1. Once Upon a Summertime (Follow Your Heart Book #1): A New York City Romance - eBookeBOOK
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    Once Upon a Summertime (Follow Your Heart Book #1): A New York City Romance - eBook
    Melody Carlson
    Revell / 2015 / ePub
    $9.69 Retail: $14.99 Save 35% ($5.30)
    4 Stars Out Of 5 33 Reviews
    Availability: In Stock
    Stock No: WW74386EB
3.9 Stars Out Of 5
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3.9 out Of 5
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3.9 out Of 5
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  1. 2 Stars Out Of 5
    A sweet Romance
    November 17, 2016
    Quality: 2
    Value: 2
    Meets Expectations: 2
    This sweet romance is set within the heart of a trendy new boutique hotel amidst the charm of New York City. I was surprised to learn that the author resides in Oregon as it is evidently clear that she has a passion for New York. This Once Upon a Summertime takes you on a sightseeing adventure through the classic city and draws you deep into the details of the hospitality industry.

    Anna Gordon is rather obsessed with her job and for good reason: a girl has to eat! Her determination to excel at her new position and to keep her new employment leads the reader through the many ups and downs of hotel management. I feel like I have a much deeper understanding of the complexities of running a hotel after reading this book it sounds stressful!

    Anna and Sean are a really cute couple. Their romance is sweet and charming and their struggle to keep from falling in love is endearing. This book did not really have any twists or turns and I found it to be on the slow side, but the love story was a cute one.

    Thank-you to Graf Martin Communications and to Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
  2. Arden, NC
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    2 Stars Out Of 5
    Anna's personality too flat, bland for me
    August 14, 2016
    Arden, NC
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 2
    Meets Expectations: 2
    ★ ★

    Anna Gordon graduated with a degree in hospitality management, stars swimming in her eyes with the dreams of managing a posh boutique hotel in some big city. But while her college classmates transitioned into enviable hotel / resort positions around the world, Anna was forced to return to her little podunk hometown to take care of her grandmother after the passing of her grandfather. Anna takes a position managing the local rundown motel, spends the next few years trying to pull the place out of its fleabag status and into something she could actually be proud of. Unfortunately, her staff at the motel is more about paychecks than pride, trying to coast by on the bare minimum of work that guarantees them their cut of payroll. One such member on the crew, Mickey, is actually the nephew of the owners of the property. When Anna confronts Mickey one day on his sloppy work in cleaning the pool area completely within her job duties as a manager Mickey complains to his aunt & uncle and manages to get Anna fired instead of the other way around!

    As luck would have it though, just when Anna feels as if shes suddenly floundering with no job prospects, in walks an old friend back into her life with a job opportunity. A brand spankin new boutique hotel in SoHo expected to become quite the trendy hotspot is set to open its doors soon but the owners are still looking to fill the management positions. Just the type of job Anna dreamt of having! Naturally she hightails it out to NYC and applies, only to mentally psyche herself out once there, blowing the interview. That is, until she bumps into a woman in the ladies room of the hotel who just happens to be co-owner of the whole place! After a short chat, the woman decides that although her husband dismissed Anna as not the right general manager, Anna is hired on as manager of the housekeeping staff. Feels a bit like a demotion at first, but Anna soon reasons its a far sight better than any work shed have back home, so she immediately accepts. Her excitement is quickly dampened though when she finds out the person hired on as general manager (aka her boss of sorts) is none other than Sean O'Neil, a childhood friend of hers recently back from managing a hotel in Ireland for some years. Another small knock to Annas ego, she admits, but she quickly sees Sean is the perfect person for the job and they soon embracing working as a team to turn the hotel operations into a well-oiled machine. At first everything is all friendly business banter, but working so intimately with an old friend day to day, its not hard to see those nostalgia-tinged feelings turning a little heart-shaped! But is going after what the heart seems to want worth risking the positions they both worked so hard to obtain?

    This story definitely had potential. It had the reliably interesting backdrop of NYC, the fun behind-the-scenes kind of story of the hotel business, it had some interesting secondary characters to keep the flow of the plot nice. Where this one fell down for me is with our main character Anna. Lordy, that girl was BLAND! Poor girl got virtually no humor or personality from Carlson! Anna was just all straightforward business and social awkwardness, but not even in a cute way! It drove me crazy how Anna seemed to interpret every situation in an uber-literal way. Carlson tries to write in an explanation, saying that Anna was compensating / over compensating for the poor life choices of her parents, but Im sorry, I still found no flavor to the girl. But of course, mysteriously our main guy character is drawn to her like shes some sort of sea siren. Nevermind the fact that she comes off as someone that wouldnt be much fun to hang out with lol.

    But like I said earlier, what pulled me through this story is the cast of secondary characters, and also some of the NYC history that Carlson weaves into sightseeing scenes with Anna. I did enjoy the passages describing Annas walks through Ellis Island and St. Patricks Cathedral and her ponderings on the immigrant experience. I also enjoyed the inclusion of the historical tidbit on Annie Moore, a 17 year old Irishwoman documented as the very first person to every pass through Ellis Island in 1892.
  3. Plymouth MA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: Female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Small Town Girl in NY--Romance Once Upon a Summertime
    February 22, 2016
    Plymouth MA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Debs Dozen: Small Town Girl Transplanted to New YorkRomance Once Upon a Summertime

    Anna Gordon is stuck. Stuck in her small town. Stuck in a dead-end job as manager of the Value Lodge. Going nowhere. Getting depressed. She loves her grandmother, which is why shes here, but she hates her job. Shes not at all what she thought shed be when she graduated with a masters in hospitality. And theres no opportunity at all for romance.

    Walking to work one day, she passes Lous Caf and is surprised when her long-time friend, Marley pops out the door. That chance meeting starts a chain of events that ends up with Anna in New York interviewing for the managers position at a new boutique hotel, the Rothsberg. But before she has a chance to even think much about the potential opportunity, she is fired from her job at the Value Lodgenepotism has won once again.

    Dressed professionally in her best suit, Anna heads off to the interview. During the interview with Mr. Vincent, Anna tries her best, but knows she has no chance at the job since she has no recommendations. Anna flees to the ladies room to crynow she has nothing. Finally, coming out of the stall where shes been hiding, she freshens up and notices the sink area a mess. Not able to abide the disorder, she wipes off the counter and the sink and polishes the area spic and span. When caught at the task by another woman, shes asked if she works at the hotel. The entire episode comes out and Anna is hired by the woman, who turns out to be Mrs. Vincent, as the housekeeping managernot what she wanted, but a job.

    As they are touring the hotel, Mr. Vincent and another man encounter them. He is introduced as the new hotel manager, the position Anna had wanted. Then she discovers the man is none other than Sean ONeil, someone shed grown up with in her small town. Not exactly what she was anticipating nor what she wantedher feelings are mixedsomewhat jealous and somewhat piqued and somewhat intrigued.

    That evening, eating in a small sidewalk restaurant, Sean happens by they talk and by the end of the evening, Anna knows she could fall for Sean. The chemistry is strong. But romance between employees is verbotenand subject to immediate dismissal.

    Once Upon a Summertime: A New York City Romance (Follow Your Heart) is a sweet summer romance. The end is foreseen from the beginning, but in no way lessens the charm of the story. You will enjoy reading about Annas adventures and her budding romance with Sean. Three stars.

    Melody Carlson has written over two hundred books with sales of more than six and a half million. She has won many awards including a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more about Melody and her other books at www.melodycarlson.com.
  4. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Excellent read!
    December 8, 2015
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I loved this book. Will read it again and again. I love stories with characters that evolve in their actions and perspectives to see what God wants them to see. It has a component of romance and a message of sticking to the path God puts you on, even when trouble comes and being true to yourself. Definitely a story of making something good from something bad. Enjoy!
  5. 4 Stars Out Of 5
    A great summer book
    August 21, 2015
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Melody Carlson was among one of the first authors I read when I started reading Christian fiction books. She was able to give me just enough romance in my youth without making it sappy. I have continued to read almost every book she has written since then. I always look forward to seeing new book of hers hitting the shelves! I was drawn to this book by the cover first. Once I saw who wrote it, it was not a question of "if" I would read it, but simply "when."

    Once Upon a Summertime is the first book in her new series, Follow Your Heart. The story focuses on Anna who has huge dreams despite having grown up under some tough circumstances. To say the odds were against her would be correct. However, she decides that she wants things to change and tries her hardest to rise above her circumstances. When she finally gets an offer she can't refuse, she takes it. The reader then goes on a journey through New York City and gets an inside look at the hospitality industry. I did have to laugh at the whole scene when she meets the boy she had spent many hours dreaming about as a young girl.

    I really enjoyed taking a journey through New York. Having never worked in the hospitality industry, I also enjoyed reading about this part, as well. I enjoyed everything about this book, from beginning to end. I am looking forward to this new series and where the hearts will lead her characters.


    I received this book free from Revell Publishers and CFBA in exchange for my honest opinion of this book.
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