May 29, 2015

The Marriage Season. Linda Lael Miller

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The Marriage Season
Linda Lael Miller
Published: Harlequin
Date: May 26th 2015
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 304
Genre: Contemporary romance
Source: Little Bird Publicity
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Since Hadleigh, Melody and Bex—the best of best friends—entered into a marriage pact, two of them have found (and married) the men of their hearts. But Bex doesn't think she'll be as fortunate as the others. Her own first love died years ago in a faraway war, and Bex has lost hope for a happy marriage of her own. She concentrates on her business, a successful chain of fitness clubs, instead.

Then, when single father Tate Calder comes to Mustang Creek with his two sons in tow, who befriend Bex's six-year-old nephew, she and the handsome, aloof newcomer are constantly thrown together. But is the marriage season over? Or can a man with doubts about love be the right husband for a woman who wants it all?
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The Marriage Season by Linda Lael Miller is the third in her The Brides of Bliss County series.  This is the story of the third friend in the trio - Bex.  Her two best friends are now married and both pregnant, but they would love nothing more than to see Bex married too.  So they are not above a little matchmaking that seems to hold promise.

Bex is taking care of her nephew while his mother Tara (Bex's sister) gets her life together. Josh, the nephew loves being with his Aunt Bex anyway, because he finds security with her. Tate Calder has two boys of his own, and Josh gets along well with them.

Bex and Tate are attracted to one another and they seem ideally suited. Yet both have had relationships in the past that did not work out well for them, so both are cautious.  In face, even though Bex has made a marriage pact with Hadleigh and Melody, she shies away from the idea of a proposal.

Set in Wyoming, this story is full of happy couples, children, dogs and horses.  I really liked both Bex and Tate, both caring, responsible adults.  Life doesn't go smoothly for them, but they work it out successfully and of course reach their happy ever after.

I think this was my favourite in this series, I just loved the general mix of the story.  I see we can expect a Christmas story in this series  Mustang Creek for Christmas later in the year.  A little peek in again will be a treat I am sure.

4 stars
Linda Lael Miller photo

Linda Lael Miller

May 28, 2015

I'll Stand By You. Sharon Sala

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I'll Stand by You
Sharon Sala
Published: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date: June 1st 2015
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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No one is alone... Dori Grant is no stranger to hardship. As a young single mother in the gossip-fueled town of Blessings, Georgia, she’s weathered the storm of small-town disapproval most of her life. But when Dori loses everything within the span of an evening, she realizes she has no choice but to turn to her neighbors.

Everyone says the Pine boys are no good, but Johnny Pine has been proving the gossips wrong ever since his mother died and he took over raising his brothers. His heart goes out to the young mother and child abandoned by the good people of Blessings. Maybe he can be the one to change all that…
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I'll Stand by You by Sharon Sala is a warm, feel good contemporary romance. Sharon Sala has written many books, but it just happens that this is the first I have read, it won me over and I sat engrossed in it, completing it within a day.

The small town of Blessings in Georgia is the setting, and it's a mixture of people, some good hearted and some gossip centred.  Dori is only just turning eighteen, young but mature, she has had to cope with a lot in life, and there is still more to face.  She loves her young son, and when the local neighbors leave her to cope on her own after a crisis, there is one person who steps up to help her out.

Johnny is only twenty, but he has the care of his two much younger brothers and he does a fabulous job, ready to go in to bat for them where needed. Also determined to help them grow up well.  They are a delight.  When he sees how others have turned away from Dori he opens his heart and his home up to her.  Little does he know what is to come next.

When things get tough for Dori and Johnny there are people in the town ready to stand up for them and cheer them on.  This is a book where the good win and the bad.... get what they richly deserve.  It has a fairytale feel to it, it hooked me in and I suspended judgement and just indulged in a real feel good story.

4.5 stars

May 26, 2015

Jericho. Ginger Jamison

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Ginger Jamison
Published: Kimani Press
Date: 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 330
Genre: Contemporary romance
Source: Own book
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Georgia Williams has traveled a hard road from sheltered preacher's daughter to struggling single mother. Determined to build a secure future for her baby girl, she takes a job as a night nurse at Jericho Military Hospital. But her precarious world shifts yet again when she meets her newest patient.

A marine who nearly died fighting for his country, Lieutenant Christian Howard is a man of duty, honor...and deep desires. Something about the scarred war hero touches Georgia, awakening feelings she's tried to keep hidden. One passionate night together changes everything, erupting with consequences neither could have foreseen. Now Georgia faces the most momentous decision of her life. Should she trust Christian, a man she barely knows, with the devastating secrets from her past? Could this be a love that will heal and save them both?
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I saw a review somewhere for Jericho by Ginger Jamison and decided it sounded interesting. I think it was in the Romantic Times where it was a top pick.  I have just got around to reading it and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It is a romance with great character exploration, a plot that kept me engaged and excellent writing.

Georgia is a very spunky young mother, caring for her delightful little daughter and as well working nights as a nurse at Jericho Military Hospital.  She is beloved by the patients because of her kindness and caring.  It is there that she meets Christian and soon a relationship starts to build.  However Georgia is in danger of losing her job when seen kissing Christian.

Christian on discharge finds that he needs to find Georgia and from there, the relationship develops further.  However Christian is somewhat unsure of Georgia, is she with him because she needs to be or could she possibly love him.  As well Christian struggles with what he will do from now on in, to find purpose in life - does that involve going back to the war front?

Christian has no family, he still carries guilt about his parents dying.  Georgia was cast out by her family when she accused a family friend of rape - resulting in a child.  Her 'religious pastor father' will have nothing to do with her and forbids the others as well.  This is a heavy weight that Georgia carries.

I enjoyed watching the relationships pan out, the struggles with various feelings of anger, guilt, loneliness and the possibility of forgiveness. The minor characters added a richness to the mix, all in all a very good read.

4 stars

May 24, 2015

Sunday Post Weekly Wrap & Fitreaders

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? badge for Sunday Post
Sheila at Book Journey runs It's Monday! What Are You Reading? While this  meme is not fully active at present I am linking up as well to the Sunday Post at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Quiet week - went off again to Playcentre to watch over my two year old gran niece.  Turns out my niece's course will last quite a few more weeks, so looks like I'll be going longer than expected. A good education to be there!  Memo to self wear older clothes! My biggest shock this week was to look across the table and see another two year old with a mouth full of paint!  I signalled my alarm! I wasn't sure if it was edible - turns out it isn't! 

I practised my quilting - turns out it's not as easy as it might look!   So I have revised my expectations and set myself lots of practice.

badge - FitReaders
Met my goal this week of 46200 steps this week. Yay. Best day was Monday with 10 479 steps and lightest day was Thursday with just over 3000. Always motivating to be doing this along with other readers.

What I read last week:

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The Marriage Season is the third in a trilogy to be published  May 26th. Contemporary romance.
Amy Snow is a debut novel - historical fiction to be published here in Australia/NZ 9th June
Vision in Silver - 3rd in series - Fantasy/Paranormal.  Already published earlier this year.

What I am reading at present:

I have just started listening to Safe Harbor by Luanne Rice

Reading The Lake Season by Hannah Roberts McKinnon

Up next:

Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh. The next one in her Psy/Changeling series. Very excited to have an advance copy! Thanks to Hachette NZ.

Posts from the last week:

May 23, 2015

Murder of Crows. Anne Bishop

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Murder of Crows
Anne Bishop
Published: HarperVoyager
Date: 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 337
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Local Library
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After winning the trust of the Others residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.

The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murder of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard—Lakeside’s shape-shifting leader—wonders if their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or a future threat.

As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now, the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet—and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.

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Murder of Crows is the second book in The Others series by Anne Bishop. I enjoyed it a lot, although not perhaps as much as the first one.  I listened to the audiobook for the first one and loved it. Unfortunately Murder of Crows was not available to me in audio format so I read it. However I will be able to listen to Vision in Silver - the most recent one.

Anne Bishop writes very well, her world building is excellent and her characters suck me right in. The relationship between Simon Wolfgard and Meg showed interesting developments in this book. While I have read some reviews that believe that these two will never be able to form a full mating relationship, I am interested to see how it will develop.  This book shows how much in need of Meg Simon is.  He turns to her when he is lonely, yet he is worried that he may be becoming too human. I didn't get enough of the wolf cub Sam to make me happy though!

This book reveals the humans and terra indigene working together to find the evil people who are causing the death of crows and also the search for the Controller and the compound that houses the cassandra sangue where they are imprisoned.  It is from this place that Meg escaped.  As well there is a group formed that is causing much trouble by turning humans totally against the terra indigene, which is really stupid as the terra indigene wield far more power and resources.  

The twists and turns, the characterisation, the small touches of humour, the wondering where this will go next kept me reading, and I am certainly very hooked into this series now!

4.5 stars

May 22, 2015

Sweet Tea at Sunrise. Sherryl Woods

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Sweet Tea at Sunrise
Sherryl Woods
Published: MIRA
Date: 2010
Format: Paperback
Pages: 389
Genre: Contemporary romance
Source: Local library
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Emotionally wounded single mom Sarah Price has come home to Serenity, South Carolina, for a fresh start. With support from her two best friends; the newest generation of the Sweet Magnolias; she can face any crisis.

But sometimes a woman needs more than even treasured friends can provide. Sexy Travis McDonald may be exactly what Sarah's battered self-confidence requires. The newcomer is intent on getting Sarah to work at his fledgling radio station; and maybe into his bed, as well.

Sarah has learned not to trust sweet words. She'll measure the man by his actions. Is Travis the one to heal her heart? Or will he break it again?
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Sweet Tea at Sunrise is #6 in the Sweet Magnolia series.  It is the second one in a trilogy about the younger generation in this South Carolina town.  It is the story of Sarah, friend of Annie and Raylene who is now living with Sarah.

Sarah has come through a difficult divorce, her past husband eroded her self-esteem by continually picking on her and pointing out her faults.  Therefore it is difficult for her to believe it when Travis starts to pay attention to her.  Unlike her past husband - Walter, he has only positive things to say. Will she believe him?

Sarah is a great mother, a forgiving woman and also a talented one.  I loved seeing her go from strength to strength on the new local radio station.  It was also interesting to see how her relationship develops with Travis and alongside that how Walter is tangled up in it all.  Travis' dad is not a great role model and for quite awhile Sarah seems to get mixed up with the idea that the apple does not fall far from the tree!  What is Travis real nature, is he is own man and can Sarah trust him.  I loved Raylene's gentle prodding in this area.  

All the usual characters waft in and out of the story, it seems a lot of them are pregnant, so the town is soon to have a boost in population.  Sherryl Woods always writes a good story and this one is just that.

3.5 stars

May 19, 2015

The Summer Girls. Mary Alice Monroe

The Summer Girls
Mary Alice Monroe
Published: Blackstone Audio
Date: 2013
Format: Audiobook
Length:  11hrs 42 min
Narrated: Mary Alice Monroe
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Own audiobook
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Three sisters reunite on Sullivan’s Island off the coast of South Carolina after years of separation in this heartwarming first novel in a new trilogy from a beloved author. 80-year-old Marietta Muir is a dowager of Charleston society who has retired to her historic summer home on Sullivan’s Island. At the onset of summer, Marietta - "Mamaw" - seeks to gather her three granddaughters - Carson, Eudora, and Harper - with the intent to reunite them after years apart.
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The Summer Girls written and narrated by Mary Alice Monroe was well worth the listen and I will be eagerly listening to the next two in this trilogy.  It is about three girls - half sisters, and their grandmother - Mamaw.  They have all been invited to her house for the summer, and with a somewhat tentative approach they all end up responding to the invitation.

Eudora (Dora) is the oldest and has a young son who is autistic.  She is in the process of seeking a divorce from her husband.  Carson has turned up from California where she has just lost her job. Harper is the youngest, and works as an editor in her mother's firm.  While the girls did meet up for summers when they were young, they are not particularly close.  Perhaps this summer that will all change.

This story is mostly about Carson, she is a keen surfer and enjoys being out on the sea, until a chance encounter changes things up a bit for her.  She also befriends Nate and helps him to learn to swim. Together they befriend a dolphin, that will have far reaching consequences.   Carson also forms a relationship with Blake, a keen kite surfer and who also works on tracking the local marine life in this area.  A bond forms between Carson and Blake, although it is not really centre stage.  The story is more about how Carson is faced with her past and present and must decide how she is going to move into the future.

I liked all the characters, Mamaw was a wonderful southern character, the girls were all different and each had their flaws and strengths.  I look forward to reading the next two books to find out the developments.

There is an environmental message to this book, it is not tacked on, but rather becomes very integral to the plot.  I liked the way it was done and it is an important message.  I also liked Mary Alice Monroe narrating the book, sometimes I shy away from an author reading their own book, but it works well on the whole.

4.5 stars
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