Excerpt & Promo: My Fair Princess (The Improper Princesses, Book 1) by Vanessa Kelly

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My Fair Princess
The Improper Princesses Book 1
by Vanessa Kelly
Releasing August 30, 2016
Zebra
352 Pages
 

First, Vanessa Kelly brought readers The Renegade Royals. Now, in a delightfully witty new series, she introduces The Improper Princesses—three young women descended from royalty, each bound for her own thrilling adventure . . .

Despite being the illegitimate daughter of a prince, Gillian Dryden is happily ignorant of all social graces. After growing up wild in Italy, Gillian has been ordered home to England to find a suitable husband. And Charles Valentine Penley, the excessively proper, distractingly handsome Duke of Leverton, has agreed to help transform her from a willful tomboy to a blushing debutante.

Powerful and sophisticated, Charles can make or break reputations with a well-placed word. But his new protégée, with her habit of hunting bandits and punching earls, is a walking scandal. The ton is aghast . . . but Charles is thoroughly intrigued. Tasked with taking the hoyden in hand, he longs to take her in his arms instead. Can such an outrageous attraction possibly lead to a fairy-tale ending?

 

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Excerpts

The bandit scum had killed Step-papa, his two bodyguards, and the young groom accompanying him on that fateful trip through the Gorges of Tiberio. It was fitting that Gillian would deliver justice in almost the same spot where those innocents had breathed out their last moments of existence.

Her brother cursed under his breath. “Gillian, this should not be your life.”

“Do I look like a proper young lady to you?”

He cast a sardonic glance at her attire—sheepskin coat, buckskin breeches, and riding boots. “You could be. You’re an attractive, respectable-looking girl when you’re not disguised as a bloodthirsty ruffian.”

“I thought you, of all people, would understand,” she said, exasperated.

“I do, but if you continue along this course, it will take its toll. Killing always does.”

She managed not to flinch. “I don’t have a choice.”

“There is always a choice, Gillian.”

She flicked her gaze back to Falcone, who was sitting on a rock as he smoked a pipe. He was also splendidly out in the open, but she had to get closer.

“There’s no point in discussing this. I’m doing it,” she said.

“No, I will—”

“It was my fault,” she hissed. “That’s why I have to do it. No one else.”

He frowned. “I don’t understand.”

She had to swallow before she could answer. “It’s my fault that my stepfather was murdered. I sent him straight into Falcone’s line of fire.”
“So . . . it’s guilt that motivates you. Killing Falcone will likely be nothing more than an empty victory, if such is the case.” Griffin squeezed her arm. “As long as you continue to blame yourself, you will never find peace.”

She hoped to God he was wrong. He had to be wrong. “You are the most irritating man I have ever met.”

“So my wife informs me on a regular basis.”

Below them, Falcone knocked the tobacco out of his pipe and then hauled his formidable bulk to his feet. Gillian mentally cursed as he began to stroll over to join his men under the trees.

She turned and signaled to Stefano and his grandson. The old man pulled his pistol from the brace on his saddle, ready to cover her back.

“Griffin, help me or not, but I’m doing this now.” Before he could answer, she slung her rifle across her back and slithered away from the edge. As quickly as she dared, she crawled down the narrow, rutted path that ran along the rim of the gorge. If she stood, it was unlikely the men below would notice her, but she was taking no chances. Falcone had evaded her too many times over the years.

Her brother followed her. She could practically feel him seething with frustration, but he made not a sound. She had to give him credit—he was awfully good.

A few feet short of her goal, Gillian held up a hand to halt her brother’s advance. She stole a quick glance over her shoulder. Just behind them Stefano crouched, his tanned, leathery features cast into shade by his broad-brimmed hat. Griffin’s expression registered shock at the sight of the old man so close, pistols at the ready. Stefano might be getting on in years, but he was still vital and strong. He could move like a ghost, silent and lethal, at her command.

After crooking a finger to signal Griffin to follow, Gillian wriggled up to the edge of the cliff. She cautiously peered over the rocks and saw the bandits under a stand of beech trees, their attention on their flasks of wine as they waited for the rabbits to cook over the open flame. Unfortunately, Falcone was half obscured by one of his men and was partly in shade. She would have to stand up if she wanted a clear shot.

She came up in a crouch and pulled the rifle from her back. She’d already checked it three times, but did so once more. The Baker was a fine weapon. It had belonged to a Hussar, and had a light, short carbine, which made it easier to handle. But it was less accurate than rifles used by sharpshooters. Although she could reload quickly if she missed her shot, she’d make an inviting target while she did.

So get it right the first time.

Griffin came up beside her. He gave her a terse nod as he brought his rifle to bear on the men below. But he then sucked in a harsh breath when Gillian rose swiftly to her feet, taking aim at Falcone.

As bad luck would have it, an eagle soared right overhead, screeching out a cry. The men below automatically glanced up, directly at her and Griffin.
Gillian fired. The shot echoed through the gorge in a deafening report. Another boom followed as Griffin fired a second later. Falcone stumbled against a low rock, roaring as he clutched his shoulder. Another bandit went down like a sack of grain tossed from a cart.

The other bandits scrambled for their weapons.

“Get down, you daft woman,” Griffin barked, reaching to pull her away from the edge.

Gillian evaded his grasp, sliding on the rocky scree and almost losing her footing. Still, she managed to recover and reload. Griffin did the same as he let loose a string of hair-raising curses. She yanked up her rifle, took aim, and fired again.

A moment later, a bullet slammed into her shoulder, throwing her to the ground. The back of her head connected with rock, and pain exploded through her skull. Gillian lay there stunned, staring up at a sky that shimmered with a milky haze. Her ears rang with the sound of a thousand church bells.

Move, you idiot.

She couldn’t—not even one blessed finger.

 

 
 
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About Vanessa Kelly

 

Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her current series, The Renegade Royals is a national bestseller. Vanessa also writes USA Today bestselling contemporary romance with her husband, under the pen name of VK Sykes.

 

 
 
 

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Giveaway & Tour- A Moment to Cherish: A Whistle Stop Romance, book 4 by Jennifer Faye

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A Moment to Cherish
(A Whistle Stop Romance, book 1)
by Jennifer Faye
Release Date: August 1, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
 
 
Whistle Stop is abuzz…the mayoral election is just weeks away.Candidate Mason Noble has a vested interest in fast-tracking the town’s revitalization project. But the votes he’d counted on are drying up because his engagement to Bella Nez ended abruptly. The local grapevine is humming with rumors, but only he and Bella know the truth. And they aren’t talking!

When an emergency puts Bella in the proverbial tough spot, she needs money and fast. There’s only one person who can help–Mason. He agrees to a loan, but he has a condition. He needs Bella by his side again. A reconciliation would win over the townspeople–and it would give him a chance to win back the only woman he’s ever loved.

Bella hesitates to accept Mason’s terms. Until she’s blindsided by unexpected news that has her rethinking everything. Bella is expecting a baby, and there’s a heart-wrenching choice to be made…

 
 

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EXCERPT

Bella started walking, and Mason fell in step beside her. For a while neither spoke, and then they both spoke at once. They stopped and turned to each other.

“Sorry,” Mason said. “Go ahead and finish what you were saying.”

“Oh, okay. I was just going to ask what you plan to tell people about that, um, kiss.”

“What do you want me to tell them?”

She frowned at him. “That’s not fair. You turned the question around on me.”

“Fine. I probably won’t tell them anything. It’s none of their business.”

She nodded as though she approved of that approach. “But why did you do it?”

Mason shifted his weight from one foot to the other. “Would you believe me if I said I got caught up in the moment?”

She shrugged. “You know, it’ll probably be in the newspaper.”

“I don’t think it was that newsworthy.” He tried his best to downplay it, but deep inside embers still burned for her.

“I was referring to the election. Everything you do is news. If you drink coffee from Fill-It-Up Joe, it’s news. If you get your hair cut, it’s news.”

“Wow! I had no idea this town was that boring. If that’s what qualifies as news, I’ve got my work cut out for me as mayor to liven things up.” But that would come after he gave their economy an infusion of new life to pump it up.

“Mason, be serious.”

“What? I am. By the way, what did they say about my last haircut? Was it a little too short in the back?”

 
 

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A Moment to Love (Whistle Stop #1) 

 

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A Moment to Love
(A Whistle Stop Romance, Book 1)
by Jennifer Faye
 
The notorious cowboy meets his match…

Cord Lawson instantly distrusted the young woman in a smart suit who’d just arrived in Whistle Stop. She was very pretty and clearly a city girl—but with memories of his failed marriage still darkening his mind, he’s determined to steer clear! But she’s sniffing around his land—land that had been in his family for generations. There was no way he’d let it go—even if the bank was threatening to foreclose, and selling could give Whistle Stop a new lease on life.

Alexis Greer had one mission in mind—close the deal on the Granger estate; without it, her father’s land development company would go bankrupt. But the word around town is to keep clear of Cord and to stay away from his precious land. What in the world had happened to cause such a handsome cowboy to live such a solitary existence? However, determination was Lexi’s middle name, and she just had to keep on trying to breach Cord’s barriers, appeal somehow to his head and heart—even if it put her in danger of losing both of hers…to him.

 
 

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About Jennifer Faye

 
Award-winning author, Jennifer Faye pens fun, heartwarming romances. Step into the pages of exciting destinations with rugged cowboys, sexy tycoons & enchanting royalty. She is the author of the WHISTLE STOP ROMANCE series.

Jennifer is a two-time winner of the RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, has been named a TOP PICK author, and has been nominated for numerous awards.

Now living her dream, she resides with her patient husband, amazing daughter (the other remarkable daughter is off chasing her own dreams) and two spoiled cats.

 
 
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Book Tour & Giveaway: Highland Hope (The Wild Thistle Trilogy, Book 1) by Madelyn Hill

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HIGHLAND HOPE
(The Wild Thistle Trilogy, Book1)
by Madelyn Hill
Releasing August 31, 2016
by Soulmate Publishing
288 Pages
 
“Remember, lasses. Through Hope, Faith and Honor, ye can rule,” were the last words Lady Laird Hope MacAlister’s father spoke before dying. Those very words direct her every action and thought. Sword fighting and leading the men of her clan is second nature to Hope and she has little time for herself or any thoughts of love. Until Aidan MacKerry is captured spying on the clan.

She is beautiful, strong, and quick to pull a sword. But when he kisses her, all thoughts of the Lairdship flee his mind. When the enemy continues to undermine Laird MacAlister, Aidan is determined to aid her—only he didn’t think he’d lose his heart to the Laird of Wild Thistle Keep. When the enemy reveals Aidan’s secret, he must fight for his right as laird and prove despite their differences, he loves Hope.

The enemy refuses to back down and continues to threaten not only Hope, but the security of the entire clan. Only together will they be able to save the clan and save their love.

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She sighed and set her free hand at her waist. “We need to find my sister, not stand her hovering.”

Sadness and worry flitted in her gaze. Heartache over her mother he assumed and mayhap a wayward sister. The grief seemed to consume her as they walked and Aidan loathed to see a sad woman—even if it was Laird Hope MacAlister. If she started crying he’d certain flee, for nothing was worse than consoling a woman in tears. But he doubted she’d show such vulnerability to him.She glanced toward the other caves and then back toward the keep. She gave a frustrated sigh. Her face soft with desperation to find her sister. She was worried and inside she was fretting and he knew only one way to take a woman’s mind off her troubles.

He stepped toward her and swept her in his arms. Her eyes widened as he descended, slowly so not to make her skittish, but with enough purpose she knew his desire. Her lips parted and her tongue darted out quickly to wet the plump surface. His lips brushed against hers with a soft caress. She gripped his arms and pushed. He kissed her again, slanting his mouth over hers. She stiffened, then her fingers dug into his biceps as her lips relented,
accepted his kiss.

As a moan escaped her lips, masculine triumph flared and he delved deeper. A sizzling leap of lust cursed through him. God, she felt good in his arms. Aidan ripped his mouth from hers and narrowed his gaze. His chest heaved. His blood sang. Through hooded eyes, he watched her and inhaled the womanly scent about her.

Hope’s face was flushed, her eyes glazed. Aidan reached for her again.With a flick of her wrist, a dirk appeared from its sheath and pressed against his ribs.

“You touch me again, and you’re a dead man.”here

 
 

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Madelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she’d sneak books into her textbooks during school. And she devoured books daily. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a “closet” writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts out there and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. And she couldn’t be happier!

A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They have 3 children and keep busy cooking, avid movie goers, and of course reading!
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Review & Giveaway: IT’S IN HIS SMILE (Red River Valley, Book 3) by Shelly Alexander

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IT’S IN HIS SMILE
(Red River Valley, Book 3)
by Shelly Alexander
June 14th 2016
Montlake Romance
292 Pages

Miranda Cruz isn’t just the best darned waitress in town anymore; she’s Red River’s newest innkeeper. But first, she has to find the contractor who’s disappeared with her life savings so she can start renovations. Not so easy for a woman who never depends on anyone, especially a man. And when a gorgeous old flame shows up, the fire between them is reignited and threatens to send her dreams up in smoke.Acclaimed environmental architect Talmadge Oaks returns home to Red River on family business. He plans to get in and get out quickly because a professional catastrophe is waiting back in Washington. When an unforeseen snag keeps him in Red River longer than expected, he finds himself entangled in the renovations of his late grandmother’s Victorian inn. Handy with a hammer, he offers to help the beautiful new owner, but his motives aren’t completely selfless. Will his secret demolish everything they are building? Or can their undeniable passion keep them together?

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After Talmadge’s colossal gaffe yesterday at Joe’s, the chances of Miranda letting him take over the renovations at the inn were about as good as her contractor giving back her money.

The way he saw it, he had two options.

One: play the I’m-your-creditor card and take charge of the renovations whether she agreed or not. When it came to any kind of building project, everyone followed his lead. Hell, he’d earned that leadership role in world of architecture.

Miranda’s face glowed red with anger.

Right. Option one wasn’t working out so well.

He shifted to option two: make her think she was still in charge.

“Don’t be foolish, Miranda. You need help with this place.” Talmadge was trying real hard to keep his mind and eyes off the taut nipples showing through her thin shirt. The moment he’d turned and saw her standing in the dining room staring at him with sleepy eyes and messy pillow hair…glaring at all of them over the absurdity of superheroes while wearing silly cartoon pajamas…

Well, hell. His throat had closed up, and he’d wanted to toss her over his shoulder and take her to back to bed. This time with him in it too.

 

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It’s In His Smile is the first book I have read by Shelly Alexander, and I loved it!  This book is the third in the ‘Red River Valley’ series.  I haven’t read the first two, but I plan on it very soon.  Having not read the first two books in the series first, I didn’t feel like I was missing anything by jumping right into this one.  I enjoy small town romances (I prefer them), and this one takes place in Red River, New Mexico.  

 

The story starts with Bea’s wake, which Miranda is hosting at the inn she purchases from Bea.  Bea was like a mother to her, and one of her closest friends.  She saw something in Miranda, and believed in her when no one else would.  That is why Bea sold her the Inn.  Miranda Cruz has lived in Red River her whole life.  She was raised by her mother, and she didn’t have it easy growing up.  Her own mother had a bad reputation around town.  So Miranda has worked very hard to make sure that the people in Red River know that she is nothing like her mother.  She is bound and determined to renovate Bea’s inn, and be a successful business owner. For some people it doesn’t make a difference that Miranda is nothing like her mother… guilty by association and all.

 

Talmadge Oaks has returned to Red River to attend his grandmother’s wake.  He is full of guilt because he didn’t come home very often to help Bea over the years, and for death of both his parents.    He justified not coming home to often because he was busy.  Busy trying to make his grandmother proud of him.  Talmage is considered a rock star contractor to the rich and famous.   He is sought out by many because he is damn good at building things.  Now that he is back in Red River the feelings, and attraction he had for Miranda come back full force.  Especially now that he has to stay and help her with the renovations on Miranda’s inn.

 

I really enjoyed this story.  The author did a wonderful job of making me feel what Miranda and Talmadge were feeling.  Attraction ran rapid in this story, and while they tried to fight it,  in the end it was hopeless.  The chemistry between these two jumped right off the page.  This was a feel good romance.  It’s about hopes, dreams, forgiveness, and second chances.  One that made me laugh, and tear up a little.  The storyline and the issues that Miranda and Talmadge were dealing with were believable.  There was nothing far fetched in this book.   This story was balanced, with a mixture of romance and the plot.

 

There were several characters in the story that I liked.  Two women from the local senior citizens center, Francine and Clydelle, that were hilarious.  They said things like, ‘What’s wrong with you?  You got a third nipple or something?’  These two women were funny, busybodies, and pulled all kinds of shenanigans to get men to take off their shirts.  I enjoyed the mommy mafia, as Miranda called her girlfriends from high school.

 

Shelly Alexander has a way of pulling you into her characters lives, and keeping you there. This has made me want to go back and read the first two books in the series.  There are several sex scenes in this book, and some mild cursing.  I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys small town romance, with well developed characters, laugh out loud scenes, and a book that makes you feel.

 

Happy Reading!

 

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*I was given a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  All thoughts and views in this review are my own.

 

 

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A 2014 Golden Heart® finalist, Shelly Alexander grew up traveling the world, earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing, and worked in the business world. With four older brothers and a sister, she watched every Star Trek episode ever made, joined the softball team instead of ballet class, and played with G.I. Joes while the Barbie Corvette stayed tucked in the closet. When she had three sons of her own, she decided to escape her male-dominated world by reading romance novels and has been hooked ever since. Now, she spends her days writing sassy and steamy contemporary romances while tending to a miniature schnauzer name Omer, a tiny toy poodle named Mozart, and a pet boa constrictor named Zeus.

 

For updates on new releases and what Shelly is working on next visit her at: 

 

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Review: A Girl’s Guide to Moving On (New Beginnings #2) by Debbie Macomber


 
 

A GIRL’S GUIDE TO MOVING ON
New Beginnings, Book 2
February 23rd 2016
Published by Ballantine Books
339 pages
Hardcover

 

When Nichole discovers that her husband, Jake, has been unfaithful, the illusion of her perfect life is indelibly shattered. While juggling her young son, a new job, and volunteer work, Nichole meets Rocco, who is the opposite of Jake in nearly every way. Though blunt-spoken and rough around the edges, Rocco proves to be a dedicated father and thoughtful friend. But just as their relationship begins to blossom, Jake wagers everything on winning Nichole back—including their son Owen’s happiness. Somehow, Nichole must find the courage to defy her fears and follow her heart, with far-reaching consequences for them all.

Leanne has quietly ignored her husband’s cheating for decades, but is jolted into action by the echo of Nichole’s all-too-familiar crisis. While volunteering as a teacher of English as a second language, Leanne meets Nikolai, a charming, talented baker from Ukraine. Resolved to avoid the heartache and complications of romantic entanglements, Leanne nonetheless finds it difficult to resist Nikolai’s effusive overtures—until an unexpected tragedy tests the very fabric of her commitments.

An inspiring novel of friendship, reinvention, and hope, A Girl’s Guide to Moving On affirms the ability of every woman to forge a new path, believe in love, and fearlessly find happiness.
 
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this powerful and uplifting novel, a mother and her daughter-in-law bravely leave their troubled marriages and face the challenge of starting over. Leaning on each other, Nichole and Leanne discover that their inner strength and capacity for love are greater than they ever imagined.

 

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I chose to read this book because of the title, and then the blurb on the inside cover.  Women building each other up while going through divorce is not new, but two women forming a close bond through divorce when one of those women is divorcing the other ones cheating son is.  That is what drew me to this book.  This book is the second in the series, which I didn’t know when I purchased this one.  It can be read as a stand alone though.  The first book, Last One Home, is Cassie’s story. Cassie is Nichole’s sister.  So if you are a stickler for reading books in order, I would start with that one.

 

When Nichole finds out her husband Jake has been cheating on her, she knows what she has to do.  If there is one thing she is not putting up with, it is cheating.  She does not intend on waiting around for her husband to change, afterall his father has been cheating on his mother with different women for 35 years.  Why would the son be any different.  So she files for a divorce, and moves out.

 

Leanne (Jake’s mother) has known her husband, Sean, was cheating on her for over 35 years now, but she stayed in the marriage.  Although they have been living together in name only for the last 25.  They kept up appearances in public, and everyone has assumed they were a happy, married couple.  But when Nichole files for a divorce, it gives Leanne the courage, and hope she needs to walk away from her marriage, and file for a divorce also.

 

Leanne and Nichole have become close over the years.  Leanne thinks of Nichole as the daughter she never had.  When each woman walks away from their cheating husbands they rent apartments in the same building, right across the hall from each other.  They come up with a plan and a list to move forward with their lives, and call it ‘A Guide to Moving On’.  On the list there is three things in order to achieve this, #1 Don’t allow yourself to wallow in your pain.  Reach out.  Volunteer.  Do something you love or something to help others. #2 Cultivate new friendship, and #3 Let go in order to receive.  I expected there to be more than those three things, but I suppose those three were enough.

 

Nichole starts substituting as a teacher at the local school, and volunteers a few days a week at ‘Dress for Success’.  She meets Rocco when he comes to tow her broke down car, and the two form an unlikely friendship.  Leanne volunteers to teach English as a second language, and that is where she meets Nikolai.  He is one of her students, and fast becomes her favorite.

 

The story is told from each woman’s point of view, with each woman telling their story in alternating chapters.  I liked that, and it worked with this story.  I enjoyed seeing Nichole bloom, and get her confidence back.  My favorite chapters were those of Nicholes.  I liked how her and Rocco’s friendship was slow building.  Rocco was my favorite character in the whole book.  He is rough around the edges, and doesn’t try to be something that he is not.  I like men that are a little rough around the edges, and say what they mean.

 

The relationship between Nikoli and Leanne was nice and sweet.  The author did a great job with Nikolai’s voice.  He spoke broken english, and often took what was said literally, which made me chuckle.  His and Leanne’s relationship was sweet.  I like how both women grew throughout the story.  At times it was frustrating though, because they let their exes get away with things most would not.  I kept wanting both women to get more of a backbone and stand up to these men that treated women as sex objects and nothing more.  I mean who cooks and cleans for a man that cheated on her for 35 years!

 

The ‘cheating’ ex husbands change a little throughout the story, and there is a small amount of redemption.  I won’t say anymore on that, because I don’t want to give anything away.  It just seemed like for me it was a little too late.

 

The story was a little slow at times.  I didn’t finish the book with any ‘Ah Ha’ moments or profound insight., but it was a nice and sweet read.  It wasn’t exactly what I expected, and I am not sure if I will read the first book in the series.  We will see.  For die hard Debbie Macomber fans I am sure you will like it.

 

Happy Reading!

 

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Series order for New Beginnings by Debbie Macomber

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