Review: Heartsong Cottage by Emily March

  
Shannon has a broken heart – and a secret. Daniel has a broken heart – and is a detective.  It’s up in the air whether they can find healing and solace together, or if their trust issues supercede their chemistry. 

Heartsong Cottage is the latest in the Eternity Springs series, which I find charming and heartwarming. 

Romance? Check. A wedding? Check. A drunken mess? Check. Good friends? Check. Celeste working her magic? Check and double-check. 

When Shannon and Daniel wade through uncertainty, the Eternity Springs community comes through for them. Love from their friends and the healing spirit of the town are more than these broken people hoped for. And I appreciate that kind of charming embrace. 

But the trope has been overdone. I’ve read too many stalker-traumatizes-and-detective-saves-the-day suspenseful romances. I skim-read about a dozen pages in the middle of the book because I felt like I had read them before – in a half dozen romance novels in the last five years. 

March’s writing is excellent. The characters are loveable. Eventually there’s resolution and a nice, tidy, happy ending. But the journey there wasn’t the fresh new adventure I was hoping for. 

-calliope 

Buy HEARTSONG COTTAGE ($5.99 today)

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Review: Malevolent by Jana DeLeon

51bf4t0pbbL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_There’s something to be said for a good murder mystery. I hesitate to use the term “cozy mystery” because that’s always seemed like such a contradiction to me. But still. I’m not talking about one of the serious psychological thrillers full of blood and gore that leaves you sleeping with the lights on for a week. What I like from time to time is a well-written mystery with a little bit of murder thrown in for good measure. And this introduction to a new series from Jana DeLeon fits that description perfectly.

Shaye Archer is finally getting her life on track after a traumatic childhood, to say the least. And she’s realizing her dream of owning her own business with the opening of a private investigator business. But before all the furniture is even delivered, her first client shows up at her door. Emma has had trauma of her own, escaping her abusive husband only by killing him. So then how can he be stalking her if he’s dead? When she enlists Shaye to help her find the answers she so desperately needs, both of them find themselves in greater danger than they could ever have imagined.

This is a great mystery with great characters. The story moves along nicely, and there’s plenty of suspense along with a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. I especially love the lead character, Shaye, and can’t wait to dive in to her next adventure coming out this fall!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Malevolent (Shaye Archer Series Book 1)

Review: In Your Dreams (Blue Heron) by Kristan Higgins

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Aaahhh, the Blue Heron series. Wine, good-looking vintners, smart and sassy women, and swoon-worthy heroes.

So Emmaline has a crush on Jack, but so does half the town. He married and quickly divorced a hot ticket from Savannah, saved four stupid teenagers from drowning, and offers his friendship to any of his sisters’ friends who need a convenient date to a wedding.

What I absolutely adore about Jack is that he’s pretty realistic. Higgins precisely got into the mind of a man … focused on his own stuff, not purposely being a jerk but obliviously doing so, aware of his charm and hotness — and willing to use it for his own benefit.

Emmaline proves to be one of the most awesome female protagonists in a romance. She’s great at her job, insecure with men, not a skinny-minny, loving to her sister, annoyed with her mother, and just trying to get through life unscathed any more than she already is. Very realistic. And she has a smart-mouth on her, that Emmaline.

Higgins writes Emmaline in that little place of insecurity – in love with a man but not willing to tell him because she knows it’s going to blow up in her face. And you know what, it does blow up in her face.

And then Jack saves the day. And they live happily ever after. Because that’s how the Blue Heron men roll.

–Calliope

$5 for kindle!
buy IN YOUR DREAMS

Review: Return to Homecoming Ranch (Pine River #2) by Julia London

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Sigh. I wanted to love this book. I liked some of it, like the romance, the realistic struggles of Libby and Sam, and the changes happening at the ranch.

But Libby’s relationship with her mom and sisters needed more development. I would have preferred more of that subplot than about Libby’s ex-boyfriend and her stalker-ish behavior. Reading about Libby’s obsession and Ryan’s pathological lies was just depressing. I wanted to skip the downhearted ramblings. I know depression is real, as is alcoholism and PTSD… I just didn’t expect them all to be subplots in a romance novel!

If you loved Pine River #1, and you’re okay with real life struggles making up a big part of a romance novel, you really will enjoy Return to Homecoming Ranch. As for me, I like my happily ever afters preceded by predictable solutions to the small problems in life. 🙂

-Calliope

BUY Return to Homecoming Ranch (Pine River Book 2)