4.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary romance · romance · Sports Fiction

A Season to Dance by Rebecca Heflin

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A Season to Dance by Rebecca Heflin

Published: December 13, 2018

Publisher: Rebecca Heflin Books, LLC

Pages: 336

Genres: romance, contemporary romance, sports

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: the ballet world, sweet and steamy contemporary romance 

Foodie Vibes: dark roast coffee and chocolate croissants from the local shop – a wonderful indulgence among old friends 

 

Synopsis: 

Olivia James and Zach Ryder were high school sweethearts, but at age eighteen, she left small-town Georgia for the bright lights and satin pointe shoes of Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet. Seventeen years later, Olivia’s come home for her mother’s funeral, nursing an injury that could likely end her meteoric dance career. Being back home stirs up old heartache, and seeing Zach again is not on her to-do list. Her best bet is get in, get out—a week at most. Then she’ll return to Chicago to rehabilitate her injury and salvage her career. But best laid plans often go astray . . .

Zach has never really recovered from Olivia’s departure, even though he always knew she was destined for fame, while he was destined for small-town life. Now Olivia’s back and he’s determined to protect his heart. But when he learns she’s staying in town longer than originally planned, Zach knows they are going to have to face the past to move on. He’s just not prepared for the beautiful woman she’s become or the effect she still has on his heart.

Small towns being what they are, Zach and Olivia are constantly thrown into one another’s paths, and it soon becomes apparent they still love each other. Will they give in to their rekindled desire and seize a second chance at happiness?

 

Review:

I won this book for free from Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Rebecca Heflin and the publisher for the ebook. As always, an honest review from me. 

A Season to Dance is a sweet & steamy second chance romance set in a small but successful southern town. Olivia is a prima ballerina on break from her career of elite ballets, magazine deals and worldwide performances. Months before she tore her achilles tendon and is now currently rehabbing her injury. The uncertainty over her future in ballet makes for some great tension and lots of soul searching throughout the book. To help her along on her journey is her late Mom’s wife, high school boyfriend, and used to be enemy but now close friend. 

I liked that there weren’t many hard feelings between the characters who had conflict. They realized their hurt feelings were due to miscommunication instead of hate, and resolved their disagreements like adults. The growth in their relationships was wonderful. While the friendships are great, this is a romance novel after all. The romance was sweet and steamy, just how I like it. It’s not overly raunchy, but there’s definitely enough adult content to keep romance lovers entertained. The romance is like a good dark chocolate – rich, deep, sweet but with substance. Also the ballet world setting is perfection. The author has included enough ballet terms to make you feel as if you’re transported to the world of dance, but not so much that the non dancer will be confused. There’s also a glossary of dance terms at the end in case you want to reference it. 

There were very few moments that I didn’t enjoy. Actually nothing. There were a few minor storylines that didn’t add much to the book, but other than that it’s all good.

Overall, A Season to Dance is a perfect feel good romance novel for a day when you need a pick me up. I highly recommend. I really hope there is a sequel to the book. 

 

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Bookish Question:

How many of you took dance class as a child? Which types of dance? 

 

I danced for 16 years including tap, ballet, pointe, flamenco, jazz, hip hop, and contemporary.

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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Facebook: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

4 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · romance · suspense

The Light to My Darkness by Ivy Smoak

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The Light to My Darkness by Ivy Smoak

Published: September 19, 2017

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Pages: 358

Genres: romance, contemporary romance, contemporary fiction, suspense 

Rating: 4 stars 

Recommend to fans of: romance novels with a mix of suspense, realistic fiction, adorable family life, couples that are #relationshipgoals 

Foodie Vibes: bananas and ice cream ~ for all those pregnancy cravings 

 

Synopsis: 

My relationship with my husband has been splashed all over the tabloids ever since we first started dating. What should I have expected when I took New York City’s most eligible bachelor off the market?

But no matter how long I’m with my husband, I can’t shake the feeling that a stroke of luck brought me here. That I don’t deserve the life around me. And I swear, if one more paparazzi takes a picture of me I’m going to freaking lose my mind.

I needed to prove to myself that I’m not worthless. So I wrote a novel under a pen name, but I’ve been rejected by so many literary agents I’ve lost count. And I’m so consumed with this idea that I need more out of life that I never had a chance to see the real story unfolding around me. The story that would threaten the life I took for granted.

 

Review:

I won this ebook for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads and Ivy Smoak for the copy. As always, an honest review from me.

The Light to My Darkness is wonderful, heartfelt, passionate, and has just enough suspense. Penny is pregnant with her second child. She craves bananas and ice cream. She looks after her adorable 3 year old, Scarlett. And her husband absolutely worships her. The only difference this time around is that she has a moderate to severe heart murmur, and the pregnancy is putting added stress on her heart. 

I really liked that this romance novel features a pregnant and married woman as the main character. Not many authors do this. Their relationship is very steamy. The stress that her health condition puts on their day to day lives is also explored. The representation is great. Scarlett is also such a smart adorable kid. The suspense of Penny’s health condition and later darker elements kept me turning the pages quickly. 

However, there are a few aspects that I’m not a huge fan of. One is the manner that the couple met. Some people don’t have a problem with it, but I did. Also the last 20% of the book had a lot of information thrown in quickly. I wish that it was further explored. And the ending … let’s just say you’ll either love it or hate it.

Overall, I really enjoyed this contemporary romance featuring a strong smart woman who is pregnant. The suspense made it even better. I definitely recommend giving The Light to My Darkness a read. 

 

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If you’ve been pregnant before, what’s the weirdest food craving that you experienced?

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

Instagram: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

Facebook: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

3.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary romance · romance

ARC Review | Challenging the Doctor by Patricia Fischer

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Challenging the Doctor by Patricia Fischer

Published: September 6, 2018

Publisher: Tule Publishing

Pages: 224

Genres: contemporary romance, romance

Recommend to fans of: medical romances, the author Candace Calvert, contemporary romance, happily ever afters

Foodie Vibes: homemade chocolate delicacies from the local shop

 

Synopsis:

After a near-career ending event, ER doctor Edmund Davidson relocates to Marietta, Montana, hoping it’s the fresh start he needs. Edmund settles in quickly to life in a small town and thrives in his role as the new ER doc. He especially enjoys sparing with the gorgeous, smart, and headstrong nurse practitioner. Jade intrigues him like no women he’s ever met, but he can’t help feel that she’s burdened by a dark secret.

Jade Phillips wants to reboot her life after losing out on a promotion to head the ER to a newcomer, Edmund’s sister, Lucy. As Jade attempts to focus on selling her father’s place and close a painful chapter of her life, she discovers evidence of a dark secret. Jade finds herself in trapped between family loyalty and personal devastation. She knows her attraction to Edmund and her secrets could put them both in jeopardy, but when Edmund saves her brother’s life, she realizes she has to trust someone.

Edmund soon realizes he’s emotionally in too deep with Jade. He wants to protect her, but he’s professionally on thin ice already. If he doesn’t reveal her secret, their separate pasts can destroy both of their careers. But can he betray the woman he loves to protect himself? Or will he risk it all, even his heart?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGaley, Tule Publishing and Patricia Fischer for an ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

My actual rating is 3.5 stars, but since there aren’t half star ratings I always round up.

Challenging the Doctor is a contemporary romance set in a small town with a medical backdrop. Medical books, romance or not, are always a hit with me, so add in the feel good romance with a happily ever after. That’s going to make me a happy lady.

Edmund is the main love interest. He’s new to town, a doctor, and an honest to goodness good guy. The romance is also quite steamy. A perfect mix of passion and sweetness.

The medical settings and small town vibe also add to the appeal. The upscale diner food sounds amazing. The vibe is a bit like Candace Calvert’s books except more sexy times and less religion. Bonus points for Fred the dog, who is so dang cute? Also Edmund has social anxiety, so that’s some nice representation. It would have been better if they went more in depth in his struggles. However, it’s a romance novel, so I get why it wasn’t a main focus.

The let downs in the book include the classic eye rolling line about how most women aren’t like her. Problematic for so many reasons that I’m not going to go into right now. Also some of the other tropes felt a little old and overused. Fro example her in trouble with the law brother to stir up drama. But yet the guy likes her anyways, despite her worries.

Overall, an enjoyable read that’s perfect for taking your mind off the stresses of life.

 

Which setting is your favorite for a romance novel?

3 Star Books · contemporary romance · romance

ARC Book Review | Accidentally in Love with the Pilot by Teri Anne Stanely

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Let’s start with the Bookish Question of the Review!

What’s more important to you as a reader? The characters or the storylines? 

Accidentally in Love with the Pilot by Teri Anne Stanley 

Published: August 13, 2018

Publisher: Entangled Publishing; LLC (Lovestruck)

Pages: 255

Genres: romance, contemporary romance

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to fans of: contemporary romance, introverted male leads, quirky and supportive families

Read with food: your favorite foods that a kind attractive man will cook for you #goals

 

Synopsis:

Fighter pilot Ben Rutledge loves his solitude. Which means spending a month of leave in overcrowded, over-glitzy Las Vegas isn’t up his alley, especially after his friend ditches him. His first inclination is to bow out, and quickly. Instead, he finds himself sharing drinks—and a whole lot more—with a sexy woman celebrating her birthday. After all, it’s just one night, and he can go back to his quiet life tomorrow.

Megan Shuttlekrump doesn’t have time for a boyfriend, much less a husband. But a night of celebratory drinks with a handsome stranger ends with a ring on her finger—and no memory of how it got there. Her new “husband” is over the top hot, but he’ll be out of her life once his leave is over. As long as they can find out which of the thousand or so chapels in Vegas married them…

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and author for an ARC copy of the ebook. As always, an honest review.

Accidentally in Love with the Pilot was a bit underwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the story, but it wasn’t quite what I expected. Based on the title and summary I thought it would be a typical sexy contemporary romance strongly featuring an alpha male who is a pilot. What we got was a guy who happened to be in town on leave. The pilot aspect really didn’t figure into the story. He could have had almost any other career, and the story would be the same. A missed opportunity in my opinion.

Also Ben is an introvert, which we don’t see as much in romance novels. I quite enjoyed this as it gave the character and book some depth. I also liked that there was a good mix of romance and friendship between Megan and Ben. He truly does encourage her to pursue her dreams while respecting her wishes. The book works well as contemporary fiction and not just romance.

However, the romance aspect wasn’t as great as the rest. There was plenty of sexy time, but the reason Ben and Megan are together feels forced. It moved so fast and didn’t feel at all like a natural progression. For me, it took away from the book.

Overall, I enjoyed the friendship between Ben and Megan. The character growth was enjoyable and added many layers. However the romance didn’t live up to my expectations.

4 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary romance · romance

ARC Book Review | All the Way by Kristen Proby

 

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Be sure to scroll all the way down to the Bookish Question of the Review

I would love to hear all your answers!

 

All the Way by Kristen Proby 

Published: August 21, 2018

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Pages: 288

Genres: romance, contemporary romance

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: steamy sweet romances, strong women and strong men

Read with food: chocolate covered strawberries ~ delicious, classic and effective

 

Synopsis:

 In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new Romancing Manhattan series, three brothers get more than they bargain for as they practice law, balance life, and navigate love in and around New York City.

Finn Cavanaugh is known for being a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom. He owns a successful law firm with his brother and brother-in-law in Manhattan. On the rare occasion that he has down time, he spends it at his home in Martha’s Vineyard. But when Finn’s troubled niece goes to stay with him for the summer in Martha’s Vineyard, he’s reluctant to take time off from work. That is, until he meets his beautiful new neighbor, London.

London Watson is a Tony Award winning actress on Broadway. When tragedy strikes her family, leaving her alone and injured, she flees Manhattan for Martha’s Vineyard. Hoping she can figure out how to pick up the pieces of her life, London is convinced that she’ll never be able to return to the stage. But when she meets the charming young girl next door and her sexy uncle, they soon lure London out of her shell as she finally begins to heal from the wounds of her past.

But when London feels confident enough to return to the spotlight, she’s dealt another devastating blow. Will the newfound love between London and Finn be enough to conquer all? Or will it be over before it has a chance to grow…?

 

Review:
I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, William Morrow Paperbacks and Kristen Proby for the copy. As always, an honest review.

All the Way is a quick, intense, sweet romance that is filled with sexy times. At the beginning Finn and London barely know each other. But the author is great at putting the characters in situations where they learn to authentically trust and get to know each other better. This sets up the book to be more than just a steamy fling between two very attractive people. I liked that the story is filled with a lot of real life moments in which their true personalities shine. They’re kind, hard working, compassionate, family oriented, successful and sometimes a little too stubborn for their own good. Showing these qualities makes for a very well rounded, even more enjoyable read.

That’s not to say the book is all talk, because there is a lot of action. Sexy time action to be exact. At her place, at his, in the shower, etc. It’s a romance novel for a reason, for sure.

However, the plot line about London’s brother was only okay. It didn’t really bring much to the story, other than the initial reason Finn and London meet. Her brother could have been eliminated and the rest of the book was still strong enough to stand on its own.

Overall, All the Way checks all the boxes a good contemporary romance should. Attractive successful people, sexual chemistry, lots of sexy time, a few complications, plot lines beyond only the romance, and a happily ever after. A lovely quick read for all you romance lovers out there!

 

Bookish Question of the Review:

Which sub genre of romance novels do you really enjoy?