Book Review: Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber

 

 

Merry Smith is pretty busy these days. She’s taking care of her family, baking cookies, decorating for the holidays, and hoping to stay out of the crosshairs of her stressed and by-the-book boss at the consulting firm where she temps. Her own social life is the last thing she has in mind, much less a man. Without her knowledge, Merry’s well-meaning mom and brother create an online dating profile for her—minus her photo—and the matches start rolling in. Initially, Merry is incredulous, but she reluctantly decides to give it a whirl.

Soon Merry finds herself chatting with a charming stranger, a man with similar interests and an unmistakably kind soul. Their online exchanges become the brightest part of her day. But meeting face-to-face is altogether different, and her special friend is the last person Merry expects—or desires. Still, sometimes hearts can see what our eyes cannot. In this satisfying seasonal tale, unanticipated love is only a click away.

Ebook from Netgalley in exchange for a review.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Debbie Macomber (and the day after I finished this one, I got the offer of another one from a friend in London! yay!).

Anyway, Merry is temping for a company, as she saves up enough money to go back to college. She lives with her parents and her younger brother Patrick, who (as someone born with Down’s Syndrome) has an alternative view on life, that can often be more positive and simpler than Merry would care to give credit for.  As she’s not planning to stick around after Christmas, she’s not kicked up a fuss when the HR department gets her nameplate wrong and rechristens her “Mary”. In fact, it makes things a little easier, when it turns out she gets into trouble with her “by the rules” boss, who then turns out to be her online date.

Told mainlyfrom Merry’s point of view, we also hear a little from Jayson’s point of view, especially what makes him sign up to the dating website in the first place. We get to see Merry’s interaction with her brother and mother, but I got little about her father, and nothing about Jayson’s father or uncle, except for a reference about how Jayson had fallen out with his father.

In talking to Merry online, Jayson begins to realise that there’s more to life than work and the mandated overtime that’s been put in place for the report he needs ahead of Christmas. Such as baking cookies for the neighbours; allowing people to put Christmas decorations up; and that perhaps aggressively enforcing the “no eating at your desk” rule, whilst making people work overtime could have been addressed differently.  Finally Jayson’s friend Cooper persuades him to pay attention to both Merry and Mary, especially after Merry has decided not to meet him In Real Life. Similar to the film “Shop around the Corner”, Jayson finds that taking the time out to talk to a real person can be as enjoyable as anything, if you’ve found the right person.

Whilst some of Macomber’s books can be a little predictable, it’s the telling that makes them enjoyable, and the little details she adds in that make people keep coming back. This is a great read in the run up to Christmas, and adds a little cheer to what can be a stressful time of the year

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Book Review: The Manning Sisters by Debbie Macomber

manningsisters

The Manning Sisters by Debbie Macomber

“The only woman who interests me is you.”–Russ Palmer, rancher

When Taylor Manning accepts a teaching job in Cougar Point, Montana, she discovers that life there is very different from life in Seattle. So are the men She soon notices a handsome, opinionated, stubborn rancher named Russ Palmer, and he notices her. In fact, they more than notice each other…. After only a few months, Taylor’s certain of one thing. Despite their conflicting backgrounds, she’d love to be The Cowboy’s Lady.

“I feel as if I’ve been waiting for you all my life.”

–Cody Franklin, sheriff of Custer County

The first day Christy Manning visits her sister, Taylor, she meets Sheriff Cody Franklin. To Christy’s shock–and Cody’s–they’re immediately attracted to each other. Intensely attracted. There’s a problem, though. Christy’s engaged to someone else, someone back in Seattle. So what’s the solution? See what happens when The Sheriff Takes a Wife…

Two books in one, both originally published in the early 1990s.

 

The Cowboy’s Lady

Taylor moves to a small town as their new teacher, hoping for a little peace and quiet as she mends her broken heart. It’s all different to what she’s used to as a city girl – they dont take Amex, there’s no cell phones or pizza delivery service. Somehow she gets involved with a cowboy who reminds her too much of her father in his stubborn, male chauvinistic ways. Somehow they fall in love with each other, and end up doing a “quicky” wedding in Reno, much to her family’s disapproval

 

The Sheriff takes a Wife

Christy is Taylor’s sister and has barely had time to unpack before Taylor goes into labour. She has two weeks vacation, and uses it to not only keep an eye on her sister, but meet up with her brother in law’s best friend Cody. They are attracted to each other and there is one unfortunate issue – Christy is engaged to the appropriate but boring James,  who her parents approve of, but she is not in love with.  Returning home from her 2 weeks away, her parents present her with a horrible situation and she struggles to extricate herself from it, without upsetting her family – especially after Taylor’s quicky marriage the year before

Both books reflect the times they were written in – no cell phones, no internet, and none of that sex-before-marriage malarkey.  Neither are the best romance novels I’ve read, but then again, not the worst.

Book Review: 1225 Christmas Tree Lane by Debbie Macomber

1225

1225 Christmas Tree Lane by Debbie Macomber

The people of Cedar Cove know how to celebrate Christmas. Like Grace and Olivia and everyone else, Beth Morehouse expects this Christmas to be one of her best. Her small Christmas-tree farm is prospering, her daughters and her dogs are happy and well, and her new relationship with local vet Ted Reynolds is showing plenty of romantic promise.But…someone recently left a basket filled with puppies on her doorstep, puppies she’s determined to place in good homes. That’s complication number one. And number two is that her daughters Bailey and Sophie have invited their dad, Beth’s ex-husband, Kent, to Cedar Cove for Christmas. The girls have visions of a mom-and-dad reunion dancing in their heads.As always in life ? and in Cedar Cove ? there are surprises, too. More than one family’s going to have a puppy under the tree. More than one scheme will go awry. And more than one romance will have a happy ending What would the holidays be without a new Christmas story from Debbie Macomber?

Number 12 in the Cedar Cove series and given to me as part of a Christmas present from a friend.

Lots of characters from previous books, many of them getting the odd precis of their previous story to remind old hands who is who, and to allow new readers to catch up and put people in context.

The primary focus of this book is Beth, who has been in Cedar Cove for just under 3 years, after her divorce from her husband Kent.  She has a casual relationship with Ted, the local vet, but her daughters have invited Kent over for Christmas in a desire to have then reconcile. Unfortunately, Kent brings his “friend” Danielle along for the trip, and there are multiple chances that are missed between Beth and Kent in the run up to Christmas Day.

Meanwhile other members of the Cedar Cove Community are involved, as Beth has found herself in possession of 10 puppies that have been abandoned on her doorstep, and she wants to find owners for them before she goes on holiday just after Christmas. This allows all the families to get a short inclusion in this story as they search for presents.

As this is number 12, and written specifically for Christmas, there are no new characters to be introduced in this book, and it does feel a bit like a “holding pattern” book, that can either finish off the series or gather it together to start for a new beginning.  It’s nothing groundbreaking, but is a reasonable inclusion in the Cedar Cove and Debbie Macomber stable

New Acquisitions – December 2013

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

A lovely paperback version sent to me by Harper Collins (I must stop interacting with Publishers on twitter!)

Roger Ackroyd knew too much. He knew that the woman he loved had poisoned her brutal first husband. He suspected also that someone had been blackmailing her. Now, tragically, came the news that she had taken her own life with a drug overdose. But the evening post brought Roger one last fatal scrap of information. Unfortunately, before he could finish the letter, he was stabbed to death…

medeaThe Medea Complex by Rachel Florence Roberts

An ebook version obtained free from Amazon.co.uk.

1885. Anne Stanbury. Committed to a lunatic asylum, having been deemed insane and therefore unfit to stand trial for the crime of which she is indicted. But is all as it seems? Edgar Stanbury. The grieving husband and father who is torn between helping his confined wife recover her sanity and seeking revenge on the woman who ruined his life.

Dr George Savage. The well-respected psychiatrist and chief medical officer of Bethlem Royal Hospital. Ultimately, he holds Anne’s future wholly in his hands.

burnablebookA Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger.

Another book received from HarperCollins, due out at the end of January

In Chaucer’s London, betrayal, murder and intrigue swirl around the existence of a prophetic book that foretells the deaths of England’s kings. A Burnable Book is an irresistible thriller, reminiscent of classics like An Instance of the Fingerpost, The Name of the Rose and The Crimson Petal and the White.

London, 1385. Surrounded by ruthless courtiers—including his powerful uncle, John of Gaunt, and Gaunt’s flamboyant mistress, Katherine Swynford—England’s young, still untested king, Richard II, is in mortal peril, and the danger is only beginning. Songs are heard across London—catchy verses said to originate from an
ancient book that prophesies the end of England’s kings—and among the book’s predictions is Richard’s assassination. Only a few powerful men know that the cryptic lines derive from a “burnable book,” a seditious work that threatens the stability of the realm. To find the manuscript, wily bureaucrat Geoffrey Chaucer turns to fellow poet John Gower, a professional trader in information with connections high and low.

manningsistersThe Manning Sisters by Debbie Macomber

When Taylor Manning accepts a teaching job in Cougar Point, Montana, she discovers that life there is very different from life in Seattle. So are the men She soon notices a handsome, opinionated, stubborn rancher named Russ Palmer, and he notices her. In fact, they more than notice each other…. After only a few months, Taylor’s certain of one thing. Despite their conflicting backgrounds, she’d love to be The Cowboy’s Lady.

The first day Christy Manning visits her sister, Taylor, she meets Sheriff Cody Franklin. To Christy’s shock–and Cody’s–they’re immediately attracted to each other. Intensely attracted. There’s a problem, though. Christy’s engaged to someone else, someone back in Seattle. So what’s the solution? See what happens when The Sheriff Takes a Wife…

On loan from another Macomber fan (with warnings about being rather “romance-y”….!

strangenorrellJonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Read this years ago, but found a copy in a charity shop over the Christmas period, so brought another copy

At the dawn of the nineteenth century, two very different magicians emerge to change England’s history. In the year 1806, with the Napoleonic Wars raging on land and sea, most people believe magic to be long dead in England—until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers, and becomes a celebrity overnight.

Soon, another practicing magician comes forth: the young, handsome, and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell’s student, and they join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear.

 

And coming into the books I received at Christmas!

12251225 Christmas Tree Lane by Debbie Macomber

The people of Cedar Cove know how to celebrate Christmas. Like Grace and Olivia and everyone else, Beth Morehouse expects this Christmas to be one of her best. Her small Christmas-tree farm is prospering, her daughters and her dogs are happy and well, and her new relationship with local vet Ted Reynolds is showing plenty of romantic promise.But…someone recently left a basket filled with puppies on her doorstep, puppies she’s determined to place in good homes. That’s complication number one. And number two is that her daughters Bailey and Sophie have invited their dad, Beth’s ex-husband, Kent, to Cedar Cove for Christmas. The girls have visions of a mom-and-dad reunion dancing in their heads.As always in life ? and in Cedar Cove ? there are surprises, too. More than one family’s going to have a puppy under the tree. More than one scheme will go awry. And more than one romance will have a happy ending What would the holidays be without a newChristmas story from Debbie Macomber?

The ShuttleThe Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Shuttle is about American heiresses marrying English aristocrats; by extension it is about the effect of American energy, dynamism and affluence on an effete and impoverished English ruling class. Sir Nigel Anstruthers crosses the Atlantic to look for a rich wife and returns with the daughter of an American millionaire, Rosalie Vanderpoel. He turns out to be a bully, a miser and a philanderer and virtually imprisons his wife in the house. Only when Rosalie’s sister Bettina is grown up does it occur to her and her father that some sort of rescue expedition should take place. And the beautiful, kind and dynamic Bettina leaves for Europe to try and find out why Rosalie has, inexplicably, chosen to lose touch with her family. In the process she engages in a psychological war with Sir Nigel; meets and falls in love with another Englishman; and starts to use the Vanderpoel money to modernize ‘Stornham Court’.

twomrsabbottsThe Two Mrs Abbotts by D. E. Stevenson

Mrs Abbott is flustered at the thought of putting up a lady from the Red Cross, but is happily surprised when she turns out to be an old friend from her previous life as Miss Buncle, infamous writer.

Of course, she’s now far too busy with her children to write, not to mention helping out in the lives of the villagers. And with a possible spy in their midst, evacuated families, potential love matches and a visit from a famous writer, she’s got her work cut out for her. Luckily for her, the other Mrs Abbott is around to help.

My Review of Miss Buncle’s Book

highwagesHigh Wages by Dorothy Whipple

Read this recently, but didnt get my own Persephone edition, so this is it!

It is about a girl called Jane who gets a badly-paid job in a draper’s shop in the early years of the last century. Yet the title of the book is based on a Carlyle quotation – ‘Experience doth take dreadfully high wages, but she teacheth like none other’ – and Jane, having saved some money and been lent some by a friend, opens her own dress-shop.

My review of the book can be found here

greenbanksGreenbanks by Dorothy Whipple

An early novel by Persephone’s most popular author about an early 20th century family and, in particular, the relationship of the grandmother and granddaughter.

Greenbanks was Dorothy Whipple’s third novel – her first was Young Anne and her second High Wages (see above!)

 

 

 

 

 

New Acquisitions – October 2013

Actually picked up a couple of these at the end of September – after my previous post – so I decided to add them here instead
drsleepDoctor Sleep by Stephen King
Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals called The True Knot who travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

King rarely does sequels (The Last Gunslinger books are the exception and more of a series than a set of sequels).  This is what happens when we check on Danny, whose already been through the nightmare of The Shining, and all grown up now.  Preordered in my local Waterstones store and actually picked up on the day of release (so a September book really!).  Took part in a readalong so you may have seen the posts from me elsewhere

ftmFortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman

A little boy and his little sister awake one morning, milkless. Their mother is away on business, their father is buried in the paper, and their Toastios are dry. What are young siblings to do? They impress upon their father that his tea is also without milk and sit back to watch their plan take effect. But something goes amiss, and their father doesn’t return and doesn’t return some more. When he does, finally, he has a story to tell, a story involving aliens; pirates; ponies; wumpires (not the handsome, brooding kind); and a stegosaurus professor who pilots a Floaty-Ball-Person-Carrier (which looks suspiciously like a hot-air balloon). There is time travel, treachery, and ample adventure, and, fortunately, the milk he has procured is rescued at every turn. Gaiman’s oversize, tongue-in-cheek narrative twists about like the impromptu nonsense it is, with quick turns, speed bumps, and one go-for-broke dairy deus ex machina. Young fills the pages with sketchy, highly stylized images, stretched and pointy, bringing the crazed imaginations to life with irrepressible energy. 

KilingiriKilingiri by Janna Gray

1968, Srinagar, Kashmir and Nina is devastated by the death of her new-born baby girl. Sister Angela and Father Michael at the mission hospital step in to nurse Nina back to health but when the friendship between Nina and Father Michael turns to love, Michael makes a decision which will resonate through the years. It is 1981 and in Kinsale, Ireland, Nina, devoted to her son Joshua, lives a loveless existence, but a chance encounter changes everything. Michael is back in her life, he leaves the priesthood and happiness is within their grasp.

But when past and present collide, their whole world is turned upside down. Only by facing the consequences of what has gone before, can Nina and Michael embrace the future.

Picked up in ebook format from http://www.netgalley.com

untitledladyAn Untitled Lady by Nicky Penttila

Shocking family news forces Madeline Wetherby to abandon her plans to marry an earl and settle for upstart Manchester merchant Nash Quinn. When she discovers that her birth father is one of the weavers her husband is putting out of work—and a radical leader—Maddie must decide which family she truly desires, the man of her heart or the people of her blood.  An earl’s second son, Nash chose a life of Trade over Society. When protest marches spread across Lancashire, the pressure on him grows. If he can’t make both workers and manufacturers see reason he stands to lose everything: his business, his town, and his marriage.  As Manchester simmers under the summer sun, the choices grow more stark for Maddie and Nash: Family or justice. Love or money. Life or death.

Read, and the review will come out in December.

preservationPreservation by Rachael Wade

Kate has no time for meaningless romantic charades, and definitely no time for hot college professors who are full of themselves and smitten with her. Constantly battling eviction notices, tuition she can’t afford, and a sick, dependent mother, the last thing she needs is to be distracted with someone else’s complicated baggage.  When she stumbles into Ryan Campbell’s creative writing class, he is only “Mr. Campbell” to her, until Ryan finds himself captivated by her writing and she is forced to face their mutual attraction. His cocky know-it-all syndrome is enough to send her running in the other direction, and his posse of female admirers and playboy reputation are enough to squander any odds in her favor. But underneath Ryan’s abrasive facade is something to behold, and she can’t stay away for long.

The Antiquarian by Gustavo Faveron Patriau

Three years have passed since Gustavo, a renowned psycholinguist, last spoke to his closest friend Daniel, who’s been interned in a mental institution for murdering his fiance. When Daniel unexpectedly calls to confess what really happened, Gustavo’s long-buried loyalty resurfaces and draws him into the center of a quixotic, unconventional investigation. As Daniel reveals his story through fragments of fables, novels, and historical allusions, Gustavo begins to retrace the past: from their early college days exploring dust-filled libraries and exotic brothels, to Daniel’s intimate attachment to his sickly younger sister and his dealings as an antiquarian book collector. As the clues grow more macabre and more intricate with every turn, an increasingly skeptical Gustavo is forced to deduce a complex series of events from allegories that are more real than police reports, and metaphors more revealing than evidence.

Ebook from http://www.netgalley.com
SeventeenSeventeen by Mark D. Diehl

Corporations control all of the world’s diminishing resources and all of its governments, dividing the world into two types of people: those who unquestioningly obey, and those who die.  Most of the world’s seventeen billion humans are unconscious, perpetually serving their employers as part of massive brain trusts. The ecosystem has collapsed, naturally growing plants have been declared illegal, and everything from food to housing to medicines must be synthesized from secretions of genetically modified bacteria. Only corporate ambulatory workers can afford patented synthetic food, and non-corporates fight for survival in the city’s sprawling, grotesquely violent ghetto known only as the Zone.  Nineteen year-old waitress Eadie challenges the hierarchy when she assists a bedraggled alcoholic known as the Prophet, drawing massive social-control machinery into play against her. The Prophet predicts she’s the general who will lead a revolution, and a few desperate souls start listening. How can she and her followers possibly prevail when she’s being hunted by a giant corporation and the Federal Angels it directs?

Ebook from http://www.netgalley.com

passionAll About Passion by Stephanie Laurens

When Chillington is elected an ′honorary Cynster′ at the end of All About Love, he knows he needs a wife, and an heir. His goal; a simple marriage without romance. He agrees to marry a woman he believes to be pliant and quiet. Unfortunately for him, the woman he thinks is Francesca Rawlings is really her cousin, Franni. Francesca herself is proud, passionate and opinionated in short, the perfect bride for a Cynster..

Picked up at the Bookcrossing Uncon 2013 in Leeds as we were bagging up books for the release walk. Because you cant have too many romances, right?

hiddendragonHidden Dragon by Irene Radford

Acclaimed author Irene Radford returns to her beloved Dragon Nibmus universe with book one of The Stargods. Here is the tale of the first Terrans, gifted with both psi powers and technology, who discovered a world where dragons are real…and are worshipped as gods.

After reading so many of her books as ebooks via librarything, it was nice to get one in paper at the Bookcrossing Uncon in Leeds

 

 

genesissecretThe Genesis Secret by Tom Knox

A gripping high-concept thriller for fans of Dan Brown and Sam Bourne.

In the sunburnt deserts of eastern Turkey, archaeologists are unearthing a stone temple, the world’s most ancient building. When Journalist Rob Luttrell is sent to report on the dig, he is intrigued to learn that someone deliberately buried the site 10,000 years ago. Why?

Meanwhile, in London, a bizarre attack is baffling the police. When a weird killing takes place on the Isle of Man, followed by another in rural Dorset, DC Mark Forrester begins to discern a curious pattern in these apparently random murders.

Because you cant have too many conspiracy thrillers, right? Again, from the Uncon

expertwitnessDeath of an expert Witness by P. D. James

Dr. Lorrimer appeared to be the picture of a bloodless, coldly efficient scientist. Only when his brutally slain body is discovered and his secret past dissected does the image begin to change. Once again, Chief Inspector Adam Dalgliesh learns that there is more to human beings than meets the eye — and more to solving a murder than the obvious clues.

Picked up at the Uncon again, and whilst I suspect that I’ve read this one before, it will have been so long ago, I know I wont remember it!

brideforkeepsA Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears

After three failed attempts, Everett Cline is not happy when another–uninvited–mail-order bride steps off the train. But is she the wife he’s been waiting for?

Ebook from http://www.netgalley.com

This book has been read and reviewed, and can be found here

 

 

 

lostfoundcedarcoveLost and Found in Cedar Cove by Debbie Macomber

Jo Marie has big plans for her bed-and-breakfast. With the help of handyman Mark Taylor, she intends to plant a beautiful rose garden in time for her upcoming open house. Jo Marie and Mark rarely see eye to eye—especially on matters of home improvement—but she knows he has her best interests at heart. After the two walk the grounds, Jo Marie realizes that her beloved rescue dog, Rover, is missing, and at a time when she most needs a friend, Mark abruptly leaves. Confused by Mark’s behavior and worried for Rover’s safety, Jo Marie searches for her precious dog all over Cedar Cove. But Rover is on an adventure of his own—one that will lead to a delightful surprise for two unlikely people.

A novella by Macomber from www.netgalley.com. Review can be found here

Book Review: Starry Night by Debbie Macomber

starrynightCarrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author.    Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a megabestselling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives.  Digging deep into Finn’s past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.

Received in ebook format from www.netgalley.com this is a standalone Christmas story from Debbie Macomber.

Carrie is champing at the bit, wanting more challenging work than the society pages she currently has to write up. She accepts the challenge to find Finn Dalton the reclusive author of the current top list book on living in the wilderness. It seems everyone wants to talk to him but he doesnt want to be found.

She tracks him down and in the best tradition of romance novels, they get snowed into his remote Alaskan cabin for two days until the weather has cleared up enough for the plane to come and pick her up.  It’s during this period that Finn’s exterior crumbles and she leaves, with both in love with each other.

He comes to surprise her for Thanksgiving, and she takes him out to show her world – were there is much noise, people and partying. It is this, plus her pushy friend Sophie, that causes him to break off their romance before it goes any further.

Finally, both come to their senses over Christmas, and Finn reconciles not only with his mother (who divorced Finn’s father when Finn was young), but with Carrie.

As you might guess this is a romance that follows the traditional format, but with the added benefit of coming around with the Macomber Thanksgiving/Christmas touch.

I wasnt a big fan of Sophie, Carrie’s best friend. She was a touch *too* bossy for my liking and overstepped several lines from where I was standing – I  would have ditched her as a friend a long time ago!  Macomber breaks from the more sexy romance novels in that there is no sex in this book – despite the reasonably sexy current between the two lead characters, Finn always goes back to his hotel at the end of the evening (and Macomber stays with her “no real sex” branding in her books!)

Book Review: Lost and Found in Cedar Cove by Debbie Macomber

cedarcoveLost and Found in Cedar Cove by Debbie Macomber

In this original short story available exclusively as an eBook, Jo Marie Rose readies her inn for spring, turning to her new friends Grace and Olivia when she needs them most.

Jo Marie has big plans for her bed-and-breakfast. With the help of handyman Mark Taylor, she intends to plant a beautiful rose garden in time for her upcoming open house. Jo Marie and Mark rarely see eye to eye—especially on matters of home improvement—but she knows he has her best interests at heart. After the two walk the grounds, Jo Marie realizes that her beloved rescue dog, Rover, is missing, and at a time when she most needs a friend, Mark abruptly leaves. Confused by Mark’s behaviour and worried for Rover’s safety, Jo Marie searches for her precious dog all over Cedar Cove. But Rover is on an adventure of his own—one that will lead to a delightful surprise for two unlikely people.

Given to me in ebook format from the people over at www.netgalley.com, this is a short novella concerning some of the people near Rose Harbor Inn in Cedar Cove (see also Rose Harbor in Bloom).

It’s only four chapters long, and concerns Jo Marie and her handyman Mark, as well as two students at the local high school who get involved with the disappearance of Jo Marie’s dog Rover. Having read Rose Harbor in Bloom, some of the Jo Marie/Mark story seems familiar – I think at least some of it appears in the larger book.

Amanda, as the maths geek/tutor, seems to have been entirely oblivious of the boys around her, so it’s a shock to her that the jock needing her help has been aware of her for years.

As a novella, this is by definition very short, light on character development and doesnt have too many neat endings. I suspect it’s part of a longer book, which got cut out at editing, but still reasonable to release as an exercise.

Nice little addition to the series