Determined to prove himself, Blake Hunziker returns to his hometown and takes a job---with a catch. He must coordinate the Christmas festival. Meanwhile, Autumn Kingsley needs to repair---and sell---her family's inn before moving to Paris. The two strike a simple deal to help each other. But will complications of the heart change their plans? 352 pages, softcover from Bethany.
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In her second novel, Melissa Tagg delves in the story of Blake Hunziker, the man who pretended to be reality show star Miranda Woodruff's husband in Made to Last. Returning home after half a dozen years' absence, Blake is ready to make things right with his family, however hard it may be, and put down roots in his old home town. Autumn Kingsley, owner of her family's floundering inn, has been ready to fly for years, and she finally has an opportunity to work her dream job in Paris. Somehow the two end up partnering to put on the town's Christmas festival, for all that their families are like the Montagues and the Capulets, and they start breaching the rift that has been between their families for years. But all Autumn has ever wanted to do was leave, and all Blake wants now is to stay. Can they pursue their dreams without losing each other?
Although the story involves the old scandals, world travelers, and the rich and famous, it is down-to-earth, with real problems that frequently affect real people. Autumn is desperately trying to keep the bank from taking the Inn, scrambling to make enough money to keep the inn open and her beloved employees employed. At the same time, she is dealing with a family that was fractured rather than drawn close together by tragedy, and to top it off, her dreams have been simmering on the back burner so long she is afraid they will run dry and she will never be able to pursue them. She dreams of adventure, but without someone to prompt her to do it, she stays safe - and bored - in her usual routine (and that I can relate to; routine is so hard to break).
Blake has blamed himself for his brother's death for years, to the point where he left home and tried to run from the guilt. Whether or not that blame was justified, running proved ineffective, and so he is finally home to try to reconcile with his parents and friends. However, what still proves most difficult is reconciling with himself and moving forward.
While there is a fair amount of humor in the book, this is by no means a shallow story. It has a plausible plot, real-feeling characters, and several good messages to impart. What spoke to me most was the theme about dreams - both the dreams we've had from childhood and the dreams God gives us later. A solid, heart-warming, contemporary romance - 5 out of 5 stars!
Here to Stay is Melissa Tagg’s sophomore novel, after Made to Last. It follows Blake “Blaze” Hunziker, who we met in the previous book. I was very interested in reading this book when I first heard about it, even though I still hadn’t read Made to Last - after finally reading it, I was so excited! I loved Blake in the first book and couldn’t wait for him to get his “Happily-Ever After.” Melissa instantly drew me into the story and brought the town of Whisper Shore to life! I loved the old-time feel to it, kind of like it belonged to another era, and all the quirky characters she created breathed life into a town I can only see in my imagination. The descriptions were wonderful and she has almost poetic and definitely quote-worthy dialogue, which was undoubtedly my favorite part. She had me laughing out loud and on the edge of tears in turn. The characters are amazing, too! They leapt off the page and right into my heart. They are wonderfully down-to-Earth and when the book ended it felt as though I was saying “goodbye” to new friends. I will definitely be “visiting” them again! Autumn Kingsley is the heroine in Here to Stay and Blake’s leading lady. I thought she was perfect for him, family rivalry aside. She brought out the best in him, as any good relationship should. I connected with her at once and fell more in love with her with every page I read. She’s the kind of lady you’d love to have for a best-friend. Autumn longs for a life of adventure, the kind her father always told her stories about, and a chance to experience life outside the small town she’s always lived in. But first she feels compelled to take care of her family’s legacy and her employees/friends. In her desire for freedom she faces many “what-ifs,” and questions about what the right move is. I love this quote from her sister, Ava: “Maybe the real freedom in in letting go of the “what-ifs.” Choosing hopeful expectation over worry that life is going to shortchange you.” - Ava Kingsley, page 374 Blake Hunziker is the hero and I must confess that I’ve loved him since Made to Last - I might even like him just a teensy-tiny bit more than Matthew Knox, who was the hero in that book (sorry Melissa, I know he’s your favorite). He is funny, sweet, strong, and crazy. He is the kind of fictional character that makes you wish he was real, but if he was, he’d be taken anyway. We knew from meeting him in Made to Last that he is haunted by something in his past and is still hurting from it. He goes back home to Whisper Shore, searching for forgiveness and a place to belong. While he is still the funny, joke cracking guy, there is a new depth to him. We see a new side of him, a deeper insight and understanding of who he is, and why. I loved getting to know this new Blake, who’s a little more serious, but still takes life as it comes, grinning most of the way. I really enjoyed Blake and Autumn’s relationship. It was very sweet and easy. It started out as a friendship and slowly changed to something more. Nothing felt stilted or forced and I loved their banter as they joked and just enjoyed the moments. The spiritual side of the book was as well done as everything else. Melissa doesn’t overwhelm the story, or take away from anything, but rather carefully weaves it in. It flows smoothly throughout the novel, sometimes in the background, sometimes the forefront, but always there. The story wouldn’t have been the same without it. Autumn feels forgotten by God and wonders if He still notices her. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t felt that way at some point. I loved the moment when she finally realizes that He’d be there for her all along. Blake, on the other hand, carries an enormous burden of guilt and feels unworthy, like he has disappointed everyone, including God. He is also struggling with a grief that he hasn’t faced, hasn’t allow to heal. I really appreciated how she handles his grief, shining a light on his battle with it, but not in any way glorifying it. Instead when he ultimately has it out with God, we are left with a wonderful conversation with his dad and a reminder that God will heal any wounds, if we only ask. One of my favorite quotes from this interaction is, “In my most broken state, God saw me. I believe He even grieved with me. And then He started putting me back together, slowly, piece by piece. His heartbeat pulsing inside me when my own was broken.” - Linus Hunziker, page 325 This is where I typically have my complaints about a book, but I honestly don’t have any. I can’t think of anything I didn’t like about it, which is a bit of a rarity for me. I actually loved everything about this book, from the characters, to the dialogue, to the descriptions that brought everything to life. From the sweet romance, to the even sweeter sigh-worthy ending, it is a wonderful book. I highly recommend Here to Stay if you enjoy fun books with quirky characters, sweet romance, and happy endings. I received a copy of this book through The Book Club Network for my honest opinion, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own. *All quotes were used with permission from the author and publisher.
Autumn Kingsley has a dream and has had it for years, but life keeps getting in her way. She should have gone to see the world years ago. Instead she's stuck in Whisper Shore, Michigan, running a family owned inn that is falling down around her in a dying town.
Blake Hunziker has spent the last few years of his life running. Running from the guilt. Running from the pain. But now he's decided to return home and his parents wrath. But his parents don't respond the way Blake expected - in fact he feels almost like the prodigal son. He's sure to mess something up again - after all that's what he does and someone usually gets hurt in the process.
With less than a month until the traditional Christmas Festival is suppose to start (giving Whisper Shore a much needed tourist boost) the long-time events coordinator quits. Soon Blake and Autumn find themselves planning a Christmas Festival that will be unlike any that Whisper Shore has ever seen. But there are a few bumps along the way - such as the feud between the Kingsley and Hunziker families.
Here to Stay is a delightful book that I'm glad I was convinced to read. I was convinced during the monthly online chat between readers and authors that TBCN organizes one Monday evening a month. And I'm not sorry that I agreed to read and review this book. There are several stories threading throughout the book. The tragic loss of a loved one. The pressure of family expectation. The desire to achieve one's dream. And the bonds of family and friends. These are seamlessly woven together in a story you won't soon forget. My only regret is I picked it up at 1 am to glance at it and instead spent the night reading instead of sleeping, but it was that good and I really wanted to know what happened. (Now I have to get a copy of Melissa's previous book Made to Last so I can read more about Blake!)
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House/Melissa Tagg through TBCN in exchange for my honest review.
After playing nomad for five years, Blake Hunziker has finally had enough of adventure. Not sure what reception he'll get from everyone back in Whisper Shore, he's stunned at not only a warm welcome from his hometown but also a job offer. The job is his if he can successfully pull off the annual Christmas Festival. If only he knew the first thing about coordinating events...
If there's one thing Autumn Kingsley knows, it's Whisper Shore. For years, she's been stuck running her family's inn when all she wants is to see the world. Now she has a visit scheduled from a potential investor who could take over the inn, as well as a dream job offer in Paris. But with just two weeks to whip the inn into shape, her chance at escape is a long shot.
The Hunzikers and the Kingsleys may not get along, but Blake knows Autumn's the only one who can help him. She agrees to a trade--she'll help with the Festival and he'll help with inn repairs. But what was meant to be a simple deal quickly becomes much more than that when the guy who's done running away joins forces with the girl who can't wait to leave.
MY REVIEW: After reading several contemporary Christian reads, I had decided they probably weren't for me. For some reason, I decided to give this one a try. I'm terrifically glad I did! This read didn't have the partying, going to bars, drinking, gambling...it was a good clean read which is what I expect from a book in the Christian genre. This book never drags, yet the story isn't forced. It seems the perfect length with the perfect ending. The story has a natural flow to it that was wonderful.
The characters in this book are so well written...such depth. By the time I was done, I really felt as if I knew them. Autumn feels the need to impress and please others, but she feels restrained and held back. Blake feels as if his past is always going to weigh him down, and he is totally unsure of his future. The secondary characters are wonderful as well.
One of my favorite things about the book is that the romance isn't forced, love is shown in action, and it isn't overly sappy and all physical attraction. The story is simply a wonderful read. I laughed when she is stranded on the roof due to a prank, and I teared up when Blake tries to put some things in the past and move on in his life. I love that the relationship was allowed to slowly build in the book. My favorite part is the ending...and without giving a spoiler just say that giving room and letting go gave this book a much better ending than many romance stories.
Blake and Autumn both learn that they need God to open the doors, that they can't live just to fulfill others expectations, and that they need to follow the path God has for each of them. Great read.Highly recommend!
This book is about dreams, expectations, beginnings, hopes and being young with your entire life before you. Of course, this is balanced with loss, grief, reality, family and heritage, adjustment and God. When the author throws in generous helpings of humor, lovable characters, feuding families and lives poised on the precipice of either disaster or adventure, you have a story that draws you in and won't let you go until you've finished it.
Blake Hunziker, also known as Blaze around in his home town of Whisper Shore, Michigan, was like the prodigal son. He was returning home after nomadic adventuring around the world. Well, it wasn't so much grasping life and living it to the fullest as much as it was running from life and the guilt he carried in his conscience about his brother Ryan's death. So returning home was his way of squaring his shoulders and facing head on the responsibility he'd been running from for half a decade. If only he knew what he was supposed to do with his life.
Autumn Kingsley, on the other hand, had always taken on the challenges of life, putting others' needs before her own. For example, when her mother deeded her Kingsley Inn, the business Autumn's grandparents poured their lives into and passed on on to her mother, Autumn accepted ownership--at least temporarily, because it didn't keep her from dreams of traveling to far off places as her father had done. But at this point, she didn't think her life merited even a page in a scrapbook. Some day, she hoped to fill an entire book with the adventures of her life.
Blake and Autumn had a history. First, as family rivalry since Blake's parents owned the Hunziker Hotel, an upscale competitor to the sprawling down-home charm of the Kingsley Inn. The tiny coastal town on Lake Michigan could barely contain the two businesses. Second, since Autumn's sister had dated Blake's brother, who, she discovered, had a pain pill drug addiction stemming from a sports injury. It had become serious. When she had warned Ryan's parents, they didn't believe her, spurned her efforts to help, and even publicly denounced her after Ryan's death in an accident. Since then, the Hunzikers and the Kingsleys carried on a private war that trickled down the family line and even into business. It was definitely a shock, then, when Blake and Autumn began to work together on a winter festival committee for their town. Sparks were sure to fly--both kinds.
One of the things I appreciate about this author is her quirky sense of humor. She infuses her characters with sparkle and wit that makes reading this book so fun. What I will remember most about this particular story is the incident of the claw foot bathtub. It still tickles my funny-bone now, after the book has been finished. It's the kind of story you will share with your family and friends.
I also loved the author's use of metaphors that paint emotional pictures for the reader and heighten our feelings of empathy. Autumn's family Inn is a symbol of her perspective on life. The scrapbook references are closely related to the hotel motif and the journey she chooses to live. These writing aids are aptly applied to provide us insights to the two main characters, fleshing them out so that they come alive. They could be you and me.
If you enjoy stories of romance and the journey of life, I'm sure you will enjoy this book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley on behalf of Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Here to Stay by Melissa Tagg Here to Stay is a great contemporary Christion fiction. Autumn Kingsley sets aside her dreams to run the family inn when all she has ever wanted was to see the world. The prodigal son, Blake Hunziker returns home after traveling the world over. Tired of running he comes home to put down roots. Autumn and Blake’s families remind me of the Hatfields and McCoys but they put aside their families differences and team up to save the town by co coordinating the Christmas festival. You are sure to fall in love with the homey town of Whisper Shore and the characters too. This novel is well thought out, the characters are well developed, full of wit and heartwarming romance that will keep you turning the pages. Here to Stay is the second book by Melissa Tagg, but her first, Made to Last will find it’s way into my to be read pile. I give Here to Stay five stars. I want to thank the author Melissa Tagg and publisher Bethany House for bringing good clean Christian books like this one to readers like me. I would also like to thank The Book Club Network Inc. for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest review.
In a plot reminiscent of It's a Wonderful Life, Autumn Kingsley has ended up stuck in her small town of Whisper Shore, taking care of the inn that's been in her family for generations, temporarily giving up her dream of traveling and living in Paris. Now, she has a job offer in Paris, but with the town's tourism failing, what's to become of the inn and its employees? Feeling the responsibility to the town and to the inn, Autumn works to rejuvenate the town's charm by teaming up with Blake Hunziker, the youngest son of the family who has continued to war with the Kingsleys since the death of the elder Hunziker son. Not only her family's enemy, but their direct competitor, Blake and Autumn are now co-chairs of the town's Christmas festival, in an effort to bring the town back to life. Also, in another attempt to save her inn, Autumn has learned that a known investor in a large hotel chain has reserved a room at her in, and she hopes that this is the open door she and her staff need. Can Blake and Autumn let the past be past and work together to help the town? Can Autumn find a way to preserve her family's legacy in the hotel, and still live her dream?
Between the Jimmy Stewart dream plot, and the small town that felt eerily similar to Star's Hollow, (including the single innkeeper and her chef friend, the quirky hotel desk staff, and the rugged handyman, but missing the teenage pregnancy), this story didn't exactly feel original. Add to that the predictable twists of secrets kept turning out badly, and it should have felt tired. However, Autumn and Blake were enjoyable characters, and the Hatfield and McCoy aspect to their relationship made it a bit more interesting. I happen to like the town of Stars Hollow, and It's a Wonderful Life, so the similarities didn't bother me much.
I give the book 3 stars. It was a fun romance, perfect for easy summer reading.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.
Tall, dark and handsome Blake Hunziker has finally found his way home. He's tired of aimlessly wandering and is looking to settle down and make amends for his abrupt departure. But the level of anger that the town of Whisper Shore surprises even him. To begin the healing process he agrees to head up the annual Christmas festival but soon realizes he's bit off a bit more than he can handle.
Autumn Kingsley is stuck. Stuck taking care of the inn that her parents have handed over to her. She feels obligated to make a go of it, but she has hopes and dreams of her own that don't include staying in Whisper Shore. When her ticket out arrives she is thrilled but feels torn about abandoning the family business.
Even though the Kingsley's and Hunziker's don't mix at all, Autumn and Blake join forces to conquer their respective obligations. Blake agrees to help Autumn spruce up the inn so the investment company that is interested in it will find it more appealing. In return Autumn agrees to help Blake pull off the annual Christmas festival. Knowing the volatility of their two families, it really is a disaster waiting to happen.
The plans the two of them have for their lives seem to be set, but then God intervenes and shows them a completely different plan. Watching it all unfold was a delightful journey. It reminded me of the verse that says, "Man makes his plans, but God guides his steps."
This was a great follow up story to Made to Last. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series as it comes along. Melissa Tagg is an author that I would recommend that you take note of. Her writing style is witty while retaining a depth to her message that our hopes and dreams always pale in comparison to that of God.
I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
I quickly connected to the protagonist, Autumn Kingsley. She's a woman of today--strong, opinionated, and quite capable. In fact, she entirely runs her family's inn. However, she's always dreamed of traveling, especially to Paris. Enter Blake Hunziker, who I "met" in the first of this series, Made to Last. I was happy to get to know him even better! (The author has the technique of writing characters so real that I feel as if I actually know them!)
Like Romeo and Juliet, the romance tugs back and forth. It is well balanced. This is an enjoyable read with a happy ending. Although this is the second in the series, it easily reads as a stand alone novel. Try it; you'll like it!
Thank you to Amy Green at Bethany House Publishers for my copy.
This book was FREE from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.
"Here to Stay" written by a new author Melissa Tagg. This is her second book and I loved the way she intertwined a few of the characters from her first book into this second one and gave them a whole new story line. I fell in love w/the secondary character of Blake the first time around and now he is one of the main characters in this new book. He's just as charming as ever, but I like the way the author gave us way more insight as to why he is so charming, but also vulnerable (he was running from things that happened in his past). He comes home after traveling around the world for five yrs. and he's not sure what kind of homecoming he'll receive.
Autumn knew him yrs. ago (her sister dated his brother), but she never really got to know the real Blake until circumstances throw them together where they have to work on a big Christmas project for their beloved town. She's been running her family's inn for the past several yrs. and longs to travel the world, but would especially love to live in Paris. Her inn is in desperate need of a makeover (so that she can sell it and move on) and he needs help coordinating the annual Christmas festival so he will be offered a dream job (so he can stay put for a change).
They decide to team up and help each other out, but end up in more than one comical situation after another and of course, they are super attracted to each other as well. Will she move away, or does she stay? Read it to find out! You won't want to miss out on what happens in between!! I liked this second book even better than the first!
A small town girl that can’t wait to leave for the big city and the boy who could win her heart that doesn’t want to leave. From the minute I heard the pitch of this book I was hooked. What reader doesn’t have a little bit of both characters in their heart? And how does that get reconciled when the whole plot of the book is centered smack dab in the middle of the romance genre?
“Here to Stay” is charming. Witty. A pure pleasure to read. And characters that will live on the screen of your mind, jumping off the page to invite you into their world. That is what I felt like: I had been invited into Autumn’s inn while Blake pounded away at whatever needed fixing. I felt like I was a friend experiencing their lives with them—that alone makes this book one for the keeper shelf!
I could relate to both characters in this book. Blake’s pull to stay in his hometown and Autumn’s desire to feel some different dirt between her toes—particularly the kind on French shores. But one thing after another after another keeps happening to this poor girl’s inn. Almost to the point of comedic. I appreciate that Autumn could see the humor in the moment.
From great kisses to snappy dialogue to characters that become friends, I give this book a thumbs up!
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.
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Review 12 for Here to Stay
Excellent story and writing
Date:May 31, 2014
Last year I did a review on Melissa's first book, Made to Last, and I made the comment I would love to read about Blake "Blaze" Hunziker's continuing story. Melissa must have heard me (and others) because her second novel stars him back in his hometown just a month or so after the ending of Made to Last.
**NOTE: If you haven't read her first book you can dive right into this one but there are some events, people that will make more sense if you read these in order.
Blake has been traveling the world, trying to forget past mistakes and running from his brother's death. After the events of Made to Last, he decides to return to Whisper Shore and face whatever the small town gossips have for him.
Autumn Kingsley has dreamed of leaving Whisper Shore for years but is tied down to her family's inn, a job she never wanted but feels obligated to keep going. With the inn close to financial ruin, Autumn finally gets a break when a potential investor comes for a visit and she's offered her dream job in Paris.
Blake and Autumn are opposites in what they want--he's ready for the small town life and she can't wait to get out--but they share a painful past, one that's kept their families and the town bitter. When the only chance for both of them to achieve their dreams is to work together for a month, they both enter the agreement with reservations. But as the past comes out and the present unfolds in surprising ways, neither of them is prepared for what they find.
I made a lot of these same comments about Made to Last but it's so true about Here to Stay also. Melissa is quickly becoming my favorite contemporary romance author. Her dialogue and scenes are so genuine, I feel like I'm watching it on the big screen. And unlike a lot of romance movies, the characters are very well and deeply developed. Behind the cute story, real issues are addressed. One of my favorite things about this author is she gives every character, even minor ones, their own voice and way of talking. You can hear each one in a different way that's so unique to her writing. And unlike some authors, the circumstances and ending are realistic; it doesn't feel so much like random fiction but a story that might plausibly happen to someone.
By the end of this book, I was completely satisfied with how things went. I can't think of any loose ends that weren't tied up and I closed the book thinking, "What a great story. When's Melissa's next book out?"
**I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. The thoughts, opinions, and comments are my own and were not influenced in any way by an outside source.
My Comments What a great book! Even though I didn’t connect with the story right away, I was eager to know how things worked out for Blake and he really surprised me in a good way. He totally was my hero in Here To Stay and I simply loved his heart. He's done being a nomad/wanderer.This is the kind of guy with strength, grace, and a true gentleman who just needs the chance to start over (I also loved the way he spoke, dude).
Autumn Kingsley is doing everything she can to repair and maintain the inn that was passed down to her as a gift she never wanted. However, it seems the harder she works, the more things go wrong. She’s also waiting for a job offer that has been her dream since she was a kid, working in Paris! When she gets the letter, she refuses to open it until the next day when she’s hanging out with her best friend, Ellie (everyone needs a best friend like her).
I simply loved the characters in this book! Autumn really loves her staff and wants to make sure they’re all have secure jobs with the inn before she moves on. I didn’t enjoy seeing how stressed she was over certain dilemmas, but wow did she go above and beyond to make things right with those she cared for. I really enjoyed Harrison in this book, reminded me of Harrison Ford in name only as “Red” kept calling him, Harry. I didn’t get tired of that debate :)
One of my favorite parts of the book is the beginning when Blake first comes home. Just LOOOOVED the reception he received from his family, it was nothing like he anticipated and I believe that was the beginning of the healing process for him. It was utterly sweet how supportive his parents had become of him and letting the past go. Autumn’s mom and sister are not so supportive at first, but that changes in beautiful ways.
Another favorite scene of mine is when Blake rescues Autumn in front of her ex-boyfriend and his new fiancé, that was a treat and made me smile BIG!! Blake starts counting how many times he has rescued “Red” in a joking manner and I just loved his sense of humor. Even though these are small ways to rescue someone, they are perfectly timed and very needed. Examples of “Red’s” clumsiness include nearly falling off a roof, hurting herself when she literally collides with Blake (not cool about losing her ice cream cone), and she gets stung by a wasp. Also loved how something goes terribly wrong in the hotel on a special evening and Blake does everything possible to make her laugh since no one got hurt. Oh my, that man is a hoot!!
And to my great delight, Miranda Woodruff from the first book, Made to Last, makes a guest appearance!! Tagg brilliantly incorporates this beloved character and she becomes instant friends with Autumn.
Autumn is a perfectly flawed character who is charming, clumsy, endearing, works hard, is determined to do the right thing even while pursuing her dream, genuine, feisty, and utterly lovable. She’s also very passionate and stubborn, but I didn’t consider those flaws. Her and Blake know how to bring out the fun from one another no matter how stressed their day might’ve been. Blake only walks away from her once because of a frustrating moment, but he makes it up to her later.
The scenes with Autumn and Blake were very special to me. They laugh, they almost kiss several times, they support one another, they make a good team putting together the festival for the town, and they comfort one another at the appropriate times. I loved how much Autumn trusted Blake every time she got nervous and I loved that he never let her down. Their families are in a long time feud that reminded me of Romeo & Juliet, which I was eager to see closure on, but of course their ending is much more enjoyable. The new fiancé even refers to Romeo & Juliet, but it was comical how Blake responded.
Also loved this scene with Autumn and her sister, Ava….. “Autumn fingered the narrow silver plate, read the inscription out loud. ‘Hope does not disappoint. Romans 5:5.’ She looked up. ‘Mom sent this?’
‘Yeah and I think she was trying to send me a message. Wasn’t really ready to hear it then, but I did look up the verses. I read them again recently, this time in The Message paraphrase. Talks about being alert for whatever God is going to do next.’ She handed the bracelet to Autumn and pulled out her phone. ‘Here, read it on my phone.’
‘In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit.’”
That scene spoke to me in a strong way. For anyone who is trying to decide what the next step in their journey is based on God’s guidance, that scripture resonates and encourages at the same time. God won’t let us miss out as we seek Him and He continues to generously pour upon us regardless of our situation.
All in all, Here To Stay, is such a great read!! Even though I didn’t laugh while reading it, the story humored me and touched me more than once as “Blaze” and “Red” learn to get past hurts and division their families began. I didn’t think it was cool how certain people in town judged Blake, but I so enjoyed his humbleness. He never lost his temper or ran away even though he was tempted to do both. I almost cried in a good way during three scenes, each time Blake gets closure he desperately needs and finally makes peace with himself. I’m grateful for authors like Tagg who write about forgiveness, compassion, and starting over when the unthinkable happens. She brought a small town to life with these great characters and even though I’m a city girl, she even made me have the desire to be Here To Stay with fullness and depth.
I want to thank the author and publisher for the review copy received. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.
Did you ever have a book that you just want to gush about? Well, this is one of those stories. Here to Stay has a gorgeous setting, a fantastic cast of characters, and a wonderful story.
I feel in love with Melissa's first book Made to Last. In her debut novel, we were introduced to Blake "Blaze" Hunziker. Oh, my goodness, what a fantastic secondary character he was. He offered the perfect comedy with his laid back, klutzy self. There was an undertone of something he was hiding though. Beneath that fun loving, easy going self, something hurt him.
In Here to Stay, we get to have Blake as the star of the story as he plays the prodigal son returning home. Blake shined in this story and was not a disappointment. As fun loving as he is, he is trying to get over past problems and hurts. He has things that haunted him and he wanted to prove himself.
Autumn Kingsley I connected with so well. This was a girl who had a dream and was so close to obtaining it when circumstances changed and she was forced to take over the operations of the family's hotel. It took Autumn years, but she believes her dream has resurfaced and things are falling into place, except for the income that her family's hotel needs. I understood where Autumn was coming from with her desires to pack up and go quickly. I couldn't help but root for her, but also hope that she got what she was truly meant for. It's amazing though when your dreams and God's plan don't match up though. The new dreams that come from it are much sweeter.
Melissa has a wonderful writing ability. She is able to sweep you up into this wonderful little lake side resort town and make you apart of the story. I want to visit Whisper Shore. It is the perfect little town. All of the characters worked together so well, and they felt so life like.
Thank you to Bethany House, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
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Review 15 for Here to Stay
A Great Inspirational Romance
Date:May 29, 2014
I’ve been looking forward to Blake’s story ever since I finished Melissa’s debut book Made to Last. I love how she’s deepened his character as he comes home to face the demons of his past head on. Autumn is the perfect complementary character to play off him as she still needs to learn the one thing he did manage to learn in all his years away. The author’s voice is fun and energetic, like her characters, and whisked me thoroughly into her story world into the wee hours of the morning. A great inspirational romance.
This is Melissa’s second book and I have to say I think I liked this one even better than the first, and the first was very good. Melissa’s snappy dialogue and clever writing is all over this book.
Something about these two characters, Autumn and Blake, were so endearing to me. I guess because they were both flawed but so likeable.
Of course I love that this book was set on the shores of Lake Michigan since I am a Michigan girl myself:) I could just smell and picture the lake so clearly.
Blake is a return character from Melissa’s first book but you won’t feel the least bit lost if you didn’t read her first one and pick this one up. She does a great and natural job of getting the reader up to speed.
I just kept wondering how could these two ever make it work, since Blake returned to he could stay and Autumn is just waiting to leave. Who would stay or who would go?
Melissa also had some great story questions and things that happened in the past to these two characters that will keep you reading so you can see what took place in their lives. A lot of brokenness and hurt.
A great contemporary romance that is sure you make you want to visit the Lake Michigan shores.
A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Review 17 for Here to Stay
Great Romantic Comedy!
Date:May 28, 2014
In Here to Stay, a nomad who’s done roaming meets his match in the girl who can’t wait to kick their hometown’s dust from her boots.
Here to Stay is Melissa Tagg’s humorous, stand alone sequel to Made to Last. Handsome Blake Hunziker returns, only this time as the lead, along with Autumn Kingsley, the obedient daughter, who’s been stuck in town running her family’s dilapidated inn.
Sparks fly between Blake and Autumn but that might be because the Hunzikers and Kingleys are Whisper Shores’ version of the Hatfields and McCoys. With Autumn’s help, Blake might successfully pull off the town’s annual Christmas festival and thereby restore his reputation. In return, he’ll try to repair her family’s inn, so Autumn can finally escape Whisper Shores for good. Only the best-laid plans aren’t so simple.
With well-developed characters, the cozy setting of Whisper Shore, and snappy, laugh-out-loud dialogue, Here to Stay is a heart-warming story about hopes and dreams and discovering God’s best is often right in front of us.
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Review 18 for Here to Stay
Here To Stay—Great Follow On Novel
Date:May 27, 2014
What do you get when you cross a world traveler guy with a never-left-home gal? A story filled with laughter, poignancy and unexpected outcomes.
Tagg has crafted a beautiful story of two people who discover what’s really important in life. With her unique voice, Melissa Tagg weaves in humor, heart and creativity.
Blake Hunziker has traveled the world trying to escape things in his past he believes he’s responsible for. When he comes home to Whisper Shore, he wants to become a more responsible man.
Autumn Kingsley’s dreamed of living abroad for years. When she’s on the cusp of being able to live out her dream, everything conspires to make her think she must stay.
As Blake and Autumn team up to swap help on projects, each must learn to recognize what’s really important. Each must come to terms with their pasts to discover what their dreams really are.
Favorite aspects of the story: Blake’s character grew throughout the story. He added tastes of adventure to Autumn’s life. I loved that Autumn wanted to pursue her dream and make sure everyone who was important to her was cared for before she left. Tagg added great twists, and her trademark humor is woven throughout the story.
I read Melissa Tagg’s first book, Made To Last, and I really enjoyed it. Here To Stay has risen to a new level of excellence. This is a beautifully written story that will have readers laughing and crying. It’s a story of hope that stays with a reader after the last word is read.
**I received an advanced copy of this book with no obligation to leave a review. All opinions are my own.
Here to Stay was one of those books that I had trouble setting down when I needed to accomplish other things! I truly enjoyed every bit of it and the characters found their way into my heart. Having read Made to Last, I was familiar with Blake’s (aka Blaze’s) character. He was a fun addition to Made to Last and toward the end of that book, we got a hint that there was much more to Blaze than meets the eye.
Well, in Here to Stay, you truly get to know the real Blaze, or Blake, as the case may be. He is REALLY trying to shake the nickname that has followed him around for years! There is so much to this guy. You get to see his true character shine in this story and can’t help but root for him to be able to let go of his guilt from the past and find his place in this world.
Autumn was also a great character. She has felt overlooked and burdened for so many years and just yearns for freedom. When she had to give up on the chance to travel years earlier, she questioned how much God really cared for her and this caused her relationship with God to suffer. She definitely wants to shake the dust of her little town off her shoes and start living her dreams. But, when she begins working alongside Blake, she begins to question the feelings that she is having for him. Is she supposed to forfeit the dream she has been working toward for years? Is God asking her to sacrifice again?
This book was so refreshing! It is a feel-good book with great depth. There are hard questions asked and sacrifices to be made. I loved it from start to finish! It is book two in the Where Love Begins series and you will appreciate knowing more about Blake if you read about him in Made to Last , but Here to Stay can definitely stand on its own.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
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Review 20 for Here to Stay
Charming, Entertaining, & Inspiring!
Date:May 23, 2014
I’ve been wanting to read this book for quite awhile now. I’d heard a lot about this author, the cover just made me smile, and the storyline easily drew me in. The quaint town of Whisper Shore makes for such a charming setting, even with its scarred past, and I loved the warm, local folk upon introduction, even with their wounded hearts and painful prejudices.
Surrounded by feuding families, past reputations, and conflicting dreams, Autumn and Blake charmed, entertained and surprised me from start to finish. I enjoyed every minute with them, but especially as the depth of the story increased with the page numbers.
I loved the style and heartbeat of this book with its fun dialogue and creative descriptions. I found myself smiling and even laughing out loud at many parts. Honestly, I wanted to hug the characters – as well as the author herself – more than once through the story. I really can’t say there was anything I didn’t like.
As difficult questions and decisions are placed before the characters, I believe readers will be challenged and encouraged as well. I imagine most will see themselves through one – if not many – of these characters. They’re that real. And what they discover about themselves and God within this story create a beautiful journey and lesson worth remembering.
I’m doubtful anyone can come away NOT in love with this book.
Lighthearted, romantic, and sentimental, yet also realistic and delightfully complicated, Here to Stay greatly increased my appreciation for contemporary romance and left me wanting to seek out a lot more in this genre.
I can’t wait to read more from this delightful author.
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for my copy.