Tuesday, June 29, 2021

BLOG TOUR and SERIES REVIEW - Sweet Briars Sweetheart Series


This blog post is for a blog tour for Redemption on Rivers Ranch by Kathy Douglass, the 9th book in the Sweet Briars Sweetheart series. Previously I read books #7 and #8, The Single Mom's Second Chance and The Soldier Under Her Tree. Each review, including the scheduled blog tour post, will follow below in order of release date. 



TitleHow to Steal the Lawman's Heart
Author:  Kathy Douglass
Series:  Sweet Briar Sweethearts, Book #1
Publisher:  Harlequin Special Edition
Genre:   Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   224
Date of Publication:   January 17, 2017
My Rating:   5 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

Forgiveness starts with a stolen kiss

Chief of police Trent Knight had it all until an accident took his wife and he was left alone to raise two beautiful girls. Now the person he always blamed for his loss is back in town, and all bets are off. But soon his anger toward Carmen Shields gives way to a very different emotionawareness of Carmen as a woman. On one hand, it feels like a betrayal of his late wife's memory. On the other, it could be his second chance at lifeand Carmen's shot at redemption. Maybe she can go home againwith the help of a certain lawman


MY THOUGHTS:

What an emotional beginning to an enjoyable and unforgettable series by Kathy Douglass. Last year I read two of the books in this series. When the ninth book came up for review, I remembered my intent to read the previous titles. That is exactly what I did in this Sweet Briars Sweethearts series. 

Trent Knight was left to raise his two daughters Robyn and Alyssa alone after his lost his wife in a tragic accident. Trent never expected to find love again and is determined never to tarnish his memory of her. Imagine the grief Trent feels when the one person he feels is responsible is back in town. 

Carmen Shields was not driving the night of Trent's wife's death, but she was a passenger in the car that night. Trent feels that Carmen could have prevented her friend from driving that night. If she had, he would still have a wife. His daughters would still have a mother.

This story gave me all the feels. Imagine a man truly in love with his wife and the person you blame comes into your life. Then imagine slowly letting that unimaginable grief go in order to make room in your heart once again when given a second chance at love. I am a very emotional person and I was so pulled into this utterly touching story. The author has a way of making me feel her characters - their pain, grief, joy and hope. Most significantly, love.

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Title
:   The Waitress's Secret
Author:  Kathy Douglass
Series:  Sweet Briar Sweethearts, Book #2
Publisher:  Harlequin Special Edition
Genre:   Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   224
Date of Publication:   August 22. 2017
My Rating:  4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

Today's Special: The Undercover Heiress!

On the run after a bad breakup, wealthy city girl Arden Wexford ends up stranded in small town Sweet Briar. When hunky chef Brandon Danielson comes to her rescue, offering shelter and a waitressing job until her car is fixed, she reluctantly accepts. But, wanting Brandon to like her for her, not for her money, she doesn't mention her rich roots. The closer they get, the harder it is to untell the lie.

Brandon came here to start over. Things weren't as they seemed with his ex-fiancee, and he got burned! But is it out of the frying pan, into the fire for Brandon as things heat up with this very special waitress? 


MY THOUGHTS:

Why is Arden Wexford in the small town of Sweet Briar? Arden's car breaks down so the takes shelter and a job in the picturesque town. Will she find herself there to stay? In fact, will the man that comes to heer rescue, Brandon Danielson, be the man that steals her heart? Arden is hiding a secret, however. Will the secret that she doesn't know how to reveal ruin any chance at love?

Brandon knows heartbreak thanks to his previous relationship. As attracted as he is to Arden, he tries to keep the walls around his heart secure. However, Arden slowly begins to break down his barriers. Imagine how Brandon will feel when he discovers Arden's big secret?

Thanks to reading two of the books in this wonderful series last year I finally had a chance to binge read all of the other titles. This book, The Waitress's Secretis a touching story of secrets, love and forgiveness. I enjoyed Brandon and Arden's walk towards love as truths are slowly revealed. This story (and series) is very sweet and perfect for readers who enjoy stories that are not filled with sex, but instead, with warm and memorable romances that rely on emotion. Absolutely wonderful and I am so glad I took the time to read this series.

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Title
:   The Rancher and the City Girl
Author:  Kathy Douglass
Series:  Sweet Briar Sweethearts, Book #3
Publisher:  Harlequin Special Edition
Genre:   Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   224
Date of Publication:   December 19, 2017
My Rating:   3 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

From sworn enemies to soul mates?

Wall Street hotshot Camille Parker is the last person rancher Jericho Jones expects to find on his doorstep. Ever since his late wife's best friend interfered in his marriage, she's persona non grata in Jericho's book. But the situation is literally life-and-death for this damsel in distress, and he opens his home to her. The problem is, he opens his heart, too.

Camille has no choice but to seek help from her worst enemy. And as she lets her guard down in close quarters, unexpected feelings surge for him. But what will happen if Camille's life goes back to normal and the city girl no longer needs to shelter in the reticent rancher's arms? 


MY THOUGHTS:

One thing I love about this series ad I am reading the third book is that each seems to have a different trope. In The Rancher and the City Girl it is enemies to lovers. 

Jericho Jones has every reason to despise Camille Parker. However, she shows up on his doorstep one day and in an act of chivalry, Jericho agrees to help her. Camille is running for her life and needs a place to hide out. She is certain no one will find her on a ranch in the small town of Sweet Briar.

Jericho cannot believe that Camille not only asks for his help, but a place to stay for the time being. Years ago, Camille tried to destroy his upcoming wedding. She failed, however, and Jericho married a woman he fell in love with on the spot. Camille had her reasons for trying to destory Jericho's life back then.

It is years later and Jericho is a widow. Can Camille thaw his heart enough for Jericho to forgive her previous actions all while opening him up to the possibility of loving again? This is another sweet love story by Kathy Douglass and an enjoyable addition to a wonderful series.

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Title
:   Winning Charlotte Back
Author:  Kathy Douglass
Series:  Sweet Briar Sweethearts, Book #4
Publisher:  Harlequin Special Edition
Genre:   Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   224
Date of Publication:   January 1, 2019
My Rating:   3 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

When the man who left her at the altar...moves in next door!

This could not be happening. Charlotte Shields had left that heartbreaking day and this heartbreaking man behind. Even worse, their mutual attraction is back to betray her – especially as Dr Rick Tyler works hard to make amends. He's got to make this move to Sweet Briar work to give his son a second chance. But will he get a second chance with Charlotte in the bargain? 


MY THOUGHTS:

Dr. Rick Tyler is all about second chances, and moving to Sweet Briar with his son Bobby is proof of that. However, will Rick's attempt at second chances open his heart to love? Enter Charlotte Shields and Rick just might get that chance.

Charlotte and Rick have a past. At this point in Charlotte's life she is at a crossroads. She lost a position in her father's company that she was certain was hers. She is now vigorously searching for a job anywhere that is not Sweet Briar, North Carolina. However, when Rick shows up, after leaving her at the altar years previously, Charlotte needs to know whether not she can trust her heart - and Rick - again.

Now next-door neighbors and a chance to get it right - with a cute kid aalong for the ride - this sweet story proved an easy read and a nice addition to a series that I really am enjoying.

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Title
:   The Rancher's Return
Author:  Kathy Douglass
Series:  Sweet Briar Sweethearts, Book #5
Publisher:  Harlequin Special Edition
Genre:   Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   224
Date of Publication:   March 1, 2019
My Rating:   5 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

'That's all you have to say? You're back now?'

Ten years ago, the love of Raven Reynolds' life disappeared without a trace. Now Donovan Cordero is back, standing on her doorstep. Along the way, Raven had the rancher's child - though he didn't know she was pregnant! Now, her prayers have been answered, but happily ever after feels further away than ever. Because how can she rebuild a life with her child's father if she's engaged to another man? 


MY THOUGHTS:

After a couple of good, but average, books in this warm and engaging series by Kathy Douglass, we now have Raven Reynolds and Donovan Cordero's sweet and lovely story. Donovan and Raven were desperately in love and had a promising future together. However, one day Donovan simply disappeared. He was gone for ten years and now he is back. Where was he all of those years and why did he leave when it was more than apparent that he was in love with Raven?

Raven has a young son and she is about to marry. She may not be in love with Carson but she waited ten years to hear from Donovan and she is finally ready to move on with her life, and this includes bringing more stability for her son.

When Donovan shows up at her door one day tens years later, she almost faints. He has nearly a similar reaction when he discovers that the boy he suddenly sees has his very same eyes and other features. He is a father. 

What about Raven's upcoming wedding? Again, why did Donovan leave in the first place and why is he back? The pair soon discover that their love is as a strong as ever and must now make choices that will bring them together for a future for each other and their son.

As I have binge read most of the books in this series, I have drawn close to the folks living in Sweet Briar and I love the stories the author is bringing to her readers. The Rancher's Return is one of my favorite of the nine books in this series. It is truly a heartwarming read with a terrific story, warm characters, and the inevitable happily ever after.

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Title
:   A Baby Between Friends
Author:  Kathy Douglass
Series:  Sweet Briar Sweethearts, Book #6
Publisher:  Harlequin Special Edition
Genre:   Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   224
Date of Publication:   August 1, 2019
My Rating:  3 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

They pretended to be lovers.

But there’s nothing make-believe about the baby on the way.

When Joni Danielson recruits her best friend, Sweet Briar mayor Lex Devlin, to be her fake boyfriend for a wedding, it’s a no-brainer. But their staged kisses lead to real passion—and heartbreak when Lex pulls away. Now Joni’s in a bigger bind: she’s pregnant. Can she and Lex once again fake it till they make it—to a real relationship?


MY THOUGHTS:

They have been best friends for years and never acted on anything more. However, during a friend's wedding, they posed as a couple. Pretend might have gone a bit too far because Joni Danielson now discovers she is pregnant. Most certainly, thing will never be the same with Lex Devlin ever again. 

Lex has baggage, and that comes into play when he discovers that Joni is pregnant. Lex plans on being there for his child - and for Joni. While their friendship has changed - and that goes without saying - couldd the pair possibly have a future together? How can they go from friends, to lovers, to husband and wife?

That is not a road easily traveled for either of them, and their reasons are valid. Will they be able to overcome their obstacles long enough to examine their hearts and their growing attraction and feelings for one another? A Baby Between Friends is another light and sweet read in this lovely series by Kathy Douglass.

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**Previously reviewed July, 2020**

Title:   The Single Mom's Second Chance
Author:  Kathy Douglass
Series:  Sweet Briar Sweethearts, Book 7
Publisher:  Harlequin Special Edition
Genre:   Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   288
Date of Publication:   July 21, 2020
My Rating:   4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

She could use a shoulder to lean on…

Facing the fight of her life after a cancer diagnosis, widow Roz Martin is forced to ask her estranged brother-in-law to help care for her children. Being there for his nieces and nephew is a no-brainer for gym owner Paul Stephens. But being there for the woman who’d betrayed him by marrying his half brother is hard. Especially when he discovers the feelings he once had for Roz never died…

From Harlequin Special Edition: Believe in love. Overcome obstacles. Find happiness.


MY THOUGHTS:

Recently I joined Harlequin's blog tour program so I have had the opportunity to read some very good stories. Although this is the 7th book in a series for someone like me who insists on reading series titles from the very first book, and in order, I discovered a while back that shorter romances like this usually do quite well as standalones. I am glad that I found this to be the case with this book because I really loved this story!

It started off on a sad note. Not only is Roz Martin a widow, but she is facing treatment for a cancer diagnosis. She knows that treatment is going to take a lot out of her, and is facing an uncertain future beyond that. So she contacts the only family member that she knows can help care for her two children during this difficult time. She contacts her estranged brother-in-law Paul Stephens. Paul has stayed as far away from Roz as possible because the two were once in love, but she went and married his half brother years ago. However, these children are family and there is no way he could say no to her.

Paul is a wonderful and perfect uncle. But he is much more than that. He is a man who has never forgotten his feelings. The close proximity with Roz and the kids prove that fact beyond a shadow of a doubt. How can the two get over their past, her diagnosis and treatment, and forge a future together?

All while reading this book I was torn between sadness and hope. Who among us hasn't lost even one member of our family to the dreaded disease? Or several family members? The fact that there were two children in this story made it even harder for me to read. I do love the fact that the author made it work. She gave me that hope that I need as a reader. Yeah, it is fiction, but I get involved in every book I read. I also like how Roz and Paul's relationship was handled, and how they dealt with the apparent conflict of their past and how they could possibly find happiness now. 

I am glad for the opportunity to read and review this book and I applaud the author as to how she made it all work between Roz and Paul, without blemishing over the realness of the situations at hand. Although this book came very late in the series for me, I would love to read some of the previous titles and any future books as they become available. 

Many thanks to Harlequin Special Edition and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

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**Previously reviewed December 2020**

Title
:   A Soldier Under Her Tree
Author:  Kathy Douglass
Series:  Sweet Briar Sweethearts Book #8
Publisher:  Harlequin Special Edition
Genre:   Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   288
Date of Publication:   December 1, 2020
My Rating:   4 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

Tis the season…for a second shot at love. 

Could a fake boyfriend be her real hero this Christmas?

When her ex-fiancĂ© shows up at her shop—engaged to her sister!—dress designer Hannah Carpenter doesn’t know what to do. Especially when her former fling Russell Danielson sees her plight and rides to the rescue, offering a fake relationship to foil her rude relations. The thing is, there’s nothing fake about his kiss… But when things get real, will the sexy soldier once again stop short of commitment?

From Harlequin Special Edition: Believe in love. Overcome obstacles. Find happiness.


MY THOUGHTS:
 
They met once before at his brother's wedding. And they hit it off. However, they went their separate ways. Now, Hannah Carpenter and Russell Danielson find themselves acting as if they are dating. What brought on the change? It was due to the fact her ex-fiancĂ© showed up out of the blue one day while Russell was in town and visiting her shop. He came up with a plan, and that plan included a kiss. 

Why would Russell kiss Hannah when they hadn't seen each other in quite a while. He could see how upset she was at seeing her ex, and he figured if it looked like Hannah was seeing someone - and happily in love - the guy would walk away. The two come up with a plan and decide to extent their sudden fake relationship until at least the holidays, which is about how long Russell will be in town.

Before long, they both begin to have feelings for one another. However, there is some baggage that each of them are dealing with. Will this time that they are around one another be the time for them to find their way to a real relationship, possibly to love?

In this sweet romance Russell and Hannah tackle some issues that they each face. I loved watching each of them work through things in order to discover that things could indeed become real. Whether or not it was even feasible, I will leave to the reader of this delightful book by Kathy Douglass. Although I only read the previous book in this series, I can most certainly say that it is an enjoyable one, enough to be a lovely one-sitting read.

Many thanks to Harlequin Special Edition for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

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**FEATURED BLOG TOUR POST**




Title
:   Redemption on Rivers Ranch
Author:  Kathy Douglass
Series:  Sweet Briar Sweethearts, Book #
Publisher:  Harlequin Special Edition
Genre:   Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   224
Date of Publication:   May 19, 2021
My Rating:   5 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

The return of his childhood friend

leads to the fresh start he never expected

Horse rancher Carson Rivers has his own emotional demons. There’s no place in his life for a divorced single mom pulling at his heartstrings. But when Gabriella Tucker and her adorable children move next door—the place of her favorite childhood memories—Carson’s tempted to help the heart-guarded beauty make more adult memories. Maybe Gabriella and her kids are the healing balm he’s been yearning for…

Add Redemption on Rivers Ranch to your Goodreads!


Buy Redemption on Rivers Ranch by Kathy Douglass!
Harlequin.com  | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo


MY THOUGHTS:

Carson Rivers is a horse rancher who believes love is not in the cards. For one thing, there is something he learned about his father that he feels has tainted him. What is more is that the woman he fell in love with and became engaged to married her first love. For now Carson just wants to care for his grandmother after her recent stroke. He moves in with her and rents out his house for the summer.

Imagine Carson's shock when the woman he rented to is Gabriella Tucker, his childhood friend. She is as beautiful as he remembers, and now has two adorable children. Why is she pulling at his heartstrings now? 

Both Carson and Gabriella are bearing under quite a bit. For the two to find their way to love certainly means overcoming past hurts, secrets and fears. Their attraction is undeniable so perhaps they might be strong enough to overcome the challenges that face them.

Redemption at Rivers Ranch is the 9th book in a sweet series by Kathy Douglass. Each book, including this title, has been truly enjoyable. I love the characters, the small town and the stories that brought all of these lovely couples together. This book was so emotional, as Carson's pain was palpable, as was Gabriella's, especially when it came to her children's father and his withdrawing his attention towards them. Watching Carson and Gabriella navigate all of their pain to find a way to love and a wonderful future was quite gratifying.

Many thanks for Harlequin Special Edition and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


Please enjoy the following excerpt:
Redemption on Rivers Ranch- Excerpt

Kathy Douglass

Discovering the truth about his father had been a shock, one Carson had only begun to get over. He couldn’t believe the father he’d idolized as a child, the father who’d held Carson in front of him on a horse as a toddler and who’d taught Carson everything he knew about ranching, had taken another man’s life. It was impossible to reconcile the two sides of his father. Losing Raven had been another staggering blow, knocking him off his center.

Before all of this came to light, Carson had been a successful horse trainer. He’d worked with previously abused animals as well as teaching horses to accept the saddle. He’d branched out and begun giving riding lessons to local kids. He’d enjoyed it as much as they had and business had begun to take off. But then a whisper campaign had started. Rather than wait for his students to back out, he’d closed the school. Besides, dealing with the fallout from his father’s actions and running the family’s cattle ranch had left him little time for anything else.

Luckily a forensic audit revealed that the business operations were 100 percent legal and aboveboard, so Carson had been able to keep running it with a clear conscience. Which was good, considering the ranch employed over two dozen people, many of whom supported families.

Lately he’d been toying with the idea of restarting his riding school, but something held him back. Would people really trust him to teach their kids? His reputation had been impeccable before, but being the son of a killer scuffed up the shine. At least to hear some people tell it.

Did he need the pain and aggravation? He had plenty to keep him busy.

He passed his neighbor’s house and automatically glanced at it. He’d promised Mrs. Johnson that he’d keep an eye on it when she moved to Willow Creek. She’d been considering putting it on the market but hadn’t made up her mind yet. She said she liked knowing the house was there in case she got tired of her new lifestyle. It wasn’t a problem for him. Mowing her lawn was easy enough and oddly soothing. She only had a handful of acres and he had a riding mower, so it didn’t take much time.

He slowed. Lights were blazing in the house. No one was supposed to be there.

Carson considered calling the sheriff but decided against it. Only the world’s worst criminal would turn on every light in the house and hope nobody noticed. He’d assess the situation and go from there.

Pulling into the driveway, he noticed an SUV with out-of-state license plates. He peered inside. Empty. Mrs. Johnson had given him a key to the house, so he headed up onto the porch, opened the door and stepped inside.

Apparently whoever was inside had made themselves at home. They’d uncovered the furniture and dropped suitcases and backpacks by the stairs leading to the upstairs bedrooms. Loud music was blaring from the back of the house. Someone was singing a popular song at the top of her lungs. The fact that she was nowhere in the vicinity of the right key didn’t stop her from singing with gusto. Her attempt to hit a high note pierced his ears and propelled him forward if only to save his hearing.

A child laughed.

What in the world was going on here?

Mrs. Johnson would have told him if she’d sold or rented the house. She hadn’t mentioned it when they’d spoken a couple of weeks ago. And the gossips of Sweet Briar would have said something. He might not hang out in town any longer, but his employees did. One of them would have told him if they’d heard anything about his closest neighbor.

The woman laughed and the sound struck a chord inside Carson. Something about the sound stirred a distant memory inside him, awakening a long-forgotten feeling. He silenced the echo, focusing on the matter at hand.

The intruders were so wrapped up in each other that they hadn’t noticed him yet. He twisted the knob on Mrs. Johnson’s ancient radio, silencing the music, and then cleared his throat.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kathy Douglass came by her love of reading naturally - both of her parents were readers. She would finish one book and pick up another. Then she attended law school and traded romances for legal opinions. 

After the birth of her two children, her love of reading turned into a love of writing. Kathy now spends her days writing the small town contemporary novels she enjoys reading. 

Kathy loves to hear from her readers and can be found on Facebook.

Connect with the Author
Website: https://kathydouglassbooks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kathydouglassauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kathydouglass7
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kathy-douglass

5 comments:

  1. The series looks a little too sweet for me. Glad you enjoyed them all though. Great reviews.

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  2. It's always nice when you discover a series you enjoy. Sounds like you did with the Sweet Briars Sweetheart Series. Great reviews.

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  3. This is how I like a read a series, I get more out of them this way. Excellent job with soooo many pages!

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  4. Glad this series worked for you. Books 2, 4, and 5 stood out for me!

    ReplyDelete