Category: ‘secular titles’

A Proposal Worth Millions

July 5, 2017 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

A Proposal Worth Millions

Have you ever lost your spouse?

Sadie’s husband, Adem, died a few years ago and now she’s determined to make his Turkish hotel a success. She appeals to Dylan, Adem’s best friend, for help. Sadie has always been attracted to Dylan, but, she never acted on those feelings since she was married to Adem. Now that Adem is gone, could a romance can sprout between them?

Dylan has always been attracted to Sadie, but, since she was a married woman, he knew that he had to keep his emotions in check. When she solicits his help to save the Azure, her Turkish hotel, he wonders if he can keep their meetings strictly business. Adem suffers from past pain. Abandoned by his father, he feels that he’s just like his dad. He highly doubts he’d be able to make a good stable commitment to Sadie – or any woman for that matter.

It’s been ages since I’ve read a Mills and Boon Harlequin Romance. I loved the scenery in this book. Makes me want to go swimming in the Aegean sea! One thing this romance that was out of the ordinary – it was strictly romance. What I mean is, interactions with secondary character were minimal. The entire book was just interactions between Sadie and Dylan.

So, have you ever lost your spouse? If so, how did you cope? 

 

The Cake Therapist

June 17, 2017 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

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The Cake Therapist

***This is a secular title

Are there any foods that bring back vivid memories of your childhood when you taste them?

Neely is struggling since she’s separated from her famous football-star husband. A pastry chef, she opens a bakery in her hometown. Her treats are so delicious! She has scheduled wedding cake tastings in her home. When Neely eats foods, she can see into people’s lives. She can get a glimpse of what may be bothering a person, sensing if they have secrets.

Sometimes her sightings can bring strength to couples who are about to get married. Some of these cake tastings proved shocking, just letting you know if you should decide to read the book.

What I liked most about this book was the descriptions of the bakery and the sweets. The tastes of orange, salt, sugar, chocolate… You can almost taste these delicious flavors – they are described so well in this book.

This novel has two stories, one in the past and Neely’s story which is present day. The stories intersect in a unique and very surprising way!

So, when you taste certain foods, do they bring back vivid memories of your childhood? Please tell me about them!

This book reminded me of another secular title I read awhile back:

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

Both The Cake Therapist and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake involve tasty food and how food is connected to our emotions.

Still Mine

June 22, 2016 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

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Still Mine by Amy Stuart – this is a secular title

Have you ever known someone who was missing? If so, was she/he ever found?

When Clare is sent on a mission to find a missing woman (Shayna), she’s forced to take a hard look at her own life. Clare becomes enmeshed within the lives of the inhabitants of Shayna’s town. There’s Charlie, the local drug dealer, and his girlfriend Sara. Clare and Sara share a camaraderie while Clare finds herself taking drugs, drinking alcohol, things that she really need so avoid. There’s also Derek, the town’s doctor as well as Jared, Shayna’s ex-husband. There’s also Wilfred and Louise, Shayna’s mentally-unbalanced parents. Who is responsible for Shayna’s disappearance and why was Clare hired to find her?

While Clare searches for Shayna, she’s reminded of the abusive life she’s left behind. She’s forced to face her own fears while the mystery in the town of Blackmoore unravels.

I found this to be a very dark read. It was very suspenseful. I also found the ending to be a bit abrupt and unfinished. I’m a bit curious to know if there will be a second book in this series? I’d recommend this book if you like dark, suspenseful novels.

Have you ever known someone who was missing? Was that person ever found?

A Cedar Cove Christmas

October 20, 2015 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

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A Cedar Cove Christmas by Debbie Macomber

Have you ever had siblings who interfered with your life? Did they interfere so much that you felt you had to run away?

That’s Mary Jo’s dilemma. She’s pregnant (nine months), abandoned by her ex-boyfriend. Her brothers are arguing, claiming they’ll find her ex and force him to marry her. It’s Christmas Eve and Mary Jo is determined to find her ex in Cedar Cove before her brothers find him first!

This was a delightful short book where you’ll become reacquainted with the Cedar Cove cast. It’s like a modern version of the original Christmas story, complete with 3 Wyze men, a King, a stable, barn animals, a drummer boy and even bursting stars! This is a nice quick story to read over the holidays.

So, have you ever had brothers or sisters who’ve interfered with your life? What did you do about it?

Man Of The Family

October 18, 2015 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

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Man of the Family by Leigh Riker is a sweet romance from Harlequin’s Heartwarming Line

Have you ever relocated to another state/area?

Griffin, a former news anchor, is now living in a Florida apartment building as a maintenance man. His teen-aged daughter is still bitter of the abandonment of her mom (Griffin’s wife). Griffin tries to get his small family to live harmoniously in their new home, but, he’s failing miserably. His family is full of bitterness and resentment, and his daughter has terrible behavior problems.

Lawyer Sunny, a family acquaintance, has temporarily re-located to Florida. She’s escaping danger, and she is still haunted from a traumatic childhood experience. Griffin and Sunny find that opposites really can attract.

This book was a good, realistic read. I could imagine both Griffin and Sunny struggling with their emotional issues while trying to love one another. A good story.

Have you ever relocated to another state? How was your move? Did things turn out smoothly once you were settled in?

Dashing Through The Snow

October 15, 2015 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

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Dashing Through The Snow

Have you ever taken a long road trip during a snow storm?

Ashley, a graduate student, needs to find transportation home. She wants to surprise her mom for Christmas. When she meets Dash, a good-looking man at the airport, they are “forced” to rent the last car on the lot to drive to Seattle. The chemistry between these two strangers is strong, too strong for them to ignore.

Overall, I thought this book was extremely light reading, not too heavy story line. If you like Christmas books with a light plot, then you should give this one a try.

So, have you ever taken a long road trip during a snow storm? If so, did you make it to your destination in time?

The Man You’ll Marry

September 10, 2015 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

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The Man You’ll Marry by Debbie Macomber

Have you ever known somebody who was a workaholic?

A magical wedding dress, two single women who are best friends, and two tense, hardworking men are thrown together in these two novellas. Shelly Hansen stunningly receives her great-aunt’s wedding dress. The legend is, after she receives the dress, the first man she meets afterwards will be the man she marries. When she literally knocks over Mark Brady on a shopping-mall escalator, she knows that he’s NOT the man she’s going to marry. However, Mark and Shelly keep running into each other, and they can’t ignore their shared attraction. Is there truth to the magical wedding dress legend?

When Shelly passes the magical wedding dress onto her best friend, Jill Morrison, Jill is surprised. She receives the dress while on her Hawaii vacation. En route to Hawaii, she sits next to workaholic Jordan Wilcox. She’s attracted to Jordan, but, can’t let herself fall for him. After all, her father was a workaholic and his ways caused him to have an early death. She knows if she gets serious about her relationship with Jordan, she may become a widow way too early, just like her mom. Jordan is scared of failing. Can he learn to love Shelly and give up his workaholic ways?

So have you ever known a workaholic? If so, did he/she remain a workaholic, or did they learn to slow down and enjoy life?

Both of these stories were short and charming. I finished them in a few hours. Very delightful reading.

Sweet Romances!

July 26, 2015 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

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Here are a few sweet romances that I read recently. No, these novels are not inspirational, but, inspirational readers can enjoy these books without being offended.

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In Winner Takes All, Stephanie has had a childhood crush on Daniel for a long time! Stephanie is best friends with Daniel’s sister and when she wins the lottery, she has the brilliant idea of following Daniel to Peru, where he’s currently running a clinic. She offers a nice donation to help him to set up more clinics, however, he must agree to allow her to assist him with his medical mission. Daniel is drawn to Stephanie, but, he can’t get past that she’s nothing more to him than his kid sister’s friend. Daniel has to realize that she’s a grown woman – a grown woman who’s very much attracted to him.

I liked the international setting in this story. It was also enjoyable to read a book that shows what it’s like to live in a third world country with limited medical care.

 

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Her Lone Cowboy

When an injured war veteran, Caleb, purchases a ranch, he’s determined to shut himself away from others. He’s a loner, not wanting the pity of others when they see his scars. However, when Delaney moves next door, her son forces Caleb to befriend him. Caleb is also drawn to Delaney, for some reason. He’s attracted to her, but, he’s still haunted by his war experience. He’s not a healed man – his war experience has left him mentally and physically unstable and Delaney needs to ignore their shared attraction.

For unknown reasons, Delaney is drawn to her new neighbor. She befriends him, in spite of his determination to be a loner.

I enjoyed this book because the hero has deep, emotional scars that he needs to overcome. The story showed how war can affect a man’s life long after he’s left the battle scene. This novel also shows how tough it can be to be a single mom with no emotional support from the child’s father. Overall, a very good read.

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The Hardest Fight

Lucy broke up with Dylan five years ago. They come into contact again when she’s fighting to save her shelter for battered women. Dylan is stunned to see Lucy again. He’s never stopped loving her, and still doesn’t understand why she abruptly ended their relationship five years ago.

Lucy is stunned to see Dylan again. She still has deep feelings for him, but lashes out at him, wanting him to keep his distance from her. After all, she’s still attracted to him and she doesn’t want to re-ignite these old feelings. Unbeknownst to Dylan, Lucy suffered from a traumatic experience, an experience that forced her to end their relationship.

Out of the three heartwarming titles that I read, I enjoyed this one the most. Lucy had to overcome deep, emotional pain and it shows how hard it can be to allow someone who loves us to stand by our side when we’re suffering. Overall, an excellent read.

Here Comes Trouble

May 21, 2015 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

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Here Comes Trouble by Debbie Macomber

Have you (or someone that you know) ever dated a rich person? If so, did his/her wealth affect your relationship?

When Nolan Adams publishes a column about Maryanne, a spoiled and rich debutante, vivid sparks fly between the twosome. Maryanne does not want to be portrayed as a rich and pampered woman, although rich and pampered is her lifestyle. She lives in a pricey, high class apartment. Her father arranged for her to get a wonderful job at the newspaper. She’s always had everything handed to her on a silver platter, and she wants to prove to Nolan that she can work on her own, with no help from her family, and still make a living.

Trying to live life as a regular, non-wealthy person proves challenging. But, Maryanne is falling hard for Nolan, but, can Nolan let go of his past pains and learn to love Maryanne? Nolan has been raised with limited means, and he feels that Maryanne is out of his league. No way can he pursue her.

This was a nice sweet story. I’d thought from the cover (it’s part of the Glad Tidings collection), that it’d be more about Christmas. But the Christmas holiday is only mentioned briefly in the beginning and at the end.

So, have you (or someone that you know) ever dated someone who was wealthy? If so, how did it affect your relationship?

 

Here Comes Trouble by Debbie Macomber

The French For Christmas

December 9, 2014 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

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The French For Christmas

Have you ever suffered a deep, emotional pain, and then went away on a trip to try to help you cope with your pain?

This book was an enjoyable tale that’s set on the French countryside. Evie, living in London, is still not over the death of her infant daughter. Her husband has abandoned her, and he failed to be there for her when she needed him. Now, it appears her husband has moved on with his life while, a year later, next year’s Christmas, Evie still struggles with her grief.

Her life takes an interesting turn when her best friend loans her the use of their family cottage on the French countryside. During the Christmas season, Evie stays in the cottage and meets an interesting group of people, her neighbors, who live nearby. During her grieving year, Evie has lost her joy for life and cooking. Her joy of cooking is re-ignited while she stays in the cottage.

I really loved the way I was able to emotionally connect with the characters in this novel. You could really feel for them, feel their griefs, but, they’re strong people, and they learn to survive past pains.

I also loved reading about the food! I took French for four years in high school and during those four years, not only did we learn about the language, but, we learned a lot about French history and culture. A lot of my French Christmas cultural learning came back to me while reading this book! I might even make a yule log/buche de noel this Christmas!

So have you ever suffered a deep emotional pain and went away on a trip to help you cope? If so, where did you go?