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Whispers at Seaside (Sweet with Heat: Seaside Summers) - Addison Cole

Oh Addison Cole, you write such amazing stories with wonderful characters.    The Seaside Girls are my favorite friendship ever.   They are so strong, sweet, and naughty.     They pull pranks, tell secrets to each other, love each other, and love their men so deeply.    Each time I pick up a Sweet with Heat:  Seaside Summer book I know that I will get to catch up with women.  

 

Whispers at Seaside is the story of Professor Matt Lacroux and single mother Mira Savage.   The instant chemistry between Matt and Mira is off the charts.   There is no doubt that they belong together but there is also Hagen.   Hagen is the best character in the story.   As Mira’s son he is the most important person in Mira’s life and anyone who wants to be friends with Mira must be friends with her son.   Matt comes in and becomes friends with Hagen from the very beginning, he includes him in discussions, dates, and activities without being put out (heart melting).      

 

 

This book in the series is now my favorite.   Matt Lacroux won be over just by his interactions with Hagen.   The heat is perfect, the sweetness is wonderful, and the love is just right.

What Happened That Night - Sandra Block

Sandra Block wrote a book that grabbed me from the very first time I looked at the gorgeous cover and held me until I read the very last word.    When I first saw the book I knew that this was a story that I had to read.   I knew that the suspense would keep me on the edge of my seat, the characters would make me want to be part of their friend circle, and that there would be so many twists and turns that I wouldn’t know which way I should go next.    

 

The storyline was not an easy one to read.   There were subjects, especially the rapes, that had to be tough to write about but Sandra Block did an amazing job.   She gave enough detail for the reader to have no doubt what was happening but not too much.   I had no doubt how much pain and fear Dahlia felt while being raped and the intense feelings that she was trying to figure out how to deal with.   I love that Dahlia was strong enough to continue her life, she fought to find a way out of the black hole, and she found a way to move on.   I was concerned when Dahlia met James, was he leading her down the right path or would he hurt her more than she already was hurting.  By the end of the story, I enjoyed seeing the friendship grow and loved that Dahlia had someone she could trust.

 

The setup of the book with short chapters and multiple points of views had me flying through the story.  I was anxious and excited to get to the end to find out what happens.    The ending… oh, the ending… PERFECT.   I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t even dream it but it was amazing.

Dreams of Falling - Karen   White

Family secrets and drama are something every family experiences.   Larkin ran from her hometown and family to escape all that but when she is pulled back due to her mother being in the hospital she starts to realize that her memories may not be quite so spot on.     What she thinks she remembers may not be the entire truth, there might be more to her family that she was never aware of, and there are friendships she left behind that might have more to tell.   I loved that the friends she ran from still had open arms welcoming her home as if she had never left.     The family that she left doesn’t push her to stay just work on reminding her what she was missing and why she shouldn’t leave again.   

 

Dreams of Falling is a story rich with family history.   The history starts with Margaret, CeeCee, and Bitty and their amazing friendship.   Add Ivy, Margaret’s daughter, to that history a few years later and the story just gets more interesting.     Then Ivy has a daughter, Larkin, and you have three generations of wonderful, strong, and smart women.    The thing with history is that there are secrets kept, hidden, or needing to be forgotten.   

 

I am a Karen White fan and recommend this wonderful Southern fiction story.

Fighting for Everything - Laura Kaye
I love this book so much.    Friends to lovers is a story that I find myself drawn to.   Laura Kaye tells the story of Kristina and Noah.   Best friends growing up with an underlying of attraction until they come together after Noah returns from his deployment injured and feeling broken.    The minute Kristina walked into the picnic and sees Noah the sparks flew.     The attraction was there and there could be no doubt that something had changed.    While they jumped right into exploring the attraction there wasn't an insta-relationship.    They fought it, they pushed it away, and they worked hard to figure out how they could come together without losing what was so important to them.   
 
Fighting for Everything is a romance book but it is also the story of a soldier coming home from deployment different from how he left.    It is the story of PTSD and how it affects not only the soldier but those who love him.  It is also a story of people, strangers, coming together and pushing each other to find themselves again.   The story of other retired military who have gone through what Noah is going through and helping others. 
 
This is a heart breaking, heart warming, wonderful, eye-opening story.     I am excited for more from the Warrior Fight Club. 
All the Little Lights - Jamie McGuire

This is a story that starts with two teenagers who are seen as awkward and like each other.    They don’t really know how to act on that and tread very carefully with each other.     While they may not know how to act on their like of each other they do know that they can trust each other and share their secrets.    Then Elliott gets torn away at the time Catherine needs him the most.     They both don’t stop thinking about each other but being teenagers they are lost to their parent's rules.     Elliott finally returns to Catherine their senior year of high school but must work to earn her trust again.

 

I was entirely invested in this book.   Elliott’s persistence in earning Catherine’s friendship was wonderful.   He warmed my heart by never giving up on her yet realizing that there were times that he had to give her some space or he would lose her forever.    I like that Catherine made Elliott work to earn her back.    She wasn’t mean, she wasn’t unforgiving, she was careful with her heart.  

 

Jamie McGuire tackled bullying, racism, peer pressure, and mental health all while keeping the story realistic.   She didn’t cover up the real world of being a teenager and showed that there is help available when needed.     This is the first book I have read by Jamie but I am excited to read more from her.

Her Last Word - Mary Burton

Her Last Word is a book that has a face paced, intense storyline.   The police procedural part tells the story of a cold case that has the potential to tie into a current case.    It was interesting to me to see how Detective John Adler was able to take a case that had been all but forgotten for so many years and use the clues from that story to bring back to life, working to solve it, and working to use the clues to solve past and present murders.    

This is a romantic suspense book with twists and turns that I never saw coming.    I loved the different timelines between the present story and Kaitlin's interviews.   Sometimes the storylines didn't come together when going between the two of them as smoothly as I thought they should but that was part of what happen.   The fact that the notes that Kaitlin got did not always match what the police were finding out.   The romance part of the story was minimal and I liked that it was not at the front of the storyline.  That allowed me to focus on the murders and try to figure out who dun-it.    I will say I never guessed correctly.

First Crush, Last Love - Elizabeth McKenna

My Thoughts…

 

A romance novel set in the 80’s & 90’s is right up my alley.  I grew up in this time and loved flashing back to my high school years.   The clicks, the attitudes, and the crushes were all perfect for the setting and the characters.   While in high school who hasn’t hoped that a couple would break up so that she could jump into the open spot in the relationship?    That is exactly what Jessie spent her entire high school hoping would happen with Lee.    

 

It was refreshing to see a friendship between Lee and Jessie.   There was more than just hormones and lust.    Their friendship was true to their age, with the witchy girlfriend being jealous and the other friends looking at them like they were hiding something.    At some points in the story I was hoping Jessie could move on, forget Lee, and just get on with her life.  Until she did… then I was screaming for her to find Lee and get back to the good things in life.  

 

I really enjoyed First Crush, Last Love.  It was fun to reminisce about the high school years.  

The High Tide Club - Mary Kay Andrews

My first book of summer and I loved it.     Mary Kay Andrews stepped out of her normal writing style and did an amazing job.    The mystery, the family, the friendships, and the Southern Charm are all amazing.  The dual timelines of 1941 and the present time come together perfectly.   The two different eras tell the story of amazing characters learning about their history and of their future while making friendships that will last forever.   

 

The story is narrated by many different characters, which could cause some confusion, but Mary Kay Andrews did an amazing job in keeping the reader in line and aware of who was telling the story.    I enjoyed knowing the different perspectives of the characters.   This allowed me to get the true feelings and emotions of those who are telling the story, those who are living the events, and those who are hearing the story for the first time.    

 

While Josephine is the character that starts this story it is truly The High Tide Club members that bring the story to life.      As with most groups, there is one person who seems more in charge, in the know than the rest of the group.  Josephine is that person.   With her all-knowing personality came so many secrets of her own and others that she kept for her entire life that as her life was coming to an end (she is 99) she knew she needed to share the secrets with those who deserve to know them.    I felt like the fact that she kept the secrets for so long proved what a good friend she was.

 

This is an amazing book.    Everything about it was written in a way to pull the reader in and never let them go.    From the first page to the last I could not stop reading.    If you are new to Mary Kay Andrews or a long time fan this is a book of hers that you cannot pass up.    

Lovers at Seaside (Sweet with Heat: Seaside Summers) - Addison Cole

Have you ever started a book and known from the very first pages that this couple MUST be together?   That is what I felt when Grayson walks in on Parker in a candy eating, watching a scary movie, and getting drunk.     There is no judgment, no harsh words, just concern, understanding, and acceptance.   He is the forever gentleman taking care of this woman that he only knows through emails in a time when she is so alone.    SIGH… what an amazing man.  

 

I loved the Bert and Abe storyline.     Bert, the man Parker thought of as a father, knew exactly what he was doing by leading Parker to Abe.   While Abe is a mean, crabby, old man he opens his heart to Parker and Grayson.    Abe’s death leads to a happily ever after for Parker which is exactly what she deserved.   I love that Grayson was with her every step of the way.  

 

Addison Cole is talented in her writing.   She has a knack for her wonderful seaside settings, amazing characters, and sweet storylines.    The settings are described in such detail that they are easy to picture, making the reader feel as if they are there with the characters.     The characters are fun, sweet, and real.     They end up being friends of the reader while taking the reader on their amazing life journeys.    And the storylines…oh so sweet.     The attention to the little details pull the reader right into the book and never let them go.   Even when the last word is read I continue to think about their story and wonder what will happen next in this series.  

 

I am a HUGE fan of the Sweet with Heat series and am always excited when another book is being released.     With each book I get to know new characters, catch up with some old favorites, and revisit some of my favorite book places.

The Other Lady Vanishes - Amanda Quick

Take me back to the 1930’s… that is exactly what Amanda Quick has done. There is a drug called Daydream being made that causes hallucinations. Patient B, Adelaide, is forced to take these drugs when her husband(?) forces her into a sanitarium for the mentally ill so that he can take control of her inheritance. The amazing part? Adelaide escapes that sanitarium. She escapes and makes a life for herself in the small town of Burning Cove, California and meets Jake Truett. I love the town of Burning Cove. I questioned every person who lived or visited the town. It seemed everyone had a secret. They had a reason to be in Burning Cove besides just visiting for the fun of it. It was interesting to try to guess what was going to happen, who was going to do what next, and who was guilty of what. Everyone is guilty of something, just some things are worse than others. The characters in this book are great. There are so many quirks, so many background stories, and so interesting. I cheered for some, booed others, while trying to guess who is who within the story. I wanted to figure out how they fit together, how their stories would intertwine, and how it would all end. Amanda Quick is a talented author. She is now on my must-read list and I am excited to read more from her. I definitely recommend picking up The Other Lady Vanishes and falling into the exciting world of Adelaide Black

Caught Up in a Cowboy - Jennie Marts

A mix of a sports story with a cowboy country setting.     Rockford James is a cowboy at heart, having grown up in a little town, on a farm, with a steady girl until his dream of playing professional hockey comes true.     He leaves the little town, the farm, and his steady girl to follow that dream.     Young Rock plans to live the high life and never look back.  What he doesn't plan is to leave his heart back home.

Quinn is that small town girl that loved Rock with all she had until he left her behind.    Wanting to prove she can move on without him she meets a bad boy and has a son.  But she has never let her heart heal from Rock breaking it.   Then he comes back to the little town to heal from an injury.  She steels her heart against him but first loves have a way of breaking through that steel.

This book was so much fun.   It has romance, family drama, and amazing characters.   I love Rock's mom and how she steps in to be Quinn's mom when she needs an ear or advice.    Quinn's dad is a grizzly bear with a tender heart.   The brother's of both Rock and Quinn are so true to how brothers should be.  Rock's egging him on, Quinn's being extra protective.

Caught Up in a Cowboy is the perfect book to fall into.   I definitely recommend picking up your own copy.

Paris Ever After - K.S.R. Burns

Amy turns 30 in Paris, doesn't that sound wonderful. It is. Amy ran away to Paris and met the most wonderful woman who took her in like Amy was her daughter. She found a job that she enjoyed, friends that she wanted to spend time with, and then she found out she was pregnant. She tried to tell her estranged husband but he refused to answer any of her attempts. Then she sees him, at the hotel she had stayed at, and she wonders what he wants and if he came to get her, to win her back over. Amy is a strong character and was able to take what was thrown at her without really losing a step. There were a few twists that I wondered if her reaction was realistic. The fact that her husband shows up, finds out she is pregnant, and then proceeds to just spend time with her without having an important conversation seemed off to me but Amy just went on with life. Maybe more of us should be that easy going but I do believe most people would question their husband about their intentions. There were a few other happenings that made me go HMM... is that real. The setting of Paris is one of my favorites. I love hearing about the sites, the great cafes, the beautiful cathedrals, and the wonderful sounds of Paris. Every time I read a book in this setting I hope that it takes me to a place that I haven't been and someday hope to visit. K.S.R. Burns is talented with her words and is able to transport her readers to a wonderful city. There are a few side stories, a friend now being who they seem and a stranger showing up and pushing Amy out of her comfort area, that kept the story interesting. I liked that they added an additional twist to a story that seemed to be heading down the path I expected it to.

Too Close to Breathe - Olivia Kiernan

WOW... This is a debut book by Olivia Kiernan. DCS Frankie Sheehan has a lot going on. She is working on solving a string of crimes while also dealing with a crime that happen against her. There is no doubt the crime against her left her with many issues to deal with but working is helping her get on with her life. I like that a Frankie didn't let her issues keep her out of living life. I actually think that because of what happen it helps her keep prospective of the crimes, sees things other have or could have missed, and work harder to solve a crime that others have written off as unsolvable. I was enthralled from the beginning and by the halfway point of the story I thought I had the case solved. Yea, well I wasn't even close. I love being wrong while reading. The hints led me one way while I should have gone the other way. While there were some hints that I knew were taking me the wrong direction since what fun would it be to give it all away at the beginning of the story I couldn't help but follow them. I am a synopsis and cover person. For me to want to read a book the cover has to grab my attention. The cover of Too Close to Breathe did just that. I look at the cover and saw a mystery, a thriller, and a dark story that I couldn't wait to pick up. Then when I read the synopsis and Olivia Kiernan was compared to such amazing authors as Tana French and Gillian Flynn I knew that I would not be able to pass on this book.

The Family Gathering - Robyn Carr

I am a Robyn Carr fan.   When I pick up one of her books I know that I am going to find a good romance story with wonderful, realistic characters.    The Family Gathering is exactly that and more.   I found a book with an amazingly unique and fun family, a storyline that I lost myself in, and a series that I am looking forward to more from.  

 

The Family Gathering is a book with a lot going on.    The main story is Dakota’s return to Sullivan’s Crossing and his trying to find his new normal.     He has to adjust to having family around, having friends, and living a civilian life.   In addition to Dakota’s story, the reader gets to catch up with his siblings and where they are in their lives.    There were a few times that I felt like I was lost in the secondary stories and there was too much going on.  

 

While there are tough subjects touched on within this story such as divorce, stalking, adoption, and mental illness this is a romance story.   If you love a good story as much as I do pick up this book and meet the wonderful people of Sullivan Crossing.  

Flying at Night - Rebecca L.  Brown

Fly at Night was emotionally pulling.    I felt for Piper, I disliked her mother, I wanted to give her husband a guiding hand, and I wanted to hug her son.     Piper was overwhelmed.    Her mother was selfish, although with the abusive lifestyle she lived in she was due to be selfish.      Her husband just needs someone to show him what to do, he wants to help but doesn’t quite know what to do.    Curtis, her son, has autism and lives a full life with just some idiosyncrasies that make him sometimes hard to understand.  

 

I felt for Piper.     She is a stay at home mom with so much on her plate and she doesn’t ask for help.    Piper has an autistic son, a father who is now mentally challenged after having a heart attack, and a husband who seems to want to help but doesn’t know what to do.   Add to that a mother who walked away and left her to deal with everything.     I am not sure how much more she could handle without crumbling.

 

This book was interesting, I enjoyed it.   Yet, it felt like I was reading a story.  I know I was but I like to fall into my books, become attached to the characters, and become invested in the plot.    With Fly at Night I wasn’t as invested in the story.    I enjoyed it, I wanted to know what happens, and I am glad that I took the time to read it.  

Source: http://asoccermomsbookblog.blogspot.com
The Secret Life of Mrs. London - Rebecca Rosenberg

I have been a historical fiction fan forever and was intrigued by The Secret Life of Mrs. London. Jack London was an unknown to me. I am not familiar with his writing, his life, or anything else about him. It was interesting to learn about him in a fiction book, but still walk away with facts about his life. He was not overly likable, the way he treated those close to him was not something that I could understand. He was entirely into himself, his needs, and the way he wanted those in the public to perceive him. I struggled with his decisions and his actions but they played a huge part of the story of Houdini and Charmian (Mrs. London). Houdini is someone I am familiar with. He has always intrigued me. I love magic and risks he took while entertaining crowds has always interested me. The author, Rebecca Rosenberg, did an amazing job of describing his shows, from the things he wore to the tricks her did I could picture them as I was reading. The relationship with his wife, Bessie, was sweet. There is no doubt he loved her but there was more to their relationship. Charmian is not your typical wife. She is wife to an eccentric writer who is very demanding of her while not always giving her what she needs. Her devotion to Jack London was unrequited. I wanted her to be stronger, stand up to him, demand he give her the attention she needed. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is an amazing historical fiction story that I would recommend picking up.