Thursday, September 30, 2021

Review - - The Inn on Sweetbriar Lane & Birthday Giveaway #30

The Inn on Sweetbriar Lane
by Jeannie Chin
Blue Cedar Falls - Book 1
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: September 28, 2021
Reviewed by PJ

June Wu always has it all together—only now, she’s in over her head. Her family’s inn desperately needs guests, her mother’s medical debts are piling up, and the surly, if sexy, stranger next door is driving away the customers she has left! When he asks for June’s help, though, she can’t say no. After all, his new bar could be just what the upcoming Pumpkin Festival needs to bring in more tourists. But with the fierce attraction between them, will working together be playing with fire?

Ex-soldier Clay Hawthorne prefers being on his own. He’s moved to Blue Cedar Falls for one reason—to carry out his best friend’s dream of opening a bar in the hometown he’ll now never return to. But the town’s business association is trying to stop Clay’s progress. June soon becomes his biggest supporter, and while their partnership is supposed to be only temporary, for the first time Clay wants something permanent—with June. Can two total opposites really learn to meet each other in the middle?

PJ's Thoughts:

This is a solid start to Jeannie Chin's Blue Cedar Falls series. It's a small-town contemporary romance with charm, heart, and intriguing characters but it doesn't stop there. Chin has added complexity and emotional depth to the story, exploring some weighty topics and the impact they have on the lives of her characters.

Chin has placed Asian representation front and center in this book. I especially enjoyed the dynamics of the Wu family and how they influenced June's actions and motivations throughout the course of the book. She's a flawed character I didn't always agree with but I never doubted her love for her family or her desire to protect them. As her layers - and her past - were revealed, the reasons for her fierce control and determination became more clear and understandable.  As she began to understand, and accept, the effects of her actions her character became more sympathetic. By the time the end of the book rolled around, I was convinced that the Wu family - and June and Clay - would all be moving forward with a new appreciation and understanding of one another.  

Clay is also a flawed character, with PTSD and guilt that run deep. Again, the author did a good job of exploring that aspect of his character, with gradual healing and assimilation that was both realistic and believable. I enjoyed watching him slowly open up to the military friends he had ghosted and especially enjoyed his slowly evolving friendship with Han, over dinners at the local Chinese restaurant Han's family owns (adding here that I hope we learn more about Han's history with June's sister in a future book!)

I enjoyed the friction and frisky banter between Clay and June as well as the sizzling chemistry that flared whenever they were together. But I also appreciated the fact that time was taken to explore the emotional pitfalls on the way to their happy ending. There are thought-provoking layers to both their characters and their journey. 

The secondary cast adds humor, depth, and potential for future stories in this series. There are already numerous characters, including June's two sisters, and Han, whose stories I am eager to read. Not to mention a certain grumpy feline social media star I wouldn't mind seeing more of. There's also a poignant, complex, and affirming secondary romance between June's best friend, Bobbi and Bobbi's girlfriend, Caitlin that explores coming out to one's parents, dodging parental matchmaking (with numerous eligible men) when you're gay, and finding the courage, self-confidence, and acceptance to finally be your true self. I loved the sweetness, respect, and emotional support between these two women. They made my heart happy.

If you enjoy small-town contemporary romance with a strong sense of community, solid representation, heart-tugging romance, complex emotion, and hard-won happy endings, give this one a try. I'm already looking forward to my next visit to Jeannie Chin's Blue Cedar Falls.

Birthday Giveaway #30:

Does your pet have what it takes to be a social media star?

Do you watch cat/dog/other animal videos online? What's your favorite social media account for animal videos?

One person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, October 2 will receive a $15 Amazon U.S. e-gift card.

*If the winner is international and does not have access to Amazon U.S., I will substitute books of your choice from, value not to exceed $15 U.S.

*Must be 18
*Void where prohibited

Thanks so much for celebrating my milestone birthday month with me. I hope you've had as much fun as I have! 


  1. I use to have a cat that turned somersaults if you blew hard in and out and if you kept doing it she would eventually attack you lol. She was my first cat so many years ago. I watch a ton of cat/animal videos on FB. It cheers up my day.

  2. I don’t have a pet. I grew up with a dog, a beautiful Sheltie. Miss him!

    I don’t watch animal videos. I’d rather spend my free time reading.

  3. I watch an occasional dog video on facebook.
    And I hope you had as good a birthday month as we all had with your generous contests here. TY so much.

  4. I enjoy dog videos. Your celebration month was wonderful.

  5. Reading occupies my time since it is my favorite form of entertainment. My dog by my side is comforting.

  6. I love animal videos! on Facebook "Charlie The Golden" (a Golden retriever & his family; "Happy Horse Retirement Home"; "Skydog Sanctuary" for wild horses - and sometimes one with baby goats pops up

  7. Thank you so much for all the prizes in your birthday month

  8. Neither of my cats has what it takes to be a social media star but maybe our next pup will. (Of course that means a lot of work on our part.) I do enjoy funny animal videos but don't follow any one in particular. Since it's the last time I'll get to say it this month:


  9. I hope that you enjoyed your birthday month. Thanks for giving us the gifts! I enjoy watching funny animal videos, especially the ones that show guilty dogs. Usually I see the videos on Facebook or youtube.

  10. My dog is the equivalent of an inanimate object. He is cute as a button, but a star he is not....except to me.

    Although this is the last day of your birthday month, I hope your joy continues.

    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

  11. I have enjoyed your birthday month! You've brought a smile to my face. I do have a rather prickly dog that does the funniest things. However, he DOES NOT like his picture taken. He seems to know exactly when the click happens and manages to turn his head or make awful faces. Must he makes me smile. Hope the rest of your year is as much fun as September was.

  12. I have three cats who are natural-born comedians--to me, they are all superstars!!! I hope that you had a wonderful birthday, and that you had as much fun as we did : )

  13. I think my dog has what it takes to be a social media star (she’s a total character) but I don’t quite have what it takes to be her PR manager :)

    I like Instagram or Twitter for pet videos and pictures - WeRateDogs is a personal favorite

    Thank you for celebrating your birthday month with us!

  14. I don't watch a lot of tv. My cats are only friendly to me!

  15. I don’t currently have a pet. Though I enjoy watching animals in youtube videos, I don’t have a favorite social media account for animal videos.

  16. No pets. My daughter has a puppy and so does my best friend. They are always sending me pictures.

  17. Happy birthday again PJ and thank you for all the giveaways!

    I love cat videos and pics! Also, my cats do strange and/or crazy things, the problem is me not catching them on camera, otherwise... LOL

  18. I don't have any pets or watch any particular pet video channels online.

    Hope you had a wonderful time celebrating your birthday all month.


  19. I do not have what it takes to be. A social media star. I am chubby and couldn't take the criticism of mean people.
    I do love the videos of cats and funny videos. Love America's Funniest home videos.
    Hope you had a great bday month.

  20. This does sound like it will be a series I will enjoy. It appears to have a depth and complexity that many such small town series skim over. I like that it tackles important issues seems not to shy away from them or skim them over.

    As for our current dog being a media star, only if they need a lump that sleeps about 22 hours a day. And that is when she isn't on her pain medication for her arthritis.

    I have friends who share animal videos, so find many on my page. I don't follow any specific animal sites for the videos. I do go to them if one of their shared videos interests me and I will check them out, watching others they have.

    Thank you for the enjoyable month of sharing your birthday and being so generous. It has bee fun, but then, your posts are always something to look forward to.