Hi guys and gals!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers. As promised, I'm BAAACCCKKK! Just needed a tiny little break yesterday to catch up on a little reading. Hope you enjoyed the FUN BREAK. ^-^ Now, on with the show...
Today, we're shining the spotlight on another title featured recently in the END OF SUMMER BLOG TOUR (which ends tonight!) via TLC Book Tours and Harlequin Books. It comes to us from a new-to-me author and though it read perfectly fine as a stand alone, I do believe I may have to investigate the author's other works, or at the very least, the preceding two in this trio. Ladies and gents, please join me in welcoming today's book of choice...
Home to Glory, Book 3
About the book...
Once upon a time, he was just a hopeless cause from the wrong side of Glory, Kansas. And he’ll be damned if he’ll let anyone drag him back down after finally clawing his way out.
Everyone knows that Gina Townsend is a saint, always taking care of everyone around her. And now she’s trying to be a mother to her six-year-old niece, Amanda Jane. But the girl’s biological father isn’t helping matters. The scruffy, gangly boy Gina remembers has returned to Glory a sexy, successful man, but Reed Hollingsworth is the only thing standing between her and losing Amanda Jane to foster care.
Betrayed that neither Townsend sister bothered to tell him he was a father until he had money, Reed’s still not about to shirk his responsibilities. So when he demands Gina move in with him as part of Amanda Jane’s custody agreement, he tries not to notice pretty much everything about her—especially the way his solemn-faced daughter laughs when they play together.
Raising a child together, Reed and Gina learn that some dreams come and go, but some are a spark that burns eternal…
It's a little bit Kristan Higgins with a dash of Susan Mallery and a whole lot of reading fun.
I had no problem identifying with the characters in this one (the fact that I share a name with the leading lady didn't hurt any either), in fact some of the similarities were scary! *looks around for journals...finds them secure* Our dominant leads (because there are actually a few others running around as well) are Gina, Reed, and Amanda Jane. Before you go thinking anything off color, Reed is Amanda Jane's father (a fact he's only just discovering) and Gina is her aunt (her sister Crystal passed away not so long ago). She's been caring for the little girl for some time (rather well too) but making ends meet (works two jobs plus putting herself through med school) and giving her the life she deserves is two different things, and so she seeks out the financial assistance of the father. The father who also happens to have been her childhood crush. *gulp* Good thing she only wants the best for Amanda Jane because if her own heart was to be involved, things could get messy. But wait a moment....what about him?
Reed is the kid from the wrong side of the tracks, or at least he was. Was, right? I mean, he's done well for himself, self-made billionaires are viewed that way aren't they? Too bad he can't seem to get the old picture of himself out of his head, or accept the fact that some people don't just want him for his money. Some people want him for who he was, is, AND could be. All it takes is one little girl to start putting the cracks in his foundation but it doesn't mean all roads lead to happily ever after.
I love the characters despite the fact that they get in their own ways more often than not. As honest as they are in some things, they hide away from each other and themselves on all the things that make their heads spin confusion and stomachs churn in frustration. I love them both to bits, she with her brilliant mind, self preservation, determination, and BIG heart; he with his desire to do the right thing, share the wealth he's made, melting at the sight of his daughter, and he's more than easy on the eyes. For all their positive points, the lack of addressing things head on at times as we adults tend to do, makes my favorite character choice go to Amanda Jane. She's the sweetest kid ever with such a unique outlook on the world around her. She says what she wants and honestly feels but in such a way that it's more considerate than acting like a brat (which she's not in any way, shape, or form). When the trio goes to the boathouse to say goodbye to Crystal, it could have broken your heart but her kindness and sensibility make it okay somehow. She's a treasure to be sure.
Story wise, admittedly it's not a usual arrangement that's suggested by the judge (yeah...it was only the judge, the Grandmothers had NOTHING to do it with it...uh-huh), especially not when the couple hasn't actually already been together in any way that you want to take that phrase. Does it make sense though at face value? Yes...and no. Yes because Amanda Jane gets what she needs...a stable home, money to back her education and living expenses while also gaining more time with her beloved Gina-bee. The "no" comes in when you take into account the feelings of Gina and Reed. Though something that's not up for discussion initially (though it's a horse that's pretty much ridden into the ground later on), it's a vital piece none of them truly consider. I mean, a ready made family is great but if they weren't marrying for love, only family, how would they ever find their other halves later on? It'd be out of the question until the child reached her 18th birthday...like in some fairy tale. Hmm... ^-^
All in all, it's a read with heart that reminds us that happily-ever-after doesn't just come in one flavor but enough to merit a rainbow in its honor. Trust me, you'll get frustrated a time or two as they go round and round, but the dance is well worth the outcome. Be sure to follow the seemingly minor characters too because while they play their parts in this story, I've got a feeling they get a chance to be front and center in other installments (Emma and Grayson). Recommended read for adult Contemporary Romance fans, the sexy times are kept to a minimum with a lot more fanning of the flames but still, "new adult" age would be my suggested target audience starting point.
About the author...
Sara Arden lives in a town very much like Glory, Kansas-- right down to Haymarket Square and the Corner Pharmacy. She started reading romance at a young age and by the time she entered high school, aced world history without ever cracking her textbook because of all the historicals she'd read.
Sara Arden has always been fascinated by things better left in the dark. She wrote her first story after watching The Exorcist at a slumber party. Like all writers, Sara's held a variety of jobs from an operations supervisor to a corrections officer. But as Hemingway said, "Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure, only death can stop it." So she traded in her cuffs for a keyboard and is married to her very own Prince Charming.
Besides reading, Sara enjoys paleo cooking, the smell of old books, tea and pedicures. She loves to hear from her readers.
Special thanks to Lisa at TLC Book Tours and the fab team at Harlequin Books for the review copy. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the others featured in the tour, the tours on the horizon, or what's up next from the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title is available now via Harlequin Books, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.
Until next time...happy reading!