Review: The Strawberry Hearts Diner by Carolyn Brown

Posted July 24, 2017 by Sophia Rose in Audio Delight, Reviews / 14 Comments

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Review: The Strawberry Hearts Diner by Carolyn Brown
The Strawberry Hearts Diner
Narrated by Brittany Pressley

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Western Romance
Published by Montlake Romance
Released on July 18, 2017
Pages: 8 hours 28 min
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The Delight

A life-weary woman breaks down in a small town she meant to pass on through, a help wanted sign brings her to a special diner that may just feed her soul.  Another Texas small town story with a bit a humor and a whole lot of country-loving heart to enough.


First of all, word of caution, do not read this one while hungry.  The strawberry tarts and down home cooking at the diner will have you salivating.  It sure did me.

This is a gently-paced character-driven plot that focuses on the lives of four women.  Jancy is the new arrival and joins three generations of women- Nettie, Vickie, and Emily- who live in Pick, TX a very small town and run an old diner that is famous for its strawberry tarts.  The story focuses on Jancy finding home and love in man forms, Emily starting out with love and family, Vickie as Emily’s mom learning to let Emily live her life her own way, and old Nettie with her home-grown wisdom guiding them all.  The focus is split between the women’s relationships with each other, a small town fight against a developer, and also a bit of summer romancing for them as well.

There were a few slow spots, but I was never bored as I loved the tone and pace for this particular story.  It did rush the end a little after the slow development, but I definitely got a satisfying swoony ending out of it.

I’ve read many of the author’s books, but this was my first time getting one in audio format.  I enjoyed Brittany Pressley as the narrator and thought she was a good match for the book.  She got her twang going for all the characters.  It was fun listening to her feisty dialogues particularly from Nettie and I thought she did the flirty and gossipy tones of others well.  Her male voices were a gruff, but I didn’t dislike them.  She definitely made it a fun story to listen to.

All in all, this was another deeply satisfying contemporary small town western story from the author with a nice balance of women’s fiction and romance in the strong friendships and romancing of the story.

My thanks to Brilliance Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.


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About Carolyn Brown

Hi! I’m twenty five years old and movie star gorgeous. The camera added thirty plus years and a few wrinkles. Can’t trust those cameras or mirrors either. Along with bathroom scales they are notorious liars! Honestly, I am the mother of three fantastic grown children who’ve made me laugh and given me more story ideas than I could ever write. My husband, Charles, is my strongest supporter and my best friend. He’s even willing to eat fast food and help with the laundry while I finish one more chapter! Life is good and I am blessed!

Reading has been a passion since I was five years old and figured out those were words on book pages. As soon as my chubby little fingers found they could put words on a Big Chief tablet with a fat pencil, I was on my way. Writing joined reading in my list of passions. I will read anything from the back of the Cheerio’s box to Faulkner and love every bit of it. In addition to reading I enjoy cooking, my family and the ocean. I love the Florida beaches. Listening to the ocean waves puts my writing brain into high gear.

I love writing romance because it’s about emotions and relationships. Human nature hasn’t changed a bit since Eve coveted the fruit in the Garden of Eden. Settings change. Plots change. Names change. Times change. But love is love and men and women have been falling in and out of it forever. Romance is about emotions: love, hate, anger, laughter… all of it. If I can make you laugh until your sides ache or grab a tissue then I’ve touched your emotions and accomplished what every writer sets out to do.

I got serious about writing when my third child was born and had her days and nights mixed up. I had to stay up all night anyway and it was very quiet so I invested in a spiral back notebook and sharpened a few pencils. The story that emerged has never sold but it’s brought in enough rejection slips to put the Redwood Forest on the endangered list. In 1997 Kensington bought two books for their Precious Gems line. Two years and six books later the line died with only four of those books seeing publication. But by then Avalon had bought a book and another, and another. Ten years later the list has grown to thirty nine. Last year Sourcebooks bought the Lucky Series which is in the bookstores now. They’ve also bought The Honky Tonk Series which will debut with I LOVE THIS BAR in June and will be followed by HELL, YEAH, MY GIVE A DAMN’S BUSTED, and HONKY TONK CHRISTMAS.

Folks ask me where I get my ideas. Three kids, fifteen grandchildren, two great grandchildren. Note: I was a very young grandmother! Life is a zoo around here when they all come home. In one Sunday afternoon there’s enough ideas to keep me writing for years and years. Seriously, ideas pop up at the craziest times. When one sinks its roots into my mind, I have no choice but to write the story. And while I’m writing the characters peek over my shoulder and make sure I’m telling it right and not exaggerating too much. Pesky little devils, they are!

I have a wonderful agent, Erin Niumata, who continues to work magic and sell my work. I’m very lucky to have her and my editors who continue to believe in me.

Happy reading!

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Angela @ Simply Angela

I’ve not tried any of her’s from Montlake but I need to fix that because the reviews all sound amazing.

Sophia Rose
5 years ago

Oh yes! Well worth it, Angela. I still have several of those published under Montlake to read and looking forward to them.

Lover Of Romance
5 years ago

I will definitely be making sure that I have some strawberry tarts to eat when I pick this one up, but boy that cover already has me wanting to go bake some up. I like that the author puts in some solid friendships in too. I always love seeing that. Great review hun, this book sounds amazing.

And I love the song pick you have for this one. Such a wonderful song.

Sophia Rose
5 years ago

Haha! Yes! I felt I had to warn folks that this one is a foodie one. 🙂

I enjoy the friendships, too, rather than romance isolated.
She makes it easy to pick tunes because she mentions so much music in her stories.

Debbie Haupt
Debbie Haupt
5 years ago

Hi Sophia Rose I love the title, the cover and of course your fantastic review! on my list!

Sophia Rose
5 years ago
Reply to  Debbie Haupt

No regrets! And I already gave in and ate my fill of strawberries after reading it, Debbie. LOL

vvb reads
5 years ago

Sounds like this one has a nice cozy tinge.

Sophia Rose
5 years ago
Reply to  vvb reads

It really did. 🙂

Melanie Simmons
5 years ago

Jennifer Estep is one that will make me hungry, so I completely understand how that can happen. I’ve listened to Brittany Pressley before. I really like her. Glad you enjoyed this book.

Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

Sophia Rose
5 years ago

Oh really? I have not read her books yet. Good to know that I’ll need to keep my snacks close by. LOL

Anna@herding cats&burning soup

Oh yay. I skipped over this one but will have to go back to it. I’ve not seen that narrator yet. I’ll keep an eye out 🙂

Sophia Rose
5 years ago

So hard to fit them all in and figure out which to snag. I think I’m on auto-‘review’ with her books LOL

And yes, another narrator that is worth a go, I think. 🙂

5 years ago

I wouldn’t listen to this, but it’s definitely going in the pile. Love Carolyn Brown! Hugs…

Sophia Rose
5 years ago
Reply to  RO

Heartwarming and fun and worth it, Ro! 🙂