Veiled Gems (Diamond Knot Dreams Book 1) by Mary Manners

My Review

Lila Brooks has picked Clover Cove, home of the Cutler’s and the Cutler’s Nursery (A Tender Season) as her perfect place to start her wedding business.

Morgan Holt agrees to assist Lila with renovating a charming, albeit neglected, Victorian home into a one-stop bridal shop.

Things go awry from the beginning and don’t seem to get better as time goes on.

I enjoyed this story for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was the renovation aspect. The details of what is and is not possible during the renovation brought back pleasant memories of when I worked in new and renovation construction.

My heart felt for Morgan; I could understand how hard it was for him to let his guard down enough to allow others into his life.

Mary Manners always pulls you into the story and doesn’t let go. Her characters are relatable, her cities ever so charming and she doesn’t paint life as always being a bed of roses. In fact, she has quite a few thorns that have to be avoided or picked out after getting too close!

Veiled Gems, book one of the Diamond Knot Dreams Books, is just the right size story for a quick escape, one I’m sure you will enjoy!

Publisher’s Review

Lila Brooks believes in fairytale endings for everyone but herself. She coaxes her dream of opening a wedding shop into reality when she commissions Morgan Holt to transform a run-down Victorian house into an all-inclusive bridal boutique, Diamond Knot Dreams. Clover Cove’s residents have whispered that the house is filled with spirits, but superstitions have no place in Lila’s life.

Morgan Holt spent the better part of his youth transplanted from one foster home to another. Separated from his older brother, Gunnar, at an early age, they’re reunited shortly after Morgan’s arrival to Clover Cove. But the last thing Morgan wants is to trust his heart again to a family—or a woman as beautiful as Lila Brooks. He has plans to finish work on the Victorian and then ride off into the sunset, a move he’s perfected over the years.

Soon Lila and Morgan have a chance at their own Happily Ever After, but will events from the past destroy their future?

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A Tender Season (Diamond Knot Dreams Book 0) by Mary Manners

My Review

A Tender Season is Mary Manners’ prequel to the Diamond Knot Series of novellas (In case you wondered about the Book 0 in the title!).  The story, by necessity, is short, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good book, or have a good plot!

I enjoyed this short, tender story of love the second time around, where the two main characters of the novella weren’t sure if they would ever face love again.

One aspect I really enjoyed and was pleasantly surprised by was the age of the characters. It’s unusual, but refreshing, to encounter a couple that is older-by that I mean, past college, career building and child-bearing years.

A Tender Season is short enough to read quickly but long enough to whet your appetite for more, so be sure to take a 30 minute or so break and read this delightful story!

Mary Manners has done a wonderful job with her prequel, and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

Publisher’s Summary

Love blooms in the most unlikely places…

Hattie Cutler and Anthony Moretto have both survived the death of their spouses. With children grown and the Cutler Nursery business flourishing, Hattie decides it’s time to turn her attention to other endeavors. A community garden on the church grounds is just the place to start. She spearheads the project, and when Anthony steps in to offer his assistance more than gardening is on the agenda. The two have shared a long-time friendship which has blossomed into love; that truth is clear to everyone—with the exception of Hattie and Anthony. But can the two learn to sow more than vegetables and, in turn, reap a beautiful future together?

To Gain a Bodyguard (Gaining Love Series, #3) by Tanya Eavenson

My Review

Life is hectic for agents Madi Reynolds and Brice Johnson. When you throw in Madi’s brother’s wedding (scheduled around Christmas no less), Brice’s struggle with PTSD, issues concerning human trafficking and then top it all off by a threat on Madi’s life, then things go from hectic to frenetic in no time! To Gain a Bodyguard introduces us to the two ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents with feelings for each other. Both are afraid to show, or even admit to themselves, for a myriad of reasons, their true feelings.

Tanya Eavenson always manages to pack a lot into her novellas, and she does so again this time. Yet, you don’t feel lost or bewildered in the short story. There are many endearing moments, along with some scary situations. I began to care about each of the main characters, riding on a roller-coaster of emotions with them, hoping things would turn out well for everyone. I also appreciated the strength they drew from their faith. There’s a slight cliff-hanger at the end, leaving me with the hope that this isn’t the last we’ll see of Madi and Brice!

I was delighted to be able to catch up with Amabelle and Patrick too, whom we met in Eavenson’s previous books, To Gain a Mommy and To Gain a Valentine. Don’t worry if you haven’t read either of them, as each story stands alone.

If you are looking for a short, atypical romance story, then look no further than To Gain a Bodyguard, (Gaining Love Series, #3) by Tanya Eavenson.  (It is also part of the upcoming box set of Christmas romance novellas, titled Winter’s Kiss by multiple authors).

I received this book from the author, Tanya Eavenson. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Review

Undercover ICE agent Madi Reynolds has spent years infiltrating a human-trafficking ring, but when her life is threatened, she is forced to walk away and advised to leave the country. Undeterred, she continues her plan to attend her brother’s Christmas wedding, with her partner assigned as her bodyguard. But after seeing Brice care for her niece, she finds it’s more than her life that needs protecting. Is there really any defense for the heart?

War Veteran and ICE agent Brice Johnson has been defending his country and American lives for as long as he can remember. Now, he faces the biggest assignment of his life–protect the woman he loves. He’s never been one to run from a fight, but when an old flame butts in expecting a second chance with Madi, and crippling visions of war call out to him, he begins to wonder if surrender is an option after all.

Thursday Throwback – To Gain A Mommy

to-gain-a-mommy

About the Book

They had a plan, but will it work?

Thirteen years ago, pediatrician Hope Michaels was the fool-hearted girl who came home from college to learn the man she loved was engaged to her twin. But now to move on with her life and accept a proposal of marriage, she must confront the one man who holds the key to the wounds of her past.

Fire Captain Carl McGuire can put out any flame, except for the one Hope sparks within him. As she stirs up his life and heart, Carl knows some things never change. Even a past he’d rather keep hidden.

When a new neighbor moves in across the street who would be a perfect fit for their family, Mary and Brody form a plan to bring their dad and Hope together. But how will it work if Hope keeps pushing him away?

My Review

Widower Carl McGuire is trying to carry on after the death of his wife, Faith. He and his children, Mary and Brody, are getting on with their lives, until Hope Michaels moves in across the street, throwing everyone’s life into an uproar.

Hope relocated her pediatric firm back to her hometown to be close to her Mom. Little did she know, she would be moving across the street from the only man she had ever loved, the one who betrayed her and broke her heart.

I really enjoyed To Gain a Mommy. The children were so true to life. Mary is twelve with a going on 20 attitude and Brody is eight, and loves dogs, and don’t even get me started on Hope’s dog, Goldie. She is such a sweetheart! I appreciated feeling as if I was getting to know each character, and in getting to know them, to also understand why they chose certain paths or behaved a particular way.

Even though this is a novella, the characters are well-rounded. As you read the story, you become invested in their pains, hopes and dreams.

Tanya Eavenson has written a short (only 93 pages), sweet story of heartbreak, betrayal and redemption. To Gain a Mommy is a quick read and a great book to curl up with on a lazy day.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

(Originally posted 2-27-2017. I am re-posting in conjunction with CelebrateLit’s tour, I am under no obligation to do so, nor was I asked to do so.)

Honeysuckle Cove Secrets by Mary Manners

Publisher’s Summary

Peyton Foster harbors a secret…from the day he first stepped into her life she’s loved Luke Maddox. Though she thought they’d developed a lasting friendship, events surrounding her mother’s death chased him away. It’s all for the best, since Peyton’s passion as proprietor of A Whisper in Time proves the perfect complement to her shyness—a much better fit than her former misguided schoolgirl attraction to Luke.

Luke Maddox feels a connection with Peyton Foster from the first moment their paths cross. But when he settles in Honeysuckle Cove, a past riddled by years traversing the foster care system leaves him longing to fit in, leading him to take part in a foolish school dare that costs him Peyton’s friendship. Haunted by the mistake, he searches for a way to mend the past and find a way back to Peyton’s heart. When a break-in at A Whisper in Time causes their paths to once again cross, Luke must make a choice—bare his heart and face the consequences, or allow the only woman he’s ever loved to slip away.

My Review

Feeling overwhelmed after a break-in at her business, Peyton Foster contacts Luke Maddox, the owner of a local alarm company. She expects to hear, “I told you so,” from Luke since he had warned her this might happen. Not wanting to believe anyone in Honeysuckle Cove would break into her business, she didn’t heed his advice.

Honeysuckle Cove Secrets may be a novella, but it covers a lot of issues, not the least of which are crime, abandonment, betrayal . . . to name a few. However, the story flows smoothly.

I enjoyed getting to know Peyton and Luke, learning their fears and heartfelt desires. Even more fun was catching up with old friends Maggie Brennan and Dylan O’Conner from book one, Sunrise at Honeysuckle Inn. Also, the city folklore lives on!

Mary Manners’ newest novella is a wonderful story of forgiveness, along with a hint of mystery and intrigue. Book three in the series can easily be read as a standalone book, except then you would miss out on the fun of meeting and liking the charming people of Honeysuckle Cove. It is a perfect story for when you want to read a quick and appealing romance with relatable characters you will come to love.

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

To Gain a Valentine by Tanya Eavenson

To Gain a Valentine

Publisher’s Summary

Pediatrician Patrick Reynolds works wonders with sick children, yet when it comes to pets, he’s clueless. But caring for his sister’s menagerie while she’s on vacation is the perfect answer to working through a broken engagement. Hoping to escape the memories, he returns to his hometown, the last place he’d expect to find love.

Life as a single mom is never easy, but pet shop owner Amabelle Durand has found contentment. When an old friend returns to care for his sister’s pets, he enlists her assistance to keep the animals alive. But when Amabelle’s young daughter falls ill, she finds herself attracted to more than the handsome pediatrician’s medical skills.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, will Patrick and Amabelle miss out on the love they’ve always desired? Or will their love take flight under the stars on this very special night?

My Review

Tanya Eavenson reintroduces us to Patrick, who had a pivotal role in To Gain a Mommy. He comes back to his hometown to assist his sister while she’s on vacation. He is trying to put hurts and disillusionment behind him, but how can he when he keeps losing his nephew’s pets? HIs character is so lovable, he’s a great pediatrician, but he’s a lousy pet keeper. However not for lack of trying. How was he to know that in addition to hamsters, lizards and parakeets, there would be a suitcase and clothes eating Lab?

Amabelle Durand is a struggling single mom and the busy owner of a pet shop. When her daughter, Abby, falls ill, she seeks the help of Patrick since the nearest doctor is an hour’s drive away.

I enjoyed To Gain a Valentine, book two in the Gaining Love Series. The story is short, only 93 pages, but a lot is packed into those pages. You will find laugh out loud moments, along with some anger and a few “aww” moments, too.

If you are looking for a quick story and sweet clean romance, then you will want to check out Tanya Eavenson’s newest novella.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

To Gain a Mommy (Gaining Love Book 1)

to-gain-a-mommy

About the Book

They had a plan, but will it work?

Thirteen years ago, pediatrician Hope Michaels was the fool-hearted girl who came home from college to learn the man she loved was engaged to her twin. But now to move on with her life and accept a proposal of marriage, she must confront the one man who holds the key to the wounds of her past.

Fire Captain Carl McGuire can put out any flame, except for the one Hope sparks within him. As she stirs up his life and heart, Carl knows some things never change. Even a past he’d rather keep hidden.

When a new neighbor moves in across the street who would be a perfect fit for their family, Mary and Brody form a plan to bring their dad and Hope together. But how will it work if Hope keeps pushing him away?

My Review

Widower Carl McGuire is trying to carry on after the death of his wife, Faith. He and his children, Mary and Brody, are getting on with their lives, until Hope Michaels moves in across the street, throwing everyone’s life into an uproar.

Hope relocated her pediatric firm back to her hometown to be close to her Mom. Little did she know, she would be moving across the street from the only man she had ever loved, the one who betrayed her and broke her heart.

I really enjoyed To Gain a Mommy. The children were so true to life. Mary is twelve with a going on 20 attitude and Brody is eight, and loves dogs, and don’t even get me started on Hope’s dog, Goldie. She is such a sweetheart! I appreciated feeling as if I was getting to know each character, and in getting to know them, to also understand why they chose certain paths or behaved a particular way.

Even though this is a novella, the characters are well rounded. As you read the story, you become invested in their pains, hopes and dreams.

Tanya Eavenson has written a short (only 93 pages), sweet story of heartbreak, betrayal and redemption. To Gain a Mommy is a quick read and a great book to curl up with on a lazy day.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Monday’s Fiction

Christmas Star Novella

Christmas Star Sapphire: A Second Generation Jewel Series Novella (The Jewel Series Book 6)

by Hallee Bridgeman

About Book

MADELINE VISCOLLI finds herself on the Gulf shores of Alabama, where she takes part in a graduate program to earn her MBA. On her first day there, she meets JOE WESTCOTT, team leader for a campus ministry. Despite a mutual attraction, Joe’s personal rule of no romance with any student keeps any kind of deep relationship from developing.

Joe has no desire to have a relationship with anyone, ever, anyway. He left a life of luxury and his family’s business behind to live alone on a sailboat and serve in ministry. Then Madeline walks into the auditorium the week school starts and Joe suspects his personal rules might not apply to this graduate student.

That is, until he discovers Madeline is one of the Viscollis, and that her destiny lay in running her father’s massive corporation. Having rejected wealth and all its trappings since childhood, Joe finds himself falling for the vivacious sapphire-eyed beauty. Madeline knows she loves Joe, but is not willing to throw away her destiny of taking over at the helm of Viscolli Enterprises.

A Christmas Eve funeral washes all Joe’s plans away. Will their love succumb to the rising tide caused by their differences in lifestyles, or will raging seas calm and allow them to sail off into the sunset?

My thoughts

Hallee Bridgeman introduces the second generation of the Jewel Series with Christmas Star Sapphire.

In this charming novella, we catch up with Madeline Viscolli, daughter of Tony and Robin Viscolli of the vast Viscolli enterprises. Madeline moved to Gulf Shores, Alabama (a beautiful area, by the way!) to earn her MBA. During her undergraduate years, she has been very active in Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ).

On Madeline’s first day, she meets Joe Westcott, team leader for Cru. She is understandably too tired, after a lengthy flight to stay for the meeting. However, after further meetings and getting to know Joe, she feels a deep attraction to him. Joe, on the other hand, has sworn off love, especially if the woman involved comes with lots of money.

As Joe and Madeline get to know each other better, Joe begins to question everything he, heretofore believed. Can he put aside his attraction? Should he even put it aside?

Hallee Bridgeman has written an interesting and intriguing story highlighting the struggles faced when one has a lot of wealth. She has developed the characters well and imbued them with a deep spiritual connection to God.

Christmas Star Sapphire works well as a standalone, but the story is so good you want to read the stories of the first generation Viscollis.

Miss Bridgeman has also included discussion questions and a delicious luncheon menu, complete with recipes, at the end of the story.

I received this book from BookCrash in exchange for an honest review.