Category: Women’s Fiction

A #SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | The Rancher’s Wyoming Twins (Book One: Back to Adelaide Creek) by Virginia McCullough

Posted Saturday, 30 April, 2022 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish 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 “The Rancher’s Wyoming Twins” direct from the author Virginia McCullough in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I enjoy reading a Virginia McCullough
Harlequin Heartwarming novel:

In this installment of Back to Bluestone River, I was happy to see an intergenerational plotting – wherein Amy is with her grandmother and there is a history of grandparents raising children in the storyline. Lately, I’ve been enjoying finding intergenerational stories – where different role models and guardians are being explored in the context of Contemporary stories. It is a refreshing twist and one I think should be celebrated more often as there are a lot of children who live in non-conventional families and those families should be represented more as I am loving how Ms McCullough presented Amy’s presence in her grandmother’s life.

Bluestone River is one of those communities which is thinking about how it wants to make positive progress into their own towne’s future. There is something to be said for that kind of thinking – of where a towne considers all angles of new proposals but also takes stock into consideration how they want to grow rather than just growing without a firm plan in mind to execute. Too often I think smaller townes grow too fast and they all start to look like a commercial zone of big box stores and differing styles of architecture without any cohesive way of bridging the towne and their aesthetic together. It was nice to see this discussion taking place and having a community question what is motivating their future endeavours as the towne continues to grow.

Ms McCullough brought the continuity together beautifully between installments – as Eric is the mutual friend of our first Bluestone River sweethearts, Ruby and Mike. It wasn’t lost on me the connection between the title’s metaphor and the symbolism of the bridge being in jeopardy throughout the storyline – not to mention that this story took place during my favourite season of Winter! Everything was percolating so well in this installment – from how the community was rallying together to discuss their future plans for development and to how Amy needed to find her footing in her choices to return to Bluestone River. Even Eric was at a crossroads in his life wherein he needed to sort through what was motivating him and the choices he needed to be making for himself as he looked towards where he wanted to be in the next chapter of his life. This is a story about choices and owning them once they are made as everyone needs a boost of confidence at different junctions of their lives.

I felt this installment brought me back to centre – back to where I originally felt hugged close into the series within the pages of A Family for Jason. Bluestone River has a way of settling into your heart because its the kind of towne where you can either return home after a long absence or it is a towne where you can move to redefine your life and have your own new beginning. What keeps you rooted in the series is the familiar way in which McCullough makes you feel like you’ve gone home yourself – Back to Bluestone River!

-quoted from my review of A Bridge Home

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I need to preface this with a note about why I am posting my ruminative thoughts several days after my previously scheduled tour stop for this lovely blog tour. On Monday, I had one of the worst ocular migraines of my life – so much so, I had to call in sick from my night job and had to take straight to sleep as it was one of those supernova ones where you have to just rest and obliterate all light from reaching your eyes. Over five hours of sleep and I was feeling a bit more like ‘me’ but not quite to the point I’d say I was back to ‘normal’ either Monday night. By Tuesday, as much as I wanted to resume my life where I had left it the night before it wasn’t until Wednesday morning I felt I had turnt the corner and things were starting to feel like I had reached a healthier patch of road again. Despite that, I asked for an extension to read this novel as I didn’t want to push my eyes past the point they could go with reading and blogging; as sometimes even with traditional migraines it takes me hours/days to recover to the point I can read or blog again.

Ergo, I asked to post this on Saturday giving me more time to read and allowing my eyes not to feel too overwhelmed by reading too fast, too soon. Unfortunately, I had some other health issues arise this weekend which delayed me from sharing my thoughts until late morning rather than earlier as I had planned. It also pushed forward other reviews I was meant to feature this week as well. I was grateful to be on the tour, as Prism is winding down for the Summer and might be on an extended hiatus thereafter. As my regular readers know, I am full of gratitude to Prism (especially to Tressa) for encouraging me to first pick up Heartwarming novels and the journey as a book blogger hosting these authors and series has been a true joy of mine these past six years.

Ms McCullough is beginning a new series now with The Rancher’s Wyoming Twins and I was grateful to be part of the reviewers on the tour as most of the Western Romances I read are either inclusive of Colorado or Montana; it isn’t too often I get to travel into Wyoming and it was a special treat of joy to find this series settled there. Of course, when the Blackwells return this Summer, I’ll be travelling into Wyoming as well (ie. Blackwell Brothers series) but for now, it felt fitting to be in Wyoming and following the adventures therein.

NOTE: The Blackwell series is by fellow Heartwarming authors: Anna J. Stewart, Carol Ross, Melinda Curtis, Amy Vastine and Cari Lynn Webb. It started with Return of the Blackwell Brothers, followed by the Blackwell Sisters and I believe its the Blackwell Cousins this Summer but I haven’t confirmed that yet but the stories are set in Wyoming not Montana.

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A #SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | The Rancher’s Wyoming Twins (Book One: Back to Adelaide Creek) by Virginia McCulloughThe Rancher's Wyoming Twins
Subtitle: Back to Adelaide Creek
by Virginia McCullough
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Her worst enemy...

Could bring her heart home

Heather Stanhope wants to despise the man who now owns the ranch her family lost. But Matt Burton is raising his late sister’s adorable twins, loves horses, and is known for his loyalty and honesty. Sneaking into Adelaide Creek for her friend’s wedding, Heather hopes to avoid Matt, but fate and family have them crossing paths. Heather knows falling for Matt means risking her heart, but it’s a risk she can’t resist.

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



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 78-1335426680

Also by this author: A Family for Jason, The Christmas Kiss, A Bridge Home

Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 29th March, 2022

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

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Back to Adelaide Creek series:

The Rancher’s Wyoming Twins (book one)

The Doc’s Holiday Homecoming (book two) *forthcoming November, 2022!

Keep up with this series via FantasticFiction!

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

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #WesternRomance and #HarlequinHeartwarming

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About Virginia McCullough

Virginia McCullough

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

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

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Posted Saturday, 30 April, 2022 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 21st Century, Adoption, Ancestry & Genealogy, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Brothers and Sisters, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Family Life, Life Shift, Modern Day, Nurses & Hospital Life, Orphans & Guardians, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Siblings, Single Fathers, Sisterhood friendships, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Twin Siblings, West Coast USA, Western Romance, Wyoming

#SaturdaysAreBookish this #SatBookChat | feat. #LoveInspired Historical novelist Jessica Nelson with “An Unlikely Duchess”

Posted Saturday, 22 January, 2022 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I have always appreciated the authors who find my bookish ruminations and find my blog a refreshing visit whilst journeying through the book blogosphere. Especially if they take a moment to read and review my Review Policy and find that I might be a good fit as a reader for one of their stories or series. Imagine the joy I had when Ms Nelson contacted me about her new Love Inspired Historical release as one of my top favourite Love Inspired stories have always been the Historical and Suspense lines moreso than the Contemporary, though I still read Love Inspired Contemporary as well just not as often as the other two categories. Though technically the Suspense line is set in our Contemporary world.

I received a complimentary copy of “An Unlikely Duchess” direct from author Jessica Nelson 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 Love Inspired Historicals:

My appreciation for Love Inspired has been developing over the years as I originally preferred reading the stories by Heartsong Presents alongside my Mum who nudged me to give those delightful little books a chance to win over my heart; and they surely did! When Heartsong went through a few mergers/changes and was finally dissolved by its current publisher (a very sombering day of news!) Mum and I shifted our focus into Love Inspired. Some of the same authors were featured by both publishers/imprints, too. It was there we started to read all three imprints of Love Inspired: Contemporary, Historical & Suspense.

Initially of course, our hearts settled into two different imprints: for me, the Historicals won me over the most and for Mum the Contemporaries. However, then, Love Inspired shifted away from publishing Historical Romances with an INSPY thematic and choose to strictly focus on Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense (ie. Suspense). Ergo, we shifted again and strictly read more of their Suspense line than the other two but still tried to gather the Historicals whenever a) they were available, b) able to be found second hand or c) awaited for new releases or reprints of older stories.

Imagine my lovely surprise finding out their releasing some new titles this New Year, 2022 for a select period of time and giving those of us who LOVE their Historicals a chance to ‘meet’ new authors and tuck into #HistRoms like we loved doing in the past by this lovely imprint.

As a reader, what drew me the most into the Historicals themselves were the gently told stories with an uplift resolution at the end of the story. I love reading INSPY Fiction and when it comes to Historical Romances – I love the dramas of life and the emotional journeys characters take in their lives but sometimes, reading a gentler told story of romance is just my cuppa and I am so dearly thankful there are a few new Love Inspired Historicals out there now to be read as they truly are a lovely lift of joy.

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#SaturdaysAreBookish this #SatBookChat | feat. #LoveInspired Historical novelist Jessica Nelson with “An Unlikely Duchess”An Unlikely Duchess
by Jessica Nelson
Source: Direct from Author

A marriage of convenience

is the only way to save her family…

Widow Sophia Seymour never planned to marry again—let alone become a duchess. But with her father missing and her family impoverished, an old betrothal contract promising her hand to a notorious duke is her only hope. And Edmund DeVane intends to honor the agreement—in name only. After all, Edmund needs a wife with an impeccable reputation to protect his debuting niece. But as their arrangement starts to feel much more real, can their budding love survive Edmund’s deepest secret?

Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Historical Romance



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1335418906

Published by Love INSPIRED

on 28th December, 2021

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 288

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comLove Inspired Historicals by this author:

The Matchmaker’s Match (2015)
A Hasty Betrothal (2016)
The Unconventional Governess (2018)
An Unlikely Duchess (2021)
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Published by: Love Inspired (@LoveInspiredBks)
an imprint of Harlequin Books (@HarlequinBooks)
which is now an imprint of HarperCollins Publishing (@HarperCollins)

Note on Formats: Happily Love Inspired novels have the same kind of flexibility as Harlequin Heartwarming wherein you can receive these print copies in Regular Print, Larger Print or True Large Print for those who are vision impaired and/or have low vision. I personally love the Larger Print editions for Harlequin Heartwarming, Love Inspired Contemporary Romance & Love Inspired Suspense as it is much kinder on eyes of a migraineur! Generally I receive Larger Print copies of Love Inspired and/or Harlequin Heartwarming novels – however, I do on occasion receive Regular Print which I can’t read whilst in the throes of a migraine or shortly after one but when I’m migraine-free I can soak back inside them; hence why having different sized fonts available is a lovely gesture by the publisher for readers like me.

Converse via: #INSPYbooks and/or #INSPY, #SweetRomance and #LoveInspired

as well as #ChristFic, #ChristianFiction, #HistRom or #HistoricalRomance or #INSPYRomance

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2022 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Saturday, 22 January, 2022 by jorielov in #SatBookChat, 19th Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Book Review (non-blog tour), Christianity, Content Note, Domestic Violence, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Mail-Order Brides & Marriages of Convenience, Marriage of Convenience, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, the Regency era, Widows & Widowers

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

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

#INSPYSundays banner made my Jorie in Canva.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1625720245

Also by this author: Formula for a Perfect Life

Published by CAH LLC

on 11th October, 2021

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 295

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

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

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

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

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& the stories I need to gather to read next:

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

The End Run (book two) : Zach’s story

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

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

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This is a self-published novel by CAH LLC

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

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About Christy Hayes

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

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

This #RomanceTuesdays feat. #HarlequinHeartwarming | “The Single Dad’s Holiday Match” (Book One of the Smoky Mountain First Responders: a mini-series set in Hollydale) by Tanya Agler

Posted Tuesday, 12 October, 2021 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

#RomanceTuesdays badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I 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 Single Dad’s Holiday Match” 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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*waves!* Hallo, Hallo dear hearts,

I wanted to preface my review this #RomanceTuesdays with an apology to the author (Ms Agler) about the lateness in which this review is arriving on my blog, Jorie Loves A Story. I was struck down last week with a beast of a migraine – which did blindside me as I have been quite blessed this year with a reduction in frequencies of my migraines as compared to past years (especially the 2018/19 seasons) however, in September, 2021 I had a clustering attack of migraines and this past week, I was unfortunately offline due to another migraine which just wrecked my hours with its presence. I get the kind of migraines where screens (ie. online spaces), lights and even text (ie. reading books) can affect me quite dearly. I hadn’t even realised I had missed my tour stop this past week as I was so consumed with my migraine, you could say it blighted it out of my memory. For that, I apologise.

Generally, I can get on top of things a bit faster or rebound back a bit quicker – as I had planned to read this lovely ahead of the weekend (on Friday and Saturday) whilst posting this on Saturday afternoon, however, my weekend didn’t quite get off the ground as I had planned it would and I apparently needed a bit of extra time to transition back into reading as well. As luck would have it – blessedly, the tour is running through Wednesday the 13th, which is why I scheduled this to run during my #RomanceTuesdays as a final hoorah for the tour itself and as a way of shining a happy light at the end of the tour on a series and author I’ve continued to enjoy reading and discovering!

As you know, I LOVE Heartwarming series and this one is a unique situation where you have a trilogy of stories interlinked into Hollydale and now, there is a lovely new mini-series attached to Hollydale which begins with this novel: The Single Dad’s Holiday Match

Now without further adieu,… let’s get back to the blog tour today!

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If you caught sight of my #BestBooksOf2020 you know “A Ranger for the Twins” was a winner of my Cuppa Book Love Awards – which you can read about HERE!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comOn where I last left my adventures in Hollydale:

Happily read through my Harlequin Heartwarming archives!

As Agler had written one of my favourite Romance novels from 2020 – I was truly delighted to be caught inside this novel for 2021! She was touching on all the elements I love in a Contemporary Romance – a small towne setting, two bull-headed adults who want the best for someone but might not know how to communicate with each other towards that end and of course, at the heart of it all – a slow brewing romance which is about to upset the plans for the lead characters! I loved the quirkiness of how the story began – from the perspective of how Aidan’s first impression of Natalie was the wrong one because he was reading more into her words than what were there to be heard. Whereas with Natalie she’s on the defensive due to how much it aches her to even consider a life and world without Danny; the young boy she was given guardianship over since his Mum died.

The part of the opening chapters which held my eye the most was when Agler had her heroine of this story overhear what defines family from her Mum to the child she shares guardianship with an Uncle stationed overseas. There is deep rooted tragedy in the origins of this story but at the bedrock of the characters’ lives is a wealth of hope and a light of promise filtering through their lives, too. I loved how Agler focused on where they were in their lives a few months after the tragedy as it showed how much Natalie wants things to change for Danny and how much she aches to learn if she is able to stay in his life once his Uncle Aidan returns home from overseas. It is one of those uniquely non-conventional families which I was loving to see develop as it isn’t oft non-conventional families are showcased in Contemporary Romance. Blessedly I’ve noticed an uptick of inclusion within the Harlequin Heartwarming line of romances and I was thankful to read this one by Agler after having felt charmed by A Ranger for the Twins.

If I hadn’t watched the entire series of Army Wives over the last year, I might not have picked up on the subtle reasons why Aidan was being such a difficult person to deal with as he realised his chances of taking Danny out of state were dwindling now that he knew how hard Natalie would fight for custody. The irony of course is his misunderstanding about her remarks when they first met and that reminded me a lot of Frank from Army Wives – as he tended to see things more literally rather than figuratively – which caused a lot of grief in his marriage. However, back to the story at hand – what was interesting to me were the layers Agler was building to the drama behind the premise of the novel.

I loved how she didn’t waste time getting Aidan and Natalie in front of a lawyer and how quickly she wanted to make the case for both Aidan and Natalie to show why they equally had a motive in wanting to keep custody of Danny. It was an interesting premise from the jump start as this is a case involving co-guardianship of a young boy whom both guardians are not the biological custodial parent but rather, Aidan is the boy’s biological Uncle (though the mother was his half sibling) and Natalie was the mother’s best friend. This is one of those more complicated adoption cases where a person’s will and final intentions before death are being brought to life and court.

Agler has a way of knitting you into the heart of their lives – digging deep and expounding on the emotional side of trying to resolve a custody battle between two guardians who aren’t the best at communicating with each other nor understanding where the others is coming from in regards to why their each fighting so hard towards the same end goal. I was definitely hooked quite immediately after Aidan showed up in the park and throughout the passages in the book where he’s trying to assert himself as the predominant reason why the court should lean in his favour but he has a few misguided reasons behind that train of logic which I was looking forward to seeing Agler explore in more detail. Especially about his concept about how love is co-dependent on biology and how custody should only concern those with biological connections.

What I loved most is the ways in which Agler took us on this journey with her characters – to show how life doesn’t have to be deadlocked into one singular plan nor be scheduled within an inch of insanity for missing out on the smaller moments which give life fuller meaning. Agler has a gift for curating a natural rhythm of pacing within a slow burning romance wherein you feel for the characters and for the adversities their facing because of how authentically true their lives have been told by Agler. I definitely will be seeking out more stories from her in future but I also want to get a copy of the first novel The Sheriff’s Second Chance and re-read this trilogy start to finish!

-quoted from my review for The Soldier’s Unexpected Family

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If you love reading Harlequin Heartwarming & the reviews I am sharing
kindly let me know if we’re reading the same authors and/or if you think I need to add someone to my TBR to be read as soon as I can get my hands on their books!!

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Where my journey into Hollydale began:

The Sheriff's Second Chance by Tanya AglerA Ranger for the Twins by Tanya AglerThe Soldier's Unexpected Family by Tanya Agler

The Hollydale series:

The Sheriff’s Second Chance (book one) – Mike and Georgie’s story *need to acquire a copy!

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

The Soldier’s Unexpected Family (book three) Aidan and Natalie’s story (see also Review)

*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.

Finally sorted: This was a trilogy and the series is officially called: Heroines of Hollydale!!

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Where my journey into Hollydale continues:

the Smoky Mountain First Responders mini-series:

The Single Dad's Holiday Match by Tanya Agler

The Single Dad's Holiday Match
Subtitle: Smoky Mountain First Responders
by Tanya Agler
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

'Tis the season…
For unexpected love!

Officer Jonathan Maxwell is just as devoted to his job as he is to his two young daughters, leaving zero time for a social life. Until he meets Brooke Novak. The newly hired community center director is a single parent, too, and also part of his latest investigation. Jonathan needs Brooke’s help if he's going to close his case by Thanksgiving…but she might be the biggest distraction from keeping his mind on his job.

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



Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335426437

Also by this author: A Ranger for the Twins, The Soldier's Unexpected Family

Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 28th September, 2021

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

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The Single Dad’s Holiday Match (book one) – Jonathan and Brooke’s story

The Paramedic’s Forever Family (book two) – *forthcoming in 2022!

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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: #TanyaAgler and #HarlequinHeartwarming

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 Tuesday, 12 October, 2021 by jorielov in #RomanceTuesdays, 21st Century, Adoption, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Contemporary Romance, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Life Shift, Mental Health, Military Fiction, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, North Carolina, Orphans & Guardians, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Single Fathers, Single Mothers, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Social Services