The Goodmans by Clare Ashton

Clare Ashton writes books that you love to read. They are complex, fun and capture your attention the whole way through. She builds characters and relationships with such skill you cannot help but be swept off your feet.

The Goodman family is messy and downright loveable. They are all charismatic individuals who love each other fiercely and also step into mess after mess. The majority of the times, we, the readers are seeing life from the perspective of Maggie, Jude, and Abby. These characters are quirky, infuriating, and irresistible. Maggie, Jude’s mother made me want to scream one minute and hug her very next.

Abby and Jude are both doctors. They met as teenagers at university and became fast friends. When Abby was just nineteen and away at school her mother was struck by a drunk driver and killed. That tragedy solidified Abby and June’s friendship. Jude and her family became touchstones for Abby and she has incorporated them into her life ever since that fateful day. Abby loves Jude, as a best friend sure, but so much more than that. Her feelings run so much deeper, and she knows nothing can come of it. Jude has always dated me and has never given her an inclination of being anything but straight. When Jude’s boyfriend, suddenly proposes, the walls Abby has erected come tumbling down. No matter how hard she tries Abby cannot hide her heartbreak.

This story is about best friends seeing each other in a new light, Jude sees Abby in a way she has never looked before. She opens her mind to being with Abby in a new and suddenly very attractive way. What it also is confronting the past and being open to a new future. For a long part of the story, I kept wondering why we had Maggie’s perspective. It all makes sense when an old friend comes into town.

This book is fun, dynamic and keeps you hooked. Clair Ashton does not disappoint. This book is one I cannot recommend enough.

A fabulous five-star book!

  • Publisher: Breezy Tree Press
  • Link: http://a.co/8mceNSE
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Blind Side of the Moon by Blayne Cooper

Blayne Cooper is an amazing writer. Her books are so good! Her latest book, Blind Side of the Moon, I literally bought without even reading what the plot was about. I didn’t need to, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that this book would be amazing. I was absolutely right, it was!

Samantha Blackwell is a high school junior that has recurring dreams that she knows are important. She just doesn’t know why or what she’s supposed to do with what she has seen. As the dreams begin to get more frequent and more detailed she learns through her mind’s eye that her dreams are about a classmate being stalked. She knows without a doubt she has to help, but she doesn’t know who she can get anyone to believe her.

Jane Hutchens is from one of the most prominent families in town. She feels like an outsider in her perfect little family. Her siblings, the twins, are the most popular kids in school. Jane is lucky if anyone even looks her way. Super smart Jane spends most of her time in a book. So when Samantha drops a bomb on her about being stalked she balks at the outrageousness of the situation. that is until the notes and text messages become so frequent and intense that she just can’t ignore the danger lurking.

So the premise of the book is a stalker on the loose and Samantha, who can at times foretell the future befriends Jane to help catch the madman before he hurts her. Oh, but it’s so much more than that. This book has amazing characters who have depth and soul. While they are young these two are also mighty. Both, Jane and Sam are so well developed and you really get to know their emotions. These are strong young women that you cannot help but love and root for.

While Blind Side of the Moon is a mystery filled with twists it also has a romance that is every bit the mystery’s equal. The love story is so sweet, it pulls at your heart strings time and time again. While the two characters are young, they are both wise in so many ways. The ending is left open a bit, so I hope that we will see more of this dynamic duo.

A Big 5 stars!

  • Publisher: Bella Books

Blind Side of the Moon
by Blayne Cooper

To Purchase: Blind Side of the Moon

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Breaking Legacies by Zoe Reed

Breaking Legacies by Zoe Reed is phenomenal! It has everything you want and need all wrapped up in one glorious tale. This is easily, EASILY one of the best books I have read in 2016! The romance gives you the feels, the characters are strong dynamic women, it’s just so freaking good.

Kiena Thaon is a nineteen-year-old woman who is beyond skilled as a hunter and tracker. Her family is dirt poor, left to starve after her father was killed after being labeled a traitor to their king. While the family’s name has been ruined, Kiena has learned to provide by taking what she can from the forest. Her family would die if not for the provisions that she provides. Her skills have been honed out of the direst necessity. What is amazing about Kiena is her graciousness and selflessness. She is one of those characters that while her life has been so difficult, she never lets those hardships jade her. Her spirit captivates you as the reader. Think of her as a Katniss Everdeen type character. She takes the role as the hero, not because of machoness but because that role falls on her. You love her for her vulnerability as much as her strength.

Ava Gavestonis is the other main character in Breaking Legacies. When we first meet her she is a runaway princess that Kiena has been hired/forced to find. Her father, King Hazlitt wants her brought back to the castle immediately. Ava is nothing like the stereotypical princess Kienna thought her to be. Ava is witty, smart, compassionate and by no means Kienna’s sidekick. No, this woman matches her, they are so different but absolute equals. There are no little women in this book y’all! When Kienna realizes why Ava is running from her father, she must help her on her quest south. This is where a domino effect happens, and a revolution becomes their reality.

I think what really sets this book apart from so many others is how multilayered it is. Zoe Reed has given you a long detailed story. She never cut corners to save space. Seriously this book is way bigger than 99% of others in the genre. Reed takes her time and draws the characters out. Backstories are cleverly crafted, the scenes are set, and you feel the story as much as see it as you read. What I loved most of all, and I am talking really loved, is how the character’s chemistry between each other is just dynamite. It just jumps right off the page! You have sexiness, cuteness, agonizing loss and courage all rolled into one epic adventure. Just so damn good!

Breaking Legacies
by Zoe Reed
Link: http://a.co/iVF9dwu

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Gravity by Juliann Rich

Whether we love sports or not, most of us a drawn to the Olympics in some sort or fashion. We find ourselves drawn to sports that we have very little knowledge of, fascinated by the athlete’s backstories and their single-minded pursuit of their dream. So take this subject and throw in a romance, well, yeah I’m totally going read that.

Ellie Engebretsen is a seventeen year old Olympic hopeful in the ski jump. Finally, the Olympic committee has agreed to allow women to compete in this event. (Side note: women have been ski jumping for over 100 years, but it was finally included in the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.) Her father competed years ago in this discipline ad has been grooming her since birth to be the next champion of the sport. When we meet Ellie she is recovering from a broken heart. Her girlfriend has run off with a fellow teammate, who happens to be a guy. To make matters worse she runs into them sucking face all over her mountain in Lutsen, Minnesota.

Enter Kate Moreau. Kate becomes Ellie’s rebound fixation. These two meet, hookup and are never supposed to see each other again. Yeah, okay, totally doesn’t happen that way. Kate ends up moving to Lutsen and taking a part-time job at the Engebretsen’s pro shop. Kate is tough, keeping her heart locked away. Abandoned by her father, and being raised by her free spirit mother, Kate doesn’t take anything from anyone. Self-reliant and fearless are two easy ways to sum this teen up.

So what did I think? This one is kind of a conundrum to me. The writing overall is done fairly well. I thought the relationship development was kind of shallow, but not bad. What stuck out to me the most, and I wrestled with, was the dialogue. Ellie for a seventeen-year-old is way over the top crass. I couldn’t buy that this was a teenager. I think her dialogue kept throwing me out of the story. The final chapters were way over dramatic, unnecessary conflict that didn’t make the story more enjoyable. Now with that being said, I would still read another book by Juliann Rich, I am interested to see how her other characters will be developed.

2.75 out of 5

Gravity
by Juliann Rich
Link: https://amzn.com/1626394830

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Life in Death by M. Ullrich

I’m going to be 100% honest here, I had intended to pass on this book. I adored M. Ullrich’s last book, but when reading the synopsis for Life in Death, I was stuck on the fact that this book would tackle the loss of a child. I cannot imagine the pain that these characters were going to endure, and quite frankly I did not want to even go there. So, I was going to look away, but the enormous amount of positive reviews kept catching my eye, and a few people reached out to me and raved about this book. So I caved, and I read the book, and kept reading, and kept reading some more until it was finished, all in one night.

I will say this book is a gauntlet of emotions. The book begins with a window into a perfect little family, two women who love each other dearly, and their amazing little girl, who rightfully so, it the light of their lives. You know it’s’ coming, like the shark in Jaws, you can feel the foreboding, the shoe is about to drop. Abigail the daughter of Marty and Suzanne has cancer, and she will lose her battle with the awful disease. A life cut way too short, and her parent’s relationship fractured beyond belief.

This book is a roller coaster of emotions, you will feel your heart break right along Marty and Suzanne. The pain at times is palatable, tears streaming down your face as you feverishly read, totally engrossed in the story. Is it good? Oh my goodness yes, this book is very good. Life in Death takes you on a road of telling the past, mixed in with the present. You see how Marty and Suzanne found each other, and why they broke. You cheer for their road back together, knowing all the while these two will never be whole without the other. This one will stay with you long after the last chapter. A fantastic read, I do recommend waterproof mascara and tissues! My only real criticism, the ending was a touch too short.

4 out of 5 stars

I was given this book by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Life in Death
by M. Ullrich
Link: https://amzn.com/1626397732

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The Lavender List by Meg Harrington

The Lavender List is set in 1946, just a year after the Nazi regime has defeated and the Americans have left Europe. This was a time of economic prosperity for many Americans after years of tumultuous foreign affairs and finally fully recovering from the Great Depression. You also have the beginning of the Cold War and the undeniable fear of the Communist regime. Why the history lesson, cause welcome to a book that is going to tackle it all while wrapped up in a delicious story filled with spies and Hollywood beauties.

Amelia Maldonado is a starving actress working at a local diner to pay her bills. She spends her days wiping down tables, pouring coffee and waiting for her crush, Laura Wright, to walk through the door. Her dream is to finally make it on Broadway. This Brooklyn girl has spunk in spades. She knows what she wants, who she wants and has dogged perseverance of making it as an actress. Amelia also has an another side to her, a rough and tumble girl, who’s past involves robbing banks and driving the getaway car. This Brooklynn girl knows the local mob boss, well because he is her uncle. This character is one to cherish, she’s multifaceted, she has depth and she is no one’s damsel in distress. She’s pretty easy to love!

Laura Wright is an undercover spy for the CIA. Laura spent her youth in the war, fighting Nazi’s and doing whatever it takes to win the war. She’s intelligent, she gorgeous, she is literally James Bond in a skirt (minus the British accent of course). While Laura is emotionally distant, Amelia is the one person that can crack her ultra-tough exterior. Amelia can see who she really is, and notices just the slightest of changes in her demeanor that cue her into to how Laura truly feels. She sees past the character she often plays and often calls her out on it often. My perspective is that Amelia is the one person who is Laura sees as her equal.

As serious as the issues of war, McCarthyism and a litany of others the book at is core is not really about that. As serious as those issues were the book has a lighter tone. The book is more a fun action packed adventure with two leads that have serious chemistry. This story is unique in so many ways. The best part though is it grabs your attention and your heartstrings, it doesn’t get much better than that. 5 stars

**I have been borderline obsessed with the presidential election for months. Needless to say, my mind was blown and my heart was broken when I realized that Mr. Trump would be our 45th president. My emotions have been all over the place, and still are, to be honest. I picked up this book as a way to escape the turmoil. So if you read this review, Meg Harrington, I just wanted to thank you for giving me a great book to escape into during really shitty week.

5 out of 5 stars

  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing
  • www.ylva-publishing.com

The Lavender List by Meg Harrington

Love on Call by Radclyffe

Love on Call is the third edition of the Rivers Community romances by Radclyffe. If you haven’t read the first two, this is a standalone, but you will be a bit in the dark on some of the periphery character’s backstories. If you are like me, Radclyffe is one of your go-to writers. While not always knockouts, Radclyffe is known for a quality story with interesting characters and engaging story lines. Love on Call will not let you down in this aspect.

Love on Call brings in a new character Mari Mateo, a physician’s assistant who has moved across the country for a chance to start over. Rivers offers Mari a chance at a career and life on her terms. Hailing from an intolerant family, Mari leaves her Los Angeles home to begin again. You find out pretty early on that Mari has had a rough go of it lately, harboring a secret that weighs heavily on her heart and mind.
The other main character is Glenn Archer, a recurring character from the last two books in this series. Glenn is a former Army medic who is now taking her new role as PA program director at Rivers hospital. Glenn is your brooding, heartthrob how is instantly likable but is more comfortable in the background than center stage.

Mari and Glenn hit it off right from the beginning. The work well together and become fast friends as well as colleagues. You can tell these two feel attraction towards the other, but both are skittish about taking it to the next level. Two very easily likable characters, that as the reader, you can’t help but root for them to overcome their self-imposed obstacles, and take the chance on love.

While their chemistry isn’t overwhelming and palatable, it is there. The romance is well thought out and interesting. These two characters have personal baggage, and it was delightful to see how they helped the other carry the weight, and see new perspectives on life. The compliment each other very well, and it was an overall good romance.
The only downfall in my opinion, to this story, is that you don’t get enough time with Glenn and Mari. Carrie plays a dominant role, and you are drawn to her story and what will most likely e the next romance in the series. Also, Blake and Margie, take a chunk of the story as well. As much as I loved the two mains of this book, my mind kept wondering what Carrie’s story will be, how will Blake and Marie’s romance unfold. I never was fully engrossed in this book, more wondering what the set-up for book four will be.

If you are a Radclyffe fan, you won’t be disappointed in this one. While not her best, this certainly will keep you entertained for the duration of the book. Definitely worth the price of admission!

3 stars out of 5

I was given this book by the publisher, BSB, in return for an honest review.

Love on Call (A Rivers Community Romance)
by Radclyffe
Link: https://amzn.com/1626398437