Publisher: Harlequin

Sunday Spotlight: Summer on Mirror Lake by JoAnn Ross

Posted June 16, 2019 by Rowena in Features | 3 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. 🙂

Summer on Mirror Lake is the third book in JoAnn RossHoneymoon Harbor series and I’ve already seen some pretty good early praise for it. We’re pretty stoked to be featuring this book on this week’s Sunday Spotlight so check it out…

Sunday Spotlight: Summer on Mirror Lake by JoAnn RossSummer on Mirror Lake by JoAnn Ross
Series: Honeymoon Harbor #3
Also in this series: Herons Landing (Honeymoon Harbor, #1), Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane (Honeymoon Harbor, #2)
Publisher: Harlequin, HQN
Publication Date: May 21, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

Summertime is the best time to lose yourself in the romance of Honeymoon Harbor…

When he lands in the emergency room after collapsing at the funeral of a colleague and friend, Wall Street hotshot Gabriel Mannion initially rejects the diagnosis of an anxiety attack. But when warned that if he doesn’t change his adrenaline-fueled, workaholic lifestyle he could end up like his friend, Gabe reluctantly returns to his hometown of Honeymoon Harbor to regroup.

As he adjusts to the sight of mountains instead of skyscrapers, Gabe discovers advantages to this small Pacific Northwest town he once couldn’t wait to escape. But it’s irresistible librarian Chelsea Prescott who, along with the two foster children she’s taken under her wing, makes slowing down seem like the best prescription ever.

Over the course of their summer romance, Gabe gets a taste of the life he might have had if he’d taken a different path. But with his return to New York City looming on the horizon, he’ll have to choose between the success he’s worked tirelessly for and a ready-made family who offers a very different, richly rewarding future…if he’ll only take the risk.

Excerpt

Home, as someone had once said, was a shifting land¬scape. Although many things in Honeymoon Har¬bor had changed during the years since Gabe had left Washington—including, he’d noted as he’d driven off the ferry landing, an influx of new businesses and tourists crowding the sidewalks and slowing traffic down with their motor homes—it wasn’t, and never would be, like New York. Hell, it wasn’t even like Tacoma. Or Olympia.

Which was why, even two weeks into Gabe’s self-enforced sabbatical, he was already bored out of his freaking mind. How many miles could he run every morning? Not anywhere near what he’d been able to as a distance runner on UW’s track team. Proving, dam¬mit, the smart-ass ER doctor’s diagnosis. He’d let him¬self get out of shape.

Which, hell, was fixable. He’d already come up with a goal metric, which he’d programmed into the schedule on the new smart watch that had replaced the Rolex. He’d also programmed it to report his heart rate, which was cur¬rently pathetic. Maybe he’d never been the ultimate jock his quarterback brother, Burke, had been, but he sure as hell hadn’t had the heart rate of a couch potato.

The first three nights home, he’d enjoyed having din¬ner with his parents, grandparents, sister and brothers. His mother had always equated food with love, and who was he to discourage her? But it soon became obvious that they all had their own lives and couldn’t spend their days and evenings entertaining him. Which, he supposed, was some sort of karmic payback for all the years he’d stayed away and the events he’d missed, like his sister Brianna’s engagement party.

When he’d first heard his brother Quinn had walked away from his Seattle law firm to brew beer, Gabe’d thought he was crazy. But he was impressed with the way his brother had reclaimed the old pre-prohibition business.

“You do realize that you’re driving customers away,” Quinn said as Gabe entered into his second week.

“Me?” Gabe looked up from tracing lines in the con¬densation on the side of his chilled pilsner glass of Good Vibrations, his brother’s new summer release. A not too sweet, light pilsner brewed with local fresh raspberries that blended well with its wheat malt, it was a ruby-colored pour that was pretty enough to almost be considered a girlie drink. But Quinn had captured summer in a bottle as perfectly as he’d always done everything else.

He glanced around, noticing for the first time that Quinn’s restaurant wasn’t as crowded as it had been when he’d first arrived. “It probably emptied out because we’re between lunch and dinner.”

“It’s five thirty. And while I realize that after all those years living in Manhattan you’re undoubtedly accustomed to dining at a big-city fashionable hour, Honeymoon Har¬bor tends to roll up the sidewalks after ten o’clock. Which means we should be starting to fill up with people get¬ting off work.”

“So what does that have to do with me?”

“The edgy vibe radiating off you is scaring people away,” Jarle Biornstad, who’d appeared from the kitchen with Gabe’s order of BBQ ribs, said in a deep, rumbling foghorn voice. After years of cooking for fishermen out of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, the Norwegian who claimed to have gotten tired of freezing his ass off during winter crabbing season had ended up in Honeymoon Harbor cooking for Quinn.

Personally, Gabe thought the red-bearded giant with a full sleeve tattoo of a butcher’s chart of a cow was a lot scarier than he’d ever be, but he was also smart enough not to suggest that to a guy who made Sasquatch look like a preschooler. According to Quinn, Seth Harper had had to take out four rows of bricks in the doorway leading to the kitchen to prevent the six-foot-seven cook from bang¬ing his head.

“I’m not edgy.” Edgy was too close to anxiety. Which, as something he’d already been through, he wasn’t in any hurry to revisit. Thus this trip back to the penin¬sula. “Just bored.”

“Antsy,” Quinn diagnosed.

Honeymoon Harbor

Giveaway Alert

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

Sunday Spotlight: June 2019

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!


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Throwback Thursday Review: She Drives Me Crazy by Leslie Kelly

Posted May 9, 2019 by Holly in Features, Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: She Drives Me Crazy by Leslie KellyReviewer: Holly
She Drives Me Crazy by Leslie Kelly
Series: Walker Brothers #1
Also in this series: She's Got the Look
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: October 15th 2012
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When she was good, she was very, very good…

When Emma Frasier returns home to Joyful, Georgia, she's greeted with the kinds of winks and lusty grins one might offer…an adult film star?

But when she was bad…

Thanks to small-town gossip and citizens who clearly need to get a life, Joyful's residents think Emma Jean is the "famous star" building a strip club in town. And that her barely concealed…uh, attributes are the ones gracing the new interstate billboard.

She was better.

As if being taken for a blue movie queen isn't rattling enough, there's Johnny Walker, the local bad boy turned good—a man who tempts Emma to be just as wild and wicked as Joyful thinks she is.

Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy!

This review was originally posted on May 17, 2008

She Drives Me Crazy is the first book in the Walker Brothers Series by Leslie Kelly.

Emma returns to her hometown of Joyful, Georgia with her tail between her legs after getting fleeced for all she was worth by a scummy boss and even scummier best friend. All she has left in the world is a handful of designer clothes, a cute red convertible and her grandma’s house and pecan farm that was willed to her.

But when she gets back, due to town gossip, she’s as shunned as she was the day she left Joyful, a disgraced high school senior who got caught with her pants down with the baddest boy in town, Johnny Walker. And of course, the first person she happens to run into (literally) in the grocery store, with the town looking on, is none other than Johnny Walker himself.

She’s determined to make a new life for herself – if only temporarily – until she realizes that someone has sold her grandmother’s land, without her knowledge. Between ending up in jail and between the sheets with Johnny, she tries to find out who stole her land…and then a murder happens.

Johnny was a great hero. Emma was a good heroine, too, not too flighty and willing to stand up for herself. The residents of Joyful cracked me up, because I grew up in a small town and the people there were just like these ones. In everybody’s business and gossiping about everything. Plus, there was this lecherous old man who played pocket hockey all the time and he had me laughing out loud. Dirty Old Man.

This isn’t some deep, heavy reading material, but it was fun for what it was. I recommend it if you’re looking for a light read for the beach or other summer vacation spot.

4 out of 5

This book is available from Mira. You can buy it here.

Walker Brothers

four-stars


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Review: The Dating Game by Kiley Roache

Posted March 25, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: The Dating Game by Kiley RoacheReviewer: Rowena
The Dating Game by Kiley Roache
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Publication Date: April 1, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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three-stars

The Social Network gets a romantic twist in this fresh and engaging new read from the author of Frat Girl, Kiley Roache. Experience the whirlwind ups and downs of college life in this authentic and entertaining new novel!

When a notoriously difficult class for future entrepreneurs leads to three freshmen developing the next “it” app for dating on college campuses, all hell breaks loose…

Type A control freak Sara lives by her color-coordinated Post-it notes.

Rich boy Braden wants out from under his billionaire father’s thumb.

Scholarship student Roberto can’t afford for his grades to drop.

When the three are forced to work together in one of the university’s most difficult classes, tension rises to the breaking point…until, shockingly, the silly dating app they create proves to be the most viable project in class. Late nights of app development, interest from investors and unexpected romance are woven into a true-to-life college drama that explores what it means to really connect online and IRL.

The Dating Game caught my eye while I was browsing Edelweiss because I liked the look of the cover and the blurb was interesting. It’s got The Social Network vibe working for it and I enjoyed that movie so I was mighty curious about this one. Three students come together for a group project, create a dating app that takes off and complicates the hell out of their lives? Yeah, count me in. While this book ended up being a solid read, it was also problematic for me and I just wasn’t a fan of the direction the author took one of the main leads.

So Roberto, Sara, and Braden are paired up together in class to create an app and they dive into creating a dating app that lets the user rate other users. The more swipe rights you get, the higher your profile is. While the three of them tackle this project, we get to know each of them and see them really go through it. Roberto’s got some family issues going on, Braden is a rich boy who is determined to not be like his father.

There’s a lot going on in this story. There are the individual situations at the same time that they’re working on their app and there’s also a budding romance because, of course, there’s one! I saw that love triangle a mile away and the way that it was handled low key rubbed me the wrong way. I just wasn’t a fan of that whole thing. I didn’t like that one had to completely change for the main romance to work. I also didn’t connect with each of the characters as much as I was hoping. I thought of the three characters, I would like Robbie’s character the most but his whole story low key felt flat for me. It felt very surface level and not as in depth so I didn’t connect with him and that bummed me out. Sara and Braden were fine until they weren’t fine and yeah, there was a whole lot of me hoping the author went in a different direction than the one she actually went on and because of that, my enjoyment suffered. I also thought the success of the app was a bit over the top, considering it wasn’t a very original idea but that was small potatoes. I did think that the author got the college experience right in this one. I thought that was handled well.

Overall, the story had a lot of promise and I was really looking forward to reading it but I didn’t fully connect with everything going on and with all of the characters so that bummed me out but still, I’d read something else from this author.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: Legendary Beast by Barbara J. Hancock

Posted January 31, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Legendary Beast by Barbara J. HancockReviewer: Tracy
Legendary Beast by Barbara J. Hancock
Series: Legendary Warriors #3
Publisher: Harlequin Nocturne
Publication Date: October 1, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
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two-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

She slept…his love didn’t

Once upon a time, Madeline was trapped in an enchanted sleep, her baby wrapped tight in her arms. Then the white wolf woke her, and her son disappeared.

For centuries, Lev Romanov searched for his wife and their child, and the search drove him half-mad. Can Madeline trust the wolf to be the man who can help her save their son.

Madeline has been asleep for hundreds of years.  Her mate, Lev, never gave up looking for her, or their son, who slept with Madeline.  When she finally awakens, it’s to find that her son is no longer in her arms.  Vasilisa is a Queen who has protected Madeline.  When dark witches attack the palace where they are staying, Vasilisa and Madeline’s son, Trevor, disappear.  In order to find them and beat the dark witches, Madeline must trust the white wolf, who is her mate.  She’s terrified of the wolf, and draws dark pictures of it constantly, but the longer time she spends with Lev, the more she realizes she’s not as scared as she was before.  Madeline’s not sure who to trust and she’s not sure who is the villain as she’s getting conflicting information.  Can she remember the love she had for Lev and save her son as well?

This book was…incredibly confusing.  I didn’t read the two previous books in the series and I definitely should have in order to understand this book. I found this story to be incredibly disjointed, but would I have if I’d read books 1 & 2? IDK.  I wasn’t sure why Madeline had been sleeping, why her and Lev had been separated, what the deal was with Vasilisa (was she evil or was she good?)…I was just confused for most of the book.  Most of my questions were answered by the end of the book, but I spent most of the time confused.  Not necessarily my idea of a good time.

Madeline was a warrior of sorts, but she was weak for most of the book from sleeping for so many years – 1000 years, I think.  She was also afraid of the wolf, which was Lev, so a huge portion of the story was spent with them together, yet apart.  I didn’t feel the connection between the two of them because of this, and it diminished the romance significantly.

I have to say that the writing was decent and kept me reading, despite my confusion with the story, so that right there earned this an extra star.

Would I recommend this book?  Maybe?  If you do, be sure to read books 1 & 2 first so that this one won’t be so confusing.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Legendary Warriors

two-stars


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Featured Review: Mornings on Main by Jodi Thomas

Posted December 13, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Featured Review: Mornings on Main by Jodi ThomasReviewer: Casee, Holly, Rowena
Mornings on Main by Jodi Thomas
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars

From the beloved and bestselling author of the Ransom Canyon and Harmony, Texas series comes a powerful, heartwarming story about generations of family and the ironclad bonds they forge.

When Jillian James lands in the small town Texas community of Laurel Springs, she's definitely not planning to stay--except to find a few clues about the father who abandoned her and destroyed her faith in family.

Connor Larady is a single dad, and the only one caring for his grandmother, Eugenia, who has Alzheimer's. And now he has to close Eugenia's quilt shop. When Connor meets down-on-her-luck Jillian, he's out of options. Can he trust the newcomer to do right by his grandmother's legacy?

Jillian is done with relationships. But as she grows closer to Connor and Eugenia, she must consider giving up her nomadic life for a future with those who need her.

An inspiring family saga that asks us to consider what love and chosen family really mean.

Jillian James is a wanderer. Her father lived a nomadic, off-the-grid lifestyle and taught her to do the same. For years she’s been drifting aimlessly, never staying anywhere long or forming attachments. Recently she started following the path her father took, searching for some clue as to where he may have been in the past, and, more importantly, where he is now.

She lands in Laurel Springs, Texas, and takes a job from the mayor, Connor Larady, cataloging his Gram’s quilt collection from her quilting shop. She’s suffering from the early stages of dementia, and the historical society wants an accounting of each quilt before they’re moved to a local museum for display.

Connor and Jillian have an instant attraction, but he’s deeply rooted in his hometown..and she’s determined not to leave any roots at all.

Holly: It’s been years since I read a novel by Jodi Thomas, but I have fond memories of her older books. Sadly this one didn’t live up to my expectations. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the story, it was all very sweet and lovely. It was also very boring. I really had to push myself to finish it. The slow moving romance and the lack of true angst made for a snoozefest.

Rowena: This is the second book that I’ve read by Jodi Thomas and I couldn’t remember why I stopped reading her. Reading this story kind of reminded me. The small town, the super sweet but slow-moving romance, all of that served to remind me that these kinds of romances aren’t my jam. While reading this, I felt like I was reading a romance that was written by my Grandma. A sweet story told by an older person who wrote dialogue on how they thought young kids talked these days and not really how they actually talk. Does that make sense?

Still, it was sweet.

Holly: I don’t know that I agree about the dialogue, though I do agree about the rest. I really liked Sunnie and Reese, the teenage couple with a thread running throughout the book. I thought they were sweet and pretty cute. I loved how much Sunnie loved her Gram, and how great of a kid she was despite going through some bad teenage years. I thought Reese was cute for her, too.

I even liked Jillian and Connor. I thought they were good together and had a sweet, comfortable relationship. It just didn’t do a lot for me.

Rowena: Yes, Sunnie and Reese were probably my favorite part of the book. I loved how smart and strong Sunnie was and how quickly she ended things with Derrick when he proves to be an ass. Too often, I see teenage girls stay in a relationship with the popular boy and I’m glad that Sunnie was above that.

I enjoyed everything in this book fine but that’s really all I have to say about this one. It was good. I liked Jack, Gram, and all of Gram’s friends, I liked Connor and Jillian. I adored Sunnie and Reese and though the beginning was slow, the story does pick up and it does get interesting but after all is said and done, I liked it fine and that’s it.

Casee: Unfortunately, as sweet as this book was, I was bored from start to finish. I did enjoy Connor and Jillian getting to know each other, but it didn’t do anything for me. I didn’t understand Jillian’s absolute need to be a nomad. It just made no sense to me. I didn’t understand why she wanted to find the father that abandoned her. I liked Sunnie and Reese. They were probably my favorite part of the book. Quilting doesn’t really do it for me, no matter how interesting the stories about them might be.

Holly: I did love Joe’s Toe Tent business. I cracked up when it blew up.

Casee: Rowena is correct. This review is as boring as the book was. Lets just call it what it was. Excruciatingly slow. Connor was sweet, but boring. I did enjoy seeing him get his HEA, but I didn’t particularly care by that point. I was just glad I finished the book.

Rowena: I did like that Joe’s toe tent business took off because I liked Joe and thought he was pretty great to Gram. I thought it was cute, how excited he was about the business too.

There isn’t much else I have to say about this book so I’m going to give it a 3 out of 5. What about you guys?

Casee: I’m going to give it a 2 out of 5.

Holly: I thought it was a sweet story. I liked the town and the secondary characters, it was just slow. I’m giving it 3 out of 5.

Final grades

Casee: 2 out of 5
Holly: 3 out of 5
Rowena: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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