‘let go’ of me as it was a humdinger to get through recently whilst my overall health has improved to where I can start to focus on blogging, reading and being engaged online. I’ve missed reading and blogging the most – as reading is such a wonderful respite from our IRL adversities and concerns; we’ve all had a long and hard won 2020 – it is nice to find solace a bit in my health afflictions to start to reconnect to stories and the authors who are writing the stories I love to read!

Thereby this tour is my return to reading full-time and to championing the Harlequin Heartwarming authors who I find give me wicked good cheer all the year through! If you’re available tomorrow – please join us for a SPECIAL 5x author chat with ALL 5 of the #BlackwellSisters authors via @SatBookChat! More details at the bottom of this review!

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Why I loved the Northern Lights series coming into it at Book Five:

I liked how Carpenter connected a thread of faith into her Contemporary Sweet Romance – not all the authors in the Heartwarming line do this directly, though some I feel imply it which makes my heart happy. I liked how it applied in the context of this story – how being a doctor and/or a medic has a certain measure of faith associated with the careers. You can go only so far on your own merits before you have to recognise there is point where you have to lean on something outside of yourself in order to be the better medical professional. Not everything is understood through medicine and science – yet, how Carpenter broaches these topics within her narrative align well with two characters who haven’t yet decided what their final thoughts are on life, their careers or how they might still be attracted to one another!

When we first see Volta and Scott together – it is like a random snowstorm burrowing people in a house together who would otherwise not expect to be confined in the same place with each other. Volta has mixed feelings – which felt natural given their history and how she has become a widow in his absence and a single Mum. Her responsibilities are different now than they were before they had met even if there is still a bit of an open door to their hearts, it is interesting watching how Carpenter is going to reveal the story as we hug close to both of them as they ride out the volcanic ash which has grounded their plane.

As the ash storm passed over, what hadn’t released the tension of the hour is the friction between Volta and Scott. For her part, I think Volta was running a bit scared – she didn’t share her feelings very well – she came across as being guarded and reserved. I could see why – she had a lot she went through in her life in the short time they had been apart but evenso, when she was round Scott, you could tell she felt an ease about him. I almost thought perhaps she was frustrated with herself to find that she not only still have feelings for Scott but by reuniting with him, she felt a renewal of hope for her future. When it came to Scott, I sensed a lot of personal anguish in him – especially of the guilt of not establishing a life for himself. He had his career but how many people are happy to thrive on a career without a home base and family?

I could understand the angst of Emma (Volta’s daughter) – when you want to ride horses, it is quite amazing how difficult it is to find places that are not just affordable but are of the benefit of the rider not just the horse. Once you’re smitten by a horse, it is rather difficult to stop thinking about them and how companionable they are to be around. I had hoped she might find a way to have either a horse or at least regular lessons before she became an adult.

I loved when Carpenter re-shifted back into the planes and took us into the air to be with the air ambulance crews. It gave more foundation to the roles these people have IRL but also, how their shifts can run longer than your realise as Volta had a 24 hour rotation facing her when she agreed to be Scott’s liaison. This was another smart move I felt in the story itself – how Scott, was wanting to bring changes to the Alaskan methodology of approaching prenatal care in the state, he needed someone who understood how to interact with the locals. Someone who could give them assurances he couldn’t as an outsider and that someone felt perfect to be Volta even for me! I liked how he fuelled his desires to help others into plausible situations where he could yield the most good and be of the most help. This plan had to change the prenatal care of Alaska felt like the kind of forward-thinking leadership needed in rural medical inefficient areas need in order to find a gateway into a future where they are more self-sufficient.

You know when your watching a movie you’ve settled into about two people who can’t quite put their lives together but they seem to be making enroads towards finding common ground? Even though things continue to go astray and their lives seem to be going down different routes and avenues; there is something drawing them back together? This novel is a lot like that kind of movie! The more you dig into their lives – you see how dedicated they are to their jobs but what good is a job if it doesn’t allow you to live?

This is a critical question Carpenter wants her readers to chew on because it is the main thesis behind the story itself. Wells, at least one of them anyway! She wants you to see past their sense of honour and duty; past the point where they were unselfish in serving others who needed them and started to take stock of their own lives for a change. To sort out what Scott and Volta needed most in their lives – whether that meant making changes or being open to the change within themselves, Carpenter lets you see what they decide as you tag along for their journey.

Carpenter puts you front and centre on the action within her medically focused Contemporary (Sweet) Romance wherein you get to see first-hand what first responders go through in Alaska when their patients live rather remotely. Even the first case she presented in the novel wasn’t routine as it was a woman who had hypertension and it was causing issues with her pregnancy – I did give a bit of a pause of thought as to what would have happened if Volta and Scott hadn’t been there at that particular moment in order to intervene on the woman’s behalf. A credit to what Carpenter had already established about how due to how lean the state is on medical facilities and how the support staff in the more rural areas were limited to aides; you can see how Alaska can become a medically adverse state in which to live.

I definitely will be seeking out the rest of this Northern Lights series as I liked the pacing and the presentation of how Carpenter implores us to want to know more about this world she’s created for us to find! She hugs us so close to the hearts of her characters, it is easy to feel what they’re feeling and live a period of time in their shoes rather than our own. In essence, I love that this is another small towne series focused on family, hearth, home and a wicked dollop of romance! Best of all, she gave me a new reason to venture back to Alaska and that was the icing on the cake!

-quoted from my book review for Sweet Home Alaska

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An early #blogmas #HarlequinHeartwarming Book Review | “An Alaskan Family Christmas” (Northern Lights: Book Seven) by Beth CarpenterAn Alaskan Family Christmas
Subtitle: A Northern Lights Novel
by Beth Carpenter
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

A little mix-up…
Could make her Christmas wonderful!

Natalie Weiss is mortified. After mistaking handsome Tanner Rockford for his cousin, she’s followed him to rural Alaska. Now she’s stranded—until Tanner invites her to spend Christmas with his family in their rustic, cozy cabin. But in this idyllic winter wonderland, Natalie discovers the family she’s never had…and the love she never knew she needed. But what happens when they all discover why she’s really there?

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


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335889959

Also by this author: Sweet Home Alaska, Alaskan Dreams

Also in this series: Sweet Home Alaska, Alaskan Dreams


Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 379

The Northern Lights series:

The Alaskan Catch by Beth CarpenterA Gift for Santa by Beth CarpenterAlaskan Hideaway by Beth CarpenterAn Alaskan Proposal by Beth Carpenter

Sweet Home Alaska by Beth CarpenterAlaskan Dreams by Beth CarpenterAn Alaskan Family Christmas by Beth Carpenter

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The Alaskan Catch (book one)

A Gift for Santa (book two)

Alaskan Hideaway (book three)

An Alaskan Proposal (book four)

→ Sweet Home Alaska (book five) ← *where I began the series! (see also Review)

Alaskan Dreams (book six)

An Alaskan Family Christmas (book seven)

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: #BethCarpenter and #HarlequinHeartwarming

About Beth Carpenter

Beth Carpenter

Once upon a time ...

when Beth Carpenter was a little girl, she read everything she could get her hands on, and entertained herself on the school bus by making up stories in her head. Not a lot has changed. She's still consuming books like M&Ms, and spends her days creating happily-ever-afters for her imaginary friends.

She lives in Alaska and Arizona with her husband and an aggressively affectionate fifty-pound lap dog. She loves to hear from readers.

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Posted Friday, 13 November, 2020 by jorielov in Alaska, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Christmas Romance &/or Holiday Story, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Family Life, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, West Coast USA

A #SpooktasticReads Book Review | “Ghastly and Good” (Merry Hanukkah series, Halloween short) by Debby Caruso

Posted Monday, 19 October, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#SpooktasticReads Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

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Acquired Book By: In 2018, I was approached by the author to read the first story in her Merry Hanukkah series – whilst in 2019, I had the delightful joy of having her as a featured guest during my @SatBookChat! In June, 2020 I was able to read the sequel to ‘Merry Hanukkah’ which was ‘Happy Everything’. Wickedly ahead of sorting out which spooky reads I wanted to be reading this #SpooktasticReads, I was contacted by the author about this lovely Halloween short story she had written into the series. I was quite chuffed I could receive a print copy and thus, this delightful short became the story which kicked off my readathon of #SpooktasticReads! (a mini-event for @WyrdAndWonder)

I received a complimentary copy of “Ghastly and Good” direct from the author Debby Caruso in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why I love #SpooktasticReads:

Quite humbly, I attempted to host #SpooktasticReads as a book blogger years ago – however, the better incantation of the event I envisioned wasn’t fully realised until I pitched the idea as a mini-event attached to Wyrd And Wonder to Lisa and Imyril. As we co-founded @WyrdAndWonder together as a celebration of Fantasy. #SpooktasticReads picks up where Wyrd and Wonder leaves off – wherein, each Autumn we get hankerings to be reading a spookier side of Fantasy and/or any story which allows us to get our spook on – in whichever capacity which inspires us to read.

Some of us like the cosier side of Horror (ie. my own personal declaration of reading #CosyHorror notwithstanding!) whilst others like to seek out ghost stories, Urban Fantasy, Gothic Lit or Gothic Romance or any route betwixt and between which seeks to give us a slight chill to our readerly lives this October. For me personally, I love reading selections which run the full gambit of choices – from stories of Suspense & Thrillers which give me a chilling read through a Mystery I cannot predict how it will end to an epic Ghost Story which might leave me rattling my funnybone or contemplating the layers of how authors write such believable ghost stories within a witchy setting! I love stories involving witches and ghouls as much as I appreciate a delightful Urban Fantasy.

Ergo, to get myself into the festive mood of the next 13 days where you will find me on a bit of a binge of all the spooktacular reads I have on hand to be read – I decided to dial it back a bit and selected a story I hadn’t even realised was available to read this #SpooktasticReads as it was a surprise from the author! I love light Halloweeny tales as much as the grip your heart ones and this one is right in the middle of a series I have loved reading since the first novel released.

I felt this lighter read was the best way to start my readathon and find the festive spirit within the story itself! I can’t wait to see what everyone else is reading and I can’t wait to dive into stories and audiobooks in the thirteen days leading into Halloween!

Let’s get our SPOOK ON, shall we!?Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

On what I enjoyed about “Happy Everything”:

Caruso also spends a wonderful amount of time tucking you closer into Rhonda’s marriage – how she feels as distant as her husband does to the celebratory coupling moments they loved sharing – wherein once life starts to pick up its pacing after you’ve dated and married, those more intimate and special moments can feel as if they’ve gone by the wayside. You can feel how much he misses their romance – the little nuanced moments they used to share vs how rushed they feel now going to family meetings and doing what they might consider out of duty for friends and family alike. In essence, reality has truly hit and hit hard as these two try to navigate their ‘new world’ as a married couple who barely have enough time to spend on each other. It drives home the realism once the afterglow of the honeymoon stage waxes off and the truer moments of marriage are observed with a humbled honesty only Caruso can tell.

One new character I liked as much as Rhonda was Diana – she seemed like the kind of person who could consistently surprise people for how much she understands about this dynamic family and how to show a different side to a person even Rhonda felt she knew everything about. It just shows you that sometimes you can have the complete wrong impression about someone until a new person shows up and starts to show you a new side of their personality which had remain hidden until now! Diana is a charming character who has a tough-as-nails job to do but one that is truly important in a world where not everyone cares about their companions in fur, feather or scales.

If I could have transported myself into Mimosa alongside Rhonda, her and I would have spilt a second salted caramel brownie!! Sometimes you just have to go with what soothes your soul and in that moment, where Rhonda knew the best response was to show kindness and grace, the better part of her mind knew that if she didn’t comfort herself with some much needed chocolate, she might have spoken out of turn which would have done nothing to savage the lunch. It was the kind of scene you’d find yourself living inside but without the right set of reactions – I agreed with Rhonda about how her father blindsided her with news and the kind of news that he seemed to have taken in stride – expecting her to do the same and let nothing be said about it either. I felt that was a bit over the top as how could Rhonda not have a reaction? She played her cards well!

Caruso allows Rhonda to show the portions of herself and her emotional internal life that might not always be disclosed in other stories. The ways in which she lets the reader see Rhonda’s heightened emotional states and reactions to different life moments in the heat of Rhonda being unable to sort through them properly and chooses to explode instead. Seeing how she becomes vocal and then remorseful – how she uses exercise to find a centre of calm and how like for most of us in those instances, nothing truly changes immediately after an experience like that but we each know of a route to find our balance and re-centre ourselves to continue moving forward. I liked how Caruso showed this area of Rhonda’s life and how emotionally Rhonda was at her tipping point.

Through everything Rhonda and Dez rise to the occasion. Their lives are chaotic and sometimes they have family members who drive their very last nerve out of their bones but overall, they share a sisterhood friendship with has such a strong bond that nothing can shatter it. Not even all the little fires which creep up in our lives which seek to cut us down to the quick. I love how Caruso shows through faith, family and friendship you can tackle anything which crosses your path in life but without the addition of humour, coffee and some wicked sweet Italian foods – you might not get through it quite as well as those who do!

I love this series – I am hoping for a third if not fourth installment – as I can’t leave this family where we last find them. Plus, I was so overjoyed I could handle the journey through Cancer with Aunt Bunny as that is one of my issues with most Contemporaries which feature the illness; either the details or the descriptions weigh heavy on my heart. Caruso thankfully focused on other bits of her journey and mostly focused on the recovery and bolstering of having loved ones have your back when a medical crisis arises. Best of all though is the comfortable pace and the realistic marriage you get to tuck inside between Rhonda and James. Theirs is a marriage which is equally strong to Kay Hunter and Adam (from the Kay Hunter series by Rachael Amphlett). You truly will find yourself snorting into laughter, getting emotional about the tides which keep turning and eager to get to the conclusion to find out if Rhonda can breathe a bit easier again!

-quoted from my book review for Happy Everything

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A #SpooktasticReads Book Review | “Ghastly and Good” (Merry Hanukkah series, Halloween short) by Debby CarusoGhastly and Good
by Debby Caruso
Source: Direct from Author

Join Rhonda, Dez, and the Merry Hanukkah crew as they try to pull off yet another holiday feat in this Halloween Short that’s sure to leave you laughing.

In an attempt to treat the kids at the local shelter to a Halloween party like no other, Rhonda finds herself running out of time, battling a hurricane, and wrestling with ghosts. In true Rhonda fashion, she has a few tricks up her sleeve, and the end result is anything but ghastly.

Grab a hot apple cider—or pumpkin spice anything—snuggle up, and enjoy a short story that will bring you back to a time when Halloween was filled with all the good things life has to offer.

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy (Rom Com), Spooky Reads for Halloween, Women's Fiction


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B08GJBCYFL

Also by this author: Merry Hanukkah, Happy Everything

Also in this series: Merry Hanukkah, Happy Everything


Published by Self Published

on 9th September, 2020

Format: Personal Copy provided by Author

Pages: 37

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The Merry Hanukkah series:

Merry Hanukkah by Debby CarusoHappy Everything by Debby CarusoGhastly and Good by Debby Caruso

Merry Hanukkah (book one) | see also Review

Happy Everything (book two) | see also Review

Converse via: #SpooktasticReads + #WomensFiction or #Halloween #shortstory

This is a Digital First Release (ebook only!) Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #SpooktasticReads 2020
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Posted Monday, 19 October, 2020 by jorielov in #SpooktasticReads, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Family Life, Indie Author, Modern Day, Romance Fiction, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Women's Fiction

A #HarlequinHeartwarming Blog Book Tour | “A Ranger for the Twins” (Book Two of the Hollydale series) by Tanya Agler

Posted Wednesday, 30 September, 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 “A Ranger for the Twins” direct from the author Tanya Agler in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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No, you’re not mistaken – I skipped over #RomanceTuesdays recently!

As you might have recently noticed, I have started to focus on revealling my thoughts and reactions to reading Harlequin Heartwarming and Love Inspired stories during my weekly #RomanceTuesdays featured reviews. However, during the past few months, I’ve fallen a bit behind in my readings (overall) due to an increase frequency in my migraines and due to the health emergencies of my parents; of which came back to haunt me a bit last night as my Mum burnt her eye on pepper oil when I mistakenly purchased the wrong pepper!

Thankfully our local paramedics knew what to do and within an hour of that nightmare, Mum was recovering despite the fact my nerves still were full of the anxiety of the emergency itself which meant binge watching Charlie’s Angels (thank you, Roku!) and drinking copious amounts of tea! And, here I was hoping I could end September without any further medical issues or emergencies – whilst the remnants of my last migraine which took me offline this past weekend and the early bits of this week were tweaking their way back into my life. Blessedly will full rest and a morning of comfort reading (this novel!) I am thankfully able to resume participating on blog tours and by default, resume blogging!

I have a full October of bringing new #RomanceTuesdays featured reviews to Jorie Loves A Story as well as a wonderfully lovely Harlequin Heartwarming series chat via @SatBookChat – as on the 17th of October, the authors behind the #BlackwellSisters series will be chatting live with my chatters and giving away some books, too! If you loved reading the Return of the Blackwell Brothers series like I did – mark the date and start following us on Twitter to receive updates about #SatBookChat!

Today, I am celebrating the fact I am reading (without a migraine hanging over me!) and being back in the throes of a new Harlequin Heartwarming author I’ve just discovered who is writing about another small towne I was rather charmed to meet and am thankful I had as my ‘next read’ as I re-transition back into reading after a very hard and dearly adverse September! If you are seeking a cosy comfort read yourself – I highly recommend either Harlequin Heartwarming or the Love Inspired Suspense imprints due to how warmly uplifting all the stories are to read for readers who have a bit too much strife in their lives and need some ‘downtime’ in stories which rejuvenate their spirits!!

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A #HarlequinHeartwarming Blog Book Tour | “A Ranger for the Twins” (Book Two of the Hollydale series) by Tanya AglerA Ranger for the Twins
by Tanya Agler
Source: Direct from Author

She fell from grace…
Before falling for him

When her husband defrauded the town of Hollydale, now-divorced mom Lucie Decker went from being the town darling to total pariah. Now she’s launching a new business and needs ranger Caleb Spindler’s help. And her twins adore Caleb. After all, he’s a genuine hero—even if he is hiding a secret. But while Lucie’s heart has forgotten how to trust, it still remembers how to fall in love…

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


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1335889928

Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 13th October, 2020

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

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The Hollydale series:

The Sheriff's Second Chance by Tanya AglerA Ranger for the Twins by Tanya Agler

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The Sheriff’s Second Chance (book one) – Mike and Georgie’s story

Broken things can’t be fixed…

Or can they?

Officer and single dad Mike Harrison doesn’t believe in second chances. Ever. That is, until he learns that his former best friend—gorgeous green-eyed car mechanic Georgie Bennett—is back in town. Unfortunately, she’s also a suspect in a recent break-in! But it’ll take an old classic car to show Mike and Georgie that almost anything can be restored with a little patience…and a whole lot of love.

A Ranger for the Twins (book two) – Caleb and Lucie’s story

The Soldier’s Unexpected Family (book three) Aidan and Natalie’s story
→ forthcoming March, 2021!

Please note: I noticed there is a connection with all of these stories being set inside the small towne of Hollydale and have chosen to collect them into a ‘series’ as they are a series by setting – however, I am not sure if they have been officially named as either a collection and/or a series or continuity with Harlequin Heartwarming as there isn’t a series name on the books nor on their informational pages online. I collected them together for my own frame of reference and for other readers and visitors to my blog Jorie Loves A Story who likes to read series in order and/or meet stories in order of how they were first disclosed.

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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: #ContemporaryRomance and #HarlequinHeartwarming with #TanyaAgler

About Tanya Agler

Tanya Agler

An award-winning author,Tanya Agler moved often during her childhood and settled in Georgia where she writes sweet contemporary romance novels, which feature small towns, family and pets, and themes of second chances and hope.

Her debut, The Sheriff’s Second Chance, is a January of 2020 Harlequin Heartwarming release. The sequel, A Ranger for the Twins, will be released in Oct. 2020. A graduate of the University of Georgia with degrees in journalism and law, she lives with her wonderful husband, their four children, and a lovable Basset, who really rules the roost. Represented by Dawn Dowdle and the Blue Ridge Literary Agency, she’s currently at work on the sequels to her debut. When she’s not writing, Tanya loves classic movies, walking, and a good cup of tea.

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Posted Wednesday, 30 September, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Family Life, Life Shift, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Nature & Wildlife, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Sweet Romance, Walking & Hiking Trails

A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | “After the Rodeo” (Book Two of the Heroes of Shelter Creek series) by Claire McEwen

Posted Tuesday, 1 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I’ve come to know this series [Heroes of Shelter Creek] through hosting the blog tours celebrating releases within the series with Prism Book Tours. However, this September in lieu of an organised blog tour Ms McEwen was seeking book bloggers who were interested in her series and wanted to read the fourth novel in the series “Rescuing the Rancher”. Whilst I was conferring with the author about receiving this for review, I asked if I could receive the second novel in the series “After the Rodeo” as I never had the chance to read Jace and Vivian’s story! I was thankful that Ms McEwen was also available to be a featured guest during my @SatBookChat wherein I celebrate Romance, Women’s Fiction, strong female characters across genres and Feminist Lit on Saturdays each month.

I decided to read and feature “After the Rodeo” ahead of her #SatBookChat appearance and run my review during my #RomanceTuesdays feature wherein I love to showcase Harlequin Heartwarming and Love Inspired authors as they are writing the kinds of Romances I am appreciating most to be reading right now.

I received a complimentary copy of “After the Rodeo” direct from the author Claire McEwen in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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

When I was checking my feeds on Twitter a short while ago, I stumbled on an announcement by Ms McEwen who was seeking book bloggers to read and review her latest release of the Heroes of Shelter Creek series – wherein I was most excited seeing the notice posted as this is one of the Western & Cowboy Romance series I love reading the most published by Harlequin Heartwarming!

I wasn’t sure if I would be in time to request the book for review, but I immediately emailed the author and the rest knitted together out of that conversation! I am so thankful I contacted her when I had as it lead me to being reading this second of the series I had missed between books one and three as much as I have been wanting to host more of the authors I love via Harlequin Heartwarming and/or Love Inspired Suspense – having the Blackwell Brothers / Sisters authors booked during @SatBookChat in October, it was a lovely surprise to have Ms McEwen booked for early September!

If you’re a ready reader of Westerns and Western Romances, I hope this showcase might inspire you to give Harlequin Heartwarming a chance at winning over your love of Westerns because the authors who are writing these stories are writing wicked brilliant characters with stories which lift your spirits as you’re reading them! Plus, the settings alone are awe-inspiring and give you the kind of Western experience you are hoping for in a Western Rom!

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One interesting turn at the beginning of the novel was learning about the changing tides of the cattle industry – how traditional cattlemen and ranchers wanted to turn towards a greener and healthier way of producing their product and why that was an important resurgency in how they could maintain their ranches. Not that all ranchers were open to innovative changes which McEwen happily discloses within Liam’s own family as his brothers are spilt on the issue whilst their father is keenly invested in learning more – hence, how we find Liam is the chosen one to visit with Jace in Shelter Creek!

I, for one love all sorts of Western Romances however it is a bit rarer when within a Contemporary Western we get to talk about how ranching is trying to change its habits and become a more sustainable industry. Across the board farmers and ranchers are having to diversify their yields yearly due to different issues in climate and how to sustain themselves during leaner years wherein I felt broaching the topic of how they approach ranching their land and their cattle is also a valid point because there is a stark difference between big industry and keeping family ranchers in business by modifying their practices to reach a more educated consumer about the differences in those practices. To say I was wholly intrigued by how this novel began is putting it mildly!

Liam is at a cornerstone of his life – where he has to choose to step forward into his future rather than constantly think he cannot handle what life has to offer. This is an intriguing story about redemption – how a man can redeem his own image and identity of himself post trauma and addiction and redirect his own life back onto a purposeful path which renews his own spirit. The foundation of how McEwen laid that down for us to find was lovely because there was a moment where I felt Jace could inspire Liam simply by someone who had gone before him and had to re-alter his own opinion about what life could involve for a man who had a determined view of his own path. Even though I hadn’t had the chance to read After the Rodeo, McEwen gave some lovely hints toward Jace’s own story where I felt I could intuit why she wanted Liam closer to Jace during this transitional period of his own life.

Trisha has such a unique job at the wildlife center – I remember visiting those whilst growing up and wondering about the people who worked there. As I was fascinated how close the handlers could get to the wild animals and how much trust was between the handler and/or trainer and the animal themselves – this is one reason why I love watching shows and series like Crikey! It’s the Irwins because you get to see inside this hidden world of where animals and humans have united together for their own protection and conservation. Trisha has a heart of gold though – even though her life’s story is unconventional – it just suits her personality because she adapts to whatever is happening in her life in the moment. I liked her instantly where we find her in Her Surprise Cowboy because of how earnest she is about finding what Jace and Vivian share between them and how confident she is in her own abilities to give back to the center.

It was humbling coming into Jace and Vivian’s life a bit second-handed to get to know them in such an interpersonal way – because a lot of what anchoured Liam and Trisha together was through the fusion of friendship with Jace and Vivian. They really stepped up to the plate to help out their friends whilst they also offered a lot of heartfelt mentoring. Jace especially gave a lot back to Liam – as I had a feeling they would relate to one another as I was first starting to read this story – both lived the same kind of life in their prior lives and I believed that gave them each a unique perspective on the other. Liam and Trisha needed friends like them because they each were muddling through their own struggles where having a kind friend to lean on would go the extra mile towards finding resolution to what troubled them. Now more than ever I can’t wait to settle into the story of what drew Jace and Vivian together – as there are pieces of their romance peppered inside Her Surprise Cowboy but one day I’ll appreciate reading start to finish!

There is a certain layer of joy in reading a story about second chance romance, new beginnings and the redemption quality of forgiveness. Not just the kind of forgiveness others can give to you themselves but the kind of forgiveness that comes from within the person. A lot of the story is hinged on whether or not Liam and Trisha can find solace from their past and find a way to give themselves the leverage of understanding who they were in the past is not an indication of whom they could become in the future. That’s the rub about the human condition in us all – in not allowing ourselves the wallowing periods of never seeing past mistakes or wrong turns on our path and to continue to seek out the future with an optimistic impression of what we can achieve. By following the footsteps of Liam and Trisha you’re set to find out how forgiveness of one self can lead to a greater freedom than either Liam or Trisha could have envisioned for each other.

McEwen has conceived of a realistic Contemporary Western Romance series wherein each of her characters are struggling through and/or are transitioning through a difficult period of their lives. The realism is brilliantly layered as despite their obstacles and the hurdles they have to overcome there is a defining thread of individual courage and moxie uniting them. McEwen writes soul lifting Contemporary Romance which gives you what you want out of a modern Western Rom whilst grounding you in realistic lives which you can identify with due to how her characters are self-transitioning through the challenges which arise in all of our lives. The circumstances might differ between us and them but its their resolve to fight through to tomorrow which connects us.

-quoted from my book review of Her Surprise Cowboy

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A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | “After the Rodeo” (Book Two of the Heroes of Shelter Creek series) by Claire McEwenAfter the Rodeo
Subtitle: Heroes of Shelter Creek
by Claire McEwen, Ms Claire McEwen
Source: Direct from Author

Her passion for her job...
could cost him everything...

Former rodeo champion Jace Hendricks has six weeks to turn his run-down ranch around or he could lose custody of his nieces and nephews. But biologist Vivian Reed has to survey his land first - and she won't be rushed. Vivian's optimism and wonder start to win over the kids... and even Jace. But with all that's at stake, can he risk getting any more involved with Vivian?

Genres: Adoption & Foster Care, Biological Diversity, Children At Risk, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Ecology, Men's Fiction, Motherhood | Parenthood, Ranches & Cowboys, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Western Fiction, Western Romance


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335510815

Also by this author: Reunited with the Cowboy, Her Surprise Cowboy

Also in this series: Reunited with the Cowboy, Her Surprise Cowboy


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 3rd September, 2019

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 376

The Heroes of Shelter Creek series:

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

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

After the Rodeo (book two) – Jace & Vivian’s story

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

Rescuing the Rancher – Aidan & Jade’s story (book four)

Second Chance Cowboy – (book five) – featuring ?? → forthcoming April, 2021!

I’ll admit – I was a bit worried this was ending as a quartet until I spied the release for 2021 via FantasticFiction which is my main resource for sourcing advance notice about series I am reading when new installments of those series will be revealled in forthcoming months.

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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 #HarlequinHeartwarming with #HeroesOfShelterCreek

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Posted Tuesday, 1 September, 2020 by jorielov in #RomanceTuesdays, 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Addictions and Afflictions, Adoption, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Brothers and Sisters, California, Conservation, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Western Fiction, Cowboys & Ranches, Debilitating Diagnosis & Illness, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Ecology, Environmental Activism, Environmental Advocacy, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Science, Environmental Solutions, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Foster Care, Green-Minded Social Awareness, Life of Thirty-Somethings, Life Shift, Men's Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Nature & Wildlife, Non-traditional characters, Preservation, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Single Fathers, Sisterhood friendships, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Social Services, Sudden Absence of Parent, Sustainability & Ecological Preservation, Sweet Romance, The Natural World, Walking & Hiking Trails, Western Fiction, Western Romance, Widows & Widowers, Women of a Certain Age, Women's Fiction, Women's Health