Tuesday, October 19, 2021

review: A Texas Christmas Miracle (The Raffertys of Last Stand #2) by Justine Davis

 

Two people who don't believe in Christmas or miracles...

Retired from special forces and back on his family’s Texas ranch, Chance Rafferty’s finally found some peace through creating a foundation to rescue and retrain military K-9s thought to be beyond redemption. He prefers to be left alone with his dogs and his work, but when a woman arrives shortly before Christmas looking for the dog that saved her husband’s life, Chance is astonished at the dog's—and his own—response to her.

Though it’s been years, Ariel Larson still dreads the Christmas season because it marks the anniversary of her deployed husband's death. When she learns her husband’s K-9 partner survived combat, Ariel feels she’s been given a lifeline to escape her grief. She suddenly has a sense of purpose she’s been desperately missing. But she never expected the man determined to rehabilitate the traumatized animal would have such a stunning impact on her own life.

Can these two wounded hearts come together to create their own Christmas miracle?

 

My Review:

An emotional, friends to lovers story.

I couldn’t wait to learn more about Chance Rafferty.  In the previous book, Nothing But Cowboy, he came across as reclusive, living in a remote cabin on his family’s ranch, all alone with no one but his rescue dogs. 

When Chance came back from the war, he just wanted to be alone.  He didn’t need friends or family hanging around and butting into his business, especially those who wanted him to start dating again.  Chance was happy retraining former military dogs so they could be adopted.  His current rescue dog was Tri.  Tri was injured during a mission that killed his handler.   When Tri’s handler’s widow, Ariel Larson, shows up looking to adopt Tri, Chance wasn’t sure what to think.  But as time went by, he started to realize Ariel would be a good new owner for Tri.  But there was more in the works.  Chance and Ariel started to to have feelings for each other.  In so many ways, it should be wrong, but in many ways it could be so right.  But was there enough to create a lasting relationship? 

This book had my emotions working overtime with the back stories of the characters.  I couldn’t wait to see how Chance and Ariel would finally move away from the friend zone into a relationship.  Seeing Tri’s transformation into civilian life was fun to watch too.  He actually ruled quite a few scenes.  This book is set around Christmas time, the of year Chance and Ariel both dread.  It was interesting to see how they learned to move past that dread.  It was a true Christmas miracle.  I look forward to reading more books in this series when they come out. 

Monday, October 18, 2021

Review: Lighting up Christmas by Sinclair Jayne

 

It’s her first Christmas alone…

Spending her first holiday without her large, loud family allows electrician Riley Flanagan more time to find commercial clients for Flanagan & Sons, the third-generation family business she’s taking over. But when the town council nixes her Christmas-themed light garden, she approaches new-to-town entrepreneur and vintner Zhang Shi, hoping to land him and his not yet open winery as a client. He’s not interested, but Riley never gives up that easily.

It’s his first Christmas celebration…

Zhang Shi bought a mountainside property and planted a vineyard to escape his corporate life in the Bay Area and reconnect with his nature-loving grandfather. Fiercely independent and private, Zhang reluctantly calls Riley to rig an emergency electrical fix shortly before he entertains some colleagues. Zhang’s determined to avoid the town’s Christmas celebrations, but Riley is hard to refuse and impossible to ignore. And as she pulls him closer into the tight-knit community, he’s no longer sure he wants to.

 

My Review:

An amazing, opposites attract holiday romance.

Looking for a place to escape his demanding high-tech job, Zhang Shi purchased a large parcel of land in the mountains of Oregon and started a vineyard.  He was also hoping to eventually lure his grandfather to come live with him.  Zhang really enjoyed the quiet solitude he had created until Riley Flanagan entered his life like a whirlwind and awakens something in him.  Riley is unlike the woman Zhang is attracted to.  She can be loud, outspoken and persistent.  Riley falls for Zhang pretty early on in the story, but it takes Zhang some time to let Riley close to him.  Zhang has built some thick walls around himself.  Riley had her job cut out for her.  As Christmas approaches, Zhang and Riley find themselves spending a lot of time together and eventually falling in love.  But will they have enough in common for their love to last?

I really enjoyed this book. The characters are the kind that really touch your heart.  They have real world issues that need to be worked through.  It was fun to see how they overcame each challenge.  I loved how the author not only told the story, but she also taught me a few lessons too.  Be sure to pour yourself a big glass of wine because you will be craving some while reading this book.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Review: Love and Latkes (Friendships and Festivals, #3) by Stacey Agdern


You can’t make a latke without breaking a few eggs…

Batya Averman is ecstatic when a latke fry-off committee chooses her as its web designer—until she learns the event is in Rivertown, New York, the hometown she fled years ago. But she’s no longer the girl with an embarrassing history and an unrequited crush on Abe Neumann. This delicious competition is Batya’s chance to further her career, and this time she won’t run.

Abe Neumann can’t pass up the opportunity to enter the town’s latke contest. He dreams of throwing caution to the wind and leaving his accounting firm, opening a Jewish deli, and choosing his own happiness. The prize money would bring him closer to making his dream a reality, but when Batya comes back to town, Abe remembers that a deli isn't the only thing he's wished for.

When the fry-off’s celebrity host has to pull out of the competition, Batya is determined to step up to the challenge. This Hanukkah, can Abe fix the past and convince Batya that dreams, like latkes, are better when they're shared?

 

My Review:

All you need is love….. And latkes….

This fun story reunites Batya with her former crush/classmate, Abe, when she returns to her hometown of Rivertown for a latke fry-off completion. 

I was pulled into this story pretty quick.  I liked the whole concept of former school crushes finally having a shot at love.  I liked the friendships in the story and the way the author built up the excitement for the ending.  I also enjoyed learning about Jewish culture, traditions and even words.