Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn by Jessica Redland

Published January 24, 2023 by Boldwood Books

4.5 Stars:

Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn is the story of Barney, a farmer who loves his life on the farm. It has been in the family for several generations and Barney would love to find a partner, someone who loved him and the farm. His sister, Fizz who we met in the Hedgehog Hollow series, convinces him to throw his hat in the ring and apply to be on a reality television show called “Love on the Farm”. He applies and gets accepted as one of the farmers looking for a wife, known to the production team as “Farmer Hottie”. It all starts smoothly enough, but when the executive producers don’t think it is spicy enough, they hire someone else to direct and suddenly secrets are revealed, people are upset, and Amber, the director, is overruled at every turn. Will Barney find his match?

I always enjoy Jessica Redland’s books. They are romance, drama, have issues we can relate to, but in the end are uplifting. I really liked Barney’s character. He was such a sweet guy who loved his family, but was lonely. He inherited the farm from his granddad and wanted to make him proud. I loved his connection to the Hedgehog Hollow series being Fizz’s brother. He was a little shy, and as some of his secrets came out, he wasn’t sure what to do. He has some baggage that he needs to reconcile with before he can move on with his life and luckily there are some people that can help him do that. Amber was also a great character, one who wanted to do what was right. She signed on to the project under some verbal stipulations and was thrown under the bus. She didn’t want to abandon Barney, so did what she could to support him. I don’t watch a lot of reality TV, but I know the more drama, the bigger the audience, that is why I don’t watch. I don’t want to give anymore of the story away, but if you are looking for an uplifting story with some great characters, I recommend you pick up Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn.

Things We Never Got Over (Knockemout, #1) by Lucy Score

Published January 13, 2022 by That’s What She Said Publishing

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Things We Never Got Over was a story that kept me reading long into the night despite there being open door romance and quite a bit of swearing. I don’t normally read books with those things in them, but this story grabbed me from the start and I really wanted to know what was going to happen to Waylay and her Aunt Naomi. Naomi is a twin, the good twin. She was supposed to get married but was having second thoughts. When she gets a message from her twin sister, Tina, that she needs her, she climbs out a window at the church and heads to Knockemout, Virginia to help her. What she finds there is a town full of people who hate her sister. When she can’t find Tina where they were supposed to meet, she heads back to her hotel. Again, her sister has shown her true colours. She steals Naomi’s car, her phone, and her money and leaves her 11 year old daughter, Waylay, for Naomi to look after. Knockemout is a rough and tumble town, one where arguments are settled physically. It is coming back to life thanks to Knox, a bad boy who won the lottery and is running several businesses in town. He is one who doesn’t want any romantic complications, but for some reason is attracted to Naomi. Can Naomi make a life for Waylay in Knockemout? Will her and Knox give in to their feelings? Will Tina come back and try to take her daughter?

This is a romance, family drama story with some great characters. Knox and Naomi have so much chemistry and they do sizzle when they get together, but is is just a physical reaction. Naomi is used to taking care of everyone, so it is hard for her to let anyone help her, but she needs to. Both of them care about Waylay and they show it in many ways. She is 11 going on 30, but has never been able to be a kid, so she thrives when not only Naomi and Knox are there for her, but Knox’s grandma and her own grandparents arrive to help out. The people in the town don’t love easily, but when they get to know Naomi, the rally around her and she becomes an integral part of the town. Nash, Knox’s brother is also a character that I loved, He is the chief of police and they have a love/hate relationship that needs to be sorted. I am looking forward to his story in the next book in the series. There are some issues involving Tina and her new boyfriend that cause some major problems but I will let you discover that on your own. I really enjoyed this story and recommend it if you like a romance with steam, great characters and some humor. I read this book from Kindle Unlimited and when I finished there was an epilogue that I could download. I wish I had waited because it does have some spoilers for the next book.

Gilded Girl by Pamela M. Kelley, Leslie Howard (Narrator)

Published August 30th 2022 by Piping Plover Press, November 15, 2023 by Dreamscape Media

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Eliza Chapman is working in London as a lady’s maid. Her mother recently died without telling her who her father was. What she didn’t know was that her mother sent him a letter about her illness and his daughter. It turns out her father is one of the richest men in New York. He sends for Eliza, but they tell everyone she is his niece. Only his mother, his other two daughters and some very trusted employees know the truth. Eliza’s sisters are spoiled and more worried about finding a rich or powerful husband and are not very welcoming to Eliza. She is more comfortable with her maid than her sisters. She meets a married woman at a party named Minnie, who is an investor who handles her own affairs and they become friends. Eliza also goes to work with her father to learn about his real estate business. She is happy, until the unthinkable happens. Her father dies of a heart attack and with her grandmother in London with her sister, Alice and Rose share that she is not in the will, they pay her off and tell her to return to London. Eliza has no intention of returning to London and is a woman who is used to taking care of herself.

Gilded Girl is a rags to riches to rags to riches story that I really enjoyed. I watched the series on television “Gilded Age” and it was fun to hear several of the same names dropped in this book. This is a story of the class structure that was in place at the time, as well as the adage of making money on the backs of the poor or working class. Marriage to get a title in return for money is still taking place. Old money vs new money and married below your station are all in this story. I loved Eliza’s character. She was raised differently, so she was kind to everyone, cared about the workers and wanted to marry for love. This was a story I listened to in one afternoon as I really enjoyed it. If you are a fan of the HBO series, The Gilded Age, you will love this well written book. The narration was performed by Leslie Howard and I enjoyed her voices, accents, expression and emotion in this story.