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review 2017-09-11 03:44
Review: Untold by Shannon Richard
Untold (A Country Roads Novel) - Shannon Richard

My review cross-posted from Wit and Sin

 

Shannon Richard’s Country Roads comes to a close with the heartwarming Untold. Finn and Brie’s story has everything I’ve come to expect from Ms. Richard’s books: a sweet (with a dash of spice) romance, endearing characters, and a story that can tug on your heartstrings at the most unexpected moments.

Finn Shepherd had his heart broken eight years ago and he’s never wanted to risk that kind of pain again. Then Brie Davis comes into town and just plain knocks him off his feet. Brie is in Mirabelle for the funeral of her birth mother – the infamous Bethelda Grimshaw. Brie never knew the woman, but now she’s inherited everything, including some animosity from people Bethelda hurt. Brie is a charming heroine with a good heart and a deep-seated need to know where she came from. I adored her from the first and wanted her to find happiness in Mirabelle and with Finn. Finn is a caring, loving, sexy hero whose past has made him wary of entering a relationship. When he and Brie decide to enter a no strings attached affair while she’s in town, it’s clear that these two are going to find themselves entangled sooner rather than later. Finn and Brie fit like lock and key; they’re truly perfect for each other on every level. I loved watching them fall into a relationship and fall in love almost without realizing it. Their romance is by turns sweet and sensual and I was rooting for them to get the happily ever after they so deserved.

Untold is the seventh full-length book in the Country Roads series and though it can be read as a standalone, there are some minor spoilers for the previous books in the series. As a fan of the series, I was thrilled to briefly visit with past Country Roads heroes and heroines and see where they are now. Ms. Richard also gave me something I didn’t know I wanted: a look into the life of Bethelda Grimshaw. I absolutely hated Bethelda in previous books because she was so cruel. Learning about her alongside Brie ended up tugging on my heartstrings more than I expected. Ms. Richard doesn’t excuse Bethelda’s actions in any way, but I really did like getting a greater understanding of the character.

I’ve enjoyed getting to know the residents of Mirabelle throughout the Country Roads series. While I’m sad to see the series come to a close, Finn and Brie’s romance is really a great ending.Untold is simply a lovely story from beginning to end.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/09/review-untold-by-shannon-richard.html
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review 2017-08-28 06:07
Review: Make Me Want by Rebecca Brooks
Make Me Want - Rebecca Brooks

My review cross-posted from Wit and Sin

 

A fake relationship that turns into a one-night stand that turns into something so much more makes Make Me Want an incredibly fun read. Rebecca Brooks’s third Men of Gold Mountain story is a sexy, fast-paced read that I hated to put down.

I adore well-drawn characters who are flawed and vulnerable and Tyler and Abbi fit the bill perfectly. Tyler is a hot as hell firefighter with a good but damaged heart. Tyler’s past has left him with a desire to be needed for fear of being left otherwise. To make things worse, he has recently lost his best friend to a wildfire and he’s grieving heavily when he takes on the job to oversee a firebreak in Gold Mountain. He doesn’t expect to pick up a woman his first night in town, but the sparks he and Abbi strike off one another are hot enough to burn. The only problem is, she’s the lead naturalist whose promotion depends on fighting the firebreak. Abbi is a strong-willed, independent heroine whose past has left her fearful of ever fully trusting a man. The fact that she’s drawn to Tyler – a man standing between her and her dream job – only exacerbates the problem. Usually I can take or leave stories where the hero and heroine are on opposite sides of a fight because it leads to a lot of false drama, but Ms. Brooks does a really good job of showing where Tyler and Abbi are coming from. Neither of them is fully in the right or wrong, and though they argue the arguments are logical, not just emotional.

I really enjoyed watching Abbi and Tyler play off one another, both in bed and out. Make Me Want is definitely sexy good fun, but Ms. Brooks doesn’t pay lip service to the emotional obstacles Tyler and Abbi have to face if they want to have a chance. As with the last Men of Gold Mountain book, Make Me Beg, I enjoyed the downs as well as the ups in the romance because the characters’ strengths and weaknesses were showcased really well. I thoroughly enjoyed Make Me Want from beginning to end and I cannot wait to read more Men of Gold Mountain books.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/08/review-make-me-want-by-rebecca-brooks.html
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review 2017-08-16 16:43
Review: Love, Special Delivery by Melinda Curtis
Love, Special Delivery (A Harmony Valley Novel) - Melinda Curtis

The first half of the book is a solid 3 stars, but it falls apart in the second half. The plot moppets (Maddie's sister and Ben's godchild) grated on my nerves and sucked a lot of enjoyment from reading Maddie and Ben's story. And this is the second book I read this week that did not resolve the paternity question that is the heart of the hero's motivation - so frustrating!

 

Maddie is an okay heroine, although her constant smiling drove me up the wall. She has the stereotypical tragic back story, a little OTT for my taste. Her mother abandoned her and her younger sister to their grandparents, her grandmother died of cancer, her grandfather died from complications due to mismanaged diabetes and dementia, her sister is a cancer survivor, and since she had to take care of her younger sister after all that death, she never went to college and instead became a postal worker. She was given the promotion of postmaster in Harmony Valley, her grandfather's old post office that hasn't been open in more than a decade. The younger sister is a piece of work, closing in on 18 going on 8.

 

Ben's story isn't puppies and rainbows either. He left a fire station in Oakland, CA to move with his dying dad and mother to Harmony Valley so that his dad can finish out the 10 months left for a full retirement and benefits. Dad is the new fire chief, Ben is regulated to firefighter and to cover for dad's less than awesome health in front of the council and mayor. Oh and he is the guardian of a bratty seven year old after the brat's mother (and Ben's colleague) died in the line of firefighting duty. He is searching for said brat's father (named John Smith on the birth certificate) but there might be a chance the brat's his daughter. His mother "naps" a lot and the brat leaves the house to explore the town and find critters of the animal variety to bring home. Ben just wants to find the brat's dad, get his own dad safely to retirement, then leave this crap town for good and become a fire investigator.

 

Needless to say, I didn't warm to anybody in this book and I actively hated the sister and godchild/possible daughter by the end. Maddie and Ben love being in denial about their lives and constant crappy decision making. The arsonist villain got off with a slap on the wrist (excuse me "psychological evaluation") due to his advanced age. I have no interest in continuing reading this series.

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review 2017-06-19 19:42
Review: Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis
Lost and Found Sisters: A Novel - Jill Shalvis

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/06/review-lost-and-found-sisters-by-jill.html

 

Lost and Found Sisters is a journey of love, heartbreak, learning to live again, and finding home. Jill Shalvis’s women’s fiction debut has all the humor and heart I’ve come to expect from her work, and it’s all wrapped up in an engaging, emotional story of life after loss.

Quinn’s world was turned upside down after the loss of her sister two years ago, and she has never quite recovered. Though she seems to have the perfect life, Quinn is really just going through the motions. Then she receives some news in the form of an inheritance that will change everything she thought she knew about herself and sends her to the small town of Wildstone. Quinn is an endearing heroine; she’s funny, caring, and wonderfully flawed. I liked that she was in over her head and knew it, but she never backed down from any curveballs thrown her way. She also has a huge heart, and though she’s still grieving at the beginning of this story and is overwhelmed by everything coming at her, she doesn’t close herself off from the people she meets who need her.

It’s difficult to talk about the plot of Lost and Found Sisters without spoiling the story, which I’m loathe to do. Suffice it to say that Wildstone – a struggling town with character and heart – offers Quinn a chance at a new, vastly different life. Love – both romantic and familial – is central to Quinn’s journey of learning to live again, and it’s beautiful to watch multiple relationships develop. Mick, Quinn’s love interest, is incredibly appealing, as one would expect from a Jill Shalvis hero. He’s strong, patient, kind, and funny, but not perfect. He has his own journey to take over the course of the story, as he too is at a crossroads. It was easy to become invested in Quinn and Mick’s romance because they’re both incredibly likeable people with solid chemistry.

As I previously mentioned, Lost and Found Sisters is Ms. Shalvis’s first women’s fiction novel. I should disclose that this isn’t one of my go-to genres, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But since Jill Shalvis is one of my favorite authors, there was no way I was going to skip this book. I’m so glad I didn’t. While it took me a while to get into the story (there’s just enough of a difference in pacing and focus compared to romance that I needed to adjust), I ended up adoring not just Quinn, but every single character in this story. The book is mostly centered around Quinn, but there are multiple characters and plotlines (which again, I can’t talk about without spoiling the story) that bring the world of Wildstone to life. Ms. Shalvis is a master at crafting small towns with quirky characters, and it was easy for me to fall in love with Wildstone and come to care about the fate of the struggling town. All in all, Lost and Found Sisters is a winsome tale with characters who will make you laugh one minute and tug on your heartstrings the next. I can’t wait to see what’s next for the Wildstone series.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/06/review-lost-and-found-sisters-by-jill.html
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review 2017-04-19 05:40
Review: A Teaspoon of Trouble by Shirley Jump
A Teaspoon of Trouble (Bachelor Bake-Off, #1) - Shirley Jump

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/04/review-teaspoon-of-trouble-by-shirley.html

 

Carolyn’s life was turned upside-down when her sister died. Now the successful New York City chef finds herself guardian to her four-year-old niece who comes with a disobedient dog, and that’s on top of grieving herself. In an attempt to sort out her life, Carolyn travels to her parents’ house in the small town of Marietta…a place Carolyn couldn’t get away from fast enough once upon a time. Coming home was never in Carolyn’s plan, and neither was getting knocked off her feet by her first love, the seriously handsome veterinarian Matthew West. Matthew’s got the skills to solve Carolyn’s easiest problem – the dog she can’t seem to control – and in turn she can help him learn to bake for the Bachelor Bake-Off. The only problem is, the longer Carolyn’s around Matthew, the more old feelings come to the surface. But she’s got a life in New York and a traumatized little girl on her hands who she has no idea how to mother. She simply doesn’t have time for falling in love with Matthew all over again. Too bad for Carolyn, her heart has different ideas than her brain…

A Teaspoon of Trouble is an interesting story. I loved that author Shirley Jump wasn’t afraid to deliver a struggling, flawed heroine. Carolyn was definitely my favorite thing about this book because she was so imperfect. She’s grieving, overwhelmed, and her whole life plan has just changed. She doesn’t automatically know how to become a mother to her niece, even though she loves the girl. She doesn’t want to give up the career she worked so hard for. She doesn’t want to stay in her idyllic hometown. In other words, she’s realistic and relatable, for better or worse. I could have read a whole book about Carolyn’s personal journey because there’s quite a bit of depth to her and she has a heck of a lot on her plate.

As much as I liked Carolyn, wanted to see her find love with Matthew, and for the two of them and her niece to become a family, the romance is where A Teaspoon of Trouble fell short for me. Matthew is a too-perfect hero who is definitely dreamy, but I would have loved more depth to him (or at least a flaw or two). He’s never fallen out of love with Carolyn and if the story hadn’t taken place directly after the death of Carolyn’s sister and the resulting upending of her entire life, I would have been more at ease with their fairly light romance. But the love story felt more like an afterthought to the beginnings of a much deeper book. Had the story been longer, perhaps the romance could have developed more organically. The bones of an entertaining romance were there (Matthew is a seriously hot guy who is good with kids and dogs, after all), but it just didn’t meet its potential. As it stands, I did enjoy Carolyn’s journey and the romance was sweet, if rushed, so I’d say I liked A Teaspoon of Trouble overall.

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/04/review-teaspoon-of-trouble-by-shirley.html
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