Clover Cottate #ChristieBarlow #HappyPubDay

Christie Barlow has rapidly become one of my favorite cozy romance writers and now she is back with a wonderful new addition, Clover Cottage.

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When local veterinarian, Rory, is gifted Clover Cottage by his parents, his significant other, Allie, is thrilled. She sees this as a new beginning for the two of them in the town in which they grew up and fell in love. However, Rory is extremely reluctant to take on the renovations of the house, to the point that Ally is worried that it is their relationship in which Rory does not want to invest. Instead, he wants to travel and study abroad, to expand his horizons – and then come back to Allie. Allie, of course, is devastated. As the book unfolds we begin to see that neither of them really knew the secret hopes and desires of one another and we wonder if there is any way this couple can survive.

Clover Cottage is the third book in the Love Heart Lane series so readers will be somewhat familiar with the couple already. What I love most about these two, and all of the residents of Heartcross, is how important their family and friends are to one another. Rather than giving rash advice to Allie – or to Rory – they support them and offer a different perspective which helps this couple get through this difficult time. There are heartaches, illness, secrets and plenty of small town happiness throughout this book for it is the type of story that draws you in from beginning to end. You come to love these people as though they were real which is due to the marvelous character building and writing skills of Christie Barlow.

Although it is the third book in a series, Clover Cottage can be read as a stand alone. To get the feel of the characters, however, I encourage you to read the series as a whole. They are short, heartwarming, quick reads and I know you will be glad that you did.

Thank you to @OneMoreChapter, #Netgalley and @ChristieJBarlow for my copy of these delightful tale.

Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop @RebeccaRaisinAuthor

Rosie had everything she ever had wished for: the perfect husband, she was the sous chef at a Michelin rated restaurant, two perfect children – well, they were perfectly planned out in her future where they would be perfect to be sure – and she lived in a perfect apartment. Until she walked in on her birthday to find her not-so-perfect husband with a pre-packed bag walking out on her for another woman! Rosie’s very perfect life was shattered. So she did what any sane woman would do – she drank a lot of cheap wine and unknowingly used all of her savings to purchase a hot pink RV named Poppy! Rosie gives it all up – the perfect apartment, the perfect job, the Michelin stars and hits the road with Poppy to open a pop-up tea shop.

41962558I’ve recently read quite a few books about women who have hit a crisis point in their lives and, throwing caution to the wind, leave everything behind to open a bakery, bookstore, coffee shop, etc. Rosie’s story, however, hit notes of reality that I found myself relating to on multiple layers. She was alone, in fact she was a loner in general. She had used her savings to purchase Poppy so money was not a luxury for her. When Poppy breaks down, she has to rely on the kindness of others and scrabble together new ways to make money to pay for the repairs. She got herself mixed up in a “catfishing” scheme that was extremely realistic and, sadly, happens far too often to women online. I found myself nodding throughout the book, saying yes, yep, been there, done that. I suspect we all have – or will – find ourselves in similar situations. That’s not to say that Rosie did nothing except make mistakes. Along her journey, she made true friends, learned real lessons, renewed her self-esteem and discovered that she could fall down, take chances, and get back up again to carry on. She found love and laughter in the most unusual places but learned that she also could stand on her own two feet when she needed to do so.

Rosie’s Traveling Tea Shop is a wonderfully written story of friendship, love, self-discovery and person growth – a true delight to read for all.

Many thanks to #Netgalley, @Jaxandwillsmum and @HQDigital

 

More Than Words @JillSantopolo – Publication Day

More Than Words is a beautifully written, poignant story of life, love, metamorphosis and relationships.

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Nina Gregory is an heiress to one of the most wealthy hoteliers in the US. She was raised by an authoritative but very loving father who was her sole parent after the tragic death of her mother. She knows that someday she will have to take over the helm of her family’s successful business, but for now, she is very happily involved in her job as speech writer for up and coming politician and NYC Mayoral candidate, Rafael O’Connor-Ruiz. Nina also is very happily dating her childhood best friend, Tim, whose family has been a part of her life forever. Tim’s parents are intricately involved in the hotel’s business and his parents and Nina’s have been friends since their university days. The only cloud in Nina’s world is that her beloved father is dying of cancer. Upon her father’s death, Nina slowly begins to discover secrets about their company and her mother’s death. As the ramifications of these lies and misdeeds are revealed, Nina realizes that her life, her legacy and the image she has worked so hard to maintain has been a ruse. It is now up to her to put the pieces back together and to create the company and woman she truly desires .

At the heart of More Than Words is a romance, a love story, but the book is far more than that. It isn’t solely about the love that Nina has for the men she has fallen for, but also about her own self love and self worth; the love she believes she has missed by not having a mother in her life; the adoration and love she has/had for her father despite his many shortcomings and the love she has for the strong women in her life. It is a story of self-discovery and how people, especially women, are admonished to behave, look and dress in certain ways in order to fulfill rigid expectations and, often, those expectations don’t correspond to the person’s true identity. As Nina’s façade begins to crack and fall around her, she discovers her true self and what emerges is completely different and beautiful. That is the true story of More Than Words and it is a lesson for us all to learn. It is significant and touching and Santopolo has done a masterful job illustrating this caveat of wisdom for us through a touching love story.  With February being the “month of love,” what better way to celebrate than reading a love story?

Thank you to #Edelweiss, #JillSantopolo and @PutnamBooks for my copy of #MoreThanWords on sale now.