Sunday, March 13, 2022

Review and Giveaway - - The Hero Next Door

The Hero Next Door
by Carrie Nichols
Small-Town Sweethearts - Book 6
Publisher: Harlequin Special Edition
Release Date: February 22, 2022
Reviewed by PJ

Love—and kittens—to the rescue!

Olive Downing has big dreams for her Victorian bed-and-breakfast. She doesn’t need her handsome new neighbor pointing out the flaws in her plan. But Cal Pope isn’t the average busybody. The gruff firefighter can be sweet, charming—and the perfect partner for the town fundraiser. Then Cal surprises her with two adorable rescue kittens. Maybe there’s a soft heart underneath his rough exterior that needs rescuing, too…

PJ's Thoughts:

In the mood for a grumpy-sunshine romance? Check out this newest addition to Carrie Nichols' Small-Town Sweethearts series. We're back in Loon Lake, Vermont with two new characters: Olive, the former foster kid who aches for a husband, family. and friends of her own and Cal, a dedicated bachelor whose emotional baggage has him running from the faintest hint of a relationship. 

When Olive wins a run-down Victorian house in Loon Lake, her first real home since losing her parents to a drunk driver when she was eleven, she sees it as an opportunity for new beginnings, to put down roots, make good friends, and, maybe, fall in love. Cal, who just happens to own the house across the street, sees the writing on the wall immediately when his friends start playing matchmaker and he  wants no part of it. But Olive's generous nature and sunshine smile have him spending more and more time with her. Will he finally allow himself to make a commitment or will the demons of his past win once again?

I enjoy the complexity of Nichols' characters, the emotional baggage that holds them back from committing to love, and the issues that they have to work through, together, to find that happy ending. I enjoyed the evolution of both Olive and Cal in this story. They were each deeply impacted by events in their childhood that were evident in their adult views and actions. I enjoyed their journey and was happy with the conclusion though it wrapped up a little too easily for me considering Cal's behavior (I wanted more groveling). That's just me. The important thing is that the way it played out was true to Olive's personality and the epilogue showed a true partnership with full commitment on both sides. I'm happily convinced that they're living their happily ever after. 

If you're a kitten lover, you will definitely enjoy the antics of Mischief and Mayhem and the way these two little rascals bring Cal and Olive together. I adored them. 

Fans of the series will also no doubt enjoy seeing many of their favorites pop up here and there throughout the book but, as I mentioned earlier, Cal and Olive are new to the series. If you haven't read the earlier books, you can absolutely jump in with this one and not miss a beat.  

Are you a fan of category romances?

Have you read Carrie Nichols before?

Do you enjoy animals who play a significant role in romances you read? Do you have any favorites?

One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, March 14 will receive a signed, print copy of The Hero Next Door. 

*U.S. Only
*Must be 18
*Void where prohibited



  1. I love small town romances,I love both dogs and cats in books. great review thank you

  2. I am a fan of small town romances. I enjoy books which include animals - but - please nothing too cutsie. No animals who talk to humans for me. I think one of my favorite animals is the cat Bastet who lives with Amelia Peabody....that cat knows who is boss and it is that cat.

    This is a new to me author and it is evident that this is someone I need to read. Thanks for the terrific review.

    Hope everyone is happy in the place where they are.

  3. I love small town romances. I love puppies and dogs. I always think of Roxanne St. Claire with her books about dogs. New author for me.

  4. I don't think I have read this author; I love pets in books, especially dogs. The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks comes to mind and of course the Dogmother and Dogfather books.

  5. I enjoy category romance and the length of Special Editions gives more time to develop the stories and characters. Since I do read Harlequin, I likely have read Nichols before.
    I like animals in a story. They add antics (if Mischief is like our cat of the same name, they will have their hands full). Their presence in a story can be used to show the character of a character by the way they treat and relate to the animals.