Snowy Mountains Daughter by Alissa Callen
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Clancy is a small town girl who has always loved Heath, the man who preferred to travel the world for years instead of coming home. Heath has his reasons for staying away - and not just for his career as an artist. He can feel the promise of something more when he's near Clancy. But he knows he's not good enough for her. And besides, he's only in town to paint a mural and then he'll be gone once more. He's definitely not staying...
I adored this novel and the characters populating its pages. This is a sweet rural romance underpinned by delicious longing (mmm tasty slow burn) and words left unspoken - and to top it all off, there's a fascinating family mystery threading its way throughout the story. Rural romance can be quite crowded, but Alissa Callen has written a true gem here and any fan of the genre should check this one out.
Bottlebrush Creek by Maya Linnell
Angie McIntyre and Rob Jones have finally found the perfect fixer-upper for their small family, but soon after buying it the cons seem to outweigh the pros. Spiralling costs, an overbearing mother-in-law next door, a twin brother who Rob would rather never see again, and miscommunications may just be the end of what Angie and Rob have been trying to build together.
Well, this must be the first time anyone's ever managed to make me feel sympathy for an overbearing MIL! But that's what I like about Linnell's characters - they're complex and realistic and even the worst of them aren't reduced to caricatures. Another excellent piece of rural fiction. It's so easy to fall into the rhythm of the country towns that Linnell creates for us and it's always so hard to leave them after the last page is turned.
(PS: I'm still tickled pink by my review of Wildflower Ridge being quoted in the front of Bottlebrush Creek! I could say that I bought a paperback over an ebook for another reason, but I'd be lying...)
Alyce Caswell, when she isn't buried in a book or drinking her way through a giant pot of tea, is a keen writer of science fiction and romance. She has published two novels and four novellas in her space opera family saga, The Galactic Pantheon Series.