Home for the Summer by Mariah Stewart

Home for the Summer (Chesapeake Diaries Series #5)Home for the Summer by Mariah Stewart

Synopsis:

Some of Lucy Sinclair’s best days were those spent growing up in small town St. Dennis—working at the family inn and enjoying summers filled with swimming, sailing, tennis, and the company of Clay Madison, her best friend. But Lucy’s darkest day, the one that shattered her innocence with violence and fear, also happened in St. Dennis. And the town she once loved became the place she gladly left behind—along with the terrible secret she’s kept for twenty years.
 
While Lucy headed off for college and a career, Clay remained—more than satisfied with the life St. Dennis had to offer. But now, even after inheriting his family’s thriving farm and starting up an organic brewery, he can’t help feeling that something’s missing. And when Lucy comes back to town to plan a celebrity wedding at the Sinclair family inn, she and Clay reconnect, and find themselves reevaluating their long-sleeping friendship that could blossom into something deeper. Like a bookend to those distant childhood days, this summer will be Lucy’s chance to finally confront her hidden pain, make peace with the past, and plan her own whole new future.

My Thoughts:

Lucy is in town to help plan a huge wedding at her family’s inn, but cannot wait to get back to the west coast and the rest of her successful party planning business out there.  There are secrets that haunt her and no one know about them.  She has buried her friendships here and wants to block them out, she is just plain scared when she is here.  What Lucy does not expect is to land a second huge wedding, one that will last a week, and a secondary anniversary party for a long time client who makes this a condition of moving to a different week of the summer.  Even less expected is to be reunited with Clay, her long time childhood friend, and realize that she has feelings for him even though she could never live here.  But maybe just made she can face her past and finally find her future.

One of the best parts of Home For the Summer the unique jobs that both Lucy and Clay have.  Lucy is this amazing party planner and it was so cool to read about her interactions with her clients and making their dreams come true, not matter how big or how small.  Clay is starting an organic brewery and we get a peek into that business as well.  Mariah Stewart is great at giving the reader just enough information to spark thoughts and then move on to a different part of the story.  

This was a great story for those who are looking for a happily ever after with some bumps along the way.  I like that things were not perfect in this story.  The are really and very painful at times, but really when is life perfect.  NEVER!  I was never expecting the source of Lucy’s angst about the inn but liked how it was finally dealt with.

My Rating:

4 Penguins

The Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber

The Inn at Rose HarborThe Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber

 

  • ISBN-13: 9780345528926
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/14/2012
  • Pages: 352
  • Source: Netgalley

Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber comes a heartwarming new series based in the Pacific Northwest town of Cedar Cove, where a charming cast of characters finds love, forgiveness, and renewal behind the doors of the cozy Rose Harbor Inn.
 
Jo Marie Rose first arrives in Cedar Cove seeking a sense of peace and a fresh start. Coping with the death of her husband, she purchases a local bed-and-breakfast—the newly christened Rose Harbor Inn—ready to begin her life anew. Yet the inn holds more surprises than Jo Marie can imagine.
 
Her first guest is Joshua Weaver, who has come home to care for his ailing stepfather. The two have never seen eye to eye, and Joshua has little hope that they can reconcile their differences. But a long-lost acquaintance from Joshua’s high school days proves to him that forgiveness is never out of reach and love can bloom even where it’s least expected.   
 
The other guest is Abby Kincaid, who has returned to Cedar Cove to attend her brother’s wedding. Back for the first time in twenty years, she almost wishes she hadn’t come, the picturesque town harboring painful memories from her past. And while Abby reconnects with family and old friends, she realizes she can only move on if she truly allows herself to let go.
 
A touching novel of life’s grand possibilities and the heart’s ability to heal, The Inn at Rose Harbor is a welcome introduction to an unforgettable set of friends.

My Thoughts:

Debbie Macomber always brings a complete and well written story.  What I really liked about The Inn at Rose Harbor was that it is the story of three very different characters and the Inn is the way that they come together yet there are three different stories.

First is the story of Jo Marie Rose who recently lost her husband and man of her dreams in an military accident.  Kind of on a whim she purchases the Bed and Breakfast in Cedar Cove and renames it The Inn at Rose Harbor in memory of her husband.  She has her first two guests shortly after she takes ownership and those are the other two stories that happen in this book about Abby and Joshua, more about them later.  Jo Marie is quickly taken in my the business community and suggestions are made.  She has some interesting interactions with the local handyman about some work she needs done and then he shows up and chases off one of her late husband’s military coworkers when he come begging for money.  I really like Jo Marie and felt her healing as the story moved along.  Not to mention the amazing in!

Joshua comes to town when the neighbors notify him that his stepfather is in ill health.  He really does not want to come back as there is no love lost between them since his step-father kicked him out of the house just shy of high school graduation and after his mother’s death over something that he did not do.  Joshua believes that he will come to town get the few things of this mother’s that he wants and head out.  What he does not expect is to be reconnected with the girl next door who has totally changed.  He always figured that she was interested in step-brother but things click between them and he ends up staying in town despite his step-father’s demands that he leaves.  Joshua begins realize that maybe he wants more roots in his life.

Abby has not returned to her hometown since she left after high school graduation and the death of her best friend that she has felt guilty about for all these years.  Her brother just had to go and get married in their hometown bringing her back to this horrible place.  What she does not expect is that her old friends really have missed her and are eager to take her in.  She always figure that everyone blamed her like she blamed herself and her best friend’s parents.  After all these years, she visits the grave for the first time and feels compelled to her friend’s parents.  The visit does not start well but by the end things have turned around.  After dreading to visit, Cedar Cove, Abby might finally be healed.

I love how all of these stories overlap each other and you get to know piece by piece what is going on in the lives of these outstanding and well developed characters.

My rating:

4 Penguins

Review: All Summer Long by Susan Mallery

All Summer Long (Fool's Gold Series #9)All Summer Long by Susan Mallery

  • ISBN-13: 9780373776948
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 7/31/2012
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Source: Netgalley

Synopsis:

Former underwear model turned entrepreneur Clay Stryker has loved, tragically lost and vowed that he’ll never risk his heart again. After making his fortune, the youngest of the rugged Stryker brothers returns to Fool’s Gold, California, to put down roots on a ranch of his own. But he’s frustrated to discover that even in his hometown, people see him only for his world-famous…assets.

Firefighter Chantal (Charlie) Dixon grew up an ugly duckling beside her delicately beautiful mother, a feeling reinforced long ago by a man who left soul-deep scars. Now she has good friends, a solid job and the itch to start a family—yet she can’t move toward the future while she’s haunted by painful memories.

Clay finds an unexpected ally, and unexpected temptation, in tomboyish Charlie, the only person who sees beyond his dazzling good looks to the real man beneath. But when Charlie comes to him with an indecent proposal, will they be able to overcome their pasts and find a love that lasts beyond one incredible summer?

My Thoughts:

All Summer Long is by far my favorite Fool’s Gold book so far.  I have always felt a connection with Charlie and her strong atypical job as a firefighter.  There was always something that made me want to know more about what made her the way she was and All Summer Long delivered that and so much more.  The main story line is that of Charlie and Clay.  Clay is Rafe and Shane’s younger brother.  Now that both of these men have found the love’s of their lives it is Clay’s turn.  The problem is that Clay thinks that he has already had the love of his life who died year earlier.  Charlie feels that she is damaged good since she was raped as a teen and no one believed her.  She has not been able to be with a man since then but she really wants to have kids and in order to do that she must heal.  Charlie knows she doesn’t have to have a man to have a baby but she does not want to pass her issues on to her children.  Charlie proposes a deal to Clay, he will teach her that it is okay to have sex and that’s it no strings attached just fun.  Well, we all know how deals like this go.  It was a blast watching these two fall in love even though neither realize it is happening until Clay makes a huge mistake, will it end them?

As always, there are many other plot lines running.  While Charlie is in the middle of all of this with Clay her mother comes to town.  A woman that treated her very poorly, especially with the rape.  She wants back in Charlie’s life and has no idea what the issue is.  May, the boy’s mother, is kind enough to try and explain all of the shortcoming’s Dominique has as a mother in order to try to fix the relationship.  This was a very nice side plot and lead to even more since later in the story Dominique realized that May is not the perfect mother she though May was, when while watching a football game May’s daughter, who she has not spoken to in years, is injured.  This give Dominique new hope that she can overcome the past and tries to help May being to fix hers.

Clay is also faced with some issues with his new business idea for Fool’s Gold, Haycations.  It is an amazing idea that bring people into Fool’s Gold for a working vacation and helps to support all of the business in town.  The problems start when bones are found in the field he was going to plan in which brings the archaeological community  back to town and puts a damper on his plans.  Next, is picking a farm manager he just does not know what to do follow his guy or logic.  And then there is a problem with the plants he plants.  It just seems that nothing is coming together and maybe he should just give it up.

There was just a lot about All Summer Long that I enjoyed and I really did not want to put the book down.  It was a bit steamier that the last few and that was just fine with me.  The sparks between Clay and Charlie are amazing.  As always, I highly recommend this series for a feel good read with real life issues along the way. 

My Rating

4 Penguins