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Category Archives: 3 Stars

Review: The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren

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From the New York Times bestselling author behind the “joyful, warm, touching” (Jasmine Guillory, New York Times bestselling author) The Unhoneymooners comes a delightfully charming love story about what happens when two assistants tasked with keeping a rocky relationship from explosion start to feel sparks of their own.

Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.

James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.

Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…

From the “hilariously zany and heartfelt” (Booklist) Christina Lauren comes a romantic comedy that proves if it’s broke, you might as well fix it.

MY REVIEW

I’m just going to keep this review short and sweet. The Honey-Don’t List is a book that you’re either going to love or you’re going to hate. For me, it was just an ok read. I thought the idea of the story was fun and different. I love home remodeling shows and would be perfectly happy lounging around the house, watching HGTV. I was excited to see where this writing duo would take this story.

What I liked: As I previously stated, the plot was unique. I found the characters to be likable and loved the humorous moments.

What I didn’t like: For me, this book didn’t read as a contemporary romance or even romantic comedy. Yes, it had both of those elements, but the romance between the two main characters really took the back burner in this story. I felt like the main focus of the story was the Tripps, when it really should have been on the budding relationship between James & Carey. So, while I found the characters likable, I was left wanting and needing more. I wanted to know why these characters were together? Why should I be rooting for the two of them? In the end, I just felt like there was something missing.

Overall, this book was an ok read. While there were some aspects that I liked, I just found the story to be lacking and wanted more. So, while this book isn’t a 100% hit for me, I’m still glad I checked it and gave it a chance. I adore this writing duo and will be looking forward to see what they release next.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book, via NetGalley & the publisher, in exchange for an honest review*

Review: The Billionaire in Boots (Princes of Texas #3) by Julia London

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia London delivers a sexy new contemporary western, where a lonesome rancher and a no-nonsense cowgirl learn that you don’t choose who you fall for–love lassos you….

As the firstborn son, it’s been drilled into Nick that he is the heir apparent to the Prince family empire. But cattle ranching has never been his true passion. Nick wants to be a pilot. However, when his father dies, leaving Nick to clean up the mess, he knows he must do his duty before following his heart.

Charlotte Bailey can’t believe that Nick is back to run the ranch. As the office manager, she knows it’s her responsibility to help him. If only he wasn’t so brooding and cranky–and so hot it’s a wonder his chaps don’t melt right off him. But when sparks fly between them, she’s adamant about staying away from a cowboy on his way out the door.

Nick knows the ranch’s pretty, smart, and capable office manager is off-limits, but he needs her. And working in such close proximity to Charlotte every day is making Nick crazy. She smells good, she looks good, she makes him laugh, but most of all she makes him want to stay….

MY REVIEW

The Billionaire in Boots is the third book in the Princes of Texas Series and follows the story of Charlotte and Nick. Cattle Ranching may be in Nick’s blood, but it’s not where his passion lies. However, because Nick is a “Prince” that are certain expectations he must follow. And when Nick’s father passes, Nick has no choice but to pick up the pieces and clean up the mess his father left behind….Charlotte can’t believe Nick is back. As office manager, it’s her job to help the broody man out. The one thing Charlotte didn’t plan on was the intense chemistry between them….

Overall, this book was a quick and easy read for me. The story-line was fun and entertaining. I liked the tension and chemistry between Charlotte and Nick. I loved Charlotte’s spunk and how she wasn’t afraid to give Nick a piece of her mind. I liked seeing Nick try to figure out who and what he really wants in life. I thought Nick & Charlotte had some excellent push and pull and looked forward to seeing how their story would come together in the end.

The Billionaire in Boots is a sweet romance that is sure to leave you with a smile on your face.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book, via the publisher & NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*

Review: Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners and the “delectable, moving” (Entertainment WeeklyMy Favorite Half-Night Stand comes a modern love story about what happens when your first love reenters your life when you least expect it…

Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.

During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.

Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.

With Christina Lauren’s signature “beautifully written and remarkably compelling” (Sarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author) prose and perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, Twice in a Blue Moon is an unforgettable and moving novel of young love and second chances.

MY REVIEW

When we first meet up with Tate and Sam, their romance is sweet and innocent. Everything your first love should be. Tate and Sam found love and friendship without having to look hard for it, only for the deepest betrayal to happen. But, when it comes to Tate and Sam’s story, it’s not a malicious as it seems. There’s more to their story than meets the eyes, and it will be fourteen years before these former lovers are reunited and the truth finally sees the light….

Overall, I thought this book was an ok read. I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with it. So, let’s start with the things that worked. I really liked the beginning of the story. I loved the way that Sam and Tate met. They just hit it off and couldn’t help the pull they felt for one another. I think for Tate, it was a breath of fresh air to be around someone she liked, but that didn’t know her. She found it easy to confide in Sam and just be who Tate wanted to be. Sam and Tate’s beginning was filled with lots of stolen and sweet moments and those moments left me with butterflies in my stomach from all of the cuteness. The betrayal was a great twist. I wasn’t expecting it and definitely didn’t see it coming. I liked the overall plot of the story. I thought it was a unique take on a first love/second chance romance.

Sadly, this book was not a 100% hit for me. So, lets touch on what did not work. First thing being first. There is a huge gap of time between when we last see Tate and Sam. Now, usually that isn’t a huge deal, but for this story, that gap left me with a lot of questions. For me, I wanted to see what happened to both Sam and Tate after their separation. I wanted to see Tate rise up and also see what led her to her new career. I think if we had gotten to experience those moments instead of a blip of a mention of them, I feel like I would have connected to the “new” Tate better. Same can be said for Sam. His life changed in many ways and I would have liked to see how he got there and those moments that led to his reunion with Tate. This is definitely a time where I feel that dual point of view could have really helped with character growth and connection. My other issue was the ending. While I really liked it, it felt a bit rushed to me, like we hit our climax and that’s it, show’s over. After everything these characters went through, I would have liked to gotten more of their reunion and their future instead of just tiny blips of it.

So, my final thoughts. This book was an ok read. For me, it had a totally different feel from what we normal get from this duo. It was much lighter, less angst, less steamy moments. Don’t get me wrong, there was still drama and some steam. But, it just didn’t have that spark or signature humor that I’m used to from Christina Lauren. There were some parts that worked and some that just didn’t. I think this book will be one of those that some will love and some will hate. And while this isn’t my favorite book by this duo, I’m still glad that I checked it out and gave it a chance.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book via the publisher and NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*

Review: The Debt by Jackie Ashenden

Ruthless billionaire Ash Evans finds the sexiest way to collect on a debt in the first installment in The Billionaire’s Club quartet!

Notoriously ruthless property developer Ash Evans never forgives a debt. And I have two days to convince the former street fighter not to pull his investment in my father’s company. Taking a job as his chauffeur in Paris is the only way to get close enough to ask the bad-tempered billionaire for a favor.

With his sexy tattoo, scars and magnificently cut body, he’s as powerful, sleek and difficult to manage as the sports cars my family designs. And after meeting his electric-blue eyes in the rearview mirror all night, I’m more than happy to rev his engine and take the boss for a ride!

But now Ash thinks I’m just using him to get what I want. And he’ll give me what I need, but there is a price—posing as his girlfriend to help him exact vengeance on his half brother. Pretending to love Ash is the easiest job I’ve ever had…and soon my heart is racing into danger. Will a man so full of anger ever be capable of loving me back?

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MY REVIEW

The Debt is the first book in The Billionaire’s Club quartet and follows the story of Ash and Ellie. Ash Evans is a nortorious investor who is know for his brash attitude and being unforgiving when it comes to debts. But, Ellie needs a favor from him, so she takes a job as his chauffer in an effort to get closer to him. However, Ellie didn’t plan on Ash being so tempting. A price will need to be paid if Ellie expects Ash to agree to her favor. Pretending to be Ash’s girlfriend is easier said then done. With so much on the line, will Ellie’s heart be put into danger as well? There’s only one way to find out….

Overall, I thought this book was a quick and enjoyable read. The story hits the ground running and the pacing never lets up. From the moment we meet up with Ellie and Ash, the chemistry between the two is instant. Ash is broody and arrogant. He’s used to being treated with the upmost respect and always getting his way. When Ellie enters the picture, all bets are off. Ellie is sassy and isn’t afraid to put Ash in his place. She challenges him in a way a woman never has before and she’s making him feel things that he’s not prepared for. Together, these two are absolutely combustible. Despite all their differences and baggage they each carry, somehow these two just click. Sure their journey won’t be an easy one. There is bound to be a little drama and heartache along the way. That being said, I had a lot of fun getting swept up in these two and their story.

If I had one complaint about this book, it would be the ending. Don’t get me wrong, the ending was great, but I just felt like it was a bit rushed. I didn’t feel like it did Ellie and Ash’s story the justice that I wanted. I wish that we could have gotten a few more chapters and that Ash would have been made to grovel a little more.

Other than that, I thought this book was a quick and fun read. You can totally read this story in a single sitting. So, if you’re looking for a quick and sexy read, look no further, The Debt might just be the book you’ve been waiting for.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book via the publisher and NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*

Review: A Highlander Walks into a Bar (Highland, Georgia #1) by Laura Trentham

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The timeless romance, soaring passion—and gorgeous men—of Scotland comes to modern-day America. And the rules of love will never be the same…

Isabel Buchanan is fiery, funny, and never at a loss for words. But she is struck speechless when her mother returns from a trip to Scotland with a six-foot-tall, very handsome souvenir. Izzy’s mother is so infatuated by the fellow that Izzy has to plan their annual Highland Games all by herself. Well, not completely by herself. The Highlander’s strapping young nephew has come looking for his uncle…

Alasdair Blackmoor has never seen a place as friendly as this small Georgia town—or a girl as brilliant and beguiling as Izzy. Instead of saving his uncle, who seems to be having a lovely time, Alasdair decides he’d rather help Izzy with the Highland Games. Show her how to dance like a Highlander. Drink like a Highlander. And maybe, just maybe, fall in love with a Highlander. But when the games are over, where do they go from here?

MY REVIEW

When I first heard of A Highlander Walks into a Bar, I was totally intrigued by the story-line. It sounded like it was going to be a really cute read, so I couldn’t wait to dive in.

A Highlander Walks into a Bar starts off really promising. The dynamic between Izzy and her mother certainly was interesting. I didn’t know if I wanted to laugh or cringe at times. But, those two certainly kept things interesting! Then we meet Alasdair. Alasdair travels to Georgia to try to talk some sense into his uncle and bring him home. Alasdair only plans to stay for a short time, but can’t help but be captivated by Izzy….

Overall, I thought this book was an ok read. I think it had a lot of potential and is one of those books that is definitely going to be hit or miss for readers. Like I previously stated, this book did have a promising start. I was intrigued by the characters and was looking forward to diving deeper into their story. I enjoyed how cute the fictional town of Highland, Georgia was.  I liked all of the Scottish touches. I was really looking forward to seeing Izzy and Alasdair get to know one another more. And there were some nice steamy moments and surprises along the way.

However, I did have some issues with this book. The biggest and most important one I will be touching on today is the pacing. And for me, the pacing can either make or break the story. And when it comes to this one, the pacing just killed me. I can deal with a slow pace as long as the story is moving along and the plot is engaging. Sadly, that did not happen here. The pacing was far too slow for my liking and I found myself getting very distracted. At times, I even found myself skimming sections, just to move things along. And that is something I just don’t like to do.

My final thoughts on this book is that it was just an ok read. It had its moments where I thought things would turn around for me, but it never stayed consistent. As far as rating goes, this is a tough one. For now, I think I’m going to round up to 3 stars, because I do feel that the potential is there, it just needs more fleshing out. This is my first book by this author and while it wasn’t a total hit for me, I’m still glad that I checked out this book and gave it a chance.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book, via the publisher & NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*

EXCERPT

From A Highlander Walks into a Bar. Copyright © 2019 by Laura Trentham and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

Chapter One

“I brought home a surprise!” Rose Buchanan threw her arms out wide as if embracing the world. From the stories she told to the way she entered the room, Rose was exuberant and entertaining and enjoyed being the center of attention.

Isabel Buchanan, who was perfectly content on the fringes, pushed her wavy hair off her sticky forehead with hands that trembled from the nightmare drive through At- lanta to the airport to pick up her mom. Her mom’s trip to Scotland had doubled as both research and vacation. The jammed stop-and-go traffic had left Izzy flustered and already dreading their exit from the airport.

Rolling her stiff shoulders, Izzy stepped around the bumper of the car, popping the trunk open on the way. Her mom had a beautiful plaid scarf of greens and browns and blues tossed over her shoulder and what appeared to be new earrings. Either purchase might inspire her mother to gush, and she would expect reciprocal gushing from Izzy. Making an educated guess, Izzy asked, “Are those ear-rings your surprise?”

Without waiting for an answer, she hauled one of her mom’s giant wheeled suitcases closer and prepared to heave it into the back. The sooner they got out of Atlanta, the sooner she could get back to work planning the High- land festival. Or she might pour an extra-large glass of wine and escape into a book. A guilty pleasure, considering how much she still had to get in order in three scant weeks.

“Allow me, please.” A bearded man who had been roll- ing cases to the curb stepped forward with a grin and an accent Izzy couldn’t place.

She checked her pockets and winced. No cash to tip the man, and no hope her mom had thought of something so inconsequential.

“Do you like them? They’re hammered silver.” Her mom flipped her bobbed matching silver hair to the side and displayed one earring with her fingers. “And as a matter of fact, I did buy them from a lovely shop in Edinburgh, but I brought something bigger home. Something more exciting.”

“Your scarf? It’s lovely.” Izzy gave her mom limited attention while she watched the man load suitcase after suitcase into her trunk, fitting them together like a puzzle. More luggage than her mom had left with. She waved to catch the man’s attention. “Hang on. That’s not all my mom’s stuff.”

For the first time, Izzy really looked at the man. He was close to her mom in age, and good-looking in a bear- like way with a gleaming white smile highlighted by a salt-and-pepper beard. His full head of hair was a shade darker, but graying heavily at the temples. The expression on the man’s face when he looked in her mom’s direction—a mix of adoration and amusement—cleared the fog of confusion.

Lord have mercy, her mother had brought back a six- foot, two-hundred-pound-plus souvenir from Scotland.

Laura Trentham Blog Tour Q&A A HIGHLANDER WALKS INTO A BAR

  1. What inspired you to write A Highlander Walks into a Bar?

It was actually a Buick car commercial from a couple of years ago where a grandson picks his grandmother up from the airport and she says saucily, “I did a lot of shopping in Italy.” From behind her luggage steps an Italian gentleman. Of course, my writer brain kept picturing what happened after the three of drove off and twisted it into an entire story but had to make up a town for them to return to!

Another big inspiration is a real-life place: Helen, Georgia, is a town that has transformed itself into a German village. It’s picturesque and they celebrate Octoberfest every year. I twisted that concept and made my little town of Highland, Georgia, into a Scottish village including an annual Highland Games that the Buchanan ladies put on every summer which is an important aspect of the book.

  1. Introduce us to your main characters!

Isabel Buchanan is the daughter who picks her mother up from the airport only to be surprised by the appearance of Gareth Blackmoor, who happens to be keeping his title of Earl of Cairndow a secret from everyone in Highland, Georgia, including Rose Buchanan, Isabel’s mother.

Alasdair Blackmoor is Gareth’s nephew and heir to the title and castle in Scotland. He’s been sent to round up his wandering uncle and to make sure he isn’t being taken advantage of by some pushy American women. Complications ensue, including love (of course!)

  1. Lots of aspiring authors out there. Any advice for them?

To become a better writer, you must write. Sounds simple, but I know so many aspiring authors who get stuck in their own head. They plot and make inspiration boards and talk about writing, but when the fingers hit the keyboard, they get mired in doubts. Just get the words down. They don’t have to be perfect; they don’t even have to be good, but you can’t fix a blank page!

  1. How is A Highlander Walks into a Bar different from your other books?

While it’s still a Southern small town romance, it has a definite rom-com vibe. Expect low angst and lots of laughs! I love to read reviews where they reader has literally laughed out loud at several points.

  1. I know asking someone’s all-time favorite book is a loaded question so what’s your current favorite read?

Two series I have loved lately are Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy (a fantasy retelling weaving medieval Russian history and folklore) and Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell’s mysteries (a Victorian butterfly hunter teams up with a taxidermist to solve mysteries. I mean, seriously, how can you beat that combo?!)

  1. Alright, the ultimate question: why should we read your book?

If you need a pick-me-up, good-time, laugh-out-loud book, then read A Highlander Walks into a Bar!

  1. Favorite quote or scene you wrote in A Highlander Walks into a Bar?

As the woman continued to stare at him as if he were the bearer of the bubonic plague, his smile faltered. He stuck out a hand. “I’m Alasdair Blackmoor.”

Although he registered a split-second hesitation on her part, she took his hand. “Isabel Buchanan.”

Her handshake was firm and no-nonsense, but her palm was soft and her hand small in his. On closer inspection, her eyes striated into all different shades of brown and amber, and freckles dusted her cheeks. He hung on to her hand for too long, but couldn’t seem to pry himself away.

Breaking the spell, she wrested her hand from his, pulling it into a fist. Was she planning on throat-punching him? He rubbed his neck and took a step back, out of the radius of her magnetic energy, and her reach. On her approach, she’d seemed birdlike, insignificant even, but up close, he was having a hard time not staring like a first-class prat.

He was punch-drunk with exhaustion. It was the only logical explanation.

She stuck her hands into the back pockets of her jeans, stretching her red V-neck T-shirt tight. His gaze dipped instinctively and then stuck around to read the print on the pocket over the soft curve of her left breast: Highland. The Heart of Scotland in the Blue Ridge.

She cleared her throat. His gaze shot to hers, and he blinked to try to refocus his thoughts. “I was admiring . . . I mean, reading your shirt.”

“It’s not a novel.”

His face heated. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d blushed this hot and fierce.

  1. What inspired you to become a writer?

I’ve always been (and still am) a huge reader. My youngest child started preschool and I wasn’t ready to go back to work in what I’m trained for (chemical engineering) so I sat down one morning and started writing a book. I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing until I was around halfway done and loving every minute! That book became a Golden Heart finalist, got me an agent, and is published as An Indecent Invitation, a Regency historical.

  1. What is a typical writing day like?

During the school year, I work while the kids are in school. I love the flexibility of being there to pick my kids up and drive them to soccer or gymnastics or chaperoning field trips, etc.

  1. Do you have any interesting writing quirks or habits?

My only habit is a bad one in that I drink *way* too much coffee while I’m writing! It’s become a ritual, I suppose.

  1. What has been one of the most surprising things you’ve learned as a published author?

How slow the industry can move, but also how quickly changes have come because of indie publishing.

  1. Can you tell us about what’s coming up next after this for you writing wise?

For my contemporary fans, I have my second women’s fiction releasing early February 2020, An Everyday Hero. The second book in the Highland, Georgia, series, A Highlander in a Pickup, releases late February 2020.

For my historical romance fans, look out for A Wicked Wedding in the Once Upon a Christmas Wedding anthology releasing in October 2019. And two more full length books in the Spies and Lovers series, A Sinful Surrender and A Daring Deception, coming sometimes in mid to late 2020!

  1. How can readers connect with you online?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLauraTrentham

Or join my reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1733284316920632/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LauraTrentham

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lauratrentham/

Sign up for my newsletter:  https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/w7o6b1

Follow me on Bookbub for new release or sale announcements: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/laura-trentham

Author Bio:

Laura Trentham is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance, including Then He Kissed Me and The Military Wife. She is a member of RWA, and has been a finalist multiple times in the Golden Heart competition. A chemical engineer by training and a lover of books by nature, she lives in South Carolina.

Review: Nothing But This (Broken Pieces #2) by Natasha Anders

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A married couple yearns to rediscover lost love in this novel about forgiveness, reconciliation, and emotional growth.

It’s always been complicated between Libby Lawson and Greyson Chapman—and married life isn’t any simpler. But when Libby gets pregnant, she at last sees a bright future ahead. There’s just one problem: Greyson says he’s sterile.

Furious, Greyson abandons the young family. Equally furious and deeply hurt, Libby cuts all ties with him. After all these years, it seems their relationship has finally expired. But love is resilient and endures even when you don’t want it to. Greyson still longs for Libby, and though Libby’s heartbroken by Greyson’s lack of trust, she holds out hope for a complete, happy family.

And so they embark on the journey back to each other, wary of all the obstacles between them. It’s been a long road already—one strewed with fear, doubt, and misunderstandings. Will they keep looking to the past, or will they look to each other and walk hand in hand toward a broad new horizon?

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MY REVIEW

Words can not even begin to express how excited I was to read this book. The synopsis sounded so promising and this author is one that a lot of friends have been raving about. The synopsis for Nothing But This sounded amazing and I just couldn’t wait to dive in.

Nothing But This follows the story of Greyson and Libby. Things between Greyson and Libby have always been complicated. Libby has had a crush on Greyson for as long as she could remember and Greyson never once gave any indication that he felt the same way. It wouldn’t be until years later, when fate reunites Greyson and Libby, that Greyson finally makes his move. Greyson and Libby have a whirlwind romance and before they know it, they find themselves married. The sky’s the limit. That is until Libby ends up getting pregnant. Libby’s happily ever after is anything but. Greyson believes himself to be sterile and his actions and treatment of Libby are inexcusable. Libby is so hurt. The only answer is to leave Greyson….Will Greyson open his eyes and see the mistakes he’s made? Is the damage between Libby and Greyson too much to repair? There’s only one way to find out…..

When I first picked up this book, I was hooked. I couldn’t get enough of Greyson and Libby. I felt like I couldn’t read fast enough. Their story started off so promising. A young couple who fell in love hard and fast and suddenly had the rug pulled out from under them….Yep, I couldn’t get enough. I was angry. I was frustrated. The angst and hopelessness so palpable. I couldn’t wait to see where this story would go.

Unfortunately, things feel apart pretty quickly for me. As much as I loved the angst and frustration. I found myself annoyed with Libby and Greyson. Don’t get me wrong, I totally was team Libby. She was so right in all the decisions she was making and I didn’t mind seeing Greyson grovel. Greyson made some terrible assumptions and his actions were irredeemable. I loved that Libby put him through the paces and didn’t just accept that he pulled his head out of his butt. She made him see how his behavior hurt her and she made him work for it.

However, after a while, the back and forth stopped working for me. It felt repetitive and like the plot was dragging. I wanted to see more from Greyson and Libby. I needed to see some type of a connection other than the baby & good sex. The sexual tension was on point and the angst factor definitely had my heart working overtime. But, I needed more than that. I needed some flashbacks of the good times and moments that would make me root for them. I needed to see these characters connect with their clothes on.  Like show me why these two characters should be together because at the end of the day, sex and a baby are not enough. My other issue was the secondary plot line between Harris and Tina. I found that to be really confusing since their story was the first book in this series. I get that their stories were running parallel with one another, but the way it was done, it felt like we never jumped ahead of their story, if that makes sense. Like I understand that some parts of their story were important to this plot, but it made it feel like this was all four of their stories instead of just Libby & Greyson’s.

Overall, I thought this book was an ok read. I think it will be a hit for some and a miss for others. I’m going to round this one up to 3 stars, because I really did enjoy the first half of the book. I think this story had a lot of good potential, but for me just fell flat. This is my first book by this author, and while I didn’t love it, I would be open to checking out other books from her in the future.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*

Review: Jackson (The McBrides of Texas #1) by Emily March

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Sometimes it takes a new beginning 
Caroline Carruthers married young to a much-older man. Now that he’s gone, she’s lost…until she dares to chase a dream all on her own. Moving to Redemption, Texas, is chapter one in Caroline’s new life story. Opening a bookstore is the next. Finding love is the last thing on her mind as she settles into this new place called home. But when she meets a handsome, soulful man who’s also starting over, all bets are off.
to reach a happily-ever-after 
Jackson McBride came to Redemption looking only to find himself, not someone to love. Ever since his marriage ended, he’s been bitter. Sure, he used to believe in love–he even has the old song lyrics to prove it–but the Jackson of today is all business. That is, until a beautiful young widow who’s moved to town inspires a change of heart. Could it be that the myth of Redemption’s healing magic is true…and Jackson and Caroline can find a second chance at a happy ending after all?

Purchase Links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Kc1V3W

https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250314918

MY REVIEW

Jackson is a cute and sweet small town second chance romance. While technically this book is the first in The McBrides of Texas Series, It is the 16th book in the Eternity Springs Series. So, it is a spin-off that can be read as a stand-alone novel. The author did a good job trying to make it so that you didn’t feel like you were missing anything, but there were a few moments where I felt like I was missing something from the previous series.

Jackson is my first book by this author and it follows the story of Jackson and Caroline. Since losing her husband, Caroline has wanted nothing more than to grieve and have a fresh start. Moving to Redemption, seems like the perfect place to call home and get that fresh start she was looking for. She wasn’t looking for love, but when Jackson enters her life, she doesn’t stand a chance….Ever since his divorce and bitter custody battle, Jackson has been blocked. He’s lost his love for music and belief in true love. A fresh start in Redemption, might just be what the doctor ordered. And when Jackson lays his eyes on Caroline, his whole world gets kicked off its axis. Will Redemption heal these poor lost souls??? There’s only one way to find out….

Overall, I thought this book was an ok read. It’s one of those books that’s going to be great for some and a miss for others. Jackson is built as a romance, and while it does have some romantic elements, this story is more about family, the small town Caroline & Jackson have come to call home, and finding oneself again.

I enjoyed getting to know Caroline and Jackson. I thought their romance was sweet and their story was interesting. However, I felt like something was off with them. They had some really good moments, but at times, I struggled to connect with them. I think they worked well as friends, but as far as romance goes, I guess I just needed more. Maybe see their relationship develop more and maybe add just a touch of steam. I know this is supposed to be a clean romance and that’s fine, but I could have used some really good, heart-clenching kisses.

For me Jackson was a quick and easy read. I thought it was written well and had a nice flow to it. However, there were moments where we were introduced to a lot of characters and it just kind of felt like there was too much going on. I found those moments to be distracting and it made me want to just skim over it. As I previously states, I also had some issues with the overall romance between Jackson and Caroline, but loved the moments with his daughter. It was clear that he was devoted to her and would do anything for her.

Jackson isn’t one of my typical reading styles. It was a lot cleaner than I was used to and this is coming from someone who reads YA books. While I did have some issues with this story, it wasn’t all bad. There were a lot of good moments, I just was left wanting more. All that being said, I’m still glad I picked up this book and gave it a chance.

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book via the publisher, in exchange for an honest review*

Chapter One Excerpt

Nashville, Tennessee

Bang. The judge’s gavel fell and officially crushed Jackson McBride’s heart. He closed his eyes. Bleak despair washed over him. Up until this very moment, he hadn’t believed she’d take it this far.

He’d thought she’d come to her senses. He’d thought she would recognize that this proposal was not only nonsense, but truly insane. He’d believed that somewhere deep inside of her, she still had a spark of humanity. That she wouldn’t do this to him. To them. He’d been wrong.

Damn her. Damn her and the yes-men she surrounded herself with. Damn them all to hell and back.

The enormity of what had just happened washed over him. Oh, God, how will

I survive this?

On the heels of his anguish came the rage. It erupted hot as lava, and it fired his blood and blurred his vision with a red haze of fury. He’d never hit a woman in his life. Never come close, despite plenty of provocation from her direction. In that moment had she been within reach, he might have lived up her accusations.

It scared the crap out of him. That’s what she’s brought me to.

Abruptly, he shoved back his chair so hard that it teetered, almost falling over. He strode toward the courtroom exit. “Jackson? Jackson, wait!” his attorney called, hurrying after him.

Jackson waved her off and didn’t stop. There was nothing left to be said. Nothing left to be done. No place left to go.

No little girl waiting at home to hug and cuddle and kiss good night.

The tap on the toes of Jackson’s boots clacked against the tile floor of the courthouse as his long-legged strides ate up the hallway. He shunned the elevator for the stairs and descended three flights at a rapid pace, then headed for the building’s exit. In a foolish bit of positive thinking, he’d driven his SUV to the courthouse this morning. Now the sight of the safety booster seat in the back seat made him want to kick a rock into next week.

He didn’t want to go home to a quiet, empty house. He shouldn’t go to a bar. Alcohol on top of his current mood could be a dangerous combination. Somebody probably would get hurt.

He got into the car and started the engine. For a long moment he sat unmoving, staring blindly through the windshield, his hands squeezing the steering wheel so hard that it should have cracked. When his phone rang, he ignored it.

A couple of minutes later, it rang a second time. Again, he ignored it. When it happened a third time, he finally glanced at the display to see who was calling. His cousin. Okay, maybe he would answer it.

“Hello, Boone.”

“How did the hearing go?”

Jackson couldn’t speak past the lump in his throat, so he said nothing.

Following a moment’s silence, Boone got the message. He muttered a curse, and then said, “I’m sorry, man. So damn sorry.”

“Well, it is what it is.”

“You can take another run at it.”

“Yeah.” In three years. Three years. Might as well be three decades. He cleared his throat and changed the subject. “So, how are things in Eternity Springs?”

“Good. They’re good. My friend Celeste Blessing visited my office a few minutes ago and spoke of her granite-headed cousin. Naturally, I thought of you.”

“Naturally,” Jackson dryly replied. But he felt a little less alone.

“Do you have plans this weekend? I could use your help with something.”

Pretty convenient timing. Knowing Boone, he had a spy in the courtroom. But Jackson wasn’t in the position to ignore the bone he’d been thrown. “I’m free. Whatcha got?”

“I’d like you to meet me at home.”

Jackson straightened in surprise. “You’re going back to the ranch?”

“No. Not there. I’m never going back there. However, I am talking about Texas. The Hill Country in particular. A little town west of Austin called Redemption.”

“Redemption, Texas?” Jackson repeated. For some weird reason, his heart gave a little skip. “Why there?”

“It’s a long story. Too long for a phone call. I’ll give you the entire skinny when I see you. When can you get there?”

After today’s debacle, Jackson had absolutely no reason to remain in Nashville. “When do you want me there?”

“I’ll be in later today. I’m in Austin now. I’ve been helping a friend with a project. I have a flight back to Colorado Sunday evening. The earlier you can get here the better, but I’ll make anything work.”

Jackson figured the distance and the drive time. “I’ll meet you tomorrow afternoon. Where?”

“Great. I’ll text you the info when we hang up. Bring camping gear.”

When a sound behind him had Jackson glancing up into the rearview mirror and the booster seat caught his notice, he made an instant decision. “Can’t. I’ll be on my bike.”

“You’re gonna ride your motorcycle all the way from Nashville?”

“Yes, I think I am.”

“Okay. I’ll bring stuff for both of us.” Boone hesitated a moment and added, “Hang in there,

Jackson. It’ll get better.”

No, I don’t think it will. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Jackson ended the call and finally put his SUV in gear and backed out of the parking place. With the distraction of the call behind him, fury returned, and by the time he reached home, he felt like a volcano about to explode.

He threw a handful of things into his tail bag, filled his wallet with cash from his stash, and ten minutes after his arrival, he fired up his bike and took his broken heart and headed out of Nashville. He left behind his home, his work, and his one reason for living, his six-year-old daughter, Haley.

From Jackson. Copyright © 2019 by Emily March and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

Emily March Q & A 

  1. You wrote a book! That’s pretty awesome. Why don’t you tell us a bit about what inspired Jackson and the rest of the books in the Eternity Springs world?

The saying “Write what you know” says it all in my case. I’m a small-town girl and my family and friendships are center to my world. I write about love and family and friendships. I have roots in both the Colorado Rockies and the Texas Hill Country, so it was natural for me to set Eternity Springs and Redemption there. The idea for JACKSON grew out of my interest in the music currently being written and performed in Texas. I’ve always thought singer/songwriters are romantic figures so I was excited to create a hero with this background. Unfortunately, I’m not a musician and I’m definitely not a singer, but I am creative so it was fun for me to explore that aspect of a character.

  1. Introduce us to your main character!

Okay. Well, Americana singer/songwriter Jackson McBride is a bit damaged when the book begins. His famous, talented and wealthy ex has won a custody battle that severely limits his access to his six-year-old daughter, so Jackson goes home to the Texas Hill Country to nurse his broken heart. He finds solace in Enchanted Canyon hiking the trails with the dog he rescues and working to bring a historic dance hall back to life. The last thing he expects is to find love again with a woman whose heart is as battered as his own.

  1. Walk us through a day in the life of Emily March.

Ready to be bored? Now that my daughter’s and niece’s weddings are behind me—they consumed me for months—I’m boring and happy about it. I split my time between Fort Worth where we have a condo downtown in a 1930’s passenger train station and our lake house in the Texas Hill Country. I recently gave up my office in town because I’m spending more and more time at the lake. My husband also offices out of our condo, so on days when we are both working in town, I’ve started riding the new TexRail train that runs from our building to DFW airport. It’s quiet and comfortable and I don’t have Internet to distract me. And at $5 a day, it’s much cheaper than office rent. 🙂 When I’m at the lake I’m either working or doing yard work. My new favorite toy is my power washer.

  1. Lots of aspiring authors out there. Any advice for them?

I’ve always thought that one of the most important things you can do for your writing is to read. And read. And read some more. Read across genres. You absorb so much about pacing and plotting and character development when you read. Plus, you get to READ! 🙂

  1. How is the Jackson trilogy different than your other series?

I don’t think it’s necessarily different from the rest of the Eternity Springs series. I write about love and family and friendship—that doesn’t change. Readers will still see old friends from Eternity Springs and a few scenes in JACKSON are set in Colorado. What’s new is we get to spend some time in the Texas Hill Country and meet a few new characters—Celeste’s cousin, Angelica, for example.

  1. I know asking someone’s all-time favorite book is a loaded question so what’s your current favorite read?

I’m a big fan of Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson series and I’m reading her latest right now, STORM CURSED.

  1. Alright, the ultimate question: why should we read your book?

My goals as a writer are to touch a reader’s heart, to entertain her and make her laugh, to maybe cry a little and sigh with satisfaction upon reaching the end. With JACKSON, I believe I’ve achieved those goals.

  1. Describe yourself in 3 words.

Family. Family. Family. 🙂

  1. What is your most embarrassing memory?

Walking out of the junior high school cafeteria in seventh grade, not realizing that my very short dress—it was the 70’s—had gotten hung up in my underwear and I inadvertently flashed my rear end to the entire cafeteria—including the tables where the football players sat. Thinking about it even today gives me the hives.

  1. Favorite quote or scene you wrote in JACKSON?

I love the ending.  Jackson is a songwriter who has lost his music and when he finds it again…the song he sings to Caroline…just makes me melt.

  1. What is one piece of advice you would tell everyone?

Call your mother.

  1. What inspired you to become a writer?

I’ve always loved to read, so that is part of it, but my father was my primary inspiration. He was a fabulous storyteller. I grew up sitting at his feet and listening to him tell stories about his youth and his experiences in Europe during World War II. Listening to him tell his stories was my favorite thing to do. I didn’t inherit his talent for verbal storytelling, but I think I learned from him how to tell a good story on the page.

  1. Do you have any interesting writing quirks or habits?

Like I mentioned before, I’m pretty boring. My perks and habits are always evolving. The train writing thing is new for me. I usually write on a laptop and edit on a desktop. I listen to movie soundtracks when I write and always finish a book with The Last of the Mohicans.

  1. What has been one of the most surprising things you’ve learned as a published author

I’m always a little surprised and honored that readers are excited to meet me. Like I said…I’m a boring person.

  1. What is your favorite state to visit?

Colorado, of course, because I must keep returning to Eternity Springs. 🙂

What are hobbies or interests do you have?

We are lake people, so I love waterskiing and boating and fishing. As I write this we’ve just finished Memorial Day weekend at the lake, so I sort of feel like chief cook and sheet-and-towel washer, too. I love, love, love hosting big holiday gatherings of family and friends at the lake house, but I will admit I do tire of the mountain of laundry in the aftermath.

  1. Can you tell us about what’s coming up next after this for you writing wise?

I’m writing Tucker’s story. Fun fact for this—as part of my research I attended a survivalist training school for a weekend. I searched long and hard to find one where I could return to town to spend the night in a comfy hotel rather than sleep on the ground—I’m only willing to go so far for my art. I did learn to start a friction fire, though, something I’me VERY proud of. 🙂

  1. How can readers connect with you online?

My website is www.emilymarch.com. I’m active on Facebook. My Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/emilymarchbooks. You can also reach me by email at emily@emilymarch.com.

Author Bio:

Emily March is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the heartwarming Eternity Springs series. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeño relish has made her a tailgating legend.