Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Blog Book Tour | INSPY Contemporary Romance realistically authentic and humbling honest in its scope is found within the pages of “Formula for a Perfect Life” by Christy Hayes

Posted Friday, 3 April, 2020 by jorielov , , 1 Comment

Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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

I received a complimentary copy of “Formula for a Perfect Life” 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 LOVE reading INSPY, how this novel found me & why I needed to read it now:

One of the blessings I’ve had as a hostess with PRISM is being able to seek out Indie INSPY Contemporary novelists who are writing compelling entries in today’s INSPY Market. Being a hybrid reader – of both mainstream & INSPY stories, I’ve had my eye on both areas of literature since I was quite young as I danced through genres and stories of interest. It wasn’t until I was an adult where I fashioned an interest in INSPY Non-Fiction, however, in the earlier years – I had a soft spot in my heart for INSPY Historical Romance. It took a bit of time further, into my twenties and thirties to seek out the Contemporaries which truly stole my heart – in fact, my blog Jorie Loves A Story began on a note of joy having read my first Dee Henderson novel past the series which made her infamous – wherein I had the blissitude to discuss what this new series of hers was giving readers who loved edgy Crime dramas in an INSPY lit world.

I even spent my fifth blogversary celebrating an INSPY Contemporary novelist I loved discovering that particular year whilst as I embark on my 7th Year (as my 7th Blogoversary was officially the 31st of March, 2020; more on this epic milestone is forthcoming this April) as a Book Blogger it is a pleasure of joy to begin marking my readerly progress this #IndieApril not only in continued celebration of reading Indie stories (both Contemporary & Historical) as well as moving through Fiction to Non-Fiction stories of interest but to focus on the Indie side of the ledger, as well! I found a few different blogosphere events which are going to be championing Indie Authors throughout the month of April – whilst it is true to my own bookish heart to help send up a signal flare of joyfulness on their behalf.

As the month starts to get underway, you’ll find loads of lovely Indie stories being showcased (both INSPY & mainstream) as well as different kinds of story-tellers – such as unique story narratives which do not fit into a particular box of style.  This Friday, I have the pleasure of talking about “Formula for a Prefect Life” which I was able to read *after!* my parents’ dual medical emergencies in March  – a period of grace and reflective pause, where only the story and the characters within their chapters occupied my thoughts. I needed the respite and the re-alignment to rejoin the bookish world – as my nerves and my emotions were strained, taxed and blighted against how quickly our lives can blink into an emergency and how dearly we must rely on emergency crews to aide our loved ones.

I believe this novel found me – as there are two key films that came bursting back to memory when I first read the premise about the unexpected pregnancy in the premise of this story – the first of course, is the film I saw as a ten year old captivated by the three bachelors who were smitten by a little girl named Mary in “Three Men & a Baby” which became a familial classic in its own right throughout my childhood and of which graced me with a sequel. The second of course, is “Fool’s Rush In” wherein Salma Hayek and Matthew Perry are the quintessential couple who are completely head over heels in love but unfortunately do not realise it until its nearly too late to savage their marriage!

It was my love of those two films which captured my eye to read “Formula for a Perfect Life” and to see what was going to await me as I took on the adventure of settling into the life and story of Kayla and Ben!

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Blog Book Tour | INSPY Contemporary Romance realistically authentic and humbling honest in its scope is found within the pages of “Formula for a Perfect Life” by Christy HayesFormula for a Perfect Life
by Christy Hayes
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Two practical strangers. One fateful night. Two pink lines.

College senior and obsessive romantic Kayla Cummings' dreams of a storybook life are spun off course by an unplanned pregnancy after a one-night stand with her secret crush. Devastated, Kayla turns to her roommates and best friends for advice. No matter what she decides, no matter how deeply embarrassed, she has to tell the father.

Ben Strickland’s future is written in stone—as long as he gets a decent score on the Law School Admission Test. Feeling pressure from all sides, Ben struggles to juggle his upcoming finals, another shot at the LSAT, and his needy girlfriend Darcy. When the girl he spent a memorable night with weeks ago shows up at his doorstep pregnant, his already chaotic life spins out of control.

With the clock ticking, decisions to make, and a boatload of people to disappoint, Ben and Kayla embark on a journey neither anticipated—a journey where falling in love might be the biggest surprise of all. But when old hurts and buried secrets pose a greater threat to their future than impending parenthood, will Ben and Kayla go their separate ways or forge a new path to happy ever after?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781625720184

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


Published by CAH LLC

on 19th February, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 323

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This is a self-published novel by CAH LLC

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

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 Friday, 3 April, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Child out of Wedlock, Coming-Of Age, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Family Life, Inheritance & Identity, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Modern Day, New Adult Fiction, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Sisterhood friendships, Sweet Romance, Unexpected Pregnancy, Women's Fiction, Women's Health, Women's Right to Choose (Health Care Rights)

Harlequin Romance Blog Book Tour | feat. a #PubDay Book Review for “The Prince and the Wedding Planner” by Jennifer Faye

Posted Tuesday, 3 March, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I’ve been hosting for Prism Book Tours since September of 2017 – having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. As I enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors when I’m not showcasing book reviews on behalf of Harlequin Heartwarming which has become my second favourite imprint of Harlequin next to my beloved #LoveINSPIRED Suspense. I am also keenly happy PRISM hosts a variety of Indie Authors and INSPY Fiction novelists.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Prince and the Wedding Planner” direct from the author Jennifer Faye in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

On why I’ve been enjoying reading this author:

When I first started seeking out authors via the imprints of Harlequin, one of the authors who stood out to me initially from the Harlequin Romance line (as at the time, I was sampling stories from Romance, Super Romance & Heartwarming – sorting out which of the three imprints suited me best as a reader; as I had already realised how much the LI: Suspense line fit me!) was Jennifer Faye.

In a large part due to her consistency, her continuity when she wrote duologies, specialised focused serials and the ways in which she drew you into her Contemporary Romance worlds within this curious imprint which features pink covers in handle portable sized paperback editions! I liked the convenience of the size, the realistic characters she pulled into her world(s) and the ways in which our contemporary modern lives were explored elsewhere from where we generally live our own lives. It gave a sense of place but also, of how uniquely you can find a Contemporary placed in a setting you are itching to visit such as her Greek Isles Brides series which took me back to Greece.

I have been enjoying exploring her stories, stepping in the shoes of her characters and happily appreciating the journey of discovering her collective works.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Harlequin Romance Blog Book Tour | feat. a #PubDay Book Review for “The Prince and the Wedding Planner” by Jennifer FayeThe Prince and the Wedding Planner
Subtitle: A Bartolini Legacy Novel
by Jennifer Faye
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

When different worlds collide…

…sparks fly!

With her family name on the line, wedding planner Bianca Bartolini needs this royal wedding to go perfectly—she can’t afford distractions. Too bad the bride’s dashing brother has other plans! Duty-bound Crown Prince Leo has mere weeks to announce his own engagement, but none of the candidates measure up to Bianca. They’re the most unlikely match, but might that just make them perfect for one another?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335556189

Also by this author: Beauty and Her Boss, Miss White and the Seventh Heir, Heiress's Royal Baby Bombshell, Carrying the Greek Tycoon's Baby, Claiming the Drakos Heir, Wearing the Greek Millionaire's Ring (Spotlight), Wearing the Greek Millionaire's Ring , Her Christmas Pregnancy Surprise

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


Published by Harlequin Books

on 3rd March, 2020

Format: Large Print Edition

Pages: 256

Published by: Harlequin Books (@HarlequinBooks)

Formats Available: Ebook and Paperback

Converse via: #Contemporary #RomanceBooks/Novels and #HarlequinRomance

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

About Jennifer Faye

Jennifer Faye

Award-winning author, Jennifer Faye pens fun, heartwarming contemporary romances with rugged cowboys, sexy billionaires and enchanting royalty. Internationally published with books translated into nine languages. She is a two-time winner of the RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Award, the CataRomance Reviewers' Choice Award, named a TOP PICK author, and been nominated for numerous other awards.

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Posted Tuesday, 3 March, 2020 by jorielov in Arranged Marriages in Royalty, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Family Drama, Family Life, Inheritance & Identity, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Sweet Romance, Unexpected Inheritance

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

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

Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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

I received a complimentary copy of “Always the One” direct from the author Tara Randel in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I appreciate reading

the Meet Me At the Altar series by Tara Randel:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-335-88957-7

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

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


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


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 4th February, 2020

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 385

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming

Converse via: #Contemporary + #Romance and #HarlequinHeartwarming

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Meet Me At The Altar series:

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

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

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

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

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

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About Tara Randel

Tara Randel

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

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

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

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

#blogmas 2019 badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquiried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Christmas Kiss” direct from the author Virginia McCullough in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I enjoy reading a Virginia McCullough
Harlequin Heartwarming novel:

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

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

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

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

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

-quoted from my review of A Family for Jason

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

Will working together

…lead to together forever?

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

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335510969

Also by this author: A Family for Jason

Also in this series: A Family for Jason


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


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 3rd December, 2019

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 375

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming

Converse via: #Contemporary + #Romance and #HarlequinHeartwarming

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Back to Bluestone River series:

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

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

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

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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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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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

#Blogmas | A #ChristmasReads selection of Jorie’s featuring a #Harlequin Heartwarming Book Review | “In Love by Christmas” (City by the Bay Stories, Book Five) by Cari Lynn Webb

Posted Thursday, 5 December, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

#blogmas 2019 badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I’ve been hosting for Prism Book Tours since September of 2017 – having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. As I enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors when I’m not showcasing book reviews on behalf of Harlequin Heartwarming which has become my second favourite imprint of Harlequin next to my beloved #LoveINSPIRED Suspense. I am also keenly happy PRISM hosts a variety of Indie Authors and INSPY Fiction novelists.

I received a complimentary copy of “In Love by Christmas” direct from the author Cari Lynn Webb in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I previously enjoyed reading Cari Lynn Webb’s style of Contemporary Romance:

Although Webb doesn’t fully come out and claim that her characters (as well as the dogs and cats themselves) have been suffering through PTSD, you can gather the fact that they have been. Their scars are not visible on the outside except for when their exhausted and bits of their truths are revealled. Webb explores the limitations and the challenges of people who are caught inside their own situation to where they cannot see past it. They hug close to the complacency of not wanting to construct change in their lives because change could bring factors they cannot control and this is definitely a story about how the harder you try to control your life the more angst you will give yourself because life cannot be controlled. You can only control your own actions but not the sequencing of events that evolve outside them. Nor in the behaviour of others or the sense of morality and ethics others choose outside of your own convictions. That is the hardest bit really. In accepting that out of our own human condition that there are limitations towards what we can personally accept to handle when life throws us a situation we are unprepared to transition through such as how Dan and Brooke find themselves now.

At the same time of course, is the unexpected ex who wants to make her presence known and her needs to be demanded. This re-brought up the memory I had of Oliver of how self-centered his ex had been and how sometimes, in the mix of living, others who are outside your experience or have chosen to distance themselves from your life truly do not fully understand where you are currently on your path. Valarie wants to sweep back into her son’s life but at what cost? To the son and to the father? How can her narrow-minded view of motherhood fail to see that the needs of her son should outweigh the impulsive choices she wants to make on his behalf?

Throughout the trials facing them, Brooke is the calming voice next to Dan’s rock of strength. They fit together because they each benefited from the other; where they could re-shape the path they were walking into a relationship built not only on trust and grace but one where each of them could still have their own voice. They were injured through past relationships where they weren’t given the chance to breathe long enough to understand the reasons why their lives took several left turns. Although Dan’s ex was living life elsewhere from him, it was how this left an ambiguous sense of closure that rankled the most for him. On the flip-side, for Brooke, her past was harder to reconcile as it meant letting go of the things she couldn’t control – in effect, the things that none of us can control and have to accept just as they are.

This is a multi-layered story about the intersection of lives and the curious ways in which the heart leads us forward into a tomorrow that has more hope of promise than the past we’re trying to outrun. I loved the way Ms Webb composed this story, how she tucks us so dearly close to her characters and their internal battles; whilst providing us with a firm understanding about life, love, loss and the second chances we must choose to embrace if we hope to aspire towards a future filled with the hopefulness of a renewed sense of purpose.

The most guttingly realistic emotional arc was centred on Brooke – Webb anchoured us intrinsically into her psychological spiral. We felt what she bleed out of her heart – she was beyond the point where she could process what was emotionally overwhelming her as she had suffered a loss beyond words. How do you process seeing your home incinerated? How do you prepare yourself for rebuilding when you can barely breathe and choke past your emotional response to what has just happened? Webb takes you into her internal world – of where she second-guesses her ability to find strength out of hopelessness and how courage was on holiday because she didn’t feel an ounce of it whilst trying to believe in the goodness of those who are coming to her aide.

This is an emotionally intensive novel – from both Brooke and Dan; Webb takes us closer to both of their struggles as they both have found this methodology of surviving which works for them. They don’t want to alter the routines that have given them a false sense of normalcy in case they discover that the fragile confidence they’ve held inside that routine proved to be a shadow of their fears to where everything they were afraid of happening might suddenly begin to unravel the very last nerve they have left. Webb writes with an intuitive layer of understanding – of what happens when your trying to rise above your circumstances and how hard it is to work through the emotional upheavals you cannot prepare for in life.

-quoted from my review of Single Dad to the Rescue
(Book Four: City by the Bay series)

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In case you missed it, during my 6th Blogoversary I celebrated why I love Harlequin Heartwarming whilst I also showcased the authors I’ve loved discovering via this imprint for #TopTenTuesday!

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Interestingly enough, this was one of the series I was trying to borrow via interlibrary loan – however, I wasn’t able to read The Charm Offensive or Ava’s Prize for two reasons: a) I ran out of the hours I needed with the books and b) there was perfume or a scent affecting my attempts to read them. I decided I’d have to gather my own copies one day for this series and re-read it from the beginning. Until then, I am thankful I be hosting the latter stories of City by the Bay as I’ve truly felt connected to this community despite the fact Single Dad to the Rescue marked my first entry!

Each Christmas I try to find some uplifting stories to be reading – I generally gravitate towards Historical Romances set during the Christmastide – however, in recent years, I’ve noticed I’ve been a bit curious if I could start to seek out a few Contemporaries again. With my ardent love of Harlequin Heartwarming throughout my blog these past years, I was delighted finding some of my favourites are now featuring Christmas installments within the series I’ve been enjoying to read. This year as the Christmas blog tours were being announced, I spied two Heartwarming novelists and quickly asked to be the tours as I felt they would be the kind of uplifting reads I dearly could use during the beginning weeks of the holidays.

During a recent visit to my library, I also had the joy of being placed on the used bookstore’s list for contacting me if they have any Heartwarming stories come into their store. They noticed how much I love them and had bought a few whilst I was there and decided to offer to phone me whenever they had a new batch giving me the chance to be placed on hold to collect them. I thought it was a lovely gesture as this is one library who likes to offer Heartwarming to their readers for borrowing purposes whilst having a new chance to potentially purchase some of these lovelies in the New Year was quite kismet knowing how much I’ve loved discovering them since 2017. They give me a proper uplift of joy to be reading and a dearly needed reprieve from adversities IRL where a cosy comforting romance is just the wicked ticket to give you a random bit of joy in your readerly life! They’ve also given me a chance to resume reading more mainstream Contemporary Romances and that’s a blessing in of itself!

I am doubly blessed by having another local library offering Harlequin Heartwarming to their readers – wherein due to both these libraries efforts to bring stories into reader’s hands, I’m slowly growing a nice collection of Heartwarming stories – don’t be surprised if you see an uptick of showcases for Heartwarming and Love Inspired Suspense as well as Historical Love Inspired or a few of the Contemporaries for Love Inspired sprinkling into view via Jorie Loves A Story in 2020!

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#Blogmas | A #ChristmasReads selection of Jorie’s featuring a #Harlequin Heartwarming Book Review | “In Love by Christmas” (City by the Bay Stories, Book Five) by Cari Lynn WebbIn Love by Christmas
Subtitle: City by the Bay Stories
by Cari Lynn Webb
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

This Christmas, two worlds collide

…under the mistletoe!

All Theo Taylor wants for Christmas is a profitable year-end and a flawless wedding for his sister. Hiring beautiful but unknown designer Josie Beck is a huge risk, especially when the Taylors’ reputation is at stake. Josie is sweet, kind and impossible to resist. But is Josie about to destroy Theo’s perfect wedding plan…or is she the answer to his heart’s secret Christmas wish?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-335-51095-2

Also by this author: The Rancher's Rescue, Single Dad to the Rescue

Also in this series: Single Dad to the Rescue


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


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 3rd December, 2019

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

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

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the City by the Bay Stories:

The Charm Offensive by Cari Lynn WebbThe Doctor's Recovery by Cari Lynn WebbAva's Prize by Cari Lynn Webb

Single Dad to the Rescue by Cari Lynn WebbIn Love by Christmas by Cari Lynn Webb

The Charm Offensive (Book One)

The Doctor’s Recovery (Book Two)

Ava’s Prize (Book Three)

Single Dad to the Rescue (Book Four) | (see also Review)

In Love by Christmas (Book Five)

Her Surprise Engagement (Book Six) ← forthcoming 7th July, 2020!

Converse via: #Contemporary #Romance

+ #Harlequin OR #HarlequinHeartwarming & #CityByTheBayStories

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About Cari Lynn Webb

Cari Lynn Webb

Cari Lynn Webb lives in South Carolina with her husband, daughters and assorted four-legged family members. She's been blessed to see the power of true love in her grandparent's 70 year marriage and her parent's marriage of over 50 years. She knows love isn't always sweet and perfect, it can be challenging, complicated and risky. But she believes happily-ever-afters are worth fighting for. She loves to connect with readers. Visit her at her website.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 5 December, 2019 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Indie Author, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction