Any Dream Will Do

Any Dream Will DoAny Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber
on January 1st 1970
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three-half-stars

Any Dream will Do is about Second Chances, starting over, love, and faith

Shay Benson goes against her better judgement to help her younger brother and pays for it dearly. After serving her time, she finds herself in a church trying to make sense of what she is going to do next in her life. She believes that she is there alone but is soon approached by Pastor Drew Douglas.

Drew Douglas has been mourning the loss of his wife the last 4 years. His congregation is suffering and he needs to find purpose in his life. When he sees Shay alone in his Church he offers her help by way of taking her to a shelter run by his friend.

Drew and Shay see each other sporadically as he occasionally checks in on her and agrees to attend her graduation from the program. Both feel a connection with the other. They are an unlikely match but both see the good in the other. Both need to time to trust and be willing to commit to another person again.

With all romance stories, there is a wrench in their plans for a happy relationship. Shay’s ex-boyfriend and brother come back into the picture to cause some drama and angst. Through communication, trust, and community both find support and acceptance.

This is a sweet story about starting over, hope, faith and love. There is nothing graphic in this book and what is even more surprising is that the romance did not feel rushed nor did the ending. My biggest gripe with romance books is that the ending is rushed, everyone falls in love and they all need to get married right away. This book feels like it takes its time which is a good thing. Nothing is rushed. I enjoyed how they both learned to trust each other and formed a friendship first. I also like that many topics were covered even if in a minor way – death, loss, homelessness, prison.

This is a fast read perfect for a sunny summer day spent at the beach or while relaxing in the backyard.

I received this book from Random House publishing -Ballantine and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

three-half-stars

If Not for You

If Not for YouIf Not for You by Debbie Macomber
Published by Ballantine Books on March 21st 2017
Pages: 368
ISBN: 0553391968
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three-stars

Beth is a music teacher who recently moved from Chicago to Portland, Oregon to live near her Aunt, Sunshine and to escape her controlling Mother. One night, her co-worker and friend, Nichole invites her to dinner with the intent of introducing her to her husband’s friend, Sam.

Neither Sam not Beth want to be set up. Sam has sworn off relationships and is not looking for a girlfriend. She agrees to the diner to appease his friend, Rocco. Beth is apprehensive but is talked into going by her Aunt. Their first impressions of each other are not very promising. Sam is an auto mechanic with long hair and a beard. Sam initially sees Beth as being quiet, reserved, and not like the women he meets in bars. Both decide to go their separate ways when fate steps in.

On the way home from the uncomfortable set up, Beth is hit by a teenager who is texting and not paying attention. Sam witnesses the accident and stays with her until help arrives. He then decides to go to the hospital where their mutual friends come to find out if she will be okay. As Beth has a long healing process ahead, Sam feels compelled to visit her in the hospital and both learn there is more to the other than meets the eye. They have a mutual love of music and learn they enjoy playing together.

As Beth and Sam get closer, the reader also learns about Beths’s Aunt Sunshine’s lost love and her strained relationship with her sister Ellie (Beth’s Mother).

Initially I really enjoyed this book. It was nice to see Nichole and Rocco again after reading their story in “A Girl’s guide to Moving on”. It was nice to see how their relationship had progressed and the friend’s they have made. But as the book got closer to then end, I began to fall a little out of love with this book. It fell from a 4 star read to a 3 star read for me. Why? The boy with the troubled past has been done before and I felt the conflict and resolution just did not feel right. Plus, the ending felt SO RUSHED. There is CONFLICT….then BOOM…they once again kiss and make up and BAM the book abruptly ends. Is it too much to ask for an epilogue? Is it too much to ask for a little bit more after the kiss and make up. The ending was so abrupt..as in SERIOUSLY????? it’s over just like that. I like these types of books. I really enjoy reading them. I hate the abrupt endings. If I could say one thing to the Author and/or Publishers it would be EPILOGUE. I’m sure these characters will show up in future books and we will get a glimpse of where they went from the end of this book but come on already…..I just wanted more..just a smidge more.

 

Received from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

three-stars

Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve Days of ChristmasTwelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber
Published by Ballantine Books on October 4th 2016
Pages: 288
ISBN: 0553391747
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three-stars
Received from the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Julia meets her neighbor Cain and each instantly takes a dislike for the other. Julia is very bubbly and friendly. Cain is very standoffish and keeps to himself. When Julia catches Cain stealing her newspaper after his was taken, she decides she needs to do something. After speaking with a close friend, she decides to “kill him with kindness” and blog about it. Her blog is also this book’s title “Twelve Days of Christmas”. She goes out of her way to run into Cain “Ebenezer” each day in order to be nice to him. He makes every attempt to keep her at arms length. But as Julia will not be deterred. Her blogs readers encourage her to keep being nice to Scrooge and reporting back. Julia keeps being kind to him and slowly his touch demeanor begins to fade and he begins to be nice to her as well.

This is a predictable cute Christmas love story with the bubbly cute female and the brooding handsome male. The story line is light but charming. Macomber writes sweet clean romances. This is not a bodice ripper. No one will be offended by graphic sex scenes. This book is a light sweet read. I read this in one day. This book is perfect to read while cozying up on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate.

I enjoy romance books/novels but one thing I absolutely do not like about them is the ABRUPT endings. The story builds, couples fall in love, there is angst, then someone says “I love you” and they have to get married immediately because their love just can’t wait. I LOVE that this book did not rush the ending!! That’s right, Macomber did not hit us with a fast abrupt ending. Thank You! The ending did not feel rushed at all and she even gave the reader an epilogue. Nice touch!

I think those how like romance books will really enjoy this. When the holiday season is upon us and you want to read a nice light book, grab this one.

three-stars

A Girl’s Guide to Moving On

A Girl’s Guide to Moving OnA Girl's Guide to Moving On (New Beginnings, #2) by Debbie Macomber
Published by Ballantine Books on February 23rd 2016
Pages: 339
ISBN: 0553391925
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four-stars

Received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Girls Guide to Moving On was a delightful novel. I was both intrigued and skeptical when I read the premise of the book. A Mother in Law (Leanne) and her daughter in Law (Nichole) leave their husbands around the same time and move in across the hall from each other and develop a list, a guide if you will for moving on. I thought “really?” Will this story work? Yes, it did. It worked very well. Both women had unfaithful husbands. Leanne turned a blind eye for 30 years to her husband’s many affairs but finally had enough when her son, and Nichole’s husband, got his mistress pregnant. Both women filed for divorce and made attempts to start over.

Debbie Macomber did a good job creating strong, independent women who cared about each other and supported each other. I loved how the character of Leanne was close to her daughter in law and was a strong support system for her. She didn’t pick sides in her son’s and Nichole’s divorce.

Nichole was a very likable character who meets Rocco after experiencing car trouble. Where her ex-husband was polished, Rocco was a little rough around the edges but had a heart of gold. I love how their story progressed and how both characters interacted with each other and their children. Rocco is like an onion and as he gets closer to Nichole we see his layers peeled away to the kindhearted man underneath.

Leanne begins her new life by teaching English as a second language. There she meets Nikolai, a bread maker. Their relationship begins slow and rocky and is put to the test when Leanne’s ex-husband asks for help. I wasn’t as into Leanne’s story as I was in Nichole’s story line.

I did like how both romances progressed at a nice pace and nothing felt rushed. The couples do not rush into bed, as it often happens in romance novels. I like that Debbie Macomber does romance without graphic sex scenes. Her romances are sweet and very readable. Perfect for those who don’t like gratuitous sex in their books. I personally don’t care either way, but I think Macomber appeals to a wider reader base by leaving out the sex. My only complaint about the book is that even the not so likable characters (the cheating husbands) get a little redemption at the end. We don’t all get happy endings in life but this isn’t life. It’s a book and it’s a good one.

I appreciated the epilogue. This was a nice conclusion to the book. My chief complaint with Romance books, is that we read the entire book to have the characters fall in love, only to have the book end abruptly. It was nice to see what happened down the line. I thought this was a great way to end the book.

four-stars

Sweet Tomorrows

Sweet TomorrowsSweet Tomorrows (Rose Harbor #5) by Debbie Macomber
Published by Ballantine Books on August 2nd 2016
Pages: 352
ISBN: 0553391844
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three-stars

Received from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is the 5th in a series. It stood as a stand alone book for me as I have not read the previous book in this series. This book focuses on the love lives of two female characters (Jo Marie and Emily). Jo Marie has been left behind by her love interest Mark who has some unfinished business. When he leaves and she does not hear from him, she begins to move on with her life. Emily has come into town for a job and meets Nick while running on his property (and also trying to purchase his home). Both have things in their past which make it difficult to move on.

I liked this book. I did not love it. I really enjoyed the Emily/Nick story line. My one complaint with this book and all romance books is the abrupt fast endings. There is angst, there is a man in uniform,two wonderful women and a sexy contractor with troubles. Once they get past the angst boom bam the book is over. The ending felt very abrupt to me. I think a chapter or two more would not have hurt.

Overall an enjoyable read especially for summer. Nice light romance (this is not a bodice ripper) in a lovely setting. My only complaint is the abrupt fast ending.

three-stars