Book Review: To Have and To Hold – Multi-author book set

to-have-and-to-hold-multiauthor

to-have-and-to-hold-multiauthorThis 3-in-1 novella set has just what the romance reader needs while on the go. In my case I was going to the beach for some sunshine, bike rides, tasty seafood, etc.  However, the remnants of tropical storm Julia decided to dump about 8 to 12 inches of rain in three days which basically left me in a hotel room reading to my hearts content.  Needless to say, I polished off this set in no time.  Here is my synopsis/review:

Love Takes The Cake by Betsy St. Amant features bakery owner, Charlotte, who has a crush on regular customer, Will.  But Will is buying cookies for another woman and Charlotte is not the kind of woman to compete.  When an order for a bridezilla throws Charlotte and Will together more often, the chemistry builds, but why won’t Will tell her about the ‘other woman?’  Sweet romance that had me wanting to go buy some snickerdoodles and snuggle up with my sweetheart.

The Perfect Arrangement by Katie Ganshert is about florist, Amelia, and her unexpected encounter with Nate, a groomsman at her ex-fiance’s wedding.  An insurance claim starts the conversation, but this romances is love by letter, or in this case, e-mail.  This was probably my favorite out of the series as it had anecdotes about some of my favorite classic movies and even a little Jane Austin thrown into the correspondence which I found clever and witty in relation to what was occurring in the story.  I will add more of Katie Ganshert’s books to my reading list for the future.

Love in the Details by Becky WadeLove in the Details by Becky Wade is why I picked up this book, but I was disappointed to find I had already read this story as a stand-alone earlier in the year.  Still, this is Becky Wade, who has thrilled me with her other books, so it was no problem rereading Holly and Josh’s story.  Highschool sweethearts, Holly and Josh, know they are the love of each other’s lives.  But college, and some parental prodding, forces Holly to break off her relationship with Josh.  Josh returns to Martinsburg for a wedding and runs into Holly.  He is polite, but anger and mistrust leave him guarded.  Holly longs to tell him the truth…she’s never stopped loving him and she gave him up so he could be successful.  But, what is success if your heart is empty of the love that gave it joy?  Josh loves Holly, but hurt and unforgiveness keep his emotions in check.  Can he trust God enough to realize that he and Holly have been given a second chance?  This is the story that prompted me to start binge reading all of Becky Wade’s books.  Now I’m patiently waiting…okay, not so patiently waiting for more of her stories.

So all three contemporary, faith-filled romance novellas were easy, feel good reads which I devoured while on vacation at the beach.  I enjoy sets like this as it gives me the opportunity to try new authors like Betsy St. Amant and Katie ganshert, who will find their books added to my TBR shelf.  I did receive this set from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

Review Time: The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck

the-wedding-shop-by-rachel-hauck

the-wedding-shop-by-rachel-hauckI enjoy well written stories where there is a past story line and a present story line that draws together toward the finale and moves into the future. Rachel Hauck’s The Wedding Shoppe captures the struggles of Cora, who inherited her aunt Jane’s wedding shop in the early 1900’s, but struggled to find love and marriage herself.  Then there is present day Haley, who as a child dreams of reopening the dilapidated old wedding shop with her best friend, Tammy.  After college and military training, Haley returns to grieve the loss of her friend, longing to start over after an atrocious relationship left her heart weary and broken. What they both find is that faith and relationships are what gives quality to life and the old wedding shop is full of stories about family, faith, and the love that can endure a lifetime…and beyond!  This is a lovely story with memorable characters; some which have appeared in past books.  However, don’t be alarmed.  This story does not require reading the previous books, but it will make you want to read The Wedding Dress and The Wedding Chapel after you finish, and if you are a bride, you’ll relive the special moments of your own special day.  I can see Ms. Hauck being an author that I will want to binge read when I have a few days to myself!

Review Time: Falling Like Snowflakes by Denise Hunter

Falling Like Snowflakes by Denise Hunter

Falling Like Snowflakes by Denise HunterEden Martelli is on the run with her young son, Micah, in tow.  She’s changed their names, changed their appearances, and changed directions so many times it is a wonder she remembers who and where she is.  As she is driving to a place she hopes will be a safe haven and a place to start over her car breaks down near Summer Harbor, Maine.  A string of bad luck lands Eden and Micah in Summer Harbor in dire need of work just to keep a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs.  The threat of danger lingers heavily and Eden desperately knows she needs to keep moving. 

A twist of fate, or in this case, a slip on the ice, has Beau Callahan’s Aunt Trudy in need of assistance for a few weeks.  When Eden shows up on Beau’s doorstep looking for a job, there is relief for a prayer answered.  However, it doesn’t take the former sheriff’s deputy long to figure out that the pretty blond and her son are in need of more than a helping hand.  He sees the fear, caution, and paranoia that surrounds Eden and her son and wonders what danger her presence will cause his family and… his heart. 

I was very pleased to see how Ms. Hunter handled the intrigue in Falling Like Snowflakes.  I thought this book was going to be the typical battered woman running from her estranged, possessive husband (or ex-husband) kind of like the book/movie, Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks.   Ms. Hunter; however, demonstrates how talented she is by creating multiple layers of danger and betrayal for Eden and Micah and how that constant tension has taken its toll on them physically, mentally, and emotionally.  I found myself identifying with  Eden; betrayed by so many and unable to trust anyone, even the good people who were honorable and trustworthy for the fear of what would happen to them and to her son.

This is book one in the Summer Harbor series and I was delighted to discover that Ms. Hunter is laying the ground work for the future books in this series, The Goodbye Bride and Just a Kiss.  I am just going to say it now…I foresee another  binge reading week in my near future.   Heartbreakingly handsome heroes, Beau Callahan’s brothers, Zac and Riley, have captured my attention and my heart and I must read their stories and know they are going to be okay by the end of the series.  I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, I AM a Happily Ever After kind of girl and Denise Hunter knows how to draw me in, make me laugh, make me cry, make me wish to be a part of the family and community she creates in her stories and she consistently delivers that satisfying happily ever after that makes me sigh with pleasure.  So without pressure from the well-meaning, but testy, Aunt Trudy, I give this book a high recommendation!

Other Books by Denise Hunter:

Review Time: Jilted by Carla Laureano

Jilted by Carla Laureano

Jilted by Carla LaureanoCarla Laureano’s first romantic novella is anything but ‘jilted.’ Be swept away to a private island near Belize where the waters are turquoise blue, the sands white and warm, and the breezes tropical. Derek and Anna are preparing for an island wedding; both having jitters and second thoughts. At the altar, Derek is left standing alone and oddly enough relieved at the turn of events. Enter Bethany, premiere sous chef for the island’s owner. She’s cooking up all sorts of Belizean and house specialties like conch ceviche, ravoli with lobster cream sauce, salt-crusted red snapper, and lobster fettuccini…its enough to make your stomach purr in delight. Where I live there is a saying, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” and that certainly rings true here. Derek and Bethany end up chatting about the lost causes of their love lives over lobster fettuccini and the story only gets hotter and spicier from there…at least in the culinary department. It wouldn’t be a good story if I gave away the details! Let’s just say that Derek gets to know Belize and Bethany better over the following three days and learns that heart has no rules when it comes to love no matter what your mind tries to tell it. Good romance, melting kisses, and mouth-watering dishes…the only problem with this story is that there were no recipes at the end of the book for all the delicious food mentioned in it! Definitely looking forward to book 2 in the Discovered by Love series.

Other books by Carla Laureano include:

Review Time: Just a Kiss by Denise Hunter

Just a Kiss by Denise Hunter

Just a Kiss by Denise HunterHere is the anticipated finale to the Summer Harbor series!

Best friends, Riley Callahan and Paige Warren, both struggle with feelings of not being ‘good enough’ for each other.  In many ways they create their own relationship problems by not communicating the truth about the love they harbor for one another.  They are best friends, right?  They should be able to tell each other everything, including the truth.  But, this struggle is what makes this an interesting story…working through the emotional and physical tug-of-war and reaching a place of healing and reconciliation.  In this case it works.  This story is very touching and deals honestly with Riley’s PTSD and the struggles many veterans face after leaving their tour of duty.  Paige never felt loved or wanted by her own family.  The Callahan’s are her surrogate family and Riley her best friend.  However, Riley’s choices create a rift that leaves Paige wondering if even the Callahan’s will remain in her life or not.  Very emotional story.  Sweet romance.  Yes, there is a happy ending for more than one member of the Callahan family!

Other great stories by Denise Hunter include:

Review Time: Secrets of Sunbeams by Valerie Comer

Secret of Sunbeams by Valerie Comer

Secret of Sunbeams by Valerie ComerSecrets of Sunbeams is a sweet, clean, romance with strong faith elements and a focus on sustainable living. Jacob and Eden’s relationship gets off to a rough start when Eden’s feisty goat, Pansy, escapes and eats Jacob’s solar project schematics. He is upper class and ‘farm living’ isn’t his style. Eden believes in making the most of her small home and yard to produce her own food, plus some to sell and trade. As their relationship progresses, Jacob and Eden realize that they are going to have to come to terms with their life style differences or the relationship is going to be over before it begins.

A little predictable, this story will capture you with the antics of the untameable Pansy, Eden’s struggle to let go of a terrible event in her past that has left her lonely and unable to move forward with life, talented Jacob who knows how to harness the power of sunbeams, but is learning about the power of God’s “Son”-beam, and an entertaining host of other secondary characters who I hope will have their own stories told in upcoming books of this series.

Whispers of Love Book SetSecrets of Sunbeams is book one in the Urban Farm Fresh Romance Series and can be found as a stand-alone book or as part of the Whispers of Love book set which is how I purchased the book. Butterflies on Breezes is book two in the series.  I love the cover art for Valerie’s books.  Her covers are is designed by her daughter, Hannah Sandvig!

Other books by Valerie Comer include: