On My Kindle ~ His Most Suitable Bride by Renee Ryan

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About the book~
No one in Denver knows how close Callie Mitchell once came to ruin. Dowdy dresses and severe hairstyles hide evidence of the pretty, trusting girl she used to be. Now her matchmaking employer wants Callie to help find a wife for the one man who sees through her careful facade. 

For his business’s sake, Reese Bennett Jr. plans on making a sensible marriage. Preferably one without the unpredictable emotions that spring to life around Callie. Yet no matter how many candidates she presents to Reese, none compare with the vibrant, intelligent woman who is right under his nose—and quickly invading his heart. 

Sharing my thoughts~
When attorney Reese Bennett Jr.’s client and perpetual matchmaker points out that his law firm would suffer from his continued bachelor status and offers to help find him a suitable bride, he decides to allow her. But when Mrs. Singletary suddenly claims she’s too busy and turns that task over to her companion, Callie Mitchell, his ex-fiance’s sister, he debates withdrawing his permission. 

Docile one moment, bold the next. Plain one day, jaw-droppingly beautiful the next. Boring. Then exciting. Demure and shy. Then confident and determined. Who is Callie Mitchell and why is she hiding under dull shapeless clothes? Intrigued, Reece determines to find out, and accepts Callie’s offer to help him with his bride search.

Callie Mitchell refuses to forgive her past indiscretion over a man and believes that if she dresses plainly, no man will show interest and therefore she couldn’t repeat the mistake. But when gentle, handsome Reece looks past the dowdy dresses and begins to unravel the real Callie, her facade cracks. Her past did not have to define her future. She was a child of God, forgiven and loved…She could either spend the rest of her life feeling shame over her lapse in good judgment, or accept the Lord’s mercy. The past was the past. The future, hers for the taking.

While His Most Suitable Bride was an enjoyable read, I really appreciated the underlying theme of letting go of our past. I struggle with this myself, so I could relate to both Callie and Reese, and understood how their attitudes affected their decisions and relationships. Little gems like this were sprinkled throughout the book:

“Today is a new day, meant to be lived under grace.” ~Pastor Beau

“One must never focus on the ending when the story has yet to fully begin.” ~Mrs. Singletary

Whether you’re looking for a book to curl up with for a long evening, during a carpool line, or to take on vacation, you’ll want to include His Most Suitable Bride!

Disclaimer: Sending a big thank you to Harlequin Love Inspired Historical and NetGalley for allowing me the privilege of reviewing His Most Suitable Bride and for the free copy I received in exchange for my fair and unbiased review. This opinion is my own, and I received no compensation.


Sugarplum Homecoming
by Linda Goodnight

Nothing relaxes me more after a stressful day than curling up in front of a glowing fireplace with a great book. Sugarplum Homecoming by Linda Goodnight fit the bill this week. Check it out…

About the book:
Widower Davis Turner doesn’t need to hear his children’s whispered wishes for a new mom to recognize that new neighbor Lana Ross is a beautiful woman. But he worries that his feelings for the former bad girl could put his family at risk for small-town scandal. Lana knows she should steer clear of Davis. Yet she can’t resist spending time with the handsome single dad, even if the truth might soon tear them apart. Though Lana has turned over a new leaf, her secrets have followed her to Whisper Falls. Secrets that could destroy her hope for a future with Davis.

My thoughts:

“The jig was up. She’d prayed to get settled before her tainted past charged in with all guns blazing. Apparently, God, Who’d brought her this far, expected her to face her fears head-on.”

Sugarplum Homecoming features a reformed bad girl, and I enjoyed the twist from the typical bad-boy hero in most inspy’s. Lana has returned to Whisper Falls hoping to give Sydney a stable home, but she worries that the small town won’t let the past stay there. And Davis? Considering his children’s welfare, the single dad’s not all that happy Lana moved into his neighborhood. And he definitely doesn’t welcome the tug of attraction to the beautiful singer, the one that left his small town, hoping to make it big in Nashville. But she’s changed.

“You’re not Lana Ross, the drunk party girl. You’re Lana Ross, child of the Most High, cleansed by a sacrifice far greater than singing in front of hundreds of people.”

Don’t you just love that? You see, Lana suffered from stage fright, believing that the only way she’d been able to sing on stage in front of an audience was after downing a bottle of gin. When an opportunity arises to raise money for a surgery that Davis’s nephew needs, she must decide if God is bigger than her fears.

Sugarplum Homecoming is a fast read, the perfect size to curl up with on a lazy evening after holiday shopping or a stressful day on the job. The plot’s not too complicated, and the gentle message warms you all the way to your tummy. In one word, relaxing. 🙂

Disclaimer: Sending a big thank you to Harlequin Love Inspired and NetGalley for providing me with a review copy of Sugarplum Homecoming. The opinions expressed here are my own, and I received no compensation.

What about you? How do you relax during the holidays?
What book have you relaxed with recently?
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The Cowboy’s Christmas Courtship
by Brenda Minton
About the book~
With her mortgaged farm, rebellious brother and two jobs, Layla Silver is struggling to keep afloat for the holidays. But does she need Gage Cooper riding to her rescue? Back in high school, Gage was nobody’s hero. Now he’s an injured bull rider home for Christmas to make amends for his checkered past. And something about the stubborn, beautiful Layla has him wanting more than forgiveness. Can a wandering cowboy turn a Christmas courtship into an everlasting love? 
Meet the Characters~
“When a guy looked death in the face, in the form of a one-ton bull, it made him think about how he’d treated the people in his life.” 
Injured bullrider Gage Cooper headed back home to Dawson, Oklahoma, to recover. While he was recuperating, he intended to make things right with a few people, starting with Layla Silver. But, with his large family and a granny intent on marrying him off, he didn’t plan to stay home long. Besides, he couldn’t look at his blind brother without being angry at God.
“She was not a good judge of character. She was the person who kicked the dog out of the house for chewing up the shoes and then let him back in, thinking he wouldn’t do it again.”

Layla Silver had learned from a young age not to allow people to get too close. Her mother always hid her black eyes, and Layla assumed that’s what people did: hid behind closed doors. So when her parents were killed in a car accident, she gave up dreams of college and a family of her own and assumed responsibility for her eight-year-old brother. Now he was a rebellious fifteen-year-old and she was worn out from working two jobs and feeling incredibly alone, but that didn’t mean she could allow herself to fall for Gage just because he flashed that dazzling smile at her. She knew he hid a lot of anger behind that cocky grin. And besides, he never stuck around long.
“Layla was the kind of woman a man married. He made a habit of staying away from the marrying kind.”
Sharing my thoughts~
What an intense opening scene between Layla and Gage. You know there’s a history between them, but the author doesn’t offer many details and that’s just the way I like opening scenes. Gage stops to help Layla, and sees her like he hadn’t before: strong, quiet, and never accepting help. Initially, he wants to help her because he feels he owes her, but somewhere along the way, his motivation changes into something deeper, something longer lasting. 
What a love story! I enjoyed the progression, from Layla’s high school crush and Gage’s feeling that he had to right a wrong  into something powerful and beautiful. Gage does such sweet things for Layla, and she can’t help but fall in love with the changed man.
“…he wondered why all of a sudden, his life no longer fit. It felt like a favorite pair of boots that were suddenly too small.”
I always like it when a romance runs deeper and treads into serious territory, and this one didn’t disappoint. Gage found himself asking tough questions, like why his brother was blinded and Layla could never catch a break while he skipped through life with hardly a care.
Although this book has a holiday setting and title, I’d recommend The Cowboy’s Christmas Courtship as a great read for anytime of the year!

Disclaimer: Sending a big thank you to Harlequin Love Inspired and NetGalley for providing me with an advance review copy of The Cowboy’s Christmas Courtship. The opinions expressed in this review are my own, and I received no monetary compensation.
Have you read The Cowboy’s Christmas Courtship? 
Do you agree with my review? What were your thoughts?

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