Thursday, April 30, 2015

Review: "Then Came You" (Second Chance Brides) by Wendy Lindstrom

Synopsis:

THEN CAME YOU is the SWEET edition of The Longing

A Marriage Of Convenience—And Unexpected Romance

When her beloved father dies, Amelia Drake is forced to marry her father’s competitor, Kyle Grayson. The last thing Amelia wants is a marriage of convenience to the man who rejected her youthful flirtation—especially when she’s still smitten with him. But Kyle is her only option and she’s determined to make a real marriage with her handsome husband. Can she break through Kyle’s staunch business demeanor and show him that laughter and love are possible?

Genre: Historical Romance (Sweet Edition)
My Review:
Then Came You is such a fitting title for the second book in the "Second Chance Brides" series (the sweet versions of the Grayson brothers). Both Kyle and Amelia are living in the aftermath of lost futures with who they believed to be their "happily ever after". Kyle is still grieving his broken engagement with Evelyn and nursing his feelings of hurt and loneliness. While Kyle knows that Evelyn and Radford belong together, it doesn't hurt him any less that she is no longer with him. Amelia is living the life she believes she is "due" because of her previous relationship with Richard, and lives in her own state of loneliness and regret. For Amelia, the shame she feels regarding her previous relationship drives so many of her actions. Each is lost and don't realize that what they need to make them whole again is each other. Through the scenes at the beginning of the book, the author paints a story of sadness, regret, and loneliness for each of them that is so compelling that the reader feels these emotions right along with the characters. What neither character realizes at the time is that the events of their lives were leading them towards who they were meant to be with - for each of them. 
Societal rules of the time form the foundation of the story and play an influential role in what happens between Kyle and Amelia. Kyle's guilt over his role in Amelia's father's death leads him to support Amelia and her mother through buying their mill. Propriety about interactions between men and women of the time drives Kyle and Amelia to get married. Propriety about the purity of women upon marriage fuels Amelia's guilt over her previous relationship. Kyle's honor means that he honors his wife and their marriage, sacrificing his relationship with another woman. It's an interesting look into the societal rules of the time and how they influence the behaviors and actions of men and women. As a strong, independent woman myself, I found it an interesting perspective of a time where women's roles in society differed greatly from modern times. I would say that the rules and traditions of the times almost serve as more than the "setting" for the book, they serve as another character, influencing the lives and actions of the characters.
Having read The Longing (the sensual edition of Then Came You), I do have to say that there was one point in the book where it was clear the sensual scene was removed. A scene was progressing that was leading to the consummation of Amelia and Kyle's marriage, and then the scene ended abruptly. As a reader, I found myself having to "catch up" with what was missing and what happened during that scene. In this case, I believe the author could have left some of that scene in, keeping the story "sweet" but enabling the reader to discover Amelia's secret along with Kyle, instead of having to piece the clues together as the story moves forward. Other than that one scene, I felt the story flowed well and wove an emotional story of loneliness, guilt, regret, hope, and ultimately love. After mourning along with Kyle and his loss of Evelyn in "Twice Loved", I was looking forward to seeing Kyle move forward and get his own "happily ever after" and I wasn't disappointed. What happens to Kyle and Amelia when they reach the depths of their loneliness and regret?  Then Came You ... and love.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 
RomanceReader
Links:

Goodreads - Amazon

About the Author:
I was born and raised in upstate New York. My seven siblings and I were as wild and untended as the land around us, nurtured by the rich, black earth and warm sunshine. We swam in a shallow creek and made forts in the corn field where I would lie beneath the enormous blue sky and imagine epic adventures.

Alone I would haunt the forest, sharing my stories with the trees. I would press my face against their bark to feel their energy; a deeply furrowed oak, a scaly pine, a smooth beech, all welcoming my skinny arms and childish cheek. Thirty feet in the air, I would perch on their limbs, feeling safe beneath their leafy canopy. There I would become the heroine of the stories I imagined. There I began my life as a writer.

My first attempt at storytelling was in English comp class at SUNY University at Fredonia. My professor, Melinda Wendell, told me I had a voice for storytelling and that she hoped to see my work in a bookstore one day. (Thank you, Professor Wendell!) I never finished that particular story, but in the messy, handwritten pages of my journal an idea began to form. While researching, I came across a Civil War memoir by George K. Collins and I knew I’d found the premise for my first book Shades of Honor.

My award-winning Grayson Brothers series set in 19th Century Fredonia echoes the sounds and smells of my childhood. Like me, my characters are driven to understand what it means to be alive to each experience and fully embrace the unknown.

While writing books three and four of my Grayson Brothers series I spiraled into chronic fatigue syndrome. Although I dabbled with a few projects during that time, I didn’t have the energy or focus to write a book. Like all adventures, there comes a moment when a person must embrace the unknown and leap! I took up tai chi to get myself moving again. I started kickboxing a few months later and eventually began taking karate. I’m happy to say that I have since earned an Green Belt in A.K.T. Combatives and have returned to vibrant health. Most importantly, I published SLEIGH OF HOPE and LEAVE IT FOR THE RAIN, books 5 and 6 in the Grayson Brothers series. More books in the Grayson Brothers series, and also in my new Crane Landing series, are in the works.

Website: http://www.wendylindstrom.com/

Spotlight and Giveaway: The Believe Series by L. Chapman

Logo designed by Designs by Dana

Trust – Book #1

Cover designed by Sarah from Sprinkles On Top Studios

Lovely Megan Madden has lost her faith in men. But this has not kept her from the joy of her best friend's upcoming wedding. While in London shopping for the big event, Megan's life takes a surprising turn when a quick drink brings changes to her life she never saw coming. Join in the roller coaster of emotions Megan must endure as she attempts to regain her TRUST.

Who knew a quiet drink could change your life?




~BUY  LINKS ~ 









 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Veiled – Book #2


Cover designed by MGbookcovers
Jenny has always wanted a fairytale life: the perfect house, her own Prince Charming and the wedding to go with it.
After a five year engagement Jenny and her fiance Rich are counting down to the "Big Day"... 
And lets not forget one hell of a Hen Party for Jenny her life as the perfect wife is all she has ever wanted but secrets are never far away...
Will Jenny make it to her own fairytale wedding... 
All will be revealed in "Veiled"




~BUY  LINKS ~ 



 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*


Redeemed – Book #3

Cover designed by Sarah from Sprinkles On Top Studios

Megan’s life has been anything but simple. She’s always lived amongst chaos, and for once, she just wants it all to stop. After years of lies and agony, will anything work out for her?
In this heart-gripping third installment of the Believe series, watch Megan discover love again, and not just any love, but one worth fighting for, one that makes her feel different, cherished, wanted, and treasured. For Megan, Mark is the one to give her all of that and has brought a new meaning to her life and a new reason to live.

The old saying, "Nothing comes easy in life," holds true to this story, which is packed with unexpected twists and turns. For Megan and Mark, it pushes their love to new heights. Will the love they share for each other keep their relationship strong, or does Megan’s string of erroneous luck run out?




~ Buy links ~



~*~*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Do you Believe – Book #3.5
Cover designed by Sarah from Sprinkles On Top Studios

For Megan, the time she has long dreamed of is finally here.
Come watch the power of friendship evolve and discover how significant a true family bond is. You’ll see Mark and Megan as they lead little Lucy through the joys of the holiday season.


With the impending holiday just a day away, there are a lot of enjoyable family events planned. Come and relish this special day with the entire gang from the Believe Series. Get to know the characters you’ve grown to love even more, while meeting new, fresh faces at the same time.
For the Believe family, will they all get the Christmas they’ve been dreaming of?

~ Buy links ~



~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

All four book's in one place



~ Buy links ~



About L Chapman

L. Chapman was born in and continues to live in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom. She has spent most of her life helping others. At one time, a DJ for a special needs club. Blending her love of helping others and her love of children, L dreams to one day own and operate a childcare nursery that will help mainstream special needs children with others.

In the rare ...times that L. is not working to help others or maniacally writing, she enjoys making a mess of things while creating beautifully detailed greeting cards. She spends time relaxing with family, friends, and good books. L. loves to travel and has been to many places in the United Kingdom; her favorite places all involve the ocean. She hopes to one day share a kiss with her happily-ever-after in the romantic shadow of the Eiffel Tower. Should she ever get over her fear of flying, those kisses may be shared in the shadows of the Egyptian Pyramids.

Ever the fussy eater, L. has never once tasted peanut butter, and she despises coffee. If you should feel the need to bribe her, it is suggested that you bring chocolate, as that is one of her known weaknesses.


Facebook  <3 Twitter <3  Goodreads <3 Website

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book Tour: "Catching Cassidy" by Melissa Foster


NEW HARBORSIDE NIGHTS is a sexy, hot, and evocatively real New Adult Romance series that follows a group of friends who have known one another for years as “summer” friends, and now come together after college to build their lives. They’re tough, edgy, and accepting—most of the time. This series is written in the loving, raw, and emotional voice readers have come to love by New York Times & USA Today bestselling, award-winning author Melissa Foster.

Wyatt Armstrong never imagined that instead of celebrating his college graduation, he and his twin sister would be dealing with the death of their parents. Then again, Wyatt had never been one to think past tomorrow. He heads to their summer home in Harborside, Massachusetts, with his best friend Cassidy Lowell in tow, to deal with his parents’ death and to try to figure out his next step.

Six foot two, infuriatingly handsome, and flirtatious, Wyatt Armstrong has always been there for Cassidy, helping her pass her classes and fend off unwanted advances, while driving her insane with his one-night stands—but that’s what best friends are for, isn’t it? Having each other’s backs. There was never any doubt that she would accompany him to his family’s summer home—but she never expected to begin seeing Wyatt as more than a friend. Or has she been ignoring her feelings all along?

It’s impossible to ignore the sizzling heat between them as Wyatt and Cassidy get even closer, but Cassidy knows Wyatt’s past, and she has a real job to begin in the fall. Wyatt may be a sure thing for the summer, but Cassidy needs more. For the first time in his life, Wyatt is forced to look toward the future if he doesn’t want to lose the one woman who’s shared his past and owns his heart.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

“Catching Cassidy was laugh out loud funny, heartwarming, sexy, and hands down one of my favorite reads so far this year!” — #1 NYT Bestselling Author of The Bet – Rachel Van Dyken

My Review:

Catching Cassidy is truly a coming of age story for both of the main characters, Cassidy and Wyatt.  The growth and maturity of the characters is reflected not only in the actions of the characters as the story progresses, but in the language used by the author throughout the book.  When the book started, I worried that I would not be able to relate to the characters and the language because it really reflected teenagers / young adult (of which I am neither).  But as the story progressed, and both Cassidy and Wyatt were forced to take on more responsibilities, become more mature, and ultimately grow into the adults they were going to be, the language, dialog, and actions of the characters began to reflect that maturity.  I found myself really relating to the characters as the story progressed towards its conclusion. The book is written from a first-person perspective, moving back and forth between Wyatt and Cassidy.  While I sometimes found myself looking back to remember whose perspective I was reading, I do believe it helped me to relate on a deeper level with the characters and their growth throughout the story.

This is the first installment in the "Harborside Nights" series, and as such, we were introduced to many characters in the small beach-side town of Harborside.  At first, I felt overwhelmed by the number of people I was meeting, but as the book progressed, these characters became as endearing to me as Cassidy and Wyatt and I look forward to reading future stories involving the many characters we met in Catching Cassidy. Melissa Foster introduced extremely emotional aspects of many of the secondary characters introduced in this story and enabled us to get to know those characters, and want to know more about those characters, without taking away from the primary storyline featuring Cassidy and Wyatt.

I really loved Wyatt and I hope we continue to see him in subsequent books.  Forced to grow up by the death of his parents, we really see him grow and mature into the man he is meant to be. Wyatt is a sensitive man and I really enjoyed seeing him relating emotionally and empathetically to Cassidy and his sister Delilah - there were many times in there story that I felt Wyatt truly feeling what Cassidy and Delilah felt.  I loved how he had personal insight into his own shortcomings and felt that it wasn't the right time for him to begin a relationship with Cassidy. But as he matured into the man he was becoming, he also realized that who used to be his best friend is now the love of his life - or maybe she always has been.  

I was hurting right along with Cassidy in her relationship with her parents.  Through her feelings of abandonment by her parents, we see the child in her struggling to gain acceptance and any morsel of attention and love from her parents.  I found myself wanting to give her a good smack upside the head when she continued to make her decisions driven by her overwhelming need for attention and acceptance from her parents.  Ultimately, she made the right decision for herself and her future with Wyatt, but I struggled right along with Wyatt as he withheld his opinion about her decision in deference to her and her parents.

Melissa Foster's first installment in Harborside Nights is an emotionally-charged, intensely personal story about two people's whose lives change with a single event.  This coming-of-age story demonstrates that people can often become the great adults they are destined to be, even despite themselves!  I look forward to subsequent books in the series!

Disclosure: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
RomanceReader

Available to buy from...... 

Book Trailer:


About Melissa Foster

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women’s fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the World Literary CafĂ© and Fostering Success. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine. 

Melissa hosts an Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family. 

Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa at The World Literary Cafe or her personal website.Never miss a brand new release, special promotions or inside gossip again by simply signing up to receive your newsletter from Melissa.
Find the author on the following sites...
.Facebook   Twitter   Google+   Goodreads   Pinterest 


Follow the Book Tour

Photobucket

COMING IN 2015 the full Harborside Nights series...

Catching Cassidy (Het)
Discovering Delilah (F/F)
Tempting Tristan (M/M)
Chasing Charley (Het)
Breaking Brandon (M/M)
 Embracing Evan (Het)
Reaching Rusty (Het)
Loving Livi (Het)

Characters from the Love in Bloom series will appear in the Harborside Nights books.

NOW FOR THE AUTHOR'S GIVEAWAY !!

Five lucky winners will each win the Read, Write, Love ebook
(The Remingtons)
Ending on Sunday 7th June at 11.59pm EST
Open Worldwide

Enter Below & Good Luck !!


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"His First and Last" (Ardent Springs) by Terri Osburn


Synopsis:

At eighteen, Lorelei Pratchett couldn’t wait to get out of her hometown. Twelve years later, her Hollywood dreams have fizzled and she’s back—temporarily, she thinks. Though she throws herself into saving the old theater and starting a baking business, small towns have long memories, and Lorelei’s wild past still haunts her. It doesn’t help that her ex-boyfriend, Spencer Boyd, is even hotter, smarter, and more distracting than before.

The fiery Lorelei that Spencer knew years ago may have become closed off and cautious, but their chemistry hasn’t faded one bit. Losing her a second time is unthinkable to him, yet Lorelei is convinced she doesn’t belong in Ardent Springs. Somehow, Spencer needs to show her that everything she needs is right here: family, friendship, new beginnings…and a man who’s never stopped loving her.

His First and Last is an irresistible story of first love and second chances.

Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Review:
I have previously read all of Terri Osburn's Anchor Island novels and I was excited to get to know the residents of Ardent Springs in the first novel, His First and Last. It took me a while to "get it", but this title is perfect for this book. As I first started reading the book, I had a hard time getting into it - and I was surprised. It took me quite a few chapters to really start relating to the characters and the town, but once I did, I really enjoyed the book. The author introduces us to Lorilei and Spencer early on in the book, and it doesn't take long for the reader to get the full story of what was going on between those two - even if they didn't know each other secrets yet. The author draws you in to the characters lives and you quickly feel invested in what happens to them - their wrongs become your wrongs and you feel the need to defend Lorilei when she is being put down, or hugging Spencer when he hurts. That's the sign of a good author when she can make you feel the feelings of the characters in her books.
The author masterfully introduces two characters that you love to hate - and they are related!  At every twist and turn in the book, you'll find either the mayor, Jebediah, or his daughter, Becky, right there, ready to stir up trouble. They are both wonderfully horrible characters and they definitely deserve each other as family. I also enjoyed getting to know Granny - Lorelei's conscience. Whenever Lorelei has doubts about her return, or her ability, Granny is there to be her voice of reason or give her a smack upside the head when she needs it. And she knows how to wield a shotgun if she needs to! I also enjoyed getting to know Snow, another colorful character living in the town of Ardent Springs. I especially liked that she is willing to give Lorelei a chance and supports her in her quest for "respectability" in town. I look forward to getting to know more about Snow in her own story.
His First and Last epitomizes Spencer's feelings towards Lorelei, but it also signifies so much more depth. His feelings about his father, and for his mother; and Lorelei's feelings about her mother, and her father; and their feelings about their past and their future are all wrapped up in the story of Lorelei's return to Ardent Springs. The author has created a wonderful small town in Tennessee that would have a new visitor around festival time, if only I could find it on the map! A fantastic start to the Ardent Springs series and I look forward to future books in the series from Terri Osburn.
RomanceReader
Links:

Goodreads - Amazon - Barnes & Noble (PB)

About the Author:
Terri fell in love with reading at a young age, starting with condensed versions of classics such as The Wizard of Oz, The Hound of the Baskervilles, and Little Women. She fell into Romance novels around Junior High and never looked back. Authors such as Judith McNaught, Kathleen Woodiwiss, and LaVyrle Spencer kept her going through high school, then she bounded into the 90s with authors like Julie Garwood, Dorothy Garlock, Johanna Lindsey and countless others.

Her bookshelves are lined with beloved keepers (many sporting Fabio covers), some tattered and torn but all filled with passion, love, lust, and above all, Romance. From the Wild West to Romping Regency ballrooms to boardrooms and charming small towns, her library covers the spectrum.
Terri makes her home along the coast of Virginia with an eye-rolling teenager, two fat tabbies, and a hyper yorkiepoo. In her nefarious past she worked in customer service, fund-raising, catering, and was even a train conductor. (In the mall. Not as impressive as it sounds.) She was also a Country radio disc jockey for eight years, which makes her one of those rarest of author creatures – an extrovert.

Terri is a member of Romance Writers of America®, Virginia Romance Writers, and a 2012 Golden Heart® finalist in the Contemporary Single Title category. Her debut novel MEANT TO BE launched from Montlake Romance in May 2013, with the follow up, UP TO THE CHALLENGE, out in October 2013.

Website: http://www.terriosburn.com/

Monday, April 27, 2015

Cover Reveal and GIVEAWAY: "Blind Luck: Team Red, Book 6" by T. Hammond


Synopsis:

What happens in Reno should stay in Reno. Unfortunately, Red has never learned to keep a secret.

Teresa March and the Team Red detail are off to Nevada to help authorities solve a series of escalating violent crimes. Assault, robbery, rape, and most recently – murder, spreading from Tahoe's rugged lakeside trails to Reno's desert recreation areas. Tensions and altitudes are high.

David remains in Spokane at Marcia's bedside, and Bastian is on the East Coast completing PreClan military software installations. Both men worry about Teresa as she and Red close in on the vicious gang cutting a bloody swath of terror through the Sierra Mountains.

Sifting through forensic evidence is barely finished when tragedy strikes; an avalanche and missing skiers whose only hope is top notch rescue dog. Team Red has never been more in demand.

Genre: Spicy Romance with a paranormal twist

Excerpt:

I took my window seat, pulling Frost into the spot beside me, the same as we’d traveled before. He resisted for a split second and then capitulated, once Bas took the seat across from me. The special agent looked around uncertainly, finally deciding to sit next to Bas. His confused glance leapt from Bas to my fingers, linked through Frost’s. I imagined a host of inappropriate thoughts were spinning through his mind. Red sat in the aisle, buckled into his harness by an efficient Mindy, head resting on the table between us so he could observe everyone.

Bas had been well-aware of my intention to sit with Frost, understanding my need to provide support. Of course, Bastian couldn’t let it go. “I see you finally found a way to get your hands on my woman,” he teased.

“Go ahead, mock me.” Frost lifted our linked hands. “I’ve got the prize.”

Bastian gifted me with a warm smile. “You do indeed.” He nodded toward our entwined fingers, “I’ll want those back once we land.”

Frost shrugged with feigned nonchalance. “She may decide she’s happier with the upgrade.” His lifted brow, and the twist of humor canting a corner of his lip, suggested he was the better bargain.

“Oh, puleeez.” Red sighed dramatically in my mind.

I tried to keep my amusement to myself, but Bas noticed my silent laughter. His suspicious gaze cut sharply to Red, who must have looked guilty (Janey tells me his ears droop, something I can’t see from his perspective). “Something you wanted to add, furball?”

Red ducked his head under the table, giving me a fantastic view of shoes. For as smart as he was, he often reverted to the classic dog-notion, if I can’t see you, you can’t see me.

“Thought not,” Bastian mumbled. 

Release Date:

May 14, 2015

Links:
Subscribe to T Hammond's Amazon page for pre-order notification for Blind Luck.

http://www.amazon.com/T.-Hammond/e/B00BS93JK0 

Other books in the Team Red series:

Blind Seduction: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Kobo - iBooks (Free on all major retailers)
Color Blind: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Kobo - iBooks
Blind Faith: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Kobo - iBooks
Blind Rage: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Kobo - iBooks
Blind-sided: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Kobo - iBooks

Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:
T. Hammond feels writing is not a calling so much as a compulsion. No one is more surprised than her when characters take over the plot and dialog, (re)directing stories in directions she had not (consciously) intended. Although she starts with a basic framework, she finds that one or two chapters into each novel, not only have characters shredded her outline into tiny unidentifiable pieces, they use the resulting confetti in a nose-thumbing parade. She is fully convinced the writer is merely the tool a story uses to tell its tale.

T’s first Urban Fantasy, Posse: Legends, is scheduled for Spring 2015, and will be her first book outside the Team Red series.


RomanceReader

Release Day Review: "Summit of Seduction" by Elena Aitken

Synopsis:

With a sick mother, the bills piling up and her best friend leaving town in the middle of it all, the last thing Cynthia Giles needs in her life is a man. Especially one like Seth McBride. Sure, he's sexy as hell and the memory of what his strong hands felt like on her body keep her up at night, but that's exactly why she needs to keep her distance. It was one time...okay twice...but it can't happen again because Seth represents everything she doesn't need.

She isn't his type. Not even close. Seth likes his women blond, wild and without any expectations for a relationship. But there's something about the smoldering redhead that Seth can't stay away from. Neither of them meant for anything to happen between them, but it did and ever since, Seth can't get her out of his head. And he's almost positive Cynthia feels the connection, too.

He might even be able to convince her to admit she feels the same way. But when Cynthia discovers a truth that will rock both of their worlds, all bets are off while they try to navigate their new future.
 

Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Review:
Summit of Seduction is an emotional look into the lives of Cynthia and Seth.  I'm not sure what I expected when I read the description, but what I got was so much more.  The author hooks you immediately when you find yourself riding along with Cynthia and Seth to check out a new litter of puppies - reading that, you'd think you're going to have a light-hearted, sweet romance with not a lot of strife or stress.  But instead, the author weaves so many complications into the storyline, before you know it you are caught up in some pretty stressful and emotional situations, and you find yourself feeling them right along with Cynthia and Seth.
I love Seth. It is just that simple. I will tell you now that I haven't read the previous book in the Stone Summit series, so certain aspects of Seth's personality may have been introduced in that book. But, I have trouble seeing him as the player that the book description, and every character in the book, portrays him.  It is clear as soon as we met Seth that he is angling to form a deeper relationship with Cynthia, and as their lives are turned upside down, Seth does everything right. The author has created a hero that knows his feelings and is confident enough in his feelings to do what he needs to do to win the girl. One of my favorite quotes by Seth is, "... isn't the reason I'm trying to convince you I'm a good guy with actual feelings for you.  You are the reason.  I've never met anyone worth setling down for.  Until you.  You are every reason, Cynthia.  Just you." Makes me want to swoon and find a Seth of my own. Seth is incredibly supportive of Cynthia throughout all of her issues in this story, and doesn't allow her to push him away when a weaker man would walk away when the woman he loves tries again and again to walk away, or push him away. Seth is a hero that every reader would like to have as her own!
The author uses an engaging writing style to keep the reader engaged and I especially love one part of the story where the author uses "positives" to be negative. Cynthia is reading about the potential "positive" results of a situation, and surmises that its only positive if you are assuming the person in the situation sees a positive result as a positive situation - which she does not. She talks about "positives that aren't positive at all..."  I can't say more without providing spoilers but the author really does a wonderful job of conveying the angst that Cynthia was feeling throughout the story.
This is a difficult book to provide specifics in a review about without providing spoilers, but sufficed to say, this is an emotionally compelling story about two people who feel they aren't suited for each other, when the reality is they may not be suited for anyone else. Elena Aitken provides us a fantastic new visit into the lives of the residents of Cedar Springs and gives us a check-in on several of our favorite residents from previous books and an inkling of what may be to come in future visits to Cedar Springs.
Disclosure: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
RomanceReader

Links:
Goodreads - Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Kobo - iBooks

About the Author:
I’ve been writing in one form or another since elementary school but although I always knew I wanted to be a writer when I grew up, instead I earned university degrees in Marketing and Psychology and writing got put on the back burner. After my twins were born I was buried in diaper changes, middle of the night feedings and mountains of laundry—obviously it was the logical time to start writing again. I guess it took me while to grow up. 

I turned to non-fiction and became a regular contributor to local parenting magazines, published in four Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, and a compilation by Seal Press. It wasn’t until 2005 that I tried my hand at writing fiction and wrote my first novel. It’s buried on my hard drive where it should be, and ever since I just keep writing more.

Like a lot of my readers, I’m a busy mom. It often feels like life is pulling us in a million different directions, which is why I love to write romance!

There’s nothing better than knowing you have an escape waiting for you at the end of a long day in the form of a good book.

I’m lucky enough to live in the shadow of the Canadian Rocky Mountains in the foothills of Alberta, where I can write the stories I love. Whenever I get the chance, I escape into those amazing mountains and I can usually be found sitting with my feet in the lake, working on my next book. As well as contemporary romance novels, I also like to write women’s fiction and my collection of stand alone novels are all part of the Escape Collection. I’m always trying something new, so stay tuned to see what’s next!

Website: http://elenaaitken.com/

Friday, April 24, 2015

Review: "Twice Loved" (Second Chance Brides) by Wendy Lindstrom

Synopsis:
TWICE LOVED is the SWEET edition of Shades of Honor: 

She Planned To Marry Her Best Friend—Then His Brother Returned Home And Complicated Everything. 

Marrying her lifelong friend and neighbor, Kyle Grayson, will allow Evelyn to care for her ailing father. But when Kyle’s older brother, Radford, returns home with his young daughter, it turns Evelyn’s life upside down. The wounded man and withdrawn little girl awaken Evelyn’s heart and she can no longer deny her need for love. Will she be forced to choose between her desperate need for security and the love she has always dreamed of? 

Genre: Historical Romance (Sweet Edition)
My Review:
Twice Loved is a wonderfully-written, emotionally-gripping story of a woman torn between the man she is committed to marrying, and the man she loves. Wendy Lindstrom creates a compelling picture of historical Fredonia, NY and the Grayson family, and draws the reader into the lives of her characters. A fantastic first "sweet novel" in the Grayson series, it invites us into the lives of Evelyn, Radford, and Kyle but also teases us with glimpses of Duke and Boyd Grayson and entices the reader to want to read their stories as well.
Radford is a troubled soul, haunted by his experiences in the Civil War and suffering from the nightmares and flashbacks resulting from those experiences. The author's realistic depiction of his nightmares and the scenes from the war draws the reader into the pain that Radford experiences. He finally returns home 5 years after the war, with his 4-year-old daughter in tow. The author draws us into the strife between Kyle and Radford created by Radford's return and creates an environment where the reader can actually feel empathy for both of these men who are fighting for what they believe most important to them. Kyle is also engaged to Evelyn, Kyle and Radford's childhood friend and the daughter of Radford's confident and leader during the Civil War. The love triangle that ensues between Kyle, Radford, and Evelyn is heart-wrenching and beautiful at the same time. They each experience their own anguish and hurt as the story unfolds and the reader is drawn into the emotions that each of them feels.
The author should issue a pack of tissues with each book purchased! The sign of a book that completely draws you in is one in which you find yourself crying and laughing along with the characters in the book - and Twice Loved did that in spades! The love and the heartache both create an emotionally-charged situation leading to the climax of the love-triangle. As Radford continues to struggle with his inner-demons, Evelyn struggles with her feelings for Radford, her desire to continue running her family livery, and the failing health of her father. It's a shame that Evelyn and Radford's happily ever after had to come at Kyle's expense. While I found myself rooting for Radford and Evelyn's happily ever after, my empathy for Kyle wants him to find his as well.
I thought it was masterful how the author created Evelyn's father's love story with her mother to parallel Evelyn's struggles with her feelings for Kyle and Radford. It enables Evelyn to draw on the strength of her parents love as a means of following her own heart. Her father is a delightfully engaging character and a wonderful means to help draw Radford and Rebecca back into life in Fredonia. The author's use of secondary characters to create a picture of Fredonia really makes the reader want to step back into post-war Fredonia with the Grayson's.
Twice Loved is the "sweet" version of Shades of Honor. I had read Shades of Honor a couple of years ago. Prior to reading this book, I was curious to see how the author would be able to ensure a smooth story line while removing the sensual aspects of the story. I was pleasantly surprised; the story flowed so seamlessly that I couldn't tell where the sensual scenes had been removed. And I didn't miss them! I enjoyed the story with the sensual scenes in Shades of Honor but this story was equally enjoyable, compelling, and emotionally-charged even without those scenes. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants an "intimacy-free" historical romance. For those looking for a more sensual story, Shades of Honor will deliver!
RomanceReader
Links:

Goodreads - Amazon

About the Author:
I was born and raised in upstate New York. My seven siblings and I were as wild and untended as the land around us, nurtured by the rich, black earth and warm sunshine. We swam in a shallow creek and made forts in the corn field where I would lie beneath the enormous blue sky and imagine epic adventures.

Alone I would haunt the forest, sharing my stories with the trees. I would press my face against their bark to feel their energy; a deeply furrowed oak, a scaly pine, a smooth beech, all welcoming my skinny arms and childish cheek. Thirty feet in the air, I would perch on their limbs, feeling safe beneath their leafy canopy. There I would become the heroine of the stories I imagined. There I began my life as a writer.

My first attempt at storytelling was in English comp class at SUNY University at Fredonia. My professor, Melinda Wendell, told me I had a voice for storytelling and that she hoped to see my work in a bookstore one day. (Thank you, Professor Wendell!) I never finished that particular story, but in the messy, handwritten pages of my journal an idea began to form. While researching, I came across a Civil War memoir by George K. Collins and I knew I’d found the premise for my first book Shades of Honor.

My award-winning Grayson Brothers series set in 19th Century Fredonia echoes the sounds and smells of my childhood. Like me, my characters are driven to understand what it means to be alive to each experience and fully embrace the unknown.


While writing books three and four of my Grayson Brothers series I spiraled into chronic fatigue syndrome. Although I dabbled with a few projects during that time, I didn’t have the energy or focus to write a book. Like all adventures, there comes a moment when a person must embrace the unknown and leap! I took up tai chi to get myself moving again. I started kickboxing a few months later and eventually began taking karate. I’m happy to say that I have since earned an Green Belt in A.K.T. Combatives and have returned to vibrant health. Most importantly, I published SLEIGH OF HOPE and LEAVE IT FOR THE RAIN, books 5 and 6 in the Grayson Brothers series. More books in the Grayson Brothers series, and also in my new Crane Landing series, are in the works.

Website: http://www.wendylindstrom.com/