Tag: Love in the Balance series

Guest Review: Can’t Let Go by Jessica Lemmon

Posted April 27, 2014 by Judith in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Can’t Let Go by Jessica LemmonReviewer: Judith
Can't Let Go (Love in the Balance, #1.5) by Jessica Lemmon
Series: Love in the Balance #1.5
Publisher: Forever Yours
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 64
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Series Rating: four-stars

Can't Let Go is a PREQUEL novella to Hard to Handle, a "before" the happily ever after...


AN INSTANT SPARK Sadie Howard would never admit there's such a thing as love at first sight, but she can't deny the connection between her and sexy Adonis Aiden Downey. She also can't deny she loves to kiss him-his mouth might be his most precious asset. Despite every promise to herself not to get involved any deeper than a first date, she can't keep from seeing more of Aiden . . . in more ways than one.

Aiden Downey had no idea the hot blonde from the club would trigger his protective, gentle nature, but the moment she drops her guard and he sees the real Sadie Howard, he's a goner. When a family crisis puts the brakes on their budding romance, can Aiden find a way to hold on to her? Or will he lose the best thing in his life just as quickly as he found her? 25,000 words

This novella is, in many ways, an addendum to Book I in this series, Tempting the Billionaire in which readers are introduced to Shane August’s cousin, Aiden Downey, and Crickett Day’s best friend, Sadie Howard.   Readers are aware that Aiden and Sadie met the same night and under the same set of circumstances as Shane and Crickett, but this novella is where the author has fleshed out that encounter and gives the reader a far more complete understanding of Aiden and Sadie as people, their histories and their emotional baggage, and the unusual connection that grew up between them very quickly.  They may be lovers in the making, but the reader is fully aware that both Aiden and Sadie are hampered by significant happenings from the past and while they acknowledge that each has brought a totally different slant on relationship to their encounters, there is some deeper challenges awaiting them.

This short work is really about choices: whether to allow the past to control, how to determine priorities in difficult circumstances, how to treasure the opportunities life gives us for loving and for the enrichment that comes when we engage in relationships that are full and satisfying.  Both Aiden and Sadie are “driven” in their own way–Sadie is a marketing and sales whiz and Aiden has pretty much succeeded in whatever he chooses.  Yet life has some tough surprises for these two, and reading this prequel to the next full novel in this series will make for some far greater understanding of why these two must navigate some very troubled waters before it is all through.

Ms Lemmon has done a masterful job in telling a well developed story in few words, having given readers multi-dimensional characters whose experiences reek of reality, whose pain and disappointment is palpable and readily felt, and engaging the imagination of the reader so fully that when the end comes it is a surprise and the kind of happening that will propel the reader into the next book.  This novella is not intended to complete Aiden and Sadie’s story.  That comes in the next book.  It is, however, an opportunity for readers to become better acquainted with these two fascinating people and to delve more deeply into how they think and make decisions and choices, how they feel about themselves and others.  And mistakes . . . boy, can Aiden and Sadie make some doozies.  Yet this is the stuff of living, of human experience, and these two must learn as they go along, just as we all must.

I think this is a wonderful novella, and those who know me know that novellas don’t usually rank very high for me for a variety of reasons.  But Ms Lemmon has demonstrated that this short work is not beyond her ability to do and do well.  It’s a must read as far as I am concerned.  I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5.

The Series:
Book Cover Book Cover

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This title is available from Forever Publishing.  You can buy it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Guest Review: Hard to Handle by Jessica Lemmon

Posted April 6, 2013 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

Hard to HandleJudith’s review of Hard to Handle (Love in the Balance, #2) by Jessica Lemmon

ONCE BURNED Sadie Howard never dates a guy more than once-but Fate has other plans for her when it comes to Aiden Downey, the one that got away. Aiden loved her, left her, and broke her heart. Yet suddenly she’s bumping into him at every turn, driven to distraction by his wicked grin and rock-hard body. Now she can’t resist finishing what they started-as long as she doesn’t let herself fall in love . . . 

TWICE AS TEMPTING Aiden Downey threw away the best thing he ever had when he let Sadie go, and now he’s determined to win back the woman he’s always wanted. Sadie agrees to let him into her life-and her bed-as long as there are no strings attached. But Aiden’s not about to make the same mistake again. Can he convince her to take a second chance on a once-in-a-lifetime love?

The main characters in this romance novel first appeared in Book I of this series — Tempting the Billionaire — and met on the same occasion as those two main characters (Shane and Crickett) and under the same set of circumstances.   The prequel to this book — Can’t Let Go — fleshes out the early encounters between Aiden and Sadie and while the action in that novella runs concurrently with Book I, it gives the reader greater understanding of the emotional roller coaster this love affair made as a result of some significant life challenges.  Now Aiden and Sadie are thrown together as maid of honor and best man at Shane and Crickett’s wedding, all of this happening nearly a year after the ending of the prequel.  And if the reader thinks these two are encased in emotional iron in that story, get ready.  They are emotionally unavailable to anyone now, especially to one another.

These is underlying threads of anger, disappointment, denial, and sadness running through this story.  As connected as these two in the beginning, it seems they aren’t able to read each other at all now as they try to peer through layers and layers of old baggage and hurt.  Aiden is still grieving his mother’s death and trying to circumvent the lingering anger of his siblings over some of the decisions he made regarding his mother’s final days.  Sadie won’t admit it, but she is still grieving the death of her relationship with Trey who has now married her sister, and most of all she is mourning the loss of what was to have been the perfect wedding.  This girl just can’t move on.  And perhaps that is the crux of the entire tale.  All the players are waltzing around The Great Betrayal, especially Sadie’s mother and stepfather who chide her constantly about refusing to “forgive” Celeste for enticing her fiance away from her.  It’s a tangled web of pure emotional mess and it is against this mental and emotional background Sadie must continually deal with Aiden, even when she doesn’t want to.

This is a beautifully written piece of romance literature, full of love and caring, understanding and frustration, disappointment and hope.  Crickett and Sadie remain best friends who really do turn to one another in troubled times,  and even in the midst of sibling criticism and lingering upset, Aiden’s brothers and sister and their father are working to move on from the mother’s death.  Lots and lots of deep emotion to cloud judgment and upend what would ordinarily remain and good decision environment.  In the final analysis both Aiden and Sadie are stuck, big time.

Having read the other two works in this series I was anxious to read this latest book.  It not only chronicles Aiden and Sadie but also fills in the on-going stories of characters who appeared in the other two books.   They are so well crafted that it felt as if I was reading about real people with overwhelming emotional pressure.  I could feel their frustration and disappointment;  I knew how Sadie felt when she kept having to work with Aiden when what she wanted most was to leave him in the dust.  But life doesn’t work that way and, it appears, neither does it work in Ms Lemmon’s stories.  It’s this quality that gives this novel the grit and edge we find in the lives and experiences of real people and certainly insured that this is not one of those tales that feels like a HEA right from the start.  And these two people are the kind that show up in really good stories and they enchant us as the author removes layer after layer of their personality and experience so that there is rhyme and reason to what they bring down upon themselves and their relationship.

This is a terrific read and one that will grab the reader’s imagination and burrow deeply into the heart and mind of all who take the time to enjoy and appreciate this well-written novel.  I didn’t feel that the relationship was either allowed to drag–if it did so it was for very good reasons–or made to accelerate unduly and not in keeping with the story overall.

This is one of those romance novels you really need to read, especially if you are a fan of contemporary romance fiction and have read other works by this author.  It’s well worth the time to read and appreciate.

I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5

The Series:
Book Cover Book Cover

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This title is available from Forever Publishing.  You can buy it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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