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Review: ALL THERE IS by Violet Duke

Title: All There Is (Juniper Hills, #1)

Author: Violet Duke

Category: Contemporary Romance

Source: NetGalley 

Review by Candy

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After surviving a fire that destroyed her family and left her young step-brother dead, Emma Stevens moves with her sister to Juniper Hills for a fresh start. In this small town, known for producing luxury and unique yarns, Emma doesn’t have to worry about her past. When her bakery floods after a broken pipe, a strange contractor shows up to place a bid on doing the repairs. To Emma’s horror, the contractor is none other than Jake Rowan, who started the fire that cost Emma her family. Jake served his time for a crime he didn’t commit by trying to protect his brother, who was thought to have a better future than Jake did. Jake had no idea that Emma even lived in Juniper Hills and is ready to leave town as soon as he realizes who she is. Emna convinces Jake to stay to not only fix her bakery but to remodel the library that her sister works at. As Emma and Jake become reacquainted with each other, the attraction they felt as teenagers reemerges. Can these two move on from their pasts and find happiness in each other?

Jake’s story was very hard to read. It angered me that his father thought so little of Jake that it was okay if Jake went to juvenile hall for a crime he didn’t commit. To top it off, Jake suffered even further by his own mother refusing to even visit him while he served out his sentence.

Emma’s story is filled with survivor’s guilt. When the fire broke out her and Jake went back in the burning house to rescue her sister and step-brother. Unfortunately her step-brother dies in the fire and Emma is riddled with guilt that she didn’t do enough to save him. It takes talking with Jake about that night to understand that there wasn’t anything she could do.

All There Is by Violet Duke is the first book in the Juniper Hills series. Duke has written a powerful story about forgiveness and moving on when tragedy strikes. If you enjoy contemporary romance, this would be a good read for you.

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Review: VANISHING ACT by A.M. Madden

Title: Vanishing Act

Author: A.M Madden

Category: Contemporary Romance

Source: NetGalley 

Review by Candy

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Hollywood superstar, Landon Price has had enough of being a celebrity. The latest movie he just finished filming was full of nothing but drama and he is still mourning the death of his brother. Deciding he needs a break from it all, Landon disappears to a remote Hawaiian town to recharge his batteries. What Landon didn’t count on was meeting Zara Jobart, a local resident, whom Landon finds himself immediately attracted to. Zara has no clue who Landon is and he is just fine with that. What will happen when Zara discovers the truth? Will Landon return to Hollywood or give it all up for Zara?

I loved the banter between Zara and Landon. Both of these characters have as good as they got. There were several times in the book that I found myself laughing out loud at their conversations. The star of this book though is Zara’s dog, Marshmallow, or Spike as Landon renames him. Spike runs away one day and finds Landon, which is how he meets Zara. Anytime Spike is in a scene, he completely steals it with his cute antics.

I also enjoyed how much detail Madden put into the secondary characters and the town of Lanai. The characters were so vivid and made for an interesting backdrop to the main story of Zara and Landon. It is too bad the town of Lanai doesn’t actually exist because I would definitely add this to my bucket list of places to visit if it did.

Vanishing Act by A.M. Madden is a standalone romance. Madden put her own spin on the rich/famous hero meets small town girl and creates a fabulous world that you wish was real. If you enjoy contemporary romance, this book would be a good read for you.

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Review: SINCE LAST CHRISTMAS by Jeffe Kennedy

I recently finished Since Last Christmas by Jeffe Kennedy and all I can think about is that I want more. It was so hard to put down! Since Last Christmas is the 3rd book in the Missed Connections series and follows Amy and Jon (and a little of Brad). I enjoyed the fact that the characters are not your typical romance heroes and heroines. They seem more like regular people – almost like I was listening to Amy tell me about her past few months over drinks or something. The characters seem human. They have their quirks and flaws.

Amy has her life planned out, or at least her next year. She knows just how she will be proposed to. How she will spend the next few months of her life. Everything will be perfect. Until it’s not. When things don’t work out the way she expects, she is lost. But is quickly found by someone she never thought about.

Kennedy is such a fantastic storyteller. Since Last Christmas is interesting, the pacing is on point, and I just fell in love with the characters and their lives. The romance between Jon and Amy is so awesome to follow. It was fun to hang out with them and I really want to be friends with the Fab 5!

Getting to catch up with characters from past books in the series is always wonderful and I look forward to the next few stories with Ice and Julie. Missed Connections is an amazing series and while it is enjoyed more (in my opinion) by reading in order, you can read any of them on their own. If you are looking for a contemporary romance that is different than many you read about, Give Since Last Christmas a try!

Title: Since Last Christmas (Missed Connections, #3)

Author: Jeffe Kennedy

Category: Contemporary Romance

Source: Copy received from Author

 

 

Review: CROSS COUNTRY CHRISTMAS by Emily Leigh

Emily Leigh is quickly becoming an auto-read author for me after just two books! Cross Country Christmas was a fun holiday novella that takes you from Georgia to Washington in a few days but with lots of emotion, laughter, and love. Who doesn’t want to go on a road trip with a hot, sexy, Country Movie star?

In Cross Country Christmas, Gracie needs to get out of town and wants to head home to Seattle for Christmas. With the grounded flights due to weather, she opts to rent a car and drive there. Country Movie icon, Kale, needs to get to Montana ASAP. With one last rental care available, the two decide to share it and the road trip begins.

Leigh does an incredible job of developing interesting and lovable characters in this story with a unique plot for each character and weaved together effortlessly. Even the scenes we think will be typical cliche romance are done with a twist and entertain even the hardest core romance fan. It’s a fresh story, one that I wasn’t quite sure how it would end.

It was hard to put down but so easy to get lost in Cross Country Christmas from the very first page and is everything you want in a holiday novella. Give it a read!

Title: Cross Country Christmas

Author: Emily Leigh

Category: Contemporary Romance

Source: Purchased from Amazon

Review: HOLIDAY WISHES by Jill Shalvis

I absolutely love holiday novellas! Holiday Wishes by Jill Shalvis is the type of story I look forward to each Christmas season. It is short, sweet, sexy, and entertaining from start to finish. It left me all warm, fuzzy, and happy sighing at the end. What else could a girl want?

In Holiday Wishes, Sean drives his brother and friends up to a Bed and Breakfast to celebrate his brother’s bachelor weekend. He unexpectedly runs into an old flame in Lotti, the Inn Keeper. Boy is that a blast from his past. Little does he realize Lotti’s feelings towards him are a little different.

Shalvis tells the story of how Sean and Lotti find their way back to a romance. It’s fun, it’s light, it’s super sexy. A lot happens in just a few days which makes it a bit of a whirlwind. If you enjoy holiday romance novels, give Holiday Wishes a read!

Title: Holiday Wishes

Author: Jill Shalvis

Category: Contemporary Romance

Source: Purchased from Amazon