Source: Direct from Author

#CrimeFicFridays | featuring Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Colton on the Run” (The Coltons of Roaring Springs series, Book 9) by Anna J. Stewart

Posted Friday, 23 April, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart banner created by Jorie in Canva.

This Spring, I have the pleasure of joy to be reading a select sequencing of stories writ by the lovely Ms Anna J. Stewart – of whom, I first became introduced to whilst reading the #BlackwellBrothers series via Harlequin Heartwarming! Whilst continuing to get to know her further through her guest appearances on @SatBookChat (the Saturday chat I’ve hosted since 2014 celebrating Romance, Women’s Fiction & Feminist Lit). You’ll find me reading selections from her Romantic Suspense stories for Harlequin as well as her wicked lovely series ‘Butterfly Harbour’ which is a celebration of family, community and new beginnings!

Hence why I’m calling this special featured showcase of reviews:

Celebrating Spring whilst reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart!

Acquired Book By: Whilst speaking with Ms Stewart about being a guest on @SatBookChat in the New Year of 2021 – as this conversation we shared was in late 2020 – I realised there was a whole series of stories by her I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading! The first series which charmed my heart was Butterfly Harbour – which we happily discussed during #SatBookChat in January, 2021. She mentioned to me she also writes for Harlequin’s Romantic Suspense line and I was quite curious about those stories as I regularly read their Love Inspired Suspense novels. The key difference between the two is that Love Inspired is their faith-based imprint and the Romantic Suspense stories are Contemporary and mainstream. I tend to be a hybrid reader of both mainstream and faith-based markets which is why I agreed to reading 3x of her Romantic Suspense releases.

This is one of two reviews which features the Coltons – a very large series of novels spilt over different mini-series and settings throughout the Romantic Suspense line of novels by Harlequin Books. The two stories I am reading are rooted inside the Colton 911: Chicago series and The Coltons of Roaring Springs – both of which were discussed today (27 March, 2021) during #SatBookChat to celebrate the March 2021 release for “Undercover Heat” which is the third novel in the Colton 911: Chicago series.

I received a complimentary copy of “Colton on the Run” direct from the author Anna J. Stewart 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

a notation about reading Harlequin Romantic suspense novels:

My first Contemporary Romantic Suspense novel by Ms Stewart also marked my first time reading their non-Love Inspired imprint of Suspense novels. I began with the series Honour Bound which ‘Gone in the Night’ and ‘Guarding His Midnight Witness’ are attached too. I held off reading the latter to await my interlibrary loan for ‘Gone in the Night’ which blessedly has finally arrived! (eek!) Thereby, I’ll be featuring those novels next – however, whilst I had that particular series on hold I decided to pick up ‘Undercover Heat’ and today’s featured novel ‘Colton on the Run’!!

Undercover Heat by Anna J. StewartColton on the Run by Anna J. StewartGone in the Night by Anna J. StewartGuarding His Midnight Witness by Anna J. Stewart

Let me share with you a few reasons why ‘Undercover Heat’ became such a wicked #unputdownable read for me and why I believe ANY reader who loves both police procedural novels and second chance romances will fall in LOVE with Tatum and Cruz:

Guilt and remorse can wreck a guy – which is why I felt sympathetic to Cruz’s internal struggles in being Tatum as she was giving him a reason to question everything in his life. From the choices he was making about his personal life to the choices he was making about how he was able to function after the losses he’s sustained; the one thing he never seemed to give himself was the freedom to live. He was constantly awash with memory and trauma to where it was hard for Cruz to separate the past and the present. Something Stewart did a smashing job at showing as she built his character inside and out. She painted in the rougher bits of his personality with a rock solid passion for law and justice whilst tempering it with family and the compassions of a bloke who cares about his community. In essence, Cruz was a complicated character with a past which was trying to overtake his future.

Tatum on the other hand was raised to rise through her adversities and to seek a way to stabalise her present without forsaking the future. You could see the differences in their personalities almost immediately as for Tatum, her love of cooking and feeding people outweighed the hurt of her own losses. She wanted to move forward as a mark of honour rather than to avoid what she loved most in life. For her, moving forward meant a way of giving peace to her heart and a way of finding a way to continue to celebrate the persons she had lost. Whereas I felt Cruz wanted to punish himself for things he needed to forgive himself for rather than carry on the load of anguish he was supporting on his shoulders.

This novel is definitely for anyone who gets caught inside the movement of a service at any restaurant they dine as Stewart has created such a lively environment for us to explore! From how the staff interacts with each other to how they put the food out the kitchen; all those details you ache to know about whenever your eating out is included. Whilst it also gives you the strong impression that all kitchens big or small should operate on the efficiency and expedited scale as True! (big smiles) However, its not without its hidden dangers and bouts of suspenseful shock which make you itch to turn the pages! Especially when Stewart conceived of the idea for the refrigerator scene – she definitely knew how to stop your pulse for a few beats!

There is something wickedly brilliant about how a character can be surprised by her mother and Aunt! I loved how Stewart placed Tatum in a situation which tested both her patience and her sense of humour – especially considering how humourous Cruz felt the situation was for them both. Her Mum and Aunt ware good-natured and truly care about Tatum but to say they have tact and respect for her privacy is asking a bit too much from them! Laughs. I felt it was all in good folly but the reaction of Tatum put it all in a different kind of perspective because I think she likes to keep this part of her life separate from the eyes of her family; at least until she’s ready herself to share the details and that in of itself is what I felt ribbed her the most from the intrusion.

The scene where Tatum is fondly remembering her father whilst surprising Cruz with an unexpected foodie experience was one of my top favourite scenes. There was such a stirring of heart and emotions in this scene – where you could see Tatum in a different ray of light than the one she presents to her colleagues and for Cruz, I felt it was humbling for him to realise why she had brought him to that place on that particular night. Tatum was definitely her father’s daughter – she wanted to nurse the emotional wounds she couldn’t fix any other way with a meal which would warm the soul and then soothe the heart. There is something to be said for that kind of nurturing instinct and I loved how the scene played out.

From this moment in the story until the very last page, I was completely glued to the pages!! I loved how Stewart kept this centred on Tatum and Cruz; how she pulled us emotionally through the hurdles of an undercover investigation and how even at the end – I wasn’t sure I was prepared to see how this would conclude! Tatum and Cruz were both put through the ringer for different reasons – each of them, putting their personal and professional lives on the edge of what they felt they could handle in order to secure the truth. And, even then, I am not sure either of them were ready for what was revealled! It was one highly suspenseful romantic story which leaves you aching for more by Stewart! I’m not sure if this storyline can become revisited in a future installment of this particular series, but I’d love to know what ‘came next’ for Tatum and Cruz after this part of their story concluded.

The scenes with January (Tatum’s sister) were well timed as well. Tatum had a very close relationship with her family as much as Cruz did himself with his and it was great to have those extra moments hugging close to their families during quieter moments in the story itself. Most of this novel is set at such a high octane pace of delivery, you barely get to rest on the joys as their arriving into the scenes because something ’round the corner’ is going to be affecting the well-being of the characters you feel so close to as if they were already in your life!

The dizzying effect of unravelling the plot right alongside Stewart was brilliant on the part of how tightly she wound the suspenseful mystery behind the restaurant and of whom she put into position to have the great effect on the reader once the truth let out! I was beyond captivated by the plot and the persons she ferreted out at the end. It is definitely the kind of police procedural you hope to find and one that you love afterwards for having read. The ending of course was a complete nail-biter and I loved reading it because it was such a fitting conclusion to the story!! Definitely an #unputdownable read!!

-quoted from my review of Undercover Heat

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The next reviews you’ll see from me will be for “Gone in the Night” and “Guarding His Midnight Witness” before I move into reading the Butterfly Harbour series by Ms Stewart! I decided to push forward those readings in order to read the Romantic Suspense ones back to back especially after my ILL request came in so quickly! Those will be peppering through my featured reviews during #WyrdAndWonder wherein you’ll find 31 days of Fantasy being happily showcased, discussed and championed on Jorie Loves A Story! Plus, of course, a few other genres as well – as I had some scheduled blog tours as well running in the foreground of the event, too!

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#CrimeFicFridays | featuring Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Colton on the Run” (The Coltons of Roaring Springs series, Book 9) by Anna J. StewartColton on the Run
Subtitle: The Coltons of Roaring Springs
by Ms Anna J. Stewart
Source: Direct from Author

Where is Skye Colton?

One woman’s disappearance rocks Roaring Springs

When he finds a half-dead woman stranded in his barn, rancher Leo Slattery feels his blood run cold. Though she can’t remember who she is, she insists someone is trying to kill her. With his strong protective streak, Leo brings her into the fold and helps her heal. As they begin to solve the mystery of Jane Doe’s identity, a would-be killer works to eliminate her—forever.

Genres: African-American Literature, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Crime Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, Ranches & Cowboys


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Heat Factor for Romance
four-half-flames

ISBN: 9781488041433

Also by this author: Undercover Heat

Published by Harlequin Romantic Suspense

on 3rd September, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 288

NOTE: As your reading this story, you can tell the characters would have preferred this not to be a slow burning romance – as they knew how they felt about each other quite early-on, however, it didn’t fit within the constructs of the story given the circumstances. This romance has even more ‘heat’ inside it than ‘Undercover Heat’ and definitely has more heat in it than most of the romances I regularly read by Harlequin because this series and imprint is different than the others I read – especially for content inclusions. Thereby if you’re new to this imprint just know this is writ more like a traditional Contemporary or Historical Romance.

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The Coltons of Roaring Springs series:

Colton Cowboy Standoff by Marie Ferrarella (book one)

Colton Under Fire by Cindy Dees (book two)

Colton’s Convenient Bride by Jennifer Morey (book three)

Colton’s Secret Bodyguard by Jane Godman (book four)

A Colton Target by Beverly Long (book five)

Colton’s Covert Baby by Lara Lacombe (book six) 

Colton’s Mistaken Identity by Geri Krotow (book seven) 

The Colton Sheriff by Addison Fox (book eight)

Colton on the Run by Anna J. Stewart (book nine)

👇 *there are more titles in this series!* 👇

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comView the full sequence of the series via Fantastic Fiction!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Published by: Harlequin Romantic Suspense (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #RomanticSuspense

as well as the series tag: #ColtonsOfRoaringSprings

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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Posted Friday, 23 April, 2021 by jorielov in 21st Century, Book Review (non-blog tour), Contemporary Romance, Crime Fiction, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

#CrimeFicFridays | featuring Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Undercover Heat” (Colton 911: Chicago series, Book Three) by Anna J. Stewart

Posted Friday, 16 April, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart banner created by Jorie in Canva.

This Spring, I have the pleasure of joy to be reading a select sequencing of stories writ by the lovely Ms Anna J. Stewart – of whom, I first became introduced to whilst reading the #BlackwellBrothers series via Harlequin Heartwarming! Whilst continuing to get to know her further through her guest appearances on @SatBookChat (the Saturday chat I’ve hosted since 2014 celebrating Romance, Women’s Fiction & Feminist Lit). You’ll find me reading selections from her Romantic Suspense stories for Harlequin as well as her wicked lovely series ‘Butterfly Harbour’ which is a celebration of family, community and new beginnings!

Hence why I’m calling this special featured showcase of reviews:

Celebrating Spring whilst reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart!

Acquired Book By: Whilst speaking with Ms Stewart about being a guest on @SatBookChat in the New Year of 2021 – as this conversation we shared was in late 2020 – I realised there was a whole series of stories by her I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading! The first series which charmed my heart was Butterfly Harbour – which we happily discussed during #SatBookChat in January, 2021. She mentioned to me she also writes for Harlequin’s Romantic Suspense line and I was quite curious about those stories as I regularly read their Love Inspired Suspense novels. The key difference between the two is that Love Inspired is their faith-based imprint and the Romantic Suspense stories are Contemporary and mainstream. I tend to be a hybrid reader of both mainstream and faith-based markets which is why I agreed to reading 3x of her Romantic Suspense releases.

This is one of two reviews which features the Coltons – a very large series of novels spilt over different mini-series and settings throughout the Romantic Suspense line of novels by Harlequin Books. The two stories I am reading are rooted inside the Colton 911: Chicago series and The Coltons of Roaring Springs – both of which were discussed today (27 March, 2021) during #SatBookChat to celebrate the March 2021 release for “Undercover Heat” which is the third novel in the Colton 911: Chicago series.

I received a complimentary copy of “Undercover Heat” direct from the author Anna J. Stewart 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

a notation about reading Harlequin Romantic suspense novels:

My first foray into reading the Romantic Suspense line of stories by Harlequin was through their Love Inspired Suspense imprint! However, as those are faith-based stories rooted in the cosier side of suspenseful storylines – I hadn’t had the chance to cross-over into reading their mainstream Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels until Ms Stewart brought these lovelies to my attention!

Reunited with the P.I. by Anna J. StewartGone in the Night by Anna J. StewartGuarding His Midnight Witness by Anna J. Stewart

I started by requesting her Honour Bound series (see the full list via Fantastic Fiction!) via interlibrary loan wherein I was able to read the first novel More than a Lawman and most of the second Reunited with the P.I. – both of which are deftly told and eclipse the pulse of what you expect out of a Romantic Contemporary Suspense novel! I was on pins reading those passages and in many instances could not turn the pages quick enough to know how things resolved! Quite a chilling read all the way round – whilst happily I noted that even if I hadn’t had the chance to read all the stories in the series, Stewart gave you the impression you already knew the details! 

She’s written two Colton novels for the Romantic Suspense imprint at Harlequin and happily she was able to send me both novels for review consideration! And, these are the stories I read after the Honour Bound series! I had to withhold my review for the latest Honour Bound series release “Guarding His Midnight Witness” as I hadn’t had the chance to finish reading it as I was still hoping my library could have fetched a copy of Gone in the Night. Thereby I shifted gears and read about the Coltons and will be revisiting the Honour Bound series next whilst reading Butterfly Harbour!

Colton on the Run by Anna J. StewartUndercover Heat by Anna J. Stewart

The first novel she wrote for this imprint was “Colton on the Run” which is part of the Colton’s of Roaring Springs series whilst “Undercover Heat” is part of the Colton 911: Chicago series! Both of these lovelies are actually two of many mini-series which are inclusive of the Colton ‘series’ if you will as it is quite an expansive set of stories featuring the same family of characters and/or different relatives and relations therein from what I’ve gathered reading about the larger scope of the ‘series’ online.

I decided to read and review “Undercover Heat” first – as I admit, it was an easier story for me to soak inside as it involves cooking whilst set at a highly popular restaurant with a lot of drama percolating in the background with a potential underworld plot! The other novel “Colton on the Run” is dearly intense the moment you pick it up and doesn’t let you breathe until you know the conclusion of it – which is why I focused on this one first! I loved the respite it gave me from my new work life as much as it was a sweet transition back into reading as I’ve been struggling to read Historical Fiction lately and finding Contemporary stories are a bit easier for me to digest!

Thus I’m reading copious amounts of Harlequin stories of late – from these Rom Suspense novels to the Harlequin Heartwarming series and authors I have been championing a passion for since 2016!! I find these authors are giving me the kind of story I can sink my teeth into whilst allowing me to take a hiatus from my new schedule of working as well. It is always hard to shift gears in life and I’ve found that fatigue of my new job and the angst of Spring’s allergy season thrust upon me two months earlier this year than normal has caused an issue in my readerly life!! Thereby I am wicked happy Ms Stewart sent me her stories as I’ll be reading, reviewing and featuring them throughout the last months of Spring (ie. April-May!).

The key difference between the Romantic Suspense imprint and the Love Inspired Suspense imprint is that you know going into a LI:S story being faith-based their going to keep the romance and the crime bits on the cosy comfortable side of the ledger. Similar in tone and strength as you would expect out of a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries series. Whilst with the Contemporary mainstream Romantic Suspense line you have to brace yourself because you get more of what you’d expect out of a regular hard-boiled crime drama and is more akin to say “NCIS” or “Crossing Jordan”. (which of course were two of my favourites when I regularly watched them!)

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#CrimeFicFridays | featuring Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Undercover Heat” (Colton 911: Chicago series, Book Three) by Anna J. StewartUndercover Heat
Subtitle: Colton 911: Chicago
by Ms Anna J. Stewart
Source: Direct from Author

When her life is upended, a detective goes undercover to save it…

After tragedy strikes, chef Tatum Colton buries herself in her job. Detective Cruz Medina soon rocks her world once again, claiming criminals are using her restaurant as a front for nefarious activities. Cruz needs Tatum’s help to go undercover as her sous-chef, putting them both in the line of fire. But when things get hot in and out of the kitchen, can Cruz protect Tatum and their growing bond?

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Crime Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Heat Factor for Romance
three-half-flames

ISBN: 978-1335628855

Also by this author: Colton on the Run

Setting: Chicago


Published by Harlequin Romantic Suspense

on 9th March, 2021

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 288

NOTE: I felt this was a wonderfully written romance – in fact, it was one of those slow burning romances you instantly want to see happen for both lead characters because of how emotionally attached you’ve become to them during the course of the story. However, it is also a very ‘heated’ romance in regards to how the romance is explored and definitely has more heat in it than most of the romances I regularly read by Harlequin because this series and imprint is different than the others I read – especially for content inclusions. Thereby if you’re new to this imprint just know this is writ more like a traditional Contemporary or Historical Romance. I nearly gave it 4 flames but we spent so much time with the characters outside of their own pursuit of a relationship, I felt 3.5 was more aptly accurate!!

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The Colton 911:  Chicago series:

The Secret Network by Marie Ferrarella (book one)

Unlikely Alibi by Lisa Childs (book two)

Undercover Heat by Anna J. Stewart (book three)

Soldier’s Return by Karen Whiddon (book four) *April 2021

Hidden Target by Colleen Thompson (book five) *May 2021

Guardian in the Storm by Carla Cassidy (book six) *June 2021

Secret Defender by Marie Ferrarella (book seven) *July 2021

Temptation Undercover by Jennifer Morey (book eight) *August 2021

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comView the full sequence of the series via Fantastic Fiction!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Published by: Harlequin Romantic Suspense (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #RomanticSuspense

as well as the series tag: #Colton911Chicago

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Posted Friday, 16 April, 2021 by jorielov in 21st Century, Book Review (non-blog tour), Chefs and Sous Chefs, Contemporary Romance, Cookery, Crime Fiction, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | Wildfire comes to Shelter Creek! within the pages of Clarie McEwen’s “Rescuing the Rancher”!

Posted Tuesday, 30 March, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#RomanceTuesdays badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I’ve come to know this series [Heroes of Shelter Creek] through hosting the blog tours celebrating releases within the series with Prism Book Tours. However, in September 2020 in lieu of an organised blog tour Ms McEwen was seeking book bloggers who were interested in her series and wanted to read the fourth novel in the series “Rescuing the Rancher”. Whilst I was conferring with the author about receiving this for review, I asked if I could receive the second novel in the series “After the Rodeo” as I never had the chance to read Jace and Vivian’s story! I was thankful Ms McEwen was also available to be a featured guest during my @SatBookChat wherein I celebrate Romance, Women’s Fiction, strong female characters across genres and Feminist Lit on Saturdays each month.

I decided to read and feature “After the Rodeo” ahead of her #SatBookChat appearance and run my review during my #RomanceTuesdays feature wherein I love to showcase Harlequin Heartwarming and Love Inspired authors as they are writing the kinds of Romances I am appreciating most to be reading right now. However in regards to reading “Rescuing the Rancher” – I had difficulty getting into the storyline until recently due to the fact the backdrop of the story is set against wildfires – for whichever reason the topic and subject of wildfires hit closer to home for me than originally anticipated. I’ll be sharing my review for “Rescuing the Rancher” after “Second Chance Cowboy” as it is part of the Harlequin Heartwarming reviews forthcoming to Jorie Loves A Story. I was thankful I could read it ahead of the fifth novel as now I am concurrently connected through all the stories!

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

When I was checking my feeds on Twitter (in Autumn 2020), I stumbled on an announcement by Ms McEwen who was seeking book bloggers to read and review her latest release of the Heroes of Shelter Creek series – wherein I was most excited seeing the notice posted as this is one of the Western & Cowboy Romance series I love reading the most published by Harlequin Heartwarming!

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

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

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On a special note: This review is part of my celebrations for my 8th Blogoversary of Jorie Loves A Story! On the 31st of March, 2013 I created my blog and launched myself onto this beautiful journey I’ve taken as a book blogger! I had no idea where this blog was going to take me – both in the realms of literature or in the community of book bloggers – nor in the wider expanse of #bookTwitter,… what an incredible adventure it has been for me to watch myself grow into the blogger I am today.

I wanted to ring in the 8th Year with new reviews for #HarlequinHeartwarming as it has become my top favourite publisher imprint (alongside Love Inspired Suspense) for the past five years!! These are the years which brought a lift shift into my family (per my father’s stroke, Nov 2016) and it was through these stories of relationship-based romance which grounded me in the backdrop of small townes, family-centered story-lines and wicked sweet dynamically real characters. I have celebrated my blogoversary in the past with Heartwarming taking centre stage (per my 6th Blogoversary in particular) and during my 8th, two years later – my love and affection to these authors who continue to enrich my readerly life deserves continue recognition with a big note of GRATITUDE.

They have given me such a wonderful landscape of Contemporary Romances in which to entreat – whilst their larger print editions are kind to the eyes and heart of a migrainuer. It is with a hearty burst of JOY I am celebrating the Heroes of Shelter Creek today and return on the morrow to see my review for the latest in Carol Ross’s Seasons of Alaska – which I read during my 5th Year and celebrated on my 6th Blogoversary! Sometimes life has a way of coming full circle!!

Whilst throughout April and May you’ll be seeing me eagerly devour and discuss the Butterfly Harbour series by Anna J. Stewart, the next four installments (out of five) of the Blackwell Sisters series by the collective genius of Carol Ross, Amy Vastine, Cari Lynn Webb, Melinda Curtis and Anna J. Stewart as well as a review for Beth Carpenter’s series the Northern Lights!! Let’s all continue to celebrate stories and authors who give us such a hearty #randomJOY of #bookLOVE throughout the year and continue to champion their stories both online and off to everyone who likes to listen to our readerly lives.

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A preview of why I feel so dearly attached inside this series:

McEwen threaded in the issues with childhood abandonment and the emotional baggage children take with them in being placed outside their home. Even though this is a story about kinship placement between nieces, a nephew and an Uncle; the larger reach of the issues developed out of the conditions of their home life prior to entering their stay with Jace had such a levelling of strife and guttingly difficult emotional anguish attached to their survival that even Jace was quickly picking up on the fact no man is an island. It is okay to reach out for help and to seek advice as it is needed to best help the children and to find new paths towards solid ground.

The kindness of Jace’s third grade teacher melted my heart – she was one of those everyday characters who fits so well in the background of the story but has such a lot of depth of heart to share with you as you’re reading her sequences in the narrative. In many ways, she’s still able to positively affect Jace’s life now as an adult as she apparently had as a child. There are moments wherein Jace is re-tracing his own memories as he shifts into fatherhood; struggling to resolve some of those past hurts against the current issues he needs to focus on to be a better father for his nieces and nephews. None of it is quick and easy – its a long road towards finding the healing he and they will need to embrace together and that is what McEwen wrote best: the moments of a new family emerging out of the ashes of an old one.

Being able to back-track in the series right now – seeing how Vivian first met Trisha and how these women along with Maya formed such a strong unity of a team for being wildlife warriors was such a special treat for me as a reader! It was a beautiful time capsule – getting to knit together the missing pieces between the first and third installments; etching out more of the girth of the series whilst finding myself so dearly connected to this installment as well. The whole series itself is full of characters you are excited to meet and become familiar with because of how McEwen granted you such wonderful licence to walk beside them and find your own way to fit into their lives.

I truly understood the complicated web of choices befuddling the calm of Vivian – how much was too much stress? And when does positive stress turn to negative stress? How do you balance your own mental health with the needs of others and how do you turn off your emotional responses when life has a way of sneaking up on you whilst your focusing on rebuilding your career? Vivian was moving through the same emotional tides as Jace just from a different entry point. They both had too much to juggle and yet, their paths had crossed and there was a murmuring of interest bubbling under the surface of their heated conversations. Heated of course because they were both stubbornly prideful of their own opinions and they each believed the other was right when they could learn to concede and compromise a bit to get more done that worked for them both.

I could definitely relate to Vivian wanting to keep her health issues private but as I learnt over the years, at some point it is better to be transparent about a chronic health issue than to try to hide it (ie. my migraines) as it just doesn’t serve a purpose. When you have a chronic issue that effects your life at different intervals of time, it is better to simply state why you’re having a bad day or having difficulties doing normal things you love doing than to try to shirk out of owning the truth which could lead to misunderstandings. I felt McEwen knew exactly the internal conversation everyone has about how much to keep private, when to share a health issue and how to find balance when your medical issues start to overtake your life.

I loved how realistically this story was penned – how McEwen tackled the harder topics of kinship placements wherein rather than seeing the world through your own eyes you have to start to see the world through foster care eyes – which comes with its own set of rules, restrictions and regulations about the home, your property and the friends you keep in your company. The rules are in place to keep the kids safe first and foremost but their a bit lengthy and the process towards a home study for any foster placement takes a lot of patience to work through the list of what needs to be fixed in order to pass inspection. Simple things like keeping medicine in a cabinet has to be stored in a locked cabinet and the same with cleaning supplies under the counter – but the larger issues are effectively what McEwen tackled with Jace’s friendship with Caleb. How this veteran who had invisible scars of service had a struggle with anger and his temper – something that was flagged by social services. These kinds of judgement calls are hard to process and to sort through whilst working towards the final acceptance by your social worker and I felt McEwen humbled Jace by having to juggle both his internal struggles as a new father and the responsibilities this presented as a foster kinship parent.

There is a conscience of environmentalism at the heart of this story as well – from conservation, preservation and the connectedness of the living ecosystem concurrently alive next to our own habitats of modern living. The natural world places a strong role in this novel as much as McEwen has found a way to re-adjust our understanding about wildlife and the curious ways in which nature ‘finds us’ when we least expect to be seen ourselves. One of my absolute favourite passages of any story which is pro-positively focusing on the environment and/or the natural world is within After the Rodeo. McEwen shared a notation about trees and how they use biochemical communication – it is by extension a theory of my own about the old soul murmurings of trees and how these stoic giants in our world say more as silent warriors against time than any word we could express ourselves about the amount of time they’ve witnessed. There is another saying about how if you spend time next to a tree it begins to whisper to you as well – trees have ancient wisdom and ancient knowledge; we’d be wise to respect them more than we do as a global society.

McEwen showed the realities of how two persons who had zero interest in meeting someone could find themselves in a love story being knitted out of happenstance and serendipity! It is also a story that celebrates found families and how the beauty of life is truly a life that is shared with people who love you – however which way they enter your life, their the true blessing which enrich our hours in far more ways than we can ever hope to foresee being possible. This story truly touched my heart and soul because of how much of a life it celebrates that I would love to have for myself one day. I cannot hug it enough and the characters who burst to life off the pages of Ms McEwen’s soulful romantic style which etches itself into your memories.

-quoted from my book review of After the Rodeo

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A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | Wildfire comes to Shelter Creek! within the pages of Clarie McEwen’s “Rescuing the Rancher”!Rescuing the Rancher
Subtitle: Heroes of Shelter Creek
by Claire McEwen, Ms Claire McEwen
Source: Direct from Author

She'll help protect his ranch...
And heal his heart

Firefighter Jade Carson needs to get the local residents out of a wildfire's path, but Aidan Bell isn't moving. Still grieving a tragedy, the stubborn rancher plans to stay and save his animals Jade and Aidan battle the blaze on his property, only to feel he spark of something unexpected. Secrets are shared, hope kindles... but can they leave the past's ashes behind and let love grow?

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Ranches & Cowboys, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Western Fiction, Western Romance


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1335889867

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

Also in this series: Reunited with the Cowboy, Her Surprise Cowboy, After the Rodeo, Second Chance Cowboy


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 8th September, 2020

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

The Heroes of Shelter Creek series:

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

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

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

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

Second Chance Cowboy – (book five) – Wes & Emily’s story (see also Review)

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

Formats Available: Paperback* and Ebook

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

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read More

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Posted Tuesday, 30 March, 2021 by jorielov in #RomanceTuesdays, 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, California, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Western Fiction, Cowboys & Ranches, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Solutions, Family Drama, Family Life, Life of Thirty-Somethings, Life Shift, Men's Fiction, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Nature & Wildlife, Preservation, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Sweet Romance, The Natural World, Western Fiction, Western Romance, Women's Fiction

A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | Celebrating my love of the #HeroesOfShelterCreek series by Claire McEwen with my review for “Second Chance Cowboy”!

Posted Tuesday, 16 March, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

#RomanceTuesdays badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I’ve come to know this series [Heroes of Shelter Creek] through hosting the blog tours celebrating releases within the series with Prism Book Tours. However, in September 2020 in lieu of an organised blog tour Ms McEwen was seeking book bloggers who were interested in her series and wanted to read the fourth novel in the series “Rescuing the Rancher”. Whilst I was conferring with the author about receiving this for review, I asked if I could receive the second novel in the series “After the Rodeo” as I never had the chance to read Jace and Vivian’s story! I was thankful Ms McEwen was also available to be a featured guest during my @SatBookChat wherein I celebrate Romance, Women’s Fiction, strong female characters across genres and Feminist Lit on Saturdays each month.

I decided to read and feature “After the Rodeo” ahead of her #SatBookChat appearance and run my review during my #RomanceTuesdays feature wherein I love to showcase Harlequin Heartwarming and Love Inspired authors as they are writing the kinds of Romances I am appreciating most to be reading right now. However in regards to reading “Rescuing the Rancher” – I had difficulty getting into the storyline until recently due to the fact the backdrop of the story is set against wildfires – for whichever reason the topic and subject of wildfires hit closer to home for me than originally anticipated. I’ll be sharing my review for “Rescuing the Rancher” after “Second Chance Cowboy” as it is part of the Harlequin Heartwarming reviews forthcoming to Jorie Loves A Story. I was thankful I could read it ahead of the fifth novel as now I am concurrently connected through all the stories!

I received a complimentary copy of “Second Chance Cowboy” direct from the author Claire McEwen in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. I originally was going to purchase a copy of this novel however the publication date changed and blessedly Ms McEwen was able to send me a copy of the novel otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to read and review the novel in time for the blog tour.

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

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

I’ve had the joy of reading the Shelter Creek series from the beginning whilst I read a few out of sequence as well. I happily caught up with the series ahead of this installment giving me the chance to see Emily right before her story was being told, too! What I love most about how Ms McEwen approached writing this series is the firm presence of community and family; I love seeing series develop which feature both the family you’ve been bourne into and the family you find in the community in which you live. There are all kinds of families in the world and one wicked good thing about reading Harlequin Heartwarming is the celebration of different kinds of family and the unique ways neighbours can become as close as those persons we grew up alongside.

This is one of those close-knit communities you will love re-visiting due to how community focused the towne is and how reliant they are on helping each other to get through the adversities of life. It is a sweet series in that regard because former characters being showcased in the different installments return to make guest appearances lateron in the series whilst the entire series has a wonderful breadth of continuity from one book into the next! This is definitely for readers who love reading romantic dramas set in a Western atmosphere and setting.

Heroes of Shelter Creek and Karen Rock’s Rocky Mountain Cowboys are equal compliments of each other due to how both writers approached writing their series. In regards to Rock’s series – it has been a few years since I could find an update about both the series and the writer; I am still trying to get a hold of the prequel novel to round out my collection of the Rocky Mountain Cowboys as I have my eye on copies filtering into Thrift Books (as of course due to its age its OOP otherwise) – however, in case this series catches your eye, know you’ll want to read Rock’s series next! OR if you’ve read the Rocky Mountain Cowboys you’ll simply *devour!* McEwen’s Heroes of Shelter Creek!

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McEwen starts to describe the wildfire encroaching on Aidan’s ranch the way I recognise hearing about them on the news – whilst at the same time, I believe it would be harder for her to write this story due to how close she is to the actual danger of having a wildfire in your backyard! I know it never fails to affect me whenever I know a friend or author is near a fire and riding out the news updates is emotionally draining! Yet, somehow she found a way through all of that and found a way to create such a realistically dramatic story wherein you truly feel your with Aidan as he’s trying to resolve an emergency before it becomes a catastrophic event!

This is where McEwen excells at showcasing how her characters are willing to not just go the extra mile for what they believe in but they’re willing to do whatever is necessary to reach a goal that others might not be willing to risk. She also hones in on the smaller details – the origins of the smoke as it starts to set into the ridgeline of where Aidan’s ranch is located and the intensity of how it starts off a slowly creeping smell and starts to turn into a toxic pollutant that is inhibiting the ability to breathe properly.

I have admired how McEwen has brought in both knowledge and Science into her novels within the Shelter Creek series but what I loved about this installment is how it spoke towards a ready knowledge of wildfires and the ways in which people with land need to be prepared. There is a lot of prep work which goes into ensuring that your safety and the safety of your property is maintained. This includes fire breaks and clearing anything that could burn away from essential areas of your land and property. One of the downfalls of falling short of maintaining those priorities is shown in Rescuing the Rancher. The only bit of trivia I knew ahead of reading this novel was that the Burr Oak can help as a firebreak or shield on property because the fire can’t burn the tree – it is generally used on land to set a barrier in wildfire country.

I truly loved how McEwen shifted between the raging wildfire and how it moves across fields destroying everything in its wake and then giving reason to its noises alerting her readers to why those noises are death sentences if you don’t keep your wits about you. The fire itself is an intense machine of artistry – how it carves its presence out of whatever is in its path and illuminates the world with a fiery glow of its power. McEwen captured this personality of the fire and also showcased what we’ve learnt to not just prevent fire but how to survive through a fire. This is definitely an eye-opener for anyone who wants to live down range out West or anywhere in a Western state or Southern Canada where wildfires are as common as dragonflies. Its a brilliant primer on what it takes to act on instinct and plan your actions of attack based on modern fire science.

In the aftermath of the fire, it took true courage for both Jade and Aidan to resolve what they had learnt through their ordeal. I was applauding like mad for Jade’s speech to her parents and brothers; she had simply reached the boiling point on that topic and it was such a wicked scene! Aidan on the other hand had a welcome wagon from Shelter Creek arrive to give him a boost of neighbourly love and encouragement as well as the kind of help one didn’t expect to receive but warmly was grateful was given.

By the conclusion I was wicked grateful I finally found my own courage to read this story! The title eludes to the layers of depth within it – how this isn’t merely about a rancher whose in over his head with a wildfire or a simple solution to a problem you can see on the surface of his life. This is a story about a man whose build himself a barrier with the outside world and its going to take a community effort to help him find a passage forward out from under the grief and sorrow he’s been sheltering under since his tragic loss. That’s where Jade steps in during a new crisis of his life and starts to unwind his emotions – the ways in which McEwen gets into the psychology of Aidan’s past and the current tidal waves of how the past is affecting his present were some of the best parts of the story because of how the undercurrent of this romantic plot is firmly hinged against the will of one man to accept that everyone deserves both forgiveness and happiness in equal measures throughout their lives.

-quoted from my book review of Rescuing the Rancher
The full review of this will be featured during #RomanceTuesdays 30th March!
Coincidentally part of my 8th Blogoversary posts!!

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A #HarlequinHeartwarming #RomanceTuesdays | Celebrating my love of the #HeroesOfShelterCreek series by Claire McEwen with my review for “Second Chance Cowboy”!Second Chance Cowboy
Subtitle: Heroes of Shelter Creek
by Claire McEwen, Ms Claire McEwen
Source: Direct from Author

He was her first love…
But some things she can’t forget

Busy small-town veterinarian Emily Fielding is finally ready to take on some help. The best man for the job, however, is Wes Marlow—who broke her heart in high school. Though Wes has a way with horses and a way of melting her resolve, Emily needs to keep things purely professional. Wes left her once—will he do it again? Because she can’t lose her heart a second time…

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Ranches & Cowboys, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Western Fiction, Western Romance


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1335179784

Also by this author: Reunited with the Cowboy, Her Surprise Cowboy, After the Rodeo, Rescuing the Rancher

Also in this series: Reunited with the Cowboy, Her Surprise Cowboy, After the Rodeo, Rescuing the Rancher


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 9th March, 2021

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 384

The Heroes of Shelter Creek series:

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

Rescuing the Rancher by Claire McEwenSecond Chance Cowboy by Claire McEwen

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

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

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

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

→ my review will shared on the 30th of March!

Second Chance Cowboy – (book five) – Wes & Emily’s story

→ Book Six is forthcoming August, 2021!!

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

Formats Available: Paperback* and Ebook

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

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

About Claire McEwen (2021)

Claire McEwen

Claire McEwen is an award-winning author whose strong heroes and heroines take big, emotional journeys to find their happily-ever-afters. She loves writing stories set in quirky small towns and romantic western settings. Claire lives by the ocean in Northern California with her family and a scruffy, mischievous terrier. When not dreaming up new stories, she’s a busy mom who also enjoys gardening, hiking, discovering flea-market treasures and wandering on the beach. A life-long bookworm, she always has her kindle close by.

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Posted Tuesday, 16 March, 2021 by jorielov in #RomanceTuesdays, 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, California, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Western Fiction, Cowboys & Ranches, Family Drama, Family Life, Foster Care, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Men's Fiction, Modern Day, Nature & Wildlife, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Sweet Romance, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, The Natural World, Western Fiction, Western Romance