All Summer Long

Carlson, Melody. All Summer Long: Follow Your Heart- Book 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing, 2016.

allsummerlong

SUMMARY:
Tia D’Amico is ready to leave her small town life in Washington for San Francisco. With the goal of helping her aunt start a new restaurant business aboard the moving yacht, Tia has the surprise of her life when she realizes the captain is non-other than her long-last flame from years ago, Leo Parker. With a romance rekindled, a floating food business, a heart lost in San Francisco and possibilities galore, Tia and Leo must decide if they should reconnect or go their separate ways…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Loving author Melody Carlson’s Christmas series best, I do also like her new Follow Your Heart series. Easy to read and well written, what a perfect novel to pack in the suitcase for a summer trip. Perhaps written with young adults in mind, All Summer Long shares popular current culture with the restaurant business (Food Network) and San Francisco (Travel Channel). Though maybe a bit predictable, it does not take away from the sweetness and fun associated with this story. Though a stand-alone, pack both books in the series for pleasurable reading on that longer trip.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of All Summer Long from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

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Once Upon a Summertime

Carlson, Melody. Once Upon a Summertime: A New York City Romance/ Follow Your Heart Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
summertimeSmall-town girl, Anna Gordon, has lunch with a friend that changes her life in multiple ways. Leaving her hometown for the big city, Anna discovers an acquaintance from home (the handsome and favorable Sean O’Neil), a chance to pursue her line of study, tours and experiences within the Big Apple, and a relationship which surprises even her…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Melody Carlson is a favorite author of mine, especially her Christmas-themed novels. Though not necessarily a new storyline, Once Upon a Summertime is a good summer read, light-relaxing afternoon entertainment, wonderful vacation indulgence or fun lemonade-pairing novel. Nothing too deep yet a pleasant contemporary romance, this book helped the afternoon slip past. With the next book in the Follow Your Heart series due out in the summer of 2016, I will probably look for it for the same occasions. Cute but I am looking forward to her next Christmas story (but undoubtedly, not the snow and cold).

RATING:
3.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Once Upon a Summertime from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Trading Secrets

Carlson, Melody. Trading Secrets. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2014.

SUMMARY:
tradeHaving been assigned as pen pals in fifth grade, Micah Knight and Zach Miller continue as pen pals then friends for many years while not actually meeting in person. Though from differing ways of life, Micah and Zach grow closer, eventually meeting each other; however, when an opportunity arises to share the truth, will it affect the friendship or their future?  Keeping a secret can have enormous consequences…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
What a fun premise for a story from one of my favorite authors! Filled with faith references, Amish tidbits, humor and charm, Trading Secrets is an enjoyable read. Though recognized as more of a Young Adult novel, I would recommend it for anyone looking for a quick, pleasurable book. As the author of many novels, Melody Carlson writes both Amish and contemporary story lines- combining both ingredients in this story. (I truly enjoyed and chuckled before the actual reveal, just imagining the possibilities.) Absolutely a book which deserves a sequel or perhaps even a movie!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Trading Secrets from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

The Christmas Cat

Carlson, Melody. The Christmas Cat. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2014.

SUMMARY:
catGarrison Brown, insanely allergic to cats, must find suitable homes for his recently deceased Grandmother’s six (yes, six) cats. With initial interviews, home visits and follow-up appointments necessary, Garrison wonders if he will ever place all the kitties. With a surprise “insurance” check included when each cat is settled into a loving home, Garrison soon finds himself attached to the Maine Coon, Harry. And could it be? His new neighbor, Cara, may be just the perfect home for Harry…what would Gram think?

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having read each of Melody Carlson’s Christmas novels each year, it has almost become a tradition to anticipate the next one. With a few cats myself as well as a mom with plenty of her own, I was excited to read The Christmas Cat. Truly an adorable, faith-filled, sweet Christmas story, I was not disappointed. Melody Carlson had me with the stunning cover and kept me reading to the end. Especially heart-warming was the dedication to Harry, the Maine Coon cat, who found the author in the middle of winter and worked his way into her heart…aaww! I look forward to next year’s Christmas book addition to my tradition!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Christmas Cat from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

A Simple Christmas Wish

Carlson, Melody. A Simple Christmas Wish. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell. 2013.

SUMMARY:
simplewishDue to an unforeseen event, Aunt Rachel Milligan and her niece, Holly, are about to spend their birthdays and Christmas in a very unexpected manner. Finding themselves in an Amish Ohio homestead, Rachel must deal with her own selfishness as well as the stirrings of her own heart. Through family secrets, regret, heart-break and jealousy, Rachel and Holly learn the true meaning of Christmas.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Another short Christmas story from Melody Carlson…true to the style and deeper meanings I have come to anticipate at Christmas time from her. Short and sweet yet moving at the same time, it has become almost a tradition for me to read a Christmas story from this author. I enjoyed the Amish customs, a family’s forgiveness and even a brief romance all in one read. I am already looking forward to next year’s new Christmas novel.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

Once Upon a Winter’s Heart

Carlson, Melody. Once Upon a Winter’s Heart. New York, NY: Center Street/ Hachette Book Group. 2014.

SUMMARY:
onceuponawintersheartEmma Burcelli no longer believes in romance. With the passing of her Grandpa, Emma decides to move back home to take care of her Nona and help with the family bookstore. To add to the turmoil, Emma’s mother has moved in with Nona as well and Emma’s sister is causing trouble. Nearing Valentine’s Day, Lane Forester happens to appear at the bookstore which makes Emma wonder if perhaps romance could be revived after all…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
What a cute novella just in time for Valentine’s Day. Melody Carlson is known for writing inspirational novellas and this one could be added to that ever growing list. A sweet, funny yet lighter read, Once Upon a Winter’s Heart was definitely satisfying. I look forward to reading more from Melody Carlson as I have also enjoyed Christmas at Harrington’s, The Christmas Bus and All I Have to Give.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received an complimentary copy of Once Upon a Winter’s Heart from Center Street Publishing and NetGalley for my honest review.