First love. Second chance?
As the daughter of a hoarder, Phoenix Fuller had a tough childhood. So when the handsome, popular Riley Stinson became her boyfriend in high school, she finally felt as though she had something to be proud of. Phoenix was desperate not to lose him—especially once she found out she was pregnant. Yes, she might have acted a bit obsessive when he broke up with her. But she did not run down the girl he started dating next!
Unfortunately, there was no way to prove her innocence. Now, after serving her time in prison, Phoenix has been released. All she wants to do is return to Whiskey Creek and get to know her son. But Jacob's father isn't exactly welcoming.
Riley doesn't trust Phoenix, doesn't want her in Jacob's life. He is, however, ready to find someone to love. And he wants a good mother for his son. He has no idea that he's about to find both—if they can forgive the mistakes in their past…
Beautiful story with great, truly original, and fresh plot. The images in the tale pulled me right in, set me in the middle of this small town, and took a hold of me. I wanted to inhale the whole story at once. It is an emotional story that made me cry a little, sigh a little, and smile a little.
It is hard to imagine what all Phoenix has gone through - pregnant at 17, accused of killing your baby father's girlfriend, giving up your child right after the birth to his father who refuses to bring him for visits at the prison... The list seems endless with the hardship and adversity. She has had 17 years to imagine the return to her hometown, to see her son for the first time, and to get over of her first love, Riley.
Determent to have a chance with her son, and not to make waves in the town, more than necessary, she is apologetic, meek, and kind to all. She is working hard to make a home for herself, and a place for her son, Jake, to visit, working on the business she started while in prison, and taking care of her mother, learning to live outside of the prison.
Jake's struggle to understand his mother and accept her in his life was touching. He is a model seventeen year old boy, with a big, caring heart, backbone, and good upbringing.
The growth and change in Riley's opinion about Phoenix, and the events from the past, happens slowly but surely. The old feelings towards her take on a new flame, but to convince Phoenix to trust him again is a task in itself.
The beautifully flowing story is heartwarming, alluring and captivating. There's sorrow, remorse, and pain, but also love, kindness and acceptance. It was a delight to see Phoenix get on her feet again, find her place in the town, build a relationship with Jake, and with her mother, to see Riley's change and desire to fight for a new chance with her. I wish there would have been a little more about the development of the relationship, and a little less of Phoenix's martyrdom. And even though the events with Penny did come to a satisfying conclusion, and the possibility of Phoenix fighting for her rights in the future was flashed, I did have a desire, if not need, to see that happen for her, and for her family.
But those were not major deal-breakers for me, and overall, I absolutely adored this original, raw, real and touching story
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Nothing is more awkward than waking up next to a woman whose name you can’t remember...
Navy SEAL Trick Novak knows he needs to find a better way to deal with his chronic insomnia, but a warm body and a ready smile work just fine. Until he meets Gaby Ellis, and discovers she's roommates with last night's hook-up--and thoroughly disgusted with his player ways.
Except maybe falling in love with one who'd rather not know yours.
When awkward meetings turn into an attraction, with the least likely person you expected to...
Navy SEAL Trick is a bit of a player, he doesn't take names or do future dates, he doesn't date at all, so not interested in a relationship or being boyfriend material.
Gaby feels like she is being a prune, when she only has relationships and intimacy with guys she might be in love with. Until Trick.
As the attraction between them grows, and they both admit they do want to see each other, they make their own rules of non-dating, and try to stick to them, no matter how hard it is, pun intended. The conflict in their relationship comes from the fact, that the first time they met, Trick was walking out of her roommate's bedroom. But slowly they build something unique, that is raw and real between them. The obstacle of the demands of his job is talked about, and handled rather painlessly.
It is a sweet, passionate, and straightforward story of a relationship, that started in a bit weird situation, develops, and finds its happy ending.
~ Three Spoons
Tavi is settling into the Camden Falls Pack relatively easily, but Zack being missing is a big problem. She hasn't seen him, or heard from him, since the day he left.
Something is very definitely wrong!
She can feel it!
Finally, things start to happen when a messenger arrives with word from Zack, but is then attacked before they can get to her. What Tavi hears has her rage erupting, and she decides it's way past time they went after him.
What will they be facing? And who?
Tavi doesn't care. She'll go through whoever she has to, to get her friend back.
And nobody is going to stand in her way!
Intriguing fantasy, where werewolves and vampires fight for justice, where love, family, and friendships nourish, and trust, hope, loyalty and faith are the key values.
The fantasy world the author has created, with amazing details and fine point manners, habits, and culture to the pack just blew me away. It is dark, gloomy, and violent, mixed with the light, love, and frail world of the pack.
The tight unity, hierarchy of the pack, the team effort for survival, and love and care for each other was solid. Tavi's adapting to the pack life is not without hiccups, but Cade's patient towards her is commendable, and while he is teaching Tavi about the customs of the pack, the reader gets a great inside of it as well.
The love interests within the pack are adorable, and as Tavi and Cade's feelings towards each other grow, yet another new world opens up to Tavi, the world of love, commitment, and passion, not unlike the one she saw in her parents' life.
As the rescue of Zack progress, the fights between good and evil increase. They are bloody, violent, and rough. The only survival with Tavi's extraordinary talents.
The story flow out so beautifully, and even though I don't usually read paranormal stories, I was pulled into the tale. The intriguing details, characters, and culture were a constant amazement, the action and fights between the two worlds savage and intense. The love, passion and commitment growing between Tavi and Cade was precious and pleasing. The author shows just enough of passion between them, without going into too many detailed acts.
Fascinating world of werewolves and vampires, where Tavi's unique qualities and bloodline, gives her, and her pack, an advantage to fight for what's good, right, and just, while adjusting and learning to live with her pack.
~ Five Spoons!
Bid on a date with this wounded warrior for an unforgettable night of adventure. Aim high—and bid higher!—because no one comes close to local hero Gabriel Morales.
Molly Dekker hates being the town charity case, but when her son Josh is seriously injured she has no choice. She lets her best friend organize a bachelor auction to help pay her massive bills and make Josh’s life more comfortable. She can’t bid on any of the men, but a surprise bidder gives her a gift she never expected: a date with the man who saved her son’s life—the only one she’s in danger of losing her heart to.
Former Air Force pararescueman Gabriel Morales made a career of flying to the rescue, until a tragic helicopter crash stole more than his livelihood. Being auctioned off like a slab of beef isn’t in his recovery plan. But one look, one touch and one night unlocking Molly’s pent-up passion makes him realize how badly he needs to be rescued…and how badly he wants to rescue Molly right back.
Will Molly and Gabriel’s never-quit attitude have them rushing head-first into love? Or will Gabriel’s secret pain stall their relationship before it can get off the ground?
Here it is, last but not least, in the Bachelor Auction series, in One Night with the Her Bachelor, we get the background story of Molly and Josh, the single mother and her son, whom the benefit was organized for.
Gabriel, the wounded veteran and one of the bachelors on the auction, and Molly have known each other since their childhood. The memories from the past are both painful and joyful, and the connection between them is imminent.
But Gabriel has always seen Molly as his best friend's little sister, so getting adjusted to the beautiful woman she has grown to be, takes a minute. The struggle they have to go through, to find each other on an even level, is tough, steep uphill. But despite all the obstacles, they 'never give up' and work on their issues. It is emotional, hard, raw, and real, and so easy to relate to.
Both Gabriel and Molly have had a lot of pain, sorrow, and hardship in their lives. Through the attraction and desire to be together, they find themselves, learn to take down the walls and disguises, and find their true selves, with a future, hope, joy, and love. But the story is not all agony and struggle, there's also steaming passionate moments, as well as charming characters with wit and sass. I laughed out loud several times while reading this tale.
The message in the story is uplifting and inspiring: "Not to be afraid of life's challenges. Not to be defined by them as... but struggled to overcome them". This series has been a journey, the stories has given some food for thought, while they have been entertaining, enjoyable and fun, books that I want to come back to again.
This last addition has it all, sizzling love story, the true struggle life can be sometimes, fantastic friends, joy and humor, all experienced in a small town where people care for each other, look out for each other, and are willing to step up and help when needed.
~ Five Spoons
Our latest bachelor has enough family in Marietta to qualify as an honorary native, but hails instead from Seattle, WA, which is where he’ll fly you for a glamorous weekend on the shores of the sparkling Puget Sound. Jesse Grey will treat you the way a local boy turned construction tycoon should: five star accommodations, gourmet dinners, and celebrated Washington wines. We just can’t promise he’ll smile much. Or at all.
Sold to the highest bidder!
Jesse Grey, notorious bachelor and one of Seattle’s foremost construction tycoons, has been roped into participating in the Marietta Bachelor Auction thanks to an expertly executed guilt trip laid out by his family.
Michaela Townsend already has a fiancé and certainly doesn’t need another man in her life. So when her family buys her surly, sexy Jesse at the auction and wrangles him into driving her from Montana to Seattle, she’s appalled yet disturbingly attracted.
As far as Jesse is concerned, Michaela is forbidden fruit. Even though he knows her fiancé isn’t all he seems, Jesse would never take what didn’t belong to him. But how long can he resist the one woman he shouldn’t touch?
Jesse and Michaela have an instant attraction upon meeting each other. That would be all great, but Michaela is engaged to be married. But no fear, Michaela and her fiance have an open relationship. Though Michaela has never acted upon this freedom she has. The attraction is so strong, it leaves them breathless, and acting awkward. Lots of thoughts and battles are fought in their minds, and the inner reflections, constant flow of thoughts just gets convoluted.
In principle, the idea of the story, the study between the traditional relationship with commitment, and open, free relationship is fascinating. I know exactly where I sit on that fence, but the plot and the idea were original.
Michaela comes off so defensive of her relationship, somewhat naive when it comes to her fiance's behavior, or is it just denial, but if it is, why does she have a need for it? Jesse is hurting from his past, from the betrayal of his father and ex-girlfriend. He comes off a little arrogant. I felt it was really difficult to connect with them, Michaela especially. I didn't find her very likeable, or charming.
We learn so much about the characters, their inner thoughts, their development as a person - and all that is great. But there's no much room for the development of the relationship, and their feelings, so the ending seemed rushed and slightly off.
Overall, the story left me breathless and wondering what just happened. But if a story makes you think, hasn't it reached its point?
~ Three Spoons
She’s on the run…
Brilliant art appraiser Alex Northrop’s ex used stolen art to fund his nefarious activities. Now he wants her dead. But it isn’t just herself she’s worried about – if he discovers who she really is, he’ll kill her family.
Professor Henry Chilton is shocked to find a beautiful stranger passed out in his bed, and even more so when she reveals a priceless painting is a forgery – the painting he’d planned to use to fund a woman’s shelter. She’s mysterious and frightened, and he is determined to discover why.
Alex's knowledge of art is undeniable—just as Henry’s attraction to her is irresistible. But in order to help him recover the real painting, Alex isn't just risking exposure...she's risking her life.
Fascinating underground art world, full of criminals, violence and deceit.
The characters are interesting.
Alex with her brilliance in both art world and languages, witty personality, and take charge attitude, and model looks is charming, yet surprisingly naive at times.
Henry, aristocrat and college professor, with Royal Navy background, lives the life of glamour, and has a heart of gold. The connection between Alex and Henry is based on lies, full of suspicions and lack of trust. Yet they manage to get to know each other within the limits, and form a bond that draws them together.
The villains are ruthless, their actions merciless and bloody. The threat of retaliation is constant and real, everyone Alex is in contact with, or cares for, is in danger for their life as well. The scenes in the story move around in both Europe and the States, no where is Alex safe, or her loved ones.
The plot is interesting, the twists plentiful, even though somewhat expected at times. The lack of smooth flow in the story was a bit bothersome, but in my understanding this is the author's first book. Overall an interesting tale
~ Three Spoons
The Elusive Lord Everhart
The Rakes of Fallow Hall # 1
By: Vivienne Lorret
Releasing March 24, 2015
Gabriel Ludlow, Viscount Everhart will never marry, and thus is sure to win the bachelor’s wager against his friends. Assuming, of course, that his deepest secret—a certain letter containing a marriage proposal made in a moment of passion—doesn’t surface. After all, without Calliope Croft to tempt him, there’s no danger in losing. Or in falling in love.
Calliope wants revenge. Five years ago, an anonymous love letter stole her heart and ultimately broke it. Now, Casanova has struck again, and Calliope vows to unmask the scoundrel, stopping him from breaking any more hearts. Yet, time and again, Gabriel distracts her from her task, until she can no longer deny that something about him calls to her...
Gabriel was a fool to deny the depth of his feelings for Calliope, but the threat that kept him from her five years ago remains. Now, he must choose between two paths: break her heart all over again or finally succumb to loving her...at the risk of losing everything.
Sweat dripped from Gabriel’s brow as he neared the top of the circular staircase. If he’d have known that hopping on one foot up stairs took such skill, he would have added it to his regimen ages ago. Apparently, neither broadswords nor boxing had anything on hopping. He suddenly had a new respect for his younger half-sister, Raena, and her tendency to hop and skip from one room to the next—as long as she wasn’t caught by her mother.
“Only months away from town and you’ve already gone soft, I see,” a familiar voice called up from the open doorway of the map room. But it wasn’t Montwood or Danvers.
In bewildered disbelief, Gabriel ducked his head to peer down behind him. “Croft?”
“The one and the same,” Griffin Croft answered. “When we were last at Gentleman Jackson’s saloon, you knocked me on my arse. I thought I’d return the favor with an unexpected visit.”
“You have succeeded.” Gabriel turned to make his way back down, one step at a time. Croft and he were more sparring partners than friends. In fact, this was their first social call of any sort. One did not typically make friends with the man who’d blackmailed you and threatened to end your life, after all.
Normally, Gabriel wasn’t of a superstitious nature. Yet, after the drunken wager he’d made last night—along with his thoughts concerning Croft’s sister—he was beginning to wonder if he ought to be.
Then again, there was a perfectly obvious reason for the visit. “I imagine you’ve come to see how your cousin fares.”
USA Today bestselling author VIVIENNE LORRET loves romance novels, her pink laptop, her husband, and her two sons (not necessarily in that order ... but there are days). Transforming copious amounts of tea into words, she is proud to be an Avon Impulse author of works including: “Tempting Mr. Weatherstone”, The Wallflower Wedding Series, and the Rakes of Fallow Hall series.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter |Goodreads
Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/02/the-elusive-lord-everhart-rakes-of.html
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22588921-the-elusive-lord-everhart?from_search=true
Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/131479-the-rakes-of-fallow-hall
A Novel of Love Lost and Found
By: Meg Donohue
Releasing March 10th, 2015
The USA Today bestselling author of How to Eat a Cupcake and All the Summer Girls returns with an unforgettably poignant and funny tale of love and loss, confronting our fears, and moving on . . . with the help of a poodle, a mutt, and a Basset retriever named Seymour
As a pet bereavement counselor, Maggie Brennan uses a combination of empathy, insight, and humor to help patients cope with the anguish of losing their beloved four-legged friends. Though she has a gift for guiding others through difficult situations, Maggie has major troubles of her own that threaten the success of her counseling practice and her volunteer work with a dog rescue organization.
Everything changes when a distraught woman shows up at Maggie’s office and claims that her dog has been stolen. Searching the streets of San Francisco for the missing pooch, Maggie finds herself entangled in a mystery that forces her to finally face her biggest fear-and to open her heart to new love.
Packed with deep emotion and charming surprises, Dog Crazy is a bighearted and entertaining story that skillfully captures the bonds of love, the pain of separation, and the power of our dogs to heal us.
What a delightful surprise this story is. There's so many emotions, from sadness and anxiety, to love, joy, comfort, and elation.
Even though very successful with her counseling career, Maggie has some serious issues herself, that bloom after her move to San Francisco. She not only live in a new city on the other side of the country, and start her own practice, but also loses her companion Toby. All the battles and angst she feels are described so clearly with her voice, as the story is told in first person.
The compassion, sympathy, and empathy she has for her clients is never ending. Her love for the furry friends is endearing. The tale is riddled with humor and wit, friends and companions, both two and four legged. The new friends in town not only benefit from her help, but help Maggie find her feet again, and embrace life and love.
This is a tale that will make you shed a tear for the loss, smile for the banter, want to travel to San Francisco to walk the hills, and run to the closest shelter to adopt a dog. It teaches a lot about life, love and loss, with a fresh and original voice, and gives hope for tomorrow cause there's a reason to 'always hope for the sun'
~ Four Spoons
Meg Donohue is the USA Today bestselling author of How to Eat a Cupcake and All the Summer Girls. She has an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University and a BA in comparative literature from Dartmouth College. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she now lives in San Francisco with her husband, three young daughters, and dog.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/02/dog-crazy-novel-of-love-lost-and-found.html
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22573873-dog-crazy?from_search=true
Ship of Dreams
Dreams Come True # 2
By: Rebecca Heflin
Released February 11, 2015
Soul Mate Publishing, LLC
Advertising Diva, Laura Armstrong is after Imperial Cruise Lines, the biggest account of her career and the one that will lead to the next step in her Life Plan of becoming one of the most powerful women in advertising. That winning the account will also prove her father wrong is a bonus.
Sexy Southern Gentleman, Nathan Maxwell, is after that very same account, but for completely different reasons. Landing the account means a sizeable bonus just in time to save his family’s farm, and the only stable home his sister’s ever known, from foreclosure.
When the two end up on the same ship in the middle of the Mediterranean for a clandestine reconnaissance mission, Mt. Vesuvius isn’t the only thing that could erupt.
Will Nathan sink her ship of dreams before it ever leaves port, or will the way to love be smooth sailing?
Sassy humor with with sweet, yet steamy, romance in the wicked world of advertising.
Nathan, the southern gentleman, is oozing charm and romance. He is protective, loyal, talented, and caring. He puts his family first, and doesn't compromise his values for anything.
Laura has a caring heart underneath the brazen mouth and cutthroat behavior. Her dysfunctional family and problems with her father has driven her always to be the best, succeed in her career, and avoid any kinds of commitment in relationships.
Their first meeting is romantic, the impression is made, and the fleeting moment stays with them, until they find themselves on a same cruise ship, with the result of sizzling fling across the Mediterranean seas.
Laura and Nathan have a palpable connection, the physical attraction is strong and blazing. Their story is fun, entertaining, steamy, and sweet. The problems they are facing are common, and easy to relate to, their happily ever after satisfying, even though I felt the ending was a bit rushed.
Delicious story of engaging advertising world, with charismatic characters, plenty of humor, and alluring romance
~ Four Spoons
Rebecca Heflin is an award-winning author who has dreamed of writing romantic fiction since she was fifteen and her older sister snuck a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss' Shanna to her and told her to read it. Rebecca writes women's fiction and contemporary romance. When not passionately pursuing her dream, Rebecca is busy with her day-job as a practicing attorney.
Rebecca is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Florida Romance Writers, RWA Contemporary Romance, and Florida Writers Association. She and her mountain-climbing husband live at sea level in sunny Florida.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
You can run from everything except your past.
Diana King has moved to Smithfield, North Carolina to start fresh. With a
new look, a new address, and a new name, she's hoping to begin a safe,
quiet life far from the horrors she's endured.
On the painful road to recovery, Diana begins to think she can move
forward … until she meets local farmer, Jonathan Smith, and realizes his
connection to her previous life. While Jon doesn't recognize her, they both
have an undeniable attraction.
Just when Diana begins to see a hope of happiness, she discovers that her
ex-husband Russ is on the hunt and will stop at nothing to get her back.
For Diana holds evidence that could lock him away for life ...
This book has a lot of promise and potential. The plot was interesting, abused woman, escaping her crime lord, abusive husband, in witness protection. She falls in love while recovering and rebuilding her life, with a man who seems to be perfect in all the ways that count.
I felt the first half of the story took too long to build up the stage, and then the ending was a rushed. There were so many secrets, mysteries, and questions left unanswered. It took too long to reveal what had really happened in the past, and what was the connection Jon and Diana had had before. To add to the confusion of riddles, there were too many points of view in the story, his, hers, her ex, his ex, the villain, the hit-man...
The ex-husband was cruel, callous, brutal, and inhuman in his actions. Just sickening to read what he had done to Diana. Was it necessary for Jon and Diana to have connection from before? Some of the many mistakes that were made by the witness protection program made the story unbelievable.
Jon's ex was mean and spiteful, after all her actions, it was hard to believe she was still part of the tight group of friends.
The romance was careful to build up, understandably, since all the drama Diana had experienced in her life, but why does it then suddenly move forward in leaps and bounds?
I have lived in the Asheville, NC area myself for years while going to school, and I wished for some known landmarks, something I could connect with. At least there was one of the many waterfalls they have in North Carolina.
So the story left me a bit baffled, but for a debut novel, it was a good effort, and the second half of the book, when some of the mysteries are finally revealed, the story starts to make sense, and I was able to finish it
~ Two Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
MY GRADING SCALE:
5 Spoons - Amazing, memorable story that I loved, and want to read again.
4 Spoons - Fantastic, entertaining story
3 Spoons - Good story, but not much that stood out
2 Spoons - A story with some issues, that were a problem to me
1 Spoon - Not for me
Books & Spoons does not purchase all the books reviewed on this blog. The website receives review copies of books from publishers, authors or their representatives, or third party services, such a NetGalley or Edelweiss. The source of a book has no bearing on the outcome of the reviews. Books & Spoons is not monetarily compensated to provide an opinion/review on the books. The reviews and opinions expressed on this website are purely an honest, personal opinions of the reviewer.
Posts may include links to my affiliate accounts at Amazon and Kobo, and Books & Spoons earn a few cents on the dollar, if readers purchase the books through the links. Thank you for supporting Books & Spoons when shopping at Amazon and Kobo!