Category Archives: Blue Ridge Series

Review: On Magnolia Lane by Denise Hunter

Title: On Magnolia Lane by Denise Hunter
Blue Ridge Series Book Three
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


From the bestselling author of The Convenient Groom and A December Bride (now beloved Hallmark Original movies) comes the final book in the Blue Ridge Romance series.

Falling in love with Daisy was easy for Jack. But finding the courage to tell her becomes problematic when his secret feelings lead to even bigger complications.

After two years of counseling sessions with Daisy Pendleton, Pastor Jack McReady has earned a permanent spot in her life as a spiritual leader—and nothing more. Jack would never risk losing her trust by exposing the depths of his heart, but he’s hopelessly in love with her.

Daisy loves her southern small-town life and her job at her family-run flower shop, but she doesn’t have the thing she longs for most: someone to share it with. Her recent foray into online dating has been a disaster—until she meets TJ.

Jack could kill his friend Noah for using his initials and some indistinct photos to set up a profile on the dating app Daisy is using. But when he’s finally afforded the opportunity to show her a different side of himself, he’s sucked into the plan before he has time for second thoughts.

Online, Daisy shares some of her greatest fears with TJ, but in person, Jack and Daisy are spending more time together. When a devastating family secret surfaces, Daisy knows that only her trusted friend and counselor can bring her comfort. Jack wants nothing more than to be both men for Daisy, but revealing his secret will prove to be the ultimate test of Daisy’s grace.


On Magnolia Lane by Denise Hunter is a sweet, heartwarming Christian romance. Although this latest release is the third novel in the Blue Ridge series, it can be read as a standalone. However I HIGHLY recommend the entire series.

Pastor Jack McReady is in love with Daisy Pendleton but due to their age difference and the fact he is her pastor, he keeps his feelings to himself. Unbeknownst to Jack, Daisy is using a dating app and one of his friends has created a profile for Jack on the same site. Despite his serious reservations about deceiving Daisy, Jack (who goes by TJ on the app) continues chatting with her on the site. In real life, the two of them are unexpectedly growing closer since Daisy is finally viewing Jack as more than her pastor.  Jack’s conscious is telling him to confess the truth to Daisy, but will she understand his reason for his deception?

Jack is a wonderful pastor who is quite devoted to his congregation. While he is very confident in his career, he is shy and awkward around women. Although there are no restrictions about him dating someone from his congregation, Jack has been uncomfortable about taking his relationship with Daisy beyond friendship. When jealousy strikes, he makes a split second decision to continue getting to know Daisy as TJ. Never quite at ease with deceiving her, Jack eagerly looks forward to exchanging messages with her and he is quite delighted when, in real life, Daisy begins to consider more than just her spiritual guide.

Daisy is kind-hearted, compassionate and very involved in the local community.  She works alongside her mother and grandmother in their family owned florist shop. While her floral creations are much admired, Daisy suffers from low self-esteem. During their one on one sessions,  Pastor Jack has been a guiding force in helping her change the way she views herself. Although she sees him socially quite frequently, she views him pastor first and a friend last. After learning shocking information about her family, Daisy gradually begins to realize there is more to Jack than his vocation. Yet she is conflicted about her growing feelings for Jack since she is also quite smitten with TJ. What will happen when Daisy discovers that no one, including Jack, is as perfect as she believes?

On Magnolia Lane is an endearing romance that also provides a heartfelt lesson about grace and forgiveness. Jack and Daisy are richly developed characters whose flaws are wonderfully offset by their kindness and compassion. While Jack is quick to confess and ask forgiveness for his mistakes, Daisy is deeply disappointed by the discovery that her heroes are not infallible. Denise Hunter brings the novel to an uplifting, sigh-worthy conclusion. I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend this final installment in the Blue Ridge series to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Blue Ridge Series, Christian, Contemporary, Denise Hunter, Inspirational, On Magnolia Lane, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Thomas Nelson Publishing

Review: Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter

Title: Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter
Blue Ridge Romance Series Book Two
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


After Brady Collins’ ex-wife dies, he receives devastating news—his nine-month-old son Sam isn’t his son at all. And Sam’s wealthy maternal grandparents want custody of the child. Brady knows he’s in for the fight of his life. But regardless of what any blood test says, Sam is his son, and Brady will go to any lengths to keep him.

Brady’s attorney tips him off that one major life change would virtually assure him of winning guardianship of baby Sam at the final hearing: an impending marriage. And his friend Hope is willing to step in as the loving and devoted fiance.

Local radio celebrity Hope Daniels has been driven by a solitary goal her entire life, and after a happy accident she’s finally offered her dream job. But if the truth comes out about her arrangement with Brady, she may miss the chance of a lifetime and stand in the way of a dear friend’s dreams.

As Brady and Hope make sacrifices to help each other in their times of need, they risk uncovering a truth neither of them expects to find.


Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter is an incredibly sweet and heartfelt marriage of convenience romance. This latest addition to the Blue Ridge Romance series can be read as a standalone but I highly recommend the entire series.

The best thing  to come out of Brady Collins’ marriage to his recently deceased ex-wife, Audrey, is their baby son, Sam.  To say that his life is turned upside down when he discovers his former in-laws are planning to sue for custody on the grounds that he is not Sam’s biological father would be an understatement.  When his lawyer erroneously concludes that Brady and his good friend, Hope Daniels, are engaged, they decide to keep up the pretense after the disappointing results of the paternity test. After Brady wins temporary custody in the months leading up the judge’s permanent ruling on the case, he and Hope decide their friendship is a strong basis for marriage. Both Brady and Hope carry wounds from previous relationships but since neither expects to fall in love, they are taken off guard when these unresolved issues upset their burgeoning relationship.

Given his history with his drug addicted mother, Brady’s discovery that Audrey tricked him into marriage is an unexpected blow. However, since he dearly loves Sam, he is upset but the trade off is worth the heartache. Brady genuinely cares for Hope and their easygoing friendship is a bright spot in his life, but he is surprised when she readily agrees to marry him.  Even more disconcerting is how easily they settle into married life together. In the weeks leading up their final court date, Brady is delighted by the change in their relationship but he is concerned about their future when he senses Hope is beginning to pull away from him.

Hope has not had a serious relationship since the very tragic end to her high school romance several years earlier.  She genuinely cares for Brady and she loves Sam so a marriage of convenience provides her the family she has dreamed of.  Since they love each other as friends but they are not in love, Hope will get everything she wants without risking her heart again. Hope’s minor concern about the future of her career is easily overcome so she is stunned when her old demons return after she and Brady take their marriage to the next level.

Since Brady and Hope have settled so easily into their new life, neither are expecting any real issues to arise after their “courtship” finally leads to intimacy between them. This change in status quo occurs simultaneously with Brady’s estranged mother reappearing in his life, a career opportunity for Hope and the final custody hearing.  Brady is taken off guard by Hope’s somewhat extreme choices when the dust settles around them and he is at a loss how to handle the unexpected situation. Will Hope finally talk to him about what has sparked such a drastic decision? Or is this the beginning of the end of their happy life together?

Despite some unnecessary drama and angst late in the story, Honeysuckle Dreams is an engaging romance that is very heartwarming. Brady is a wonderful man caught in a situation not of his making, yet he refuses to let hurt and anger control him. Hope is a lovely young woman who selflessly agrees to help a friend in need but refuses to take steps to help herself when her unresolved past unexpectedly resurfaces.  This newest addition to Denise Hunter’s Blue Ridge Romance series is a wholesome love story with a gentle undercurrent of faith that fans of the genre will enjoy.

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Filed under Blue Ridge Series, Christian, Contemporary, Denise Hunter, Honeysuckle Dreams, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Thomas Dunne Books, Thomas Nelson Publishing

Review: Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter

Title: Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter
Blue Ridge Series Book One
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Christian, Romance
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Former free spirit Zoe Collins swore she’d never again set foot in Copper Creek or speak to the man who broke her heart. But return she must when her beloved Granny dies, leaving the family legacy to Zoe—a peach orchard nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

When Zoe returns home with her daughter and boyfriend Kyle, she finds that she’s the only person in town who doesn’t expect her to give up the life she’s established far away from Copper Creek. Everyone believes she was born to run the orchard, but how can she make it her home after so many years?

Cruz Huntley never quite got over his first love, Zoe Collins, the little sister of his best friend Brady. Not when she cheated on him during their “break,” not when she took off to parts unknown with good-for-nothing Kyle Jenkins, and not even now—five years later.

As life-changing decisions and a history with Cruz hang over Zoe’s head, tensions rise between her and Kyle. Even as she comes to terms with the shifting relationships in her life, Zoe still isn’t sure if she can remain in Copper Creek with her new responsibilities . . . and her first love.


Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter is a heartwarming novel with an underlying theme of second chances. With more than just a second chance at love romance, this first installment in the Blue Ridge series is also a lovely story of new beginnings and healing.

Five years ago, Zoe Collins and Cruz Huntley’s relationship ended due to lack of communication, immaturity, insecurities and family disapproval. Zoe impetuously fled town with Kyle in order to pursue her dreams of becoming a musician. Cruz remained in town where he repaired his friendship with Zoe’s brother Brady while trying to get over losing his first love. Now, five years and many, many regrets later, Zoe returns for her beloved grandmother’s funeral and finds the courage to leave Kyle who has become increasingly controlling. Zoe also knows she needs to reveal the secret she has been keeping from Cruz but will it destroy any chance she has at possibly reconciling with the man who still holds her heart?

Zoe is one of the those characters readers might find difficult to like. When she was young she comes across as more impetuous and immature than “free spirited”. It is also difficult to forgive her choice to not tell Cruz the truth before she runs off with Kyle. Despite not being particularly likable, it is all too easy to understand how easy it was for her to allow Kyle to manipulate and control her.  After finally breaking free from her abusive relationship, Zoe initially remains a little timid and unsure but she gradually regains her self-confidence and sass.  Despite these changes, she is a little slow to own up to her terrible choice regarding keeping quiet about a MAJOR decision she made before leaving town, and Zoe is forced to deal with the consequences once Cruz stumbles onto the truth.

While Zoe is impetuous and a little thoughtless, Cruz is steadfast and loyal.  He reluctantly agreed to keep their relationship under wraps in the past and wtheir romance was discovered, her family’s reaction fed into his doubts and insecurities.  Zoe did not help the situation by her rash decisions and it was rather easy for external forces to take advantage of his uncertainties. In the intervening years, Cruz conquered his demons with the help of Zoe’s grandmother and his insecurities and lack of self-esteem are now a thing of the past.  Cruz still harbors feelings for Zoe, but once he stumbles onto her secret, will he forgive her for her lie of omission?

With a slight element of suspense and a gentle undercurrent of faith,  Blue Ridge Sunrise is an engaging romance with endearing characters. While Zoe does not always make the best choices, she does undergo believable growth throughout the story. Cruz has already come to terms with his emotional baggage but he must decide whether or not to absolve Zoe for not being honest with him. Although it takes a backseat to Zoe’s struggles to move past her mistakes, their renewed romance is quite sweet. Despite some of the predictable elements of the storyline, this first installment in Denise Hunter’s Blue Ridge series is an enjoyable read with interesting characters that readers will relate to.

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Filed under Blue Ridge Series, Blue Ridge Sunrise, Christian, Contemporary, Denise Hunter, Rated B, Review, Romance, Thomas Nelson Publishing