Book Review: The Proposal

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

3/5 Stars

October 30, 2018–Expected Publication Date

Berkley Books

I received my review copy thanks to Netgalley

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I really enjoyed Jasmine Guillory’s novel The Wedding Date and was very excited when I learned she would be writing another novel following a side character from it. I finished this book and decided I’d take some time to allow my thoughts to piece themselves together before typing them up. It’s been a few weeks now, so here goes..

Plot Summary:

When someone asks you to spend your life with him, it shouldn’t come as a surprise–or happen in front of 45,000 people.

When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn’t the hard part–they’ve only been dating for five months, and he can’t even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans…

At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik’s rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He’s even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik’s social media blows up–in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can’t be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes…

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My Thoughts:

First and foremost, Never sneak a peak at reviews for your current read on Goodreads while in the middle of it! I made this mistake while reading The Proposal which lead to those reviews overshadowing my thoughts, which is why I decided to give it time before I wrote a review of my own.

I gave The Proposal three out of five stars which for me means the book was okay. After finishing Guillory’s The Wedding Date, I wanted to throw it into the hands of anyone I could, to get them to read it.  I didn’t feel that way about this one.

The novel starts out intense and with a bang! Nic and her at the time boyfriend are at a baseball game, when he proposes. His proposal is in front of everyone at the baseball stadium and the whole world watching the game on television. The couple hadn’t been dating long, and he didn’t even spell her name right on the big screen. Nic turns him down which causes him to start a scene before storming away. Nic is soon approached by news reporters and shortly after, Carlos and his sister Angela come save the day, pretending they know her and have been looking for her to take her away from the craziness.

Like with The Wedding Date I really love how friendship runs deep in Guillory’s novels. Nic has two really close friends in this story and I found myself at times preferring the scenes with them over her scenes with Carlos. It is so refreshing to see the representation of three strong, successful women doing well for themselves with a friendship and support system that means so much to them.

The scenes with Alexa and Drew (from The Wedding Date) didn’t overwhelm me, and I must admit, when I read their scenes I realized how much I missed them. I became really interested in Carlos in The Wedding Date and wanted to know more about him, so when I saw that he would be the love interest in The Proposal, hands down it was the top reason I wanted to read it. Carlos though, worked my nerves a bit in this story. I understood the why, behind how he acted at times, but it was still too much.  Carlos lost his father, so understandably, he wanted to step up and be the back bone for the women in his family. At times with them and Nic, his take charge personality came across possessive to me. The first couple times, I thought, okay this is cute, but eventually it caused the side eye. There is a scene toward the end of the story where his sister sets him straight and I lived for EVERY moment of it.

Yes, this story had things that I liked and things I didn’t like but what dominated my thoughts while reading this book, causing it to just feel okay once finished, was that I didn’t feel the chemistry in the romance between Carlos and Nic. They start hanging out after the proposal disaster which was cool. There were a few times that Carlos and his overbearing ways annoyed Nic, and she never really addressed them. Carlos is a doctor which Nic is hesitant about. Apparently she had a really bad dating experience with a doctor in her past which I felt was kind of brushed over. There would be hints of how their relationship went and later on in the story you learn this relationship really caused Nic to not believe she could love and all I kept thinking about was how if this was serious enough to make her feel this way, I need more of a back story. I didn’t buy that the few hints we were given were enough to swear off all doctors. Carlos and Nic have plenty of sex, and sadly I finished this book thinking that was really the only place their chemistry lied.  Carlos and Nic literally were hanging out cooking dinner, laughing when he gets summoned to the hospital, and when Nic, trying to help out, shows up hours later with food, Carlos is Annoyed! And this is towards the end of the book. All I kept thinking was, “You were just hanging out with her at your house, laughing having a great time, but you’re annoyed she bought you and your family food!?”

All in all, I think this was an okay book. I think I’d like something different from Guillory next, or maybe this one just fell into the curse of the second book category. I’ve seen discussion about having to read her previous novel first. I don’t think it’s a must. Alexa and Drew weren’t constants in this story–there won’t be a bunch of confusion if you haven’t read it. At this point though, I prefer The Wedding Date way more than The Proposal.

 

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My Thoughts: Fierce Fairytales

Hello Friends! I hope all is well with you. Today I want to share my thoughts on Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul by Nikita Gill.

I have read one other collection by Nikita Gill and I really enjoyed it. So I was very excited when I learned about this collection coming out, and immediately ran to the bookstore to haul it.

I hear so many readers admit that poetry isn’t their thing and I get it. I hear so many readers admit that short stories aren’t their thing, and I get that too. So for Gill to put out a collection that consists of both, I felt it very brave and was all over it.

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This collection hits on some important topics which I appreciated. You can’t read Nikita Gill and not feel like she doesn’t have your back. She is very empowering and I love that. I love that she chose to do a collection of poetry and short stories with a twist–focusing her writing on retelling fairy tales. Fairy tale retellings are a pretty big deal in certain corners of the reading community and I can understand why. Some of them a truly fascinating, and it is even more fascinating to see how much the story changed as it was passed down through the ages and went from culture to culture.

I had high hopes for this collection. I wanted to love it with every bit of my soul.. but I didn’t.

There were some hard hitting passages. There were some sentences that took my breath away..

“I exist. Outside of being a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, I exist. I exist as a human first, as a being that experiences joy and suffering, beauty and learning, life and tragedy. I exist because the universe chose to put me here for a purpose higher than my relation to men. I exist because a wise old woman gave me a gift and now magic runs through my veins. So the problem is not my existence as half dragon, half girl. The problem is how you perceive it as so small, you do not believe I can exist at all apart from through my bonds with men.”

I found myself preferring the poetry over the short stories at about halfway through the collection and then to go a little deeper, at a little over halfway, I found myself getting tired of reading the same things over and over.

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This just started to feel very repetitive. I felt like I was being hit over the head.. which maybe that was what she was going for. There are people who need to get their hands on this collection and be hit upside the head a few times with the topics discussed, but I hit the point where I just wanted it to be over.

I think this collection would’ve worked a lot better if Gill would’ve made it a straight poetry collection, or a collection of short stories. I loved the poetry but I think it would’ve been just as awesome as a short story collection where she could’ve flushed things out a bit more and the focus was on writing in on format versus the back and forth.

I will continue to support Nikita Gill’s work. I think she has a distinct voice which deserves all the recognition, especially in today’s word where poets can be underappreciated. I think she is a force to be reckoned with. I think she has found her niche and is sticking to it. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I feel a tad bit more connected with the rest of her work than I did with this one.

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5 Stars: The Devil’s Heart by Candace Osmond

Hello Friends, I hope all is well with you today. I have been reading quite a bit lately and honestly just about everything I have read, has been wonderful. Gradually I will find ways to share my thoughts about everything. I wanted to quickly share with you my thoughts on Devil’s Heart by Candace Osmond which is the first book in the Dark Tides Trilogy.

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The Devil’s Heart (Dark Tides Book 1) by Candace Osmond

Published February 19, 2018 by Guardian Publishing

I read via Kindle, 233 Pages

Rated 5/5 Stars

 

Plot Summary:

Find the witch. Return to the future. Don’t fall in love with the devil…

When Dianna Cobham accidentally breaks an enchanted ship-in-a-bottle she’s washed away to 1707 Newfoundland and taken prisoner aboard a pirate ship captained by the infamous Devil Eyed Barrett. Dianna fights to survive by proving herself indispensable to the crew, all the while forging a secret plan to get back home.

But when Dianna learns of the Devil’s vengeful mission to seek and kill her ancestors, her hopes for returning to the future transform into an elaborate plot to save her lineage. Can she charm the Devil’s heart and change his mind before it’s too late? Or will she sacrifice herself to save the man hidden underneath it all?

Fans of OUTLANDER and PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN give praise for The Devil’s Heart! Grab your copy and start the epic adventure today!

 

Why I Loved this Book..

Before I start, I have to forewarn you that there are some typos and grammatical errors out there for those of you who are insistent on a perfect, grammatical book..I was honestly able to overlook them because they were few far and in between and didn’t trip me up while reading. If I was to have a gripe about this book, that would be it, but I’m not griping about them.

  • I honestly started this book not knowing what to expect. I read up on it enough to haul the entire trilogy at once due to my interest in it, but once I started reading it I don’t think I had any expectations. You spend the first couple of chapters getting to know Dianna and understanding the significance of her loss. She has recently lost her Father and her Mother has been dead for years. She essentially is alone until she returns home to sort her Father’s affairs out and figure out what to do with everything left to her and links back up with an Aunt. She comes to the realization that this Aunt has always had her back, and Dianna really pushed her away. All of this was a great set up. I know how important the beginning of books can be, but sometimes I honestly find them a bit boring. Reading the first few chapters of The Devil’s Heart however, I was hooked. All I kept thinking was, “What am I being set up for?”  I was on the edge of my seat from the very beginning because you wonder what choices will Dianna make? She doesn’t want to be back home, but soon learns her boyfriend back in the city has been cheating and although she has this awesome job opportunity she’s worked really hard for, she questions does she even have a reason to return back there? You are presented with this character who in the midst of her grief is presented with so many other turns in the road that you become invested in her and what she may decide to do.
  • One “trope” that I see quite a bit in historical fiction and time travel novels is the use of “objects,” being what causes the character to travel back or forward to another place in time. Dianna is going through her Father’s belongings when she comes across a chest which could’ve only belonged to her Mother. Dianna remembers her Mother being fascinated with the past. She loved History and she adored the sea. In the chest, Dianna comes across a journal written by a young man named Henry. Henry lay witness to the murdering of his parents by a ruthless female pirate named Maria and her husband before being taken captive by them. Maria began to use Henry as her pet, psychologically messing with his mind by making him do sexual things with her and forcing him to kill or be the deciding factor of how she should kill people. He hates her. Dianna becomes obsessed with reading Henry’s journal and then one day his entries just stop.. I as the reader, wanted to know what the heck happened to Henry! What became of him? Was he able to stop Maria and her husband from wreaking havoc, or did he finally make her mad enough that she killed him?
  • I loved Dianna back in time. I appreciate when a character travels back in time and is able to decide when to speak up and when not to. You have to find your footing. You are in a completely different time than your own. Dianna is treated pretty terribly by the pirates she is rescued by once back in time..a woman on the seas is a bad omen. She has to gain their trust and prove herself worthy to still be on the ship. I liked how she was able to use her strengths and things she is good at to make herself a valuable asset to the day to day ship operations.
  • The romance! When two broken people, who have lost it all, find each other and fall in love, I can’t help but root for them. The romance was slow building. The two obviously had to learn each other and build that trust. Dianna was hesitant however because her romance was with someone out to kill an ancestor of hers–which would’ve been great, but would killing this ancestor mean that Dianna wouldn’t be born? It was interesting to see Dianna navigate that and bring that dilemma to the forefront. And the sexy times between the two! Whoo. So well done, I am swooning just thinking about them.
  • Lastly, the family secrets. I love well written family secrets. As I was reading this book, I kept thinking, Wow! Candace Osmond really put some thoughts into this. It was as though she asked herself how could she make this story as complicated as possible? I love it when a character learns a secret about a family member and has that “oh that makes so many things make sense,” moment. There is one big family secret in the forefront of this book and I am interested to see how things play out in the rest of the trilogy because of it!

 

This book was gripping, so fast paced and had me on the edge of my seat. It is less than 240 pages long and every page had depth to it. The ending! I wasn’t ready for the ending. My heart was racing the last 15 pages, and when it was over I was so overwhelmed with anger that I had to remind myself I have book two, it’s okay!

I definitely think this is a trilogy worth looking into if you are interested in time travel, fantasy, romance and pirates. It was wonderful!

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Book Review: The Phantom Tree

The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick

I received my copy for review thanks to the Harlequin Publicity Team

3/5 Stars

Hello Friends! A few years ago if you would’ve asked me what I was currently reading, nine times out of ten, it was more than likely an historical fiction novel. After discovering Susanna Kearsley, I became obsessed with the genre. A well written historical fiction novel can easily snatch you from your current reality and transport you to times and places you can only imagine in your dreams. I was thrilled when I signed up to receive a copy of this from the Harlequin Publicity team and actually received it.

 

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Plot Summary:

“My name is Mary Seymour and I am the daughter of one queen and the niece of another.”

Browsing antiques shops in Wiltshire, Alison Bannister stumbles across a delicate old portrait – supposedly of Anne Boleyn. Except Alison knows better… The woman is Mary Seymour, the daughter of Katherine Parr who was taken to Wolf Hall in 1557 as an unwanted orphan and presumed dead after going missing as a child.

The painting is more than just a beautiful object from Alison’s past – it holds the key to her future, unlocking the mystery surrounding Mary’s disappearance, and the enigma of Alison’s son.

But Alison’s quest soon takes a dark and foreboding turn, as a meeting place called the Phantom Tree harbours secrets in its shadows…

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My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed The Phantom Tree. This story has the power to have you completely engrossed every time you sit down to read it.

The story has two point of views; that of Alison and Mary Seymour but we get a tad bit more of Alison’s perspective however. Alison is an historical woman who has traveled to present day. This is a spin on the historical fiction story line that I really enjoyed. Usually you have a contemporary woman who travels to the past, so this was a really interesting twist.

An ex lover of Alison’s is a pretty popular historian–kind of gave me Expedition Unknown vibes, where he seeks out historical artifacts and shares them with the world. He is insistent that the latest painting he’s found is of Anne Boleyn and where he and Alison (sort of) reconnect is when Alison tells him he is wrong. She tells him the painting is of Mary Seymour. In the painting, Alison is positive that Mary has left clues for her about Arthur, her son. Back during her time, Alison had a child with a cousin of Mary’s who had the baby taken from Alison. Even in present day, she yearns for her child. Once Alison discovered she could time jump she abused it for a while, and is now stuck and finding Arthur has really been on her heart. So she I trying to get back and find him.

I liked how Nicola Cornick made Alison feel a little detached. It’s not that she doesn’t trust people, but she chooses not to let people get too close to her. Reading from Alison’s perspective, you really feel how lonely it would be to be someone from a different time. I’ve read so many historical fiction novels but this is the first that I truly felt that sense of being alone regardless of how many people are around you and out of place.

I can’t not speak about Mary. I preferred Alison’s story line a little more but my heart went out to Mary. When reading Mary’s perspective, the scenes felt a little darker with her imaginary friend, her visions that come true.. Even though I preferred reading Alison’s perspectives, I felt Mary’s story line was needed. It filled in gaps to the story and helped weave everything together.

My only gripe with this story is kind of something I expect with historical fiction novels–at one point the story moved really slow. I felt as though no matter how much I read, I wasn’t making any progress. The pacing does pick back up but the slow for me, felt really slow.

Those are my thoughts. I definitely recommend this story if you are an historical fiction lover and want to give a story with a bit of a twist a try.

 

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Review: Heart of the Hunter by Madeline Baker

Heart of the Hunter by Madeline Baker

Dorchester Publishing/1994

3/5 Stars

Source: I read this story as part of the anthology, Enchanted Crossings

Plot Summary:

Kelly McBride is torn between two men—one an ex-con who she’s not sure she trusts, the other the spirit of an Indian who’s been dead for over a hundred years.

Lee Roan Horse and Blue Crow are men with two things in common—they’re both in love with Kelly and they both want the gold hidden on her ranch. When treasure hunters come searching for the gold, Lee and Blue Crow are determined to keep Kelly safe, even if it means they have to defy death to do it.

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My Thoughts:

I have debated since finishing Heart of the Hunter if I should just wait and review this entire anthology as one, or share my thoughts on this one specific story. I finally decided to just go with my gut and here we are.

At the used book store I go to there are always boxes of these Native American romances. None which appear to be own voices but I understand this was sort of a craze once upon a time. Me, being curious, I have been intrigued but also pretty hesitant with reading one. I am very much in the mood for older romances at the moment, but I know the romance genre has a lot to answer for, when it comes to diversity and the way people have been portrayed.

When I came across this anthology however, and read the synopsis for Heart of the Hunter which is the only story out of this anthology with Native American characters, I didn’t get a bad vibe. Point blank, I didn’t want to read anything racist or disrespectful.

Kelly is a likeable character. She has inherited this ranch with mountains and a cave on it, which houses the remains of Blue Crow. Blue Crow was a Native American warrior who lost his life in a tussle with the friend of one of Kelly’s distant relatives. While signing paperwork and handling all the legalities to finally be able to 100%  call the ranch home, Lee Roan Horse comes to her asking if he can purchase the ranch from her. Lee Roan Horse feels the ranch should be his, being the land belonged to his people. Initially though, all he sought was the gold in the cave which after all these years has been guarded by the spirit of Blue Crow.

One thing Madeline Baker does in this book that I was able to appreciate was her appropriately writing Lee Roan Horse, a Native American male in contemporary times and his struggle with opening up to Kelly. It doesn’t take long for the two to develop an attraction, but Lee Roan Horse has already been burned by a white woman before, so he plays it safe with Kelly. He really keeps their relationship about business. When he was younger, a white girl had a big crush on him. He turned her down and turned her down. Eventually he gave in and they were caught. She was Melinda, and when her father caught her and Lee Roan Horse, she cried rape. I honestly wouldn’t have expected this story line which I can only imagine had to have been the truth for so many men of color, to show up in this book, but I appreciated that it was there. It was a completely understandable reason behind why Lee kept his distance.

I really liked the paranormal element to this book. Blue Crow has been guarding the gold that was buried in the cave with his body for over a hundred years. Besides guarding the gold, once he meets Kelly, he realizes he has also spent all of this time waiting for her.

“I have waited for you my whole life, and now that I have found you, I know you can never be mine.”

Reading the scenes between Kelly and Blue Crow had me really thinking about the trope of star crossed lovers and how sometimes it seems almost impossible for two people who are meant to be together to actually be together. The attraction between Blue Crow and Kelly is so intense, and it’s almost intensified because of the fact that it can’t be.

“tears coursing down her cheeks because she’d fallen in love with the one man she couldn’t have, a man who wasn’t a man at all, but a ghost.”

For a while there is sort of a love triangle between Kelly, Lee Roan Horse and Blue Crow.

“Kelly frowned in confusion. She loved Blue Crow, not Lee, yet she felt the same desire for both men.”

There was something frustrating about Kelly’s “confusion.” There were scenes where she would be burning with desire for Lee, but things would back fire, he’d push her away and she’d run into the ghostly but solid arms of Blue Crow. At the same time, she is a grown woman and I am all for celebrating her choosing to do what she pleases with her sexuality.

There are some snakes behind the scene who are also out for the gold on Kelly’s land. Towards the end of this story, things really take some unexpected twists which I enjoyed. It added a different element and felt like a break from the back and forth of this “love triangle.”

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The ending to this story is what I think really blew me away. It is a paranormal romance so I can totally see some people rolling their eyes at the ending but I am a complete sucker for it. This is the type of paranormal storyline I am seeking; one with characters defying boundaries of life and time to be with the person they are meant to spend their life with.

xoxo,

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Review: The Inn At Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber

The Inn At Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber

August 14, 2012

Ballantine Books

4/5 Stars

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My first legit romance novel was by Debbie Macomber and I have been fascinated by this woman ever since! Initially when I decided to read romance I assumed romance novels were all going to be super uncomfortably heavy on the sexy times. I have no problems with sex scenes but they’re not something I insist on having in my books either.  So I have really grown to appreciate how fulfilled I am after reading Mrs. Macomber’s novels.  What she does a wonderful job at is creating stories in very cozy settings, throwing in descriptions of food that make you realize how hungry you are for a good home cooked meal, with very relatable characters.

 

Plot Summary:

The Rose Harbour Inn welcomes you to Cedar Cove…

From the minute she sees the Rose Harbour Inn, Jo Marie Barlow knows that this is the place that will help her find the peace she craves. And if the inn can comfort her, surely it can offer the same refuge to her first two guests.

Joshua Weaver has come home to care for his ailing stepfather. The two have never seen eye to eye, but a long-lost acquaintance proves to him that forgiveness is not out of reach and love can bloom in the unlikeliest places.

Abby Kinkaid left Cedar Cover twenty years ago after a devastating accident. But as she reconnects with family and old friends, she realizes that she needs to let the past go if she is to embrace her future.

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Firstly, about half way through reading The Inn At Rose Harbor, I started to get the feeling that I probably should have read Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series prior to starting this one. But oh well, right? I can always go back and read that one later.

A big theme in this book is grief which I have come to really admire the way Debbie Macomber explores it. Now, I am completely in it for the romance just as much as the next person, but there is something special about seeing a character work through the darkness surrounding them and the romance being a big part of the light at the end of the tunnel.

In The Inn At Rose Harbor our three main characters are all grappling with their own stuff. Jo Marie is grieving the loss of her husband Paul whose helicopter crashed while deployed to Afghanistan. She has used the money he left to her to purchase the bed and breakfast she soon after calls Rose Harbor Inn.  Josh is back to take care of his stepfather Richard in his last days of life. This is difficult for Josh because Richard wasn’t very nice to Josh while he was growing up, and Josh didn’t try to make their relationship an easy one either. Abby is back for her brother’s upcoming wedding. Abby and her best friend were in a car accident when they were 19 after Abby’s car hit a an ice patch in the road. A mixture of her best friend’s parents blaming her and the small town rumor mill caused Abby to leave Cedar Cove with no intentions of coming back. Until her brother decides to not only get married, but to get married there.

I felt this was a good first book to a new series. While reading, I really got the sense that it was a book setting up more stories. Jo Marie buying the Inn and changing the name to Rose Harbor Inn symbolized a fresh start for her while also keeping the memory of her husband Paul alive. Jo Marie’s first guests are Josh and Abby who are both overcoming ghosts from their pasts. All three of these characters under the same roof and seeing the outcome kind of solidifies for Jo Marie that she wants her Inn to be a place where people can relax and start to heal if that’s what they need.

Of course I had to pay extra attention to the many forms of love in this story. I loved how Jo Marie had been picky with men until meeting Paul. When she met him, it felt for her as though she bypassed all the ones she did, in anticipation for Paul. She instantly knew he was the one. But love can be taken from you. My heart went out to her. They were still early into their marriage when Paul lost his life.  Enjoy each moment because you never know how much time you have with someone.

Abby loved her best friend Angela so much. It crushed her when they had their accident and Abby lived while Angela died instantly. What made it worse was the aftermath; Angela’s parents no longer wanting to speak to her, all the rumors and losing her best friend. Abby basically stopped living her life out of guilt. She stopped dating and hanging out with friends feeling guilty that Angela no longer got to experience these things.  We see Abby realize she has to make peace with the accident and make peace with Angela’s parents. Once she does this, you immediately get the sense of weight being lifted from her shoulders and she allows a love interest from the past to flirt with her a bit!

Josh is the character I felt had the biggest happy ending in this book. His stepfather was a real jerk to him. We learn though that Richard, his stepfather truly loved Theresa, who was Josh’s mother. And in a way both men competed for her attention and this caused a rift between them. There is a woman named Michelle who helps Josh out during his stepfather’s last days. Michelle had always been known to be a love interest of Josh’s stepbrother Dylan’s but she tells Josh that Dylan was actually very cruel to her. So her and Josh hit it off. We see Josh having to learn to pay attention to the wonderful opportunities and people looking him in the face.

The Inn At Rose Harbor is a wonderfully told story with very well written characters. The character development in this story was done so well. And Debbie Macomber has the ability to create an environment that makes me want to just pack a 72 hour bag, buy a plane ticket and head for the nearest thing to her fictionalized location that I can find! This story is also big a reminder that you never know what someone is going through and how at some point, to move on, we have to make peace with whatever has been taunting us.

I could go on and on about this book, I hope these thoughts of mine made sense! Share any recommendations you have for me of stories well written that deal with grief. As always, take care of yourselves, and until my next post-xoxo

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Book Review: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

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The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

Self Published/ February 2016

Audio Narrator/Callie Dalton(this book is part of Audible Romance Package)

5/5 Stars

I needed a sports romance for the Summer Romance Bingo I’m participating in and honestly was a little hesitant to tackle this prompt altogether. Left and right though, I kept being recommended The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata. It’s funny how after I read a book by an author I start hearing their name all the time! That’s been the case with Mariana Zapata during and since I finished The Wall of Winnipeg and Me. Luckily, I really loved this book. So I will gladly be continuing to make my way through her other novels.

Plot Summary:

Vanessa Mazur knows she’s doing the right thing. She shouldn’t feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she’s beyond shocked.

For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn’t find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He’s asking for the unthinkable.

What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?

My Thoughts:

First and foremost, I was already nervous going into this book–sports romances weren’t something I had considered reading. After deciding to go ahead and give it a try after numerous friends recommending it to me, I saw that it was over 600 pages. All I kept thinking was, “Not another long book!” Then I saw that not only was it a long book but the general consensus is that it is a slow burn romance and I didn’t know if I was in the mood for slow.

This book follows Vanessa who starts off as the assistant to this big time football player named Aidan. Vanessa has been working for Aidan for a couple of years and feels pretty unappreciated. Aidan has never went out of his way to try and get to know her. It frustrates her that here she is basically taking care of his life and he doesn’t even know her birthday. She overhears a conversation between Aidan and his manager, Trevor, that really disappoints her and decides to quit. She is gone for a few days before Aidan starts showing up at her door step begging her to come back and eventually has a proposition for her.

Okay, so yes, this book is super slow burn. If you want that instant, steamy romance, you’re not going to find that in this book. What you will find though is a really well written, gradual, love story.

I think Zapata did a great job of instantly making Aidan unlikeable. I couldn’t stand him at first, but as I look back on it, I realize, we were only seeing the situation through Vanessa’s perspective.  Zapata in the end made me feel so wrong for judging Aidan a certain way in the beginning. Things take time, and people love you in their own ways. As we grow to learn more about Aidan and see his interactions with Vanessa, you slowly start picking up on the different ways he shows her that he cares about her.  There is this whole fake situation going on between them (part of the proposition) but I got the sense pretty early on that after a while, it stopped being fake for Aidan.

There were times that Vanessa annoyed me, just a little. I listened to this on audio and there were times the narrator was reading Vanessa’s thoughts in her head that I just wanted to shout, Shut Up! The thing that makes or breaks a main character for me though is how realistic they seem and Vanessa met the mark for me. Vanessa and Aidan both come from troubled pasts. Both of their childhoods down right sucked, and Vanessa was periodically face to face with those who hurt her the most. Because of her past though, she not only worked her butt off to be where she is now stability wise, but she knows the time and place for things. When there were situations I felt like she should snap, she would count to ten and be the bigger person. She was good to Aidan. She made him a promise and stuck to it. And she didn’t make Aidan and their situation the center of her life. She started pursuing her own business ventures and training for a marathon she really wanted to do. But you begin to see how well the two know each other and have each other’s backs.

I’m always a sucker for a good friendship in a romance. Vanessa and Zak’s friendship in this one is now a favorite. Zak is Aidan’s roommate/teammate. He and Vanessa are there for each other a lot and it was a lot of the interactions with Zak that had me laughing out loud.

The romance in this book isn’t rushed at all but it is so worth it. Sit back and allow the layers of this relationship to unfold for you. I enjoyed it so much. I honestly haven’t  been able to get it off my mind since I finished it!

 

 

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