October in Review

Hello Friends! I hope your November is off to a wonderful start. I love this month. It is my daughter and I’s birthday month and also the month that I get really excited with Thanksgiving on it’s way followed by Christmas. Love this time of year.

October more than any other month of the year feels like my to be read stack is supposed to look a certain way, give off a certain feel. I had so many plans, so many books that I started off the month wanting to read, but per usual, my mood had different plans for me.

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The first book I completed in October was A Potion To Die For by Heather Blake which is book one in the A Magic Potion Mystery series. This was good. I didn’t love it like I did some of the other cozy mysteries I have been reading but I felt it was a good book one. It interested me enough in the main character, with her lineage of witch craft, a possible rekindling romance and making things right possibly with a cousin of hers, to want to continue on with the series. One thing I really liked about this cozy is that it takes place in the south. A lot of cozies I have read take place either in the Pacific Northwest or somewhere in new England, which is great, but the change of location was a nice surprise.

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Next, I finished my first ever Devney Perry, The Coppersmith Farmhouse. This is book one in Perry’s Jamison Valley series. I loved this. It gave me all the small town vibes I love in a small town romance, then got super hot and sexy which I wasn’t expecting. Then, just when I thought things couldn’t get shaken up any more than they already were, things got super intense! I loved it.

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I went ahead and read book two in the Jamison Valley series by Devney PerryThe Clover Chapel was another really good read although I didn’t love it as much as I loved The Copper Smith Farmhouse. I like a good second chance romance and this one especially because it has it’s own twist; the character’s are already married. I am a little weary about finishing this series, although I know I will being that I hauled all the books to it. I just am assuming that I can expect each story to take some drastic turn towards the end, which is fine, but when reading The Clover Chapel, by the time all of the craziness started to take place, I just didn’t care anymore. By the time the twists and turns come along, I was kind of over it. The way Perry wrote the first two books, the romance happens fast! So when reading it for the romance, you’re getting that pretty early on. So you’re basically reading the rest of the book to see what is going to happen that may possibly break the romance up. Fingers are crossed I enjoy book three more.

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I (finally) finished my arc that I am super grateful Netgalley approved me for, and that was Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. This book was fantastic. It releases March of 2019 and I cannot wait to get my hands on a physical copy. Hands down a five star read for me. I loved the format in which the story was told. I loved the time period it takes place in. Taylor Jenkins Reid is such a wonderful story teller.

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Another five star read in October was Heron’s Landing by Joann Ross. This is book one in her Honeymoon Harbor series, and one that I literally bought on a whim when I saw it in the checkout aisle at the grocery store. When Littlebird Publicity sent book two in the series my way, it gave me the push I needed to finally read it and oh, I am so glad I did. I love a well written character in a romance grappling with grief and the love interest in this one is grieving the loss of his wife. I loved this book so much. In this one, there is the romance between the two main characters and also an old love on the brink of being over. Such a beautifully written story.

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I reread one of the first romances I picked up after deciding that I wanted to give reading romance a try, Debbie Macomber’s Merry and Bright, and I loved it just as much this go around as I did the first time. I really think that reading this book as one of my first romances played a big part in holiday romances being my favorite. Debbie Macomber has such a way of creating these main characters who feel like people you want to be friends with. I love how believable, the importance of family feels while reading this one.  It is wonderful, and I think it may be a new tradition to reread it around this time every year in anticipation of the holidays.

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I finally read my first ever Nora Roberts novel. Yes, finally! I read Dark Witch, which is the only somewhat October vibe’ish book I read. This is book one in her The Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy. It was okay. I enjoyed the family aspects and the Irish folklore and history. I loved the magic. The main character is what bothered me. She was so annoying at times. Like, the kid getting to hang out with her older cousins and ruins it by being overly excited. I wanted to yell shut up, so many times. I am looking forward though, in seeing where the rest of the trilogy goes.

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I also finished two books in the From Manhattan With Love series by Sarah Morgan.  First,  I finished New York, Actually which wasn’t bad, but not a favorite. A lot like with Dark Witch, I just wasn’t a fan of the main character. Molly, the main character in this one, isn’t annoying or anything, but there was just something about her I didn’t like and didn’t connect with. I actually preferred the scenes from Daniel, the love interest’s perspective. I then jumped immediately into Holiday in the Hamptons. Reading this one reminded me of reading the character Frankie’s romance which was book two. This is Fliss’s romance, and Fliss has always been the tough girl and is avoiding love. She has her issues she needs to process and work through before she can realize the good thing she has in front of her and oh man was he good! Seth is so patient, and might just be my favorite love interest in the series.

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I really hope you had a wonderful October and that your November is starting off well. Let me know what you’re reading this month.

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Rereading One of my First Romances

Hello Friends! I hope all is well with you. I recently reread one of the first romances I read since deciding I wanted to give the romance genre a try. Once I decided I wanted try reading romance, I googled something along the lines of, “romance author who writes the best Christmas romances,” and my results were flooded with titles by Debbie Macomber. Through a bit of searching, I saw that in just a few short weeks, she would be releasing a new Christmas title called “Merry and Bright.” So, I pre-ordered it (as you do) to download to my Kindle as soon as it released. I read it, and loved it.

I am not much of a rereader. As much as I wish that I was, when I think of dedicating time to reading something that I’ve already read when I have so many unread books, I get a bit anxious. ‘Merry and Bright’, however has been heavy on my mind for experiencing again.

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This go around I listened to the audio version of Merry and Bright which was narrated by Em Eldridge, who did a fantastic job.

This is the romance of Merry Knight and Jayson Bright. Merry is a temporary worker for Jayson’s company and Jayson is the quintessential Scrooge! He refuses any signs of Christmas cheer, doesn’t allow employees to eat at their desk and has one woman come into work, knowing her child is home sick the flu. Jayson is super unlikeable..at first.

Jayson gets a call from his cousin asking him to be the best man in his upcoming wedding, which completely takes Jayson by surprise. Apparently his cousin reconnected with a childhood friend of theirs via a dating website. So on one lonely night, Jayson creates an account.

Merry’s mother and brother create her a dating site account for her birthday because she hasn’t been on a date in a very long time, and they want her to get out and enjoy herself for a change. They put her profile picture as the family dog, that way suitors will have to get to know the real her without knowing what she looks like. Jayson sees this photo of a dog and starts reminiscing about his childhood dog, and clicks to begin a chat.

First things first, yes Merry works for Jayson, but the company has been spelling her name Mary so he totally has no idea that it is the same person.

I loved this book just as much this go around as I did the first time. I am really considering making this a yearly fall/winter read.

Merry’s family is great. I loved her Mom and Dad, and her relationship with her brother Patrick. The scenes with Merry’s family were filled with so much warmth and it is so easy to see why they are so important to her. So much of what Merry does is because of them.

Merry and Jayson agree to meet for coffee to see who each other are. When Merry arrives though and sees that Jay she’s been chatting with is actually Jayson she works with, she stands him up. I thought this was a good twist to the story. You as the reader know that both people are who they are and you’re anxious for that meet up to see how it is going to go! I thought it added a nice spin for Merry to see that she’s actually been chatting with her boss and high tailing it out of there because now we see that inner conflict she goes through with trying to separate her super scrooge boss from super sweet Jay. Eventually it comes out that the two know each other but Merry doesn’t elaborate on how, so Jayson begins really humbling himself. He knows that somewhere along the way he met Merry and was mean to her but he still has no idea when and where, but knows he’s paying for it now because she stood him up.

Just liked I cried last year, I cried this year reading this book at the end. Everything just wrapped up perfectly. Debbie Macomber’s romances make me so happy. Yes, this is a romance but it is full of the joys of the holidays and the importance of family.

I am so glad I gave it a reread.

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Review: The Inn At Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber

The Inn At Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber

August 14, 2012

Ballantine Books

4/5 Stars

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My first legit romance novel was by Debbie Macomber and I have been fascinated by this woman ever since! Initially when I decided to read romance I assumed romance novels were all going to be super uncomfortably heavy on the sexy times. I have no problems with sex scenes but they’re not something I insist on having in my books either.  So I have really grown to appreciate how fulfilled I am after reading Mrs. Macomber’s novels.  What she does a wonderful job at is creating stories in very cozy settings, throwing in descriptions of food that make you realize how hungry you are for a good home cooked meal, with very relatable characters.

 

Plot Summary:

The Rose Harbour Inn welcomes you to Cedar Cove…

From the minute she sees the Rose Harbour Inn, Jo Marie Barlow knows that this is the place that will help her find the peace she craves. And if the inn can comfort her, surely it can offer the same refuge to her first two guests.

Joshua Weaver has come home to care for his ailing stepfather. The two have never seen eye to eye, but a long-lost acquaintance proves to him that forgiveness is not out of reach and love can bloom in the unlikeliest places.

Abby Kinkaid left Cedar Cover twenty years ago after a devastating accident. But as she reconnects with family and old friends, she realizes that she needs to let the past go if she is to embrace her future.

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Firstly, about half way through reading The Inn At Rose Harbor, I started to get the feeling that I probably should have read Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series prior to starting this one. But oh well, right? I can always go back and read that one later.

A big theme in this book is grief which I have come to really admire the way Debbie Macomber explores it. Now, I am completely in it for the romance just as much as the next person, but there is something special about seeing a character work through the darkness surrounding them and the romance being a big part of the light at the end of the tunnel.

In The Inn At Rose Harbor our three main characters are all grappling with their own stuff. Jo Marie is grieving the loss of her husband Paul whose helicopter crashed while deployed to Afghanistan. She has used the money he left to her to purchase the bed and breakfast she soon after calls Rose Harbor Inn.  Josh is back to take care of his stepfather Richard in his last days of life. This is difficult for Josh because Richard wasn’t very nice to Josh while he was growing up, and Josh didn’t try to make their relationship an easy one either. Abby is back for her brother’s upcoming wedding. Abby and her best friend were in a car accident when they were 19 after Abby’s car hit a an ice patch in the road. A mixture of her best friend’s parents blaming her and the small town rumor mill caused Abby to leave Cedar Cove with no intentions of coming back. Until her brother decides to not only get married, but to get married there.

I felt this was a good first book to a new series. While reading, I really got the sense that it was a book setting up more stories. Jo Marie buying the Inn and changing the name to Rose Harbor Inn symbolized a fresh start for her while also keeping the memory of her husband Paul alive. Jo Marie’s first guests are Josh and Abby who are both overcoming ghosts from their pasts. All three of these characters under the same roof and seeing the outcome kind of solidifies for Jo Marie that she wants her Inn to be a place where people can relax and start to heal if that’s what they need.

Of course I had to pay extra attention to the many forms of love in this story. I loved how Jo Marie had been picky with men until meeting Paul. When she met him, it felt for her as though she bypassed all the ones she did, in anticipation for Paul. She instantly knew he was the one. But love can be taken from you. My heart went out to her. They were still early into their marriage when Paul lost his life.  Enjoy each moment because you never know how much time you have with someone.

Abby loved her best friend Angela so much. It crushed her when they had their accident and Abby lived while Angela died instantly. What made it worse was the aftermath; Angela’s parents no longer wanting to speak to her, all the rumors and losing her best friend. Abby basically stopped living her life out of guilt. She stopped dating and hanging out with friends feeling guilty that Angela no longer got to experience these things.  We see Abby realize she has to make peace with the accident and make peace with Angela’s parents. Once she does this, you immediately get the sense of weight being lifted from her shoulders and she allows a love interest from the past to flirt with her a bit!

Josh is the character I felt had the biggest happy ending in this book. His stepfather was a real jerk to him. We learn though that Richard, his stepfather truly loved Theresa, who was Josh’s mother. And in a way both men competed for her attention and this caused a rift between them. There is a woman named Michelle who helps Josh out during his stepfather’s last days. Michelle had always been known to be a love interest of Josh’s stepbrother Dylan’s but she tells Josh that Dylan was actually very cruel to her. So her and Josh hit it off. We see Josh having to learn to pay attention to the wonderful opportunities and people looking him in the face.

The Inn At Rose Harbor is a wonderfully told story with very well written characters. The character development in this story was done so well. And Debbie Macomber has the ability to create an environment that makes me want to just pack a 72 hour bag, buy a plane ticket and head for the nearest thing to her fictionalized location that I can find! This story is also big a reminder that you never know what someone is going through and how at some point, to move on, we have to make peace with whatever has been taunting us.

I could go on and on about this book, I hope these thoughts of mine made sense! Share any recommendations you have for me of stories well written that deal with grief. As always, take care of yourselves, and until my next post-xoxo

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