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Search tags: small-town-romance
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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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review 2017-04-17 02:42
Review: A Recipe for Romance by Lara Van Hulzen
A Recipe for Romance - Lara Van Hulzen

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/04/review-recipe-for-romance-by-lara-van.html

 

A Recipe for Romance is a Hallmark movie-ready story. It’s sweet, has picture-perfect characters, and the story has a reliable, satisfying plot. It’s not the freshest story out there, but it has charm and is a cozy read.

Noelle is a former ballet dancer looking for a fresh start after a tragedy turned her life upside down. She’s sweet and caring, and I definitely liked her, but I wanted to delve more into her character, her past… I wanted something that made her stand out to me. As for Wes, he’s a bit too boilerplate billionaire for my personal preferences. He’s rich, handsome, is intrigued by Noelle because she’s not interested in his money, and he can be the knight in shining armor with the wealth and power to save the damsel in distress from losing her business. It’s a story I’ve read a dozen times before and unfortunately author Lara Van Hulzen doesn’t add a fresh twist to liven the story up. That being said, A Recipe for Romance isn’t a bad book – not in the slightest. There’s nothing to dislike about it and it’s a fast and sweet read when you’re looking for something light with a satisfying happily ever after.

A Recipe for Romance is the fifth book in the multi-author Bachelor Bake-Off series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. As relative newcomers to Marietta, neither Wes nor Noelle had much of a connection to the town, which was a bit of a bummer for a small town romance. Still, while this book wasn’t exactly my cup of tea I will say that it’s sweet and the romance is light and lovely. And if Ms. Van Hulzen writes a book for Wes’s widower brother, Mike, I will definitely be first in line for that tale. Mike stole the show for me every time he appeared on the page, and I hope Ms. Van Hulzen has a happily ever after waiting for him.


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/2017/04/review-recipe-for-romance-by-lara-van.html
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review 2017-02-28 04:54
Review: Sprinkled with Love by Jennifer Faye
Sprinkled with Love - Jennifer Faye

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/02/review-sprinkled-with-love-by-jennifer.html

 

Sprinkled with Love is a sweet story with a lot of potential. There’s a lot to like about Jennifer Faye’s Bachelor Bake-Off story. Jillian and Avery are good-hearted protagonists who are easy to root for, and when you add in a couple of hilarious cats, it’s clear that this story has the makings of a feel-good romance.

When Avery and Jillian are on the same page, Sprinkled with Love made me smile. They have an easy chemistry and a solid history that means their love story should have unfolded in an organic manner. However, while all the elements are there, the story is dragged down by general miscommunication, the dreaded “big misunderstanding,” a lot of unnecessary push-pull, waffling about big life decisions that didn’t always make sense, and an abrupt ending. I was never quite sure what Avery wanted, likely because a lot of the time he didn’t know what he wanted. As for Jillian, she fell for Avery when she worked for him before, but he never made a move on her (which made sense to me, given that she was a live-in babysitter and housekeeper in his employ). That her feelings were hurt made sense, but it felt wrong that she (and others) seemed to blame him because half the town assumed she was waiting for him to marry her back then. Little things like these picked away at my enjoyment of the story, which was a pity because I really wanted to love Sprinkled with Love. With a bit more fleshing out and a bit less back-and-forth and false drama, the story could have gone from ok to great. As it stands, Ms. Faye’s writing has enough charm to make the story entertaining even when I was frustrated with Jillian and Avery. And of course, the story is also buoyed by the antics of the lovelorn Romeo and Marshmallow, the previously mentioned scene-stealing cats. Overall, Sprinkled with Love was a bit hit-and-miss for me, but I’m definitely looking forward to reading more Bachelor Bake-Off books and I will be looking for more of Ms. Faye’s work in the future.


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/2017/02/review-sprinkled-with-love-by-jennifer.html
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review 2017-02-07 05:31
Review: A Spoonful of Sugar by Kate Hardy
A Spoonful of Sugar (The Bachelor Bake-Off Book 2) - Kate Hardy

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/02/review-spoonful-of-sugar-by-kate-hardy.html

 

A Spoonful of Sugar is as sweet as can be without ever entering saccharine territory. Kate Hardy has delivered the ultimate feel-good romance, with kind, endearing characters who will have you avidly turning the pages as you root for them to get together.

Stacey is a special needs teacher with a heart of gold. She’s hearing-impaired and having had her self-esteem constantly beaten as a child left its mark on her. Rather than breaking, she’s become a giving person who works tirelessly to help others and make sure that no one is ever made to feel like she was. Tyler, in turn, is a gym owner who carries a few internal scars of his own over a bad breakup. He’s focused on his gym, but when his team enters him in the Bachelor Bake-Off, he knows he’s in trouble. Tyler can’t make a grilled cheese without setting off the fire alarm, never mind cookies, cakes, and pies. When his first attempt at baking (predictably) sets off the fire alarm, it’s his neighbor, Stacey to the rescue. When she agrees to teach him to bake in exchange for boxing lessons from him, it’s the start of a friendship that will fast turn into something more. Tyler and Stacey made me smile more than once as they fell in love. She’s an amazing teacher and a genuinely kind soul, which made her easy to adore. And Tyler…wow. He spots early on that Stacey’s self-esteem isn’t the highest and the way he genuinely compliments her and helps her see how amazing she is just made me melt. As a pair, the two of them were excellent. They had lovely chemistry and were so sweet they warmed my heart.

A Spoonful of Sugar is the second book in the multi-author Bachelor Bake-Off series, but it can easily be read as a standalone. That being said, after finishing Tyler and Stacey’s book, I’m definitely intrigued and want to read the rest of the series as soon as possible. As for Stacey and Tyler, they’re a couple I’ll definitely be revisiting when I need a pick-me-up.


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/2017/02/review-spoonful-of-sugar-by-kate-hardy.html
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