You Say It First by Susan Mallery – a Review

You Say It First by Susan Mallery – a Review

 

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Description:
Sculptor Nick Mitchell grew up in a family of artists and learned from his volatile father that passion only leads to pain. As he waits on a new commission, he takes a day job as a humble carpenter at a theme wedding venue. The job has its perks—mainly the venue’s captivating owner, Pallas Saunders. Although he won’t let love consume him, for ecstasy with an expiration date, he’s all in.

Pallas adores Weddings in a Box. But if she can’t turn the floundering business around, she’ll have no choice but cave to her domineering mother and trade taffeta for trust funds working at the family’s bank. Then when a desperate bride begs Pallas for something completely out of the box, her irresistible new hire inspires her. Nick knows she doesn’t belong behind a desk, and she knows in her heart that he’s right—where she really belongs is in his arms.

 

 

Review:

You Say It First by Susan Mallery is the 1st book in her new Happily,Inc. series.  We meet our heroine, Pallas Saunders, immediately as she is in the midst of handling a wedding. Pallas is a wedding planner, in her ‘Weddings in a Box’ business.   What is Weddings in a Box?  It is different types of themes that are dreams of the bride and groom; such as Roman Empire, Aliens, Dessert, Ocean,etc.  Pallas inherited this business from her deceased friend, who she considered a father figure.  She loves what she does, but is under pressure from her mother to quit this business and work at the bank with her mother. 

Nick Mitchell is a famous sculptor, who comes from a family of well known sculptors.  Nick works with wood, his brother’s work with glass, etc.  Nick is in between work, as he is waiting for commission to work in Dubai for two years, but it will be a couple of months before he finds out.   He ends up helping Pallas, by dressing up as a Roman Warrior, as part of the current wedding theme.  Nick also notices some of the woodwork that Pallas has stored is old and decaying, but worth a lot of money.  Nick is determined to fix and renew the wood, since it is his hobby too.  Pallas will agree, and in time a friendship begins that will form into a slow build romance. 

Mallery has created a great group of characters, which included all of Pallas’s friends, who work locally and help her create the wedding designs.  Nick’s brothers were also a big part of this story.  I loved how they all bonded, and their creativity to create amazing wedding themes for Pallas.  Another major part of the story was the family issues surround both Pallas and Nick.  Pallas is always being pressured by her mom, but Nick will help her stand up to her mother.  Nick in turn has his own family problems with his famous father, and with one of his brothers, who learned he was adopted, and has become somewhat distant.   These were good stories that added to the overall storyline.

As Nick and Pallas’s romance heats up, she knows she has fallen in love with Nick. He cares about her, but is afraid to commit to anything permanent, since he feels it will only lead to hurt. Will Nick take the job in Dubai for two years?  Will Pallas tell Nick her true feelings? 

You Say It First is a very nice romance, wonderful characters and set in a sweet small town.  I recommend that you read this book, written very well by Susan Mallery.

Reviewed by Barb

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Bittersweet by Shirlee McCoy – a Review

Bittersweet by Shirlee McCoy – a Review

 

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Description:
In Benevolence, Washington, the Lamont family’s luscious handmade chocolates are a beloved tradition—and the sweetest of comforts. And for the most reserved of the three Lamont sisters, they’re a much-needed way to challenge the past, rekindle hope—and make happiness for a lifetime.

Caring family and friends, tranquil streets—ex-prosecutor Willow Lamont wishes these could make her feel truly at home. She’s back to help her grandfather manage Chocolate Haven, a long held dream come true. But she’s struggling to make their unique fudge—and to cope with a secret trauma that haunts her. Yet when she finds an abandoned baby who breaks her heart wide open, she wonders how long she can hide her emotions—especially from warm, handsome, and way too nosey Deputy Sheriff Jax Gordon.

Always an outsider, Jax knows more than he should about loss. But he didn’t expect his difficult search for baby “Miracle’s” mother would reveal such a vulnerable side to the accomplished, beautiful woman he’s always admired. Earning Willow’s trust is the hardest thing he’s ever had to do. Yet between her honesty and courage, he’s longing to fill her life with rekindled joy—and a forever of irresistible love

 

Review:

Bittersweet by Shirlee McCoy is the 3rd book in her Home Sweet Home series. Willow Lamont is our heroine, having returned home temporarily to help her grandfather run Chocolate Haven.  With her two sisters (previous story heroines) busy with a marriage or babies, Willow spends her free hours making chocolate and failing on making the family secret fudge recipe.  Willow has nightmares, due to a rape when she was only 13, and has kept this a secret all these years; one reason she does not like to come home. 

One evening, while working late, she hears a noise outside and calls the cops.  Jax Gordon, the deputy sheriff and our hero, arrives to find out what is wrong.  Willow describes a car stopping and then pulling away.  Together Jax and Willow will find an abandoned baby by the dumpster.  When they are at the hospital for the baby, Jax recognizes that Willow is hiding some kind of trauma, and when it comes to that, Jax is an expert.  He himself has his own nightmares of having his own family murdered years before. 

What follows is a slow build sweet romance between Jax and Willow, with the mystery of finding the person to dumped the baby.  Despite their determination to not have any relationship, they both start falling for each other.  It was really nice to see the Lamont family again, as well as the backdrop of making chocolate.  Willow will foster the baby called Miracle, temporarily until she is well enough to be adopted. 

Bittersweet was a very nice romance, with a couple that each had their own mentally disabling issues.  Willow will slowly learn to put the past behind her, and realize that she loves being home again.  The only problem is she needs to help Jax move on from his past, as he fears being hurt again.  Once again, Shirlee McCoy gives us another wonderful story, surrounded by a great family, in the small town of Benevolence, Washington.  If you enjoy small town romances, I suggest you read the Home Sweet Home series

Reviewed by Barb

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Her Unexpected Hero by Kyra Jacobs – a Review

Her Unexpected Hero by Kyra Jacobs – a Review

 

Her Unexpected HeroAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM

Description:
Maddie Frye, the Checkerberry Inn’s snarky, introverted chef, just wants to be left alone. But with the inn’s upcoming gala, Maddie’s boss has matchmaking on the brain. So when the gorgeous new guy in town helps her out for a night, she comes up with the perfect solution to her problem…

Cole Granville is looking for a fresh start. When a part-time job opens in the Checkerberry’s kitchen, he takes it without a second thought. The only catch? He’s got to help his sexy new coworker snag a date for an upcoming dance. But as he coaches Maddie on attracting her crush, Cole realizes he’s the one falling for the curvy brunette.

 

Review:

Her Unexpected Hero by Kyra Jacobs is a fun read for the summer. I read it in one afternoon. It is part of a series, but it can be read as a standalone, without reading the others first.

Maddie loves her job, she’s just not a “people person” she just wants to cook and live her life on her own terms. Maddie might lack self confidence in the outside world, but in her kitchen …. she is in total control and it’s her domain. And when her boss decides that Maddie needs a date to the Inns party, it puts her in a panic, but Maddie has no intention of being “paired up” so she looks for an alternative “date”…. she knows the perfect guy, but she doesn’t know his name and doesn’t have the confidence to go up to the guy and ask him out.

Cole is looking for escape out of small town dreary life. He’s got a dark past and secrets that he just wants to escape from, and he doesn’t think he can in a small town, his past has turned him into a cynical and hard man. All he wants is to build a studio to record music, but doesn’t have enough money.

So with enough money in his pocket he intends to start a new life and a new adventure.
Hired as the new dishwasher for the Inn, Cole is asked to help Maddie prepare for a date, to gain confidence, but what Cole gets is to see the other side of Maddie, and he begins to regret teaching her on how to get her man.

The story flows nicely and the characters are well written, I’ve not read the other two stories previous to this, but I may be tempted to go and have a read.

Reviewed by Julie

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A Coldwater Warm Hearts Wedding by Lexi Eddings – a Review

A Coldwater Warm Hearts Wedding by Lexi Eddings – a Review

 

A Coldwater Warm Hearts WeddingAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
“Everyone longs for a place to be loved and accepted, warts and all. And Coldwater Cove has its share of warts! But while this cozy corner of the world is home to just about anyone who wants to put down roots, the way has been barred to Michael Evans.”

Mike’s dad saw to that some ten years ago when he ordered him to leave town and never come back. But when Michael learns his mother is battling breast cancer, not even the animosity between him and his father can keep him away. Of course he didn’t figure on getting roped into being best man at his sister’s upcoming wedding, but as long as Michael’s back in town, he figures he s got a second chance with the girl who got away Heather Walker.

Long-legged Heather has had a love/hate relationship with the town bad boy ever since he christened her Stilts in middle school. She was voted most likely to succeed. Michael seemed destined for the state pen. Even so, she hopes there’s more to him than leathers and a Harley, for his family’s sake if nothing else. But while her fascination with him grows, a decade-old secret involving a member of “her” family threatens to tear them apart…

 

 

Review:

A Coldwater Warm Hearts Wedding by Lexi Eddings is the 2nd book in her Coldwater series.  Heather Walker, our heroine, is Lacy Evans’s (previous book heroine) best friend. Heather, who is a nurse, is helping take care of Lacy’s mother who has just had an operation for breast cancer.   Michael Evans, our hero, is Lacey’s brother, who left home 10 years ago after fallout with his father, but finally returns home to see his mother. 

Lacy’s convinces Michael to stay awhile and be Jake’s best man at the wedding. Heather remembers Michael as the boy who called her “Stilts”, and he was always one of the bad boys in town.  Now that Michael is grown up, the attraction between them also heats up.  Michael has built himself a successful business, which no one really knows about.  Michael decides to move some of his crew to Coldwater Cover temporarily, so that he can watch over his mother’s recovery; attend the wedding as best man and explore the feelings he begins to have for Heather. To Heather’s surprise, she too is falling in love with Michael, and she knows he will not be there long. 

There is also a mystery revolving Heather’s deceased sister, who died 10 years before.  Because of that, Heather  avoids her family as much as she can, thinking they wished it was her who died in the accident.  But there will be some surprises that will not only change things, but threaten the growing relationship between Michael and Heather.   This will also open the door for Michael and his father to mend, as the truth is revealed.

I liked Michael and Heather together, as well as many of the secondary characters.  This was a sweet romance, with a bit of mystery that will have us worried if our couple will not be able to stay together.  The ending also had a surprise twist.  The Coldwater Warm Hearts Wedding  was another nice sweet romance by Lexi Eddings, with a small town background and a great couple.  I suggest you start with the first book in this series. 

Reviewed by Barb

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