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Saturday, April 8, 2023
About the Book
Book: A Country of Their Own
Author: Hope Bolinger
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Release date: April 4, 2023
THE NOTEBOOK meets SEVENTEEN AGAIN
Priscilla is an old soul. Carter can’t wait to leave Florida, a haven for the elderly.
Together they’re forced to do community service at a retirement home. But all the residents look like teenagers. Are they meant to bring together the lovable residents Scarlett and Paul—who are actually 80 years old? Or is it too late for them to find love?
It made me think about how all people, young and old, are young at heart and wise beyond their years. In the publishing industry, I have experienced a great deal of ageism. You can seldom go to a conference without someone telling you something along the lines of, “Wow. I had no idea that you were so wise. I assumed because you are young that you know nothing.”
And I know that many of my fellow writers who are older have experienced ageism to the same degrees.
So I wanted to write a book that would level the playing field.
I wanted to have two teen main characters who end up good friends with two characters who are well into their 80s—who simply look like teens thanks to the funhouse mirror effects of Country Acres (a retirement home in which the 80-year-old characters are residents).
What made the book hit even closer to home was that I wrote it right after my grandma passed away—and right as the COVID shutdown took effect in 2020.
Grandma had played a huge role in my writing. She and I read my first book together. She owned a bookstore in which, when I was eight, I helped her to run the cash register. And she always supported me in my publishing dreams.
I am sad that she and Grandpa passed long before they could read this. But this book also encapsulates them. That my grandma tap danced well into her eighties, and that my grandpa would ride the waves on a boogie board.
We’re all young, we’re all wise … let’s listen to one another.
This book should have a warning label on it that says, “must purchase tissues with book.” I cried so much in this story that my eyes were red when I finished. It is a story that brings young and old together in a beautiful way. I loved Priscilla and her quirkiness. I love old movies and vintage clothes like her. Her respect for the elderly is nice and I loved how she wanted to be around them. There is something to be said for the older generation. They have many stories to tell and wisdom that the younger generation can learn from.
Carter is not sure he wants to be at the retirement center volunteering but once there he starts to really find himself being able to interact with the people. He and Priscilla have this unspoken attraction for each other that I found sweet. As they volunteer together they get to know each other better. Insecurities come out and I think they both found healing from their past.
The heroes of this story are Scarlett and Paul. Two older people who fall in love while at the retirement center is something to celebrate. Scarlett is someone I could spend hours talking to. She is full of life and wants others to find happiness. There is sadness in her but she doesn’t let it show much.
Paul is a romantic and is determined to get Scarlett’s attention. With the help of Carter they devise a plan to have Paul woo Scarlet. It was fun to read what ideas they come up with. Little do Carter and Priscilla know but there is something going on in the background to get them together.
I adored this story and how we witness second chances, forgiveness, new beginnings and helping a woman see her dream come true. There won’t be any dry eyes at the end of this story. The author has honored her grandmother in an emotional story that illustrates how we can learn from each other and find hope in difficult moments.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
Will they find a second chance or will small-town secrets spell disaster?
Former big-city architect and single mom, Carissa Carver, found just enough to hope to begin a new life with her boys in Holcomb Springs. She dropped all her savings into a vacant Victorian in an online auction, hoping to flip it and build a better life.
However, it didn’t take long to learn nothing was as promised, including a chocolate Lab that came with the house, who adopted her son with Asperger’s. Could her boys handle being uprooted one more time?
But when things go missing, her house is vandalized, and she finds human bones in the basement, she wonders what she’s really gotten them into. Is this one more bad decision or something truly dangerous?
Deputy Jonas McCann came to Holcomb Springs to heal after the death of his wife and daughter. The last thing he needs is matchmaking by the meddling librarian, even if Carissa and her boys stir something long dormant in his heart.
As more strange things happen, he is drawn further into his desire to protect her and the boys he’s come to have a heart for. Can he solve the mystery before they get hurt? Does it have anything to do with the missing teenager? Or are those just ghost stories and small-town rumors? Especially the ones about the indigo blue moon.
Author JL Crosswhite will have you on the edge of your seat, unable to turn pages fast enough.
JL Crosswhite‘s favorite thing is discovering how much there is to love about America the Beautiful and the great outdoors. She’s an Amazon bestselling author, a mom to two navigating the young adult years while battling her daughter’s juvenile arthritis, exploring the delights of her son’s autism, and keeping gluten free. Learn more about her adventures and how she gets inspired for her books at JLCrosswhite.com
More from JL Crosswhite
It may surprise you, but I actually started writing Under an Indigo Moon about fourteen years ago (my books can germinate for a long time!). It started out as a women’s fiction book called Under the Blueberry Sky. It even finaled in the Frasier contest for first chapters in 2011.
But as I began planning the Holcomb Springs series, I knew I wanted to tell Carissa and Jonas’s story. While there are parts of me in all of my characters, Carissa has a unique place in my heart as the mom of a special needs kid. Her six-year-old son, Jayden, is based a lot on my experiences with my son who’s on the autism spectrum.
Because I had written much of the early part of the book a long time ago when I was closer to those long and difficult days, re-reading and writing those scenes took me back. My son is a young adult now, and I was amazed at how much I had forgotten about the day-to-day challenges of living with someone who sees the world so differently. And now I can look back and see how far he has come.
Jonas McCann was a bit of a mystery to me. Because my original envisioning of this book was as women’s fiction, there wasn’t a romance thread. So I had to create one. I’m fortunate to have law enforcement officers in my family to draw from. But as I got to know Jonas, he became as beloved to me as all of my characters (They feel like my children; I can’t pick a favorite!).
One of the highest compliments I received was from a book-coaching client (my day job) who read Beneath a Star-Lit Sky, the first book in the Holcomb Springs series. Her husband is a small-town sheriff, and she felt I really captured the role. That meant a lot to me. Even though I write fiction, I want my characters to feel like real people with real problems and challenges.
Under an Indigo Moon takes place in a fictional world—Holcomb Springs—that already has a lot of threads and tie ins. It’s book 2 in the Holcomb Springs Small Town Romantic Suspense series, but it ties in with the two previous series I’ve written—Hometown Heroes and In the Shadow. I don’t know about you, but I love seeing characters from previous books pop up again in later books.
You can certainly enjoy the book without knowing about all the “Easter eggs” hidden inside, but isn’t it more fun to be in on the jokes? So make sure you grab Claire and Alex’s story in Inn at Cherry Blossom Lane (grab it here for free) and the short story that introduces us to the Holcomb Springs group in “An Evening to Remember” (grab it here). There are clues in the story that play out in the book.
I hope you enjoy Jonas and Carissa’s journey as much as I enjoyed writing it—a story of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.
I loved getting to know Carissa and her children as they set out to start a new life. Carissa is trying so hard to do things on her own since she has no one else to help her. Little does she know that moving to Holcomb Springs will bring her new friends and a new beginning. Taking on the job of redoing an old Victorian home will prove to be a big challenge . The house is in need of TLC and Carissa has dreams of how to bring the house back to life. I liked how the author talked about autism in the story and showed how a child with autism can do things with help and encouragement.
Jonas is a good character who befriends Carissa and helps her start to feel welcomed in the town. There is a saying in the town , “that we help our own.” That statement will be shown in action many times in the story. Jonas is the local deputy so he has known about the rumors of the house Carissa has bought. He wants her to know that she is safe but soon mysterious things start to question her safety. Strangers lurking around the house, missing items and a devastating loss will bring danger to Carissa and her sons.
I loved how the author brings intrigue into the story with something that happened in the house a few years ago. When something is discovered in the house, everyone is on high alert . I liked how the author slowly unravels the mystery while also bringing a little romance to the story. The story is a clean read with faith elements scattered throughout. I will be looking to read more books from this author.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
My perfect summer just got ruined by a brunette in a tool belt.
This was my summer to get away from it all. Live like a hermit. Fix up my family’s vacation home.
Until Ella arrived.
My infuriating neighbor has returned for beach season.
Ever since our families bought summer homes next to each other, that was the beginning of our neighbor war.
Now I have to see her every. single. day.
When I let it slip that I’m making a few home improvements, she jumps at the chance to help. She’s an interior designer who needs work. I’m a man who loathes shopping. Any mention of the words color palette makes me want to break out in hives.
We’re the dynamic duo for this fixer upper.
There’s only one problem: the more time we spend together, the more attracted I am to her. Now our on-the-job flirting is veering into dangerous territory.
Because if there’s one thing I know, Ella and I are not meant to be together.
I’m emotionally unavailable. She’s sworn off relationships. And our families hate each other.
I know my future is at stake. But I can’t seem to tear myself away from this project…or her.
So I tell myself:
I most definitely will not fall for my neighbor.
But you know what they say about promises you can’t keep? Don’t make them.
Like most home projects, I’m learning that nothing ever goes according to plan.
Grace Worthington is the author of sweet romance and sweet romcom novels. She loves quaint small towns and the beach is her happy place, which is why you’ll find both in her books. She’s obsessed with chocolate, romcom movies from the 80’s & 90’s, and goldendoodles. Get a free book sweet romcom at graceworthington.com
More from Grace
I love home renovation shows, because they make it look so easy to magically turn your home into something amazing in only a half-hour. (If only that worked in real life.)
But what if two people who were enemies worked on renovating a home together? Would they survive the renovation? Could it even bring them together?
I love all the tropes, but enemies to lovers is one of the most satisfying for me, especially in romantic comedy. The huge payoff is seeing two very opposite people come together quite magically. In the end, I’m always rooting for the couple who overcomes the odds.
It’s also been my experience that no matter how much you prepare for a home project, it never goes according to plan. This sets the stage for lots of hilarious scenarios as things go wrong and the couple learns to navigate these unexpected detours together.
But in The Neighbor Renovation, it’s not just about the physical home. There is a deeper metaphor of what happens in their lives as they learn to overcome past wounds and take a chance on love. Just like the home renovation shows, the renovation that happens in their hearts is almost miraculous.
So if you like HGTV, sweet romantic comedies, grumpy sunshine couples, and second chance love stories, then you’re going to enjoy The Neighbor Renovation: A sweet romantic comedy.
What a fun story this has been to read. It is a mixture of home remodeling, a feud between two families and healing from the past. I loved how the author delivers a story filled with laughs along with a great lesson in accepting your past. It illustrates how we need to overcome our hurt and allow healing to begin.
I loved both Ella and Grant. They each have a reason not to be around each other but somehow they find a way to overcome the fight between their families. I laughed at what the feud was over and could tell it all had to do with pride. With these two people finding a way to work together maybe they can break down the walls between families and allow forgiveness to happen.
It was exciting to read how Ella was chosen to be on a show that could help her get her own name known as an interior decorator. The laughs start as Grant agrees for Ella to redo his Granny’s place. It is quite outdated and sure needs help and a lot of it. I don’t know about you, but I love going to Target. They have so many great products to look at for home decorating. Poor Grant has no idea what he is in for once he walks in the store with Ella. She is bursting with ideas and pink may be in his future.
There is also an emotional side to the store which captivated my heart. Grant is broken from losing his fiancé and isn’t interested in letting anyone else get close to him. Ella is not confident in herself and allows her aunt to belittle her. We get to see how they each realize they need to allow theirselves to grief and open their hearts to a new chapter in their lives.
The ending is wonderful and wraps up the story in a nice way. Finding love when you aren’t looking for it is exciting and these two will begin to see how much they belong together. I love happy endings and especially when there is a lesson for all of us. Never give up, believe in yourself and it’s never too late to forgive.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit.The review is my own opinion.
Strong, determined Rose finds more than she bargained for on a wagon train headed out West on the Oregon Trail. Will she be able to leave the comforts of high society behind to survive the rigors of the trail? Will she humbly admit her need for strength, hope and courage from God? What is God saying to her about Lachlan, her surprise chaperone? Why did God bring Lachlan into her life if their dreams collide? Rose has dreams of being a teacher in town. Lachlan’s dream is to be a rancher, far from any town. Must Rose abandon her dreams to embrace his…or will she let this gentle giant of a man leave to pursue his own dreams?
Hi. My name is Rena Groot. I have a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta and a Masters of Religious Education from the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary in Cochrane, Alberta. I have been a teacher in Canada and China, have published eight books, I have designed a digital course called Broken to Beautiful-Transformed By God’s Power, I have been a tour manager from the Rockies to the Pacific, have been a missionary to the ends of the Earth, a mom of four—and the most important part—I am a child of God.
More from Rena
My middle name is Rose. I was named after my grandmother, Rose. As far as I know, I never met my father’s mother, Rose. Her life, and my dad’s, were an enigma to me. While writing this book I found out Rose had two other grandchildren I knew nothing about—my brother and sister I didn’t know existed. God is so amazing! (This is attached to the email)
One of my favorite recipes is fry bread. On days we stay in camp, I make enough for the week. It gets a bit hard towards the end of the week, but softens when it’s dipped in stew. Here’s the recipe: Four cups flour, one quarter cup shortening—I use bacon fat—four teaspoons baking powder, three-quarters cup of milk, one teaspoon salt, and oil or fat for frying. If the dough is too thick or thin, Willow said to play with it until it feels just right. It can also be made into a dessert if you put milk, cinnamon, and berries on top.
Johnnycake’s delicious with beans. It’s so easy to make. You need two eggs, two cups of sour milk, one half cup flour, two tablespoons molasses, one teaspoon salt, two cups cornmeal, one teaspoon baking powder, and two tablespoons butter. You mix all the ingredients then bake it in a Dutch oven over the fire until it’s cooked.
Cheese is easy to make. It’s a good way to use the two gallons of milk we get from our cow and the goat each day. We are getting so much we have been sharing. Willow showed me how to gently heat the milk in a pail on the fire until it’s blood warm. Rennet is needed to make cheese, so I use a flask made from a cow’s stomach because it has rennet in it. I had no idea. I pour the hot milk into the stomach flask and wait. After it’s been left a few hours, I pour it out, break up the curds, and mix them with salt. I wrap the curds in a cloth and put them in a round wooden frame called “the follower.” (Thankfully, Lachlan had the good sense to buy one of those also). The curds are pressed in the follower. The cheese is usually aged for at least two months before it can be eaten.
This book has been a realistic look at what it might have been like traveling the Oregon Trail. The author does a great job of describing the treacherous journey many took as they faced sickness, weather that was dangerous at times and terrain that was hard to get through. I was in awe of how I actually felt like I was on the wagon with Rose. I could feel the chill in the air and the rough terrain as the oxen pulled the wagon.
In the late 1850s the book takes us along as Rose decides she wants to travel but the wagon master refuses to let her join. I loved how this kind, gentle man offered to help Rose out. She was not sure at first if she could trust him, but along the way we see how much Lachlan will mean to her. I loved reading her letters to her ma and how she talked about her days. It was interesting to read all the supplies needed for the trip. I can’t imagine having to pack for a length of time making sure you had enough food, parts for a wagon and other necessary items. I did find it funny that Rose was going to travel with Lachlan as his cook. She has no idea how to do any cooking.
Lachlan is someone you can trust, respect and call on if you need help. His treatment of Rose was so heartwarming and I loved how protective he was over her. As they travel they begin to get to know each other and share their faith. The book is rich in scripture and faith that keeps Lachlan and Rose grounded and pure in God’s eyes. The author does an excellent job of illustrating what a Godly man Lachlan is.
The story has some very sad moments that made me cry. Life on the Oregon Trail was difficult and not an easy journey for anyone. We witness deaths that broke my heart as illness overtook several families. Bringing a child into the world was not easy if there were any complications and reading how families faced this was emotional. I appreciate how the author gives us a look at how Rose and Lachlan stepped up to help others and welcomed many to their meals.
I loved this story that shares how God is there at all times. He knows the pain we face but He is there to comfort us. Rose and Lachlan’s story is an example of following your heart and trusting God.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.