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review 2019-01-12 05:20
good book and characters
Should've Been You: A Man Enough Romance - Nicole Perkins McLaughlin

Jase and Becca have know each other since they were children. They each had feelings for each other but neither knew that as Becca’s twin sister Hannah lied to Jase as she was jealous of Becca and made him believe Becca hated him and Hannah was Jace’s best friend and he believed her. Becca had crushed on Jase since she was ten and he was twelve.  Everyone believed Hannah and Jase would someday take their relationship to romance but that never happened. Becca’s father had brought Jace - when he was fourteen-home one Christmas Eve as his father was an abusive alcoholic and beat him and his mother had never stopped her husband. So they seen Jase a lot at as they grew up but Jase was always with Hannah.  Both Hannah and Becca teachers but Becca moved away . Becca was home for a few days for the holidays. Jace had went away to go in the service now he is home and started a cattle ranch and lives with his mother. Becca has now know Jase for eighteen years. Than Hannah gets engaged bit not to Jase but ot her on again off again musician boyfriend. Jase no longer knows his place in Hannah’s life and starts hanging out with Becca in his spare time they both than find out they had been crushing in each other when they were younger. But Becca has a boyfriend Brian back home and she expected a proposal during the holidays. Jase and Becca end up together and becca had cheated on Brian.

I really liked this story but there were also things I didn’t like. Becca and Jace had hot chemistry bit I didn’t like the cheating cal Brian and end it before being with Jace. This was a sweet romantic read except for the cheating that took some of the sweetness away. But I did really enjoy the building up of Jace and Becca’s relationship. I thought twins usually Had a special bond not the meanness and conniving Hannah displayed toward her twin with her lie. I was glad Jase and Becca found each other. I found it hard to like Hannah after what she did to Becca with her lies. I advise you to read the other books in this series for a smoother read. This was a novella and I think with everything that went on in the book it should have been longer, a full length novel maybe. Anyway I loved the characters and the ins and outs of this book and I recommend it.

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review 2018-08-29 03:43
great book and great characters
Maybe For You - Nicole Perkins McLaughlin

Alex was at Stag distillery when her brother Dean and his two partners TJ and Jake were having a party to celebrate opening up and bottling their first batch of bourbon they themselves had made. Just over a year ago this was supposed to have been where ALex and Nate would have had their wedding reception if he had not been killed in a helicopter accident just before they were due to marry. Alex was in the Army and Nate had been in the AIr Force.  The Stag hosted a lot of events and receptions. Dean,TJ, and Jake had gone into business to make small batch liquor, But fate had its own plan for this business and it also ended up becoming one of the most successful wedding and event venues in the Kansas City metro area. This was the first time Alex had ventured out into public since Nate’s funeral being dressed and makeup on and her hair done. Then Alex heard Jake call to her and he asked if he could get her a drink and she accepted. Jake stayed by Alex’s side until their barmaid Jen - who was seeing TJ cut herself at the bar and needed to go to the ER to get stitches and Jake took Jen's place behind the bar. Eventually out of nowhere a panic attack started to build Alex went into a room but Jake came in after her and held her as she cried until she got herself together. Alex and Nate had been brought together by the military and after so many years in the Middle East they had been excited to spend a year in Italy before coming back and settling down  into family life but that would never happen now. After much thought Alex decided to go ahead and deploy to Italy as she had been offered to be allowed to stay stateside. Jake and Alex became close friends while she was in Italy and she could tell him anything she wanted and feel whatever she was feeling and he was just there for her while she was in Italy. To surprise Dean she ahd Jake pick her up at the airport.Dean and Alex were extremely close as when she was thirteen when her parents and his mom died in a car accident- his now ex wife and Dean took Alex in and raised her until she became of age. Alex read maps- she was a geospatial engineer and had already accepted a job with the CIA in Arlington that would start in a couple of months. Alex was not prepared for how handsome Jake really was and she had noticed when she got off the plane. Jake as a friend over the last year had been a vital part to her healing process. Jake had been the playboy of the three men who owned the Stag and TJ and Jake had been bestfriends since Little League but he was now also very close to Dean. Jake was the marketing and publicity guy for Stag Distillery and went on the road doing tours and trying to find new people ei sign up to sell their alcohol. But some one had complained about Jake hooking up so much and it didn’t really look good for business and when TJ went to Jake all his old insecurities hit him again as TJ was very smart and rich and Jake had learning disabilities and had come  from a different type of environment even while growing up best friends with TJ. Jake had stormed out of the building and would not answer the texts, calls or even email from his partners he had been hurt with the way T J had said things.. Alec went to check on Jake and made him feel better then found out he was soon going out on tour for two weeks and asked if she could go as she loved to travel and he let her.

This was a great sweet, easy and emotional read and I love it. I loved Alex and Jake together and how they interacted with each other. I loved how close Dean and Alex were and how close Alex was with her friends and how she interacted with everyone such as Charlotte. I felt like I was there with Alex and Jake and everyone. I didn’t want to put this down it held my attention from beginning to end. I loved the plot and pace. I loved the characters and the ins and outs of this book and I highly recommend.

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review 2018-08-28 14:14
Maybe This Time: A Whiskey and Weddings Novel - Nicole Perkins McLaughlin
Some may say that this past year has been really crappy for Alexis Parker. Not only did she lose her fiance to a horrific accident, it also happened two weeks before their wedding. Now out of the service, Alex heads to Italy for a year before starting her new life because this was the plan they had, their big dream. Just before leaving, Alex has a heartfelt talk with Jake Cooper, one of her brother Dean's best friends and co-owner of his whiskey business. It felt nice to just talk to someone who would listen and not judge. Throughout the past year Alex and Jake have continued this friendship unbeknownst to everyone else. They have shared secrets that no one else even knows about.

A year later, Alex is back in Kansas City, KS and Jake is excited to see her again. Dean offers her a job at Stag Distillery and she accepts for the time being. Alex is nervous seeing Jake. He tends to be the playboy of the group but she finds out she is pleasantly surprised by him. When the opportunity for Alex and Jake to go on a 2 week road tour for Stage Distillery arises, she jumps on the chance. What Alex was hoping for is that Jake could help her get "back in the saddle", after all, he is a playboy! What neither of them expected was for anything to lead to more than just a fling.

As these two come to grips with with who they are, and what they are together they take a long journey throughout their pasts to finally be able to find their happy ending.

I just adored this story. Both characters were wonderful. Alex was having a hard time with finding direction in her life while at the same time Jake felt like he was stuck in a rut. Together they really made each other complete.

I have never read a Nicole McLaughlin book before and I was deeply surprised. This story had such heart and wonderful characters and I am sure I will be reading her books again.
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review 2018-08-25 06:41
Maybe for You (Whiskey and Weddings, #3) by Nicole McLaughlin
Maybe For You - Nicole Perkins McLaughlin


When life doesn't turn out how you planned, maybe it's time to head in a new direction. Maybe For You is a tale of heartbreaking loss, surprising new beginnings and witty dialogue. McLaughlin stages the ultimate road trip for a brokenhearted almost bride and playboy on the mend. Alexis is learning how to live again after a tragic loss. Her second chance comes in the form of a dashing coworker with a reputation for playing the field. Jake and Alexis take a business trip that changes the course of their lives when their hearts become fair game for love. Maybe For You is a sentimental tale that brings out the laughter and perhaps a few tears.

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review 2018-08-14 12:48
"Bearskin" by James A. McLaughlin - Highly Recommended
Bearskin - James McLaughlin

"Bearskin" is a rare find: a literary thriller that is as lyrical as it is muscular.


Instead of choosing between writing a literary book about how a man can surrender himself to the dark sentience of an ancient forest and walk out more himself than he was before or a thriller about a man deeply maimed by violence who, although living an almost invisible life in the wilds, knows his past will catch up with him, James McLaughlinhas written a book that is both a literary achievement and a page-turning, viscerally realistic thriller.


Two things caught and kept my attention throughout this book: the development of Rice Moore, the man at the heart of the story and the sometimes total immersion into the ancient Appalachian forest. Either one would have been reason enough to read this book. Together they became compelling.


Rice Moore is a great creation. Recent acts of extreme violence against him and by him have left him emotionally scarred and subject to fugues states and hallucinations. A solitary man who no longer entirely trusts himself to play well with others, he seeks isolation, partly to hide from his enemies and partly to avoid people. Alone in the forest, feeling its pulse next to his own, his inability to let go of his territoriality or his instinct for violence, repeatedly draws him into conflict with the people around him.


Yet this isn't a one-man-triumphs-against-the-world sort of story. Moore is losing his mind. His fugue states, his obsession with protecting the black bears on the estate he is warden of and his personal ghosts, lead him down a path where he literally puts on another skin and enters a different kind of consciousness. James McLaughlin's ability to help me experience this altering of states as something real and raw was deeply impressive.


Even though "Bearskin" is as fast-paced and propulsive as a thriller needs to be, McLaughlin is able to incorporate the forest and its fauna and fauna as a deeply experienced part of the story. Ecology is more than a plot device or a scientific concept here, it is about understanding our place in the world and its rhythms.


In addition to these two strong themes, McLaughlin gives us an insight into the poaching of black bears, the vengeance of the Mexican drug cartels and the rules and rituals of outlaw motorcycle clubs and an up-close experience of violence that is hard to look away from.


I recommend the audiobook version of "Bearskin" as MacLeod Andrews' narration enhanced my experience of the book.


Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.


[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/441607044" params="color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true" width="100%" height="300" iframe="true" /]


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