Book Review: Three Missing Days by Colleen Coble

Three Missing Days
by Colleen Coble
Book 3 in the Pelican Harbor series
Rating: 4/5
Release date: April 6, 2021

Yes! The thrilling conclusion to this riveting series from Colleen Coble. I was excited to read what happened next and get some closure. There’s been mystery after mystery involving Chief Jane, Reid and their son, Will, but I was really hoping for some resolutions and the author did not disappoint. I highly recommend reading the first two books before reading this one or else you may be a bit lost. (Warning: since this is a continuing story, there are some spoilers if you have not read the previous books.)

When Chief of Police Jane Hardy begins to investigate the deaths of two people in a house fire, something smells of foul play. But as she digs deeper to find the truth, Jane’s personal life becomes even more complicated with the reappearance of Lauren, Reid’s wife who abandoned the family. Jane’s heart can’t take too much more with her uncertain relationship with Reid until Will is accused of a horrific murder. Jane and Reid must race to gather evidence to clear their fifteen-year-old’s name and get him released.

When confronted with her past, Jane realizes she is missing three days in her memory that are just blank. Can Jane figure out what happened during those missing days? Are those missing days somehow connected to something even worse? In the midst of it all, can Jane and Reid’s relationship survive all this stress?

Ahhh! Can you handle it? For me, this book was very good and helped tie up loose ends, but I also had a harder time getting into the story (since I had to remember what had happened before). However, once I was a few chapters in, I could not stop reading because the story started moving faster. I could feel Jane’s pain at feeling helpless to defend her son who she only recently reconnected with. I could feel Reid’s agony at not being able to be there for his son who was being set up for a crime he didn’t commit. I always love how real the author’s characters are – their real doubts and fears about God’s faithfulness in the darkest of times. The rollercoaster of emotions is something we all go through when our lives don’t turn out the way we think they should.

This book was good, but I do not think it was the best of the three; hence, the 4 stars. However, I loved the closure I got at the end and I loved to see the character growth. You will still definitely want to read this book after reading the first two to find out what happens.

Highly recommend this Christian suspense with romance, action, and mystery.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: Dreams Rekindled by Amanda Cabot

Dreams Rekindled
by Amanda Cabot
Book 2 in the Mesquite Springs series
Rating: 4.5/5

Wow. I forgot how much I loved Amanda Cabot’s stories. She knows how to weave a heartfelt romance with a dash of mystery and suspense and is not afraid to address psychological trauma from her characters’ past. This is book two in the Mesquite Springs series, and I now must go back to book one to find out what happened (this book can be read as a standalone).

After Dorothy Clark read Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, she knew she wanted to write something like that. She wanted to make an impact and change the world with her written words. How would she ever get that opportunity in small town Mesquite Springs? When Brandon Holloway arrives in town to start a newspaper, she secretly hopes that the dashing young gentleman is willing to give her a chance to write. While both parties excel at the written word, the couple both struggle with their own past tragedies but are determined to discover who is stirring up trouble and spreading rumors. Can they expose the truth and find a way to save the town they both love before it’s too late? Will the past repeat itself if they aren’t too careful?

“With this second novel in the Mesquite Springs series, bestselling author Amanda Cabot invites you to discover the healing power of truth.” – Book description

I really enjoyed that this story was more than just a light rom-com read. It’s so much more. Dealing with trauma from the past is not something every author can write about. Cabot addresses real issues that can haunt people but she also leaves room for healing and forgiveness that can only come from God. She weaves redemption into her stories, which is something I really appreciate as a Christian.

My favorite character is Nutmeg, Dorothy’s dog, and I even loved her part in the story. Dogs can definitely be therapeutic for those with past trauma.

Highly recommend this Christian historical romance with a dash of mystery and suspense from Amanda Cabot. As a fan of her previous books, you will not be disappointed.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: Court of Swans by Melanie Dickerson

Court of Swans
by Melanie Dickerson
Book 1 in the Dericott Tales series
Rating: 4/5

I believe I have read every book by Melanie Dickerson and she did not disappoint. Court of Swans is the first book in a brand new series and I was excited to visit the world of 1381 and meet the Dericott family. This particular story is a retelling of The Wild Swans and the author definitely had her own take on the story.

Delia Dericott is the only daughter of the Earl and has lived a fairly sheltered life surrounded by her seven brothers. After her father remarries a horrible woman, she keeps her distance and hopes for the best, especially when she gains a new half-brother. However, her new stepmother has plans of her own. When her father dies suddenly, all her brothers return to the family home (most were off training to be a knight) while they mourn together. Her eldest brother, Edwin, barely has a chance to get used to his new position and title before the king of England’s soldiers arrive to arrest all of her brothers for murder and treason. When Sir Geoffrey realizes that the youngest one is but 10 years old, he is unsure why all these brothers are being sent to the Tower of London. Delia is distraught and must find a way to save her brothers. She suspects her stepmother did something but has no evidence. Afraid of what her stepmother might do to her, Delia escapes to her aunt for guidance. Her aunt arranges for Delia to become a seamstress in the king’s castle in order to find a way to convince the future queen and young King Richard of her brothers’ innocence. Delia finds herself once again confronted with Sir Geoffrey and must find a way to work with him to free her brothers before it’s too late. Can Delia trust the man who arrested her brothers? Can she find a way to rescue her brothers and exonerate them?

There’s definitely never a lack of drama in Melanie Dickerson’s books. lol. I really enjoyed this story of political intrigue set in the late 1300s which is not a time period that I read a lot about. It was interesting to read about the different historical figures and try to get into their head. I finished the book in a few hours and could not put it down. I know I will enjoy getting to know this new family and cannot wait for the next book in the series. 

Highly recommend if you enjoy Christian historical fiction with romance and political intrigue.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: Active Defense by Lynette Eason

Active Defense
by Lynette Eason
Book 3 in the Danger Never Sleeps series
Rating: 4.5/5

Who doesn’t enjoy a good romantic suspense novel? As a long-time fan, I was excited to get back into the world with some familiar characters and get to know them better. This story can definitely be read as a standalone novel (I somehow skipped reading book 2, but I did read book 1), but I recommend starting from the beginning to get the full effect. I, myself, need to go back and read book 2. You will not regret it.

Heather Fontaine is dealing with PTSD after her service in Afghanistan as a field surgeon. She thinks someone is stalking her, and she is on edge all the time. After she finally shares her fears with her friends, she arrives home to find her house is not quite the way she left it. Fleeing and trying to disappear to protect her friends from an unknown adversary prove to be difficult when Travis Walker, owner of his own security firm, is able to find her and save her. Who is watching her? Who just tried to kill her? She has so many questions and not enough answers. Can Travis and her friends help Heather uncover what is going on? Will Heather’s emotional baggage and traumatic past keep her from pursuing a relationship with the seemingly perfect Travis? Can Travis really protect Heather and keep her safe?

As a medical student, I always love reading stories (even fictional ones) about doctors in the field. Heather’s past is what has shaped her character and is part of what drives her passion to help others. I loved the part where Heather explained how she turned out the way she did despite poor role models — she just did the opposite of what she saw her father do. I definitely cried some tears and felt my adrenaline pumping at different points in the story. Heather’s relationship with Travis was a bit rushed, but it may have been developed more in book 2. Their relationship was not as obvious in the beginning of the story. The big reveal at the end was something I did not see coming until the author made it clear, which is always impressive since I’m constantly guessing throughout the story. Faith is gently woven into the story – definitely not in a preachy way.

Highly recommend this Christian romantic suspense novel that will keep you reading till the end with action, intrigue and a lot of heart.

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Audiobook Review: The Coffee Corner by Amy Clipston

The Coffee Corner
by Amy Clipston
Book 3 in the Amish Marketplace series
Rating: 4/5

I was lucky enough to receive a free ARC of the audiobook of this story and it did not disappoint! I am a fan of Amy Clipston and she is very good at writing sweet, yet authentic, stories of romance set in the Amish community. This story can be read standalone since I have not read the other books in this series but now I need to. LOL.

Bethany Gingerich has a thriving business as the coffee and donut stand at the Amish market. She and her cousins have successful booths but everything is changing since her cousins are getting married one by one. Bethany feels overlooked as a potential mate but finds her eye drawn to the new-in-town, Micah Zook, who is helping with his grandfather’s custom furniture shop. Micah has his own sad past, but he’s determined to do what he loves and that’s helping his grandfather continue his business. He finds a sense of peace when he grabs his Saturday morning coffee and donut from Bethany’s booth and can’t wait to try her newest flavored coffee. Antics and miscommunications ensue on this couple’s journey to love.

I thought this story was very sweet but the only problem I had may have been caused by the narrator of the audiobook than the actual heroine as written. I found Bethany’s character to be so confusing and frustrating at times. She’d go from competent businesswoman to insecure teenager to naive friend and back again. I’m not sure if that was more because of the narrator’s interpretation, but I found Bethany’s character very unlikeable. (This is incredibly strange for me as a reader since I almost always give the MC the benefit of the doubt). I tried really hard to sympathize with her character and her internal struggles but she came out more annoying than anything else. As a single woman, I definitely share some of her struggles and insecurities, but I felt her immaturity was a little over the top. However, the story itself was great and I really liked Micah’s character. I really loved all the interesting coffee flavors Bethany came up with – they sounded great (even to a non-coffee drinker). The family aspects of this story were very strong, and the faith aspect was also woven throughout the story in a meaningful way.

Audiobook: The narrator was okay. She was good but I didn’t think her German pronunciation was very good. Her interpretation of Bethany seemed whiny to me, which is frustrating when I’m trying to root for the MC. The production was well done and flowed well.

Highly recommend if you enjoy Amish romances with some humor and spunk.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: The Cul-de-Sac War by Melissa Ferguson

The Cul-de-Sac War
By Melissa Ferguson
Rating: 4.5/5

Who doesn’t love a good rom-com? This book is pure joy and fun! Having read the author’s previous work, I was excited to jump in and read this new one that casually mentions previous characters. The story can be read as a stand-alone though. 

Bree Leake hasn’t quite found where she fits in career-wise. She’s tried so many different jobs but never quite found one that stuck. After moving away from home, Bree tries her hand at acting in the nation’s oldest live performance theater, The Barter. While she still feels restless, her parents’ offer to give her their part of grandmother’s house if she stays put for one full year is something that she cannot pass up. She loves the house and all the memories. However, her new neighbor might be the one thing that she can’t stand despite his handsome face. Chip McBride is striking out on his own as a contractor and is eager to show that he can make it without being part of his father’s family company. He wants to make a name for himself and remodeling the Barter might just be his ticket to recognition. He also enjoys antagonizing his new next-door neighbor who happens to be an actor there. Bree and Chip won’t stop until it goes too far and they can’t help but constantly be thinking about one another every day. Pranks ensue while these two duke it out.

You won’t stop smiling and laughing throughout this book. There are a couple more serious parts (don’t get me wrong) but the chemistry between the two characters is undeniable and the author portrays their relationship beautifully. I really enjoyed this “enemies-to-lovers” type of romantic comedy and it ends up being an entertaining read full of spunky characters who you may have read about previously.

Highly recommend for those who enjoy romantic comedies.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review & Celebrate Lit Giveaway: To Steal a Heart by Jen Turano

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About the Book

Book: To Steal A Heart

Author: Jen Turano

Genre: Comedic Historical Romance

Release Date: November 17, 2020

To Steal a Heart

After spending her childhood as a street thief, Gabriella Goodhue thought she’d put her past behind her until a fellow resident at her boardinghouse is unjustly accused of theft. Using her old skills to prove her friend’s innocence, Gabriella unexpectedly encounters Nicholas Quinn, the man she once considered her best friend–until he abandoned her.

After being taken under the wing of a professor who introduced him into society and named him as heir, Nicholas is living far removed from his childhood life of crime. As a favor to a friend, Nicholas agrees to help clear the name of an innocent woman, never imagining he’d be reunited with the girl he thought lost to him forever.

As Gabriella and Nicholas are thrown together into one intrigue after another, their childhood affection grows into more, but their newfound feelings are tested when truths about their past are revealed and danger follows their every step.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Jen

Named one of the funniest voices in inspirational romance by BooklistJen Turano is a USA Today bestselling author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publishers Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. She and her family live outside of Denver, Colorado.

My Thoughts

To Steal a Heart
by Jen Turano
Book 1 in the Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency series

Wow! I never stop laughing when I read any of Jen Turano’s books. I’m always excited to dig into her world and see what shenanigans her characters are up to. The combination of quirky but strong-willed female characters always makes for entertaining stories that you won’t want to stop reading.

Gabriella “Gabe” Goodhue has not had the easiest life but she is a strong, independent woman living in a boarding house with a job as a seamstress. Having grown up on the streets of the Lower East Side of London, Gabe dressed as a boy and got into trouble with Nicholas Quinn until she got caught and was sent to an orphanage. She’s surprised to see Nicholas again while attempting to break into a safe after thinking he abandoned her all those years ago. This chance meeting has Nicholas floored that Gabe is back in his life and although he’s learned to be a society gentleman, he still wants Gabe to understand what happened. The mysterious Knickerbocker Bandit is still at large and Gabriella is on the case to solve the mystery. Together Gabriella and Nicholas embark on an adventure to discover the truth about their pasts and what it means for their future.

As always, Jen Turano can weave a ridiculously funny story that still has romance, drama, and mystery. Her main characters are lovely and have a past that has made them who they are. I love being part of their journey to find out who they really are and I loved all the other characters too. As a big fan, I’ve read all of Jen Turano’s books and enjoyed reading about places/characters from some of her previous series. The other supporting characters bring much needed intrigue and hilarity to an already fun script.

Highly recommend if you enjoy historical fiction that has humor, romance and mystery.

My thanks to the author and CelebrateLit for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

More from Jen

To Steal a Heart” is the first book in a new series. How did you come up with the idea for this series?

Oddly enough, this series was inspired by a lot of different things. I keep this idea box, and whenever I stumble on something interesting, I throw the idea into the box. When I was getting ready to assemble a proposal for a new series, I took out the box and began rifling through it. Unfortunately, nothing struck my fancy. What did strike my fancy though, was the movie “My Fair Lady.” I’d recently watched it for the millionth time, and I thought…hmmm…what could I do with that? Well, I didn’t want to do a recreation of “My Fair Lady” and that’s when it hit me – what if I used a gentleman instead of a lady and improved his circumstances in life with the help of a professor? That wasn’t really enough, though, for me to formulate an entire series, but then I went to New York City for a research trip. While there, I roamed around Bleecker Street for hours. It was the perfect place to set a series, and then I saw this older building that my tour guide thought might have once been a boardinghouse. That was what really started me thinking, and before I knew it, I’d created an inquiry agency run by women that came about when a resident of a boardinghouse was unjustly accused of theft. When the police would not investigate further, believing they had the true culprit behind bars, the ladies who lived in the boardinghouse felt compelled to step up and clear their fellow boardinghouse resident of the charges brought against her. The series took off from there, the first book centering around one of the lady inquiry agents, Miss Gabriella Goodhue, who used to live on the mean streets of the Lower East Side and, at one point in her life, was best friends with Nicholas Quinn, the man who has now found his circumstances vastly improved from the time he knew Gabriella. Throwing the two of them back together made for an interesting storyline, especially since Gabriella believes Nicholas abandoned her all those years ago, which makes it next to impossible for her to trust him.

Are there other interesting characters in this series?

Of course. All of the lady inquiry agents come with their own secrets. Miss Daphne Beekman is a reclusive author who lives in the attic of the boardinghouse. She has the propensity to faint at the drop of a hat, which makes for a few amusing scenes in the first book. She’ll get her own story in “To Write a Wrong,” coming out later in 2021. Then there’s Eunice Holbrooke. She’s the owner of the boardinghouse, and she only wears full mourning garb, covering her face with numerous veils and refusing to speak to anyone about her past. Clearly, there’s a mystery just waiting to be solved there, one that will be solved in book three, which I’m just now beginning to work on. The other residents of the boardinghouse provide a lot of color to the story, from the two sisters who work as paid companions by day to gossip collectors and carriage drivers by night, to the resident artist, Miss Judith, who has recently decided to dip her toe into the portrait market even though she’s really not proficient with painting people. There’s also a one-eyed, patch-wearing dog by the name of Winston, a parrot that likes to nick sparkly items named Pretty Girl, and a neurotic poodle that falls for Winston that goes by the name of Precious.

Did the pandemic affect the writing process at all for “To Steal a Heart?”

Luckily, I had already turned in the book before the pandemic hit. With that said, though, I then had to do some of the edits during the first few months of the pandemic. That was interesting. I have very specific conditions I need in order to write and edit and having Al (the husband person) working from home isn’t one of those conditions. It took me far longer than it normally does to complete the editing process, which threw off my schedule for the next book in the series, “To Write a Wrong.” Drastic measures were needed. That’s why I’m now the proud owner of a she-shed. Al thought I was joking when I first broached the subject of a she-shed, but after I had my millionth meltdown, he decided that might be a really good idea. Turns out sheds are in high demand at the moment, so getting a shed in a timely fashion wasn’t possible. It took 6 weeks for us to get a shed delivered and then we had to frame the inside and put up a ceiling and walls. I was not actually very involved with that process because I’m a danger to everyone surrounding me when nail guns are being used. 🙂 I did paint the outside of the shed, then painted the inside. Of course the air conditioning unit I had to order was delayed, so I painted in 100 degree heat. Lost about five pounds doing that, so…unexpected bonus there. I just recently finished decorating the inside, and I’m typing this interview from my new space. I’m thinking I’m going to call it “Jen’s Novel Nook” but that might change, so don’t quote me on that.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Just that I hope everyone is surviving these crazy days. I know there are many people out there who are suffering from many different problems this pandemic has caused. Know that you’re not alone, and that brighter days will show up again. Until that time, try to remember to smile and, perhaps, read a few books.

Wishing all of you the very best!

Jen

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 17

Soulfully Romantic, November 17

Hebrews 12 Endurance, November 17

Blessed & Bookish, November 17

Robin’s Nest, November 17

Through the Fire Blogs, November 18

The Avid Reader, November 18

Losing the Busyness, November 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 18

She Lives To Read, November 19

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 19

Wishful Endings, November 19

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 19

Artistic Nobody, November 20 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

lakesidelivingsite, November 20

21st Century Keeper at Home, November 20

Reviewingbooksplusmore, November 20

The Write Escape, November 20

Older & Smarter?, November 21

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 21

Christian Bookaholic, November 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 21

The Christian Fiction Girl, November 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 22

Mia Reads, November 22

Writing from the Heart Land, November 22

Betti Mace, November 23

Inklings and notions, November 23

Blogging With Carol, November 23

Life of Literature, November 23

Texas Book-aholic, November 24

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 24

Southern Gal Loves to Read, November 24

Batya’s Bits, November 24

Joanne Markey’s blog, November 24

For Him and My Family, November 25

Inside the Wong Mind, November 25

Mary Hake, November 25

Godly Book Reviews, November 25

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, November 26

EmpowerMoms, November 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 26

Novels Corner, November 26

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 27

Connie’s History Classroom, November 27

Captive Dreams Window, November 27

Book of Ruth Ann, November 27

deb’s Book Review, November 28

Blossoms and Blessings, November 28

Daysong Reflections, November 28

Bigreadersite, November 28

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, November 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 29

Splashes of Joy, November 29

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 29

Simple Harvest Reads, November 29 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Vicky Sluiter, November 30

Pause for Tales, November 30

Spoken from the Heart, November 30

Hallie Reads, November 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away the grand prize package of copy of To Steal a Heart, plus all three books in the American Heiresses series and a 30 second mystery kit (Link: https://amzn.to/3nqrIpC)!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/103a4/to-steal-a-heart-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review: Autumn Skies by Denise Hunter

Autumn Skies
By Denise Hunter
Book 3 in the Bluebell Inn Romance series
Rating: 4.5/5
Release date: October 20, 2020

She does it again! It was such an enjoyable experience going back to the Bluebell Inn and hanging out with the Bennett siblings again. I’ve read the previous two books in the series and highly recommend them. However, this book can be read as a standalone.

21-year-old Grace Bennett is ready strike out on her own and expand her business. After helping her siblings start and run a successful inn, the time has come to sell. Grace’s outdoor adventures rental and guide business needs its own location. Focused on her career, Grace doesn’t know what hit her when new guest, Wyatt Jennings, walks in the door to check-in. His gaze is intense but he’s also a bit mysterious since he doesn’t know how long he’ll stay. When Grace offers to help guide him in hiking around the area, two hearts begin their journey of falling in love. Can these two very different people find healing from their tragic pasts? What happens when Wyatt reveals who he is to Grace?

I loved this story so much. It was easy to read and empathize with the main characters. I felt all the panic and terror that occurs with PTSD. Mental health problems are very real and I love when authors can address them in a manner that is non-stigmatizing. The main characters had to fight their way back to health. They had to embrace their insecurities and fears and find resolution for their feelings.

Although this is a Christian romance, it was not at all preachy. Although there’s faith woven throughout and a couple church scenes, I would categorize this book more as inspirational.

And I’m not ashamed to say I might have a crush on Wyatt. (Sigh). 😉

Highly recommend if you enjoy contemporary romance in a beautiful setting.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Book Review: The Key to Love by Betsy St. Amant

The Key to Love
by Betsy St. Amant
Rating: 4/5
Release date: October 13, 2020

I’ve haven’t read many books by Betsy St. Amant, but I did enjoy her contribution to A Year of Weddings so I was excited to have the opportunity to read this gem. I was not disappointed and the author doesn’t skimp on the story which pleasantly surprised me. Although I will say, by reading the title, I was hoping for music inspired theme but alas, the “key” has nothing to do with music but with locks and keys.

Bri Duval is a classic romantic at heart thanks to the beautiful love story her parents demonstrated for her before they tragically passed away. She is a talented baker of Parisian treats at the struggling, local bakery, The Pastry Puff, in Story, Kansas. Her beloved mother taught her everything she knew except for her secret ingredient for the macarons, so Bri is constantly trying to perfect the recipe. Even though Paris’ famous lovelock bridge was taken down, Bri has created her own lovelock wall at her bakery and decides to film the shop’s successful love stories. The video goes viral, and Trek Magazine wants to do a feature on the bakery shop. Gerard Fortier is the man sent to write the article, and he and Bri do not hit it off right away. With a little bit of Elizabeth and Darcy first impressions vibes, the two just don’t seem to get along and only seem to push each other’s buttons. Gerard is a man who doesn’t ever want to put down roots but instead travels the world in search of his next article. He does, however, desire to be promoted so he can write on topics that really matter, so he’s determined to complete this sappy article despite his opinions on love. As Gerard begins to get to know Bri, obstacles to the bakery’s success keep getting in the way. Can Gerard and Bri find a way to come together and find real love?

I really enjoyed the story and loved how it didn’t seem rushed. So many times watching Hallmark movies, I’m always yelling at the screen that the couple have only known each other for a few days. lol. I appreciate the slow burn and snark that occurs between the couple. I appreciate that the concept of what romance and love is is explored. The small town vibes were charming and made me want to go visit (especially since I’m so close to Kansas). My mouth was constantly watering at the desserts, and I was googling where I could find some petit fours and macarons. The struggling bakery also gave me “You’ve Got Mail” vibes, which made me smile.

Highly recommend if you enjoy romantic comedies set in a small town.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.

Purchase your copy here.

Book Review: Otherwise Engaged by Joanna Barker

Otherwise Engaged
by Joanna Barker
Rating: 4.5/5
Release date: October 12, 2020

After reading the synopsis for this story, I knew I had to read it and I was right. It was perfect for me and I enjoyed every word! I do not remember if I’ve ever read anything by Joanna Barker before but now she is definitely on my radar. Her writing felt so effortless and organic. The characters were so refreshing and relatable that I couldn’t put the book down.

While secretly practicing her bareback riding, Rebecca Rowley hears a scream and when she investigates, she must save a young girl from drowning in the water. Upon meeting the girl’s older brother and guardian, Lieutenant Nicholas Avery, she is immediately intrigued but also weary since she already has a secret fiancé. Antics ensue and this lovely friendship develops between Rebecca and Nicholas especially after she shares with him of her secret beaux and her fears about her father’s past. Can Rebecca discover what’s really in her heart before the Lieutenant finds himself back out at sea?

This story was like a Rom-Com but set in regency times. I do love this time period – obviously, I love Jane Austen. The exhilaration and freedom that Rebecca craves is so relatable. That adrenaline rush is addicting, and I can definitely see how all the rules of society would feel so oppressive to her. I loved Nicholas Avery’s character because as a Navy man, he also had that wanderlust. He encouraged it in Rebecca instead of stifling her spirit. I like to think the Nicholas knew Rebecca before she even knew herself.

Though the genre is Christian, I did not feel that it was trying to preach at all. I would almost not even classify it as Christian. It is clean, wholesome romance. The characters attend church but Rebecca actually doesn’t find it very interesting. The message is somewhat inspirational though and I enjoyed the story.

All in all, I highly recommend this book for fall reading if you enjoy regency romance with lots of humor and a hint of mystery.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. No positive review was expected and no compensation received.