Lucky In Love by Carlene Havel and Billie Houston

Lucky In Love by Carlene Havel and Billie Houston
Texas Brides series, Book 3
Publisher: Chavelbooks, LLC
Genre: Historical, Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Recipe for Trouble
Begin with the year 1922, in south Texas ranch country. Take Lucky Livingston, one devil-may-care cowboy bent on revenge. Add Bridget McGuire, a frightened young woman desperate for a place to hide. Stir in a dangerous outlaw, a marauding band of Ku Klux Clansmen, and three inept matchmakers. Spice the mixture with a bank’s missing loot and one dishonest deputy sheriff. Pepper with humor, bring to a rolling boil, and stand back!
Will too many cooks spoil the broth?

Carlene Havel and Billie Houston are new authors for me and taking a chance on them turned out to be a blessing. It’s always a joy to add a new author to my ‘follow the author list’. This book was on my ‘to read list’ for a long time. It is book three of three in the Texas Brides series, but it can be read as a standalone. I enjoyed the story, Lucky in Love, that they created together.

From the first page to the last I was captured, or maybe just wished I was, by the hero, Lucky Livingston. He was dream-worthy, and the heroine, Bridget McGuire, was most definitely in need of a hero such as Lucky. Together they made an entertaining read. Their romance was mostly sweet and endearing. Bridget and Lucky made me chuckle a few times with their bantering. There wasn’t any doubt that they had more than just chemistry between them. They were in love at first sight.

There is mild suspense threaded throughout the plot which made for a quick pace to see what happened next. Trust me, there was a lot happening between the cast of characters.

Speaking of the characters, they were well developed and easy to bond with. What I don’t understand is how this is book three of three when Lucky has two brothers that are available. I would love to read Charlie and Zeke’s story. I did go look up book one and two to read the synopsis to see if they were about Charlie or Zeke and they were not.

Anyway, I have three more books on my ‘to read list’ and I hope they are at least half as good as this one was. Lucky in Love was a fortunate hit read for me. I can easily recommend this story to other romance readers. Happy Reading.

Christmas in Blue Dog Valley by Annie England Noblin

Christmas in Blue Dog Valley by Annie England Noblin
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Romance
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Welcome to Blue Dog Valley. Home of the Fighting Elk. Population 3,411.

When Goldie McKenzie, DVM, vet to the L.A. pet stars, arrives from Los Angeles to Blue Dog Valley she realizes three things.

Never agree to upend your life when you’re hungover

Pot-belly pigs are not true farm animals

She’s going to need a warmer coat

At first Goldie is nothing more than a fish out of water, with few clients and few friends. But after a less than pleasant encounter with a man whose dog is suffering from a possibly fatal case of bloat, she’s finally earning the trust and goodwill from her fellow Blue Dog Valley citizens. Her clientele grows to include the many farm animals in the town, including a horse named Large Marge, a cape-wearing therapy alpaca, and a yardful of sweater-wearing goats. Add in Kevin, the “worst sheepdog in Blue Dog Valley,” and a Sphinx cat named Airport, and Goldie is having the best time a vet can have. . . aside from the annoying attractive town grump, Cohen, who seems intent on making sure she always feels like an outsider.

With her newfound goodwill, Goldie comes up with an idea to reinvigorate the once flourishing Blue Dog Valley: a Christmas carnival. A petting zoo, pictures with Santa, a baking contest, what more could they want? After only some brief resistance from Cohen and his father, they begin the great plan to reinvigorate Blue Dog Valley.

Will Christmas be enough to salvage this dying town—and be enough to bring Goldie closer to a certain grumpy man?

This was the cutest romance ever. I totally fell in love with this story. The synopsis says it best, “Christmas in Blue Dog Valley by Annie England Noblin is a delightful small-town holiday novel that’s bound to warm your heart with hilarious animal antics and Hallmark movie charm.” Christmas in Blue Dog Valley is the perfect feel-good holiday novel that readers won’t want to miss. It’s the perfect addition to any upcoming holiday or Christmas-in-July roundups!” I couldn’t agree more with those statements. Whoever wrote those remarks were spot on.

I personally love Hallmark movies, so this book was my cup of tea. Speaking of tea, I wish I could sample some of Cohen’s cider. It sounded delicious. Cohen is the hero, and he is kind of standoffish but in a comical way. Goldie, the heroine, has no problem speaking up for herself, especially when Cohen is in a ‘grumpy’ mood. Together they make Wisconsin warm and fuzzy. The winter setting with all the snow was refreshing to read since it’s currently toasty where I live.

The prologue immediately caught my attention making me continue onto Chapter one and so on. I actually couldn’t stop until I reached the end of the story. It was that good. The cast of characters in the small town wee well developed and relatable. In fact, I wish I could meet them and all their pets too. I’d love it if book two came out quickly since I fell in love with everyone in the small town of Blue Dog Valley. If this was a real destination, then I’d put in on my list to go visit someday.

The plot was creative, original and genuinely heartwarming. I personally felt there was an inspirational message of forgiveness threaded throughout the story. The acts of the townsfolk made for the perfect Christmas message, Peace on earth and goodwill to all men.

I’ve never read a book by Annie England Noblin but after reading this story, I’m interested to read another book by her. What else can I say other than this is a must read. I hope you love it as much as I did.

Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table: It’s Time to Win the Battle of Your Mind by Louie Giglio

Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table: It’s Time to Win the Battle of Your Mind by Louie Giglio
Publisher: Harper Christian Resources/ Thomas Nelson
Genre: Inspirational, Contemporary
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

God has prepared a table for you. It’s set with a banquet of peace, clarity, and purpose. But Satan is constantly looking for an invitation, seeking to fill your mind with distractions, fear, worry, insecurity, anxiety, temptation, doubt…

It’s an ongoing battle. But you can learn how to protect your mind from unhealthy thoughts and experience rest and nourishment at God’s table.

The Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table study (DVD/digital video sold separately) offers biblical insight on how to:

Cancel the lies that will wreck your life and take the empowering steps to live fully alive in Christ
Restore peace and rest in your life by taking authority over your thoughts
Break free from the endless cycle of destructive thinking and recapture your emotions
Embrace the true purpose behind your journey through challenging circumstances
Sessions include:

The Table Before Us
The Tactics of the Enemy
The Battle for Our Mind
The Path to Victory
God’s Invitation Always Stands
In the Presence of Our Enemies
You can find freedom from the battles in your mind if you allow Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to lead the battle. Learn how to find encouragement, hope, and strength no matter what valleys you face.

My friend suggested I join her bible study group that was starting a new book called, Don’t Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table by Louie Giglio. She knew I was struggling with a few incorrect attitudes. Also referred to as “The battle of the mind”. I said, why not? It’d be fun to zoom once a week and discuss the book.

Let me just tell you that I need to read this book at least five more times. It’s a life changer. I have most of the book highlighted. It’s very easy to have the knowledge on how to live a life pleasing to God but it’s another thing to apply it in daily life. I’m just going to quote the book because I can’t say it any better. “You don’t have to let negative thoughts control your life. You don’t have to allow the Enemy to influence your thinking. You have the power through Jesus Christ to take control of your thoughts and emotions. Jesus invites you to a table that he has prepared for your—a table where the Enemy is not invited.”

If you are quick to anger and slow to forgiving like me, then this book is a prescription for healing and peace in your mind and heart. The most prominent message I got this time reading this book was “even though…I will”. I’m trying to consciously choose to linger in the presence of God and this book easily aides in that endeavor. It’s actually an entertaining read with a few relatable stories. It’s not a dry, biblical quoting or preachy style book. I enjoyed reading a chapter a week and discussing what we read with other friends trying to live a Godly life.

Glad You’re Here by Walker Hayes & Craig Allen Cooper

Glad You’re Here: Two Unlikely Friends Breaking Bread and Fences by Walker Hayes & Craig Allen Cooper
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Genre: Inspirational, Contemporary
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

When Craig Cooper and Walker Hayes met, Walker was an alcoholic atheist reeling from the backlash of a failed music career. Through their unlikely friendship, Craig’s life demonstrated the love of Christ in a way that shattered Walker’s misconceptions of Christianity, ultimately leading him down the path to a dramatic conversion. The two are now close as brothers, choosing to be next-door neighbors and ripped out the fence between their homes as a testament to the power of the gospel to break down barriers and unite people together in Christ. Glad You’re Here helps us discover how building relationships, sacrificing for the good of others, and drawing near in times of need can lead to powerful transformation. Through story and biblical reflections, Glad You’re Here helps readers see how God works in the everyday lives of those who love him.

I bought this book as soon as it was released May 2022. I was compelled to read it because I’m a music fan of Walker Hayes and I was curious to read how he transformed from being an atheist to a believer. I was curious how Walker’s friend, Craig Cooper, assisted in Walker’s transition.

This story is told from both their perspectives. I found it interesting to read their words in print. Their relationship was similar to one I had years ago with a fellow neighbor. I wasn’t atheist but I wasn’t practicing either. Craig Cooper reminded me of my friend, Karen. I’m sad that we aren’t neighbors anymore, but we are still sisters in Christ.

I am still awestruck every time I see how God works in the everyday lives of those who love him. I definitely felt the power of God throughout this story. I was inspired to reach out to my friend Karen, and we actually read this book together.

I typically don’t read books that are trending. I have another friend who, when she found out I was reading it, asked if she could borrow it when I was done. She had heard about it from the Today Show. My friend enjoyed the read as well and has lent it to another friend. I may never get that book back and that is okay. Jesus is the at wheel and the book, Glad you are Here, is on God’s auto pilot.

If you are at all curious about having the love of Godly friends, then this book is for you. I for one am grateful for my Christian neighbors. I’m glad they are here with me.

Cold Case Killer Profile by Jessica R. Patch

Cold Case Killer Profile by Jessica R. Patch
Quantico Profilers, Book 2
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

The desert can hide many secrets…including murder.

Searching for the perfect morning landscape to paint leads forensic artist Brigitte Linsey straight to a dead body—and a narrow escape from the Sunrise Serial Killer still on the scene. Now she’s become unfinished business and new prey. Working with FBI special agent Duke Jericho could mean putting the murderer away for good. However, it’s just a matter of time before this diabolically clever predator turns his hunters into the hunted…

From Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith.

I didn’t realize it was book two of three in the Quantico Profilers series until I finished it. It’s safe to say that it can be read as a standalone.

I’m not new to reading suspense/murder/mystery romances but I can say this was my first inspirational one. Surprisingly, the author made it work. Cold Case Killer Profile really was filled with “Courage, Danger and Faith”.

This is my first Jessica R. Patch book and it’s safe to say that it won’t be my last. I was engaged from the first chapter to the last. I couldn’t wait to get to the end to find out who the “Sunrise Serial Killer” was. There were many suspects in my mind. This story was filled with plot twists and unpredictable outcomes.

The heroine, Brigitte was a strong, independent character with some vulnerable moments which were justified.

The hero, Duke, was dream worthy. I loved how he protected Brigitte and was there to save the day. The chemistry between them was sweet. They were attracted to each other, but they were a little bit busy trying to stay alive. Fortunately, they had faith to keep them strong.

This book was an entertaining read. Happy Reading!

Paws For Christmas by Anna Swann

Paws For Christmas by Anna Swann
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Emily Saint-Claire has one Christmas wish: to take a few weeks off from her demanding job as co-CEO of Bow-Wow Enterprises, an international nonprofit organization that matches rescue dogs with people who need rescuing. She is just hours away from hopping into the car with her pup, Gracie, and driving to her parents’ home in the mountains when a series of disasters strike.

First, a text from her ex. Next, a humiliating TV interview, in which she tearfully reveals she wants a new job. And the worst blow of all: A surprise work assignment that will take her to the picturesque country of Marisol to cover the prestigious Royal International Canine Invitation dog show. Yes, it’s a dream assignment, but she’s exhausted and homesick.

Emily cancels her vacation plans and reluctantly flies to Marisol, convinced Christmas is ruined. But is it?

When she meets a disheveled stranger, she assumes he’s a freelance photographer. Wrong. He’s the prince of Marisol. Emily is beyond embarrassed, but the prince is intrigued and extends a gracious apology—she must be his guest at the palace, where she can work without interruption.

Yet, instead of peace and quiet, Emily finds happy chaos, thanks to frequent visits by the widowed prince’s two curious children and their shoe-munching dog. Increasingly, she finds herself anticipating their visits. And increasingly, she finds herself attracted to Prince Alexander, who shares her love for animals. In a season of surprises, Emily learns that love comes when we least expect it.

This was a really cute book. I was in the mood to read a Christmas story in the summer heat and this one satisfied my craving. While the synopsis reveals most of the story it’s still worth the time to read the story in action. The effort that was put forward in developing the cast of characters was impressive.

The reader is presented with the opportunity to get to know the heroine, Emily, long before the hero, Alexander is ever introduced. Emily is a woman who works too hard and wants more than just work in her life. A reality all too real for many women in today’s world. It’s a struggle to find that happy balance. I bonded with Emily immediately as we share a love for dogs.

I got a giggle when Emily did finally meet Alexander in a mistaken identity scene. It was a pleasure to turn the pages as their romance budded and bloomed until the last page with a happily-ever-after love.

Alexander was kind, generous and compassionate. It was relaxing to read his pursuit of Emily. Together they were entertaining especially when Emily was learning to dance. The chemistry between them was sensual and irresistible.

This was my first Anna Swann romance book, and I would consider another book by her. I treasured the inspirational message that was threaded through out the story that “sometimes life’s biggest disappointments lead to its greatest joys.” Anna Swann wrote that quote in her “Dear Reader” note in the beginning of the story. It makes me think of Garth Brooks’ song “Unanswered Prayers” where he sings “Cuz some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers”.

Paws for Christmas left me feeling full of hope and joy. Definitely pick this book up if you are craving a holiday romance.

The Heat Is On: An Anthology by Jill Shalvis, Natalie Anderson

The Heat Is On: An Anthology by Jill Shalvis, Natalie Anderson
Publisher: Harlequin Bestselling Author Collection
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Catching Fire

Bella Manchelli didn’t stick, not to places, or to people. Even though she liked the coastal town of Santa Rey, California, and her job as a pastry chef, she never made promises and she never got hurt. So when she signed up for Eight Dates in Eight Days, it was just for fun. And when she went home with Date Eight, she crept out of his room in the morning and never expected to see him again.

Until she found a body on her doorstop. The detective on the case? None other than Mr. Date Eight—Jacob Madden. Bella was glad to see him, because there was definitely chemistry between them. She felt safe and protected with Jacob, and for the first time Bella felt at home. But he wasn’t looking for forever…and they both knew the killer wasn’t finished.

The Heat Is On by Jill Shalvis

First, let me explain how I got my hands on this really awesome read. It’s rather a big deal for me. I was at a library that offers books via the honor system. I had five seconds to pick a book. In those few seconds Jill Shalvis’ name jumped out at me, the book cover had a smiling couple embracing on a beach, smiling at each other, wearing two of my favorite colors; I saw the Harlequin symbol and the title, “The Heat Is On” which triggered a memory of that song by Glen Fry, which prompted me to start singing it. In five seconds, I broke tradition by grabbing it without reading the synopsis! If you’ve read any of my reviews, then you know that is a shock to my system. I always choose a book based on the synopsis.

I started reading while I was at a swim team practice, sitting on metal bleachers surrounded by parents, in the hot sun. You could say the heat was really on! It certainly was in the story right from the get-go. From the first paragraph, “Oh, yeah baby, that’s good,” she whispered. So good that she wanted more. She couldn’t help herself; she’d never been known for having much self-control.” See what I mean? But the second paragraph set the hook, “Not when it came to chocolate. Isabella Manchelli loved desserts, all of them.” I busted out laughing, embarrassing myself and I didn’t care. That was the moment when I fell in love with this book and the heroine, Isabella. She was a character after my own heart. I’m obsessed with chocolate.

The cast of characters are well developed and relatable making the story come to life. Bella finds the first dead body on page six. I went from chocolate coma to the edge of my seat pretty quick. I didn’t want to put the book down at the end of swim practice. This was a fast-paced story that I couldn’t get enough of. I did guess who the killer was, but I was never a hundred percent positive. The ending was breathtaking and sigh-worthy.

Oh, I did get a chance to read the synopsis, it hooked me. It sounded like the perfect murder mystery romance book. I considered the plot to be realistic and original. Isabella signed up to participate in the local recreation center’s singles club’s, “eight dates in eight days”. I fell in love with “Mr. Date Eight-Jacob Madden”, the hero, right along with Isabella aka Bella. The chemistry between them was instant, intense and heat inducing. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to pick this book up in five seconds. The best part is that it has a bonus book!

The next story is called “Blame it on the Bikini” by Natalie Anderson. Now I know I’ve never read a book by her but I’m excited to start it. All the reader knows about it is that the heroine, Mya, sends a text to the wrong person by accident. Who hasn’t done that? I know I have.

Blame it on the Bikini by Natalie Anderson

The story starts right away with Mya texting the picture to the wrong person which immediately caught my interest in the story. The pace was quick and fun as I read along. There were humorous moments throughout the book that I enjoyed.

The story uses the trope of a hero rich in money but poor in love and affection from his family, and a heroine poor in finances but rich and surrounded by the love of her family. The heroine, Mya, was best friends with Brad’s sister Lauren, and Brad was clueless for years that Mya had a crush on him. He got a clue when he was the recipient of that wayward text.

The hero, Brad, has the emotional baggage of women only wanting him for his money and never seeing him as a person. The heroine, Mya, had a front row seat to his living the life of a playboy, so she doesn’t trust him. She also has her own issues of not wanting to be a charity case. Brad and Mya are both extremely independent, strong willed and smart. Considering how intelligent and educated they were, it amazed me that at the same time, they were both block heads. It was a long struggle for them to realize that it wasn’t just lust they were experiencing, but love. They were also slow to figure out that they could trust each other with their hearts.

The plot was cute and definitely contemporary. I enjoyed the story but I felt there could have been better verbal communication between Brad and Mya. It’s kind of funny because Brad and Mya were getting frustrated with each other. I wanted to tell them that I was frustrated with them too. Lord knows they had no issue communicating physically.

There were a few secondary characters, but they were minimally developed, the majority being hearsay as Mya and Brad shared their personal information. I got to meet both Brad and Mya’s parents, and of course, Mya’s best friend, Brad’s sister, Lauren. I also met Mya’s employers and co-workers.

The pace was quick and fun as I read along. There were even some truly funny moments. I was buckled in to see their HEA and I can say the ride was worth it. I’m happy for them. I would consider reading another Natalie Anderson book.

Overall, I enjoyed both stories. They are completely different from each other which was nice. I went from the edge of my seat to lounging on my couch. I’d recommend The Heat Is On: An Anthology without hesitation.

Unlock My Heart by Jennifer Wilck

Unlock My Heart by Jennifer Wilck
Scarred Hearts, Book Two
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Abby Marlow, computer security expert, lands a job at the best IT security firm in the country. Her sole focus is financial independence so she never has to rely on others again, especially a man. But why does her boss make her wires short circuit?

Ted Endicott, CEO and founder of the IT security firm, is hard of hearing. Although an expert in his field, he’s still uncomfortable admitting his hearing problem to clients or employees. So why is he willing to accept Abby’s help?

As Ted and Abby work together, barriers fall away, and the lines blur between colleagues and lovers. But a security glitch in a client’s system shows one of Ted’s employees is the hacker, and all signs point to Abby. Can they get past the suspicion and find a future together?

I had actually read book one in this series but it was a long time ago and I forgot. I’m forgetting a lot of things lately but I do recall clearly that I loved book one. Well, I just have to tell you that I loved book two as much as the first one if not more! I started Unlock My Heart and didn’t stop until I finished it.

In the section “A word about the author”…and I quote “Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong, and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with a happily ever after.” That statement is the perfect description of the type of books that I prefer to read and it’s accurate for Unlock My Heart. I couldn’t have said it any better.

Abby, the heroine, is definitely smart since she attains a job at the best IT security firm in the country. She’s determined to be financially independent and to make her parents proud.

The story starts with the hero, Ted. Right away his vulnerability is revealed in a way that I was curious to learn more about. Ted is definitely smart, handsome and available.

Ted actually owns the IT security firm that Abby is employed at. It’s pretty much love at first sight but filled with complications from the get-go. There is one plot twist after another making it impossible for me to stop reading. Obviously the first conflict is the fact that Ted was Abby’s boss. I could feel the chemistry between them that they professionally couldn’t act on. Let’s just say that I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to reach the “barriers fall away, and the lines blur between colleagues and lovers.”

There are other characters in the plot line who are relevant to the success of this book such as Ted’s business partners. Ted’s college friends, Simon and Alexander, formed CAST to invest their money and use their wealth to help others.

The first book in the series was about Ted’s partner, Simon. I was thrilled that Simon made an appearance in book two. I hope Alexander and Caleb are considered as future heroes in this series. I want more and I don’t want to wait.

Jennifer Wilck has been on my “trusted favorite author” list for a while now. The Scarred Heart series is awesome. Unlock My Heart is going on my ‘Keeper’s shelf’ next to the first book, A Reckless Heart”. I hope other readers will love this book as much as I did.

The Texas Cowboy by Linda Nightingale

The Texas Cowboy by Linda Nightingale
Return to Folly Book 1
Publisher: Magnolia Blossom
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

When Ash Colter was twelve, his mother divorced his cattle baron father and whisked him away to raise in her native England. Sixteen years later, when his father dies, he inherits Marathon Ranch. Running a 1,000-acre spread famous for the best Black Angus cattle in the great state of Texas is the biggest challenge he’s ever faced…until he meets a pert, pretty, and sassy ranch hand who seems to have her own agenda for his ranch. Unfortunately, she makes his spurs go jingle-jangle-jingle like no one else ever has!

Trish Owens is a real cowgirl, a loner, and, though she’d never admit it, a little lonely. When the “English Cowboy” appears on the scene, her entire way of life is threatened, not only her job, but her beloved Quarter horses. She’s sure he plans to import his thoroughbred horses from England. Worst of all is the chemistry sizzling between them. He makes feelings she thought long dead awaken.

Can these two unwilling allies set aside their differences to put Marathon Ranch in the Winner’s Circle…and to fall in love?

The Texas Cowboy’s synopsis successfully piqued my interest. The story quickly captivated my curiosity as the narrative progressed smoothly with a steady stride. The characters were well developed, relatable and most were likable. The plot was creative, imaginable with some unexpected twists. This is book one in the Return to Folly series which can be read as a standalone.

The hero, Ash Colter, had an interesting upbringing that is mentioned in the synopsis. His history could have given him some adult baggage, but it didn’t. He was handsome, smart and confident. Ash was generous, caring and possessed a positive mind set.

Trish Owen, the heroine, was the perfect match for Ash. They both loved horses, the ranch and had the same long-term goals to make the ranch thrive in the future. Their relationship was entertaining, and their chemistry was sensual.

There was one character, Deanne, who added tense conflict in the story. The synopsis states that when Ash was twelve, his mother divorced his father. Ash’s dad remarried a woman named Deanne. Ash states “There’d always been, would always be, bad blood between them.” (Them as in Ash and Deanne). It’s my opinion that this conflict was resolved too easily considering the animosity between them. I wonder if there is a plan for Deanne to appear later in the series. If there ever is, her character left me feeling uncharitable and disinterested so I don’t think I’d read that one.

Overall, I enjoyed reading The Texas Cowboy. The romance between Ash and Trish was well worth my time. I enjoyed the setting where their love story evolved. Together, there is no doubt that they will make the ranch flourish.

Thankfully in Love, A Thanksgiving Anthology by Anna L. Stewart, Kayla Perrin, Melinda Curtis and Cari Lynn Webb

Thankfully in Love, A Thanksgiving Anthology by Anna L. Stewart, Kayla Perrin, Melinda Curtis and Cari Lynn Webb
Publisher: CAEZIK Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

USA Today bestselling romance authors come together for Thanksgiving to tell the stories of four women who have not had the best experiences with the men they have dated in their pasts. With the help of family and loved ones this holiday season, can they learn to open their hearts one more time? If they can dare to make the leap, they could find themselves finally, thankfully in love…

There’s no place like home, especially during Thanksgiving. After spending ten years as an officer and analyst with a special division in a federal cyber-investigation, Tripp Atsila is on the brink of burnout. He returns home and meets Parker Rutledge, who changed her name and moved to a small town hoping to leave the damage her ex-husband caused behind. Now someone’s found her; someone who wants to make her pay for her ex-husband’s crimes. Can she trust Tripp? Can she trust anyone?

Miranda Cox isn’t looking forward to heading home for Thanksgiving. She’d raved to everyone that Matthew was the one; now she has yet another failed relationship under her belt. Despite working as a translator in Ottawa, and loving traveling abroad, she’s thirty-four and still single. Little does she know that a chance encounter at Union Station in Toronto with her childhood friend, Taz Morrison, will lead to a very special holiday. Is it finally their time?

Chef Drew Barnett has been hired to create the perfect Thanksgiving for a potential restaurant investor and is forced to work in the client’s guesthouse kitchen due to a power outage in the main house. Jilted bride and food critic Claire Rothchild is pet-sitting a friend’s St. Bernard in the same guesthouse. Drew doesn’t know what to make of a food critic in his kitchen, just as Claire doesn’t know how to stop interfering with his dishes and passing tidbits to a mooching pooch. Is this a recipe for a Dog-Gone Holiday? Or for love?

Born with a degenerative eye disease, photographer Kelsey Thomas knows two things: she will be blind within five years and her family wants to see her married and settled first. Then Kelsey’s boyfriend breaks up with her one week before she planned to introduce him to her family at her grandmother’s island commitment ceremony. At the resort bar, she meets Dr. Noah Lawson. He spends his life inside his lab developing cutting-edge techniques to slow the progression of vision loss. He’s been offered funding with strings—save the eyesight of a relative of a wealthy investor—but he’s reluctant to agree. Noah is smitten by Kelsey—so much so that he agrees to be her fake wedding date for the Thanksgiving holidays. Too late, he realizes her connection to his potential investor. Is this a set-up? Or fate?

There are four stories in this one book. I traditionally avoid anthologies because I have a hard time writing reviews for them. However, I saw Anna J. Stewart was one of the authors and since she’s one of my favorites, I was compelled to break tradition.

Book one: No Place Like Home by Anna J. Stewart

I can testify that the first story was amazing. I read it super-fast and it kept me on the edge of my seat. The romance story is between Tripp Atsilla and Parker Rutledge. It’s the perfect damsel in distress scenario who is saved by a gorgeous hero. Tripp Atsilla comes from a wholesome family who all love and accept Parker as one of their own.

The suspense comes from those who put Parker in danger and Tripp is more than equipped to save the day. But how he does it is worth the read.

There were several plot twists that were unpredictable and the chemistry between Tripp and Parker was sensual and breathtaking. I really enjoyed the entertainment value and consider this story totally worth my time.

Book two: Second Chances by Kayla Perrin

Second Chances was quite enjoyable. This was my first book written by Kayla Perrin and I was pleased. This love story was between Taz and Miranda. The title of this story was appropriate since that is exactly what Taz and Miranda were all about. They knew each other in the past but the timing wasn’t right then. Years later they get a second chance to make the timing right and it’s a heartwarming story. Miranda’s family was wholesome and friendly. Taz’s mom was endearing. Everyone, including myself, was cheering for Miranda and Taz to give true love a chance. It was a great read.

Book three: Dog-Gone Holiday by Melinda Curtis

This was a cute story about second chances. This plot was very similar to book two. In this one, the hero, Drew, and the heroine, Claire, knew each other in their past but things didn’t work in their favor. Apparently, they were too young to communicate the first time and honestly, they each still have personal struggles to resolve including their shaky communication skills. They were reunited with the help of Claire’s sister and a talking dog. The personal conflicts they had to deal with were Drew’s struggles to open his own restaurant, and Claire being in the midst of a divorce settlement. The talking dog was far-fetched but can be accounted for saving my attention when the characters lost it. While I appreciated the attempt at creativity and originality, I wasn’t a huge fan of this one, especially since the previous story had a similar narrative. Still, it was cute.

Book four: Love Guides the Way by Cari Lynn Webb

I’m happy to say that Thankfully in Love / A Thanksgiving Anthology ended strong with the fourth and final book. The heroine, Kelsey, is a strong leading lady and she has to be because she is going through a health scare. The hero, Dr. Noah Lawson, is Dr. Mcdreamy and has the potential to possibly help Kelsey. Kelsey’s family is overpowering but in a loving way. I loved the setting where this story took place. I felt this was a heartwarming story to remind us that life is precious and to cherish every moment. The chemistry between Kelsey and Noah is sweet. I really liked reading this one.

Overall, I enjoyed the anthology. It was entertaining to read four stories about second chances, overcoming bad dating experiences, and love and/of family during the Thanksgiving holiday season. Each book is a complete standalone read. I always like to be exposed to new authors especially since each writer has their own style which is great because no two readers are the same. If you are curious, you can find detailed plot summaries for each story on Amazon.

I’d recommend this anthology if you’re in the mood to feel that wholesome Thanksgiving spirit.