Book Review: Summer at Lake Haven

Goodreads Summary:

Samantha Fremont may still be grappling with her mother’s death, but this summer she’s determined to build a new life for herself. Starting with making her friend’s dream wedding dress and establishing herself as a boutique fashion designer in the process. What she does not need is a surprise litter of puppies, the voice in the back of her mind saying she can’t do any of this—or her friend’s gorgeous brother who’s visiting from England for the wedding.

Ian Somerhill knows a sabbatical in Haven Point is exactly what his children need to recover from their own mother’s death. And even if he and Sam got off on the wrong foot, she has a way with Miranda and Thomas. As Sam—and her adorable puppies—bond with his children, they fall into a friendship unlike any he’s had in a long time. But Ian has obligations in England her can’t ignore—and a complicated past that might just stop this summer romance from ever blooming into something more.

My Thoughts:

Remember when you were a kid, and summer seemed to last forever and was all about playing outside, reading all night, fireflies and popsicles? That is what this book made me feel while I was reading it – like I was on an endless summer vacation. It was so light and easy and happy – plus, it had puppies and a rumply, British professor love interest…

Samantha is a romantic – how could you not be, if you are a wedding dress designer? She and her late mother used to run a boutique together – now that her mother is gone, the boutique is Samantha’s, which she runs while designing custom wedding dresses as well. Samantha is learning to live life out from under the shadow of her sharp tongued mother, who seemed to always have a derisive or mocking thing to say, even to her devoted daughter. Starry-eyed Sam, she would call her, making fun (and not in a lighthearted teasing way) of Samantha’s quick propensity to fall in love. So now that Sam is on her own for the first time ever, she is trying to override that little voice inside that wants to hold her back, that niggling of self-doubt.

When Ian and his family move in next door for the summer, Samantha vows she will not fall head over heels for this handsome, fish obsessed professor. She has learned her lesson. Ian has a past – and future – of his own that overshadows any hope of a relationship, the least of which is the geographical distance.

I enjoyed this easy little summer read very much – I love RaeAnne Thayne and Haven Point, so this was a sweet return to favorite characters. They just make me smile! And this book was no different. I loved seeing the evolution of Samantha and Ian, and also their own personal growth overcoming the history that is weighing them down.

All in all, a must read for your summer reading, whether you are on a beach or just at home!

Thank you to NetGalley for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Cliff House by RaeAnne Thayne

cliff house

Goodreads Summary:

After the death of their mother, sisters Daisy and Beatriz Davenport found a home with their aunt Stella in the beautiful and welcoming town of Cape Sanctuary. They never knew all the dreams that Stella sacrificed to ensure they had everything they’d ever need. Now, with Daisy and Bea grown, it’s time for Stella to reveal the secret she’s been keeping from them—a secret that will change their family forever.

Bea thought she’d sown all her wild oats when she got pregnant far too young. The marriage that followed was rocky and not destined to last, but it gave Bea her wonderful, mature, now eleven-year-old daughter, Marisol. But just as she’s beginning to pursue a new love with an old friend, Bea’s ex-husband resurfaces and turns their lives completely upside down.

Then there’s Daisy—sensible, rational, financially prudent Daisy. She’s never taken a risk in her life—until she meets a man who makes her question everything she thought she knew about life, love and the power of taking chances.

In this heartwarming story, Stella, Bea and Daisy will discover that the path to true happiness is filled with twists and turns, but love always leads them back home.

My Thoughts:

This book had a different feel from the other books I have read by Thayne. Her books have a certain essence about them, quirky, feel good, small town. The Cliff House felt more serious, although still had that small town goodness I love. While this book was a little different, I still very much enjoyed it – actually, I really came to like the change!

Stella, Bea, and Daisy are three women who deal with some real world big issues.  Stella raised her two nieces, Bea and Daisy, after their mother passed away – but as her sister was a bit wild and a bit lost, she didn’t know that her sister had died until Daisy and Bea had spent a year in foster care, in separate houses. When Stella found out, she dropped all her life plans and took her nieces in, raising them although she was just a young woman really herself.

Daisy is a tightly controlled woman, a widow at a young age, after marrying a man older than her who had had a terminal disease. She keeps her emotions in check, and views herself as the sensible one, while her sister Bea is artistic and creative and follows her heart and emotions. Well, with one exception that she means to change until her ex-husband Cruz steps back into the picture.

There is so much rich backstory in this novel, and I don’t want to give too much away. So many layers to uncover as you read, and I would hate to take away from those revelations as they occur. However, I will say that all three of these women are at a crossroads – and have some secrets that they need to share.

My favorite story line was Stella’s. Stella is forty, and we find out right away that she is pregnant, something she had wanted for a long time. Stella is a teacher and foster parent, besides raising her nieces, and is such a nurturing, caring soul. I really could relate to her character, as I was considered a “geriatric pregnancy” since I was over 38 when I was pregnant with my son. Lol. I understand her fears and concerns and also her hopes and dreams. I found Stella to be beautifully written, and I feel that Thayne really understood this character very well to write her as she did, so perfectly. That is not to say I didn’t enjoy Daisy and Bea’s journey’s as well, but Stella’s spoke to my own heart.

I found this book to be a wonderful read – it had real emotion and soul, and I found these character’s stories moving, particularly Daisy’s and Stella’s. I honestly wasn’t super interested in Bea’s character or story all that much, but it did provide a less intense story line. Overall, I would definitely recommend this one! It is a moody read, not as lighthearted throughout, but has great heartwarming moments and a sense of family and love. I think this is a great read for anytime, but would be especially good on a rainy day with a cup of tea, a perfect book to sink into on a cozy day.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Little Bird Publicity and Harlequin!

Book Review and Giveaway: Season of Wonder by RaeAnne Thayne

season of wonder    This book was given to me by Lake Union Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Summary:

Dani Capelli seized a chance to start over in a small town with her daughters. Now, facing her first Christmas in Haven Point, she wonders if leaving New York was a mistake. Dani loves working alongside veterinarian Dr. Morales, but her two children aren’t adjusting to small-town life. And then there’s Dr. Morales’s son, Ruben—Dani’s next-door neighbor. Gorgeous, muscled and dependable, the deputy sheriff is everything she secretly craves and can’t bear to risk loving…and losing.

Ruben never pictured himself falling for a big-city woman like Dani. But beneath her prickly facade, she’s caring and softhearted and she needs all the love and protection he can give. When Dani’s teenage daughter starts acting out, Ruben draws on family traditions to show the girls just how magical a Haven Point Christmas can be. But can he convince Dani that she’s found a home for the holidays—and forever—in his arms?

My Thoughts:

I have often said there is nothing happier than a Christmas romance novel, and this is no exception. I am a pretty seasonal reader – I tend to read with the seasons, and have a hard time with summery books in winter, and so on. But a Christmas romance I can generally read anytime, especially if I am going through something and need some happy in my life.

And this book certainly delivers on the uplifting, have faith in people, love one another front. Haven Point is all about second chances, so veterinarian Dani Capelli has landed in the right place for a new start with her two daughters. She works for just the type of vet you would expect in a small town, kindly and sweet. And Dani herself, despite a sort of standoffish demeanor with the residents of Haven Point, is nothing but love and cuddles and concern when it comes to the resident’s pets.  Dani would love to make Haven Point work for her and her daughters, but find herself holding everyone she meets at arm’s length, especially her boss’ attractive son Ruben.

However, when her daughter Silver lands herself in some hot water, Ruben steps in to help Dani and the family out. This whole thing, Ruben and his interactions with Dani, Silver, and Mia, is so heartwarming, that it makes the entire book. Ruben gives the benefit of the doubt where so many wouldn’t, and takes the Capelli family under his wing. He introduces Dani and her daughters to the traditions of the season in Haven Point, slowly but surely winning them over, one by one.

But Dani has a secret that she feels she needs to hide from the town. Can she trust Ruben with her secret, and her heart?

I loved this book. I loved Dani and Ruben, and my heart went out to poor Silver. But it is the sense of community in these books that gets me. A small town that cares about its residents, where people know each other, help each other, do things like bake cookies and shovel snow for neighbors. Practice forgiveness, extend a little understanding and compassion, and are not so quick to judge. The fact that all of this is taking place at Christmas makes it all the better. This book was a quick read, but a very good one. Perfect for a day that you need a pick-me-up!

The Giveaway!

To enter to win a brand spanking new copy of this book, just leave me a comment here with your email on this post by midnight on September 24th! A comment about a winter or holiday tradition would be fun, but not necessary. 🙂  I will choose the winner via randomize.com.

You don’t need a blog to win, just an email! Must also live in the US to be eligible for mailing purposes.