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review 2020-03-24 19:52
Review: Home with You by Liza Kendall
Home with You - Liza Kendall

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

I adored Liza Kendall’s first Silverlake Ranch book, Walk Me Home, so I couldn’t wait to see what the authors had in store for the billionaire Braddock brother, Everett. I eagerly dove into Home with You ready to fall in love with Rhett and Jules. The good news is, I did love Rhett. The bad news? I didn’t love his story or the woman he fell in love with.

To start things on a positive note, Rhett was far more endearing than I thought he’d be, given the way his siblings talked about him in the previous book. After the death of his parents, Rhett was forced to leave Silverlake and attend a boarding school in order to capitalize on his brilliant mind and set him up for success. Unfortunately no one ever asked Rhett what he wanted, which was to be at home with his remaining family and become a rodeo cowboy. Still, Rhett became a glowing success, a self-made billionaire who uses his wealth and status as armor. He’s smart, hardworking, and super sexy, but also quite vulnerable. It was easy to fall in love with Rhett. Is he perfect? No. But his mistakes come from an honest place of trying to do right by everyone, even if sometimes misunderstands what the right thing to do is.

One of the things Rhett does is return to Silverlake and buy Holt Stables as a favor to his best friend, Grady, and his family. Only no one told Julianna Holt, Grady’s sister and Rhett’s one night stand that went horribly wrong the morning after. Jules is furious that her dream of one day taking over the family business has been shattered, even though she’s guaranteed a lifetime job as manager. I understood why she was furious at first because her parents and brother treat her like a child and don’t listen to her ideas for the stables. The problem is, the longer the book went on the more I realized that maybe the Holt family treats Jules like a child because she acts like one. She’s selfish, rude, and can’t even be bothered to take care of basic things all other adults do, like buy necessities. I gave Jules a lot of leeway to begin with (1) because of her history with Rhett and (2) I don’t mind deeply flawed characters so long as they grow. To me, Jules never grew as a character. The only time she considered anyone other than herself was when her aunt advised her, but even that was problematic. Her aunt Sue has a terrible and tragic backstory that has made her cynical and though that’s completely understandable, Jules should be aware enough not to follow Sue’s advice. Honestly, Jules’s love of animals was pretty much her only redeeming quality.

The romance between Jules and Rhett is a struggle for me to believe. I don’t understand why he falls for her and there’s a plot twist you can see coming that was aggravating because it forces their hands rather than requiring them to act like adults and come together naturally. There was so much false drama and quite a bit of sexism coming from secondary characters that I grew frustrated. I hate to say it, but I finished Home with You feeling like Rhett would be better off without Jules. Perhaps if they had spent some actual time as a couple their love story would have been more believable. Instead, it felt like their happy ending was shoved in at the end in a rather tone-deaf way given the incredibly emotional, heartbreaking scene that preceded it.

Despite the fact that Home with You made me angry at some points, I’m still looking forward to reading more Silverlake Ranch novels. There were things I enjoyed about this book: Rhett repairing his relationship with his siblings, his love for his old horse that made me cry buckets, and I do like the authors’ writing. But this book simply wasn’t my cup of tea and I wish Rhett had been given a more satisfying love story.


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/2020/03/review-home-with-you-by-liza-kendall.html
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review 2020-02-05 15:37
ARC REVIEW Mermaid Inn by Jenny Holiday

Mermaid InnMatchmaker Bay #1, An adorable, heartwarming, and sexy small town romance. Eve Abbott use to spend her summers in Moonflower Bay, she even fell in love there but the last time she was there the love of her life, Sawyer Collins, broke her heart in such a horrible way she didn't return for ten years. The only reason she did return was because her great-aunt left her the Mermaid Inn with the stipulation she had to stay there a year before she could sell the place. The Inn was in serious need of some TLC and Eve's parent convinced her to use the year remodeling the place so she could get more money when she sold.

Police Chief Sawyer Collins as much as it hurt he knows he did the right thing ten years ago and now she's back and he can't help but want her. Eve has every right to hate him but there's a fine line between love and hate. Sawyer has one year with her and he isn't sure he wants to risk is heart again only to have her leave again, but his Evie is hard to resist especially when all the little old biddies keep trying to put them together.

Eve's plan isn't just to fix the inn she going to finally get over her fear of water and learn to swim and she's finally going to get over Sawyer. She, at first, tries to hate Sawyer. That doesn't last long it's hard to hate him when he's such a good guy and then she finally gives in and thinks one last time get it out of their system but Sawyer is remarkable. Between raising his little sister protecting her from their erratic father, taking care of the townspeople, and not-so-covertly helping her renovate she slowly realizes she still loves him. Eve has a life back in Toronto a job and a promotion waiting for her she can't run the inn on her own, and this thing with Sawyer is supposed to be casual, right?

Overall, it was such a sweetly sexy read. I enjoyed all the characters especially the old matchmaking biddies. Jake's story is next and I do love a strong silent type. I also can't wait for Maya and Law they are going to combust! This is a well written, well paced second chance romance and a great start to a new series.





 

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review 2020-02-02 23:32
Review: The Story of Us by Teri Wilson
The Story of Us - Teri Wilson

3.75 stars - Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

The Story of Us is a love letter to books, community, and – most importantly – love in all its forms. Teri Wilson manages to deliver a Valentine’s romance that is incredibly sweet without ever edging into saccharine territory.

Jamie may be on a romantic hiatus – the current love of her life is her cat, Eliot – but she believes in true love. More importantly, she believes in True Love Bookstore and Café, the bookstore she owns that has been her lifelong dream. Jamie also loves her picturesque Oregon town, but the business district is suffering and a retail development company is closing in, determined to crush the district and turn it into a generic retail space. Jamie is determined to save her bookstore and the business district, but she doesn’t count on the architect the developers send in: Sawyer, Jamie’s high school sweetheart.

Sawyer and Jamie are at loggerheads for much of The Story of Us. Both of them have opposing goals and have solid reasons for trying to swing the town council vote their way. How this storyline plays out is predictable, but any other outcome would have been unsatisfying given the circumstances. Being on opposing sides is no match for true love, especially when Jamie discovers old valentines and love letters in her bookstore. Both were an incredibly sweet touch; the letters especially as they have an important lesson for Jamie and Sawyer. The push-pull of love that never died versus opposing goals did start to drag a bit, I will admit. Still, I could not help but be charmed by the delicate sweetness of the story overall. The Story of Us is a lovely romance with nods to The Shop Around the Corner/You’ve Got Mail, which makes it a perfect Valentine’s Day read.


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/2020/02/review-story-of-us-by-teri-wilson.html
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review 2020-01-23 02:38
Review: Almost Just Friends by Jill Shalvis
Almost Just Friends - Jill Shalvis

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

After the death of her parents Piper Manning was charged with raising her siblings when she was still a child herself. Now her siblings are grown and Piper is an EMT. She has struggled and works herself nearly to the ground, but there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel. If she can fix up the lake house and the cabins her grandparents left Piper and her siblings, she’ll finally be able to sell and go to school to become a physician’s assistant. Then her siblings return to Wildstone, each carrying secrets that will knock Piper off her stride. If she wasn’t already reeling, the arrival of Camden Reid would do so. After meeting on a dark and stormy night, the super sexy DEA agent and Coast Guard reservist becomes the first person Piper has been able to lean on in forever and that scares the heck out of her. Piper can’t afford to lose her heart, not when she’s finally going to leave Wildstone. But sometimes fate – and family – have other plans…

Love, loss, and finding your way home are at the heart of Almost Just Friends. Jill Shalvis is a master at blending the light and the dark, at finding humor in the everyday even as her characters struggle to heal and find their place in the town they call home.

Piper is the kind of heroine who is easy to root for. She has spent her whole life taking care of others and the weight of the responsibility she carries is nearly crushing her. I loved her strength, her resilience, and the fact that she wasn’t perfect, even though she sacrifices so much for others. She can be cranky, she can sometimes try to put her siblings on the path she thinks they should be on rather than listen to what they want, but given what she’s been through it’s absolutely understandable. She’s carried a heavy load her whole life and I loved watching others step up to help her, especially Cam. He’s hot, protective, caring, and is dealing with the grief of losing his brother when he meets Piper. Cam also knew responsibility from far too young an age, so he gets Piper. He doesn’t critique or try to change her eccentricities, but appreciates her for all that she is and steps up to the plate to help, which I loved.

While Piper and Cam are the heart of Almost Just Friends, Piper’s siblings are every bit as important to the story. Winnie, Piper’s youngest sibling, has always been kind of a wild child. But life has lately thrown her a curveball and she’s determined to grow up and become the person she’s meant to be. Her path isn’t what her sister would have chosen for her, but I enjoyed seeing Winnie step up and work to shape her own destiny. And Gavin, Piper’s troubled brother, probably had my favorite storyline of the whole book. Gavin is a recovering addict who has come home to make amends and forge a new life. A life that – if he has his way – will include the first and only man he’s ever loved. Gavin owns his mistakes, faces his demons head-on, and is determined to prove he has matured and is in control of his life. I loved watching Gavin come into his own and his story made me melt at times.

Almost Just Friends is the fourth book in the Wildstone series but it can easily be read as a standalone. Family is front and center in every book in the series and is as important as the romance. I loved watching the Manning siblings come together, was invested in Cam and his father healing from their losses and becoming a unit with Piper, Winnie, and Gavin. No relationship in this story is perfect, but that’s what makes this book a perfectly entertaining read. It’s a messy, heartwarming, engaging story of growing up, moving on, and love in all its forms and I couldn’t have been more entertained.


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/2020/01/review-almost-just-friends-by-jill.html
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review 2020-01-16 06:42
Review: Mismatched in Mayhem by L.E. Rico
Mismatched In Mayhem - L. E. Rico

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Mismatched in Mayhem is a sweet romance with just enough quirk to keep fans of small town romances entertained without going over the top. Mayhem, Minnesota is a charming town with a semi-famous cat sweater store and a psychic who makes delicious pie, so for me it was impossible not to be drawn into the world L.E. Rico has created immediately – it was just too cute.

At the heart of Mismatched in Mayhem is the romance between bartender and pub manager Johnny Walker Black O’Halloran and grad student Mason Stevens. Mason grabbed my heart from the first and didn’t let go. He’s a total sweetheart and all-around good guy, so it was insanely easy to fall for him. The budding mineralogist has a huge heart, does his best to take care of the people he loves, and just wants someone who loves him for him. It’s not easy for him to find that because his mother is an incredibly famous actress. That’s why he’s immediately taken with Walker when she has no idea who he is. For me, Walker was the weak point in the book. She was once a wild child who now has gone to a totally different extreme since her father’s death. She has closed off a lot of her world, which I understood to an extent. It feels like I might be missing some information because I haven’t read the previous Whiskey Sisters books, so I didn’t totally understand why Walker tries so hard to push Mason away. I did like Walker’s relationship with her family and her friendship with Mason’s brother. It’s just her romance with Mason that didn’t always work for me. Mason is prom king level of perfect in looks and attitude, which is so not her type. But his charm and persistence make her want to give the guy a chance. There’s a lot of push-pull and I didn’t wholly understand why Mason was so determined to win over Walker, aside from the fact that she didn’t know his famous parents and the more important fact that the plot calls for it.

The romance between Walker and Mason has some fun and sweet moments, but the push-pull and manufactured drama you could see coming from a mile away wore on me at times. The dreaded “big misunderstanding” comes into play in this story and I freely admit that’s something I tend to loathe in stories unless it’s exceptionally well done, so those who aren’t so bothered by it may not be as turned off by this twist. I had an overall feeling best conveyed as “meh” toward the romance. It was fine, but there was just something missing that made me feel like Walker and Mason didn’t “click” as a couple. Opposites attracting is fun in theory, but the author really has to sell it for it to work and for me it didn’t in this case. Still, I enjoyed Walker’s personal journey and Mason was such a sweetheart that I still liked the book well enough. And Mayhem itself was so charming that I would definitely read another Whiskey Sisters book.


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/2020/01/review-mismatched-in-mayhem-by-le-rico.html
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