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The second condition is that Daphne must be willing to assume taking over her Aunt's advice column for the local paper, Dear Daphne as well as in the New York Times. This is an easy decision since all Daphne's been writing at the New York Times is engagement announcements so she feels this is a simple step up in her writing career. The third stipulation is that she has to fall in love and get married within a year.

Not that one may just in fact be the biggest challenge for Daphne to face since she has no prospects on the horizon either in New York or moving back to her Aunt's hometown of Appleton. If she doesn't follow all the stipulations in the will, the house and all the estate holdings will go back to The Cat House, a pet rescue facility where her Aunt Dee adopted Lucy and Ethel. Looking for a prospect of a new future on the line, Daphne agrees to the conditions of the will and hopes that in time she may just find someone she can love. But if she can't she'll be both homeless and jobless and have to find a way to start over again quite literally from nothing.

Good thing for her that Appleton is a small town and she seems to have no problem finding men who are interested in learning more about Daphne from her Aunt's gardener, to the local organic produce owner, and even her Aunt Dee's attorney seem to be lining up willing to date the latest heiress in their small town. In fact Daphne thinks things are fine until the man she fell in love with ten years ago that broke her heart suddenly shows up at her front door. Oh what's a girl to do? This is definitely one you want to add to your summer's reading list and features a list of characters you find yourself rooting for Daphne to chose as her potential husband.

I was rooting for the local gardener with the Australian accent that stops by to help keep her landscaping looking amazing and enjoy a cup of coffee or lemonade if she has it available. I've been a huge fan of Melody Carlson's books and this one has found a permanent home on my library shelf. I'd rate this one a 4.

May 20, Deb rated it it was amazing. This book and characters are easy to connect with, you feel like you can just step into this small hometown and be friends with all the characters. It is a book that you just want to keep reading to see what is next. Daphne had a dream to be a writer and after college she lands a job as a writer for the New York Times, but after years in the city she wonders if this is what she really wants. She is like we are when we think we know what we want and then when we get it we wonder is this really that great or what is going to make us happy.

Daphne's Aunt dies and she goes home for the funeral, but to her surprise Daphne's Aunt has left Daphne her house with some strings attached. The reader gets caught up in Daphne trying to decide what she wants, whether she can meet her Aunts strings for her inheritance and what will really make her happy.

This book, I think, is somewhat of a quest for Daphne to find out what she really wants out of life, about being happy, and about trusting God to help her make the right decisions and believing in the plan God has for her. It is a very good book that is very enjoyable. It has a good story and at the end of the book it leaves you wanting more. Melody Carlson has another good book that will connect with the readers. I would highly recommend this book.

This book will be out June Jun 27, Kathleen E. He straightened the stack of papers on the table. And I'm sure going to miss her.

Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel (Dear Daphne #1) by Melody Carlson

But I promised to do all I could to ensure that you inherit her estate, Daphne. That's what she wanted. Daphne has been bequeathed her relative's Queen Anne Victorian and her copper-colored Chevrolet Corvette for a year. Meeting conditions of the will determines if she retains them beyond that time.

She resigns from her city job and begins anew in her hometown. Daphne finds it is not quite as simple as when she left for college. Her dad is selling the house she grew up in and moving into a senior condo complex with all the amenities, including a blonde realtor wanting to make plans for the Queen Anne on Huckleberry Lane. Distanced from her childhood and past, except for the orange cat and stripy gray cat coming with the house, other changes are an added groundskeeper and reacquainting with her former classmates.

Come and join Daphne as she explores adventures she never thought were available for her. She may find they are the dreams she wasn't seeking, but were hers all along. Jun 17, Jalynn Patterson rated it it was amazing. Life is always easy when you are truly convinced that you have it all under control.

Daphne Ballinger thought she did have it all under control. But after moving to New York to put her degree in journalism to work for her things didn't quite go as she had planned. She thought that she would only share an apartment with her room mates for less than a year and then be making enough money to own her own home.

But thirteen years later no such luck. Daphne worked at the New York Times as a wedding writer. Things had been going along fairly well for, or as well as can be expected when she received the call from her father that her Aunt Dee had passed away. She started to recall the summers she spent at her home, as a child while her father would be busy at work.

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Daphne's mom has passed away when she was a small child so her Aunt would care for her when needed. Well Daphne goes to help her father with the arrangements and finds out that Aunt Dee has left her, her home but everything is contingent on certain things she will have to do. Follow Daphne as she works her way through this dilemma.

May 30, Erin rated it really liked it Shelves: Was it possible to stifle yourself so much that you completely lost touch with your genuine emotions? If so, had she done it? And if she'd done it, was there some way to undo it? And this one really paid off not only was I not able to stop reading this book, but it helped me stop feeling like a reading slump was about to happen. All of her plans seemed to be happening as well until she met a guy, fell for him and then had her heart broken when she discovered the truth about him.

Once she gets home she sees how much has changed since she left. Which end up slightly turning Daphne into a reverse gold digger.. She has so many men in her life all of a sudden and even gets some real friends it seems for a change and a social life for the first time in a while. Overall I really liked this story. When it first started I was a little worried because it started talking about living in an apartment and having two other roommates and I was a little worried that it was going to be like 86 Bloomberg place series.

Btw when did I start liking contemporary and romance novels? Dec 31, Mercedes Cordero rated it really liked it Shelves: Although I don't especially like the author, I found myself surprisingly not only liking this book, but also looking forward to next book of the series, Dating, Dining and Desperation, because, yes, unbeknownst to me when I downloaded the book, this is a series. And, of course, once I finished reading that one, I didn't waste any time buying the third installment, Home, Hearth and Holidays, because, you see, this may not be a 5 star series, but it's addicting.

Once you start reading, you just ha Although I don't especially like the author, I found myself surprisingly not only liking this book, but also looking forward to next book of the series, Dating, Dining and Desperation, because, yes, unbeknownst to me when I downloaded the book, this is a series. Once you start reading, you just have to know what's going to happen to Daphne.

In true Carlson style, the Dear Daphne series is narrated in a way that feels as if a friend was telling you the story. What I usually dislike about her books is the way Christianity is portrayed, superficially, and as an afterthought, basically saying that the character did this, said that, felt this way and, oh, by the way, she also prayed.

So, when reading a Carlson book, I have to somewhat put my expectations of Christian fiction aside and read them as just contemporary fiction with a sort of Christian vibe, which is sad to me but still manageable. Daphne Ballinger is a 34 year old woman who moves from New York to Appleton, her hometown, when she inherits her favorite aunt's house, along with everything else in her estate. However, that inheritance comes with strings attached in the form of a few conditions Daphne has one year to comply with or she looses the inheritance to an animal shelter.

One condition is that she has to continue writing her aunt's advice column, Dear Daphne. Another condition, and the most implausible and baffling one, is that she has to get married. I know it sounds silly and it is. But, somehow, it works. Daphne comes off as immature and boy crazy, mainly because she knows she is in a race against time, but it is still irritating. Every time she meets a guy she thinks maybe that's the one, and it doesn't help that every guy seems to fall for her or at least really, really like her.

From the beginning, it's pretty obvious who is the guy she will choose well, it better be Jake! She also second guesses her own intentions, her talents, and her abilities, which is very frustrating. However, as annoying as Daphne can be, one can also identify with her, and her struggles and insecurities. The secondary characters —her love interests, her family, and friends— are mostly well written, even though a few of them feel a bit cartoonish, especially the guys interested in Daphne. Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel —3. Aug 06, April Erwin rated it really liked it.

I identify with Daphne Ballinger a little more than I expected. First of all, her Aunt Dee reminds me a a lot of my Granny Boo. Granny might have been more brash than Dee, but they were both strong willed, independent women before their time. In Dee's case she's determined to see Daphne's life go the way she sees fit, even from the other side. Her will certainly lays down some very unique requirements. Dee does it out of love and good intentions, but her determination is still speaking from the I identify with Daphne Ballinger a little more than I expected.

Dee does it out of love and good intentions, but her determination is still speaking from the grave. Daphne, fortunately, had a very healthy and close relationship with her Aunt Dee. Now with her guidance gone, Dee stands at a crossroad. Should she step out of her comfort zone and see where God will lead her? Or stay with what's safe and familiar even if it doesn't make her happy? Part of her decision includes choosing who to love and for the right reasons.

I don't want to give anything away, so just know that there are several single men present and available and the choice is overwhelming! Not just for Daphne, but for me too. I found myself rooting for a particular gentleman only to question my choice a couple of chapters later. Your discovery is paced with Daphne's without a hint of who her final choice will be. The author did a great job balancing humor and sincerity with blossoming faith. Daphne's choice at the end of the book was a bit of a surprise, but that's good!

I felt like I really experienced the journey with Daphne, and even if my choices or thoughts might have taken a different path personally, I understood and empathized with the character's decisions and situations. I know this is just the first book in the series and it was a great launching pad. Daphne's story concludes in such a way that leaves you satisfied yet wanting more. Looking forward to more from Melody Carlson. Jun 25, Christian Fiction Addiction rated it really liked it. Daphne Ballinger is one of those characters who is utterly real, one who seems stuck in the rut of her life until her Aunt Dee passes away and offers Daphne the chance to reclaim her life.

Daphne is someone we can all relate to, as she has to live with regrets over past choices, but also realizes that she can mov "Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel" is a fun start to a series that is sure to please fans of Melody Carlson, and features a character that I'm looking forward to revisiting in the future!


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Daphne is someone we can all relate to, as she has to live with regrets over past choices, but also realizes that she can move beyond her past and discover God's plan for her life. There is plenty of drama and action to keep the pages of this story turning, and the unique premise of the book makes for a fun read as Daphne is forced to wrestle with the clauses of the will regarding the estate that has been left to Daphne.

Dear Daphne Series

I do have to say that as Daphne considered several different potential love interests, that there were times I felt like smacking her upside the head most gently of course as she waffled about the future of her relationship with one gentleman in particular. But Melody Carlson did an excellent job of resolving some of the subplots of this novel while leaving plenty of things open-ended to address in future books in the series. I, for one, am looking forward to see what happens next in Daphne's life, as she becomes ever more confident in who God has made her to be.

I strongly recommend this contemporary fiction read, and award it 4 out of 5 stars. Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, for the purposes of this unbiased review. Jun 21, Lindsey Silvestrini rated it really liked it.

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I always prefer reading a book by an author I am familiar with so I was really looking forward to Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel. She had a whole life that neither Dorothy, her father or any other relatives had a clue about. As dictated in her will, it seems she basically wants Dorothy to take over that secret life. There were stipulations in the will that were pretty far fetched and seemingly ridiculous. Can she pull it all off and keep the inheritance or are the stipulations are as far out of reach as they seem? Jun 23, Maureen Timerman rated it it was amazing Shelves: A delightful book, that left me rather on a cliff hanger, but thank goodness there is another book coming!

She is kinda in a rut. When the unthinkable happens, her dear Aunt Dee passes away. She goes home to Appleton, her hometown. Much to the shagrin of her extended family, Daphne inherits her Aunt's estate. Well, the estate comes with a lot A delightful book, that left me rather on a cliff hanger, but thank goodness there is another book coming! Well, the estate comes with a lot of strings. As we go along with Daphne, she is trying to straighten up her life. Her Dad s moving on??? Well it looks like it anyway. She does have to begin a love life, sometime??

She was hurt in the past, but as of the end of the book there are five possibilities. She packs up her place Love how she finds some of her old friends almost immediately. There are a lot of twists and turns in this story, some happy and some sad. Some a shockingly surprising. What a delightful story, full of love and compassion, and a great love of the Lord.

I received this book through First Wildcard Book Tours, and was not required to give a positive review. May 15, Trinity Rose rated it really liked it. And Over a Barrel by Melody Carlson is a fun, exciting read. It is book one in the Dear Daphne series. Glad they will be more books to go along with the first one. Daphne has been living in New York for many years writing for a newspaper. Folks back home thing she has a fantastic life, but Daphne is just in a rut and not enjoying her life. Her beloved Aunt Dee passes away and many things change in her life, like her job, where she lives and the friends in her life.

Daphne finds out some family secrets that change everything, but also answers many questions. What will become of Daphne and what will her new life be like. I found Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel sweet, amusing and very interesting. I highly recommend this fantastic book. It was a pleasure to read. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

May 29, Caitlyn Santi rated it really liked it Shelves: This was my first read by this author. And I was not disappointed! This was a very fun read, the pages really seemed to fly and I had a hard time putting it down! As a small town girl myself, I loved that this book was about a girl leaving the city and returning to her small hometown.

The characters were great, I found myself relating to Daphne in a lot of ways. And all the other characters were great, it's funny because even though the reader never has the pleasure of meeting Aunt Dee, the othe This was my first read by this author. And all the other characters were great, it's funny because even though the reader never has the pleasure of meeting Aunt Dee, the other characters memories of her really make you feel as if you know her.

There were several twists and surprises that I did not see coming, which definitely made for an exciting reading experience! Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and am very much looking forward to the next book in the series. The above is my honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions are one hundred percent my own. Jul 15, Debbie rated it really liked it Shelves: I received this book free from Net Galley in exchange for a review. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was pure fiction, with an inheritance that included an old Victorian house with a mint condition Corvette and a healthy sum to boot.

Only one catch, the heiress had to marry within one year or lose it all. When the Will is read, she finds out she has inherited her I received this book free from Net Galley in exchange for a review. When the Will is read, she finds out she has inherited her aunt's house, as well as some well kept secrets about her aunt's life. Her aunt's request that she leave New York City and return to her hometown makes Daphne realize that she was in a rut.

Melody Carlson is one of my all time favorite writers, her versatile writing skills, has taken me on several adventures and "Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel" allows me to watch Daphne Ballinger go from someone who seemed unhappily stuck in her life to someone with choices if only she can embrace them.

Daphne is a character that is so easy to relate to, she was someone that had hopes and dreams, but after years of the same old same old her life was in a rut! I enjoyed seeing the changes that precipitated in her life once she returned to Appleton. Plenty of secondary characters really stood out for me including Daphne's dad, his life was in transition as well, and the secrets that he learned about Aunt Dee was something that he took in stride. Even though Aunt Dee has passed away, her character played such an integral role in the plot, she seemed like a fun loving someone, who did have a few regrets and hoped to keep Daphne from making some of the same mistakes.

Carlson's descriptions easily allowed me to feel the small town setting of the story, and the advice column reminded me of Dear Abby! While there is an inspirational bent to the story, it isn't overwhelming, and seemed perfectly plausible I will say the author certainly left me hanging with the ending, and I know I will keep wondering until the next installment how things will work out for Daphne! If you have never read anything by Ms. Carlson this book is the perfect time to start, or if you're like me and are a long time fan, you're not going to want to miss this one. I only hope readers don't have to wait long for the next installment in the Dear Daphne series!

I guess that is why I continue to read and write; the joy is in discovering another story between the pages.

Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel

There are authors who write a standalone novel, others write series and some who entertain by doing both. I have read works that are complete when the last page is turned and others that leave the ending up in the air, whether there is a sequel planned or not. Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel turns out to be a first in Dear Daphne Series, and what a great way to begin the journey! When you read this, you will discover it is more than it appears to be, that of a romantic work. However, the more the plot develops as well as the characters, the farther the reader is sucked into the pages, wondering what the ending will look like.

Daphne is writing wedding announcements for the New York Times when she receives a call to return home due to a death in the family. She flies back for the funeral of her dear Aunt Dee only to find out the little town she once called home holds more changes and challenges for her than the last twelve years of working and living in New York. What Aunt Dee does will bring a host of emotions and shock to the family, town and neighbors even though Daphne can never reveal everything to anyone.

The tumult within Daphne only heightens as her friends from childhood offer their advice and her Dad is making lifestyle changes that cause Daphne to wonder what else may occur once she remains in town.

I really became a captive audience of one as pages were turning and twists in the plot kept coming up. I wondered how it was going to end. I am glad the author chose to do that as her fictional work would have been ruined if she had. Melody has crafted a heart stirring novel that I look forward to continuing in the next installment. My rating is 5 stars. I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book. The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.

Other reviews can be read at http: Also follow me on Twitter lcjohnson, FaceBook at https: An ambitious smalltown girl, unlucky in love, is called back home from New York City upon inheriting her eccentric aunt's estate, but the will is fraught with off-the-wall clauses involving work, family, and having to find a husband by next year.


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Add to Your books. No current Talk conversations about this book. Daphne Ballinger is living the big life in New York City. Daphne Ballinger's left her small town life in Appleton with high hopes of having a writing career in the Big Apple. You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data. Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel.