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.

Mae Clair Presents: Jessi Gage with Jade’s Spirit #ParanormalRomance #Giveaway

I’m delighted to welcome another fantabulous author to my blog today. Jessi Gage has been burning up the romance best-seller charts with her Highland Wishes series and her Blue Collar Boyfriend series.

Her newest release, which is poised to hit online retailers any day, is a unique paranormal romance. I had the pleasure of reading the first half JADE’S SPIRIT in development stages and can’t wait to see how it turns out.

To celebrate her newest release, Jessi is doing a giveaway. Check out the deets at the bottom of her post on how to enter.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll welcome Jessi as she explains what makes JADE’S SPIRIT such an unusual read and what compelled her to write it.

~ooOOoo~

Thank you for having me, Mae! I’m so excited to share my new release JADE’S SPIRIT with your readers today!

I’m more nervous about this release than I’ve ever been before. It’s not your typical romance. Then again, I don’t really write typical romance. I’ve got a virginal hero (nothing new for me), some ghosts (again, nothing new), a heroine with a troubled past (still nothing new there). But where I diverge from my usual voice is in the message.

I’m a Christian, but I don’t usually write about faith in my books. In my own life, faith plays a huge role every day. But when I read fiction, I’m not looking to be preached at or have my faith challenged or tested. I just want to escape. So that’s what I try to do in my books: provide a pleasurable escape for my readers.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not anti-inspy (inspirational romance or Christian fiction), I just never intended to write books with an explicit Christian message. I read them on occasion, but never felt compelled to write one.

Jade’s Spirit felt different  from the get-go. First of all, it’s based on a real life experience my mother had in her childhood home. She saw a ghost. And it attacked her brother, my uncle Bob. Prayer made it go away. This comes into play in the story I found pouring onto the pages as I thought about who this ghost might be and what it might want. Spiritual oppression and hauntings play a huge role in Jade’s journey as she learns what it takes to fight the supernatural.https://maeclair.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/jessigage_jadesspirit_1400px.jpg

Then there was Emmett. Virginal heroes are nothing new to me. But Emmett is the first character I’ve written who is incredibly like my husband and me. We drink beer. We listen to rock music. We love horror movies. We make inappropriate jokes…and we love Jesus. There aren’t many evangelical Christians who choose to live life the way we do or tolerate those who do. Emmett is like us. He’s…cool and accepting. And he loves Jesus.

I don’t know if a lot of people are going to “get” Emmett. I hope I’ve made him endearing and attractive (he certainly is those things to me), but this character might end up falling flat or being confusing to some readers. Don’t expect a stereotype with Emmett. He’s not your typical “Bible thumper.” He’s sexy, confident, funny, independent, and an unapologetic Christian. Kind of like me and my husband.

I think there are a lot of us sexy, fun-loving Christians out there, and I’m hoping Jade’s Spirit finds its way into the hands of people who will be able to relate to Emmett’s struggle: wanting to obey God and keep it in his pants” but also being honest with himself about the temptations of life. It’s not easy to follow God. Sometimes we make mistakes.

So, yeah, I’m nervous about this one. I read books with main characters who are atheist, wiccan, practice menage, all kinds of things that I, personally, wouldn’t do. But it’s fun to read about people who do things differently and have different beliefs. I hope the Christian message in Jade’s Spirit offers people who don’t share my beliefs a glimpse into my faith without beating them over the head with it. I hope it’s entertaining! That’s what this writing thing is all about!

Thanks for reading! And thanks, Mae, for having me! It’s always a blast to chat with your readers!

GIVEAWAY ALERT:
I want to hear ghost stories or favorite ghost tales from you guys. Leave a comment with something ghost related in it, and I’ll enter you to win an e-copy of Jade’s Spirit.

Author, Jessi GageConnect with Jessi Gage at the following haunts:
website | blog | newsletter sign-up | Twitter (@jessigage)

For information on when JADE’S SPIRIT will be released, check Jessi’s website or add to your TRB on Goodreads!