Review

Right Where We Belong by Brenda Novak

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Published: Harlequin – MIRA
Date: 31st October 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Rating
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Savanna Gray needs a do-over. Her “perfect” life unraveled when, to her absolute shock, her husband was arrested for attacking three women. With her divorce settled, she takes her two children home to Silver Springs to seek refuge between the walls of the farmhouse where she was born. It needs a little TLC, but she’s eager to take control of something.

Gavin Turner understands the struggle of starting over. Abandoned at a gas station when he was five, it wasn’t until he landed at New Horizons Boys Ranch as a teen that he finally found some peace. He steps up when Savanna needs help fixing things—even when those things go beyond the farmhouse.

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Right Where We Belong is another book in Brenda Novak’s Silver Springs series. However it is perfect as a stand alone. Like the previous book I read in this series there is some romance, some crime, a little mystery – all in all, a good mix.

Savannah has had the misfortune to find herself married to someone who has been attacking women. He is in prison awaiting trial and she is suffering trial by public opinion so she decides to leave the small town and travel to California where there is a dilapidated home belonging to herself and her brother. She has two delightful but bewildered children and as well she has a whole lot of gumption.

Gavin is one of the past pupils of New Horizons Boys Ranch, he now works there and is a musician as well. He takes an immediate liking and attraction to Savannah when she arrives, and really helps her out where he can.

This does not please his prior girlfriend who is hoping to wheedle her way back into his life with a bit of blackmail and putting the screws into him where she knows it will count. Will she succeed?

When it looks like the police might not be able to close the case against Savannah’s husband – soon to be divorced, Savannah after weighing up things decides to get a little more involved and takes some big risks. I found it a little scary as she did her own investigation!

A fun read, nice and relaxing on the whole, that mixture of romance and sizzle, a heroine making a stand for herself and a hero there to support her while she does it.

Review

Deck the Halls by Donna Alward

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Published: St Martin’s Press
Date: 3rd October 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: Novella
Genre:Romance
Source:Publisher via NetGalley

Rating
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With shades of It’s a Wonderful Life, one man must face his past to find his future this Christmas.In the last year, George’s life has drastically changed. The formerly homeless veteran now has a job he likes, a family in the residents of Darling, VT, and for the first time in years, a home. But while his present is good, he’s still haunted by the past, a past that appears shortly before Christmas when the older sister of his brother-in-arms hunts him down and finds him in Darling, working at the Ladybug Garden Center.

Amy’s looking for closure for her family after her brother’s death in the Middle East, but the serious man she finds working in Vermont doesn’t resemble the soldier she remembers from years before. This man is hardened and yet somehow fragile, too, and in her desire to find out what really happened to her brother, she learns more about George than she ever expected. With a little Christmas magic and the whole town supporting them, can these two bruised hearts make a future together?

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When I read Somebody Like You – #1 in the Darling VT series earlier in the year, I wrote a very brief review of it, stating the character George really appealed to me. And… I wanted his story. A little comment then showed underneath, Donna saying I should watch out for October because his story was on the way. And so it is.

George is a returned service man who for a long time was down on himself and was living on the street until a few people in Darling VT really saw him and offered him a helping hand. Which to his credit he took. Yet he is still riddled by regret and no small amount of survivor guilt.

Into the mix arrives his best friend’s twin sister – Amy. She has come looking for answers to what went down that day when her brother was killed in war.

What follows is a heart warming Christmas story of reaching out, giving, hope and love. Things move along for George, he has already come a long way but there is more ways to travel. Towards the end it tugged on my heart strings.

There is no quick fix, but there is promise of good things to follow. George and Amy are just beginning. If the Darling VT series continues… well I hope Amy and George poke their noses into other peoples stories and update us.

Review

The Christmas Room by Catherine Anderson

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Published: Berkley
Date: September 26th 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages:
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Rating
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Widow Maddie McLendon has uprooted her life to move to Rustlers Gulch with her son and grandson. But as a brutal Montana winter looms on the horizon, contractors have yet to break ground on their new house, leaving them to live in a makeshift camp of trailers, tents, and sheds….

Since his wife died six years earlier, millionaire rancher Sam Conacher has been content to wallow in his grief alone, while keeping a tight rein on his twenty-six-year-old daughter. But now the girl has gone and fallen in love with his foolish new neighbor’s no-good son….

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Cam, his son Caleb and mother Maddie have arrived in a town in Montana and set up on a parcel of land where they intend to build. In the meantime home is a tent and caravan as they begin this stage of their journey.

Not so far away is Sam and his daughter Kirstin, they have a huge ranch but not many workers. Sam has scared them all away with his grumpiness, think Scrooge and the Grinch rolled into one plus some. He has been really mean spirited since his wife Annie died about five years ago. He is very protective of his daughter Kirstin and runs off any man who looks at her. So… when Cam shows some interest it is a real challenge to Sam. He is downright rude and before long there is a war going on between Sam and Maddie, who resents his attack on her son Cam. A wall is built, no trespassing notices are put up.

Maddie though is hiding a secret that she is keeping from her son Cam and grandson Caleb. Caleb is having a difficult time settling into a new school and so far has no friends.  Cam is finding it hard to sell land, all in all things are not going well. However there is romance blossoming between Cam and Kristin.  And even though its war for Sam and Maddie, perhaps there is going to be a second chance romance there too.

The story was a load of fun. It moved along at a good pace with something happening all the time. I loved Caleb, the young teen who had a heart of gold trying to fit in with his peers. He was thoughtful and so caring especially of his grandmother.

While the story does come together at Christmas and is totally heart warming, most of the story takes place before Christmas, so don’t feel you are getting too Christmasy to read this now. It’s a perfect pre Christmas read, that will put you in the spirit for that season when it arrives.

Review

Sugar Pine Trail by RaeAnne Thayne

book coverPublished:Harlequin
Date: 26th September 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher and Little Bird Publicity

Rating 4.5 stars
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Librarian Julia Winston is ready to ditch the quiet existence she’s been living. She’s made a list of new things to experience, but falling for Jamie Caine, her sexy military pilot neighbor, isn’t one of them. Julia’s looking to conquer life, not become the heartbreaker’s latest conquest. But when two young brothers wind up in Julia’s care for the holidays, she’ll take any help she can get—even Jamie’s.

Happy to step in, Jamie reveals a side of himself that’s much harder to resist. Not only is he fantastic with kids, he provides the strength Julia needs to tackle her list. She knows their temporary family can’t last beyond the holidays, but the closer she gets to Jamie, the more she wonders if things could be this merry and bright forever…

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Sugar Pine Trail – #7 in the Haven Point series by RaeAnne Thayer was just the perfect read for me at the right moment. Sometimes a light, well written and totally engaging book is just the prescription.

This is the story of Julia – slightly uptight librarian who becomes less and less so as she becomes connected to two young brothers in a spot of trouble and she steps up to the plate. Very soon her heart is totally taken by them and so was mine.

She has rented her upper storey apartment to Jaime Caine, who so far has never been caught by any woman and really doesn’t intend to be. But soon he finds he just might really like Julia and the two boys and together they all bond and do some really fun things.

Both Julia and Jaime have issues from their past that haunt them but… I loved watching them eventually share and heal and open their hearts. They are both great people and I must say I loved the Caine family and must go back and read any of the other books in this series and the Hope Crossing series that have them in.

This was beautifully plotted and once I began reading it was just so easy to keep going. It had the right amount of heart wrenching moments, coupled with some chuckle out loud moments and some really sweet moments. Plus two little boys who were a wonderful addition, plus three snooty cats and finally one…. No – not telling, read and find out.

I can only say I loved this book, a throughly satisfying read. RaeAnne Thayne – could be that she is turning out to be an author I’ll be reading a lot more from.