That Month in Tuscany By Inglath Cooper

Okay..I read my first Inglath Cooper romance..

That Month In Tuscany by Inglath Cooper

Published in September of 2014 by Fence Free Entertainment

Average Rating on Goodreads: 3.85 Stars

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Synopsis:

That Month in Tuscany . . .

Ren Sawyer and Lizzy Harper live completely different lives. He’s a rock star with a secret he can no longer live with. She’s a regular person whose husband stood her up for a long planned anniversary trip.

On a flight across the Atlantic headed for Italy, a drunken pity party and untimely turbulence literally drop Lizzy into Ren’s lap. It is the last thing she can imagine ever happening to someone like her. But despite their surface differences, they discover an undeniable pull between them. A pull that leads them both to remember who they had once been before letting themselves be changed by a life they had each chosen.

Exploring the streets of Florence and the hills of Tuscany together – two people with seemingly nothing in common – changes them both forever. And what they find in each other is something that might just heal them both.

My Thoughts:

I made the mistake of looking at a few reviews of That Month In Tuscany while reading it..(don’t this!) so for a short while, the negative reviews had me convinced I wouldn’t enjoy it. Despite what I’d read though, I ended up really enjoying this book.

Now, is it something that is going to blow your mind? Not really. In fact, there is absolutely nothing ground breaking about this story. Woman in a dumpster fire of a marriage takes off to Italy alone after his husband chooses work over going with her. On her way she meets this rock star (whom she doesn’t recognize at first) and the two end up road tripping, outrunning situations across Italy together.

This book is very trope-y. Lizzy’s daughter is a complete snob to her. Her husband is a jerk. The author did everything in her power to make you feel sympathy toward Lizzy and not give her the side eye when she starts having feelings toward Rock Star Ren. Well, in the end..it worked just fine for me.

I was in the mood for a quick, fun read..and the traveling was an added bonus. Even more points added because they travel to Italy, which is my ideal destination. I really enjoyed seeing Lizzy’s growth as a woman in this short amount of time. She represented what is so true I believe for a lot of women. She had spent so much of her adult life being a wife and a mother and conformed to what her husband and daughter wanted of her, that she had lost touch with herself internally. While in Italy she began doing things that Lizzy loved to do. 

In Ren’s case, he is this super star who just wants to sit in a restaurant and eat unbothered. He traveled to Italy with the intention of no longer being alive shortly after. Then he meets Lizzy. Ren is so swoon worthy with how crazy you can feel he is about Lizzy. He’s so patient with her and can see right through her crap when she tries to put it up.

Surprisingly there is a suspense element that was thrown into the book. At first I was like No! why would you do this? In the end however, I felt that plot twist served all kinds of purposes. It for sure mended one relationship while also playing a big part in another ending.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I think Spring is the perfect season for this book and would even be great for a summer tbr..both seasons my wanderlust is typically all over the place. If you want traveling, a sweet romance with a tad bit of suspense, I definitely recommend giving this one a try.

xo.

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California Girls by Susan Mallery

Hello Friends! I can finally, finally say I’ve read a novel by Susan Mallery. She is an author that I have followed for a while now since my journey began of reading romance, but that I’m just now getting around to reading…

California Girls

Published February 26, 2019 by Mira Books

4/5 Stars

 

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Synopsis:

The California sunshine’s not quite so bright for three sisters who get dumped in the same week…

Finola, a popular LA morning show host, is famously upbeat until she’s blindsided on live TV by news that her husband is sleeping with a young pop sensation who has set their affair to music. While avoiding the tabloids and pretending she’s just fine, she’s crumbling inside, desperate for him to come to his senses and for life to go back to normal.

Zennie’s breakup is no big loss. Although the world insists she pair up, she’d rather be surfing. So agreeing to be the surrogate for her best friend is a no-brainer—after all, she has an available womb and no other attachments to worry about. Except…when everyone else, including her big sister, thinks she’s making a huge mistake, being pregnant is a lot lonelier—and more complicated—than she imagined.

Never the tallest, thinnest or prettiest sister, Ali is used to being overlooked, but when her fiancé sends his disapproving brother to call off the wedding, it’s a new low. And yet Daniel continues to turn up “for support,” making Ali wonder if maybe—for once—someone sees her in a way no one ever has.

But side by side by side, these sisters will start over and rebuild their lives with all the affection, charm and laugh-out-loud humor that is classic Susan Mallery.

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My Thoughts:

While reading this book, I secretly wished I was reading it with a group of girlfriends. I’m not always a fan of the label, “Women’s fiction,” but I am a fan of finding the right book to read with a group of girlfriends. This one would’ve made a perfect buddy read.

Creating a story that follows more than one perspective can be tricky, but when done well, can be awesome. Susan Mallery does a fantastic job of creating this plot line where right off the bat, we meet three sisters as they’re being dumped. From there we follow each one through the aftermath of being newly single, as they navigate their relationships with each other, as they navigate their relationships with their mother and moving on. I think Mallery does an amazing job of keeping each sister’s individual stories interesting enough to where I wasn’t preferring one story line over any of the others.

I didn’t expect to laugh out loud as much as I did while reading this book. Each sister felt very realistic with how flawed they were, and oh their Mom! I looked forward to the scenes with their mother because although she could be very unlikeable at times, you as the reader understand she wants to see her daughter’s married and giving her grandchildren. You understand this, while also being very unaware of how unlikely this is due to each sister’s situation.

In the midst of each sister being dumped, I like that Mallery was also able to squeeze in true to life sisterhood emotions, feelings.. Things aren’t always glitter and gold when it comes to sisters and I liked that the author didn’t attempt to make it seem like these sisters had no baggage or elephants in the room when it came to their relationship. They could be selfish. They could say the wrong things. They didn’t necessarily speak everyday.

Romance wise, I enjoyed the bits of romance in this book. When it came to the romances, I enjoyed seeing the sisters have to find themselves before that happened. I was a tad nervous when I started the book, knowing I’d be following three different women..I was nervous things would feel rushed. I’m happy to report that, that’s not at all how I felt. Each storyline felt wrapped up in a way that left me feeling satisfied in the end.

Overall I enjoyed this book. I’m happy it was my introduction into the world of Susan Mallery. I have friends who love just about everything she has written, so I’m excited to continue on and read more by her.

xo,

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Sin and Ink by Naima Simone

Hello Friends! I finished my first ever Naima Simone romance and don’t mind me as I casually binge my way through everything I can find with her name on this year.. I read Sin and Ink which is a romance I have heard nothing but raving reviews on.  Did it live up to all of the hype it gets? Absofreakinglutely!

Sin and Ink by Naima Simone

Published October 15, 2018 by Entangled Publishing, LLC (Scorched)

Audiobook narrated by Rock Engle & Mackenzie Cartwright

4/5 Stars

 

“Sex with Knox, my employer, my friend, my brother in law, is about 31 different flavors of crazy. Inappropriate doesn’t even begin to cover it. But forbidden and practically incestuous does.”

Synopsis:

There’s sin, and then there’s literally going-straight-to-hell sin…

Being in lust with my dead brother’s wife pretty much guarantees that one day I’ll be the devil’s bitch. But Eden Gordon works with me, so it’s getting harder and harder to stay away. I promised my family—and him—I would, though.

My days as an MMA champion are behind me. But whenever I see her, with those wicked curves and soft mouth created for dirty deeds, it’s a knock-down fight to just maintain my distance. “Hard Knox” becomes more than just the name of my tattoo shop. However, surrendering to the forbidden might be worth losing everything…

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My Thoughts:

Sin and Ink had my emotions here there and everywhere. Simone has created this back story to Knox and Eden’s romance that is a complete ode to how forbidden and wrong their attraction to each other. I love a grieving hero story and reading Sin and Ink made me realize it’s been a while since I’ve read a grieving widow story. I liked how in this romance though, Eden lost her husband two years ago, so when we meet her in the book, she is at the point where she is ready to stop grieving and move on. She makes an important point in the book which is basically that she didn’t die with her husband.

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I liked that Knox and Eden didn’t immediately jump each others bones. As the reader we really get a much needed glimpse into the guilt that both of them feel about their attraction to one another. I liked that the author explored this and didn’t have them just going for it. Besides these two grappling with both their guilt and this love and lust that’s ready to explode, there is this constant feeling of walking around on egg shells when it comes to Knox’s family.

Knox’s Mother is still really grieving the death of her son and blames Knox for his death. In the story she spews out some pretty hurtful words his way. I liked the way that his Mother was written. Her still grieving and accusations toward Knox only added to the conflict surrounding the romance.

I listened to Sin and Ink on audio while following along with the ebook and there were a few parts early on in the book that felt a bit slow. These slow parts I will attribute to the male narrator and me having to get use to his narration style.

Not to end off on a negative though, I loved this book. I was addicted to the attraction between Eden and Knox while at the same time listening with my eyes closed and sneaking a peek every once in a while.  It felt so wrong but the love between the two was undeniable. Simone did a great job of of writing what it must feel like the surviving spouse but rather than dwelling on that and focusing the story around it, I loved how our surviving spouse is ready to move on with her life.

Overall this was an emotional roller coaster. It’s very, very sexy. Very descriptive. If that’s not your thing, you’ve been warned..

“My love for him is that of a woman who has experienced the suffering of life and has come out stronger, forced into unbreakable steel. A woman who understands that she doesn’t need a man by her side to complete the picture of who she is but chooses to want him there. My love for his is with the knowledge that heroes aren’t shiny, golden-haired, perfect Gods. They’re men. Scarred, battered, wounded men with feet of clay…and hearts of the purest, most precious gold.”

 

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Some Sort of Crazy by Melanie Harlow

Okay Friends, I haven’t read many series, trilogies or whatever else is out there. Until I started reading romance, I cringed at the thought of continuing on with a cast of characters in multiple books. I was a one and done kind of girl. I am so glad my love of romance has changed my perspective on this crazy way of thinking because I would totally be missing out on trilogies like Melanie Harlow’s, Happy Crazy Love trilogy.  Thanks to a couple of friends on Instagram, I went into book two, Some Sort of Crazy a little aware that I was going to love it..and I did.

Some Sort of Crazy by Melanie Harlow

Published November 17, 2015

4/5 Stars

Narrated on Audiobook by Nelson Hobbs and Lucy Malone

 

“The entire night was just ours, like we existed outside of time, in our own little world.”

 

Synopsis:

When a psychic tells Natalie Nixon her life is about to be upended by a mysterious stranger, she laughs it off. After all, she has everything she’s ever wanted—a successful bakery, a the perfect boyfriend, and the keys to her dream house.

Who could possibly make her want to throw all that away?

Then Miles Haas comes back to town.

But he’s no stranger—they’ve known each other since high school. Plus, he’s only around for the summer, he’s still a shameless playboy, and he makes a living writing articles for a men’s magazine with titles like ‘Should You Bang the Boss’s Daughter? A Flowchart’ and ‘Butt Stuff for Beginners: A Field Guide.’

He’s not the man of her dreams, and she’s not about to abandon everything she’s worked so hard for just for a little fun. Except he makes her laugh like no one else, smells like heaven, and looks sexy as hell in those panty-melting glasses.

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My Thoughts:

Some Sort of Crazy was a fun roller coaster ride while also being sexy as hell. Where with book 1, Some Sort of Happy, the vibe felt very dark, the vibe in Some Sort of Crazy felt very light hearted and just completely different. I liked that although following one of the sisters of the main character from book 1 and still feeling pretty invested in this world and characters, this book was able to stand on it’s own. You can totally skip book one and read this one without it..but don’t! 

I liked Natalie as a main character. She gives you the good girl vibes without feeling ridiculous. I love that she owns her own coffee shop. She’s been in a relationship with her boyfriend Dan for forever and long story short, things happen and they break up. This is shortly after Miles, a long time friend of Natalie’s has come home. After Natalie thank you next’s Dan, she allows herself the liberty of hanging out with Miles.

Miles, oh Miles. Miles is a single guy, living the single guy dream. He does what he wants unapologetically but has always secretly been in love with Natalie. He is a blogger with a blog dedicated to different sexual situations he has found himself in with women.

Total friends to lovers. Guy finally gets the girl kind of story. I liked that Natalie’s cutting Douchebag Dan off had nothing to do with Miles and everything to do with the strength she realized she had. I was happy to not have any moments where she regretted cutting him off. That is mostly thanks to Miles, but despite the reputation he has built for himself, I respected that Miles respected Natalie enough to not allow anything initially to happen that she may regret later.

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I really enjoyed the family aspect you get in this one. It was there in book one too, but I felt like we got more insight into the relationship between the 3 sisters in Some Sort of Crazy. Even Sebastian, the love interest from book one. He has obviously become part of the family, and I liked seeing him written into certain scenes as one of the family members.

In true Harlow fashion, this book was sexy as hell. Very descriptive sex scenes that will leave you breathless. In this story though, during each sex scene I found myself rooting for Natalie. She deserved each and every moment of it after what she had been through with Douchebag Dan. Miles was crazy about her and wanted to make her happy and make her feel good. When Miles begins to realize he is feeling something he’s never felt before, it truly felt earth shattering. I had to laugh at him, because as he begins to realize and question his feelings for Natalie, he thinks he’s getting sick.

Now, I will forewarn you-this romance does have a twist that I know many people aren’t fond of. I typically roll my eyes at it as well, but in Some Sort of Crazy, it worked. It made sense, and I honestly can’t imagine the twist having went any other direction and actually working.

Onto book 3  I go. Let me know if you’ve given this trilogy a go, or anything by Melanie Harlow. Until next time, take care of yourselves. We will chat again soon. xo

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Some Sort of Happy by Melanie Harlow

What’s up Friends? I have been slowly but happily, making my way through Melanie Harlow’s bibliography. Back in December of 2018, I participated in round 2 of Smutathon hosted by two booktubers, Lainey and Riley. I made this whole tbr that in the end I didn’t stick to. A friend on Instagram posted the cover of a Melanie Harlow novel, and being the curious being that I am, I took to Goodreads to investigate. Long story short, your girl is hooked on Harlow. This addiction I have to her books is a real thing. Here are my thoughts on Some Sort of Happy which I finished on Audible yesterday.

Some Sort of Happy by Melanie Harlow (Happy Crazy Love, Book 1)

Published September 22, 2015

4/5 Stars

Narrated on Audio by Nelson Hobbs & Lucy Malone

 

Synopsis:

Skylar Nixon is a twenty-seven year old failed actress with no Plan B. After a humiliating stint on a reality TV show crushes what’s left of her childhood dream, she finds herself back in her hometown with no money saved, no college degree, and no confidence she’s anything but a joke—a small town starlet who couldn’t hack it in the big city.

When she runs into former classmate Sebastian Pryce, she can’t believe the hot body and chiseled jaw belong to the shy, troubled loner she knew ten years before. He’s not exactly friendly at first, and she’s heard the rumors about his tragic past, but something in his sad eyes intrigues her. She only wants to get to know him better.

Until the night she wants more—and takes it. (Hard and deep. Twice.)

Are they just two lonely people seeking solace? Or can a disgraced beauty queen and flawed, frustrated man find some sort of happy ever after?

 

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My Thoughts:

Wow! What a ride. Melanie Harlow sure knows how to tug at a girl’s heart. From the very beginning of this book, I knew I’d be on a roller coaster ride. I liked how when we are introduced to Skyler she is down on her luck. Everything isn’t perfect for her. She has honestly in a lot of ways, hit rock bottom. I liked that the hit had already happened, so we meet her, and the focus is on how do I move past this and on from here? Also, when it comes to Skyler, her insecurities felt very real and genuine. She is the perfect example of not judging a person by appearance. She is a pretty girl who is insecure because she feels she doesn’t have a lot going for herself in comparison to her sisters. One of which is a doctor (I think) and the other is a business owner. Skyler was on a reality show and with a lot of editing and manipulation, painted as the bad girl. Especially after the shows airing and all the of the edited words in Skyler’s mouth, it causes a lot of doors to close in her face. I loved this reality tv backstory.

Sebastian, oh my heart! He’s not broken, I don’t want to say that, but oh my goodness he has his own insecurities he has to work through. Sebastian lives with a form of OCD. He and Skyler went to high school together, but didn’t run in the same crowd. In fact, Sebastian’s high school experience sucked! Sebastian has always secretly had a thing for Skyler and I was totally here for it. He gets the girl in this one! But in true Melanie Harlow fashion, he has to work through his issues before that happens, which I love and appreciate.

I liked how Sebastian as the love interest wasn’t perfect. I loved seeing how he lives with his OCD and we get to see the constant up and downs he experiences. We get to see how he goes a little too far in the deep end when he’s not taking care of himself like he should. I thought the author did a really good job of writing him. You want so bad for him to just be okay. And I loved how Skyler loved him regardless of his OCD. He truly thought he wasn’t good enough for her. I love when a hero doesn’t think he’s worthy. Hah! Skyler begins to learn his ticks and triggers and I just adored their relationship. It truly is team work and takes work.

I think out of the novels I’ve read by Melanie Harlow so far, this one felt the sexiest. I haven’t read one yet that didn’t include some sexy time, but Wow! Sebastian and Skyler’s sex scenes are like embedded in my brain at the moment. Onto book two I go..

xoxo,

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Review: Season of Wonder

I am now all caught up on the Haven Point series by Raenne Thayne, which makes me so happy. This series was one of the first I picked up as I made my transition into reading romance, and I’ve grown to love it so much.

Season of Wonder by Raeanne Thayne

Book 9 in the Haven Point series

Published September 25, 2018

HQN Books

4/5 Stars

I received a copy for review from Little Bird Publicity. Thank you to them. All opinions are my own.

 

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Plot Summary:

He’s giving her children a season of wonder…

Dani Capelli seized a chance to start over in a small town with her daughters. Now, facing her first Christmas in Haven Point, she wonders if leaving New York was a mistake. Dani loves working alongside veterinarian Dr. Morales, but her two children aren’t adjusting to small-town life. And then there’s Dr. Morales’s son, Ruben—Dani’s next-door neighbor. Gorgeous, muscled and dependable, the deputy sheriff is everything she secretly craves and can’t bear to risk loving…and losing.

Ruben never pictured himself falling for a big-city woman like Dani. But beneath her prickly facade, she’s caring and softhearted and she needs all the love and protection he can give. When Dani’s teenage daughter starts acting out, Ruben draws on family traditions to show the girls just how magical a Haven Point Christmas can be. But can he convince Dani that she’s found a home for the holidays—and forever—in his arms?

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My Thoughts:

I am very new to the world of series. I have only completed two series in my life, both being since I have started reading romance. I am now caught up on the Haven Point series since finishing Season of Wonder, and not going to lie! With this one being the ninth book in the series, my main thought going into it was, “What could she (Raeanne Thayne) possibly have left to write in this series?” I quickly gathered my bearings though and let the master do her thing.

Raeanne Thayne did a wonderful job writing Dani, the main character. Dani grew up in the foster system, had her oldest daughter in her teens and fell in love with the wrong guy. She is tough. She packs up her two girls, flees their life on the east coast and settles in Haven Point where she takes on the job as a veterinarian. Dani is a very intelligent, street smart, single Mom just trying to raise her daughters.

The veterinarian who hires Dani has a son named Ruben and you pick up pretty instantly that Ruben is smitten with her but with the way she was raised, and who her ex husband was and what he did, Dani doesn’t want to let anyone close to her out of fear of being judged.

Throw into the mix that her oldest daughter is caught by Ruben spray painting homes and belongings in the neighborhood. Nothing like a rebellious teenager to complicate the situation even more! Ruben is a police officer, Dani’s neighbor and is also the guy who catches her daughter in the spray painting act.

I loved that this story represented what it means to start over. How sometimes we get in our own way and stop our own selves from moving forward. Dani is so fearful of people knowing that she is the ex wife of her ex husband that she goes to a lot of trouble to keep her distance from the town people. In each book I’ve read from this series so far, the main character always ends up some way interacting with the group of ladies from the previous books, but not Dani. She truly does a good job of going to work followed by home with her girls. Thayne captured so well that almost isolating feeling from choosing to keep to yourself.

She also did a great job of capturing that moment when you realize someone else has come along to take some of the burden away from you. I adored Ruben and his patience with Dani and I loved his interaction with her girls. Dani really had to let go of the things she’d been through and honestly..stop tripping so much, and only until she did that, could she finally recognize what was standing in front of her.

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Review: The Clover Chapel

The Clover Chapel by Devney Perry

Book 2 in the Jamison Valley Series

Published May 30,2017 by Devney Perry

4/5 Stars

 

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Plot Summary:

She took a dare and fell in love. Truth would have been the smarter choice.

After years of living under her father’s thumb, Emmeline is ready to break free. She’s abandoned her life as a New York socialite to follow her dream of becoming a kindergarten teacher in a small, wholesome town. Seeing the man that nearly broke her was absolutely not what she had hoped to find in Prescott, Montana.

Nick hasn’t seen his Emmy in nine years, but that doesn’t mean he’s forgotten a thing about the woman he loves. After just one blissful night as man and wife, he gave her up, sacrificing his own happiness to keep her safe—far away from him. But the moment she walks back into his lonely life is the moment he decides never to let her go again. He won’t waste his second chance. All he has to do is win back Emmeline’s heart, keep her safe from the shadows in his past and prove to her that taking a wager on him is a sure bet.  

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My Thoughts:

In true me fashion, I saw this series, loved the covers and all the summaries sounded great, so i hauled the entire series with one click on Amazon. I jumped immediately into The Clover Chapel by Devney Perry right after finishing book one, The Coppersmith Farmhouse. I loved the small town setting, the sense of community and wow, did Devney Perry hit me with the surprises in book one, I couldn’t wait to see whose romance would be in book two.

I liked the idea of this book. Emmy and Nick met and married one night in Las Vegas. The next morning, Emmy wakes alone. She doesn’t hear from or see the man she has been married to for nine years. Emmy finds herself tired of New York City life, her dad who is a complete jerk and she wants to teach, so she takes a job in Prescott, Montana. Once she begins teaching, she meets the parents of Rowen, Gigi and Jess from the first book and they invite her to a get together. Who does she run into not long after arriving? Her husband!

Nick has his reasons for leaving Emmy that night after they married, which you learn a few chapters into the book. They were good reasons. Emmy was a smart girl and he could’ve just told her upfront, but then we wouldn’t have a story, right? A lot like book one, Nick is persistent with Emmy. She is adamant about divorcing him. She has had a boyfriend for five years now and wants to move on, but Nick convinces her to give him a week’s time, a date every night and if she feels the same after, they’ll move forward with the divorce.

I liked the thought Nick put into his time, his dates with Emmy. You got the sense that he truly paid attention and listened to her. There was something sexy about Nick. I loved that here he was this firefighter who comes from a family of motorcycle club members who do some pretty dangerous stuff. It always felt that he was straddling the line between good guy and bad guy, and I found the blurry line so hot.

I liked Emmy. I love reading from the perspective of teachers. She was so great with her students and one in particular, I loved seeing her do the right thing and even step on some toes to take care. I enjoyed seeing the friendship between Emmy, GiGi and Maisey (from book one) bloom. Understandably, Emmy was new in town and wasn’t sure how long she’d stay once she realized Nick lived there but Gigi and Maisey immediately took to her and it’s always a joy to read strong female friendships.

My only gripe with this novel was that towards the end I got a little bored. The plot twist came and I really didn’t even care for it. Not sure if I just wasn’t in the mood for it or what. I basically skimmed through it to get to the end and find out how Emmy and Nick panned out.

I do recommend reading this though. It is starting out as a really solid series. Devney Perry hits you with these beautiful covers and stories that seem like sweet small town romances then bam! She totally sexes it up and throws unexpected twists and turns in there.

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