Publisher: HQN

Review: Forbidden Promises by Synithia Williams

Posted March 24, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Forbidden Promises by Synithia WilliamsReviewer: Rowena
Forbidden Promises by Synithia Williams
Series: Jackson Falls #1
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: February 25, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU WANT THE ONE PERSON YOU CAN NEVER HAVE?

Get in and get out. That was India Robidoux's plan for this family visit. But when her brother needs her help with his high-profile political campaign, India has not choice but to stay and face the one man she's been running from for years - Travis, her sister's ex-husband. One hot summer night when Travis was still free, they celebrated her birthday with whiskey and an unforgettable kiss. The memory is as strong as ever - and so are the feelings she's tried so hard to forget.

Travis Strickland owes everything to the Robidoux family. There's nothing he wouldn't do for them - his divorce could never change that. Still, he has one regret. Impulsive and passionate, India always understood him better than anyone else. And the longer they work together on the campaign, the more torn he is. Coming between her and her sister is out of the question. But how can he let love pass him by a second time?

©2020 Synithia Williams (P)2020 HarperAudio

Forbidden Promises is the first book in the new Jackson Falls series by Synithia Williams. It’s a story that features a heroine who has been in love with her sister’s ex-husband for some time now. When she comes back home to visit her family, her plan is to sneak in, spend some quality time with her family and then sneak right back out. She has no plans on sticking around or of seeing Travis Strickland while she’s home. Travis and India shared the most passionate kiss of India’s life and then he made his choice and married her sister so she’s come to terms with it. Sure, she was hurt but that was years ago and she’s grown up and moved on. But Travis is her brother’s best friend and her brother needs her help with his political campaign so India’s got no choice but to see Travis.

Travis is stoked that India’s home. Of all of the Robidoux siblings, India understood him the best. They had a solid friendship that Travis missed when India went away and sure, they also shared a pretty spectacular kiss years ago but that’s old news and he’s excited to see his friend again. Only India is different now. She’s a grown woman, a gorgeous grown woman and she wants nothing to do with Travis. Working together on India’s brother’s campaign should be a breeze, no?

Synithia Williams has a unique writing style that worked for me. I’m no stranger to the sister’s ex-husband trope and though not every story featuring that trope has worked for me in the past, I didn’t mind it here. The more that I got to know India and Travis, the more we learned about their shared history and the people that they were and the people they are now made rooting them on all the more necessary for me. They were both strong characters and I thought they were fantastic on their own but I really dug them together. I connected with both of their characters, along with both of their stories and seeing them come together in love, figure their stuff out was a great reading adventure for me.

I haven’t read anything by Williams before but I will definitely be reading more of her stuff in the future. This was such a charming romance that I want more of it. I definitely recommend it for those readers who are looking for a quick, charming romance with heart. This definitely fits the bill.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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DNF Review: The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost

Posted January 20, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

DNF Review: The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene FrostReviewer: Holly
The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Series: Broken Destiny #1
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: August 26, 2014
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 384
Length: 8 hours and 21 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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dnf

Sometimes, falling in love really is the end of the world... don’t miss this fan-favorite tale from
New York Times
bestselling author Jeaniene Frost.
Ivy has always seen things that she cannot explain. Strange things. Otherworldly things. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse--her hallucinations are real, and her sister is imprisoned in a realm beyond Ivy’s reach. The one person who can help her is the dangerously attractive rebel who’s bound by an ancient legacy to betray her.
The fate Adrian has fought to escape is here - but he never expected the burning need he feels for Ivy. With destiny on one side and desire on the other, Adrian must help Ivy search for the powerful relic that can save her sister. Yet he knows what Ivy doesn’t: the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could destroy the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side, Adrian on the other, and nothing but ashes in between...
Originally published in 2014

The Beautiful Ashes is the first book in the Broken Destiny series by Jeaniene Frost. I’ve heard wonderful things about Frost, but I’d never read her before. When I saw this book in the Audible Escape package, I figured I’d give it a try. Unfortunately it didn’t work for me at all and I ended up DNF’ing it around the halfway point.

Ivy is searching for her missing sister when she ends up on a small town and almost gets murdered by a vampire. She gets rescued by a guy, Adrian, who may or may not be good, and gets drawn into a deeper plot. Filled with angels, demons and all other kind of supernaturals, this book sounded like it was right up my alley.

Ivy was really young and made a lot of dumb decisions. Blindly following strangers, not asking questions or demanding answers when she did, etc. I was semi-interested in her search for her missing family, but her constant bumbling around and insta-lust with a creepy stranger was just too much for me. Not to mention the constant game playing and secret keeping from Adrian and everyone else. I wanted to like the story, but I just couldn’t continue on with it.

Rating: DNF

Broken Destiny

dnf


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Throwback Thursday Review: Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins

Posted October 31, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Somebody to Love by Kristan HigginsReviewer: Tracy
Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins
Series: Gideon's Cove #3
Also in this series: Catch of the Day (Gideon's Cove, #1)
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 425
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristan Higgins is back with a hilarious and heartwarming new story about a rich girl who discovers that a little hard work may be just the thing she needs...

After her father loses the family fortune in an insider-trading scheme, single mom Parker Welles is faced with some hard decisions. First order of business: go to Gideon's Cove, Maine, to sell the only thing she now owns—a decrepit house in need of some serious flipping. When her father's wingman, James Cahill, asks to go with her, she's not thrilled...even if he is fairly gorgeous and knows his way around a toolbox.

Having to fend for herself financially for the first time in her life, Parker signs on as a florist's assistant and starts to find out who she really is. Maybe James isn't the glib lawyer she always thought he was. And maybe the house isn't the only thing that needs a little TLC.

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

This review was originally posted on April 26, 2012.

Parker Welles has always lived the good life. She’s never had to worry about money as her father had made millions. She lives with her 5 year old son in the family home and lives off her trust fund. She is an author of a series of children’s books but has donated all of the proceeds to Save the Children.

When she finds out that her father has lost all of his money – an her and her sons trust funds – in an insider trading deal she’s shocked. She’s not sure what she’s going to do but she is strong and knows that she’ll make it through.

She is reminded that an aunt left her a home in a small town in Maine so she heads up there to flip the house and possibly then live off of the money for a while while she tries to find a job. Her son is on a 3 week trip with his father and she’s ready to rock and roll. The problem is that house she considers more a shack and the aunt was a hoarder. The house is a complete pit and she’s not sure she can fix it.

Her father’s now unemployed lawyer shows up to help her as he used to do carpentry before he became a lawyer. Parker has never cared for James Cahill as she just believes that he is her father’s lackey but she admits that she’s always been attracted to him. She also resents James a bit because her father treats him better than she treats her and like the son he never had.

James was smitten and in love with Parker from the moment he saw her. He has attended many family parties both with and without Parker’s father so he knows a lot about her. Though Parker treats him like he’s an non-entity he still doesn’t want to give up on his feelings for her.

Parker finally gives in to James and they start a “summer fling” but what happens when both of their feelings grow and then real life gets in the way?

This was a really good book made all the better by James. He was just a great guy. He was a man who knew what he wanted and wasn’t all that afraid to go after what he wanted. He would have done it earlier but Parker was always more emotionally unavailable.

The part I really didn’t care for in this book was Parker. It’s not that she was a bad person but her thinking at times really baffled me. I just didn’t get why she was so determined to push James away when he proved again and again what a great person he was. On that flip side of that I really couldn’t understand what James saw in Parker and kept coming back for. No, she wasn’t a bad person but she hadn’t ever treated him very well.

I have to say that there was one part at the end of the book that made me love James even more but if I tell you I’ll completely ruin it! Lol Just let me say that it was one of the sweetest things I’d ever read.

This was a really great story that had great characters for the most part. The secondary characters were wonderful and the citizens of the town in Maine were wonderful. I would have liked this story much, much better if I’d liked Parker more but despite that it was worth reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Gideon’s Cove

four-stars


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Guest Review: Christmas in Winter Valley by Jodi Thomas

Posted September 24, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Christmas in Winter Valley by Jodi ThomasReviewer: Tracy
Christmas in Winter Valley by Jodi Thomas
Series: Ransom Canyon #8
Also in this series: Sunrise Crossing, A Christmas Affair (Ransom Canyon #6.5), Mistletoe Miracles (Ransom Canyon #7)
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Westerns
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Ransom Canyon welcomes you back for a Christmas that has everything you’re looking for: romance, family and a whole lot of Texas.

Cooper Holloway would take nature over people any day—especially visiting relatives. That’s why he’s headed for a rustic cabin in remote Winter Valley, where he’ll care for a herd of wild mustangs. But Cooper’s plans are quickly thwarted by the arrival of two unexpected guests: one, a stranger in desperate need of his help, and the other, a very attractive young veterinarian.

Elliott is busy trying to keep Maverick Ranch running smoothly with Cooper gone, which is no easy task with family visiting. And when a long-lost love suddenly reappears in his life, Elliott knows he’ll have more than just books to balance this season.

With a big, chaotic family Christmas around the corner and love blooming in surprising ways, the Holloway men will have to make big choices about the future—just in time for the holidays.

Christmas in Winter Valley is a group of smaller romances all set in one book/story based around the Griffin family and their place, Maverick Ranch.

First there’s the story of Cooper Griffin and Hayley.  Cooper is hurt while out checking on wild mustangs but Hayley, the vet that was out there to help him, saves his life.

Then there’s Tye and Dani who can’t seem to keep their hands off each other.  Tye is an ex-rodeo star and is now a ranch hand at MV (Maverick Ranch). He falls fast and hard for the Griffin family cook, Dani, but here grown sons don’t like that too much.

Elliot Griffin was hurt 10 years ago by Jessica who he was engaged to.  He had to leave school when his dad died and each of them think it’s the other’s fault that they didn’t stay together after that.  Jessica shows up at MV to do the taxes and sparks fly between the two.

Creed (a ranch hand) and Dallas (cousin-in-law to the Griffins), end up as a couple, I think, but it’s hard to say as not much, if any, time was spent on their relationship.  Could be they just ended up FB’s. lol

While all of these people are falling in love with each other, all between December 10th and December 24th (yes, very fast), there are friendships growing and intertwining all of these characters.  Men and women alike are finding out who they truly are and how they see life and love.  It was well done, but I never felt that I was too invested in any of the relationships.  I’m not sure if that was because there was so much going on, or what.  Despite that I liked the book overall.

That said, I have to say that my favorite part of the book was a 9-year-old boy named Tatum.  Tatum was shipped off to his grandma’s house when his dad and then his mom died.  When his grandma died the evil neighbor lady told the sheriff that this small boy carried death wherever he went, was half-wild and they should take him to the pound.  WTAF? I wanted to crawl through the book and thrash that woman!  Tatum ended up running away before social services could get him and was found by Cooper Griffin right before the boy would have frozen to death.  I won’t tell you the amazing cuteness that comes out of Tatum’s mouth on the regular, but let me just say that he’s the sweetest thing in the world!  The relationship between Cooper and Tatum is heart-warming and I loved it. Jodi Thomas wrote his character wonderfully well and I actually found myself wishing he was more on-page than he was.  Yes, it’s a romance novel, but Tatum made the book for me!

Overall a nice Christmas story about love and family.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Ransom Canyon

three-half-stars


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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
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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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