Contemporary Romance

Barely Breathing (Colorado High Country, #1) by Pamela Clare Review

Review:

Barely Breathing: A Colorado High Country Novel - Pamela Clare

Lexi Jewell left Scarlet Springs twelve years ago, vowing never to return to the eccentric Colorado mountain town where she grew up. Now, here she is—over thirty, out of a job and with little choice but to move back in with her father. Lexi knows it’s just a matter of time before she runs into Austin Taylor, her first boyfriend and her first heartbreak. She’s determined to show him she’s over him—until he steps out of a pickup truck and back into her life, looking sexy as hell in his mountain ranger uniform.

As far as Austin is concerned, Lexi can turn her snazzy little convertible around and drive back to Chicago. After all, she ripped his teenage heart apart and turned her back on the town he loves. But from the moment he sees her again, he can’t get her out of his mind. Even her smile messes with his head.

When an evening of conversation turns into something else, Lexi and Austin agree to be friends again—with benefits. But as Lexi starts making plans to return to the big city, Austin realizes he’ll lose her a second time unless he can show her that what she’s searching for has been right here all along.

 

Review

 

I am so excited about this new series by Pamela Clare! She is a great writer who mostly writes romantic suspense which is one of my least favorite subgenres. I am thrill that she is starting this indie series of contemporaries with acton thrown in.

 

What I really liked about this book is what I am sure I will really like about the series. The book was a love letter to Colorado mountains, search and rescue, and outdoor nature sports–in this case rock climbing. It is a feast of details and images and works perfectly to create a world in this small town you will want to visit and admiration for all the lifestyles, pastimes, and skills of the characters.

 

The cast of characters is great in terms of those I just know will have their own books.

The romance is a lovely second chance with high school sweethearts who have an intense attraction and love for each other paired with a playful sexuality (and they did have sex with others while apart thank god) which is super fun. The love story comes from them falling in love with fuller selves they both are now and seeing who they were then much more clearly.

 

The heroine’s journey is a worth the reading in terms of understanding herself and her relationship to her home town.

 

I wasn’t thrilled with the resolutions in terms of personal relationships between her father, her stepmother, her best friend, and her sisters. I thought these plot points should have been contended with more powerfully for a richer closing to this book.

 

But overall, good stuff!

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Louder Than Love (Love & Steel #1) by Jessica Topper 5 Star!!!!!

Review:

Louder Than Love - Jessica Topper

It’s been over three years since a train accident made a widow of Katrina Lewis, sending her and her young daughter Abbey back to the suburban town of her youth…the only place that still makes sense. Lauder Lake is the perfect place to hide and heal.

Recluse rocker Adrian “Digger” Graves survived the implosion of his music career, but his muse has long lain dormant. Until Kat hires him to play at her library—not on the basis of his hard rock credentials but rather, because of the obscure kids’ TV jingle he wrote years ago. In a case of mistaken identity, Adrian stumbles into the lives of Kat and her comically lovable daughter.

Using tattoos as a timeline, Adrian unfurls his life for Kat. But as the courtship intensifies, it’s unclear whose past looms larger: the widow’s or the rocker’s. Will their demons ever rest, or will they break these soul mates apart?

 

 

Review

 

I discovered this book when someone listed it as a comfort read and I thought I can always take comfort in a rock star.

 

Oh. This book. I love character driven romance and this love story is wonderful in the complexity of the characters and the rich development of who they are apart, together, and with the people in their lives.

 

The book is achey dealing with grief of all kinds, trust, past mistakes, current mistakes with hope and risk pushing the plot forward.

 

The characters are both grown with complete lives, interests, talents, strengths, and failings so the intersection and opportunity of their falling in love is pretty special.

There is just right tension but the heroine does frustrate me a bit when she holds back too long but then so does the hero. They are flawed and yet tactically real and loving.

 

The book is also a love letter to New York City.

 

There could be more reckoning with the addition past of the hero but this is quibble because really a what could be more joyous the an British metal post punk rocker? That accent, oy!

 

I really loved so much about this book and will for sure be keeping on the shelf for when I want to be comforted by a wonderful romance.

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Making the Play (Hidden Falls #1) by T.J. Kline Review

Review:

Making the Play (Hidden Falls) - T. J. Kline

Grant McQuaid has dedicated his entire life to his football career. Now an injury threatens his place on the team and he’s forced to return home to rehabilitate. But when he meets his “biggest fan,” a precocious, blue-eyed, hearing impaired boy named James—and his beautiful mother, Bethany—Grant begins to question whether football is the future he still wants.

Bethany Mills has been doing just fine since her husband walked out on them… and she definitely doesn’t need another man to disappoint her—or her son. But when James runs into his hero at the park, Bethany admits there is a void in her son’s life that she just can’t fill. Her attraction to the handsome football star is undeniable, but a man in the limelight is the last thing she wants for herself, or James.

Grant doesn’t want to subject Bethany to the chaos of dating a professional athlete. But the more time he spends with her and James, the harder it is to resist making a play for her heart…

 

Review

I wanted to like this one. I didn’t.

 

The heroine is too prickly for too long and beats the same drum of resistance. The hero is a guy going through a career change and well developed. I liked the child character a great deal and everything else about the book but I couldn’t buy the romance. The writing is well done but not the development of the heroine.

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northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1511602/making-the-play-hidden-falls-1-by-t-j-kline-review

Heart’s a Mess by Kylie Scott Review

Review:

Heart's A Mess: A Short Story - Kylie Scott

Former wild child, Violet, has vowed to get her life in order. To find a good job and settle down. To open a savings account and stop falling for the wrong men. But whatever happens, to most definitely not accidentally sleep with her hot newly single boss.

Review

 

A quick pleasure read with a high heat level, lots wit, and characters you will love.

 

Alex is recovering from a divorce and his internal dialogue is wonderful as are his brothers.

 

Violet is a never say blink kind of gal I can’t help but love just like Alex.

 

Good stuff!

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The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years Book 1) by Sarina Bowen 5 Star Review!

Review:

The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years) - Sarina Bowen

She expected to start Harkness College as a varsity ice hockey player. But a serious accident means that Corey Callahan will start school in a wheelchair instead.

Across the hall, in the other handicapped-accessible dorm room, lives the too-delicious-to-be real Adam Hartley, another would-be hockey star with his leg broken in two places. He’s way out of Corey’s league.
Also, he’s taken.

Nevertheless, an unlikely alliance blooms between Corey and Hartley in the “gimp ghetto” of McHerrin Hall. Over perilously balanced dining hall trays, and video games, the two cope with disappointments that nobody else understands.

They’re just friends, of course, until one night when things fall apart. Or fall together. All Corey knows is that she’s falling. Hard.

But will Hartley set aside his trophy girl to love someone as broken as Corey? If he won’t, she will need to find the courage to make a life for herself at Harkness — one which does not revolve around the sport she can no longer play, or the brown-eyed boy who’s afraid to love her back.

 

 

Review

 

Sarina Bowen writes great characters, wonderful plots and achey romance.

New adult with real stakes instead of crazy sauces is well done here.

The hero and the heroine become friends first, fall in love, and then it takes a while before they are an item.

The hero isn’t perfect in terms of his own level of self reflection and heroine is dealing with the major life change of her injury.

It is a really wonderful romance in a awesome setting.

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northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1511527/the-year-we-fell-down-the-ivy-years-book-1-by-sarina-bowen-5-star-review

True’s Love by Pepper Pace Review

Review:

True's Love - Pepper Pace

When Trulane stepped off the bus landing smack dab in the middle of a small mountain town with no prospects or no money, she does what anyone would—finds a job and a place to sleep that won’t cost her any money. The only thing is that there is no such thing as being secretive in Estill County Kentucky—not when you’re about the only black person in the entire town.

With no knowledge that she is about to cross the only person in town that doesn’t gossip about her, True hopes that Clay, the big grumpy and very sexy mountain man won’t turn out like so many others that treat her as if she is beneath them.
True’s Love is a short romance from award winning author Pepper Pace and brings the readers back to the little town That Lt. Christopher Jameson aka Beast is from. If you like the stories about Estill County and its lively inhabitants than be sure to read A Wrong Turn Toward’s love and Beast.

 

Review

 

This is just the sweet romance about two working class people. Well, except for the klans men running around, the homelessness…

 

The heroine and the hero really fall in like and then love with each other. Very tender.

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northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1462942/true-s-love-by-pepper-pace-review

Ain’t She Sweet (Green Mountain, #6) by Marie Force Review

Review:

Ain't She Sweet: Green Mountain Book 6 by Marie Force (2016-04-26) - Marie Force

Charlotte “Charley” Abbott has gone out with every guy under thirty-five in Butler, Vermont—except for one. Tyler Westcott’s attempts to date her may be determined, and frequent, but Charley can’t stand how he acts like he knows her better than she knows herself. So when Tyler turns up at the running club Charley joined to train for a marathon, she’s almost ready to quit before she even gets started.

Tyler knows that behind Charley’s prickly personality and dismissive attitude is a sweet woman he wants in his life. And when Charley suffers an injury while training, Tyler is ready to prove that the perfect man for her has been right there all along..

Review

 

What is not to love about a hero who adores the heroine? Flat out. Steadfast in liking her in all her prickles and pushing away.

 

The heroine’s reasons for this behavior I felt were, well, hmmm, such a deep seated reaction and then her own behaviors unexamined behaviors around relationships begged for some therapy. I get it but there was something in the writing that did not make this part of the heroine make full sense really and was a drawback to enjoying the book.

 

Not a drawback–small town setting, big families, christmas, fantasy of a wealthy humble dude, sweet hot romance.

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True Devotion (True, #2) by Liora Blake Review

Review:

True Devotion (The True Series) - Liora Blake

Find out if rock sensation Simon can break through tough-girl Devon’s steely exterior—if he can keep his head on straight, that is—in this second sizzling romance in the True series!

Devon Jenkins is a feisty blonde, and Simon Cole is the arrogant, sexy guitarist playing in her brother’s band. When they met for the first time, it went something like this: He hit on her, she shot him down, he made a lewd joke, she told him he was an idiot.

In the two years since then, not much has changed. From the way Simon flirts shamelessly with any set of ovaries within a 100-mile radius, Devon knows the smartest thing she can do is keep an impenetrable wall between them.

But sometimes the smart choice isn’t necessarily the right one…

 

Review

Yea! This book is really lovely with a reluctant, witty, assertive massage therapist heroine and sexy sunny hot nerdy rock star hero in pursuit.

 

This is a wonderful character driven romance that sides steps drama until the end where it stumbles a bit with plot moves that were not needed but overall the chemistry and banter between the couple is so delicious.

 

A very satisfying romance.

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northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1500278/true-devotion-true-2-by-liora-blake-review

A Ballad of Confetti, Cake and Catastrophes by Helen Juliet 4 Star Review

  A Ballad of Confetti, Cake and Catastrophes by Helen Juliet 4 Stars! 

Nicholas Herald’s only job was to book the music for his sister’s wedding. So when the big day is only a week away and the job isn’t done, his options are running out fast. In the end he throws down his cash on a guitarist with nimble fingers and arresting eyes.

Fynn Dumashie is more than happy to spend time with Nicholas as they feverishly plan the wedding’s music together. But the closer they get to the event, the more Nicholas seems to want something more… If only he could stop fighting himself to ask for it.

With last minute cancellations, wayward family members, and a cat with a serious vendetta against happiness, they’ll be lucky if they make it to the wedding in one piece. Can Nicholas overcome his own fears to accept who he really is before he and Fynn part ways for the last time?

Review

Oh, I really loved this sweet romance. Both heroes are wonderful though we get to know Nicholas much better.

This is a madcap wedding romance as well as a coming of age story. It is filled with great characters and great moments.

We get a really engaging romance as well.

A great deal of fun.

Rookie Move (Brooklyn Bruisers, #1) by Sarina Bowen Review

Review:

Rookie Move (A Brooklyn Bruisers Novel) - Sarina Bowen

In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold…
 
Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.

Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast….

 

Review

 

Sarina Bowen writes wonderful couples that I really like and wish the very best.

 

This is the first entry in her new pro hockey series and its good. The sexual tension is off the charts and the sheer like between the characters let alone the love is grand.

 

However, I did get impatient with the book a bit. This series is a spin off from the Ivy League Years (id you haven’t read these books, go now). So, I knew Leo’s and Georgia’s backstory and have an idea about each character coming into the book. I think without this knowledge I would have been happier.

 

As it was I was restless with wanting them to deal with what was between them and then frustrated that Georgia hadn’t been doing more (or at least we don’t get to see it when they were apart) and Leo doesn’t seem to own up to his own very odd behavior with the ladies in the years since they have been together. I wanted that contended with as a series fan. It wasn’t. I wanted to move to the being together faster.

 

There is extra drama with the heroine’s father was not really needed and couple time could have taken its place.

 

There is an amazing scene that is so tender and real towards the end of the book that I loved when Georgia sees Leo’s pain and he sees his own pain. More of that please. This is where I would have liked the book to build from and not come to an end.

 

So, the pacing was off in places but still such great characters and writing.

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