Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: SHARE THE MOON by Sharon Struth



Title: Share the Moon (Blue Moon Lake #1)
Author: Sharon Struth
Publisher: Lyrical Press (Kensington)
Release Date: August 4, 2014
Where to Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes
Rating: 3.5 stars





From the book:

Sometimes trust is the toughest lesson to learn.

Sophie Shaw is days away from signing a contract that will fulfill her dream of owning a vineyard. For her, it’s a chance to restart her life and put past tragedies to rest. But Duncan Jamieson’s counter offer blows hers out to sea.

Duncan still finds Sophie as appealing as he had during boyhood vacations to the lake. Older and wiser now, he has his own reasons for wanting the land. His offer, however, hinges on a zoning change approval.

Bribery rumors threaten the deal and make Sophie wary of Duncan, yet she cannot deny his appeal. When her journalistic research uncovers a Jamieson family secret, trust becomes the hardest lesson for them both.


My review:

Struth weaves a tale of unimaginable loss, grief, regret, hope and redemption in the first of her new Blue Moon series.

Duncan and Sophie are very realistic characters; Sophie cannot overcome her grief from losing her son, and Duncan, still recovering from the sudden death of his first wife,  is weighed down by the regrets he has from his earlier life decisions. 

I wasn't as connected to the characters as I wanted to be - usually, I strongly dislike reading about such horrible events in a person's life. I prefer light-hearted romances that leave me feeling happy and elated and full of hope. But this story is so well-written that I felt I needed to go on, to see how it played out - how could two such damaged characters really ever come to a happy place, when their lives are so upside-down? (I'm not going to spoil it. You have to read it to find out!)

I was pleasantly surprised at the mystery in this story - I have to admit, I wasn't expecting it. And when I closed the book, although I still wasn't connected to the characters, I did feel a sense of satisfaction and an interest in reading the next in the series. The secondary characters are well-rounded and I'm looking forward to what Struth has in store for us with Blue Moon Lake #2!

Three and a half stars.

(Disclaimer: I was provided a digital Advanced Reader Copy (e-ARC) from the publisher for an honest and unbiased review.)


About the Author

Sharon Struth is an award-winning author who believes it’s never too late for a second chance in love or life. When she’s not writing, she and her husband happily sip their way through the scenic towns of the Connecticut Wine Trail. Sharon writes from the small town of Bethel, Connecticut, the friendliest place she’s ever lived. For more information, including where to find her other novels and published essays, please visit her website.


Contact Sharon:

Website |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Blog


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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Giveaway: The Playboy's Princess by Joy Fulcher

Today, I'm bringing you a book that looks VERY good to me - I can't wait to get my hands on it! It's called The Playboy's Princess:




Title: The Playboy's Princess
Author: Joy Fulcher
Publisher: Omnific
Where to Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

From the book:

What do a Hollywood playboy and a Disney Princess have in common? Not a lot, but they can fake it. 

Jade Pratt is living a tough life, surviving paycheck to paycheck by working at Disneyland. She'd like nothing more than to be swept off her feet by her own Prince Charming. 

Drew Malik is living what appears to be a charmed life: He’s the son of a famous actor and has money, women…anything he could want. But he's burning out in a life filled with booze and one night stands. When he finds out his trust fund is blocked until he either turns thirty or gets married, his friends plot to rescue him by placing an ad in the paper to find him a bride -- fast. 

When Jade answers the ad, the pair meet up and agree to an arrangement that will solve both their problems. But when their fake marriage elicits real feelings and real problems, they're both forced to re-evaluate their deal. 

Happily ever after was never the intention...but what if it's their destiny?



About the Author:







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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Book Review: Covering Kendall by Julie Brannagh

Title: Covering Kendall
Author: Julie Brannagh
Publisher: Avon (HarperCollins)
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Where to Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes
Rating: 5 stars




From the book:

Kendall Tracy, General Manager of the San Francisco Miners, is not one for rash decisions or one-night stands. But when she finds herself alone in a hotel room with a heart-stoppingly gorgeous man-who looks oddly familiar-Kendall throws her own rules out the window…and they blow right back into her face.

Drew McCoy should look familiar, he’s a star player for her team’s archrival the Seattle Sharks. Which would basically make Drew and Kendall the Romeo and Juliet of professional football…well, without all the dying. Not that it’s an issue. They agree to pretend their encounter never happened. Nothing good can come from it anyway, right? Drew’s not so sure.

Kendall may be all wrong, but he can’t stop thinking about her and he finds that some risks are worth taking. Because the stakes are always highest when you’re playing for keeps.



My review:

Julie Brannagh's fourth Love and Football series, COVERING KENDALL, is her best work yet. Brannagh is an author I've been with from the beginning - as an Avon Addict, I was introduced to her with her debut novel, Blitzing Emily (which I enjoyed). I saw improvement in her writing in her second, Rushing Amy, and her style became even better with Catching Cameron. (Why didn't I review this?! I loved this novel. I'll have to review it so you, dear reader, can make a decision to buy it. Spoiler alert: It's worth your money.)

But this one?

She. Nailed. It.

The characters' struggles are so real - career vs. personal life. It's one many of us struggle with in our everyday lives, and Brannagh injects so much feeling into the dialogue and setting that I related all over the place. (As I mentioned in earlier posts, I'm not a football lover. I'm not really a sporty type. But this series - this story in particular - transcends all that.)

Kendall is a busy career woman. She has climbed to the top by working her behind off; she's professional without being cold, which is a difficult thing for any author to pull off. Brannagh balanced her just right. One of the subplots in this book is that Kendall has to deal with one of her players involved in a domestic abuse case. Instead of going all icy and "I'm a woman and I'm bad-ass, I'm going to kick this guy out of the NFL," Kendall responds with such grace, humility and realism that I cheered out loud. It was wonderful. And that's just one example of the wonderfulness of this novel.

Drew is another well-rounded character. I wish I could turn on the TV and look for him on the field! Drew thinks he has it all together. He wants the perfect family - the same one he grew up with, really. Two loving parents, siblings, white picket fence. He even bought a house that would support such a family, when he found the perfect woman to marry. (Ha! I love that. He has such confidence that all will fall neatly into place. Life never works that way, and again, Brannagh nails this by blowing it completely out-of-the-water!) His high-profile job gives him a great insight into what it will be like for Kendall if their romance secret ever got out (which, of course, it does). Then it gives him great sensitivity to how she has to deal with it. He doesn't handle it perfectly - he is, after all, human - but his character arc is impressive, natural, and above all, realistic.

Drew's parents, by the way, are an excellent subplot that surprised me. Brannagh interwove it so seamlessly that I didn't see what she was doing until it was done. Read it. You'll know what I mean.



Five stars.

(Disclaimer: I was provided a digital Advanced Reader Copy (e-ARC) from the publisher for an honest and unbiased review.)



About the Author

Julie Brannagh has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She lives in a small town near Seattle, where she once served as a city council member and owned a yarn shop. She shares her home with a wonderful husband, two uncivilized Maine Coons and a rambunctious chocolate Lab. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, or armchair-quarterbacking her favorite NFL team from the comfort of the family room couch. Julie is a Golden Heart finalist and the author of contemporary sports romances.


Contact Julie:

Website |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads


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Monday, October 20, 2014

Book Tour: Sweet, Texas Series by Candis Terry




Enter to Win
Signed Copy of SOMETHING SWEETER, 
Halloween Socks and Halloween Candy!

HE’S STUBBORN AND THOROUGHLY MALE...

If Charlotte Brooks thinks she and her TV makeover show can turn Reno Wilder’s hometown upside down, he’ll be happy to prove her wrong. The x-Marine has seen too much turmoil and he likes Sweet, Texas, just the way it is. Traditional. Familiar. A little dull. Everything Charli isn’t. But instead of backing off from his scowls like everyone else, Charli digs in her skyscraper heels.

SHE’S TENACIOUS AND WICKEDLY TEMPTING...

Reno Wilder is a one-man unwelcoming committee, but Charli isn’t budging. It’s clear the gorgeous cowboy needs an overhaul just as much as Sweet. Someone needs to break him out of that gruff shell and show him how fun and rewarding a little change can be.

THEY’RE ABOUT TO FIND THAT LOVE IS ANYTHING BUT PREDICTABLE.


Check out my review of ANYTHING BUT SWEET!

Amazon | B&N iTunes
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WHEN FRIENDS BECOME LOVERS . . .

Firefighter and former Marine Jackson Wilder has tough guy down to an art, but he’s learned the hard way that promises were made to be broken. Abigail Morgan was once his best friend, his first kiss, his first love, his first everything. He’d just forgotten to mention all that to her and she blew out of his life. Five years later, she’s back and he’s battling a load of mistrust for her disappearing act. But for some reason he just can’t keep his lips—or his hands—to himself.

IT CAN LEAD TO DISASTER OR . . .

When her stint as a trophy wife abruptly ends, Abby returns home to Sweet, Texas, and comes face-to-face with Jackson—her biggest and sexiest mistake. Time and distance did nothing to squash her love for the act-first-think-later stubborn hunk of a man, and when he suggests they renew their old just-friends vow, Abby realizes she wants more. She’d cut and run once. Could she do it again? Or could she tempt him enough to break his promise?


Check out my review of SWEETEST MISTAKE!
Read an excerpt here.

 Amazon | B&N  | iTunes
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The men in Texas are hard to resist...

Seattle event planner Allison Lane is an expert at delivering the perfect wedding—even if she might not exactly believe in the whole “’til death do us part” thing. When her father decides to tie the knot with a woman he barely knows, Allison heads to Sweet, Texas, to make sure his new honey is the real deal. What she didn’t expect to find at the local honky-tonk was a sexy Southern man as bent on charming her pants off as he is on blowing her “true love doesn’t exist” theory all to hell.

And they always promise...

Veterinarian, former Marine, and Sweet’s favorite playboy Jesse Wilder takes one look at Allison and knows she’s a handful of trouble he can’t deny. But even after a sizzling kiss and obvious mutual attraction, it seems Allison has no such problem. When Jesse uncovers her sweet side, can he crush his playboy image, melt her cynical heart, and change her mind about taking a trip down the aisle?


Check out my review of SOMETHING SWEETER!
Amazon | B&N | iTunes
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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Candis Terry was born and raised near the sunny beaches of Southern California and now makes her home on an Idaho farm. She’s experienced life in such diverse ways as working in a Hollywood recording studio to chasing down wayward steers. Only one thing has remained the same: her passion for writing stories about relationships, the push and pull in the search for love, and the security one finds in their own happily ever after.





Friday, October 10, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: Caught in the Act by Sara Jane Stone


 Title: Caught in the Act
Author: Sara Jane Stone
Publisher: Avon (HarperCollins)
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Where to Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble  |  Google Play  |  iTunes
Rating: 4 stars




From the book:

Falling for his rivals' little sister could cost him everything … 

For Liam Trulane, failure is not an option. He is determined to win a place in Katie Summers' life before she leaves Independence Falls for good. But first, he needs to make amends for the last time they got down and dirty. 

Only problem? 

His professional success hinges on striking a deal to buy Katie's family business. And after Liam's relationship with their Katie went south years ago, the Summers brothers are more enemy than friend. If both parties agree to set the past aside, they can reach an understanding. But when Katie welcomes him back into her bed, Liam risks everything to make her his. 

After Liam betrayed her trust, Katie Summers will do anything to keep him from walking away with the family business. She decides to seduce him, knowing that when her brothers find out, they will back off from the deal. And she'll finally have her revenge. But when her plan spirals out of control, Katie learns that payback may come at too high a price …

My review:

The second book of the Independence Falls series (which can be read as a stand-alone novel) was a fun story about a scorned woman who really wanted revenge, but she simply couldn't make it happen no matter how hard she tried. The problem? Her own sweet nature and a true love's calling...

Liam and Katie have a bad past. After seemingly getting what he wanted from her, Liam left her in the dust and broken her heart. Now, seven or so years later, Katie's convinced herself she's moved on, yet Liam knows she's the one for him.

Watching Katie and Liam struggle - Katie with attempting her revenge plots that always seem to backfire in the best possible way and Liam with trying to convince Katie that he's changed for the better - was definitely the escape I needed this week! Katie's a spitfire and Liam is cool, calm and collected. The two of them burned up my Kindle with chemistry and sizzle, and I loved meeting everyone in Independence Falls. I can't wait to go back and read FULL EXPOSURE, the first in the series, and I'll definitely be picking up the next one!

Four stars.

(Disclaimer: I was provided a digital Advanced Reader Copy (e-ARC) from the publisher for an honest and unbiased review.)



About the Author


After several years on the other side of the publishing industry, Sara Jane Stone bid goodbye to her sales career to pursue her dream-writing romance novels. Sara Jane currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with her very supportive real-life hero, two lively young children and a lazy Burmese cat. Join Sara Jane’s newsletter to receive new release information, news about contests, giveaways, and more! To subscribe, visit www.sarajanestone.com and look for her newsletter entry form.




Contact Sara:

Website |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads


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Monday, September 29, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: WHAT A WALLFLOWER WANTS by Maya Rodale

 
Title: What a Wallflower Wants
Author: Maya Rodale
Publisher: Avon (HarperCollins)
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Where to Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes
Rating: 5 stars




From the book:

In the third novel in Maya Rodale’s charming Wallflower series, London’s Least Likely to Be Caught in a Compromising Position finds temptation in a devilishly handsome stranger...

Miss Prudence Merryweather Payton has a secret.

Everyone knows that she’s the only graduate from her finishing school to remain unwed on her fourth season-but no one knows why. With her romantic illusions shattered after being compromised against her will, Prudence accepts a proposal even though her betrothed is not exactly a knight in shining armor. When he cowardly pushes her out of their stagecoach to divert a highwayman, she vows never to trust another man again.

John Roark, Viscount Castleton, is nobody’s hero. 

He’s a blue-eyed charmer with a mysterious past and ambitious plans for his future-that do not include a wife. When he finds himself stranded at a country inn with a captivating young woman, a delicate dance of seduction ensues. He knows he should keep his distance. And he definitely shouldn’t start falling in love with her.

When Prudence’s dark past comes back to haunt her, John must protect her-even though he risks revealing his own secrets that could destroy his future.


My review:

The third and final book in the Wallflower series has a darker bent to it than the previous novels. Rodale has masterfully brought to light the silent side of rape within the confines of a strict society, and in doing so, has created one of the strongest female historical romance characters I've had the pleasure of reading. 

Pru's discovery of herself throughout her journey is methodical instead of slow; her natural progression from "wallflower" to strong, fight-back-no-longer-a-victim heroine is nothing short of heartwarming and hope-inducing.

John is quite possibly the most perfect imperfect hero to ever grace the pages of a Regency. He's fighting the good fight for his family, himself - and, once he discovers her secret - Pru. He is all that is good in the world.

Born outside the ton, yet needing to break into their circle to save his family, John holds a secret of his own that, once revealed, pushes Pru further from the boundaries of the ton (and everything she has been raised to believe). 

This story is a must-read for historical romance lovers. It shows a darker side of the ton we all love to love (or hate, depending on the story!), the deep connections of female friendship, and redemption of a woman's once-bent (but never fully broken) spirit.

Five stars.

(Disclaimer: I was provided a digital Advanced Reader Copy (e-ARC) from the publisher for an honest and unbiased review.)



About the Author


Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence and it wasn’t long before she was writing her own. Maya is now the author of multiple Regency historical romances. She lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.



Contact Maya:

Website |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads


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Friday, September 26, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: When the Rancher Came to Town by Emma Cane


Title: When the Rancher Came to Town
Author: Emma Cane
Publisher: Avon Impulse (HarperCollins)
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Where to Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars





From the book:


Emma Cane returns to the amazing and romantic town for the latest installment in her sparkling series. When and ex-Rodeo star falls in love with the agoraphobic B&B owner, he must pull out all the stops to get her out of her shell. 

Welcome to Valentine Valley!

The Silver Creek Rodeo is in full swing and everyone’s talking about the rancher who came to town…

Bed & Breakfast owner Amanda Cramer wants nothing more than a quiet, private life. Well, she wants guests too, but after her share of unwanted notoriety she’s gotten comfortable hiding out in her inn…perhaps a little too comfortable. When her newest guest arrives, tall, dark and breathtaking…Amanda begins to question her self-imposed exile.

Ex-rodeo star Mason Lopez knows all about the limelight. He’d avoid it if he could, but since one last ride could mean saving his family’s ranch, he’ll go all in. When he gets to Valentine Valley for the Silver Creek Rodeo, Mason checks into Connections B&B and finds himself immediately drawn to the beautiful, reserved woman who owns it.

Mason only has three days in town…can he convince Amanda to open her heart to him and welcome the world back in?



My review:

Emma Cane adds another story to her Valentine Valley series with this novella. Mason, a rodeo star, and Amanda, a former-lawyer-turned-B&B-owner, are an unlikely couple who finds solace in each other's arms. Amanda is trying to heal herself from her agoraphobia (anxiety disorder) and Mason is trying to be in the limelight one final time to save his family's ranching business. 

As this is a novella, there wasn't much room for character development. Cane paints a beautiful picture of Valentine Valley, and the welcoming feel of the town that's woven throughout the series is very much present here. It's hard for me to believe two people can fall in love in only three days, but I was willing to suspend my belief because I did enjoy other books in the series.

This read was an easy one - a single sitting and it was through (I call these a lunchtime read - I can finish it in a lunch hour). While I do wish she'd spent a little less time on Amanda's background and a little more time on the romance, there's only so many pages available. That's just the way novellas tend to go; just as you're getting into it, it ends! The writing was, as it usually is with Cane, descriptive and emotive. I felt the B&B (named Connections), loved the history she poured into it, and could see the gardens in my mind. Cane's settings are always lovely and are almost a character of the story itself - she's a master at creating rich, dimensional places where you'd want to live.

Although I didn't love When the Rancher Came to Town as much as the other Valentine Valley novels, I wasn't disappointed with this read despite it's lack of character development and conflict. In fact, it left me wondering how they'll make it as a couple. I hope Cane revisits Amanda and Mason in a future Valentine Valley novel; a glimpse into their forever happiness would provide me with that happy sigh I'm always seeking.

Three and a half stars.


(Disclaimer: I was provided a digital Advanced Reader Copy (e-ARC) from the publisher for an honest and unbiased review.)

About the Author


Emma Cane grew up reading and soon discovered that she liked to write passionate stories of teenagers in space. Her love of “passionate stories” has never gone away, although today she concentrates on the heartwarming characters of Valentine, her fictional small town in the Colorado Rockies. 

Now that her three children are grown, Emma loves spending time crocheting and singing (although not necessarily at the same time), and hiking and snowshoeing alongside her husband Jim and two rambunctious dogs Apollo and Uma.

Contact Emma:

Website|  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads


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Friday, September 5, 2014

Review and Giveaway: CRAZY FOR HER by Sandra Owens



Title: Crazy for Her (Book 1 of the K2 Team Series)
Author: Sandra Owens
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Release Date: September 1, 2014
Where to Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars



From the Book

When his best friend and fellow Navy SEAL, Evan Prescott, died in his arms on the battlefield, Logan Kincaid gave his word to watch over Evan’s widow. But for two years he kept his distance…torn between honoring his solemn vow and succumbing to his secret love for his fallen comrade’s wife. But when Dani Prescott desperately reaches out to Logan for the help only he can give, he rushes to her side—determined to fight for her safety as fiercely as he fights against his own buried desire.

Someone claiming to be her husband is stalking Dani and her infant daughter, making them virtually prisoners in their remote country home. Logan’s elite military training and high-risk security expertise have outmatched more dangerous enemies. But the real challenge will be the burning temptation that threatens to overcome Logan whenever Dani is near…especially when she reveals her own hidden passion.

My Review

This novel starts a new series for Owens, and she starts it off with a bang. On the battlefield, we meet Logan Kincaid and Evan Prescott - and throughout the novel, we fall in love a little with each of them. 

Logan is a tortured man who managed to pull both his sister and himself from the ashes of a very rough home life. He's made something of himself with his own special ops-ish company, but his training came from his days as a Navy SEAL, where he and his best friend Evan met. In his last breaths, Evan begs Logan to protect and care for his wife and unborn child.

Logan's been in love with Evan's wife from the first moment they both met her. However, Evan gets to her first and, as they say, bro code is immediately put into place. Logan strives to be noble and good and everything that a man should be...until Dani forces him to look to the future instead of the past. A true alpha, Logan is not a fan of being out of control...and that's just what Dani does to him every time he gets near her.

Danielle Prescott is a widow and, when we meet her, is just past her grief (two years after her husband's death). She's at a place where she can smile at the memories, and she has a young daughter (Regan) whom she's determined will know her father as someone wonderful. Owens did a stunning job at capturing this stage of a person's life; the hope of a child, the sadness but need to move on of widowhood, and the determination of a strong woman combined perfectly to create a believable, heartwarming story. Dani recognizes her loneliness and wants to move on with her life, and she knows Evan would be more than supportive. She has always had something of a crush on Logan, but as the story progressed, I enjoyed watching Dani try to figure out if she should give Logan a chance at more than the fling she has in mind (ha! As if she had a say in the matter of her heart!).

The suspense comes in with the stalker who's been calling Dani and claiming to be Evan. It's eery and gives you the goosebumps with each phone call and event. Dani deals with it herself until a box arrives with a teddy bear inside...holy freakiness. I was fully creeped out. Logan's desire for Dani begins to cloud his judgement, and his razor-sharp battle edge is significantly dulled by it - putting Dani and Regan in more danger. Logan's struggle to keep a lid on his desire to keep them safe was well-thought out, well-paced and understandable throughout the novel, and added a layer of complexity to the overall story. 

Evan's memory is well-served in Crazy For Her, which is so important in a second-chance love story about a military widow. Regan gives the feeling of hope to Logan, which he desperately needs, and I enjoyed how she wasn't pushed to the side and only brought out when convenient.

The supporting cast of former SEALs - from a creepy swampman (oh please, I hope there's a story about him!) to a modern-day Romeo, I can't wait to see what Owens cooks up for her band of SEAL brothers.

From the first page to the last, I was riveted. I started the book at 9pm, read until I couldn't keep my eyes open, then woke from a dead sleep to get back to this story. I finished it around five in the morning, and I didn't regret the lack of sleep at all. This story was worth the sacrifice! I highly recommend this novel if you're looking for a contemporary, fast-paced novel with unexpected twists and turns. Also, if you like when authors break conventions, Owens did a marvelous job of it with Logan Kincaid - he's my book boyfriend and I had a book hangover. The only issue with this book? It ended. :)

Four stars.

About the Author



A native of Florida, Sandra once managed a Harley-Davidson dealership, before switching from a bike to an RV for roaming the open road (though she’s also chased thrills from sky-diving to upside-down stunt-plane flying). In addition to Crazy For Her—a 2013 Golden Heart Finalist for Romantic Suspense—her works include the Regency Romance novels The Letter, winner of the Golden Quill Award, and The Training of a Marquess, winner of the Golden Claddagh Award. A member of Romance Writers of America, and potential cat owner, she lives with her husband in Asheville, North Carolina.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

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Three lucky readers will win a copy of CRAZY FOR HER!

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(Disclaimer: I was provided a digital Advanced Reader Copy (e-ARC) from the author for an honest and unbiased review.)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Book Review: YOU HAD ME AT HELLO by Mhairi McFarlane

Title: You Had Me At Hello
Author: Mhairi McFarlane
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: November 8, 2012
Where to Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi Mcfarlane

From the book:


What happens when the one that got away comes back? Find out in this sparkling debut from Mhairi McFarlane:
‘Think of the great duos of history. We're just like them.’
‘You mean like Kylie and Jason? Torvill and Dean? Sonny and Cher? ’
‘I think you’ve missed the point, Rachel.’ 
Rachel and Ben. Ben and Rachel. It was them against the world. Until it all fell apart. It’s been a decade since they last spoke, but when Rachel bumps into Ben one rainy day, the years melt away. They’d been partners in crime and the best of friends. But life has moved on: Ben is married. Rachel is not. Yet in that split second, Rachel feels the old friendship return. And along with it, the broken heart she’s never been able to mend. Hilarious, heartbreaking and everything in between, you’ll be hooked from their first ‘hello’.


My review:

"Sparkling debut" is the perfect description for this wonderfully-told tale of two former best friends who, after finally getting together in college, had a massive miscommunication that resulted in ten years of estrangement. 

Rachel bumps into her former flame, Ben, and she's immediately catapulted into a web of sticky feelings: He's married - happily so, from all appearances - and she's recently unengaged from her very longtime fiance.  She tries so hard to do the right thing in ignoring her feelings, and moving on with her life...but from the moment these two meet on the page, it's clear that they're meant to be together. 

This novel is filled with quick, snappy dialogue (it's British English, so Americans take note of the British-isms; they may be hard-to-follow if you're unfamiliar with English culture or contemporary British women's fiction). When Rachel's with her friends, the words fly out of their mouths in such a way that I felt as if I was sitting in the room with them. When Rachel's with Ben (especially in the beginning), I could feel the start-and-stop of her inner dialogue.

The ending of this novel really surprised me. Ben's married, and Rachel finally sees that she needs to move on with her life, but the final twist made my heart soar and gave me the elated feeling I'd so hoped to experience. This brilliant read led me to purchase her follow-up novel, Here's Looking at You. If it's even half as humorous, poignant, and heart-warming as this one, I'll be thrilled.

Five stars.


About the Author


Mhairi McFarlane
Mhairi was born in Scotland in 1976 and has been explaining how to pronounce her name ever since. (With a ‘V’, not an ‘M’. Yes, that’s us crazy Celts for you).

She is based in Nottingham where she used to be a local journalist and now she’s a freelance writer and sometime-blogger, which we all know is code for messing about on Twitter.


She likes drinking wine, eating food and obtaining clothes; all the impressive hobbies. Her best anecdotes involve dislocating her elbow tripping over a briefcase and a very bad flight to New York. She lives with a man and a cat.

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(Disclaimer: I was provided a digital Advanced Reader Copy (e-ARC) from the publisher for an honest and unbiased review.)