What’s better than receiving flowers?  Receiving them from the wrong person and it turning into a romance!  Welcome to the five novella Christian Contemporary Romance set, Out of the Blue Bouquet.  This is Set 1 of 6 in the Crossroads Collection series.  Each story is written by a best selling Christian author and turns lemons into lemonade, making me smile as I read it.

 

Courting Calla, by Hallee Bridgeman

 

This is the story of Calla and Ian.  He rescues her when her car decides to call it quits in the middle of traffic on her way to work.  Poor Calla is stranded until Ian arrives with his muscles.

 

Author Bridgeman has a nice style of writing and a cute story.  I enjoyed all of the adorable characters.  The friendship between Sami and Calla was genuine and believable.  The same was true for Ian and his friend, Al.  Their banter was fun and relatable.

 

At times the story flew by with page turning eagerness, but at other times it was bogged down with overdone details.  The life lessons are timeless in this contemporary tale.  Forgiveness, redemption, change, and growth are illustrated.

 

Faith is upfront in this novella.  Ian talks about his mission trips.  Calla says at dinner, “I’m sorry I feel weird eating without praying.  Do you mind if we pray first?”  I love, love, love Christian books that can easily be recognized as Christian.

 

At the end of the story you will find a luncheon menu along with recipes.  Another of my favorite things in a book is when you talk about cooking something then give me the recipe.  Following those are discussion questions which makes this easy to have as a book club read.

 

Seoul in Love by Alana Terry

 

Author Alana Terry has a pleasant style of writing that draws me into her story.  This one is about divorced couple Jolene and Joseph.  Jolene has arrived in Seoul for the wedding of her daughter’s best friend, Mena.  Mena wants Jolene to be in the wedding in place of Jolene’s daughter.

 

A misdelivered bouquet provides the catalyst to get the divorced couple speaking again.  Seoul is the perfect place for them to work through their past issues.  It is full of memories for this couple.

 

All of the characters are well rounded and relatable.  It is easy to imagine them.  The characters of Mena and Jin-Sun are engaging.  Jin-Sun, Mena’s fiancé, offers much for Jolene and Joseph to ponder.  Jolene’s pain broke my heart.

 

“A text. How clichéd and trite could you get? A text he’d meant for his mistress but sent to his wife instead.”

 

The conversations are plentiful and realistic.  I liked the descriptive writing that took me to a place that I have never been.  It enabled me to experience Seoul and the story.

 

There are a multitude of life lessons throughout this novella.  The author deals with infidelity, death, divorce, forgiveness, redemption, growth, love, hope, and even more.  It is a heartfelt story.

 

This would make a nice readers group choice.  The author has included discussion questions at the end to make it easier.  It should not be difficult to find a lot of things to mull over in this.

 

A Kaerasti for Clari by Carol Moncado

 

This is the story of Clari Sørenson and Joel Christiansen.  He delivered flowers to the royal palace and ended up taking Clari on a fun filled treasure hunt. Clari works as social media manager for Eyjania’s Queen Mother.  She stays busy and has no time for dating, much less a boyfriend.

 

Her flowers are delivered with a mysterious treasure hunt note that takes her to many stops.  Due to an injury she requires a driver and handsome Joel volunteers.  Their adventure takes them to several stops, one being his sister’s shop.  They encounter a snowstorm and many surprises.

 

“You won’t believe this, he typed. I’m Yfir driving your treasure hunt person. We should be there in about twenty minutes.“

 

The writing is nice and even in this novella.  The descriptions are on point but not overdone.  I was a bit confused about the kingdom, palace, Yfir, and kaerasti.  After reading a few chapters it does come together.

 

The characters were quaint and different from most contemporary ones.  Secondary characters had me wondering if they would be in future stories.  All in all I enjoyed the characters and could connect to them.

 

The faith element is faint in this novella.  Death, tragedy, and accidents are mentioned and handled well.  This will make you want to go on a treasure hunt yourself.  There are discussion questions at the end.

 

Premeditated Serendipity by Chautona Havig

 

Book Four in this Collection is Premeditated Serendipity by author Chautona Havig.  This is a contemporary Christian romance filled with faith, inspiration, and humor.  It is set in the fictional town of Fairbury where some of her other books also take place.  I have really enjoyed each of those books and this one, also.

 

This is the tale of Kelsey and Reid.  They both work in the town’s prayer room.  She plays her guitar and softly sings prayers.  He is a recovering addict with a bad past.  He does pray with people in the town prayer room.  She has liked him for a while, but he is waiting to solidify his relationship with Christ.  He has decided to dedicate one year to his Christian walk before starting to date, but he likes Kelsey.

 

“A fresh tear fell on her cheek. Reid ordered himself not to wipe it away, even as his thumb caught it and flung it aside. That’s all it took. Kelsey dropped her forehead to his chest and wept.”

 

Wayne is Reid’s landlord, friend, town florist, and secret matchmaker.  He was a real character because of his deception and being proud of it . “Reid, really. I want to say I’m sorry, but I can’t.”  Sorry, not sorry is what Wayne is saying.

 

Their journey is not an easy one because of past mistakes.  Don’t we all have a bag full of those?  My emotions went up and down with Kelsey’s.  I was totally invested in her story, character, and relationship.

 

Author Havig has an easily identifiable style.  It is smooth, engaging, and has quirky yet relatable characters.  I always expect a strong faith message and have never been disappointed.  She puts a Christian message in her books.  It is not a light, subtle hidden message.  She writes to encourage people as well as entertain them.

 

Tough issues are tackled in this story.  Addition, drugs, and the terrible effects of using them are brought to light.   Life lessons on hope, forgiveness, trust, truth, and redemption are beautifully illustrated.

 

Author Havig has included Discussion Questions at the end.  Because of the subject matter and wonderful story, any reading group would benefit from this as a choice.

 

Out of the Blue Bouquet by Amanda Tru

 

Concluding this five book set is Out of the Blue Bouquet by author Amanda Tru.  Have you been wondering why the first four novella were matched together?  Wonder no longer as Out of the Blue Bouquet will answer your question.

 

This is the tale of Brooke Hutchins, floral designer at Crossroads Floral.  When her boss, Helen, goes out of town to a funeral, she leaves her granddaughter, Tylee, and Brooke to run things.  It starts out smoothly, but things quickly go awry when a large cup of coffee goes flying and ruins order instructions.  Who get what now?

 

The girls inadvertently send flower deliveries to wrong people. Some of the senders are irate, and ironically some deliveries were sent to every ex-girlfriend of Dylan Masters, the town’s most eligible bachelor.  He demands Brooke go with him to each ex and explain the mishap.  Brooke did not point fingers and took all of the blame and consequences.

 

“Could it really be possible that some people were thankful for her mistakes?”

 

Her boss was livid and Brooke was infamous in her little community.  Not every call was a complaint.  Some people considered the mix-up to be a blessing.  She brought happiness in an unexpected way to those needing it.

 

The life lessons illustrated in this novella are lasting.  The author tackles relationships, handling mistakes, not pointing fingers of blame, forgiveness, not being unequally yoked, divorce, and immorality.  It is a fun story but has some heavy themes.

 

This is a lovely ribbon on a beautiful box of novellas because it truly does tie them together.  Nods to other books brought a smile to my face.  The writing style was extremely enjoyable.  I was never bored.  The chapters flowed seamlessly.  I was immediately invested in the story and wanted to keep reading.

 

The characters were engaging.  They were relatable and for the most part realistic.  I loved the variety of ex-girlfriends.  Dylan had a playful, flirty banter with Brooke that was fun to read.  She was a woman of faith, and it was refreshing to observe her daily walk that demonstrated it.  Tylee was cute, but her Grammie was a real character.

 

At the end of the book are Discussion Questions for a Reading Group.  This is a perfect book for a reader group.  There is so much to discuss.

 

I would recommend this novella collection to anyone that enjoys contemporary light romance with a touch of mystery.  They would make a nice selection for a reading group especially with the last book tying everything together.  Experience a sampling of authors, places, and people with flowers that mistakenly brought them together, right in the comfort of your favorite reading spot. Just pick up Out of the Blue Bouquet and you will be on your way.

 

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