Book Review Tuesday: Second Chance Romance by Jill Weatherholt, Keeping Bailey by Dan Walsh #christianromance #christianfiction @JillWeatherholt

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over image

Welcome to another Book Review Tuesday. I shared books from both of these author’s series the end of June. In that post (which you can find HERE ) I mentioned I enjoyed the stories so much, I purchased an additional title in each series. Today, I’m happy to report the new books I picked up are every bit as enchanting as the first. Take a look . . .

BOOK BLURB:

Jackson Daughtry’s jobs as a paramedic and part-owner of a local café keep him busy—but the single dad’s number one priority is raising his little girl with love and small-town values. And when his business partner’s hotshot lawyer niece comes to town planning to disrupt their lives by moving her aunt away, Jackson has to set Melanie Harper straight. When circumstances force them to work side by side in the coffee shop, Jackson slowly discovers what put the sadness in Melanie’s pretty brown eyes. Now it’ll take all his faith—and a hopeful five-year-old—to show the city gal that she’s already home.

MY REVIEW:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is a delightful book with characters who quickly become friends. Jackson is a single dad, raising his five-year-old little girl, Rebecca. A paramedic, he’s also business partners with Phoebe in a local café called the Bean. When Phoebe encounters health problems, her niece, Melanie—a high-profile divorce attorney from Washington—shows up to take Phoebe back to D.C. But Phoebe has no intention of leaving the small town of Sweet Gum, and Jackson has no intention of allowing it to happen. Phoebe is family to him, which means Melanie has an adjustment in store.

One that is long overdue. Since losing her husband and children over a year ago, she has buried herself in work and the unfeeling isolation of urban life. Sweet Gum and the people who populate the town are friendly, sociable, and truly care about one another. What’s more, she finds herself falling for Jackson and becoming involved with Rebecca.

Weatherholt writes from the heart, delving into the emotions and tribulations of her characters. A Christian theme is beautifully woven into the story, especially in the character of Melanie who has lost her faith. I loved the relationship between Melanie and Rebecca almost, if not more, than the relationship between Melanie and Jackson. And Aunt Phoebe is a charmer!

But it’s not all smooth sailing. Especially when an unexpected character causes havoc in the last quarter of the book. I loved the HEA ending, and the small-town values. This is a well-written, feel good story that leaves the reader with a smile long after the final page is read. If you want a sweet escape… escape to Sweet Gum with this talented author!

BOOK BLURB:

Through no fault of her own and after spending her entire life with an owner she loves, Bailey’s life is turned upside down. She’s dropped off at the Humane Society where Kim Harper works as the Animal Behavior Manager. Alone and confused, Bailey shuts down completely. She won’t eat or even acknowledge anyone who reaches out to her. Kim knows older dogs are hard to re-home. If Bailey can’t come out of this, it will be impossible.

A retired widow named Rhonda Hawthorne volunteers at the shelter. Rhonda’s dog recently passed away after a long and full life. Rhonda can’t even think about getting another one but hopes doing this will give her a chance to be around dogs, make a small difference in their lives, but without making a permanent commitment. Soon she decides to do whatever she can to help Bailey, before it’s too late.

What life-changing difference will this decision create in her own life? Kim Harper is also wondering about something else…will Ned, the boyfriend she loves, ever get serious and pop the question? Bestselling Author Dan Walsh adds a fourth installment to his fan-favorite Forever Home Series (which begins with Rescuing Finley). Fans of this series and dog lovers everywhere will thoroughly enjoy this touching, emotional tale.

MY REVIEW:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I read a lot of psychological fiction and domestic suspense, but sometimes I just want a simple feel-good story that I know is going to leave me with a warm fuzzy feeling. Keeping Bailey is the fourth book in Dan Walsh’s Forever Home Series. It’s the second book I’ve read in the series, caught up in the lives of a small set of people who populate a tiny town, particularly those centered around the local humane society. This book reads fine as a standalone (each novel is designed that way) but I appreciated it more, having an understanding of a few supporting characters from book three.

Rhonda, the MC in this novel is a widow who has made a decision to volunteer at the humane society. She starts out as a dog walker, then transitions to a foster parent when her path crosses with Bailey, an eleven-year-old dog who suddenly finds herself displaced after her elderly owner has to transition to a nursing home. Because of her age, and some behavioral issues (she doesn’t do well with other dogs or small children), Bailey’s chances of adoption are limited. When placed at the humane society, she shuts down, refusing to interact with others until Rhonda gradually wins her over.

Rhonda’s initial thought is to foster her and help her find a good home, but the more time she spends with Bailey, the more her thought process is altered. It takes a dangerous situation to open Rhonda’s eyes to how Bailey’s future should play out.

I like these books because not only does the author provide POV from the characters, but the reader also gets to experience what the dogs are feeling. I fell in love with Bailey immediately. Her situation tugged on my heart strings. I felt for all of the characters involved. From her previous owner, to Rhonda, to all those who are trying to do right by Bailey, I was invested from start to finish. The ending is beautiful, and brings closure not only for Bailey but for several human characters, too.

If you love animals, and well-deserved HEA’s, this story is for you. I like how characters continue book to book but each novel is complete as a stand-alone. Best of all, every single animal—including Bailey—finds their forever home.

51 thoughts on “Book Review Tuesday: Second Chance Romance by Jill Weatherholt, Keeping Bailey by Dan Walsh #christianromance #christianfiction @JillWeatherholt

  1. This is just another reminder that I must check out the Forever Home Series! Finding Bailey sounds super emotional, but I’m glad the endings are satisfying with healthy outcomes for the dogs. Thanks for sharing your book reviews, Mae. I’ll probably pass on the first book for now. ❤️ Enjoy your week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Mischenko. I’m glad the Forever Home Series has caught your interest. It’s so heartwarming, especially if you love animals. I have OCD (Obsessive Cat Disorder–even though I only have one). Still, as a “cat person” I loved these books about dogs.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a nice surprise, Mae. I’m so pleased you enjoyed Second Chance Romance. This book will always have a special place in my heart as it was the first book I ever wrote. It was written during NaNoWriMo, something I encourage every writer to try once. Thanks for sharing your review of Dan’s book. I’ve got it on my Kindle. That cover is adorable. Enjoy your day!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jill, I remember you mentioning you write during NaNoWriMo. I do too, and have had one of my “wins” published. Second Chance Romance was so heartwarming and uplifting. I’m delighted to be able to share my review here today. Thanks for the enchanting story!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jill, I just realized I had your last name spelled incorrectly in my header. I’ve fixed it now. I honestly do KNOW the correct spelling of your last name, LOL!. I have no clue why my fingers want to turn the “t” into a “d” when typing. My apologies!

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  3. Great reviews, Mae. Like you, I read a lot of psychological fiction, so a break is often needed. I’ve read many of Dan’s books, including the first Forever Home book, Rescuing Finley. Now I want to read the others.

    And Jill’s book sounds like something I’d enjoy. Adding to my TBR again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Finley makes appearances in Keeping Bailey, Joan. I really have to go back and start at the beginning of the series and reading the first few books. I really love them (even as a “cat” person). And Jill’s series is so heartwarming, especially the small town closeness and values. Perfect breaks from all the psych fiction we read!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love a good happily-ever-after and it sounds like you found not one but two such wonderful reads. I will definitely keep them in mind when I need a break from my normal and am in need of having my heart warmed ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jill is a great story teller. I have a few more of her’s to catch up with.

      As for Dan’s book, the beginning (when Bailey has to leave her owner) made me feel sorry for all of them, but those scenes happen quickly and the end wraps up even that plot thread in a way that left me with a warm fuzzy. In the author’s forward he said he was tempted to add a line to the title that read “THE DOG LIVES” because he was worried about readers thinking the story would be too sad. I’m not a fan of sad animal books, and I loved this one, Jacqui!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely reviews of feel-good fiction. I too like psychological fiction Mae, but such books that warm your heart provide a lot of solace. I like Jill for creating wonderful characters. Her books are on my wishlist. Dan is new to me, I’ll check his books. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know you’re a fan of psychological fiction, too, Balroop. That will always be my favorite genre, but I agree it’s great to wallow in the solace of a heart-warming book now and then. This is my second book by Jill and I’m now a fan. I also really loved Dan story telling, and how he also gives the dogs’ POVs in his stories. Really charming!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. They both sound like good stories. I don’t know if I can venture into the sad doggie one, though, even though hopefully the ending is uplifting. Recently I bawled my eyes out at an old western entitled The Proud Rebel. It featured a little mute boy whose dog was taken from him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Flossie, I would be balling my eyes out over that movie too. I hope the little boy got his dog back.

      Keeping Bailey has a wonderful ending and I didn’t find the story itself sad, so much as being on pins and needles waiting for Bailey to respond to Rhonda’s overtures. I can’t read sad animal stories. These are more like Hallmark!

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    • Robbie, I know you’ll enjoy Jill’s book. This is the second one I’ve read and I’m now a fan of her writing. Dan’s books are also wonderful. I love the happiness of dogs finding their forever homes.

      Liked by 1 person

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