Category: The Writers Life

This #SaturdaysAreBookish features #HarlequinHeartwarming | “The Secret Santa Project” (Seasons of Alaska, Book Eight) by Carol Ross

Posted Saturday, 18 September, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Happily, I was able to read two lovely novels in the Seasons of Alaska series this year!

Which was sweetened by celebrating my 8th Blogoversary, this March!

I blessedly read the eighth novel in this series, a month and one week after I celebrated my 8th Blog’s Birthday which was on the 6th of August, 2021. 8 is definitely my number now!

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Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. This is how I came to love discovering the Harlequin Heartwarming authors & series as much as it has been an honour to regularly request INSPY stories and authors. Whenever I host for Prism, I know I am in for an uplifting read and a journey into the stories which give me a lot of joy to find in my readerly queue of #nextreads. It is an honour to be a part of their team of book bloggers.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Secret Santa Project” direct from author Carol Ross in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I love reading Carol Ross & Harlequin Heartwarming novelists:

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You might have noticed these features & showcases throughout the years of Jorie Loves A Story. In truth, I have only been reading the stories by Ms Ross since [2018] – it has been such a wicked wonderful journey into her different series and seeing how she attaches us with the vision of her characters’ worlds simply by how she creates the drama behind their lives. I have felt dearly attached now to *Seasons of Alaska* as I had the pleasure of joy binge reading this series via interlibrary loan. One of these days I’m going to bring the series home to roost on my shelf in full point of pride as it has given me an infinite delight of happiness to discover, read and savour.

It is hard to capture *why!* I love Harlequin Heartwarming as much as I do except to say – if you’re seeking relationship-based Romances with a deepening centre of focus on family (biological, adopted, found, etc) and the strength of community – these are realistically told romantic dramas with a particular encaptured portrait of contemporary modern life within the backdrop of realistic characters living real lives. You can tell what inspires these stories by the authors who pen them and how much heart and soul of themselves they etch into the stories as you’re reading them. You don’t want to put these lovelies down – their #unputdownable, memorable and they knit themselves into your heart. The epitome of a #bookHUG if there ever were one to be had, too!

More than that even,.. Heartwarming stories give all of us singletons the hope of what tomorrow can bring when we least expect our lives to intersect with a bit of romance & the unexpected blissitudes of meeting someone who understands us without having to explain ourselves. Romance is an uplift for the heart and a pulse of inspired joy for the joy and that is why I love reading Harlequin Heartwarming stories. Their the kind of Romances I crave to read and the kind of Romances I cannot get enough of as a reader.

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This #SaturdaysAreBookish features #HarlequinHeartwarming | “The Secret Santa Project” (Seasons of Alaska, Book Eight) by Carol RossThe Secret Santa Project
Subtitle: Seasons of Alaska
by Carol Ross
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

A gift he wasn’t expecting…

A special Christmas wish

Working with his best friend’s sister isn't how Cricket Blackburn had planned to spend his holidays. He’d tried to forget about sweet, beautiful Hazel James for ten whole years and now she's back, closer to him than ever. They have a Christmas charity to run—certainly that will keep Cricket’s mind off what might have been. Perhaps if he tells Santa his secrets, his ultimate wish might come true.

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


Christmas Romance Book Icon made by Jorie in Canva.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1335426352

Also by this author: The Rancher's Twins, Mountains Apart, A Case for Forgiveness, If Not for a Bee, A Family Like Hannah's, Bachelor Remedy, In the Doctor's Arms, Keeping Her Close, Second Chance for the Single Dad, Series Spotlight w/ Notes: Return of the Blackwell Brothers, Catching Mr Right

Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 27th July, 2021

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

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A quick recapturing of the JOY I had reading the last novel in this series:

I found it wicked interesting how Ross started us off in this story by stepping into the joy of fishing! We do not have a lot of information about who is fishing but its how their fishing that means more than their name and identity! The care and attention they have to the sport of fishing as much as the mindfulness of releasing the fish after archiving data and evidence of the fish being caught. I was a compassionate fisherwoman myself – I never caught for anything more than the joy of the time I spent fishing. Between the natural environment and the quiet calm of the setting – there wasn’t any reason not to feel relaxed in that moment.

You can tell Ross has a passion for fishing herself – especially how she describes how her characters’ are fishing and the methods they are using to fish. There is an art to it – from the choices of bait to what you use on your lines to draw the fish to you. Everyone makes their own choices and of course, a lot of those choices depend on where you’re fishing, too. Reading the opening chapters of this novel brought back a wealth of happy memories and a childhood where there was still a lot of innocent joy to be found.

I surmised the Cajun ancestry in Victoria’s family even before it was disclosed and that is credit to Ms Ross who had tucked in subtle hints about her family’s origins. From the name she called her grandmother to the ways in which she spoke herself – she had such a distinctive tone and sound to her person, I knew her ancestry even before it was properly announced! This is one reason why I enjoy reading Contemporary and/or Historical stories set in and round NOLA. And, coincidently before the storylines went askew that is also why I loved that variant of NCIS. There is something special about stories set in the bayous of Louisiana and I felt Ms Ross did a chamption job in capturing but the history and the spirit of the setting.

I especially loved seeing how this story took on a role of ‘perspectives’ – from Seth and from Victoria and how dearly realistic and relatable their stories were from that angle. Ross makes the critical observation of how we sometimes get ‘stuck in our heads’ to the point where we’re either overthinking something or we’re nearly to the point of talking ourselves out of something without any rationality attached to that choice other than where our hearts and emotions are leading us. From this, Ross deepens their individual and conjoined journeys as they shift forward in their individual lives whilst attempting to test the waters if there is a way their paths can not just cross but continue to merge in a role neither of them are fully comfortable defining. For me, this was the most immediate joy of Catching Mr Right – it wasn’t a meet-cute circumstance nor was it an insta-attraction plot either – it was more of seeing two people re-discover what they want out of life and what they potentially had overlooked in what they might want in someone else.

The best takeaway from Catching Mr Right is that family stands behind family. You cannot get far in this world without people who will defend you at a moment’s notice and you cannot hope to survive this world without a family behind you. Whether your family is biological, adopted or found – family is EVERYTHING. And, this is the best part of reading this story – Ross champions FAMILY and gives us such a stirringly brilliant ending which makes our heart rejoice for having read it.

-quoted from my review of Catching Mr Right

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Seasons of Alaska series:

Bachelor Remedy by Carol RossIn the Doctor's Arms by Carol RossCatching Mr Right by Carol RossThe Secret Santa Project by Carol Ross

Mountains Apart (Book One)

A Case for Forgiveness (Book Two) | see also Reviews of Book One & Two

If Not for A Bee (Book Three)

A Family Like Hannah’s (Book Four) see also Reviews of Book Three & Four

Bachelor Remedy (Book Five)

In the Doctor’s Arms (Book Six) see also Reviews of Book Five & Six

Catching Mr Right (Book Seven) see also Review

The Secret Santa Project (Book Eight)

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

Formats Available: Paperback* and Ebook

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

Converse on Twitter via: #ContemporaryRomance & #HarlequinHeartwarming
as well as #SeasonsOfAlaska and #CarolRoss

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About Carol Ross

Carol Ross

USA Today bestselling author Carol Ross grew up in small town America right between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains, in a place where you can go deep sea fishing in the morning and then hit the ski slopes the same afternoon. The daughter of what is now known as free range parents, she developed a love of the outdoors at a very early age.

As a writer, Carol loves to breathe the life she has lived into the characters she creates, grateful for the “research material” that every questionable decision, adrenaline-charged misstep, and near-death experience has provided.

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Posted Saturday, 18 September, 2021 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Christmas Romance &/or Holiday Story, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Family Life, Life Shift, Modern Day, Passionate Researcher, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Small Towne Fiction, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage

A #WyrdAndWonder Audiobook Review | “The Marvelwood Magicians” by Diane Zahler, narrated by Sarah Zimmerman; courtesy of #NetGalley

Posted Sunday, 2 May, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: In late Winter 2020, (February) I joined NetGalley for the first time as they finally announced they were going to be offering full-length audiobooks for reviewers. I was never able to join NetGalley due to having chronic migraines and being unable to read ebooks. I started requesting audiobooks to review as soon as they opened their audiobook catalogue in July, 2020. I am an eclectic reader and thereby, you will see all genres in Fiction explored from both markets of interest: mainstream and INSPY as well as from Major Trade, Indie Publishers & Press and other routes of publication, too. There might be the occasional Non-Fiction title appearing in my NetGalley queue of reviews as well. This marks a new adventure for me seeking stories for review consideration and I look forward to seeing where the stories lead me to venture.

I received a complimentary digital and temporary audiobook copy of “The Marvelwood Magicians” direct from the publisher Live Oak Media via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All audiobooks via NetGalley are able to be heard via the NetGalley Shelf which is why I was thankful to be gifted an android tablet by my parents to celebrate my 7th Blog Birthday on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: As a new reviewer on NetGalley, I’m sorting out how to get the Press Materials for each of the audiobooks I’m reviewing when I share them on my blog Jorie Loves A Story. When I contacted NetGalley Support they informed me that if a separate Press Kit is not included on the audiobook’s book page we’re allowed as reviewers to use the book cover and synopsis provided when we go to share our review of that audiobook on our blogs; as long as we give attribution as I have done at the bottom of this review in “Sources”. Those materials are provided with permission of the publishers to be used by reviewers via NetGalley.

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Why I wanted to read &/or listen to “The .Marvelwood Magicians”:

I have had a certain attachment to circuses ever since I was a young girl who attend the Ringing Brothers circuses. This was during the age of Gunther Gebel-Williams. Beyond the excitement of the shows under the big top and the ways in which the circus can ignite the imaginations of anyone who attends them, part of me was concerned about the conditions of the animals and the treatment of them before and after the shows themselves. In time, I came to appreciate zoos more than the circus but only the ones who had the best interest of the animals at the heart of their mission, not the bottom-line when it came to selling tickets and/or earning profit.

Through the years, you might have noticed I RT and support The Australian Zoo – which is one of the zoos and wildlife outreach organisations I’ve come to appreciate as I spent years watching Steve Irwin and his family through their docuseries long before tragedy struck his family.

However, when it comes to ‘fantasy’ side of the ledger in literature – there is just something interesting about how writers are taking our love & excitement for performance art and close encounters with animals to a new heightened level of interest!! You might have first seen this coming across in my readings of the first bits of the Magical Midway series – and it continues this year, as I was unexpected surprised to find my copy of “The Marvelwood Magicians” was still on my NetGalley shelf waiting for me!

It was the best surprise – as it helped me move past the health woes of April (which let’s face it were adversely difficult) and re-settle myself into listening to audiobooks (its been terribly long since I could last listen to a story in full!) as well as finding my JOY again as a book blogger which is something I’ve struggled with since January, 2021. (you might have seen the reduction in posts every month!? the archives tell tales!) This became my segue novel – as much it became the novel my bookish heart wanted to HUG outright for the HAPPINESS it gave me as a reader!

Every night this week, I’ve been pulled into the throes of the Marvelwood’s — bit by bit and eagerly hopeful I might get ‘further’ into the story. Some nights I could barely keep my attention focused past a half hour but on our first day of #WyrdAndWonder *before!* midnight marked the second day, guess what?! I learnt how it ENDS. It was bittersweet for me, too, as I didn’t want to ‘let go’ of the Marvelwood’s!! Who would!? I felt such a kinship with this family!! Now, I can look forward to gathering this on audio & print and adding both to my personal library. Not sure when I can do that — but when I can, you can bet I’ll be tweeting my glee about bring this family HOME!!

The key reasons I wanted to listen to this lovely were due to the setting (ie. circus & travelling performers!) AND the fact this was a story set in a Fantasy world but dearly focused on family & community. Two of my favourite themes across the genres I regularly read. I wish I had a preteen to give this audiobook too – to see if they delight in the joys I had hearing it myself and to talk about it afterwards.

Read my review and see if this might fit into your #WyrdAndWonder plans – for this year or next – or any month betwixt and between! I appreciate you visiting with me as I’m just getting started – I’ve planned a whole literary holiday for myself where everyday I’ll be reading and/or listening to Fantasy stories and taking everyone on my readerly journey! Come back and see what I’ve discovered each week. For now,.. let the Marvelwood’s entice you into their world and find the JOY of the circus anew,.. .

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A #WyrdAndWonder Audiobook Review | “The Marvelwood Magicians” by Diane Zahler, narrated by Sarah Zimmerman; courtesy of #NetGalleyThe Marvelwood Magicians
by Diane Zahler
Source: Audiobook Direct from Publisher via NetGalley
Narrator: Sarah Zimmerman

Eleven-year-old Mattie Marvelwood comes from a family of traveling performers. Her dad is an illusionist; her mom is a fortune-teller; her brother has a vanishing act; and she herself is a mind-reader. But the Marvelwoods have a deep secret.

The acts they perform at carnivals, fairs, and circuses are not just acts. Their powers are real. In all their wanderings, the Marvelwoods have never met another performer with gifts like theirs—until they join Master Morogh’s Circus of Wonders! But it turns out that Master Morogh’s true talent is stealing the gifts of others. When he steals Mattie’s brother’s vanishing ability, the family has a big decision to make. Do they run, leaving Bell’s gift behind to save the rest of them, or risk exposure by trying to beat the duplicitous ringmaster at his own game?

Genres: Children's Literature, Middle Grade, Middle Grade Fantasy, Urban Fantasy



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781629797243

ASIN: B0815B761C

on 1st October, 2019

Format: Audiobook | Digital Review Copy (NetGalley)

Length: 5 hours and 19 minutes (unabridged)

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Published By: Live Oak Media (@MediaLiveOak)

Converse via: #KidsLit, #MGLit or #MiddleGrade, #Fantasy and #Magicians OR #Magic
and  #audiobook or #audioreads as well as #TheMarvelwoodMagicians
and especially #WyrdAndWonder !!

Available Formats: Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

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?✍ Follow the author: @dianezahler

?? Visit the narrator: Sarah Zimmerman

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #WyrdAndWonder
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Posted Sunday, 2 May, 2021 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, #WyrdAndWonder, Audiobook, Book Review (non-blog tour), Brothers and Sisters, Bullies and the Bullied, Children's Literature, Clever Turns of Phrase, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Conservation, Content Note, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Folklore and Mythology, Good vs. Evil, Indie Author, Invisibility, Juvenile Fiction, Middle Grade Novel, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, NetGalley, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Preservation, Siblings, Small Towne USA, Speculative Fiction, Supernatural Fiction, Telekinesis, Telepaths & Telepathy, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Urban Fantasy, Writing Style & Voice

Happy 8th Blogoversary, Jorie Loves A Story! (#JLASblog turns 8!) | Celebrating with a #HarlequinHeartwarming Book Review | “Catching Mr Right” (Seasons of Alaska, Book Seven) by Carol Ross

Posted Wednesday, 31 March, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

8th Blogoversary of Jorie Loves A Story banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Yes, you’ve read correctly!

Jorie Loves A Story turns eight today!!

And, yes, I’ve spent the last 8 years explaining I purposely capitalised the A!

On the 31st of March, 2013 Jorie Loves A Story was in its infancy – being tinkered with behind the scenes of the internet as I as not yet *live!* to the world (that came along lateron in August, 2013 – hence why this blog has a ‘blog birthday’ as well as a ‘blogoversary’!). In the humbled origins of Jorie Loves A Story – I had no idea what was going to come out of this project I had undertaken. I wasn’t self-hosted until 2014 and the earlier days of the blog – I was experimenting with both the style of how I wanted to blog and the ways in which I would showcase stories and authors alike. There were always reviews but its the interviews which have provided me with a hearty challenge and a bounty of unexpected joy to host.

I’ve been exploring genres of interest (both known to me and unknown), styles of literary voice as much as cross-global literary markets and the unique variants of literature as seen through both mainstream and faith-based markets of interest, too. I have tackled reading poetry and works of poetic drama which took me into a different layering of how stories can be told through prose and poetic voice. I helped develop @WyrdAndWonder which is about to celebrate its 4th Year this May, 2021 and I founded the Romance, Women’s Fiction & Feminist Fiction bookish chat @SatBookChat in 2014.

I’ve participated in bookish reading challenges, readathons and other book blogger community events throughout the years as well as #ArmchairBEA. My second favourite annual event I am always a part of in some fashion is @SciFiMonth as it co-anchours my interests as I explore Fantasy during #WyrdAndWonder.

Yet. What remains are the memories. The conversations. The characters and their stories. The settings and timescapes I’ve traversed. The people I’ve communicated with in the comments and the interviews I’ve organised to get to the heart of what inspires the creative economnist to create their style of story. There is a lot of History on Jorie Loves A Story – of a reader redefining her journey into literature and the origins of a writer moonlighting as a book blogger and finding herself wholly inspired back into her own writings. Even if her season of publishing hasn’t yet arrived – the stories she can read and digest as she articulates her reactions throughout Jorie Loves A Story has been a blissitude of its own.

Here’s to celebrating ringing in my 8th Year of blogging on Jorie Loves A Story. May the stories and the authors who write them continue to inspire this blog and the writer behind it.

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Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquiried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. This is how I came to love discovering the Harlequin Heartwarming authors & series as much as it has been an honour to regularly request INSPY stories and authors. Whenever I host for Prism, I know I am in for an uplifting read and a journey into the stories which give me a lot of joy to find in my readerly queue of #nextreads. It is an honour to be a part of their team of book bloggers.

I received a complimentary copy of “Catching Mr Right” direct from author Carol Ross in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I love reading Carol Ross & Harlequin Heartwarming novelists:

my #TopTenTuesday where I disclosed how much I personally LOVE reading Harlequin Heartwarming novelists

Return of the #BlackwellBrothers of which I had an ardent & passionate attachment of

her small towne series Seasons of Alaska which bewitched my heart & soul

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I regularly express gratitude to Prism Book Tours for helping me become introduced with Harlequin Heartwarming and for inspiring me to fetch their stories regularly through inter-library loans at my local library and/or borrowing directly from a reciprocal library which has a few of their authors in their card catalogue! In future, I’ll be ‘filling in gaps’ of my personal library and in my reading queues by frequenting Thrift Books online as I found they are one of the best resources for purchasing these novels second hand which makes collecting them fit my book buying budget! On the latter note – there will be announcement in APRIL 2021.

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my 6th Blogoversary on Jorie Loves A Story lamenting about my love for Ms Ross’s Seasons of Alaska series and now that I’ve just celebrated my 7th Blogoversary on Jorie Loves A Story 

my first Heartwarming #SatBookChat this Autumn, 2020 featured Claire McEwen in September, 2020 (whilst you can read why I am dearly attached inside her Heartwarming series #HeroesOfShelterCreek)

→November, 2020 showcased ALL *5* #BlackwellBrothers & #BlackwellSisters authors on @SatBookChat for a seriously EPIC #SatBookChat!!

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You might have noticed these features & showcases throughout the years of Jorie Loves A Story. In truth, I have only been reading the stories by Ms Ross since [2018] – it has been such a wicked wonderful journey into her different series and seeing how she attaches us with the vision of her characters’ worlds simply by how she creates the drama behind their lives. I have felt dearly attached now to *Seasons of Alaska* as I had the pleasure of joy binge reading this series via interlibrary loan. One of these days I’m going to bring the series home to roost on my shelf in full point of pride as it has given me an infinite delight of happiness to discover, read and savour.

It is hard to capture *why!* I love Harlequin Heartwarming as much as I do except to say – if you’re seeking relationship-based Romances with a deepening centre of focus on family (biological, adopted, found, etc) and the strength of community – these are realistically told romantic dramas with a particular encaptured portrait of contemporary modern life within the backdrop of realistic characters living real lives. You can tell what inspires these stories by the authors who pen them and how much heart and soul of themselves they etch into the stories as you’re reading them. You don’t want to put these lovelies down – their #unputdownable, memorable and they knit themselves into your heart. The epitome of a #bookHUG if there ever were one to be had, too!

Whilst in regards to Ms Ross – I had the chance to speak with her shortly after her guest appearance on #SatBookChat and it was one of the most cherished convos I’ve shared because I had the chance to talk to one of the authors whose given me such a positive boost of encouragement during the months/years where life felt especially adverse and where the future was looming off in the distance with more than a shadowing of stormy weather. Her stories anchoured me in moments of where I needed a respite and a settling of mind – her characters gave me something I needed during the hours I visited with them and for that I shall remain forever grateful.

More than that even,.. Heartwarming stories give all of us singletons the hope of what tomorrow can bring when we least expect our lives to intersect with a bit of romance & the unexpected blissitudes of meeting someone who understands us without having to explain ourselves. Romance is an uplift for the heart and a pulse of inspired joy for the joy and that is why I love reading Harlequin Heartwarming stories. Their the kind of Romances I crave to read and the kind of Romances I cannot get enough of as a reader.

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Happy 8th Blogoversary, Jorie Loves A Story! (#JLASblog turns 8!) | Celebrating with a #HarlequinHeartwarming Book Review | “Catching Mr Right” (Seasons of Alaska, Book Seven) by Carol RossCatching Mr Right
by Carol Ross
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

They can’t both win…

Can they?

Louisiana angler Victoria Thibodeaux needs the spokesperson contract with Romeo Reels to keep her business going and give her daughter a better life. But her hard-won confidence sinks to the bottom of the bayou when her rival, Alaskan fisherman Seth James, arrives. With his smooth-talking charm, handsome Seth could steal both her job and her heart, unless secrets from her past catch up with her first…

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



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1335179746

Also by this author: The Rancher's Twins, Mountains Apart, A Case for Forgiveness, If Not for a Bee, A Family Like Hannah's, Bachelor Remedy, In the Doctor's Arms, Keeping Her Close, Second Chance for the Single Dad, Series Spotlight w/ Notes: Return of the Blackwell Brothers, The Secret Santa Project

Series: Seasons of Alaska


Also in this series: Mountains Apart, A Case for Forgiveness, If Not for a Bee, A Family Like Hannah's, Bachelor Remedy, In the Doctor's Arms


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 9th February, 2021

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

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

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A quick recapturing of the JOY I had reading the last novel in this series:

Rankins is coming up in the world now – the hospital is fully staffed and ready for receiving patients – a feat in of itself, as most of the more remote areas of Alaska in today’s world still require the efforts of real-life Tag’s to fly you out to the nearest hospital; generally speaking, those are located in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau – whilst having subscriptions to the three main air ambulances to get you evac’d is a good idea as sometimes your best bet is to get to a hospital in Canada rather than stay in Alaska depending on where you are when the emergency occurs. When Tag asks Ally to fly to either Alaska Regional or to Bartlett – you can have a better understanding where Rankins is located as Bartlett is in Juneau and Alaska Regional is in Anchorage. I’ve been trying to discern since I first began reading Seasons of Alaska where Ms Ross might pin down Rankins on a map. The problem of course is that there are 23 hours separating the two cities and a world of wilderness, small townes and cities between the two hospitals. Juneau is tucked under the Yukon and is next door to British Columbia – so I was a bit surprised Tag hadn’t mentioned going to the Yukon to reach the hospital in Whitehorse. This is what made me question if Rankins is somewhere in the more remote areas of interior Alaska outside of the cities which have hospitals and why Rankins getting their own hospital was as imperative as it was to become a more established city with self-sufficient means to help their own community.

Ross broached the option taboo topic of ageism in relationships and how old/young is too much of a chasm to bridge between two people who are falling in love? Technically speaking – I think more people ought to learn about Tony Randall’s life and realise when it comes to true love – age is never a barrier you should entertain. I personally found it a bit ironic that Tag was thinking that a woman aged 22 and a bloke aged 38 was too big of a difference in age – as realistically, he was only 16 years older than Ally. Generally, the upper limit I’ve seen is a 15 year difference but if you factor in how Ally had grown up and what she’d accomplished in her 22 years – to me she felt closer to 35, which would make plausible sense and also might have been why I observed their ease with each other was as natural as it seemed. I think maybe even Ms Ross felt that herself – as emotionally Ally was much older than her lived years.

I loved seeing this side of her writing explored – it gave a lovely tug-of-war aspect to the relationship – where you can see what conflicted Tag and how enlightened Ally truly was before Tag could wrap his head round why he was feeling any attraction at all. Men, truly! Sometimes they can be quite thick-headed about what they don’t or choose not to understand.

By the time I started to see how Iris and Flynn’s story-line was expanding and evolving to become inclusive of the entire James’ family – where updates on marriages within the series were coming back to centre focus and how the children of the series were maturing towards adulthood, my feelings for the series deepened. The continuity is brilliant and as I felt this was a duology attached to Bachelor Remedy I couldn’t be happier for how everything tied together in the end.

-quoted from my review of In the Doctor’s Arms

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Seasons of Alaska series:

Bachelor Remedy by Carol RossIn the Doctor's Arms by Carol RossCatching Mr Right by Carol Ross

Mountains Apart (Book One)

A Case for Forgiveness (Book Two) | see also Reviews of Book One & Two

If Not for A Bee (Book Three)

A Family Like Hannah’s (Book Four) see also Reviews of Book Three & Four

Bachelor Remedy (Book Five)

In the Doctor’s Arms (Book Six) see also Reviews of Book Five & Six

Catching Mr Right (Book Seven)

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Formats Available: Paperback* and Ebook

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

Converse on Twitter via: #ContemporaryRomance & #HarlequinHeartwarming
as well as #SeasonsOfAlaska and #CarolRoss

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About Carol Ross

Carol Ross

USA Today bestselling author Carol Ross grew up in small town America right between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains, in a place where you can go deep sea fishing in the morning and then hit the ski slopes the same afternoon. The daughter of what is now known as free range parents, she developed a love of the outdoors at a very early age.

As a writer, Carol loves to breathe the life she has lived into the characters she creates, grateful for the “research material” that every questionable decision, adrenaline-charged misstep, and near-death experience has provided.

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Posted Wednesday, 31 March, 2021 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Contemporary Romance, Cookery, Family Drama, Family Life, Fishing, Fly in the Ointment, Geographically Specific, Life Shift, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Nature & Wildlife, Non-traditional characters, Passionate Researcher, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Single Mothers, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Southeastern USA, The Natural World, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage

Blog Book Tour | returning to The Bradford Sisters Romance series by Becky Wade within the third novel “Sweet On You”!

Posted Wednesday, 29 May, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

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 “Sweet On You” direct from the publisher Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On the joy of re-visiting an INSPY Contemporary novelist I love reading,

within the Bradford Sisters Romance series – which reminds me dearly of a new series I am loving to watch via #HMNow which is “Chesapeake Shores” inspired by the book series from Sherryl Woods (an author I knew from the *Sweet Magnolias* series)…

You could say I have shared quite a heap about this series when I first hosted the blog tour for the second novel in the series – I simply took to the series quite immediately and I came to *love!* the ways in which Ms Wade was crafting the journey her characters were taking within the fuller breadth of where the Bradford Sisters were taking us all as we tucked close to their lives. The interesting bit is during May of 2019 I was able to finally see the first & second season of Chesapeake Shores (a tv series on Hallmark Channel) – wherein, I realised that the series on tv and this book series have a heap in common!

I have the tendency to seek out similar stories which are both familiar and dynamically drawn to give you a full glimpse into the life of a family. Whether the dynamic is made of three sisters like the Bradford’s or have a five sibling unit like the O’ Brien’s – one thing is for certain, if you look at my more recent readings of the Rocky Mountain Cowboys & Blackwell Brothers – you’ll notice how much I love soaking into sibling series! The same can be said of the Seasons of Alaska series, too! When it comes to family, small townes and siblings – I simply cannot get enough of the writers who are giving us heartwarming characters to fall in love with reading about – I am blessed I could continue where I left off with the Bradford’s as I was dearly curious what was going to happen with Britt!!

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I’m unsure how I would have reacted if the roles had been reversed – faux hostage situations to help those who needed to know how to handle these situations at the ready was not exactly something I’d see myself signing on to tackle. Then, again – if truth be told, I seriously doubt Nora would have fashioned herself a willing player in this game either if it hadn’t been for Britt. As we re-enter the Bradford family, we are finding the girls are well into their twenties, not the young girls of the novella Then Came You. The interesting thing to note is the order of the stories – Nora is the middle sister, Britt the youngest and Willow is the eldest – yet we were happily sorting out Nora’s story first!

She’s a girl after my own heart – she loves being enraptured by the written word, jaunting through time, travelling into history and aligning her mind and heart with the characters’ she’s reading about with every story she picks up to read. She’s also passionately invested into genealogical research (as she’s a historian and genealogist) but where she falls a bit short is handling faux extreme stress presentations! One thing is for sure, you never quite know what to expect when your beginning a Becky Wade novel – which is quite refreshing, as her Contemporary stories are clued into a reality we can all recognise with stories which seek to find the truth of our own world and intermix life lessons, strong characters and a captivating narrative to draw our attention into the messages her stories are attempting to convey to us. I was honestly hooked as soon as I started the first chapter – how can you not get caught up in the drama unfolding between the two sisters – one wants to take flight and ‘win’ the game whilst the other is thinking of every which way to Sunday her day could have gone if she had only made better plans with her hours!

Mind you, I haven’t seen someone this loss for words since I first watched All of my Heart: Inn Love this past Mother’s Day weekend! (FYI: there is a blogger in the film who is researching B&B’s and it’s her insta-attraction to the General Store owner who provides a lot of comedic relief!) In this instance, Nora was taken for a loop when John Lawson decided to carry her out of the building and thus ending her tenure in this particular exercise – a spontaneous act which rendered her without the ability to articulate anything other than a brief conversation once she was reunited with her sister, Britt.

When Nora is around her sisters, you get to see their different dynamics come into play – especially as I remember how this family began through the origin story Then Came You. Britt has a beau-in-the-wings named Zander who happily took me by surprise, as generally speaking men with tattoo sleeves (on their arms) are not known for their inclusivity to INSPY Romance (although they ought to be – some of the most artistic and kind gentleman wear tatt’s!). This was another nod towards my heart growing aflutter in appreciation for Ms Wade’s writing style – she is part of the changing tides of realistic characterisations and story-lines for the INSPY market; for which, she has my hat of gratitude. By the time we reside inside Britt’s story (next in line), I do hope we get to see a larger portion of Zander’s past and current life explored; not to mention, seeing these two find themselves falling in love rather than Zander consistently being the one who knows the will of his heart.

Seeing the sisters’ admiration and affection towards Valentina (their housekeeping nanny from years ago) was heart-warming, as it proved their father (Garner) knew exactly what he was doing in hiring her to watch over his darling girls; though in theory, he at first only meant to give Willow a chance at having a bit more normalcy in her life. These are the kind of details where you can easily see the flow of continuity within the series – even from the prequel novella – as you tuck closer to the girls’ and follow where their footsteps lead.

I can dearly relate to Nora – my soul was literally crushed in half when Matthew died (ie. Downton Abbey and never fully recovered; I left the series after Anna was brutally attacked) – I definitely know her anguish over cross-comparing Rochester’s as I have a penchant for Little Women, A Christmas Carol and other classical adaptations where you do find yourself talking about which actor or actress best brought the character forward! I haven’t seen too many adaptations of Jane Eyre – as my favourite is the first one I found (1996) whilst knowing full well Keira Knightley’s Pride and Prejudice was my celebration film for finally finishing reading the novel – it will be (most likely!) Colin Firth’s adaptation which will feel organically tied to Austen’s vision (methinks!). I even love the Bollywood version of Pride which is Bride and Prejudice. *le sigh* Yes, I can dearly relate to Nora,… what grieved me dearly, dear hearts, is realising ‘Northamptonshire’ is not rooted in our reality but is a fictional tv series in Nora’s world. I seriously would have requested it at my library!

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Being this story was published in 2017, it is interesting how current it is written as I am hoping one day we can look back on this decade and realise we’ve come a long way from it – as a society and as a country. The work John does for emergency training shouldn’t have to be in such high demand in other words but the way in which he has hardened a bit through life – due to the many unknowns in his origin story, prove how hard it is for adopted children to understand who they are if they have too little to fall back in regards to personal memory (especially if like John, they were adopted as infants or young children). I appreciated the candor of the story-line delving into the hurdles adoptees face as it is an important part of their journey; finding peace from the past but also, finding ways to move forward in the present.

I believe what I loved most about True to You, were the conveyances of how it was articulated through the slow narrative wisely chosen by Ms Wade to draw out the rounded edges of two people on the brink of finding each other. The kind of narrative where you don’t have to forsake not understanding what happens between conversations because the details are pulled forward, knitting together an image of where Nora and John find comfortable consistency in their hours. The pattern of this story reminded me a lot of a Jane Austen novel – for it tucks into those hidden moments very well whilst eclipsing a character’s journey through all the different pieces of her experience – leaving everything open to be seen, examined and understood. You can breathe into a rhythm following Ms Wade’s muse – so much so, you have to brace yourself for the ending, as it truly becomes such a comfortable world in which to reside.

There is a point towards the end, where your heart and your emotions start to spill over – where all the anguish this family has gone through over the years hits you stock and centre. It is a very well- conceived plot, to the point where your not even sure if your prepared for what is coming next – I know I wasn’t, as it could go so many different ways to Sunday, how to do you brace yourself for what is now being revealled!? Charlotte bless her, was the one who inspired everyone to take action but sometimes, between action and restitution for what is once lost is a fine line to walk – where the soul and the heart have a longer path towards reconciliation and healing. I give full credit to Ms Wade for curating such an incredibly layered suspenseful plot thickening in the background whilst addressing the relationships of the Bradford sisters.

I missed seeing the progression of Nora and John’s relationship in the back-folds of the narrative – as there were serious things happening in their lives which I felt begged to be explored in Falling for You. I am unsure if those threads will be re-explored in Britt’s novel or if there will be a conclusionary novella after the third novel releases – but this is one error in the continuity I’ve loved so dearly for remaining inclusively intact with the characters.

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Despite my grievances with the leading beau for Willow, there is so much heart writ into the tapestry of this series, the emotions simply pull you forward, eager to see how the sisters’ lives will continue to evolve, to feel what their feeling in the moments of their lives where destiny and conviction interconnect. I am blessed to have started this journey into their stories – I am itching to read the next stories, to gleam more of what is yet to come and to feel as if I’ve travelled miles of hours beside them until the very last story is published. It’s hard to ‘let go’ of series you feel so dearly attached too – this one definitely touched a special place in my heart and will not ‘let go’ anytime soon! I hope, my words will inspire my readers to pick up one of the stories in this series – if only to meet Nora, Britt and Willow for themselves! Even if I am rather partial to Garner, without whom the sisters would not be here!

By the time I concluded reading Falling for You, I understood the reasons why the novel was written the way in which it was but on a personal level of honesty, I just didn’t feel connected to Corbin. I believed he had a lot of personal growth which was showcased in this novel to prove change is possible even in the most stubborn of individuals but in regards to feeling an attachment to his person? I honestly never felt it. For me, this story was a happy thread of insight into the sisters’ lives with an incredible slice of suspense in the back-threads – giving us an exhilarating read and a heap of emotions to shift through to boot!

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. This is also why I sent out that tweet of joy celebrating the #booklove of the authors I am finding in Contemporary INSPY Romance to be of the variety I love most to be #amreading: Dee Henderson (see also Review); Brenda S. Anderson (see also Archive) and Kellie Coates Gilbert (see also Review).

I especially enjoy watching characters have true growth during our time spent with them – or even, to observe them in full confidence within their chosen fields, but still have a few things they need to work through – where everything isn’t quite ‘neat and tidy’. I love this aspect of character development because it eludes to how evolving all our lives become – it is also a benefit to grounding a story in the realism of real-life and the ways in which despite our best intentions, we cannot always foresee everything which will come onto our path. This is a gift Ms Wade share swith the other authors I’ve mentioned – she digs in deep into the human condition, into the ways in which relating to another person isn’t just about romantic overtures – but of listening, in-tuning what is being said against what is inferred (including through body language) and of finding a middle ground. In essence, my favourite stories are full of flawed characters doing their best to embetter their lives for the good.

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Ms Wade has eloquent overtures of living histories ebbing into her narrative – such as how Bradfordwood was properly shipped in pieces from its origins in England and reassembled into what is now known as the estate of the Bradford family (200 acres strong). She gives you this sense of familial pride, of the hard work behind the legacies still in evidence today in the lives of the sisters’ and humbles the family through their good deeds, their personal growth exploits and how having a strong sense of business mindfulness can continue to lead for generations (as their assets are diversified).

felt Ms Wade’s styling within True to You was classically eloquent (foresaid) and her entire Bradford Sisters Romance series is refreshingly lovely to have discovered – for she’s another Contemporary INSPY author who is providing me with the kind of Contemporaries I am most appreciative of reading! So much so, it is another confirmation the number of Contemporaries which will be winning over my heart outside of INSPY are quite limited (at least for now) – as I have a select number of authors I am enjoying reading now. I used to love Contemporaries as much as I loved Historical Romance – what I never linked together though is the reason I had such a paradigm shift in my reading habits is due to innate frustration stemming out of what I was finding inclusive to mainstream Contemporaries vs INSPY. Clearly, sometimes being a book blogger has it’s advantages as whilst your journalling your reading life, you understand yourself better as a reader!

Her continued appreciation for inserting popular cultural references takes an all-star glimpse into social media life today – as if I hadn’t been a joyful tweeter, I’d never have known I already know the *name!* of a highly beloved K-Pop band: BTS! This is important to know a) if you love discovering new music and b) if you want to better understand Charlotte in Falling for You. I love when writers go a bit further than necessary to make their novels relevant to our times – they have a way of knitting out the best of what is ‘happening in the moment’, adding those bits to their stories and re-grounding us in a quasi-reality such a strong composite to our own – we nearly have to pinch ourselves as reminders we’re reading a fictional story! I love how this is achieved!

Yet, 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! If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know the authors I’ve mentioned previously who ‘wow’ me over with this technique but if your a new visitor or reader, the short-list includes Julie E. Czerneda (for Science Fiction, I am just now reading her Fantasy), Brenda S. Anderson, Julie Lessman (will be blogging about her stories!), Anna Lee Huber, L.M. Montgomery, Jennifer Lamont Leo, Jackie Gamber, Larry D. Sweazy, Susan Spann, Sue Hallgarth, Margaret James, Lucinda Riley, Linda Mitchelmore, AshleyRose Sullivan, Renee Patrick and Rachel Amphlett.

-quoted from my reviews and ruminative thoughts on behalf of the following stories
within this series “Then Came You”, “True to You” and “Falling For You”

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Blog Book Tour | returning to The Bradford Sisters Romance series by Becky Wade within the third novel “Sweet On You”!Sweet on You
Subtitle: A Bradford Sisters Romance
by Becky Wade
Source: Publisher via Prism Book Tours

Britt Bradford and Zander Ford have been the best of friends since they met thirteen years ago. Unbeknown to Britt, Zander has been in love with her for just as long.

Independent and adventurous Britt channels her talent into creating chocolates at her hometown shop. Zander is a bestselling author who's spent the past 18 months traveling the world. He's achieved a great deal but still lacks the only thing that ever truly mattered to him--Britt's heart.

When Zander's uncle dies of mysterious causes, he returns to Merryweather, Washington, to investigate, and Britt is immediately there to help. Although this throws them into close proximity, both understand that an attempt at romance could jeopardize their once-in-a-lifetime friendship. But while Britt is determined to resist any change in their relationship, Zander finds it increasingly difficult to keep his feelings hidden.

As they work together to uncover his uncle's tangled past, will the truth of what lies between them also, finally, come to light?

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



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780764219382

Also by this author: Falling for You (Spotlight w/ Notes), Then Came You, True to You, Falling for You, Stay with Me

Also in this series: Then Came You, True to You, Falling for You


Published by Bethany House Publishers

on 30th April, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 368

Published by: Bethany House Publishers (@bethany_house)

an imprint of Baker Publishing Group

Formats Available: Ebook and Paperback

The Bradford Sisters Romance series:

Then Came You (prequel novella)

True to You (Book One)

Falling for You (Book Two)
you can read my thoughts on these previous stories

Sweet on You (Book Three)

The Christmas Heirloom : Because of You
(holiday novella)*the one I didn’t get to read yet

Converse via: #Contemporary #INSPYRomance +
#INSPY or #INSPYBooks and #BradfordSistersRomance

The only difficulty I had in reading this novel – a year later from my last readings of the series is I found the font to be set at a level of size a bit lower than my eyes can tolerate. I didn’t strain to read the novel but I had to take extra care to focus on the words because I swear the font felt ten times smaller than I remember the last two novels in print had read.

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

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 29 May, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Adoption, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Clever Turns of Phrase, Contemporary Romance, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Family Drama, Family Life, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Modern Day, Passionate Researcher, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Small Towne USA, Sweet Romance, The Writers Life, Washington, West Coast USA, Women's Fiction, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writing Style & Voice