Reviewed by Deborah Stone for Readers' Favorite
Cooking Up Kisses is a five-book set depicting romance and faith, sometimes with a twist. Each of the five authors has their own unique style and touch. This delightful sampling of these authors gives you a chance to experience their individual styles of writing while you enjoy their coming together to present this collaboration focused on romance, love, and faith. While some books are better than others, each author will take you on a journey that will touch your heart and bless your spirit.
Love on a Dare by Mary Manners is about the three Mulvaney sisters who open Mulvaney’s Irish Eatery together. This story focuses on the eldest sister, Alana Mulvaney. Claire and Erin, her sisters, want her to focus on her personal life more, but Alana is all about making a go of the business. When Donovan returns to Winding Ridge, Alana has mixed emotions. He left her heartbroken ten years before when he left town and now her sisters are doing what they can to push the two back together. Is their love still alive or is Alana opening herself up for more heartache? Mary Manners delivers a lovely story of romance and second chances. Forgiveness, learning to trust - both God and man - are lessons Mary Manners offers us.
Hummingbird Kisses by Delia Latham introduces us to Toni Little Bird, who runs a Bed and Breakfast, Inn the Hollow. Toni is Native American and seems to have a special gift of communing with nature around her, especially the local hummingbirds. When Dax Hendrick arrives in Hummingbird Hollow on his stinky Harley and scares her small friends away, Toni is furious but forces herself to be the professional hostess to her guest. At their first encounter, Toni knows she has a problem. While looking into his blue-green eyes for the first time, she knows that this is the man that God has sent for her. In spite of Toni assuring God, and herself, that she will never love this man, God may just have another plan. As their tender romance unfolds, we learn more about Toni, the innkeeper, and Dax, the architect. Delia Latham does not disappoint in this charming and inspiring romance. Amid the tender moments, the romance and even the conflicts, Delia Latham always reveals a message that points us to God. Delia Latham has a way of drawing us into her stories, allowing us to see and experience what is happening and, in the midst of the entertainment, we receive a spiritual blessing.
Hearts on the Harbor by Robin Bayne is a love story about forgiveness, second chances and learning to trust again. Cara Peyton and her friend, Jill, are partners in Peyton’s Place, the bookstore that Cara always wanted to open. Cara’s life is going smoothly until Jack Bridger, her ex-boyfriend, returns to Fell’s Point. The contractor that Jill hired to do some remodeling in the store has sent their best woodworker ... Jack Bridger. When he is trying to explain why he left almost eight years before and how he has changed, Cara is not interested and tries to keep everything on a business basis. As they spend time together in the bookstore, Cara is forced to acknowledge that she still loves Jack, but can she ever forgive him, can she ever trust him again? Robin Bayne cooks up a sweet story of romance, blended with heartache, forgiveness and the choice to offer someone another chance. Robin Bayne has a dominant theme throughout this love story and that is honoring God. Robin shares a story of love lost and found again and a story of the love of a Savior who can change lives. This is my first experience reading Robin Bayne and I look forward to reading more of her work.
His Valentine Promise by Dora Hiers is a romance about coming home and second chances. When Pierce leaves for New York to pursue a career as a lawyer, Quinn is left behind with feelings of abandonment. Now Pierce has come back to Cider Lake and he plans to stay, or so he says. He promises Quinn that he will earn her love again by Valentine’s Day, but she wants him to go back to New York. As they spend time together, Quinn admits to herself that she still loves Pierce, but can she trust him? When Pierce is offered the promotion he has worked years for, will he return to New York? Or, will he give it all up for the woman he loves? Dora Hiers presents a romance with highs and lows, usually self-inflicted by Quinn. Dora Hiers’ love story also touches on seeking the will of God in our lives and allowing Him to direct us. While Quinn waits to be able to trust Pierce again, she also waits for God to reveal His plan for them. This is a delightful romance and a reminder to seek God’s will in every situation.
The Invisible Woman in a Red Dress by Zoe M. McCarthy gives us an understated romance that is full of depth and power. Candace Parks is returning to Twisty Creek to clear out her Grammy’s house and sell it. Her teenage crush, Trigg Alderman, happens to be next door doing work for Miss M, his grandmother. Candace and Trigg get reacquainted and a very natural and realistic relationship begins to develop. The relationship between Candace and Trigg is playful and fun while still being taken seriously. Each is seeking God’s will and both hope that this is part of His plan. While Candace is getting Grammy’s house ready for the market, Trigg comes on the weekends to check on Miss M and to help Candace work on the house. Candace has promises to keep, even though she doesn’t want to. Can these two come together as more than friends? Zoe M. McCarthy presents a wonderful love story that is entertaining, inspiring and a thoroughly enjoyable read. Zoe M. McCarthy has managed to write a tender love story that also ministers to the heart of being a good disciple; seeking, listening and waiting on the Lord. I could not put this story down. I look forward to reading more from Zoe M. McCarthy.