Publisher: Bantam

Review: Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn Pappano

Posted December 31, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn PappanoReviewer: Casee
Some Enchanted Season (Bethlehem, #2) by Marilyn Pappano
Series: Bethlehem #2
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: December 1st 1998
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 374
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Sometimes miracles do happen.

When Maggie left her husband Ross that fateful Christmas Eve, their marriage was over.  But a near fatal accident on an ice-slick road changed everything.

Now another Christmas approaches.  While Maggie hasn't regained all her memory, she's ready to test her strength at home--with Ross as her only companion.  Sharing a house with him once more, putting on the best face for their neighbors, Maggie knows she's living a lie.

Then she glimpses Ross as he used to be: playful and passionate, the man of her dreams before ambition changed him.  She couldn't know he's feeling the same regrets, the same heartache...or that he fears the return of her memory.  What will happen when she remembers the reason she fled from him last year?

It will take a miracle to send the walls of anger and secrecy tumbling down and reunite the divided couple.  But in the small town of Bethlehem, miracles do happen....

This review was originally posted on December 14, 2007.

I absolutely adore this book. I love it. After I read it, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I love reunion books. I love how I can reread this every single year (at Christmas, of course) and still get as caught up in the story as I did the first time I read it. This is one of my absolute favorite rereads during the holiday season.

Arriving back in Bethlehem a few days before Thanksgiving, Maggie has no memory of what drove her from her home that on Christmas Eve of of the prior year. What she does remember is that after sixteen years of marriage, she and her husband, Ross, have decided to call it quits. After 11 months of extensive physical therapy, Maggie is forced to except Ross’ help in her recovery. Their plan was simple. Ross would be around to help Maggie for two months. They would then part amicably and then quietly get divorced.

Really, is there any such thing as an amicable divorce? Seriously. When you’re together that long and were madly in love?

After being a workaholic for so many years, Ross finds himself curiously adrift. Never being able to find the right balance between being a CEO and husband, Ross refuses to let himself read even one email or answer one phone call. He decides that it’s the nicest thing he can do for Maggie. A parting gift, if you will.

Nothing ever goes according to plan, of course. When you live in a town full of people offering advice, a town that has its’ own guardian angel, it’s very easy to think “what if”. It doesn’t take Ross long to start thinking that he and Maggie could make things work. There’s only one problem. While Maggie doesn’t remember the previous Christmas Eve, Ross does. He knows that it’s highly likely that when Maggie remembers what happened, it will drive her from his arms for good.

I can’t say enough how much I love this book. It’s a book about two people who lost their way. Going back to their roots, Maggie and Ross both have to look inside themselves to find what makes them happy. While Ross did put work ahead of Maggie, Maggie is far from blameless in the demise of their marriage. Coming to terms with that is hard for her, but she’s able to do it. Maggie is one of my favorite heroines.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Bethlehem


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Sunday Spotlight: Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn Pappano

Posted December 30, 2018 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 3 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

This is one of my favorite books to reread during the holidays. It’s a book about second chances at life and love. Ross and Maggie were college sweethearts and were deeply in love. This book tells the story of how success in life doesn’t always improve a relationship. In this case it actually hurts it. It’s apparent that fate decides that Ross and Maggie aren’t quite done. The small town of Bethlehem works it’s magic and these two slowly find their way back to each other. This book makes me laugh, get teary, and sigh every time I read it. It’s a must read anytime of the year, but much more enjoyable during the holiday season.

Sunday Spotlight: Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn PappanoSome Enchanted Season (Bethlehem, #2) by Marilyn Pappano
Series: Bethlehem #2
Also in this series: Some Enchanted Season (Bethlehem, #2)
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: December 1, 1998
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 374
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Sometimes miracles do happen.

When Maggie left her husband Ross that fateful Christmas Eve, their marriage was over.  But a near fatal accident on an ice-slick road changed everything.

Now another Christmas approaches.  While Maggie hasn't regained all her memory, she's ready to test her strength at home--with Ross as her only companion.  Sharing a house with him once more, putting on the best face for their neighbors, Maggie knows she's living a lie.

Then she glimpses Ross as he used to be: playful and passionate, the man of her dreams before ambition changed him.  She couldn't know he's feeling the same regrets, the same heartache...or that he fears the return of her memory.  What will happen when she remembers the reason she fled from him last year?

It will take a miracle to send the walls of anger and secrecy tumbling down and reunite the divided couple.  But in the small town of Bethlehem, miracles do happen....

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

She wiped her eyes and gave a great sigh. “Oh, Ross, if I don’t laugh, I’ll have to cry, and I’ve cried enough tears in my life.”

He didn’t want to know—honest, he didn’t—but the question slipped out anyway. “When?”

In an instant, she became utterly serious. “Nights when you were in the office. Weeks when you were out of town. Years when you were out of reach. A woman can’t watch her husband create a life for himself with no room for her without shedding a few tears.”

“I—I’m sorry. I didn’t know …”

“Maybe not about the tears, but you knew you were moving me out of your life. You just didn’t care.” She spoke matter-of-factly, as if she had long ago accepted that fact. Before the acceptance, though, there must have been heartache and disillusionment, because she, at least, had tried to make things work.

That was more than he could say for himself.

She tried her burger and shrugged. “It’s not too bad. I’ve had worse. I’ve cooked worse.” After another bite she said, “All those dinner parties I planned for you … What was wrong with them?”

“Nothing. The food was great. You were always great. They were fine.”

“Then why did you take them away from me? Why did you suddenly insist on having them catered?”

Sliding onto the stool beside her, he thought back to when he’d made that decision. He tried to remember what her response was. Had she been resistant, or had she quietly, meekly, gone along? Had she been grateful to be freed of so much responsibility, or had she felt rejected?

That last was easy enough to answer. Why did you take them away? wasn’t the question of a grateful woman.

“It was a status thing,” he said at last. “A way of subtly pointing out that we could afford such extravagances.” Seeking to ease his own discomfort, he said, “You never enjoyed those parties anyway—not the hours of planning or the days of shopping or even the cooking. What did it matter to you if someone else did it?”

“Because it was one less way you needed me. You’re right. I didn’t particularly enjoy the parties. But I liked doing them for you. I liked feeling that I had someplace in your life besides bed.” Suddenly she grinned. “But I have to admit, whatever problems were building between us, the sex was still great. I was always grace—grateful—that you never replaced me there. But you weren’t that type. All those times you were gone, all that distance between us, I always knew that there would never be another woman. That counted for a lot.”

The chill that hit Ross was guilt laced with shame. It made his lungs tight and filled his ears with a rushing that distorted her words as she continued to talk. She sounded so confident, so certain that she could trust him at least on that score, but she was wrong. Her gratitude was misplaced, because for one brief, unforgivable time, he’d been exactly that type. He had betrayed her and himself for a few hours’ pleasure, and in the process he had almost destroyed her.

Now he was betraying her again, because even as she hoped and prayed for her missing memories to return, he prayed that she would never remember.

God forgive him.

Because Maggie wouldn’t.

Bethlehem

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: December 2018

Do you want to give this book a try after reading the excerpt? Let us know what you think and what some of your old favorites are!

About Marilyn Pappano

Marilyn Pappano Headshot

Born in Oklahoma, Marilyn Pappano followed her career-Navy husband across the southern United States for fifteen years, living in California, the Carolinas, Alabama and Georgia -- all locations she's used regularly in her novels. Her first book, WITHIN REACH, was published by Silhouette Books in 1987, and she's gone on to sell about eighty books to Silhouette, Harlequin, Warner, Bantam, Dell and Forever Romance. She's made bestseller lists, won every major award in the romance genre, and seen a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie made from her novel, SEASON FOR MIRACLES. Marilyn writes both contemporary romance and romantic suspense and is best known for her richly-textured characterization. Her current publishers are Harlequin Romantic Suspense and Forever Romance, where she's using her experience as a military spouse and mother in her new Tallgrass books, a series about a group of best friends and military widows who help each other grieve, live and learn to love again.


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Throwback Thrusday Review: Hope’s Folly by Linnea Sinclair

Posted September 20, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 6 Comments

Throwback Thrusday Review: Hope’s Folly by Linnea SinclairReviewer: Casee
Hope's Folly (Dock Five Universe, #3) by Linnea Sinclair
Series: Dock Five Universe #3
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: February 24, 2009
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 425
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Admiral Philip Guthrie is in an unprecedented position: on the wrong end of the law, leading a ragtag band of rebels against the oppressive Imperial forces. Or would be if he can get his command ship-the derelict cruiser called Hope's Folly-functioning. Not much can rattle Philip's legendary cool-but the woman who helps him foil an assassination attempt on Kirro Station will. She's the daughter of his best friend and first commander-a man who died while under Philip's command and whose death is on Philip's conscience.

Rya Bennton has been in love with Philip Guthrie since she was a girl. But can her childhood fantasies survive an encounter with the hardened man, and newly minted rebel leader, once she learns the truth about her father's death? Or will her passion for revenge put not only their hearts but their lives at risk? It's an impossible mission: A man who feels he can't love. A woman who believes she's unlovable. And an enemy who will stop at nothing to crush them both.

Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy!

This review was originally posted on March 25, 2009.

I was never really a fan of sci-fi romance until I read Games of Command. I absolutely loved that book and it was in my top 5 reads of 2007. Hope’s Folly is the third book in the Gabriel’s Ghost universe. I know it will shock many of you to know that I haven’t read Gabriel’s Ghost or Shades of Dark. Yes, you read that right. I actually started with the 3rd book in the series. Even though I am allergic to reading 1st person, after reading Hope’s Folly, I have to go back and read both Gabriel’s Ghost and Shades of Dark.

Admiral Philip Guthrie has little hope that he will be able to get the slagging (I love this word, btw) mess that is Hope’s Folly to Ferrin without getting himself or his crew killed. When he meets the crew, he is shocked to learn that one of his crew members is Rya Bennton, the daughter of his best friend. The ten year old girl who flicked peas at him across the table and begged him to shoot his weapon has grown into a woman that Philip is drawn to. Philip doesn’t have time to question his attraction to woman he once dubbed Rya the Rebel. He has a ship that’s falling apart and someone trying to sabotage the small chance they have of making it to Ferrin alive.

Rya Bennton can’t believe that her commanding officer is Philip Guthrie, the man who has been the subject of her fantasies for many long years. After saving his life on Kirro Station, Rya refuses to relinquish the duty of seeing to Philip’s safety. When things continue to go wrong on Hope’s Folly, Rya is convinced that they have someone on board that is trying to sabotage the crew. Rya is determined to find out who it is before s/he can get to Phillip or cause further harm to Hope’s Folly.

At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about Rya and Philip as a couple. While I liked both characters individually, I wasn’t feeling it between them at first. Age was a huge factor for Philip and it was something that he wouldn’t let go of. He would go between lover and father-figure which was kind of creepy. His internal dialogue was pretty funny, though, and it didn’t take me long to get on board with these two. Rya was also pretty amusing. When she decides to go against Philip’s orders so she can ultimately save his life, she’s afraid he’s found out before she can implement her plan.

Rya racked her brain for Imperial Regulation Fifty-Seven A, any of the paragraphs, but she didn’t know Fleet regs like she did ImpSec ones. And maritime law—law. The brig suddenly loomed large again.

Maybe they’d just confine her to her cabin. She could probably hack into that lock.

“Fifty-seven A, sir? No. Unless you mean…” Welford’s mouth opened the closed quickly. He swallowed, hard. “You can’t be serious. Sir.”

Rya stared at Acting Captain Welford. God and stars. They were going to make her walk
the plank. Or whatever the deep space equivalent was of that. Jettison her out a cargo hatch?

“I’m dead serious.” Philip held out his hand toward her. “Rya.”

Her own flew to the Carver at her side. Dugan had taken inventory, told Philip the trank was missing. Now they were going to strip her of her weapons and space her. They probably thought she meant to kill him. God, no. Just knock him out for a little while, long enough to get through the gate, long enough he couldn’t sacrifice himself.

Wasn’t she at least entitled to a trial first?

“Rya,” Philip repeated. “Over here. Now.”

Name, rank, serial number. Name, rank, serial number. Say nothing incriminating.
Name, rank, serial number.

She stepped toward him, raising her hands slowly out from her sides.

Philip frowned, head tilted slightly.

Behind her, Welford snorted out a laugh. “She doesn’t know Fleet regs, Admiral. She thinks we’re going to arrest her.”

Rya really was a rebel; always wanting to go against regs if she thought that it would save Philip’s life.

Linnea Sinclair does a remarkable job of drawing the reader into the story. The action in the book was amazing and I found myself holding my breath more than once. Once I started reading Hope’s Folly, I had a ridiculously hard time putting it down. Though the first few chapters lagged a bit for me, once the book gets going, it goes fast.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Dock Five Universe

four-stars


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Retro Review: Miracle by Deborah Smith

Posted February 1, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 12 Comments

Retro Review: Miracle by Deborah SmithReviewer: Holly
Miracle by Deborah Smith
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: October 1st 1991
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 464
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four-half-stars

Haunted by a past filled with poverty and abuse, Amy Miracle finds escape and release in the vineyards of Georgia--and in Sebastian de Savin, a brilliant and arrogant surgeon whose own past has hardened his heart. Amy finally breaks through de Savin's shell and teaches him to love and laugh again, and Sebastian helps Amy blossom into a magnificent woman.

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

I remember loving this book so much, but the idea of re-reading it now makes me cringe. I can’t imagine diving back into this epic mess.

This review was originally published June 11, 2007

Many thanks to Wendy for turning me on to this author. I found this novel to be very reminiscent of Danielle Steele, without the constant repetitiveness in the writing style.

Amy and Sebastian meet at his father’s Vineyard, where Amy is working. Sebastian is a brilliant surgeon and finds himself drawn to the vineyard after losing a patient. For some reason he’s drawn to Amy and finds himself returning there to see her again and again.

After a brutal fight with her father, Amy searches Sebastian out to help her with a medical problem and he offers her sanctuary at his house until she can find something new. After spending several weeks together, Sebastian has to leave for Africa and offers to pay Amy’s way through school. Though reluctant, she finally accepts and they’re separated. Sebastian is convinced Amy will be better off without him – he has major emotional baggage from a tragedy in his past – and says goodbye to her, never planning to see her again.

But over the next two years, he can’t stop thinking about her. Amy dedicates her time to her studies and fantasizing about seeing Sebastian again. But Sebastian’s family – French aristocrats – step in and drive a wedge between them – one that forces them to move on from each other physically.

Ten years later, after a major journey for each of them, Amy and Sebastian are reunited, but they’re both different people and they struggle to make the wrongs of their past right.

I truly enjoyed this story. Watching their separate journeys through life was wonderful. Amy was so shy and lacking in self-confidence in the beginning, watching her mature and grow confident in herself was wonderful. She was a strong heroine, and once she found herself, she didn’t compromise herself, not for the hero or anyone else.

Sebastian was a great hero, and a wonderful counterpart for Amy. He was extremely tortured, and desperately needed Amy’s lightness to bring him out of the darkness of his past. He suffered a lot, starting from an accident in his childhood, to a loveless marriage.

Although there was a lot of drama and the H/H were apart for most of the book, the story really worked for me. There were a few times when I was rolling my eyes, or thinking GET ON WITH IT ALREADY, but for the most part, I was just wrapped up in it, hurting for the characters and cheering them on.

I definitely recommend it.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

This book is available from Bantam. You can purchase it here.

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: Table for Seven by Whitney Gaskell

Posted June 18, 2013 by Ames in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review:  Table for Seven by Whitney GaskellReviewer: Ames
Table for Seven by Whitney Gaskell
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: April 23rd 2013
Genres: Women's Fiction
Pages: 389
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four-stars

On New Year’s Eve, Fran and Will Parrish host a dinner party, serving their friends a gourmet feast. The night is such a success that the group decides to form a monthly dinner party club. But what starts as an excuse to enjoy the company of fellow foodies ends up having lasting repercussions on each member of the Table for Seven Dinner Party Club.

Fran and Will face the possibility that their comfortable marriage may not be as infallible as they once thought. Audrey has to figure out how to move on and start a new life after the untimely death of her young husband. Perfectionist Jaime suspects that her husband, Mark, might be having an affair. Coop, a flirtatious bachelor who never commits to a third date, is blindsided when he falls in love for the first time. Leland, a widower, is a wise counselor and firm believer that bacon makes everything taste better.

Over the course of a year, against a backdrop of mouthwatering meals, relationships are forged, marriages are tested, and the members of the Table for Seven Dinner Party Club find their lives forever changed.

I’ve read and enjoyed Whitney Gaskell’s writing before, so I was looking forward to reading Table for Seven.

It features two couples and three single friends. Bring everyone together is Fran and Will Parrish. They’re having a New Year’s Eve party and in an effort to do something different, Fran preps a multi-course meal to count down to midnight. She’ll serve one course on the hour leading up to midnight. No one really wants to go, but they end up having so much fun they decide to start up a very informal dinner club, with someone different hosting every month.

I thought this was a very interesting set up. And with so many characters, the story flowed very well. There was no confusion of who or what because each person is going through something very different. Will and Fran have been married for just under 20 years. Fran’s world is rocked that New Year’s day when Will tells her to invite Cooper, his best friend. You see, Fran and Cooper had a moment very early on in her marriage. Nothing happened…but she thinks if Will hadn’t woken up when he did that day on the boat that Cooper would have kissed her. Ever since then, she’s kind of had a little teeny tiny flame going for Cooper. They haven’t seen him too much over the years and she’s excited to learn he’s moved to their coastal town. Maybe too excited?

The other couple is Jaime and Mark. She’s his second wife and she’s struggling with Mark’s schedule and his daughter’s demands on his time. They have two young children together but she feels Mark is always off for Emily’s tennis practice or tournaments. She thinks it’s too much time and wonders if that’s all he’s doing.

Audrey is Fran’s best friend. She owns a successful spa and she’s been a widow for 7 years. She’s sick of Fran’s attempts to set her up. Fran knows this so when she invites Audrey to that first dinner party, she doesn’t want Audrey to think she’s setting her up with Coop so Fran tells her he’s gay. LOL That led to a few funny moments. But Audrey has trouble opening up. Her first husband was an alcoholic and she’s refused to see the truth of her marriage…and that’s preventing her from opening up to anyone new. Coop hasn’t had a real, long-term relationship ever in his life. He’s definitely a bachelor through and through and he’s definitely intrigued by Audrey (especially at first when she was super friendly with him, thinking he was gay). But she refuses to date him and his persistence definitely challenges both of them and their beliefs about relationships.

The seventh member of the group is Leland. And he was my favorite. He’s a retired judge, in his 80s and he was a great character. He was a great observer of the group dynamics and he gave gentle nudges where they were needed. He loved bacon. Cute character.

So yeah, there were a few interesting things going on with this book. With Fran and Will, I was caught up in Will’s obliviousness to what was going on with his wife. She was taking better care of her appearance and working out and dressing better. Everyone noticed but Will. So her getting caught up in a fantasy flirtation with Cooper makes sense. And then you realize she’s getting ready to make a move and you just feel so bad for her, because you know he’s fallen for Audrey. And Audrey is so the opposite about being open with her feelings, she doesn’t even tell her best friend she slept with the guy. LOL I also enjoyed Jaime’s path she took. She was so sure her husband was cheating on her she even followed him at one point and there was nothing to see. She really matured as a character. Same with Audrey. She really didn’t want to deal with what happened with her husband and it was preventing her from moving on. It was so easy for her to rebuff Coop’s charm…something that made him try harder, something he hasn’t had to do in a while.

I liked all the characters (except one…and no one cared for him either) and I liked the way all the stories unfolded. Because the author did a good job of giving us pieces of each story I read this pretty quickly. It was very engaging and I recommend it for when you need a break from all the New Adult you’re reading. LOL

Table for Seven gets a 4 out of 5 from me.

This book is available from Bantam.  You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-stars


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