Posts tagged Small Town

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 & Giveaway: Doing It Over (Most Likely To, Book 1) by Catherine Bybee

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Doing It Over
(Most Likely To, Book 1)
by Catherine Bybee
334 pages
Montlake Romance
(Contemporary Romance)
Format: eARC NetGalley
 
Voted Most Likely to Succeed, Melanie Bartlett ended up anything but. The down-on-her-luck single mom wants a complete do-over—is that too much to ask? With her family long gone from River Bend, strong, independent Mel is as surprised as anyone to end up in the quaint small town she once called home. But with her friends, Jo and Zoe, by her side, and a comfortable room at Miss Gina’s quirky bed-and-breakfast, she just might have turned the corner on a new life.Wyatt Gibson never liked the big city. River Bend suits the ruggedly handsome builder just fine. Wyatt knows he’s home, even if that means being charmed by the appearance of Melanie and her spunky, adorable daughter. Is Wyatt’s calm devotion—even amid a coming storm—enough to convince Mel she may have found a home to call her own, a family that never leaves, and a true love to last a lifetime?
 

 
 

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‘Doing It Over’ is the first of Catherine’s contemporary romances I have read.  I love her historicals, and decided to give this one a try.  I am so glad that I did.  I love, loved this book, and I can hardly wait for the next in the series.

Have you just wanted ‘a do over?‘ I know that I have a time or two.  That is what Melanie is hoping for when she returns home to River Bend, after being gone for ten years.  Melanie is a little embarrassed to be returning to River Bend as an unwed mother, no job, and a car that ‘died’ 25 miles before reaching town.  She knows that everyone expected more from her, and they all think that she was married to Hope’s father, Nathan. She wouldn’t change being a mother to Hope for anything in the world.  It’s her ex, Nathan, the dead beat dad that she could’ve done without.  Melanie is stronger than she realizes, and that is something she will come to realize the longer she stays in River Bend around her family and friends.

Melanie and her two best friends, Zoe and Jo were inseparable, and in high school Melanie was considered  ‘the most likely to succeed’  , while Zoe was considered the most likely to never leave River Bend, and Jo, the most likely to end up in jail. They all have grown up, and while they have talked over the years, they haven’t seen much of each other.

Wyatt Gibson is not from River Bend, but he has come to considered it his home. He is keeping out of trouble, and building his contracting business. He is confident, sexy, protects those he cares about, and down to earth. He is also just about the only contractor in River Bend, so he stays pretty busy, and has made some good friends along the way. He is not looking for a serious relationship. The truth is he could have his choice of women, he just chooses not to. He steers clear of women in River Bend, because he doesn’t want all of the drama in case something goes wrong (and it usually does). So when he does want female companionship he goes to the next county over. He wants a simple life in River Bend with his family and friends. When he meets Melanie for the first time, he is determined to have her.

I loved that Melanie and Wyatt’s relationship wasn’t a ‘cat & mouse’ game. They were honest about their attraction to each other, and that is refreshing in romance books these days. Mrs Bybee did a wonderful job! I enjoyed the secondary characters, Zoe, Joe, Luke, William ‘Wild Bill’ Gibson (Wyatt’s father), Miss Gina (I wish I had a Miss Gina), and Hope was an absolute delight. I despised, Hope’s father, Nathan. Mrs Bybee knows how to make you dislike the bad guy. Well I am not sure ‘bad’ is a strong enough word. He was a disgusting, pitiful excuse of a father and human being.

I felt a kinship to Melanie, and I believe that is why I liked her so much. Everyone needs friends like the ones Melanie has in River Bend. The characters were believable, the story was fun, and the plot kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next. I liked the town, and people so much that I felt like I was right there with them every step of the way. There are a few laugh out loud moments, and a few times I actually cried a bit (yes I did).

I am betting that the next book in The Most Likely To series will be Zoe and Luke’s. I suppose we will have to wait and see. I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys romance, likeable characters with depth, an H&H with real chemistry, and a story that isn’t only about the sex (while there is a scene or two), but about family and friends that takes care of each other, and new beginnings. I loved this book!
 

Happy Reading!
 

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I received a eARC copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  I have received no compensation for this review, besides the free eARC.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  You can read my Disclosure Policy here.

 
 
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New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee was raised in Washington State, but after graduating high school, she moved to Southern California in hopes of becoming a movie star. After growing bored with waiting tables, she returned to school and became a registered nurse, spending most of her career in urban emergency rooms. She now writes full-time and has penned the Weekday Brides Series and the Not Quite Series. Bybee lives with her two teenage sons in Southern California.

 
 
 

 
 

Praise for Doing It Over

“The romance between fiercely independent Melanie and charming Wyatt heats up even as outsiders threaten to derail their newfound happiness. This novel will hook readers with its warm, inviting characters and the promise for similar future installments.” –Publishers Weekly

“This brand-new trilogy, Most Likely To, based on yearbook superlatives, kicks off with a novel that will encourage you to root for the incredibly likable Melanie. Her friends are hilarious and readers will swoon over Wyatt, who is charming and strong. Even Melanie’s daughter, Hope, is a hoot! This romance is jam-packed with animated characters, and Bybee displays her creative writing talent wonderfully.” –RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

 
 

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Book Review: A Moment to Dance, Book 2 (A Whistle Stop Romance) by Jennifer Faye

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A Moment to Dance by Jennifer Faye
(A Whistle Stop Romance) Book 2
Published on April 28, 2015
Format:  Paperback
294 pages

When trouble strikes…Whistle Stop pulls together

For Ella Morgan, moving to Whistle Stop is a chance to start over, put her horrific past behind her. But now she’s living in a mountain cabin—in dire need of renovation—that her grandmother left her, along with a sizable tax bill. Her job teaching school isn’t going to cover it. She needs cash, and soon.

Volunteer firefighter Tony Granger has returned to Whistle Stop to run the family ranch and be guardian to his orphaned nephew, Johnny. But being a single parent isn’t coming easy, and he’s worried sick he won’t succeed with his plan to adopt the boy, especially if Johnny’s grades don’t improve. He needs a break, and fast.

When Ella finds out Tony doesn’t have a partner for the Dancing With the Firefighters’ benefit—which is offering a large cash prize—and he hits upon hiring her as Johnny’s tutor, it looks like their problems might be solved. But taking dance lessons to win the competition sets alight a burning attraction between them. Can they let go and learn to trust again, or will the scars of their pasts still haunt them?

 
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A Moment to Dance is the second book in the Whistle Stop Romance Series by Jennifer Faye.  Although you can read this book as a stand alone, it would be more enjoyable if you read A Moment to Love first.  Jennifer introduces several of the towns characters in the first book.

 

Ella Morgan has recently moved to Whistle Stop after her grandmother passed away, and she inherited her cabin.  A cabin that needs more work than she can afford.  She is working as a 4th grade substitute teacher, until a permanent one is hired.   Ella is hiding a secret, and she is terrified that if anyone finds out, especially Tony Granger, that they will find her repulsive.

 

We were introduced to Tony Granger in book one, A Moment to Love.  Tony is a Firefighter in Whistle Stop, he runs a ranch, and cares for his nephew Johnny.  He has a lot on his plate, and feels inadequate at being a father to his nephew.  Tony has a few demons of his on.  So when he meets Ella for the first time, he feels guilty for being attracted to her.

 

Out of the first two books in the series, A Moment to Dance was my favorite.  I believe it had something to do with, Patch, the orphaned puppy, and Johnny.  Kids and dogs do it for me every time!  Jennifer Faye has a way of making you feel at home in her stories.  The plot was set at a nice, slow pace.  I liked Tony and Ella’s blossoming romance throughout the story, but it was predictable.  Predictable is not all that bad, because I enjoyed reading it.

 

I do feel that the issues, and demons that Tony and Ella were dealing with could have been delft with more swiftly in the story.  Communication.  I wont say what those issues are because I don’t want to give too much of the story away.  I liked Tony’s mother, Carlota.  She is a sweet woman that loves her son, and wants to see him happy.  Like A Moment to Love, A Moment to Dance, reminds me so much of a Hallmark movie.  I love Hallmark movies!

 

I recommend this book to anyone that enjoys Jennifer Faye’s writing, small town romance, and a sweet and clean love story.

 

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3.5/ 5 Hearts

*There is kissing in this book, besides that it’s clean
*I was given a free copy of this book by the author, in exchange for my honest review

 

HAPPY READING!

 
 

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A Moment to Love (Whistle Stop Romance, Book 1) by Jennifer- Book Review

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A Moment to Love
by Jennifer Faye
Series:  Whistle Stop Romance, Book 3
Published by Lazy Days Press on February 3, 2015
Format:  Paperback Book
292 Pages

 

Welcome to Whistle Stop…where anything can and most likely will happen.

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 has been in his family for generations. There was no way he’d let it go—even if the bank was threatening to foreclose, and even if selling could give Whistle Stop a new lease on life.

Alexis Greer had one mission—close the deal on the Lawson ranch; 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 had happened to cause such a handsome cowboy to live such a solitary existence? However, determination was Lexi’s middle name. She just had to keep on trying to breach Cord’s barriers, to 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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‘A Moment to Love’ is about the third or fourth book I have read by Jennifer Faye.  I was excited to start this series, because it is takes place in a small town called Whistle Stop in New Mexico.  I have visited New Mexico, and it is beautiful.  So it wasn’t hard for me to visualized the scenery as I read.

 

Cord Lawson has lived his whole life in Whistle Stop.  The Brazen H, his ranch, has been in his family for as long as he could remember.  His great, great grandfather founded the first town, Haggerty, which is now referred to as Ghost Town.  Cord keeps to himself, and the town folk believes him to be stubborn (which is true),  and have a bad temper.  So they don’t get to close to him, and he keeps his distance from them.  He has had a rough time of it in the last few years.  He lost a chunk of his money to his ex-wife in a divorce, and he has been spending his days trying to save his ranch.  The last thing he needs is the bank, and a beautiful, blonde land developer trying to take his land.

 

Alexis Greer is the land developer that is trying to buy Cords land.  She was their to buy the land, save her fathers company, and go back home to New York.  She didn’t count on being attracted to the man whose land she was sent there to buy.  Alexis is a city girl at heart, but after spending some time in Whistle Stop she starts thinking she could get used to the small town life and the residents.

 

My Thoughts:  I liked this story, and I adored Cord and Alexis.  I liked the story line, and I feel Jennifer Faye did a great job of fleshing out the H & H’s character.  I liked the lazy, slow feel of the town, and her description of Whistle Stop and it’s residents.  I have always wanted to visit old, deserted Western towns, and Haggerty (ghost town) appealed to me.  I love that Cord felt the need to fight to keep his land, because he promised his father and grandfather he would take care of it.  He felt that he had let them down.

 

I liked Alexis also.  She’s a fighter, and she doesn’t give up easily.  She loves her father, and wants to protect him because he is still recovering from a heart attack. She has a good heart and wants to do what’s right, but is torn between her father, and following her heart.

 

This was a sweet story, with a few heated moments with kissing.  I felt the chemistry between Alexis and Cord sometimes, but it didn’t jump off the page.  While I liked and enjoyed reading this story I felt some of it was repetitive.  Cord and Alexis were constantly repeating why she was there to buy his, and why he didn’t want to lose it.  I skipped over some of those parts.  I would have liked to have seen their relationship blooming, instead of being told that it did.  With that being said, I will continue to read the rest of the books in this series.

 

This book would make a perfect Hallmark movie.  I thought that the whole time I was reading it.  I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys small towns, sweet romance, with a slow, steady feel, and happy endings.  Now I am off to read the next in the series.

 

*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

 

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My Rating:  3.5 out of 5

 

Cursing- none
Kissing & one closed door sexual scene
Hot Factor- Sweet with a little steam!

 

Happy Reading!

 

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About Jennifer Faye

Award-winning author, Jennifer Faye pens fun, heartwarming romances. Jennifer has won the RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, named a TOP PICK author, and 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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