Turn to Me

Author: Becky Wade

Series: Misty River Romance #3

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: May 3, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Turn to me is whimsical, adventurous, and sweet romance not to be missed by fans of contemporary romance.

Luke Dempsey has let guilt hold him back in life since his brother died in an earthquake. Since that time, he has sabotaged any happiness that has tried to enter his life and even ended up in prison. While in prison, he befriends an older man that makes him promise to protect his daughter Finley. Luke learns that Finley is left a treasure hunt by her father and others may know and try to get the treasure from her. When Luke is released from prison, he finds Finley and starts working for her animal rescue non-profit. He is grumpy and gruff, but she sees something good in him that she wants to bring to the surface and help him find happiness. With each new clue they uncover, their feelings grow for each other along with the danger as others want what they are trying to find.

This is the third book in the Misty River romance series dealing with the Miracle five, a set of characters who survive an earthquake. Luke is the most reclusive of the members and his story revolves around him being released from prison after making a promise to protect someone. He has dreams of a quiet life, building his own cabin, and working from home without having to be around many people. When he meets Finley all that changes. The romantic tension between the two is obvious from the beginning. What bothered me was the fact Luke’s criminal past. I get that her father was in prison and he talked about Luke to her and she has a soft heart for rehabilitating others, but she never hesitated falling in love with someone with a criminal past. I liked the way Luke was portrayed, he had a hard time letting go of what he had done and didn’t think he would be good enough for Finley even though she never questioned it. They are complete opposites but in this case, opposites attract and it works well. Towards the end of the book, I was completely drawn into the story and wanted to see them with each other to have the happy ending. Even though this is the third in the series, I feel that readers could pick this one up without having read the previous two and still enjoy the story. There is enough backstory of the characters that I had no problem following along having not read the others. This is a great story for those that love contemporary romance.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Sweet Life

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Series: Cape Cod Creamery #1

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: May 3, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sometimes you have to seize life by the moment to get your second chance!

Dawn Dixon and her mom Marnie could not be more opposite.  Dawn is like her dad, very calculated and views the world as black and white.  Marnie is a free spirit who feels that everyone should embrace their creative side as often as possible.  When Dawn’s dad dies from a workplace accident, she and her mom grieve in their own way.  Then they each face another battle: Dawn’s fiancé Kevin calls off their wedding and Marnie deals with breast cancer.  Kevin tells Dawn to still take the honeymoon on Cape Cod since it had to be paid for in advance, so she and her mom go vacation on the Cape instead of celebrating her wedding.  During the trip, Marnie makes an impulse decision to purchase a defunct ice cream shop on main street with hopes of starting a new chapter in her life.  Dawn is flabbergasted and tries everything to get her mother to change her mind, but when it’s evident that things have already progressed too far, Dawn decides to help her mother at least for a time.

If you need a Memorial Day read, this book is for you.  Not only is it set in beautiful Chatham, Massachusetts, but it is set trying to get an ice cream shop ready to open on Memorial Day weekend.  This is a clean contemporary story that will give many readers the feels.  Both Dawn and Marie have tremendous character growth throughout the book as they are both pushed way outside their comfort zones and learn that life can be lived and enjoyed differently.  I also loved the way that Fisher tied in the Three Sisters Island series to the start of this book.  I wonder if there will be some common characters make an appearance in an upcoming story? 

This book really brings out the best in a community.  Not just from a support prospect, but how both newcomers and natives can work together to achieve a common goal.  Such a fun summer read!

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

On A Night Like This

Author: Lindsey Kelk

Publisher: Harper Collins

Release Date: January 18, 2022

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A slow start and while not my favorite book of the year, it was an enjoyable weekend read.

Fran Cooper has had a rough time lately and has been wishing she could change her life. She gets a call to work as an assistant to a celebrity and after accepting the offer, they end up on a yacht in the Mediterranean with the rich and famous. The trip ends up crazy until she meets Evan, and the sparks start to fly. They live on different continents and have completely different lives but wonder if the sparks are more than just that, maybe they are soulmates! Can they make it work or is it destined to fall apart before they even begin?

This was a quick and funny book, but had trouble keeping my interest. There wasn’t anything in particular that I didn’t enjoy, just wasn’t my favorite. The story was written well, but unfortunately for me, it just didn’t keep me interested enough to stick with the story. The main character is funny but not relatable for me, other readers might really enjoy this character and story though. If you are looking for a romance with you the love story as the heavy premise, this is the book for you. Even though I had trouble staying into the story, it was still a quick read that I think many readers will enjoy, just wasn’t the right fit for me.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Greetings from Asbury Park

Author: Daniel H. Turtel

Publisher: Blackstone

Release Date: April 5, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A look into the lives of children of a dysfunctional father.

A man dies, but life must go on for those around him.  Such is the case for three half siblings in the small New Jersey boardwalk town of Asbury Park.  The legitimate son David, the illegitimate son Casey, and the maid’s daughter Gabrielle.  All three have their own lives to consider, but when their father dies, the three are suddenly thrown together to cope with the aftermath.  Casey has been living in the city for some time but returns to Asbury Park for the summer to help.  He barely gets by and doesn’t want to ask for money.  Although David gets the lion’s share of the inheritance, he does get $50,000 and a house in Asbury Park, which is where he discovers his father’s maid lives with her daughter, who ends up being his half-sister.  Casey and Gabrielle really hit it off while his brother David begins to drink himself to death and buys anyone a round who will sit with him.  As the summer ends, some decisions have to be made that will again affect all three lives.

This is a good read that follows the lives of David, Casey, and Gabrielle as they all deal uniquely with their father’s death.  The story centers largely around Casey but throws occasional glimpses of Gabrielle’s life in for some backstory.  There are also some stories from supporting characters that add some context and ramp up the tension and climax of the story.  There is quite a bit of self-destruction in this story and sibling tension (not so much rivalry) that will makes readers side with different characters for different reasons.  It’s not so much just a story to read, but one to resonate with.

There is some foul language throughout and some implied sex scenes that will make this book recommended for mature audiences.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

No More Lies

Author: Kerry Lonsdale

Series: No More #2

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Release Date: May 10, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Lonsdale continues to impress her suspense game with the next No More book!

Jenna Mason has a past that she would rather forget, but it always seems to follow her where she goes.  She and her young son Josh have constantly moved from place to place to stay one step ahead of anyone who might be after her or him.  For years they barely got by on the charity of strangers, but when she starts making a little money from some of her drawings and cartoons she has developed, she begins to get tired of running and she and Josh decide to settle down in one place for a little longer.  Jenna even manages to fall in love with someone and Josh is thriving at this new school.  Then one day her past remerges when a reporter shows up asking questions and dredging up a murder that happened when she was sixteen.  Is it time to run again? 

If you enjoyed No More Words, then you will love this book even more.  I was initially expecting a continuation, but this is a retelling of the same time period from Jenna and Josh’s perspective.  So, readers now the elements of what happened to Lily, but now get to read about it firsthand and understand how the characters became who they are today.  Needless to say, Lonsdale placed plenty of intrigue throughout the pages to keep her readers hooked through the full story.  There are references to events in the first book that readers may need to go back and enjoy again to get the full effect.  Either one can be read as a standalone, but the true masterpiece is reading them together.  And it doesn’t matter in which order. And there are three sides to every story, so be sure to grab Lucas’s version next year!

Lonsdale continues to shine a light on the condition of aphasia that can occur after a brain bleed.  She manages to bring much more than just a fictional tale in each one of her books and this is no different.  There is a bit of foul language throughout (to be expected with the characters) as well as a couple of sex scenes, but nothing overly graphic in this one.  I would still recommend this book for mature readers. 

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

All That Fills Us

Author: Autumn Lytle

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: May 3, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A story that is more of a journey about healing and how hard life can be but there are still good people in the world!

Mel Ellis has an eating disorder and knows full well that it is killing her. She has been trying to get a handle on it for years with no luck. Rehab is her next step, but she can’t bring herself to go. Instead, she decides to do something memorable, walk a trail across the North American Wilderness. There is no way she has the strength, physically or mentally, to make this journey but she sets out anyway and leaves Grand Rapids, Michigan to walk all the way to Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State. The trip is hard and several times she almost doesn’t make it, except for the help and kindness of strangers along the way. She learns from each of these strangers and confronts the ghosts of her pasts to live through the adventure she has set out on.

I want to start with the good about this book. This is a hard story with real issues. Eating disorders are a horrible thing to live through for all those involved. And it does take a lot of courage to come back from that. Autumn Lytle does a fantastic job of portraying this. Maybe too good of a job at times, especially for someone who has never lived through that or knows what it is like to be in that situation. With that said, I did find myself annoyed at moments with Mel and her over the top counting of calories and excessive workouts. I say this not to be offensive in any way but as someone who has never gone through this type of thing to understand how hard it is to deal with feeling this way. For someone going through this, I would imagine that this would be a fairly accurate portrayal of dealing with an eating disorder and how it makes you feel. By the back half of the book, I could see a growth in Mel as a character and the way the story unfolded leaves something for everyone to relate to. It is not just about Mel having an eating disorder, it is about her finding her self-worth and loving herself before she can let anyone else love her. To me, that is the overall point of the story and it is a beautiful one that we all need to hear. I would recommend this story to anyone who needs to find a way to let go of the hurt and find a way to love themselves with a reminder that there are really good people left in the world that will come along at just the right time to help us in our hour of need.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Sea Glass Cottage

Author: Irene Hannon

Series: Hope Harbor #8

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: April 5, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Another hit in the fan favorite Hope Harbor series adds new characters while keeping several favorites in this charismatic novel!

Christi Reece has come to Hope Harbor in a last-ditch effort to get help from the last person she never thought she would be asking for help and can only pray Jack Colby will listen to her. They have a past and not a good one, Christi broke his heart and he left wanting to never see or hear from her again. Shortly after she arrives, the tables turn and Jack ends up needing her help. In the town that heals hearts, there is hope that Christi and Jack can come out of this making peace with their past and find a new beginning.

Normally contemporary romance is not my favorite genre, but there is something about the Hope Harbor series that I love. It is a fun, fast read with great characters reoccurring and new with each book that readers will love. Of course, Charley is always a fan favorite that comes back around in each book and helps all those that come to the town with their troubles. In some ways Charley is like the guardian angel for the town who knows everyone and what they need at the right moments. I really liked Christi and the growth seen in her, even if it was a little out of order, I would have liked to have known what happened to her to bring about the change a little sooner. Other than that, the story played out nicely with the interactions between characters enjoyable and natural. The nice thing about this series is that each one is individual and yet they work together so well. This is the eighth book in the series and I don’t see it stopping any time soon. I foresee much more from Hope Harbor and I will be around to read it. I recommend this series to anyone that enjoys a fun and fast contemporary romance that will make you want to whisk away to a quiet little beach town to find love.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Looking for Leroy

Author: Melody Carlson

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: March 1, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A quirky fun look at second chance romances that is clean, and fun, for readers as a quick read.

Brynna Phillips has been burned one too many times by men and wants nothing more to do with them. She is a schoolteacher on summer break and decides to go with her friend on a camping vacation in Sonoma Wine Country. The further they go into the wine country, the more it reminds Brynna of the teenage summer romance she had with a boy named Leroy. It’s been almost 30 years since she has seen him, but she remembers his family had a vineyard in Sonoma. Her friend convinces her that she should try and find her long lost love and see if there is still a spark there before totally giving up on love forever.

If you are looking for a fun, quirky romance that is clean and sweet, Looking for Leroy is just the book for you. Carlson’s books always have a light, easy aspect to them that you can just sit and enjoy without the burden of trying to solve a mystery. Throughout a lot of the book, I found myself scratching my head at the way Brynna acted, what made her think that after 30 years Leroy would be the same type of man she fell in love with all those years ago, I know many people that are not the same as they were when I knew them long ago. She was also a very wishy-washy character; I couldn’t decide if I liked her and wanted her to succeed or not. Other than that, I enjoyed the book, especially the last half which moved much quicker than the first half. I would recommend this book to readers that enjoy contemporary romance stories with a fun, happy ending.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The vies and opinions expressed within are my own.

In Search of a Prince

Author: Toni Shiloh

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: February 1, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A surprisingly fun and entertaining read that was far more enjoyable than I expected!

Brielle Adebayo has a good life; she works as a middle school teacher in New York City where her mother works as a surgeon. She has never known her dad, who died before she was born. One day her mother takes her to lunch and tells her a secret she had been keeping all her life, Brielle is a princess in a kingdom off the coast of Africa. Her grandfather, the king, is sick and wants her to come meet him and prepare to assume her position to become Queen when he passes. Even with the shock of finding out she is a princess, Brielle decides to go and visit her grandfather and see the kingdom she is set to one day rule. Not everyone is happy Bri is going to be Queen; the Royal Council lets her know that she can’t become queen without a husband. First, she finds out she is a princess and now she learns she must find a husband quickly. With everyone judging her every move Bri must be careful she doesn’t make the wrong decision in life and love.

I must admit, I have never read a Toni Shiloh book before and am kind of kicking myself for it now. In Search of a Prince was a fun read that reminded me of The Princess Diaries which I have always loved. The way the story was written with Bri coming into a new country with many against her and the way she relied on her faith and friend to help her through the difficult transition helped move the story along. The tropical setting was beautiful and left me longing to put my toes in the sand and warm up in this warm and inviting country. Brielle isn’t written as someone that is perfect and comes in thinking she can do no wrong, she is nervous and really has a longing to prove she can learn and do what is needed to make sure she is the right person to lead the country. If you go into reading this as a fun rom-com you will get exactly what you want and enjoy a delightful read. It was a very inspiring story that readers will enjoy and leave wanting more from this tropical paradise.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Sunrise

Author: Susan May Warren

Series: Sky King Ranch #1

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: January 4, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Susan May Warren does a fantastic job crafting a Contemporary Romance story that readers will enjoy and a setting that is downright chilling!

Dodge Kingston left home over a decade ago after a family fight. He now returns to help salvage Sky King Ranch after his father is in an accident. What he doesn’t count on is meeting back up with his old flame, Echo Yazzie and having all the same feelings come right back to the surface. Echo never left Alaska and has been working as a dogsledder and research guide for the DNR; it is a dangerous life but one she loves. One of the researchers working with Echo goes missing and Echo doesn’t hesitate to head out in search with her dog team. Dodge now must put hurt feelings aside and try to find Echo before it is too late. Not only are they racing against the Alaskan wilderness, but other dangers await them in the wild.

Susan May Warren is a great Christian fiction writer that puts out books faster than most any other author out there. I have loved her romantic suspense series and her collaboration writing the Rembrant Stone series. Sunrise is her newest and it is a contemporary romance; the story is good with characters that intrigued me from the beginning. I did feel that things got a little repetitive at times causing the story to drag a bit, not a lot, but at a few key points I was wanting it to pick up when it was moving at the slower pace. The ending was by far the best part and left me aching for more! Luckily with her. you don’t have to wait too long for the next book to come out.

One thing that got me scratching my head was the use of so many unique names, Dodge, Echo, Idaho, Colt, and Range, not many normal names throughout the book. I get wanting to have names that will stick with the reader but at times it can take readers out of the story with so many unique names. I must admit, I’m more of a fan of suspense than contemporary but this was a good read and I think fans of Warren’s writing will enjoy this new story and beautiful setting.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.