Publisher: Harlequin

Review: One Small Thing by Erin Watt

Posted July 17, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: One Small Thing by Erin WattReviewer: Rowena
One Small Thing by Erin Watt
Published by Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 384
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four-stars

Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Her parents try to lock her down, believing they can keep her safe by monitoring her every move. When Beth sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, she’s thrilled to make a secret friend. It seems a small thing, just for her.

Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is…

Fresh out of juvie and determined to start his life over, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. Beth, who has more reason than anyone to despise him, is willing to give him a second chance. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get.

Now Beth has a choice to make—follow the rules, or risk tearing everything apart…again.

One Small Thing is the newest standalone book from Erin Watt and I didn’t know what to expect when opening it up. I was hoping for more When it’s Real and less Twisted Palace and I’m happy to report that I got more of what I wanted from an Erin Watt. This book was more like a romance novel with young characters and I’m a fan of that because at the end of the book, there’s no guessing what happens, there’s just a proper ending.

So this book follows a young woman named Beth who is starting her senior year under the very heavy watchful gaze of her parents. After her sister was killed in a car accident, the shackles are locked around Beth’s wrists by her parents. They’re so bent on keeping her safe that they have no idea how much their protective instincts is choking the life out of her. The harder they hold on to her, the more she wants out. I was really appalled at the heavy-handedness that her parents raised her. The whole college application thing was hella extra and then the door thing?? The more that I read from them, the more I wanted to smack some ever living sense into both of them. They were so focused on not losing Beth that they didn’t see that she was already halfway out the door, never to return.

To make matters even more complicated, the first boy to interest Beth is the one boy that she shouldn’t have anything to do with. The boy responsible for taking her sister’s life. Getting to know the boy that changed his name to Chase after he got out of prison made for an interesting read. There’s a lot of angst and a lot of things going off in this book and I was invested in everything going on.

This wasn’t an easy read, there was plenty of frustrations on my part but I’m super glad that I finished the book because all of the angst and the frustrations pay off in a huge way for me and I was glad with the way that this story ended, with the way that the story was told. Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick are a fantastic writing duo and they won me over again with this book.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: The Fragile Ordinary by Samantha Young

Posted July 11, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Fragile Ordinary by Samantha YoungReviewer: Rowena
The Fragile Ordinary by Samantha Young
Published by Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 304
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Goodreads
four-stars

I am Comet Caldwell.

And I sort of, kind of, absolutely hate my name.

People expect extraordinary things from a girl named Comet. That she’ll be effortlessly cool and light up a room the way a comet blazes across the sky.

But from the shyness that makes her book-character friends more appealing than real people to the parents whose indifference hurts more than an open wound, Comet has never wanted to be the center of attention. She can’t wait to graduate from her high school in Edinburgh, Scotland, where the only place she ever feels truly herself is on her anonymous poetry blog. But surely that will change once she leaves to attend university somewhere far, far away.

When new student Tobias King blazes in from America and shakes up the school, Comet thinks she’s got the bad boy figured out. Until they’re thrown together for a class assignment and begin to form an unlikely connection. Everything shifts in Comet’s ordinary world. Tobias has a dark past and runs with a tough crowd—and none of them are happy about his interest in Comet. Targeted by bullies and thrown into the spotlight, Comet and Tobias can go their separate ways…or take a risk on something extraordinary.

The Fragile Ordinary is the second YA book that Samantha Young has released and it was just as enjoyable as the first book was. This book follows Comet Caldwell as she starts the new school year sitting next to the cute American transfer. She is a bit of a loner though she has two best friends and things at home are a little tough on her because her parents aren’t the supportive kind of parents that all young kids should have.

Comet was one of those main characters that quietly shined throughout her entire story. She was shy and avoided the spotlight at every turn but she was also caring and loving to those she held close to her heart. She worried that her personality didn’t fit with her friends and that it would make her friends realize that they didn’t want to be her friend anymore. She worried that the heartbreak she felt at home with her parents being so indifferent to her would do her in and she very much looked forward to escaping her town and her home to find her own place in the big world.

Comet was an interesting protagonist and I connected with her character, quite a bit. The way that she connected with the characters in her books more than her friends in real life, the way that she hurt at her parent’s distance and then seeing her develop and then nourish a crush on Tobias King made reading this book zip right through.

Everything that Comet felt was so intense and seeing her fall in love with Tobias and then come to care for Stevie despite how different his crowd was from hers made Comet grow up and come out of her shell. There was a lot of stuff happening in Comet’s life and the way that she dealt with the bullying, the shit from her parents, the new relationship with Tobias that came with its own complications, and then there were the insecurities she was dealing with surrounding her friends.

This wasn’t an easy book to read but boy does Samantha Young pack the goodness in this one. The romance between Tobias and Comet was sweet and seeing Comet really come into her own with the Stevie stuff, the friend’s issues and then all of the stuff that goes down with Tobias had me glued to the book. I couldn’t get enough and though there were times that I wanted to strangle Tobias and even Comet, in the end, I loved them both. I loved the resolutions that come forth with her parents and then her friends. I enjoyed Comet’s story and I loved the way that this book ended. Samantha Young is doing the contemporary YA thing right. Lots of feels and strong young characters that are smart and feel real. I definitely recommend this book.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan

Posted July 8, 2018 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 9 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Today’s Sunday Spotlight features Sarah Morgan’s How to Keep a Secret. A family of women coming together after a crisis to learn how to be a family again? Yeah, this sounds like all kinds of drama with the promise of more. I’m looking forward to this release and it’s a good thing that the book comes out on Tuesday. Yay!

Sunday Spotlight: How to Keep a Secret by Sarah MorganHow to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan
Published by HQN Books
Publication Date: July 10, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
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Goodreads

When three generations of women are brought together by crisis, they learn over the course of one hot summer the power of family to support, nourish and surprise

Lauren has the perfect life...if she ignores the fact it's a fragile house of cards, and that her daughter Mack has just had a teenage personality transplant.

Jenna is desperate to start a family with her husband, but it's... Just. Not. Happening. Her heart is breaking, but she's determined to keep her trademark smile on her face.

Nancy knows she hasn't been the best mother, but how can she ever tell Lauren and Jenna the reason why?

Then life changes in an instant, and Lauren, Mack, Jenna and Nancy are thrown together for a summer on Martha's Vineyard. Somehow, these very different women must relearn how to be a family. And while unraveling their secrets might be their biggest challege, the rewards could be infinite...

Heartwarming and fresh, Sarah Morgan's brilliant new novel is a witty and deeply uplifting look at the power of a family of women.

We hope that you enjoy the excerpt. Check it out below!

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

“You seem really distracted today. Does it bother you being forty?”

“What?” He glanced up from his emails.

“Forty.” Maybe she’d treated the whole thing too lightly. She needed to make sure he knew he was still handsome and desirable. More sex wouldn’t hurt. Sometimes the days slipped past and she’d realize it had been a week. Sometimes longer. The truth was sex between them had always been comfortable rather than urgent.

Was that normal? She had no idea because it wasn’t a topic she’d dream of discussing with friends.

Maybe he was having an affair?

Even though she’d stopped the treadmill, her heart rate continued to accelerate. No. Ed wasn’t like that. They didn’t lie to each other. That was what they’d agreed that first night they’d met. Lauren trusted Ed implicitly.

And they were happy. Happy couples didn’t have affairs.

“Are you worrying about Mack? I know she’s been difficult lately.”

She decided not to mention the pink hair. Let him notice it for himself later.

“All teenagers are difficult. I remember your mother saying your sister was a nightmare.”

Lauren realized she’d forgotten to call her sister the day before. Preparations for Ed’s birthday had eclipsed everything.

“All my mother wanted to do was paint, and she was irritated by anything that disturbed that.” Still, when Lauren thought back to some of the things she’d done with Jenna, it terrified her.

They were lucky to have come through childhood unscathed. Or mostly unscathed.

“She’s growing up.” Ed was calm. “She doesn’t have to tell us every little thing. She’s pushing for independence, and we’ve always encouraged that. And as for being difficult, it’s nature’s way of making sure teenagers want to leave home and that parents are ready to push them out of the door.”

“She’s sixteen, Ed. It’s years until she leaves home. And you know what the school told us. Mack is skipping homework and failing English. She’s always been a straight-A student. English is her best subject.”

Ed frowned. “Physics is her best subject. Last year she wanted to do aeronautical engineering.”

“That was before those girls started teasing her for being like a boy. Remember that horrible Facebook page they set up? Mack-the-man.” She’d been so upset she’d wanted to charge into school and chop off their damn princess hair with rusty scissors. It had taken a lot of maneuvering to have the page taken down and Mack had been left wounded. “She is smart. She could do what she likes, providing she works hard, but that’s the point. She isn’t. If she carries on like this, she’s going to fail her exams.” Unless there was an exam in sarcasm. Mack would ace that.

“There’s more to life than being a straight-A student, Lauren.”

“I know. But I also know how competitive the world is now. If you mess up your exams then you don’t get into a good college, and without a good college you don’t stand a chance of getting a good internship because there are literally thousands of people applying for every position. Sue Miller’s eldest graduated last summer and since then she has put in one hundred and fifty applications and hasn’t had a single interview. One hundred and fifty.

“Calm down. Mack is going to be fine, Lauren.”

She was irritated that he didn’t even glance up from his phone.

“But what if she isn’t? The school told us she’s not speaking up in class.” And since when had her daughter not spoken up in class? Mack had been speaking up ever since she’d learned how to put two words together. “And then there was that incident a month ago—”

He glanced up. “That was a one-off.”

“She was drunk, Ed! Our daughter was drunk and Tanya’s mother had to drive her home.” And Mack had refused to offer any explanation. She’d shut them out. That had disturbed Lauren more than anything. Was that when Mack had changed?

“Teenagers experiment. Tanya’s mother should have kept a closer eye on the vodka bottle.”

“It wasn’t a one-off. What about the time she took money from my purse? Our child stole, Ed.” What if Mack was experimenting with drugs? The more she thought about the list of possible horrors, the more surprising it seemed that today’s teenagers ever made it to adulthood. “I think she’s keeping something from us.” She recognized the signs, and it made her uneasy. A secret, she knew, could eat away at you slowly. It created a barrier between you and the people you loved.

“Since when do teenagers tell their parents everything? You need to chill. Mack is doing okay. She’s not the problem.”

Lauren stared at him, wrong-footed.

“What do you mean?”

“Nothing.”

“You said, ‘She’s not the problem,’ which means something else is.”

“Forget it.” His attention was back on his phone. “I might be late tonight.”

“You’re kidding. Tonight is the party.”

“The—what?” He looked confused and then closed his eyes briefly and muttered something under his breath.

“Your party. Had you forgotten?”

The pause was infinitesimal, but it was there.

“No.”

He was lying, and he never lied.

Who forgot their own fortieth birthday party?

What was on his mind?

“We have thirty people coming, Ed. Friends, colleagues, your mother—” She managed not to wince and Ed nodded.

“I’ll be there. See you later.” He grabbed a bottle of chilled water from the fridge they kept in the gym, and Lauren studied him from the back and wondered if tight Lycra cycling shorts on a man of forty was still a good look.

He slammed the fridge door shut and straightened.

“Thanks for the rainforest. It’s was a sweet thought and I’m sorry I overreacted.” He kissed her cheek. It was a dry, asexual gesture. “I love you. You’re a good woman, Lauren.”

A good woman? What did that mean?

“Maybe you should take time off. Mackenzie has three weeks at Easter. We could go away.”

“Let’s talk about it tomorrow.”

Lauren watched him leave.

She’s not the problem.

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Gleam widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: July 2018

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Sarah Morgan

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes romance and contemporary women’s fiction and her trademark humour and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. She is a 3 time winner of the prestigious RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America and has been nominated five times. Sarah lives near London, England, and when she isn’t reading or writing she loves being outdoors.

Look out for HOW TO KEEP A SECRET, Sarah’s first standalone women’s fiction novel, coming June to the UK and July to the US!


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Guest Review: Forbidden Night with the Prince by Michelle Willingham

Posted July 5, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Forbidden Night with the Prince by Michelle WillinghamReviewer: Tracy
Forbidden Night with the Prince (Warriors of the Night #3) by Michelle Willingham
Series: Warriors of the Night #3
Also in this series: Forbidden Night with the Warrior
Published by Harlequin Historical
Publication Date: August 1, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 288
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

A lifetime of being good…

One night of sin!

A Warriors of the Night story: virtuous Joan de Laurent is fated never to marry. Three betrothals, each ending in the groom’s death, have convinced her she’s cursed! But only her hand in marriage can help darkly brooding Irish prince Ronan win back his fortress. To break the curse, Joan must risk all to spend one forbidden night with the royal warrior…

Joan de Laurent believes she’s cursed.  She has had two betrothals and both of her intendeds died before the wedding!  She heads off to Ireland to meet her third betrothed and guess what?  He’s dead too!  Of course he was older, but still!

Ronan Ó Callaghan is an Irish prince who heads to the MacEgan holding to gather reinforcements.  His step-brother staged a coup and took over his father’s throne, taking his father hostage.  Ronan cannot let this stand and asks the MacEgan’s for warriors.  They say they’ll provide them but the de Laurent brothers can also provide warriors.  Unfortunately they’ll only do so if Ronan marries their sister.  Ronan isn’t interested in marrying but when he meets Joan he is quite taken with her.

Joan doesn’t want to get betrothed again.  She doesn’t want to take the chance of killing another man.  When she starts to have feelings for Ronan, she especially doesn’t want him to die.  She gets desperate and goes to an old medicine woman to ask how to break the curse.  The woman tells her to have Ronan drink a potion and then Joan is to lay with him and once they have the curse will be broken.  Joan is skeptical but she’s also desperate, so she goes for it.  They spend a wonderful night together and Ronan even agrees to marry Joan, but Joan won’t marry him as he refuses to have kids.  (He believes he killed his brother and nephew.)  The two need to come to an agreement so that Ronan can get the warriors he needs and save his father like he couldn’t save his other family members.

This was a good story.  I felt so bad for Joan!  With her believing that she’s cursed and everyone acting like she’s the devil, I’d want to leave as well.  Ronan was good for her as he brought her out of her self-induced shell.  She wasn’t a meek and mild person but felt she needed to act like one in order to break the curse.  I loved how Ronan dealt with Joan and she with him., they were really perfect for each other.

I felt that the part of the story that dealt with Ronan and his step-brother was also well done.  It seemed very realistic – something that I could imagine happening (even though I’m not really up on my Irish medieval history).

In the end I enjoyed the book and found it entertaining – a nice way to spend a quiet evening.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Warriors of the Night

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Moonlight Road by Robyn Carr

Posted June 14, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Moonlight Road by Robyn CarrReviewer: Casee
Moonlight Road by Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #10
Also in this series: Virgin River, Whispering Rock, Virgin River, A Virgin River Christmas, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Temptation Ridge, Paradise Valley, Forbidden Falls, Forbidden Falls, Angel's Peak, Forbidden Falls, Promise Canyon, Wild Man Creek, Promise Canyon, Harvest Moon, Bring Me Home for Christmas, Redwood Bend, Sunrise Point, Shelter Mountain, Moonlight Road
Published by MIRA
Publication Date: March 2, 2010
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 409
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-stars

WITH HER BELOVED YOUNGER SIBLINGS SETTLED AND HAPPY, ERIN FOLEY HAS EMPTY NEST SYNDROME. AT AGE THIRTY-FIVE.

So she's hitting the pause button on her life and holing up in a secluded (but totally upgraded --- she's not into roughing it!) cabin near Virgin River. Erin is planning on getting to know herself ... not the shaggy-haired mountain man she meets.

In fact, beneath his faded fatigues and bushy beard, Aiden Riordan is a doctor, recharging for a summer after leaving the navy. He's intrigued by the pretty, slightly snooty refugee from the rat race --- her meditating and journaling are definitely keeping him at arm's length. He'd love to get closer ... if his scruffy exterior and crazy ex-wife don't hold him back.

But maybe it's something in the water --- unlikely romances seem to take root in Virgin River ... helped along by some well-intentioned meddling, of course.

Reading last week’s Throwback review got me all nostalgic. I started reading all the old Virgin River reviews when I came across my review of Moonlight Road. Last week’s review and this review are so different that I had to share. For real though, what happened to this series?

This review was originally posted on March 16, 2010.

This commenter had it right. The Virgin River books are starting to read more like women’s health manuals for the premenopausal (and even post menopausal) than real romance. There is actually a scene between Mel and Jack where Jack tells her that HE misses HER periods. Why? Because having sex with her during her period was a turn-on. You know, he could show her that he wants her no matter what. SERIOUSLY. What man says that? Even Jack—my favorite VR hero—shouldn’t be able to get away with that. Because men don’t say that. Do they?

I really liked Aiden and Erin. Their initial meeting had me laughing. From each of their perspectives, it’s clear that they both have the wrong impression. Aiden thinks that Erin is an ice queen (i.e. bitch). Erin thinks that Aiden is a homeless bum. As they get to know each other, Erin slowly realizes that Aiden is far from a bum. The Virgin River books tend to move slow. I liken it to life in Virgin River. Nothing ever comes quickly. So it’s over several weeks/months that Aiden and Erin start getting to know each other.

Aiden had been married about eight years ago and for three months. He’s horrified when it’s crazy ex turns up at his family’s place in Virgin River acting like she wants to get back together. The ex is pretending that she wants him back even though Aiden knows it’s a crock of crap. Still, she has a way of making the situation turn in her favor. Then she goes to visit Erin and feeds her a bunch of lies about Aiden.

That’s when it started falling apart for me. Erin knows Aiden, she’s even falling in love with them. He’s great in bed and they have fun together. So the fact that Erin immediately decides that she can’t trust him totally turns me off of her. I understood why, but I didn’t understand how. Aiden warned her about his ex long before she paid Erin a visit. It wasn’t something that blindsided Erin. Yet she’s willing to believe a psycho?

Then there is Mel. Mel—my favorite Virgin River heroine—who went CRAZY in this book. She turned into a character that I didn’t recognize. I understood her reaction to the particular situation she found herself in, but I found her way of dealing with it completely unlike her. She completely tries to railroad Jack into doing something he doesn’t want to do. There’s something even worse, but to tell you would be to spoil it.

This book was just a hot menopausal mess. I liked Erin (other than the whole distrust thing) the best b/c it seemed like she came the farthest. She opened herself up to life and found someone to love.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Virgin River

three-stars


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