Tag: HQN

Throwback Thursday Review: Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins

Posted October 31, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Somebody to Love by Kristan HigginsReviewer: Tracy
Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins
Series: Gideon's Cove #3
Also in this series: Catch of the Day (Gideon's Cove, #1)
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 425
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins is back with a hilarious and heartwarming new story about a rich girl who discovers that a little hard work may be just the thing she needs...

After her father loses the family fortune in an insider-trading scheme, single mom Parker Welles is faced with some hard decisions. First order of business: go to Gideon's Cove, Maine, to sell the only thing she now owns—a decrepit house in need of some serious flipping. When her father's wingman, James Cahill, asks to go with her, she's not thrilled...even if he is fairly gorgeous and knows his way around a toolbox.

Having to fend for herself financially for the first time in her life, Parker signs on as a florist's assistant and starts to find out who she really is. Maybe James isn't the glib lawyer she always thought he was. And maybe the house isn't the only thing that needs a little TLC.

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

This review was originally posted on April 26, 2012.

Parker Welles has always lived the good life. She’s never had to worry about money as her father had made millions. She lives with her 5 year old son in the family home and lives off her trust fund. She is an author of a series of children’s books but has donated all of the proceeds to Save the Children.

When she finds out that her father has lost all of his money – an her and her sons trust funds – in an insider trading deal she’s shocked. She’s not sure what she’s going to do but she is strong and knows that she’ll make it through.

She is reminded that an aunt left her a home in a small town in Maine so she heads up there to flip the house and possibly then live off of the money for a while while she tries to find a job. Her son is on a 3 week trip with his father and she’s ready to rock and roll. The problem is that house she considers more a shack and the aunt was a hoarder. The house is a complete pit and she’s not sure she can fix it.

Her father’s now unemployed lawyer shows up to help her as he used to do carpentry before he became a lawyer. Parker has never cared for James Cahill as she just believes that he is her father’s lackey but she admits that she’s always been attracted to him. She also resents James a bit because her father treats him better than she treats her and like the son he never had.

James was smitten and in love with Parker from the moment he saw her. He has attended many family parties both with and without Parker’s father so he knows a lot about her. Though Parker treats him like he’s an non-entity he still doesn’t want to give up on his feelings for her.

Parker finally gives in to James and they start a “summer fling” but what happens when both of their feelings grow and then real life gets in the way?

This was a really good book made all the better by James. He was just a great guy. He was a man who knew what he wanted and wasn’t all that afraid to go after what he wanted. He would have done it earlier but Parker was always more emotionally unavailable.

The part I really didn’t care for in this book was Parker. It’s not that she was a bad person but her thinking at times really baffled me. I just didn’t get why she was so determined to push James away when he proved again and again what a great person he was. On that flip side of that I really couldn’t understand what James saw in Parker and kept coming back for. No, she wasn’t a bad person but she hadn’t ever treated him very well.

I have to say that there was one part at the end of the book that made me love James even more but if I tell you I’ll completely ruin it! Lol Just let me say that it was one of the sweetest things I’d ever read.

This was a really great story that had great characters for the most part. The secondary characters were wonderful and the citizens of the town in Maine were wonderful. I would have liked this story much, much better if I’d liked Parker more but despite that it was worth reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Gideon’s Cove

four-stars


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Guest Review: Christmas in Winter Valley by Jodi Thomas

Posted September 24, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Christmas in Winter Valley by Jodi ThomasReviewer: Tracy
Christmas in Winter Valley by Jodi Thomas
Series: Ransom Canyon #8
Also in this series: Sunrise Crossing, A Christmas Affair (Ransom Canyon #6.5), Mistletoe Miracles (Ransom Canyon #7)
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Westerns
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Ransom Canyon welcomes you back for a Christmas that has everything you’re looking for: romance, family and a whole lot of Texas.

Cooper Holloway would take nature over people any day—especially visiting relatives. That’s why he’s headed for a rustic cabin in remote Winter Valley, where he’ll care for a herd of wild mustangs. But Cooper’s plans are quickly thwarted by the arrival of two unexpected guests: one, a stranger in desperate need of his help, and the other, a very attractive young veterinarian.

Elliott is busy trying to keep Maverick Ranch running smoothly with Cooper gone, which is no easy task with family visiting. And when a long-lost love suddenly reappears in his life, Elliott knows he’ll have more than just books to balance this season.

With a big, chaotic family Christmas around the corner and love blooming in surprising ways, the Holloway men will have to make big choices about the future—just in time for the holidays.

Christmas in Winter Valley is a group of smaller romances all set in one book/story based around the Griffin family and their place, Maverick Ranch.

First there’s the story of Cooper Griffin and Hayley.  Cooper is hurt while out checking on wild mustangs but Hayley, the vet that was out there to help him, saves his life.

Then there’s Tye and Dani who can’t seem to keep their hands off each other.  Tye is an ex-rodeo star and is now a ranch hand at MV (Maverick Ranch). He falls fast and hard for the Griffin family cook, Dani, but here grown sons don’t like that too much.

Elliot Griffin was hurt 10 years ago by Jessica who he was engaged to.  He had to leave school when his dad died and each of them think it’s the other’s fault that they didn’t stay together after that.  Jessica shows up at MV to do the taxes and sparks fly between the two.

Creed (a ranch hand) and Dallas (cousin-in-law to the Griffins), end up as a couple, I think, but it’s hard to say as not much, if any, time was spent on their relationship.  Could be they just ended up FB’s. lol

While all of these people are falling in love with each other, all between December 10th and December 24th (yes, very fast), there are friendships growing and intertwining all of these characters.  Men and women alike are finding out who they truly are and how they see life and love.  It was well done, but I never felt that I was too invested in any of the relationships.  I’m not sure if that was because there was so much going on, or what.  Despite that I liked the book overall.

That said, I have to say that my favorite part of the book was a 9-year-old boy named Tatum.  Tatum was shipped off to his grandma’s house when his dad and then his mom died.  When his grandma died the evil neighbor lady told the sheriff that this small boy carried death wherever he went, was half-wild and they should take him to the pound.  WTAF? I wanted to crawl through the book and thrash that woman!  Tatum ended up running away before social services could get him and was found by Cooper Griffin right before the boy would have frozen to death.  I won’t tell you the amazing cuteness that comes out of Tatum’s mouth on the regular, but let me just say that he’s the sweetest thing in the world!  The relationship between Cooper and Tatum is heart-warming and I loved it. Jodi Thomas wrote his character wonderfully well and I actually found myself wishing he was more on-page than he was.  Yes, it’s a romance novel, but Tatum made the book for me!

Overall a nice Christmas story about love and family.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Ransom Canyon

three-half-stars


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Featured Review: Mornings on Main by Jodi Thomas

Posted December 13, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Featured Review: Mornings on Main by Jodi ThomasReviewer: Casee, Holly, Rowena
Mornings on Main by Jodi Thomas
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars

From the beloved and bestselling author of the Ransom Canyon and Harmony, Texas series comes a powerful, heartwarming story about generations of family and the ironclad bonds they forge.

When Jillian James lands in the small town Texas community of Laurel Springs, she's definitely not planning to stay--except to find a few clues about the father who abandoned her and destroyed her faith in family.

Connor Larady is a single dad, and the only one caring for his grandmother, Eugenia, who has Alzheimer's. And now he has to close Eugenia's quilt shop. When Connor meets down-on-her-luck Jillian, he's out of options. Can he trust the newcomer to do right by his grandmother's legacy?

Jillian is done with relationships. But as she grows closer to Connor and Eugenia, she must consider giving up her nomadic life for a future with those who need her.

An inspiring family saga that asks us to consider what love and chosen family really mean.

Jillian James is a wanderer. Her father lived a nomadic, off-the-grid lifestyle and taught her to do the same. For years she’s been drifting aimlessly, never staying anywhere long or forming attachments. Recently she started following the path her father took, searching for some clue as to where he may have been in the past, and, more importantly, where he is now.

She lands in Laurel Springs, Texas, and takes a job from the mayor, Connor Larady, cataloging his Gram’s quilt collection from her quilting shop. She’s suffering from the early stages of dementia, and the historical society wants an accounting of each quilt before they’re moved to a local museum for display.

Connor and Jillian have an instant attraction, but he’s deeply rooted in his hometown..and she’s determined not to leave any roots at all.

Holly: It’s been years since I read a novel by Jodi Thomas, but I have fond memories of her older books. Sadly this one didn’t live up to my expectations. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the story, it was all very sweet and lovely. It was also very boring. I really had to push myself to finish it. The slow moving romance and the lack of true angst made for a snoozefest.

Rowena: This is the second book that I’ve read by Jodi Thomas and I couldn’t remember why I stopped reading her. Reading this story kind of reminded me. The small town, the super sweet but slow-moving romance, all of that served to remind me that these kinds of romances aren’t my jam. While reading this, I felt like I was reading a romance that was written by my Grandma. A sweet story told by an older person who wrote dialogue on how they thought young kids talked these days and not really how they actually talk. Does that make sense?

Still, it was sweet.

Holly: I don’t know that I agree about the dialogue, though I do agree about the rest. I really liked Sunnie and Reese, the teenage couple with a thread running throughout the book. I thought they were sweet and pretty cute. I loved how much Sunnie loved her Gram, and how great of a kid she was despite going through some bad teenage years. I thought Reese was cute for her, too.

I even liked Jillian and Connor. I thought they were good together and had a sweet, comfortable relationship. It just didn’t do a lot for me.

Rowena: Yes, Sunnie and Reese were probably my favorite part of the book. I loved how smart and strong Sunnie was and how quickly she ended things with Derrick when he proves to be an ass. Too often, I see teenage girls stay in a relationship with the popular boy and I’m glad that Sunnie was above that.

I enjoyed everything in this book fine but that’s really all I have to say about this one. It was good. I liked Jack, Gram, and all of Gram’s friends, I liked Connor and Jillian. I adored Sunnie and Reese and though the beginning was slow, the story does pick up and it does get interesting but after all is said and done, I liked it fine and that’s it.

Casee: Unfortunately, as sweet as this book was, I was bored from start to finish. I did enjoy Connor and Jillian getting to know each other, but it didn’t do anything for me. I didn’t understand Jillian’s absolute need to be a nomad. It just made no sense to me. I didn’t understand why she wanted to find the father that abandoned her. I liked Sunnie and Reese. They were probably my favorite part of the book. Quilting doesn’t really do it for me, no matter how interesting the stories about them might be.

Holly: I did love Joe’s Toe Tent business. I cracked up when it blew up.

Casee: Rowena is correct. This review is as boring as the book was. Lets just call it what it was. Excruciatingly slow. Connor was sweet, but boring. I did enjoy seeing him get his HEA, but I didn’t particularly care by that point. I was just glad I finished the book.

Rowena: I did like that Joe’s toe tent business took off because I liked Joe and thought he was pretty great to Gram. I thought it was cute, how excited he was about the business too.

There isn’t much else I have to say about this book so I’m going to give it a 3 out of 5. What about you guys?

Casee: I’m going to give it a 2 out of 5.

Holly: I thought it was a sweet story. I liked the town and the secondary characters, it was just slow. I’m giving it 3 out of 5.

Final grades

Casee: 2 out of 5
Holly: 3 out of 5
Rowena: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane by JoAnn Ross

Posted October 29, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane by JoAnn RossReviewer: Holly
Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane (Honeymoon Harbor, #2) by JoAnn Ross
Series: Honeymoon Harbor #2
Also in this series: Herons Landing (Honeymoon Harbor, #1)
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Lose yourself in the magic, charm and romance of Christmas in the Pacific Northwest as imagined in JoAnn Ross’s heartwarming Honeymoon Harbor series.

Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, Jolene Harper is forever indebted to the mother who encouraged her to fly—all the way to sunny LA and a world away from Honeymoon Harbor. Although Jolene vowed never to look back, returning home isn’t even a question when her mom faces a cancer scare. Which means running into Aiden Mannion all over town, the first boy she ever loved—and lost—and whom she can barely look in the eye.

Aiden’s black-sheep reputation may have diminished when he joined the marines, but everything he’s endured since has left him haunted. Back in Honeymoon Harbor to heal, he’s talked into the interim role of police chief, and the irony isn’t lost on the locals, least of all Aiden. But seeing Jolene after all these years is the unexpected breath of fresh air he’s been missing. He’s never forgotten her through all his tours, but he’s not sure anymore that he’s the man she deserves.

Despite the secret they left between them all those years ago, snow is starting to fall on their picturesque little town, making anything seem possible…maybe even a second chance at first love.

Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane is book two in the Honeymoon Harbor series. Jolene was the character from the previous book I was most looking forward to learning more about.

Jolene grew up dirt poor with a wonderful mother but an alcoholic father in a small town. As soon as she could she left town and made a life for herself as a makeup artist in California. After an Emmy nomination, things are going very well for her in her career, but after the mother of all bad days – she finds out her boyfriend is engaged to someone else and her apartment burns down – she learns her mother may be sick. She’s been wanting to develop a line of organic beauty products, so she heads back home to Honeymoon Harbor to work on that and be with her mom.

Aiden Mannion was a hellion as a teen, but after a stint in the Marines and several years working undercover with the LAPD, he’s settled down. After his partner was killed in an op gone bad, he’s back in Honeymoon Harbor to lick his wounds and heal. The town needs an interim Sheriff and he reluctantly accepts the job on a temporary basis. He and Jolene have history, and he’s quick to renew their friendship – and more – once she returns to town. But things are never simple in a small town, especially when he’s starting to think he never wants to leave and Jolene has a life several states away.

The small-town of Honeymoon Harbor came to life and I felt a real connection to those who live there. It was clear Jolene and Aiden had a true, deep foundation once they got past their initial awkwardness over their separation. They dated in high school, but broke up right before Aiden left for the Marines. He always regretted not telling Jolene how much he cared for her, and he’s glad to have the opportunity to renew their friendship…and possibly have more. It was lovely how quick he was to recognize Jolene as the only person he wanted in his life. Their romance set off sparks, but was also very heartwarming.

I did struggle a bit with the pacing. Parts seemed to drag on, especially in the middle. The book had a paranormal element I wasn’t expecting that seemed out of place given this is a contemporary romance.

View Spoiler »

Still, I can’t deny I enjoyed those parts, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

Overall I liked the story, though not quite as much as the first book, Herons Landing. JoAnn Ross always writes sweet, lovely stories. This small-town romance delivers in a big way.

3.25 out of 5

Honeymoon Harbor

three-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane by JoAnn Ross

Posted October 28, 2018 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 4 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

I have a weakness for small-town contemporary romance, and JoAnn Ross does it particularly well. This new series, set in Honeymoon Harbor, is lovely. I’m excited to share an excerpt with you today.

Sunday Spotlight: Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane by JoAnn RossSnowfall on Lighthouse Lane (Honeymoon Harbor, #2) by JoAnn Ross
Series: Honeymoon Harbor #2
Also in this series: Herons Landing (Honeymoon Harbor, #1), Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane (Honeymoon Harbor, #2)
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 432
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Lose yourself in the magic, charm and romance of Christmas in the Pacific Northwest as imagined in JoAnn Ross’s heartwarming Honeymoon Harbor series.

Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, Jolene Harper is forever indebted to the mother who encouraged her to fly—all the way to sunny LA and a world away from Honeymoon Harbor. Although Jolene vowed never to look back, returning home isn’t even a question when her mom faces a cancer scare. Which means running into Aiden Mannion all over town, the first boy she ever loved—and lost—and whom she can barely look in the eye.

Aiden’s black-sheep reputation may have diminished when he joined the marines, but everything he’s endured since has left him haunted. Back in Honeymoon Harbor to heal, he’s talked into the interim role of police chief, and the irony isn’t lost on the locals, least of all Aiden. But seeing Jolene after all these years is the unexpected breath of fresh air he’s been missing. He’s never forgotten her through all his tours, but he’s not sure anymore that he’s the man she deserves.

Despite the secret they left between them all those years ago, snow is starting to fall on their picturesque little town, making anything seem possible…maybe even a second chance at first love.

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

November, Los Angeles

For a woman born literally on the wrong side of the tracks in Honeymoon Harbor, Washington, Jolene Wells was living her dream life. Not only did she live in the Beverly Hills Triangle—it might be a rental apartment in the flats, aka “South of the Tracks” from when the old Pacific Electric streetcar traversed Beverly Hills—but her famed 90210 zip code was the same as where Jason Priestly and Luke Perry had hung out.

Maybe their characters were fictional, but still. And, as the leasing agent had pointed out, she was steps from Rodeo Drive. Which, while way too pricey for her budget, offered some wonderful window shopping. It was also pet friendly, not that her lifestyle allowed for as much as a goldfish. But that didn’t stop her from watching ABC7’s Eyewitness News “Pet of the Week” adoption segment and thinking maybe, someday.

She’d also, with a lot of hard work and some Tinseltown luck that could’ve come right out of an old MGM musical script, almost won an Emmy as part of the makeup team for a six-part miniseries set in 1950s Ireland. Although, as the cliché went, it had been an honor to have been nominated, privately she still thought it sucked losing out to yet another Tudor series. How many versions of Henry VIII did the world need, after all?

Still, the amount of press the series had received wouldn’t hurt her fledgling business, which she was getting closer to getting off the ground. She’d been making her own organic skin care and makeup going back to her early days at the salon where she’d been discovered and nearly every actress—and quite a few actors—she’d worked with, had asked to buy it.

Unfortunately, her life had been so busy that she’d kept putting off the actual business part of the idea. But while the indoor scenes at been filmed at the same Wicklow County studio as Braveheart, the location shoots had been done in the west. During those long, winding bus drives being shuttled back and forth between the Kerry and Clare coasts, she’d had plenty of time to think. And plan. Now, she just had to figure out a doable way to implement that plan. And if heaven would send down an angel investor, that’d be the icing on the cupcake.

Although the press gained by her nomination had caused a burst of even more lucrative film and TV offers coming in, she’d been seriously considering a change. All those movie stars had shaken Hollywood up when they’d come out with stories of abuse, but the brightness of their movie star status had overwhelmed so many of those working unnoticed in the trenches—makeup artists, hair and food stylists, wardrobe mistresses, grips, animal and child wranglers, fixers, and all the other jobs that films couldn’t reach the screen without.

She hadn’t minded that making a movie involved hard work and long hours. She’d learned a strong work ethic from her mother. What she hadn’t expected was that the moment she walked onto a location, she’d be seen by many as new prey.

That was why, right before leaving Ireland, she’d signed her name to a lengthy online list of women and not a few men, who’d decided to go public about the harassment behind the scenes. Behind Hollywood’s bright lights. Even knowing that might hurt her future employment opportunities, she’d decided to leverage whatever little bit of influence she had received from her Emmy nomination to speak out. Besides, who really cared about people who the guys at the top of the food chain considered easily replaceable?

So, needing a break from those long hours an overseas location entailed, she’d decided to spend the rare downtime until the new year looking for an investor and mentor who could help her grow her start-up and get her products out into the cosmetics and day-spa marketplace. So far, the producers of Shark Tank had turned her down twice, but she’d sent in a new audition video, mentioning her Emmy nomination, so hey, maybe the third time would be the charm. It could happen, right?

Honeymoon Harbor

Giveaway Alert

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

Sunday Spotlight: October 2018

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

JoAnn Ross

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

When New York Times bestselling author JoAnn Ross was seven-years-old, she had no doubt whatsoever that she’d grow up to play center field for the New York Yankees. Writing would be her backup occupation, something she planned to do after retiring from baseball. Those were, in her mind, her only options. While waiting for the Yankees management to call, she wrote her first novella — a tragic romance about two star-crossed mallard ducks — for a second grade writing assignment.

The paper earned a gold star. And JoAnn kept writing.

She’s now written over one hundred novels and has been published in twenty-six countries. Two of her titles have been excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine and her books have also been published by the Doubleday, Rhapsody, Literary Guild, and Mystery Guild book clubs. A member of the Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll of best-selling authors, she’s won several awards, including RT Reviews’ Career Achievement Awards in both category romance and contemporary single title. In addition, she received RWA’s national service award and was named RWA Pro-Mentor of the Year.

Although the Yankees have yet to call her to New York to platoon center field, JoAnn figures making one out of two life goals isn’t bad.

Currently writing her Honeymoon Harbor series (set on Washington State’s Olympic peninsula) for HQN, JoAnn lives with her high school sweetheart, whom she married twice, in her beloved Pacific Northwest.


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