Review: Why Not Tonight by Susan Mallery

This series just keeps going strong! Built of standalone books centered around a family of brothers and a town known for wedding weekends, I thought I’d never see the day when Susan Mallery would write the adventures of brooding brother Ronan. But she did. And from the mudslide to the hidden room to Ronan’s sensitive and generous heart, she wrote a winner. There is no better match for Ronan than Natalie… and I don’t know how Mallery imagined such a perfect foil/love interest for Ronan, but she did.

And though the romance was central to the story, there were a few other fun threads happening at the same time, including friendships, family reconciliations, professional successes, and of course the requisite Happily Inc weddings. A fun and worthwhile read.

-calliope

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Review: All My Life by Prescott Lane

Devlyn has loved Garrett for as long as she can remember. Even when he got another girl pregnant. Even when the mom left him to raise his child alone. Devlyn stood by him and helped him raise his daughter for the past 18 years, all the while he was clueless. He had no idea that his best friend was in love with him. But when he finds out, that’s when his life gets interesting.

I felt bad for Devlyn. I mean over 25 years in love with someone who didn’t “see” you that way. What a life! I don’t know if I could do that. My heart broke for her. I realize that the heart wants what the heart wants but she sure put up with a lot and got nothing in return.

When he finally has the light bulb moment, he acted like a teenager and that only hurts her more. I don’t think his brain wrapped around the idea of her as more than a friend. His life has been so focused on being a dad, and less on him being a man, I just don’t think he was ready for those feelings. It’s like he’s been stuck in a limbo for the past 18 years and didn’t know how to get out.

She always put his needs first. ALWAYS. What drove me crazy about that was she always gave him sex, even if she was upset. That mad me sad. She had all these feelings but never shared them. I wanted to smack their two heads together. But I just had to sit back and be patient.

I will say the romance was hot and sexy. The family times sweet and happy. I’m happy with how it ended but I wish it didn’t take a lifetime to realize what was right in front of you. Love is blind sometimes.

~Melpomene

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Review: The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan

Christmas! And sisters! And Scotland! Could there be a better combo? I don’t think so. Ok actually there could be – if Morgan added in some cutie pie kiddos and an awesome set of grandparents and the perfect love interests for the sisters. Which she did. Sigh.

I really liked all the references to New York, Washington state, and then the European locations outside of Scotland. I felt like I was traveling from the comfort of my sofa. And the other thing I so enjoyed was Jason’s admission that being a stay at home parent is not all bon-bons and soap operas. Even though his realization and apology was a teensy bit out of character and not 100% realistic, it was gratifying to read it all the same.

Morgan did a fantastic job individualizing the three sisters, giving them different perspectives on the same childhood tragedy they all suffered, and writing a believable and heartwarming resolution. Love and forgiveness are powerful, especially when you have the support of those around you.

Morgan also added in comic relief in little Ruby, Martha the chicken, and Eric. Beautifully done!

-calliope

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Review: A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson

While I love Melody Carlson’s ability to create fresh plots with believable yet quirky characters, this particular novella required me to suspend my disbelief just a little too much.

Christmas in Maine is cozy – and it was fun to see Wendy and her son set up their little home and become part of the town. But the romance seemed contrived and totally out of character for a worrier like Wendy. And it happened way too fast! A couple of weeks might be enough time for a young single person to let their guard down and fall in love with someone they’re spending 24/7 with… but Wendy didn’t spend all that much time getting to know Caleb, and I thought she’d be a little less trusting due to her nature and just the fact that she’s a mom.

I’ve enjoyed other Carlson books in the past – Christmassy ones too. You can find the link to those reviews below.

-calliope

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Read Calliope’s reviews of more Melody Carlson books (loved some of these!)

Review: Strong by Kylie Scott

“For a woman with so much pride, Martha, you have a very thin grasp of your worth.”

Let me start out by saying that this book can be read as a standalone. While it features characters from Kylie’s Stage Dive series, you can fully enjoy this without reading those. BUT, and I emphasize that, you really should read them. They’re super fun and have enough emotion weaved throughout them to make me very happy.

This story is ten years in the making. While Sam has always been in the background watching and waiting, Martha has been out front causing mayhem and grief. They are the epitome of opposites attract. I wanted to reach in numerous times and wring her neck. Martha has been watching the Stage Dive guys fall one by one but all the while she’s been watching their super hot bodyguard from the sidelines. She knows she’s all wrong for him, but she can’t stop the wanting.

Sam has been wanting Martha for 10 years. Hard to believe this spoiled, high maintenance girl would ever want him. But he’s not willing to wait any longer and sets his sight on her and slowly reels her in. Of course there are fireworks when this happens, and not just the beautiful, awe inspiring kind. The kind that blow things up and make you take cover.

Sam has the patience of a saint. Martha definitely didn’t make it easy but it was fun to watch. I’m glad that things worked out, and not just between her and Sam. She isn’t the most liked character and it’s been a long time coming and growing up, on her part. It was also fun to see the past characters join in the party and come together. love when series end like this.

~Melpomene

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Dive into Stage Dive from the beginning
Lick https://amzn.to/2xT914T
Play https://amzn.to/2IjNAyQ
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Deep https://amzn.to/2IheI1e

Review: Dane’s Storm by Mia Sheridan

This is a book about survival, mentally and physically. From the prologue, I was instantly sucked in. I knew this was going to be a doozy of a story. My heart was in my stomach after those couple of pages. Whew!

Dane and Audra’s story is a heartbreaking one. What started out as a whirlwind romance eventually turned into heartbreak and resentment. What they went through, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. The unimaginable pain they have lived with through the years is more than most can bare. They never imagined they’d get a second chance. But the heart wants what the heart wants.

“You weren’t my just my first love. You were my once-in-a-lifetime.”

When circumstances bring them together, Dane offers to fly them back home to resolve an issue, but no one expected his plane would go down and they would be fighting for their lives. While they’re trying to survive they are forced to come to terms with what made them break all those years ago. I wish it didn’t take a plane crash to bring them to this point, but sometimes fate likes to rattle us.

This story is told from both POVs and in the end, I found myself feeling more for Audra than I initially thought. She tends to be rough and tough and hold things inside, but it’s a defense mechanism. She knows once she opens herself up, all her walls will come crashing down. I am thankful that Dane took initiative and started to chip at her defenses. She wasn’t the only one hurting. Once she realized that her heart could start to heal.

“You must bloom.”

This is a standalone which was released as an audible first, but I’m reviewing the ebook. I haven’t listened to it yet. Not sure if this a fast read, since I’m a speed reader, but all I know is that I couldn’t stop. I needed to know they would be okay. I needed to know they would be healed, inside and out. I needed it. And I’m glad I found out. Mia Sheridan has this way of writing that makes you feel it all. All the pain and sadness, and then the joy. Can you epilogue? My heart is happy.

~Melpomene

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Review: Cooper’s Charm by Lori Foster

Cute story with lots of laughs! Phoenix relocates to the seasonal community of Cooper’s Charm for a fresh start – and is delighted to be surrounded by the beauty of nature… and handsome men. Her sister Ridley soon follows, buys herself an RV, and makes herself at home. Between sibling heart-to-hearts and early morning coffee talk with the guys, the sisters realize that the slower pace of Cooper’s Charm is just what they need.

This book was just the kind of easy reading that I look for after the workweek is over. Some fun characters, heartfelt friendships, warm humor, and people working together for good.

-calliope

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