Tag: Small Town Romance

Lightning Review: Serendipity by Carly Phillips

Posted March 21, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Lightning Review: Serendipity by Carly PhillipsReviewer: Holly
Serendipity by Carly Phillips
Series: Serendipity #1
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: September 6th 2011
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 304
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Series Rating: four-stars

Faith Harrington is a classic girl of privilege-until her father is convicted for running a Ponzi scheme. Now she's back in her hometown, where she runs into her teenage crush-dark, brooding Ethan Barron, who's no stranger to scandal himself.

This was a sweet contemporary romance. Ethan was a bad boy in high school. When his family needed him most he disappeared. Now he’s back and looking to make amends. Faith was the golden girl growing up but the mighty have fallen..hard. She’s looking to rebuild her life after her father was arrested for his part in a ponzi scheme that affected a lot of the town. Together they have enough issues to fill a warehouse, but they just might be what the other needs…

I really liked how well Ethan and Faith fit. I also liked that they didn’t gloss over or make light of their issues. Both were willing to accept responsibility for their own actions, both past and present. I really love it when characters own their mistakes and work to atone for them.

I did think Faith took things a little too far in the end, but overall I enjoyed the story and the romance.

3.5 out of 5


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Review: Never Stopped Loving You by Keri Ford

Posted September 24, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Never Stopped Loving You by Keri FordReviewer: Holly
Never Stopped Loving You by Keri Ford
Series: Chester Farms #1
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: December 2nd 2013
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 243
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Series Rating: two-stars

At eighteen, Kara Duncan had already made her fair share of mistakes, choosing the wrong boy and earning herself a bad reputation in the process. Hurt and humiliated, she'd packed up and moved on, sure that everyone in Bella Warren, Arkansas, would be better off without her. She'd planned never to return, but when crisis strikes, she has nowhere else to turn.
After seven years, Wade Chester thought his feelings for Kara were finally ancient history. Until he sees her again, standing on his front porch just as she'd done a million times before. She needs his help—and his family's crops—if her canning business is going to survive. The rest of his family has let bygones be bygones, so why is it so hard for him to let go of the past?
While Kara claims to be interested only in putting things right, the old heat flaring between them is undeniable. But Wade will need to risk his heart—and the reputation of his farm—to prove that they're meant to be together.

Kara comes back home in order start up her canning business with the help of her childhood best friend. The produce from Chester Farms is just what she needs to get her business off the ground. She didn’t really think she’d be welcomed back with open arms after they way she acted in high school, but she didn’t expect the anger and contempt so many had for her. She figures if she keeps her head down and her nose clean, people will start to forgive her and let things go. She’s surprised to feel such a deep attraction to Wade, even after all this time, but he’s a distraction she doesn’t need.

The last person Wade ever expected to see on his doorstep is Kara. He hasn’t forgotten her, or forgiven her for hieing out of town the way she did. But his sister is determined to help Kara get her business off the ground, and he reluctantly agrees. Before he knows it she’s working in his kitchen and spending the majority of her time at his house. He can’t seem to get away from her. The real problem is, he isn’t sure he wants to.

I loved the small southern setting, the farm and the business. I really struggled with everything else. And by struggled I mean WTF’d my way through the book. The way the people in town treated Kara was unbelievable, but I set that aside since I know how small towns can be. But when Wade didn’t step up to defend her, but in fact joined in with everyone else, I’m afraid I lost all respect for him. Sure, he felt betrayed by her, but to accuse of her being nothing but a slut because of things that happened in high school? I expected better of him.

The tip of his finger slipped under the thin strap of her dress. “No more of this kind of stuff.”
“What?” His nail lingered against her skin and she was powerless but to shudder under the soft and gentle touch.
He ripped his hand away as if he’d been burned and gestured at her. “These sexy clothes. No more. We’re a family farm.”
She glanced down at the orange sundress Whitney had instructed her to wear. The cotton skirt reached to just above her knees. It fit across her breasts, but fell loose around her curves below that. The top of the dress didn’t even cut low enough to show any cleavage. “I’ll be sure to pick up some oversized sweats next time I’m in the store. Will that do?”
He didn’t smile. Not that the moment was funny. “You were hell on my life last time you were here, darlin’. It won’t be the same this time around.”

If Kara had acted like a mature, independent woman who wanted to make a good impression but was fine if she didn’t, I may have been able to cope. Throughout the book Kara apologizes and berates herself, rather than telling Wade, and the whole town, to shove it. She also needed to stop running from her problems and start communicating. Verbally. With other people.

Maybe if the book had been a hundred pages shorter I wouldn’t have felt so stabby at the end of it. As it is, the conflict was drawn out way too long. Kara’s back-and-forthing and Wade’s head-in-the-sand way of dealing with it really grated on me.

I liked the end but felt it came a little too late.

1.5 out of 5


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Excerpt (+ Giveaway): The Best Kind of Trouble by Lauren Dane

Posted August 25, 2014 by Holly in Giveaways, Promotions | 14 Comments

Today we have an excerpt of The Best Kind of Trouble (Hurley Boys, Book 1) by Lauren Dane , which releases tomorrow. This is a spin-off of her Brown Siblings and Delicious series’, about four rocker brothers who make up the band Sweet Hollow Ranch.

the best kind of trouble

She has complete control…and he’s determined to take it away

A librarian in the small town of Hood River, Natalie Clayton’s world is very nearly perfect. After a turbulent childhood and her once-wild ways, life is now under control. But trouble has a way of turning up unexpectedly—especially in the tall, charismatically sexy form of Paddy Hurley….

And Paddy is the kind of trouble that Natalie has a taste for.

Even after years of the rock-and-roll lifestyle, Paddy never forgot the two wickedly hot weeks he once shared with Natalie. Now he wants more…even if it means tempting Natalie and her iron-grip control. But there’s a fine line between well-behaved and misbehaved—and the only compromise is between the sheets!




Read an excerpt:


Copyright 2014, Lauren Dane

All Rights Reserved, Harlequin Enterprises

Releasing August 26!


She hadn’t realized how much she’d missed him until she’d walked out of the library and saw him standing there. A phone call meant she’d have some distance from him. But Paddy Hurley in the flesh? That smile?

As they cleaned the kitchen up, she was glad, so glad, she brought him home. Glad she shared with him. Glad he was there with her. Tuesday probably would say I told you so for that.

“So. I have a proposal.”

She looked back over her shoulder as she tucked the hand towel on the ring. “That so? What is this proposal then?”

“I have doughnuts. I think we should go to your room and eat them naked in your bed.”

She paused. “As proposals go, that’s a pretty good one.

She walked past him, swatting his behind on the way. “Let’s be sure that sex is on that menu too.”

“That goes without saying when you’re alone with me and there’s naked involved.”

She left Tuesday a note saying things were okay between her and Paddy and that they were busy for a bit. She figured Tuesday would know when she got home if Natalie wasn’t around and her door was closed, but it never hurt to be extra sure. The last thing she wanted was Tuesday barging in and catching her and Paddy in bed.

Paddy kicked her door closed and backed her to the bed. “Maybe you can eat that doughnut while I eat you. It’s been like a week since I’ve tasted you.”

She swallowed hard. “I might choke. Maybe we can eat them afterward.”

“Damn, you’re putting doughnuts aside for me? You really are trying.”

She laughed as she pulled his sweater off, tossing it in a nearby chair. He undid her blouse and slid it from her arms, kissing her shoulder and across her collarbone. He paused at the hollow of her throat and breathed in deep. “I’ve missed you like crazy.”

It had only been a few days rather than his exaggerated week, but she’d missed him too. Missed the way he’d been part of her life.

“I missed you too.” She petted his beard.

She realized she’d started doing that recently. Petting it and soothing herself. It made her laugh and he paused.

“Um. Should I be concerned you’re laughing?”

“I just realized your beard is my comfort object. I pet it like a blankie and it soothes me.”

He kissed her fingertips. “Whatever gets you hot. Feel free to pet me wherever and whenever you please.”

Giveaway: We have a copy of The Best Kind of Trouble to giveaway! Print or digital, winner’s choice. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
LaurenDane_highresAbout Lauren:

The story goes like this: While on pregnancy bed rest, Lauren Dane had plenty of down time so her husband took her comments about “giving that writing thing a serious go” to heart and brought home a secondhand laptop. She wrote her first book on it before it gave up the ghost. Even better, she sold that book and never looked back.


Today Lauren is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over sixty novels and novellas across several genres. For more information visit her website at www.laurendane.com

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Review: Hope Ignites by Jaci Burton

Posted August 4, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Hope Ignites by Jaci BurtonReviewer: Holly
Hope Ignites by Jaci Burton
Series: Hope #2
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: March 25th 2014
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Hope Flames and the hot new Play-by-Play novel, Melting the Ice, comes an all-new novel of small-town romance, second chances, and hope…
When a movie crew asks to film on his cattle ranch, Logan McCormack doesn’t expect Desiree Jenkins, the young, sought-after star, to be so open, so down-to-earth, or so intimately interested in him. But the last thing a loner like Logan needs is a distraction like Des, who wouldn’t understand what it’s like to live peacefully off the land. 
But it’s Logan who doesn’t understand. What Des wants is an escape from paparazzi and gossip columns, and she’s found it at Logan’s ranch. Now it’s up to her to prove that she’s like any other girl looking to be accepted for who she is. And she’s hoping that it’s by this real-life cowboy who has everything it takes—and more—to give her the kind of happily ever after that can’t be found in the movies.
“Jaci Burton’s books are always sexy, romantic, and charming! A hot hero, a lovable heroine, and an adorable dog—prepare to fall in love with Jaci Burton’s amazing new small-town romance series.”—Jill Shalvis, New York Times bestselling author

Logan’s dad married a woman who hated ranching.  Since she was miserable she did her best to make her husband and sons miserable, too (why she didn’t just divorce his dad and leave is beyond me). As a result, Logan has trust issues when it comes to women. Especially “City Girls” like Desiree Jenkins,  lead actress in the movie being filmed on Logan’s ranch. They might be attracted to each other, but he knows better than to get tangled up in a woman who won’t be sticking around. Except Des surprises him at every turn. She’s honest and open, with a forthright way of speaking that gets him every time. Since she isn’t looking for more than a good time while she’s on location, he figures there’s no harm in scratching the itch.

Des realizes pretty early on that Logan has serious mommy issues, but he’s hot as hell and great in the sack. Plus, he’s surprisingly easy to talk to. She loves his ranch and the privacy it offers her. Not to mention the town of Hope, most especially his friends and family. She figures the relationship is of the “go – nowhere” variety, but that works for her since she’ll be headed back to L.A. before long. If only Logan didn’t act so sweet and send out so many mixed signals…

It isn’t long before both of their emotions are engaged. But Logan’s trust issues and Des’s career are standing between them, and Logan isn’t willing to try to climb those particular hurdles.

I have a small girl crush on Des. She was awesome. She was upfront and honest. She wasn’t afraid to put herself out there. She didn’t play games or cause drama. Even when Logan was acting the ass she called him on it then walked away, no hysterics,  no drama. She felt a bit unsettled about what she wanted for her future, but she was confident in herself and not afraid to work for what she wanted.

Logan acted the ass for most of the book. He wanted Des, but didn’t want to want her. He let his mother’s actions dictate how he lived his life,  which didn’t make a lot of sense considering the strong, confident man he was. His saving grace was how quick he was to apologize once he was called on his behavior. He might have needed a cooling down period, but when he said sorry he meant it. It was too bad he spent so much time needing to apologize.

Their chemistry was great both in the bedroom and out of it. They connected on more than one level, which made their romance believable.

I really enjoyed the snippets of ranching life and life on the set of the movie. Both were well done. The town of Hope really came alive for me. I loved visiting with the residents and watching Des form relationships with the women in town.

Hope is a town I want to return to again again.

4.25 out of 5

This book is available from Jove. 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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Review: Perfect Fling by Carly Phillips

Posted July 27, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Perfect Fling by Carly PhillipsReviewer: Holly
Perfect Fling by Carly Phillips
Series: Serendipity's Finest #2
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: July 30th 2013
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 336
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Series Rating: four-stars

Dear Readers:
Thank you for loving the small town of Serendipity. Because of you, I’m able to continue what I started…and introduce you to Serendipity’s Finest—the cops of Serendipity…
Best wishes, Carly

In the picturesque town of Serendipity, New York, three siblings have grown up in the shadow of their proud and respected police chief father. But what do love, fate, and fortune have in store for the next generation of Serendipity’s finest?
Assistant D.A. Erin Marsden is Serendipity’s quintessential good girl. The daughter of the ex–police chief, she’s never made a misstep, content with her quiet, predictable life...or so she thinks. Until Cole Sanders shows up with heated interest in his eyes and shadows in his past.
After seven years of deep undercover work in New York, Cole returns to town to help his aging father and find his moral compass again. Not to get involved with wholesome Erin Marsden. Even as a rebellious teen, he knew a girl like Erin was off limits. But neither can resist their off-the-charts chemistry, and a one-night stand brings complications neither expected.
Then a case puts Erin in a killer’s crosshairs, and Erin succumbs to Cole’s take-charge attitude. As a bodyguard, he’s the best. As a lover, he’s even better. But there’s more than Erin’s safety at stake. And Cole must forgive the sins of his past and prove to himself—and to Erin—that he’s capable of the love and the forever she so desperately needs.

I needed to take a break from small town romance for awhile so I didn’t read this when it was first released. I’m glad I did, because I was able to appreciate the story in a way I wouldn’t have a few months ago.

Cole and Erin had a one-night-stand.  She wouldn’t have minded more, but Cole made it clear that’s all he was interested in. Until she was shot and he found out she was pregnant.  Now he wants nothing more than to keep her and their baby safe.

Forced to live together for safety, neither can deny their attraction.  They embark on an affair, but Cole makes it clear he’s not interested in a long term relationship.  He wants to be involved with his child, but he works undercover and knows that’s no life for a wife.

Erin would prefer to make her own decisions about what’s best for her, but she realizes early on Cole is too stubborn to let her. She makes a play for him, hoping they’ll have a future together,  but quickly realizes he isn’t going to budge.

Cole’s feelings were so all over the place even he didn’t know what he wanted. The mixed signals he was sending were enough to confuse anyone. Erin was quick to call him out when he said one thing but acted in a conflicting manor. It was good to see her push,  since that was clearly what he needed. Seeing the way his father was with it, plus factoring in his job, made his actions understandable. I don’t know if I’d have been so forgiving if Erin had let him get away with blowing hot and cold, but as it stands I was able to relate.

Erin was an optimist who could have become annoying,  but she had a temper that balanced out her innate goodness. She wasn’t perfect, but she owned her flaws and mistakes.  She was established in her career, had good friends and tight family bonds and wasn’t afraid to stand on her own two feet. She was a little mixed up about Cole – and who wouldn’t be with all his mixed signals? – but overall she was a great character.

They had a good support system. Many characters from past books showed up, but not in an obtrusive way.

The town of Serendipity is one I’d like to live in and its inhabitants people I could call friends. Phillips really drew me into her world and made me want to stay.

4.25 out of 5

This book is available from Jove. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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