#BookReview- Mountain Laurel Christmas @JanSikes3, To Love and Be Loved @MrsAmandaProwse, The Bodyguard @katherinecenter


Photo by Stefan Stefancik on Pexels.com

Winter is here (Though thankfully, no snow for us!) and with it the promise of long, cozy nights, fires to warm the toes, and BOOKS to read!

I wasn’t feeling too hale and hearty this week, but I did manage to get in three enjoyable stories from talented authors.

The first is the tale of a jaded country singer who finds the true value of life is not how rich you are, but the measure of yourself as a person.

Click the covers to learn more:

Orphaned, his family torn apart by tragedy, Cole Knight has come a long way from a ramshackle miner’s cabin on the side of the Cumberland Mountain.

Jan Sikes

I’ve been an avid reader all my life. I can still remember the excitement that surged through me the first time I realized I could decipher words. Many summers, I won the highest award possible from the Hobbs, NM Public Library for reading the most books.

There’s nothing I love more than losing myself in a story.

Oddly enough, I never had any ambition to be a writer. But I wound up in mid-life with a story that begged to be told. Not just any story, but a true story that rivaled any fiction creation. Through fictitious characters, the tale came to life in an intricately woven tale that encompasses four books. Not satisfied to stop with the books, I released music CDs of original music to match the time period of each story segment.

In conclusion, to bring the story full circle, I published a book of poetry and art. I was done.

Wrong!

The story ideas keep coming, and I don’t intend to turn off the creative fountain.

I am a member of the Author’s Marketing Guild, The Writer’s League of Texas, Romance Writers of America, and the Paranormal Writer’s Guild. I am an avid fan of Texas music and grandmother of five beautiful souls. I reside in North Texas.

Connect through Jan’s website: http://www.jansikes.com

Follow Jan on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikesBooks

Follow Jan on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JanSikes3

Follow Jan’s Blog: http://www.jansikesblog.com

My Review

Country music sensation Cole Knight should be on top of the world. After years of hard work, constant travel, and long hours, he’s made it to country stardom- so why does it feel so flat?

Drowning his sorrows in a dark bar, Cole is approached by an inexperienced reporter looking for his big break, and it triggers memories of Cole’s own beginnings and the help he received along the way. Filled with a multitude of regrets, he takes an impulsive trip to his parents’ abandoned cabin in the mountains and spends the night reliving the past.

Before leaving, Cole finds a forgotten letter that leads him to the younger brother he thought he’d lost forever.

This is a sweet story of forgiveness and redemption and teaches us real wealth comes from the heart.

In this life-affirming tale from bestselling author Amanda Prowse, one woman built a new life to escape her humiliation. Now, can she put the shame behind her and finally find happiness?

Amanda Prowse

Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author whose twenty-six novels, non-fiction title and seven novellas have been published in dozens of languages around the world. Published by Lake Union, Amanda is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today; her titles also consistently score the highest online review approval ratings across several genres. Her books, including the chart topping No.1 titles ‘What Have I Done?’, ‘Perfect Daughter’, ‘My Husband’s Wife’, ‘The Girl in the Corner’ and ‘The Things I Know’ have sold millions of copies across the globe.

A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda is a regular panellist on Channel 5’s ‘The Jeremy Vine Show’ and numerous daytime ITV programmes. She also makes countless guest appearances on BBC national independent Radio stations including LBC and Talk FM, where she is well known for her insightful observations and her infectious humour. Described by the Daily Mail as ‘The queen of family drama’ Amanda’s novel, ‘A Mother’s Story’ won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the year Award while ‘Perfect Daughter’ was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016.

Amanda’s ambition is to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night, great characters that ensure you take every step with them and tales that fill your head so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades…

Photo by Sally Mitchell on Pexels.com

My Review

Merrin and her family live in a beautiful coastal fishing village in Cornwall. She can’t imagine ever leaving, her roots are tethered to the land she loves.

Everything seems perfect when she meets the man of her dreams- Digby, the son of a wealthy local landowner- and he asks her to marry him. As the wedding day approaches, tension spirals between Merrin and her older sister, Ruby, causing a dark cloud over the fairytale story of the rich boy and the fisherman’s daughter. But then Merrin is left at the alter and her idyllic life falls apart.

Hurt and demoralized by the well-meaning village gossip, Merrin does the unthinkable and flees her home.

Years pass as Merrin tries to regain her lost confidence. She has a relationship with a kindhearted, handsome chef, but her heart is still damaged, and she can’t fully invest in the relationship.

It takes a wedding and a devastating loss before Merrin finally faces her fears and can move on with her life.

I enjoyed the rich coastal setting and the captivating characters in this story but felt Merrin overreacted to an admittedly horrible event. It cost her dearly in the end. I also couldn’t accept the last-minute addition of a love interest who becomes the love of her life- all in the last chapter or two of the book. I think it would have read better if she woke to the realization of how much the chef meant to her.

Overall, an enjoyable read.

She’s got his back.
Hannah Brooks looks more like a kindergarten teacher than somebody who could kill you with a wine bottle opener. Or a ballpoint pen. Or a dinner napkin. But the truth is, she’s an Executive Protection Agent (aka “bodyguard”), and she just got hired to protect superstar actor Jack Stapleton from his middle-aged, corgi-breeding stalker.

Katherine Center

Katherine Center’s new novel is WHAT YOU WISH FOR. She’s the author of How to Walk Away and Things You Save in a Fire—both instant New York Times bestsellers—as well as The Lost Husband (now a movie starring Josh Duhamel), and five other bittersweet comic novels. She writes laugh-and-cry books about how life knocks us down—and how we get back up. Katherine has been compared to both Nora Ephron and Jane Austen, and the Dallas Morning News calls her stories, “satisfying in the most soul-nourishing way.” Her books have made countless Best-Of lists, including Amazon’s Top 100 Books of 2019, Goodreads’ Best Books of the Year 2019, BookBub’s Best-Loved Books of 2019, the Indie Next Great Reads List, SheReads’ Best Women’s Fiction 2019, BookList’s Top Ten Women’s Fiction, and many, many more. Katherine lives in her hometown of Houston, Texas, with her husband, two kids, and their fluffy-but-fierce dog.

My Review

Hannah Brooks and her ex are in competition for a London promotion within their executive protection agency, and much as she wants to turn down the new assignment, she can’t.

Mega- movie star, Jack Stapleton is in Houston to support his mother, who is going through a cancer scare. He doesn’t want or need a bodyguard, but his contract says he has no choice- enter unassuming Hannah Brooks.

Forced into close contact, Hannah learns there’s a lot more to Jack than his washboard abs, and Jack finds himself fascinated by the bodyguard. Much as she appears confidant and assured, Hannah has a soft inner shell that Jack is drawn to, and she makes him laugh.

A surprise ending adds a delightful twist to this funny, heartwarming read. Katherine Center is at the top of my list of favorite authors and this book will make her a top read for you, as well!

Hubby, #1 grandson, and I watched the Santa Claus Parade on Saturday. It has me in the mood for Christmas now! lol

35 Comments

  1. D.L. Finn, Author says:

    Great reviews, Jacquie 🙂 I agree Jan’s story is a great holiday read. Nothing like a parade to get into the holyday mood 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Jan Sikes says:

      Thank you, Denise!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. They have the truck parade this weekend- amazing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. D.L. Finn, Author says:

        How fun! No parades here but we do have Victorian Christmas

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I bet that’s amazing to see!

          Like

  2. Great reviews, Jacquie. Two of my fave authors here, and I’ll have to check out Katherine’s books. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Sorry you haven’t felt great. Hugs 💕🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Katherine is amazing, Harmony. I warn you now, you’ll be hooked, lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So many great books! You’re not helping me shrink my TBR pile, Jacquie. Thanks for sharing! I hope you’re feeling better. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, I bought a new Kindle with more space!
      Yes, I’m much better, thank you {{hugs}}

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Staci Troilo says:

    Pentatonix is awesome. If people weren’t in the holiday mood before playing the video, they must be now.

    Great reviews, Jacquie. I’ve only read Jan’s (and really enjoyed it) but they all sound good. Wishing all the authors my best.

    Hope you’re feeling better. 💕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jan Sikes says:

      Thank you for your recommendation, Staci!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Pentatonix are amazing- so talented!
      All are great choices, Staci, and yes, I’m in recovery mode, thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sophie @BewareOfTheReader says:

    I want to read The Bodyguard so bad!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So, so good! I had to dive straight into another Katherine Center book- How to Walk Away, which is heartwrenching!

      Like

  6. Jan Sikes says:

    What a wonderful surprise to wake to today! Thank you SO much for your review of Mountain Laurel Christmas, Jacquie! I am honored to be here with these other amazing authors!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Loved your story, Jan. You hit all the right notes with this one 🙂

      Like

  7. Great reviews, Jacquie. I’ve come to expect that from you. Loved loved loved Jan’s book and am intrigued by the others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jacqui 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Excellent reviews, Jacquie. I also liked Jan’s story Mountain Laural Christmas and gave it five stars.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She’ll love that, John 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Gwen M. Plano says:

    Wonderful reviews, Jacquie. Like you, I really enjoyed Jan’s story. Thank you for the showcase. All look like great reads. 🎄❄🎄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jan’s story tugs on the heartstrings- beautifully written ❤

      Like

  10. Joan Hall says:

    Great reviews, Jacquie. I’ve read Jan’s story. The others sound like something I’d enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All three share the common theme of family, Joan. Perfect for the holiday season!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Beem Weeks says:

    Wonderful reviews, Jacquie. I’m a Jan Sikes fan. I need to move her story up on my TBR list! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure she’ll be thrilled to see this, Beem. Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Kymber Hawke says:

    Terrific reviews, Jacquie! I want to read “Mountain Laurel Christmas,” but I think I better add “The Bodyguard” to my tbr, too. 😀 I hope you’re feeling better now. I’m in a Christmas mood right now, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Both are great choices, Kymber. I think the gray skies are getting me down- need sunshine!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kymber Hawke says:

        I understand what you mean! I need sunny skies, too.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. balroop2013 says:

    Awesome reviews Jacquie, many thanks for helping me choose some wonderful books each time I visit you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to help, Balroop 🙂

      Like

  14. petespringerauthor says:

    I have yet to read any of these, though I know Jan is an excellent writer, and I have one of Amanda’s books waiting for me on my Kindle. Thanks for the introduction to Katherine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jan IS a great writer. This was my first one of Amanda’s. I really enjoyed her characterizations and the rich scene setting.
      Katherine’s books are wonderful. She focuses on strong, independent women who go through life-changing events.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. These all sound good, Jacquie. I have obviously heard of Amanda Prowse but I don’t think I’ve ever read any of her books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This was my first. She did a good job of drawing me into the story 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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